Friday, September 17, 2010

Perception is Reality

It’s getting harder and harder to be a fringe sports conspiracy-theorist when the AP makes it so obvious that they won’t rest until a non-BCS team is crowned National Champions, preferably Boise State.  

The inconsistent and fickle nature of the AP pollsters is at its most blatant in their latest poll, in which, as predicted by yours truly, Oregon State is ranked #25.  Why is that odd?  The Beavers did look good in their losing effort against TCU, surely they looked great in their second game… oh wait, they had a bye last week!  Keep an eye on Fresno State, who are being set up to be ranked by the time they travel to Boise in November.

At least the AP is willing to adjust rankings according to on-the-field performance regardless of record, as shown by moving a very-impressive 2-0 Oregon to #5 and dropping 2-0 Florida to #10 after slow starts.  That is commendable, except for the fact that Boise St, who eeked out a win versus Virginia Tech, remained at #3, even after FCS James Madison University defeated the Hokies... IN BLACKSBURG!  Instead they threw votes at James Madison, and rightfully so, the Dukes have 1 more win than the Broncos.  Clearly it is more important than ever that Oregon State is perceived as a big time opponent.

Perception is reality, and that is as true for a College Football team as it is everywhere else.  The sport is absolutely littered with programs that are perceived to be bigger than they actually are.  Teams with accomplished pasts who maintain decent records year-after-year, but are never really National Championship contenders, I call them the Atlantic Coast Conference, and you want them on your schedule to pad the number of ‘quality’ wins.

The ACC is full of Notre Dames!  We just don’t see it because they play each other and none of them actually manages to sink to the bottom.  Think about it: Florida State gets demolished by oklahoma, Miami cannot hang with Ohio State, Georgia Tech gets beat by Kansas!  Virginia Tech’s loss to JMU shattered their team’s perceived quality, something that won’t affect Boise until the BCS polls are released, because the computers can actually see past the ACC aura.

With that in mind, I am finally ready to make my National Championship prediction: Oregon, and a split title if the Ducks don’t play Boise St. or TCU and one of them wins a BCS game (likely against the other).  Winning at Tennessee won’t be Oregon’s marquee win, they have a very challenging Pac-10 schedule ahead that includes going to #25 Oregon State, but it showed that they could win on the road in a very rough environment.  Not so much Rocky Top and the Vols as much as the massive thunderstorms that actually delayed the game.

My predictions did improve drastically last week; I managed to go 7 for 11 against the spread in College Football and 6 of 9 against the spread for the NFL’s opening weekend.  College Football picks definitely made my weekend as I had the distinct pleasure of having 2 of my fantasy teams play against Arian Foster… it still hurts :(

College Football Predictions – Week 3

  • Cal -3 at Nevada – Nevada can score in bunches, but so can Cal, who will be looking to showcase their stuff on National TV in this Friday game.
  • Kansas St -4 over Iowa St – This game is being played at Arrowhead, not only a neutral field, but a neutral state, the Cyclones were absolutely shut down last week and I don’t expect them to bounce back against a very good K-State team.
  • #2 Ohio State -30.5 over Ohio – Another game at home for the Buckeyes?  They’ll do to Ohio the same thing they did to Marshall.
  • Maryland +10 at #21 West Virginia – The Mountaineers showed a lot of toughness coming back against Marshall last week, but they also showed a lot of vulnerabilities.  Maryland’s defense will keep them in the game, take the points.
  • Georgia -2 over #13 Arkansas – This is a gut call, all signs point to Arkansas and their potent offense, but I think they’ll be looking ahead to Alabama and Georgia will be looking to bounce back from their tough loss at South Carolina.
  • USC -12.5 at Minnesota – Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, but please do not fool me a third time, USC!  Actually this prediction is based more on how bad Minnesota has played.
  • Baylor +21.5 at #5 TCU – Before you think this is an emotional pick, it’s not, and I fully expect TCU to win, especially at home.  Baylor is not as anemic as they’re being made out to be, they’ll score enough.
  • #4 Texas -3 at Texas Tech – They’re hoping to win, we’re expecting to win.
  • Florida State -10 over BYU – The Seminoles will be looking to bounce back from that nasty loss last week; BYU just doesn’t seem as good as last year.
  • Notre Dame +3.5 at Michigan St – These games are always close, I expect the Irish to win.
  • UTEP -16 over New Mexico St – If Buckram plays, UTEP will win big, if he doesn’t play, they’ll still win by a good margin.
  • #15 Auburn -7 over Clemson – There’s no question the Tigers will win this one, hands down!
  • #18 Arizona (pick) over #10 Iowa – Iowa won by 10 last year at home, I expect the Wildcats to be looking for revenge at home this year.

Pro Football Predictions – Week 2 

  • Packers -14 over Bills – Green Bay is going to light up the scoreboard in their home opener against a much weaker Buffalo team.
  • Falcons -7 over Cardinals – Atlanta lost a tough one at Pittsburgh last week, I expect them to bounce back.
  • Seahawks +3.5 at Broncos – Seattle looked very good last week against the 49ers and Denver is not as good.
  • Titans -5.5 over Steelers – Steelers had a hard time putting the Falcons away last week, Tennessee has the weapons to put them away.
  • Chargers -7 over Jaguars – San Diego will be looking to redeem themselves in their home opener.
  • Cowboys -7.5 over Bears – Pretty please?
  • Texans -3 at Redskins – I don’t think Houston will make as many mistakes as Dallas, the defense that rattled Manning will have fun sacking McNabb.
  • Raiders -3.5 over Rams – St. Louis kept it close against the Cards last week, but eventually they lost and Oakland is a better team than Arizona.


1 comment:

  1. Well done, Albert. Good analysis, really good writing...Excellent start with this first issue. Good luck with it ...I will be reading it regularly!