Well, after last week's 10-3 record against the spread in my highest rated picks, we're playing football again tonight, if you want to call it that.
To further reinforce how much I like my new rating system, I would have simply called tonight's game a no play using the old method, but instead I get to say the game stinks and I'm not sure who is worse but I'll take a guess. We're talking progress here.
At least we have plenty of other games to write up, and I did six today instead of my normal five in Part One because I'm not sure how I'm going to get the awful taste of researching tonight's mess out of my mouth—but picking actual games helps.
In any event, everyone will have a chance to pick a lot of games against the spread with a confidence rating in my picking contest, which starts this weekend.
It's available and open to everyone, and while I know I have well over 100 people who already subscribe to my weekly newsletter, I'm not sure how many are going to enter as I know many of you just signed up for the extra free picks or the free ebook/report. There certainly isn't any obligation to play, but it is an option that is open to you to join any week you wish.
I haven't decided which games I'll be picking and analyzing in-depth in this week's newsletter, but at least one of them will be one of the many big games this weekend.
Just a few more quick things about the contest, and I'll get on to the games and picks. The games will be mailed out by midnight tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008) EST, but you can sign up and enter just about anytime between then and Saturday morning to participate each week. The rules and procedures will be attached.
Remember, you will be sent a confirmation email when you sign up, which you will need to open and confirm. The whole process should take about 20 seconds from sign-up to confirmation. If you have any other questions, refer to the linked post or email me.
Now let's get on to the picks.
Ohio -3 at Temple (Tuesday, Oct. 21, 8 EST): 2 out of 10
This is not a game I would normally pick, and to be honest it is going to be a tough one to watch, even for the most die-hard of college football fans. This shapes up to be an awful game between two teams who aren't very good and don't do anything particularly well.
While being a good cover team from the underdog role, Temple has one of the worst offenses in D-I college football, and it certainly gets even worse without starting QB Adam DiMichelle, who is a game time decision but who hasn't played in the past three games, in which the Owls' offensive efforts headed full force into their current tail spin.
Ohio's offense is run by QB Boo Jackson, and while he can get the job done passing, he has a habit of throwing some bad balls, which often find their way into the arms of waiting defenders.
This game shapes up fairly evenly, in which case I just about always take the points. I'm expecting a low scoring game with little offense. While Temple has the better scoring defense, Ohio turns the ball over less.
I don't like this game, and while both teams have done a decent job against the spread, it has been primarily from the underdog role. Forced to make a call, I am on the underdog tonight in the Ohio Bobcats.
Since I had such little conviction in this game, I asked Jordan from Prolific Picks and YouTube fame, who has a stellar record picking weekday games (which I don't), and he of course likes Temple. Here's what he had to say.
"In Temple’s two games at home they have given up a total of 12 points vs. two pretty decent teams. The first team was UConn, when they had a healthy Tyler Lorenzen.
"UConn won in overtime because Temple’s coaching was terrible, initiating their offense to go for a 4th-and-2 on their own 30 in an attempt to achieve a first down and run out the clock. Temple came up short, allowing UConn to get the ball in field goal range and tie it up. Temple also played Western Michigan, who has a great passing offense, really close as well.
"Ohio, on the other hand, has only two wins—both came against two really poor teams. Ohio is giving up 26.4 points a game, while Temple is only giving up 19.3. The Owls play very good defense at home. Temple’s defense controls this game at home and finds a way to put points on the board in bunches.
"Temple’s coaches have learned from their mistakes and should play this game conservatively because they desperately need a win, and they will get it. I like Temple 17-7."
We look forward to hearing more from Jordan the rest of this year and in the future, as his record picking games has been stellar so far this season.
Troy -25 vs. North Texas (Saturday, Oct. 25, 7 EST): 7 out of 10
These are two teams we've played plenty this season. We've been on Troy an awful lot and we've been against North Texas about the same amount. Since we've had a lot of success on both of these systems, we'll stick to them both and throw in a pretty nice confidence number to go with it.
Last week we got in early on Troy, and all the way up until Friday night anyone could have gotten in at -9 1/2 or less. By the time the game went off, Troy was laying 12 1/2 and those who snoozed lost, while the early birds like us were rewarded with a smooth cover.
I know people are saying that this line is too big, but I'm willing to go with a fairly high ranking, which I may increase later in the week, because of the records I have had picking these two teams. I've seen nothing to sway me that this isn't another blowout for each team.
North Texas has been plus 20-29 three times this season and hasn't covered any of them, though apparently with 42 they managed to cover against LSU in a game we didn't touch. Troy is 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 conference games and has covered in five of their last six road games. The Mean Green are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven conference games and 1-4 against the spread in their last five home games.
Troy has played a brutal schedule, playing at Ohio State and Oklahoma State but still maintaining decent national rankings in offensive and defensive categories. North Texas has made a habit of getting absolutely waxed, as this spread is smaller than the margin they've lost by in every game except last week in a game we didn't even touch against a not too good Louisiana-Monroe team. We're riding Troy again.
Go here for the rest of Part One of Mitch's College Football picks for Week Nine.