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Protect Your Unit Week 9 Picks: We've Got Your Number

Can USF do it to Tuberville again?

"You took the USF money line against me? Well, that has been a winning play so far."
"You took the USF money line against me? Well, that has been a winning play so far."
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(DISCLAIMER: This contest is for entertainment purposes only. No actual money is being wagered.)

Two of USF's most improbable victories have come against current Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville: the Auburn win in 2007, and last year's home game against the Bearcats. Which raises a question of interest to both real and fake sports gamblers: when individual matchups yield surprising results, is it meaningful, or just the nature of randomness?

The most well-known example of this sort of thing is in baseball, where journeyman catcher Mike Redmond owned Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine to the tune of .438/.471/.604. (Bob Uecker made a similar claim about dominating Sandy Koufax during his playing career; however, the stats tell a different story.)

The mathematically minded will argue that the sample sizes involved are too small to be meaningful. Redmond had a mere 48 at-bats against Glavine (not including three walks). If you picked 48 random at-bats from Redmond's career, there's about a two percent chance he would hit .438 in those at bats. Given the number of different pitchers a batter faces, it's inevitable that he will have a crazy good record against someone, just through the nature of randomness.

But sports psychologists will tell you that confidence is a big factor in success. If a competitor truly believes he is more likely to succeed in a situation, he will be more likely to succeed, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Needless to say, there is much disagreement on whether such an effect really exists. But it's the sort of thing that makes sports so fascinating to watch.

The USF-Cincinnati game attracted more interest than this weekend's unremarkable slate of games. Let's get to the picks:

As always, you may enter your wagers at protectyouru.net until one hour before kickoff time. Use the comments to discuss this week's games, your picks, or whatever's on your mind.