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Protect Your Unit Week 9 Picks Thread

The unexpected benefits of firing your head coach.

Fresno State v UNLV
Tim DeRuyter, fired coach.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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

Pictured above is Tim DeRuyter, freshly-fired head coach of Fresno State. He is the fourth head coach to get the axe so far this season. The others were Ron Turner (FIU), Les Miles (LSU), and Darrell Hazell (Purdue).

In our regular team chat, Jamie wondered if there was a dead cat bounce, where teams play better right after firing their head coach. Being true degenerates, we wondered if this insight could help us win at fake gambling. And because the website has been running for four years, I have a database of games and lines I can use to answer questions like this.

Here is a list of all the mid-season coaching changes going back to 2013, and what happened the game after. (This list includes only coaching changes during the season, not between the regular season and the bowl game.)

2016 Fresno State Tim DeRuyter 1-7 Air Force 14 ??? ???
2016 Purdue Darrell Hazell 3-3 at Nebraska 24.5 Lost 27-17 COVERED
2016 LSU Les Miles 2-2 Missouri -11.5 Won 42-7 COVERED
2016 Florida International Ron Turner 0-4 Florida Atlantic +6 Won 33-31 COVERED/UPSET WIN
2015 Hawaii Norm Chow 2-7 at Nevada-Las Vegas 9.5 Lost 41-21 DID NOT COVER
2015 Louisiana-Monroe Todd Berry 1-9 at Texas State 6.5 Lost 16-3 DID NOT COVER
2015 Maryland Randy Edsall 2-4 Penn State 6.5 Lost 31-30 COVERED
2015 Miami Al Golden 4-3 at Duke 13 Won 30-27 COVERED/UPSET WIN
2015 Minnesota Jerry Kill 3-4 Michigan 13.5 Lost 29-26 COVERED
2015 North Texas Dan McCarney 0-5 Western Kentucky 33.5 Lost 55-28 COVERED
2015 Rutgers Kyle Flood 3-6 Nebraska 8.5 Lost 31-14 DID NOT COVER
2015 South Carolina Steve Spurrier 2-4 Vanderbilt -2.5 Won 19-10 COVERED
2015 C. Florida George O'Leary 0-8 at Cincinnati 27 Lost 52-7 DID NOT COVER
2015 USC Steve Sarkisian 3-2 Utah -3 Won 42-24 COVERED
2014 Buffalo Jeff Quinn 3-4 Central Michigan 5.5 Lost 20-14 DID NOT COVER
2014 Kansas Charlie Weis 2-2 at West Virginia 27.5 Lost 33-14 COVERED
2014 SMU June Jones 0-2 Texas A&M 34.5 Lost 58-6 DID NOT COVER
2013 Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni 0-4 Temple 6.5 Lost 36-10 DID NOT COVER
2013 Eastern Michigan Ron English 1-8 Western Michigan 2.5 Won 35-32 COVERED/UPSET WIN
2013 Florida Atlantic Carl Pelini 2-6 Tulane -2.5 Won 34-17 COVERED
2013 Miami (Ohio) Don Treadwell 0-5 at Massachusetts 5.5 Lost 17-10 DID NOT COVER
2013 USC Lane Kiffin 3-2 Arizona -6 Won 38-31 COVERED

It should be noted that not all these coaches were fired. Jerry Kill stepped down for health reasons. Carl Pelini resigned after being accused of drug use, though he later recanted and filed a lawsuit about it. Similarly, Steve Sarkisian was fired for alcohol-related reasons, which Sarkisian disputes. Spurrier and O’Leary retired in the midst of bad seasons. June Jones exited SMU two games into the season, citing personal reasons.

Going back to 2013, teams who replaced their coach during a season are 13-8 against the spread in their first game after. An unremarkable record. But what’s interesting is that there seems to be a sweet spot. Look at the results based on the number of games that had been played before the coach was fired:

  • 2 games: 0-1
  • 4-6 games: 9-2
  • 7-8 games: 3-2
  • 9-10 games: 1-3

It appears that like teams who fire their coaches are undervalued their first game afterwards, if the firing is in the first half of the season. After that, not so much. Perhaps there has to be enough season left to hope for a turnaround for there to be any benefit.

Fresno State sacked Tim DeRuyter after a 1-7 start. His former team is +14 against Air Force, a difficult team to figure in its own right. They were the only team to beat Navy, but lost three straight Mountain West games since.

On to this week’s picks:

bullbard Navy +8.0 points over South Florida 50.00
bullbard Houston -9.0 points over Central Florida 50.00
bullbard Cincinnati +7.0 points over Temple 50.00
bullbard Tulane -2.0 points over Southern Methodist 50.00
bullbard Connecticut +7.0 points over East Carolina 50.00
bullbard Memphis -6.5 points over Tulsa 50.00
bullmartin Navy +236.0 money line to beat South Florida 50.00
bullmartin Georgia +258.0 money line to beat Florida 50.00
bullmartin Florida State +174.0 money line to beat Clemson 50.00
Defdans South Florida -306.0 money line to beat Navy 100.00
Defdans Georgia +7.5 points over Florida 50.00
dsidwell31 Navy +8.0 points over South Florida 50.00
dsidwell31 Miami (FL) -1.5 points over Notre Dame 50.00
dsidwell31 Michigan State +1132.0 money line to beat Michigan 10.00
ElliotMoore Connecticut +263.0 money line to beat East Carolina 50.00
ElliotMoore Virginia Tech -3.5 points over Pittsburgh 40.00
ElliotMoore Connecticut +230.0 money line to beat East Carolina 40.00
ElliotMoore Wisconsin -8.0 points over Nebraska 40.00
ElliotMoore Michigan State +21.5 points over Michigan 40.00
ElliotMoore Michigan State +24.5 points over Michigan 30.00
GaryStephen Eastern Michigan -7.0 points over Miami (OH) 60.00
GaryStephen Wisconsin -8.0 points over Nebraska 50.00
GaryStephen Miami (FL) +103.0 money line to beat Notre Dame 50.00
GaryStephen Navy +269.0 money line to beat South Florida 40.00
GaryStephen Kansas +32500.0 money line to beat Oklahoma 1.00
GaryStephen New Mexico State +45500.0 money line to beat Texas A&M 1.00
lrdnorman Navy +8.0 points over South Florida 30.00
lrdnorman Georgia +258.0 money line to beat Florida 30.00
lrdnorman Cincinnati +235.0 money line to beat Temple 30.00
lrdnorman Connecticut +7.0 points over East Carolina 30.00
lrdnorman Georgia +7.5 points over Florida 30.00
lrdnorman Connecticut +226.0 money line to beat East Carolina 30.00
lrdnorman Over 63.0 points in the Navy-South Florida game 30.00
lrdnorman Over 53.5 points in the Cincinnati-Temple game 30.00
lrdnorman Navy +270.0 money line to beat South Florida 30.00
lrdnorman Cincinnati +7.0 points over Temple 30.00
mmmmsnouts Clemson -4.0 points over Florida State 25.00
mmmmsnouts Navy +236.0 money line to beat South Florida 25.00
mmmmsnouts Wisconsin -8.5 points over Nebraska 25.00
mmmmsnouts East Carolina -6.5 points over Connecticut 25.00
ULhothot Tulsa +226.0 money line to beat Memphis 15.00

A lot of people taking Navy this week. Parlay wagers are:

  • Bullmartin, 350, Over 63.5 points in the South Florida-Navy game, Over 54.0 points in the Michigan State-Michigan game, Over 60.0 points in the Florida State-Clemson game.
  • ULhothot, 235, WVU -3, Louisville -28, Ohio State -22.5
  • defdans, 100, Houston -9 over C. Florida FSU +5 Over Clemson, Over 58.5 C. Florida-Houston
  • dsidwell31, 100, Houston -9, Michigan -23.5, Michigan - Over 54

Some of our players are swinging for the fences to try and get back into the game, while others are playing more realistically. On last week’s results thread, Jamie said:

This is a very good point. Having players who’ve doubled and tripled their money by midseason, and most of our players in the black, is an amazing rate of success. Seriously, I’d be out of the fake bookmaking business fast at the rate you guys are cashing in. But it’s easy to make aggressive plays when there’s no real money riding on it, and actual disincentives to standing pat. While we try to make our game as realistic as can be, there are some aspects of it that force you to wager in ways you wouldn’t in real life. If I’m down $100 in December, I’d take my slight loss and call it a year, not bet half of my stack on bowl game longshots. So try not to infer too much from the game’s results, mmmkay?

Use the comments thread to talk about this week’s games, explain your picks, and lobby for awards. We are so far lacking in degenerate and spite bets this week (I made a couple, but I don’t like to give awards to myself) so this is your week to win the recognition you crave.