(DISCLAIMER: This game is for entertainment purposes only. No actual money is being wagered.)
Going into this week, five teams controlled their own destiny to win the American Athletic Conference:
Central Florida (4-0, 7-0)
Temple (4-0, 5-3)
Cincinnati (3-1, 7-1)
USF (3-1, 7-1)
Houston (4-0 West Division, 7-1)
Due to last night’s results, Temple (4-1, 5-4) no longer controls their own destiny, as they would now need UCF (5-0, 8-0) to lose at least once.
Since Boise State fell off the pace early, and no other unbeaten emerged from any other conference, there’s been an assumption that the AAC champion would earn the lucrative New Year’s Day bowl slot. If C. goes unbeaten again, they certainly will. But UCF, USF, and Cincinnati all have yet to play each other; also, Temple still has to play USF; and Temple-Houston is a cross-division game. This means that the above teams will absorb at least five more losses. Could that leave someone outside the AAC as a better choice for the Group of 5’s access bowl? Let’s see the candidates:
Fresno State (7-1, 4-0 MWC)
Remember Jeff Tedford? He washed up in Fresno. He immediately turned an 11-loss team into a 10-win team, the tenth win being over Houston in the Hawaii Bowl last season. They sputtered a bit at the start of this season, but have since steamrolled all competition. They were ranked #23 in the initial CFP poll. Unlike most MWC/former WAC teams, they win with defense. Advanced metrics rate them highly; ahead of any AAC team, in fact.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: They’re a complete, balanced, and well-coached team. They have a good-sized fan base that would be appealing to the Fiesta Bowl. They are the #2 team in the CFP poll entering November.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: They have some tough games left: a regular season game at Boise, second-place San Diego State to win the division, and a conference championship game against one of the following two teams:
Boise State (6-2, 4-1 MWC)
The CFP poll only tells you the Top 25; there’s no “also receiving votes” section that can be used to rank teams currently outside of it. So we don’t know what the selectors think of teams past Fresno. I won’t guess at how Cincinnati, Houston, and USF compare to teams from other leagues. But I would hazard a guess that even with two losses, Boise is probably next in line if it wins the Mountain West.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: They’re Boise State. ‘nuff said. Three of their last four games are at home, and the road game is an easy one (New Mexico).
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: It’s possible they’re just not that good. They’ve lost to the two quality teams they’ve played, Oklahoma State (badly) and San Diego State (at home). They haven’t rolled weaker opponents like in years past. They might not even win their division, because:
Utah State (7-1, 4-0 MWC)
Another team quietly having an awesome season. Their no-huddle, hurry-up offense puts crazy numbers on the board, and they have a good enough defense.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: Their one loss is respectable, a close 38-31 defeat at Michigan State on opening day. They’ve scored over 42 points in 6 of their 8 games.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: Three of their last four games are away, including a cross-division trip to Hawaii. They’d also have to win a conference championship game. This team is good, but I’m not sure they’re that good. Also, their fan base is small: their last home game drew 16,119 to a 25,000 seat stadium. I know that’s not supposed to matter in the CFP rankings, but I suspect it does.
San Diego State (6-2, 3-1 MWC)
One thing I haven’t mentioned in this discussion is strength of schedule. The CFP says it matters. But almost all of the G5 contenders have terrible SoS, so there’s little basis for comparison.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: If SoS really does matter, San Diego State’s is non-terrible. They control their own destiny in the MWC, and their trip to Fresno is the only road game. The AAC and MAC could see upset winners, which might leave SDSU as the best Group of Five conference champion at 11-2.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: That Nevada loss last week is hard to explain away.
If the AAC and Mountain West champs both have two or more losses (more likely they’d need three), some other teams could get involved:
UAB (7-1, 5-0)
Since UAB football program was killed and brought back, it’s 15-6. They were never that good before. Being shut down was the best thing that ever happened to this program. And wouldn’t it be a story? College football team is killed by its own state government, comes back, and wins the automatic Group of 5 bid in its second season.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: UAB in a major bowl game would royally piss off Alabama, which is something we can all enjoy. None of their remaining C-USA opponents should scare them. They have a late-season non-conference game at Texas A&M, which would make a huge impression on the CFP poll if they can win it.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: They have a late season non-conference game at Texas A&M, which they’ll probably lose. And their one loss so far is to friggin’ Coastal Carolina. Bet they wish they had that one back.
Buffalo (8-1, 5-0 MAC)
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: If the AAC, MWC, and C-USA champions all have two or more losses, a 12-1 Buffalo team might be the best available. They beat Temple, which would be a point in their favor if the Owls win the AAC, which pretty much has to happen anyway.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: The MAC overall is pretty bad this year. And their one loss was a 42-13 blowout, at the hands of:
I’m not as up on the rules as I used to be, so I don’t know if Army can win the access bowl slot. But if they’d pulled off that Oklahoma game, they’d have a case.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: The rest of their schedule is easy: two FCS teams, and below-average Air Force and Navy teams. There’s no conference championship game to worry about. They beat fringe Top 25 team San Diego State in a bowl last year, which gives reason to believe they’d have a shot against a major conference runner-up. And they draw a big crowd anywhere.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: Too may good teams ahead of them. No real chance to make a statement. Two losses are probably too many for a team that plays mostly lower-tier competition. Especially when one of them is to Duke, by 20 points.
Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0)
They have no shot, but GSU is still quite a story. After an 0-6 start last season, they fired their head coach Tyson Summers, and interim coach Chad Lunsford won two games down the stretch. Their first win was 52-0 in a conference game, so Summers clearly wasn’t getting the best out of this team. Lunsford got the full-time gig, and his team is 7-1 this year. Quite a turnaround.
WHY THEY COULD DO IT: They’re unbeaten, and have the most credible loss of any G5 contender, 38-7 to Clemson.
WHY THEY MIGHT NOT: The Sun Belt is far too weak. It would take an apocalypse in the bigger conference championship games for them to get serious mention. Also, Georgia Southern cancelled games with USF in 1999 and 2000 to play Johnson C. Smith instead, so screw them.
Moving on to this week’s picks:
|BrianMartin||Houston -13.0 points over Southern Methodist; South Florida -7.0 points over Tulane; Louisville +40.0 points over Clemson (TBD,TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD; TBD||248.00||TBD||0.00|
|BrianMartin||Temple +350.0 money line to beat Central Florida||Central Florida 52-40||1.00||LOSS||-1.00|
|BrianMartin||East Carolina +400.0 money line to beat Memphis||TBD||1.00||TBD||0.00|
|carlzee||Northwestern +8.5 points over Notre Dame||TBD||43.40||TBD||0.00|
|carlzee||Kent State +2.0 points over Bowling Green State; Buffalo -6.5 points over Miami (OH) (WIN,WIN)||Kent State 35-28; Buffalo 51-42||15.00||WIN||39.00|
|carlzee||Akron +7.0 points over Northern Illinois; Over 64.0 points in the Ohio-Western Michigan game; Temple +11.0 points over Central Florida (LOSS,WIN,LOSS)||Northern Illinois 36-26; Ohio 59-14; Central Florida 52-40||10.00||LOSS||-10.00|
|carlzee||Kent State -105.0 money line to beat Bowling Green State||Kent State 35-28||10.00||WIN||9.52|
|carlzee||Temple +375.0 money line to beat Central Florida||Central Florida 52-40||6.66||LOSS||-6.66|
|dsidwell31||Iowa State -14.0 points over Kansas; Central Florida -10.5 points over Temple; Over 37.0 points in the Northern Illinois-Akron game (TBD,WIN,WIN)||TBD; Central Florida 52-40; Northern Illinois 36-26||50.00||TBD||0.00|
|dsidwell31||Over 43.0 points in the Georgia-Kentucky game; Over 59.0 points in the Tulane-South Florida game; Penn State +10.5 points over Michigan (TBD,TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD; TBD||25.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Over 37.0 points in the Northern Illinois-Akron game; Over 47.0 points in the Charlotte-Tennessee game; Over 43.0 points in the Texas-San Antonio-Alabama-Birmingham game (WIN,TBD,TBD)||Northern Illinois 36-26; TBD; TBD||55.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Louisville +40.0 points over Clemson; Rutgers +29.0 points over Wisconsin; Notre Dame -8.0 points over Northwestern (TBD,TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD; TBD||33.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Buffalo -6.5 points over Miami (OH); Over 51.5 points in the Miami (OH)-Buffalo game; Over 64.0 points in the Kent State-Bowling Green State game (WIN,WIN,LOSS)||Buffalo 51-42; Buffalo 51-42; Kent State 35-28||25.00||LOSS||-25.00|
|E-dogg42||Over 37.0 points in the Northern Illinois-Akron game; Ohio -1.0 points over Western Michigan (WIN,WIN)||Northern Illinois 36-26; Ohio 59-14||25.00||WIN||150.00|
|E-dogg42||Under 71.5 points in the Nebraska-Ohio State game; Under 72.0 points in the Liberty-Massachusetts game; Houston -12.5 points over Southern Methodist (TBD,TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD; TBD||20.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Ball State +20.0 points over Toledo||Toledo 45-13||20.00||LOSS||-20.00|
|E-dogg42||Over 63.5 points in the Ball State-Toledo game||Toledo 45-13||20.00||LOSS||-20.00|
|E-dogg42||Penn State +360.0 money line to beat Michigan||TBD||19.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||South Florida -7.0 points over Tulane||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Under 64.0 points in the Kent State-Bowling Green State game||Kent State 35-28||11.00||WIN||10.00|
|E-dogg42||Louisville +38.0 points over Clemson||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Charlotte +21.5 points over Tennessee||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Texas-San Antonio +21.5 points over Alabama-Birmingham||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Nevada-Las Vegas +25.0 points over Fresno State||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Nebraska +21.0 points over Ohio State||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Georgia Tech -4.0 points over North Carolina||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Georgia -10.0 points over Kentucky||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Navy +14.0 points over Cincinnati||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Florida -6.0 points over Missouri||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Connecticut +19.0 points over Tulsa||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|E-dogg42||Ball State +825.0 money line to beat Toledo||Toledo 45-13||10.00||LOSS||-10.00|
|E-dogg42||Temple +350.0 money line to beat Central Florida||Central Florida 52-40||10.00||LOSS||-10.00|
|E-dogg42||Bowling Green State +1.0 points over Kent State||Kent State 35-28||8.00||LOSS||-8.00|
|E-dogg42||Buffalo -7.0 points over Miami (OH)||Buffalo 51-42||8.00||WIN||7.27|
|E-dogg42||Toledo -14.0 points over Ball State||Toledo 45-13||8.00||WIN||7.27|
|E-dogg42||Miami (OH) +235.0 money line to beat Buffalo||Buffalo 51-42||5.00||LOSS||-5.00|
|ElliotMoore||Ohio State -21.0 points over Nebraska||TBD||45.00||TBD||0.00|
|ElliotMoore||Kent State -1.0 points over Bowling Green State||Kent State 35-28||35.00||WIN||31.82|
|ElliotMoore||Buffalo -7.0 points over Miami (OH)||Buffalo 51-42||35.00||WIN||31.82|
|ElliotMoore||Penn State +360.0 money line to beat Michigan||TBD||30.00||TBD||0.00|
|ElliotMoore||Northwestern +310.0 money line to beat Notre Dame||TBD||30.00||TBD||0.00|
|ElliotMoore||Louisiana State +500.0 money line to beat Alabama||TBD||30.00||TBD||0.00|
|ElliotMoore||South Florida -7.5 points over Tulane||TBD||25.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Houston -13.0 points over Southern Methodist||TBD||95.21||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Temple +375.0 money line to beat Central Florida||Central Florida 52-40||26.25||LOSS||-26.25|
|GaryStephen||Tennessee -20.5 points over Charlotte||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Ohio State -17.5 points over Nebraska||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Florida State +8.0 points over North Carolina State||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Georgia -8.0 points over Kentucky||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Rice -110.0 money line to beat Texas-El Paso||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Under 59.5 points in the Tulane-South Florida game||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Appalachian State -14.0 points over Coastal Carolina||TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|GaryStephen||Mississippi State -21.5 points over Louisiana Tech||TBD||3.93||TBD||0.00|
|gym399||Kent State +2.0 points over Bowling Green State; Buffalo -6.5 points over Miami (OH); Central Florida -10.5 points over Temple (WIN,WIN,WIN)||Kent State 35-28; Buffalo 51-42; Central Florida 52-40||80.00||WIN||480.00|
|jjlovecub||Navy +13.5 points over Cincinnati||TBD||25.00||TBD||0.00|
|jjlovecub||Oklahoma -10.0 points over Texas Tech||TBD||25.00||TBD||0.00|
|jjlovecub||Stanford +9.5 points over Washington||TBD||25.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Toledo -14.0 points over Ball State||Toledo 45-13||15.00||WIN||13.64|
|jrjs||UCLA +11.0 points over Oregon||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Houston -12.5 points over Southern Methodist||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 58.0 points in the West Virginia-Texas game||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Under 48.5 points in the San Diego State-New Mexico game||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 77.5 points in the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Navy +14.0 points over Cincinnati||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 49.5 points in the California-Washington State game||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Central Florida -10.5 points over Temple||Central Florida 52-40||15.00||WIN||13.64|
|jrjs||West Virginia +2.5 points over Texas||TBD||15.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 77.5 points in the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game; Houston -12.5 points over Southern Methodist; Over 58.0 points in the West Virginia-Texas game (TBD,TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD; TBD||10.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 58.0 points in the West Virginia-Texas game; Houston -12.5 points over Southern Methodist (TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD||5.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Over 77.5 points in the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game; Over 58.0 points in the West Virginia-Texas game (TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD||5.00||TBD||0.00|
|jrjs||Houston -12.5 points over Southern Methodist; Over 77.5 points in the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game (TBD,TBD)||TBD; TBD||5.00||TBD||0.00|
|McIntyre2K7||Over 37.0 points in the Northern Illinois-Akron game; Over 60.5 points in the Temple-Central Florida game; Over 59.0 points in the Tulane-South Florida game (WIN,WIN,TBD)||Northern Illinois 36-26; Central Florida 52-40; TBD||15.19||TBD||0.00|
That’s as of 7 AM this morning. https://protectyouru.net/pyu/weekly_picks.php maintains an updated list.
As you can see, some parlays have already hit, including gym399 for another $480 win. Others are well on their way to winning could be a big week.
Technical note: I need to fix a bug that is letting those of you under 250 units bet 250, instead of what you have left. I had to manually edit McIntryre2K7’s all-in parlay to the 15.16 he actually has left. There’s no credit in this establishment, except as dictated in rule 10:
10. SUDDEN DEATH BET: If you burn through your entire $1000, you will have one (1) chance to stay in the game. The week after you run out of money, you must successfully pick one AAC game against the spread. If you win the bet, you get $500 to continue playing in future weeks (although you are still in the books as -$1000 for the season). If you push the bet or lose, you are out of the game. Only one sudden death bet per customer. If you lose the entire extra $500, you are out of the game. Also, if you run out of money at the end of the regular season, your sudden death bet will be on the first game of bowl season.
So if anyone is out of money at the end of the week, they’ll have to correctly pick an AAC team next week to get another $500 to play on.
Use this space to talk about our fake betting competition, or anything college-football related. And hey, I’m seeing some actual spite bets this week, which is great! This group has been far too nice. I’ve been thinking of expanding the competition to include fans of other AAC schools, but I’m afraid some of them would be confused by all the words and numbers.