2014 CFB Quick Hits: B1G, C-USA, Indies.

rakeemcato1

Rakeem Cato.  Is Marshall this year’s BCS buster?

Continuing on with our CFB preview, today we’ll take a look at the Big 10, Conference USA, and the Independents. The purpose of the exercise is really to build a cheat sheet of teams to

  • Bet on;
  • Bet against;
  • Avoid;

that I can use for Cheddar Bay as well as general purpose wagering. I am happy to share.

Here is how the cheat sheet is looking.


Big Ten.

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Indiana — I’m pulling for the Hoosiers, I really am.  It would be very cool if they could build a program.  Their coach Kevin Wilson is a smidge under .500 ATS in his three seasons.  They have improved each year.  But now I’m reading about multiple starting QBs (which is crazy) and of course their defense is mess.  They were the only FBS team to rank in the Top 10 in total Offense and not go bowling last season.  Does it get better plugging in a new DC from Wake Forest and installing a 3-4?  I think you know what I think.
Bet against.

Whatever Maryland.

Whatever Maryland.

Maryland — Like Wilson, Randy Edsall is another coach who started his current gig in 2011 and who is on the hot seat.  Edsall’s ATS record is worse though.  At 15-22, it’s right in the Charlie Weis/Will Muschamp zone.  When I’ve seen Maryland, I see talent and lack of discipline.  The program’s priority seems committed more to being a vehicle for Under Armour’s attention seeking uniform designs than to winning football or building tradition.
Bet against.

Michigan — Yet another 2011 coaching hire is Brady Hoke (21-17 ATS since 2011).  He went off and hired Doug Nussmeier from Alabama to be his OC.  Did he watch the Ohio State game and if so did he think the 600 yards and six touchdowns were the problem????  Seriously.  Wtf.  At the same time, Alabama is not exactly known for innovative offense.  They’re known for recruiting the biggest line there is a putting big fast RBs behind that line.  I mean.. I could be Bama’s OC.  Like Indiana, Michigan is a team I’m pulling for (no really), but have to:
Bet against.

ncf_a_narduzzi_b1_576

Narduzzi.

Michigan State — Best defense in CFB last year, maybe the best defense in CFB since the old Miami teams.  Awesome.  They lost six starters but kept Shilique Calhoun and Pat Narduzzi.  I guess we’ll find out early what they’re made of when they visit Eugene 9/6.  On offense Connor Cook was only the MVP of the Big 10 Champ Gmae and the Rose Bowl.  He’ll project at top 10 pick by the end of the year.  Schedule wise, after the at Oregon, they have Nebraska, Michigan, and OSU at home so they figure to be in the hunt for the playoffs.  They’re my pick to with the B1G.
Bet on.

OSU13PSU_AC_32_XTRAOhio State — Totally exposed by Clemson in the Orange Bowl.  Yet Luke Fickell still is your DC.  Oh there’s some sort of co-defensive coordinator thing going on but what the hell else do you need to see?  How many Watkins ISO TD passes are enough to change your defense in game?  Are you even able to change your defense without a day-long committee meeting?  Shame on Urban for keeping him around.  It’s going to bite him in the ass.  Again.  (Also, Braxton Miller?  Not that great.  Seriously.  No.  I too miss Kenny Guiton.)  Urbz has never been a spread covering coach.
Bet against. Avoid.

Northwestern — They’re finally getting rid of the asinine two QB system.  Record hasn’t been great but NU has lost four games on game-ending TDs in last two years.  Fitzgerald has covered 60% ATS (15-10) since 2012 and that included last year’s 3-9 mess.
Bet on.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Penn State

Hackenberg.

Penn State — James Franklin.  Christian Hackenberg.  
Bet on.  (The top of the Big 10 East –MSU, UM, PSU, OSU– might could be a dogfight on the scale of SEC West.)

Rutgers — Kyle Flood, want to like him, but I’m looking at his Gary Nova scapegoating… weak sauce.  Nova had four picks against Louisville (#1 in sacks) and 107 pass yards against USF (a good defense) while his defense gives up 312 passing yards a game.
Bet against.

Illinois — what have they done with the Tim Beckman we knew from Toledo?  Lookit a coach doesn’t go from very good to very bad.  But yet, even when Beckman was at Toledo he never did better than seven wins ATS.
Bet against.

Iowa — Good news, Iowa has eight returning starters on offense including QB Jake Rudock.  Bad news, that offense was 80th in total offense.  Good defense though.  Good record ATS.
Bet on.

TCF Bank Stadium looks just perfect.

TCF Bank Stadium looks just perfect.

Minny — Jerry Kill got an extension to 2018, how about that?  He’s shown steady improvement and this should continue the trend.  22-16 ATS.
Bet on.

Nebraska — Lost five seniors on the o-line.  We like Ameer Abdullah but the offense is pretty one-dimensional (run).  Pellini is .500 ATS.
Avoid.

Purdue — This team just got throttled in every game.  Sorry Darrell, you still have much work in front of you.
Bet against.

51cd2e4821c10.preview-620Wisconsin — Googling “Gary Andersen ATS” yields this from November 2013:

… head coach Gary Andersen is 20-1-2 against the spread the past two seasons (assuming you got UW at +7 at OSU)?  The only loss was the first game of last year with Utah St.
Therefore if you would have put $50 on Utah State week 2 last year and pressed your winnings each time, you would be up $52.4 million.

Bet on.

B1G recap
Bet on:  Sparty, PSU, Iowa, Minny, Wisco, NU.
Bet against:  IU, UMD, UM, OSU, Rutgers, Illinois, Purdue.
Avoid:  Nebraska.

C-USA.

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FAU — First time HC Charlie Partridge comes to town after the last coach resigned mid-season due to drug use.  The team responded after the resignation with four straight wins (Tulane, USM, NMSt, FIU).  I like that.  I don’t like first team head coaches from the Bielema tree entering a ‘clean-up the program’ situation.
Avoid.  (Watch to see how team responds to new coach.)

FIU — Norv Turner’s brother took over as first time head coach at FIU last year and didn’t do well.  Cmon man, the only win was by one point against USM.  123rd in total offense out of 123 FBS teams.
Bet against.

Doc-Holliday-sidelines-e1357760079706

West By God Virginia boy.

Marshall — CUSA OPOY Rakeem Cato is back at QB.  His top WR is back and looking to become the first college player to back three 100-catch seasons.  Marshall’s hurry-up yielded the most plays per game last year and back-to-back years averaging 500+ yds/game.  Doc Holliday is from right by Huntington.  He’ll be there the next 20 years.  Stable program on the up.  Good shot to go undefeated.
Bet on.

MTSU — New QB, QB competition, installing zone-read offense, featuring run game.  Stockstill covers spread 43% since 2011.
Bet against.

ODU — First year in FBS.  16 starters and QB back from last year.  Their coach built it from the ground up (see Larry Coker – UTSA), started recruiting in 2007, first year with a team was 2009 and they went 9-2.  46-14 under Wilder.  A winning program.  Might be worth some light play early on.
Bet on.

Got a trophy in Prattville, why not UAB?

Got a trophy in Prattville, why not UAB?

UAB — Blazers’ new HC won Alabama state championships in 2006 and 2007.  When you get into CUSA, MAC, SunBelt ball a team with discipline and at least some focus on defense stands out (BGSU).  I’ll just avoid UAB for now, but we’ll be sure to take a second look.
Avoid.

WKU — Another coaching change here as Petrino goes back to Louisville but continuity should be ok with OC and former NFL QB Jeff Brohm getting the promotion.  Nine starters including QB return.
Bet on.

LaTech — Replace Sonny Dykes with Skip Holtz and your points per game will go down but… from 51 to 19??  Uncertain QB situation.  Holtz was bad ATS at USF and trend continues.
Bet against.

McCarney is pissed off all the time.

McCarney is pissed off all the time.

UNT — This program seems to be taking off however they return only nine starters from last year’s strong team.  Good news is that four are on the o-line.  Dan McCarney is about building the lines and finding playmakers afterward.
Bet on.

Rice — Another program with a positive trajectory.  David Bailiff has been in place since 2007.  He covers spreads at a 60% rate for the last three years.  Pretty deep and shouldn’t miss a step even losing their QB and top RB.
Bet on.

USM — USM started eight true freshmen last year and figure to start a few more this year too.  Were grossly outclassed by the better CUSA teams (Marshall 61-13, UNT 55-14, ECU 55-14).  That stench is too close.
Bet against.

UTEP — Another new coach trying to be offense first and ignoring their defense with disastrous results.  If you look at the teams ranked 90-123 in total defense last year, only one had more than seven wins (TAMU 9-4).
bet against.

SQRGVFRFHVOFRQZ.20111120024640UTSA — 16-7 ATS since they joined FBS.  38 seniors.  55 returning lettermen.  All the o-line and all the o-line backups.  New QB is more pass, less run but that’s fine.  About 30 players are local from San Antonio.
Bet on.

C-USA recap
Bet on:  Marshall, ODU, WKU, UNT, Rice, UTSA.
Bet against:  FIU, MTSU, USM, UTEP.
Avoid:  FAU, UAB.

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You must go.

Michie.  You must go.

Army — Hired the guy from Georgia Southern who crushed Florida in Gainesville and has a 38-16 record.  And they still play in Michie Stadium.  Seriously, I think the new coach was needed and will change the tenor.
Bet on.

BYU — Taysom Hill returns at QB and o-line is intact.  Mendenhall’s program is solid.
Bet on.

Navy — What?  Am I going to bet against Keenan Reynolds and Ken Niumatalolo?
Bet on.

Notre Dame — Brian Kelly loses Niklas, Nix, Martin, Tuitt and Bob Diaco.  I like Everett Golson.  And I don’t hate Brian Kelly.  But being to most public team of all, I have to
Bet against.

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