2014 CFB Quick Hits: MAC, MWC, PAC-12.

marcusmariota

Does it seem peculiar to call Oregon a sleeper? I am. I’m calling Oregon a sleeper team; very very stacked.

Let’s keep our CFB homework assignment moving forward.  Today we’ll look at the MAC, Mountain West, and Pac 12 teams with an eye toward dropping them in one of three buckets:

  • Bet on:  Plays on these teams over the course of the year will win you money;
  • Bet against:  Plays on the these teams over the course of the year will lose you money;
  • Avoid:  You’re asking for trouble if you wager on these teams.

I’m not interested in predicting W-L or conference champions or bowl participants.  I just want to feel like I’ve done some level background checking before I accept an ODU +21 vs FIU wager.

Get to know The Table. (click.)

Get to know The Table. (click.)

Earlier posts are here:


Winning teams are better against the spread.

Here is a make believe comment you may have in response to this exercise:

Hey Kanick, not for nothing but I’m looking at your bet on-bet against list:  the bet-ons are a lot of good teams/programs and the bet-againsts are a lot of bad schools.  Don’t the point spreads address these disparities?  Like, aren’t point spreads specifically built for that?  Shouldn’t there be a more random distro with more sub .500 in bet-on and vice-versa??

You’re right there should not be a correlation between good teams and bad teams if Vegas spreads are equalizers.  But though they try to be so, the spread’s primary function is the equalize action on both sides of the line.  The ATS records speak for themselves.  Here they are since 2003 sorted by Margin of Victory. At the top we find only one team with a net negative margin of victory (MOV).

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.21.49 PM

At the bottom of the ATS rankings we find only one team with the net plus MOV… and it’s the most public of all CFB teams. Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.22.28 PM

I found this info both interesting and also supportive The List which is starting to skew in favor of betting on winning teams, against losing teams.


MAC.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 6.10.42 PM

Akron — Seven starters and QB return to a decent 106th ranked 2013 offense.  For some reason I thought they were better.
Avoid.

Expect large things from Matt Johnson.

Expect large things from Matt Johnson.

Bowling Green — I’m all in with BGSU.  I thought only Nick Marshall ran a better zone-read than Matt Johnson.  He has extremely quiet feet and actually does watch the other team’s edge defender and actually does wait for him to commit before handing off or keeping.  I think a majority of zone-read QBs have already decided hand-off or run before the ball is snapped.  Johnson is a good arm too, has an interesting target in Gehrig Deiter who is apparently the greatest Indiana high school WR ever.  You know BGSU had the #10 defense last year right?  New coach Dino Babers from EIU and Art Briles’ WR coach at Baylor before that has a lot to work with.  His record at EIU indicates he’ll know what to do with it.
Bet on.

Buffalo — Lost Khalil Mack and Branden Oliver and Alex Neutz.  I like Joe Licata their QB.  I don’t think much of Jeff Quinn their HC.  He’s 21-27 ATS since coming to UB.
Bet against.

Kent — Lost Hazell in 2012 and Archer last year.  Program in decline, hasn’t hit bottom yet.  I’ll look for Paul Haynes to have it together next year.
Bet against.  Avoid.  (Gut is screaming that Haynes is going to get well fast.)

Miami — Program in upheaval.  Freaking 0-12 last year and well-deserved.
Bet against.

220px-Mark_Whipple_Brandon_Weeden_2012

UMass’ new HC. I kid you not.

Ohio — Tettleton and Blankenship are gone.  Only four starters on offense return.  Solich is 69 is looks it — he coaches tired.  Bowl streak ends this year. Bet against. UMass — They hired Pat Shurmur’s QB coach.  I repeat:  they hired Pat Shurmur’s QB coach.  Get out of the MAC already.
Avoid.

Ball State — Wenning and Snead are gone, but Lembo is back.  Program seems stable enough to handle a considerable re-load.
Bet on.

CMU — I enjoyed betting CMU last year and look forward to more.  Ten starters back on offense; 18 overall.  Cody Kater healthy; Cooper Rush has a year of (hard-earned) experience — either QB will be good.
Bet on.

EMU — actually has a pretty good QB in Roback.  But will he survive games at MSU and UF to play a conference schedule.  Last time they were over .500 was 1995 (6-5).  Their new coach is from Drake.  New grey field turf.  But geez, it’s maybe the worst program in the country.
Bet against.

UT-WMU-043

Greg Mancz: the next John Greco?

Toledo — Good sized o-line anchored by pro prospect Greg Mancz.  New sophomore QB Logan Woodside smart enough to choose Matt Campbell over Frank Solich and the seat warmer at WKU.  Pretty big fan of Matt Campbell provided he learned his lesson about form following function.
Bet on.

NIU — What linebacker will Rod Carey promote to replace Jordan Lynch?  Haha just kidding, but not really.  Will be nice to not have the ESPNU promotional team hyperventilating on meh talent like Lynch and while completely ignoring Dri Archer.  Back to this year, the offense returns nine starters not named Lynch.  Whoever gets plugged into that system will succeed.  Defense has a couple big holes with Jimmie Ward and DT Ken Bishop drafted.  Still, this is what a good program looks like.
Bet on.

WMU — PJ Fleck reportedly signed 14 three-star recruits.  Year two of system install.  Eight starters back on a decent defense.
Avoid.

MAC recap
Bet on:  BGSU, Ball, CMU, NIU, Toledo.
Bet against:  UB, Miami, OU, UMass, EMU.
Avoid:  Akron, WMU, Kent.

Mountain West.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 6.10.58 PM

AFA —  16 returning starters from a pretty poor team.  Coach on hot seat.  Program in regression.
Bet against.

The latest ArkySt one-and-done HC chats up his predecessor.

The latest ArkySt one-and-done HC chats up his predecessor.

Boise — No more Chris Petersen, he’s off to coach the Huskies.  84-8 from 2006-12.  Boise went in house for the replace with BSU alumnus and long time assistant Bryan Harsin.  Harsin got his bit HC experience at notable HC mill Arky St (see Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn).  We’re betting on the program here.
Bet on.

CSU — Huge crazy bowl win over kinda-sorta crazy Mike Leach and team?  Not sold.  Lost star RB (Kapri Bibbs) and CFB’s best center (Warren Richburg) and MWC’s best tight end (Crickett Gilmore).  Analysts say they’re on the up; I’m staying away.
Avoid.

New Mexico — I know Bob Davie was a big name ‘get’ for UNM but… the guy was 35-25 at Notre Dame.  And that was more than ten years before coming to Albuquerque.
Bet against.

hi-res-182590209-chuckie-keeton-of-the-utah-state-aggies-throws-during_crop_north

We’re going to assume Keeton gets his job back.

USU — Lose Gary Andersen to Wisconsin?  No prob, Matt Wells named MWC coach of year in his first year.  And they get Chuckie Keeton back.  Hell, even Keeton’s replacement, true freshman Darell Garretson, went 6-1 as a starter last year.  Are you kidding me?
Bet on.

Wyoming — They hired in the wildly successful Craig Bohl from NDakSt (three consecutive FCS Champs) (they’re the guys who won at KState last year) and the program was already stable.
Bet on.

Hawaii — He’s 4-20.  Fire Norm Chow already.  Yes I see the 7-5 ATS last year.  More interesting (to me) is that Chow is 3-6 ATS as a home underdog.  I want to bet against but probably more sensible to
Avoid.

Fresno — The whole offense was built around (the really good and likely to be a factor for Raiders; certainly WAY BETTER and WAY MORE IMPACTFUL than overrated small-hands Bridgewater.) Derek Carr.  And Davante Adams too.  DeRuyter was 11-2 ATS in 2012, his regression was expensive for me last year.
Avoid.

Nevada — I’m a fan of Cody Fajardo.  I like Brian Polian better than his dad.
Bet on.

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Reflective Brian Sipe at Casa Sherk.

SDSU — Brian Sipe is actually on staff here as the QB coach.  They play tough under Rocky Long.  Did not bag after starting 0-3 last year.  Had four OT games.  Four straight bowl appearances.
Bet on.

SJSU — Mike McIntyre was the driver behind SJSU’s rise and Fales was the star.  Now they’re both gone.
Bet against.

UNLV — Sanctions for poor GPA,  scratch that.  UNLV won on appeal and now WILL be bowl eligible.  Still, they lost a decent QB and a good RB.  Overall, the program is trending in the right direction.
Bet on.

MWC recap
Bet on:  Boise, Wyo, USU, Nevada, SDSU, UNLV.
Bet against:  AFA, UNM, SJSU.
Avoid:  ColoSt, Hawaii, Fresno.

Pac-12.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 6.11.10 PM

Cal — Last year was a disaster obviously, but they do have their record setting freshman QB (Jared Goff) back and he should be fairly savvy in Sonny Dykes’ Air Raid offense.  That defense though.  Damn.  46 ppg.  You can’t outscore teams who are getting 50+ points and you can’t fix a defense like that in a year.
Bet against.

It's going to be Mariota's year.  Prepare yourself.

It’s going to be Mariota’s year. Prepare yourself.

Oregon — Addition by subtraction with the loss of oh-so-soft DeAnthony Thomas.  DAT thought he was a star.. he was not.  (Pfft.. “Black Mamba.”  Whatever man.)  With him gone this becomes 100% Mariota’s team.  Nine starters on offense return.  Under the radar national championship team.
Bet on.

Oregon State — Another really good QB (Sean Mannion) passed up the NFL for another year of CFB and another coach I like (Mike Riley) is running the show.
Bet on.

Stanford — Just one starter back on the o-line… but David Shaw is 27-14 ATS.  You don’t want to be on the wrong side here.
Bet on.

Washington — U-Dub gets spurned by their coach and takes giant step forward.  Overheard convo between AD and UW prez:  “We get to replace Steve Sarkisian with Chris Peterson and actually pay less???”  Seriously, Chris Peterson made Boise a recruiting destination.  Boise.1 Imagine what he’ll do with the embarrassment of wealth of every kind that surrounds Seattle.
Bet on.

Dalton, Weedon, Glennon... I give you the next derpy ginger QB, Connor Halliday.

Dalton, Weedon, Glennon… I give you the next big derpy ginger QB:  Connor Halliday.

Wazzu — Yeah, we all saw the quintessential Mike Leach bowl game with the late meltdown and loss.  The takeaway should be:  Leach has got his style of offense and team clicking and given enough time, he can surpass what he accomplished at Lubbock.  Connor Halliday.. yet another stud Pac-12 QB.2 Defense remains a problem.
Bet on.

Arizona — Rich Rod.  35-49 ATS since leaving WVU.  Really should’ve stayed there.  Maybe he’ll go back and have his own ‘coming home’ moment.
Bet against.

ASU — Major thud at the end of last year.  Crushed by Stanford 38-14 in Pac-12 Champ game and throttled by TTU 37-23 as 17 point favorites in Holiday Bowl.  They have a good offense and a returning stud QB and can pile up points on soft defenses.  But I don’t trust this team.  Damn sure don’t trust their defense.
Avoid.

Colorado — I’m choosing to buy-in on Mike MacIntyre and get in early on his bandwagon.  He looks legit.  Colorado is a sleeping giant and he’s got the program waking up.  Value betting opp.
Bet on.

Jack + Hundley is a talented backfield.

Jack + Hundley is a talented backfield.

UCLA — 16 starters return to a 10 win team that closed strong with walkover wins against USC and VaTech.  Mora 17-10 ATS since arriving.  Hundley has pro-caliber tools and will only be better.  Ditto Myles Jack.
Bet on.

USC — More turmoil which could have been mitigated had USC just done a KISS move and kept popular and successful Ed Orgeron in place.  I’m not a buyer of SC until we see a couple years of continuity and achievement.  Sarkisian will be better than the Kiffin era.. but that’s hardly an endorsement.
Bet against.

Utah — 10-17 ATS in conference since joining Pac-12.  Coach Whittingham hired noted turd Dennis Erickson after his fail at ASU.  You can do crony hires when you win.  Roethlisberger-sized QB Travis Wilson could be something.  Can’t figure this team.
Avoid.

PAC-12 recap
Bet on:  Oregon, OrSt, Wazzu, UW, Stanford, CU, UCLA.
Bet against:  Cal, Arizona, USC.
Avoid:  ASU, Utah.


  1. In truth Boise is lovely and underrated and a fairly well-kept secret.  I love it there. [back]
  2. Mariotta, Mannion, Hundley, Hogan, Kelly-ASU, Wilson-Utah, Kessler-USC, (maybe) Wittek-USC all figure to be drafted.  Incredible. [back]
  • Pingback: 2014 CFB quick hits: SEC, Sun Belt. - Kanick()

  • Petefranklin

    Agree about SDst. They have been improving every year.
    Strong disagreement about Boise.If you ask your average New York bettor or someone back east who the best team in the MWC is they would say Boise. Now think what this does to the line.Two, three, maybe four points tax to take Boise. That will kill a bankroll. They are more even with the rest of the MWC than you might think, which will equate to point spread losses. Definite FADE!
    Good call on Oregon St, even without the best receiver in the draft as I’ve said before, Brandon Cooks. If the defense can improve and the running game can do anything positive every third or fourth play, this is a dangerous team.
    Stanford has the best school of unearned muscle growth in the country so the O line shouldn’t be a problem.
    Still don’t know why Cal can’t roid the boys up in the steroid capital of the country. Probable bet on for me. I mean who wants to bet on the Bears after last year.

  • bupalos

    This got me going with a CB thought. It would probably only work with NFL, but how about we add a week 0 sleeper team slate, where you can pick maybe 10 teams over/under win total for the year for maybe 2 points a piece. I think it jibes well with the “reality football” angle and could keep more people alive later into the year.

    Probably aren’t reliable college lines for that, but the NFL would work.

    • will present to exec cmte.
      btw — a six point, one-shot ‘pick of the year’ highlights this year’s modifications.

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