#CheddarBay wk 12, Clanga at Bama.

Placeholder for this week’s Cheddar thread.  Note the Mississippi State at Alabama game is a 330pm Saturday kickoff.  Don’t be late.

UPDATE2:  Mississippi State +8.5 at Alabama, 330PM Saturday.

Harbaugh Handshakes has been paid for his Lobsterfest.

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Tuesday: Akron -3.5 at Buffalo, UPDATE Toledo +5.5 at NIU — NO LINE;1

  • Wednesday:  Ball State +3.5 at UMass, Kent +13 at BGSU.

Football Outsiders on a roll.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 4.05.28 PM

We’re almost relevant!

I need to use the Cheddar thread to address this latest lunacy from the analytics crowd.  Football Outsiders projects the Ravens and Steelers to make playoffs and the Browns not to.  But what got me was the faulty reasoning behind the conclusion:

Unfortunately, DVOA does not rate the Browns as highly as it does the Ravens or Steelers, and Cleveland also has a harder schedule than its division rivals going forward.

One more game and then,, Gordon.

One more game and then,, Gordon.

1.  Browns remaining “harder schedule” are games:  Texans, at Falcons, at Bills, Colts, Bengals, at Panthers, at Ravens.  That’s one playoff team as currectly constituted and that game (Colts) is at home and outside against a dome team.  This is the harder schedule that keeps the Browns out of the playoffs??

2.  Browns are awarded the NFL’s #1 WR next week.  If DVOA thinks at Panthers in December poses a major challenge, it’s safe to assume DVOA has failed to factor in Josh Gordon’s return.

Pfft DVOA.  I’d love to scoff at it and present 603PWR as a better alt… but after that Dolphins/Lions games I still find myself ironing out kinks…

High school lines anyone?

I knew these existed somewhere.  The Executive Committee has not sanctioned the epitome of degeneracy — HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL WAGERING — for Cheddar Bay action.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide any special insights on this weekend’s playoff games.

Me?  I say bet the house on the Middies.  Click to enlarge these two.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.51.48 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.03.27 PM

I don’t know the origins of these documents, but when I scored last night’s games, I did notice that all the teams are referred to by their town name and high school name with only one exception:  Big Red.  Well Big Red won so we should expect to see another set of lines next week.

  1. No LVH line posted yet.  Other places opened at NIU -2.5 and are now NIU -4.5/-5.  Will wait till no later than 3pm today to see if LVH posts a line. [back]
  • weekly cloud.

  • Petefranklin

    Rolub picks?


    Steelers -6

  • Matt Borcas

    The Steelers’ unexpected loss to the Jets was like an early Christmas present for the Browns. As such, one thing is for certain: the Steelers will beat the Titans comfortably, because no division rival is THAT charitable. (Also because I believe in the Steelers’ ability to rebound after a loss, especially against a bad team like the Titans, especially with an extra day to rest up/prepare.) Meanwhile, all Zach Mettenberger’s professional debut has confirmed is that the Titans will be players in the Brian Hoyer sweepstakes this offseason, as Adam Schefter tweeted yesterday. One of the major issues with Mettenberger is his inability to avoid sacks (mainly because he holds onto the ball for too long), and this will be particularly problematic tonight with James Harrison looking like his old self. Additionally, Le’Veon Bell is primed to return to form tonight after an uncharacteristically quiet day versus the Jets, as the Titans’ rush defense is ranked 29th in the league (almost as bad as the Browns!). Steelers -6 ALL DAY.

  • HitTheHorns

    Colts -3

  • for fhcf



    Just playing well at the right time, a real homefield advantage and the kind of defense that can beat Seattle. Both teams need the game but the Chiefs have been hot and tho I am worried they got a little lucky last week in Buffalo, I think they have a good run defense and sometimes you need a little luck. Charles has a big day, Wilson struggles a bit and the Chiefs steal a low scoring game, maybe?

  • PJD19

    Arizona over Detroit
    Philly over GB

  • Andy Rhode

    Seattle +1.5
    Green Bay -6
    Detroit +2.5
    San Fran -3.5 (Essay)
    Atlanta +2

    Just because so many people hate Bill Simmons, I’m making this pick because of him. This week’s column is all about San Fran becoming the Nobody Believes in Us Team and honestly, why not? When San Fran lost last week, it was a tough loss to a Saints team that dominates at home. But Kapernick looked good all game and if it weren’t for a few drops by Boldin, San Fran walks through that game.

    Playing on the road is never easy in the NFL. The Giants are completely hit or miss. Despite those factors, I see the Niners picking up a big victory, maybe even a couple touchdowns big.

    Plus, the Coughlin-led Giants were
    always a big Simmons Nobody Believes in Us Team, so there’s some extra symmetry with this essay pick.

  • FTCMikeD

    Tough go of it yesterday with the college picks. Hopefully I can salvage 2 points with
    @Chiefs -1.5 over Seahawks
    Eagles +6 over @Packers

  • HitTheHorns

    Kansas City Chiefs -1.5

    ****Essay = Houston Texans +3****

    Why are the Steelers 5.5 favorites on the road against a mediocre AFC South team, but the Browns are only favored by 3 at home against a mediocre AFC South team? When this line didn’t open Browns -5.5, I knew Houston would be my pick. 66% on Cleveland this morning. Also, Browns secondary played their best game of the season last week on national tv. Houston has a QB starting his first game since the 2011 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio St Buckeyes. Guess Houston will have to depend on the run – too bad Arian Foster, the league’s second leading rusher, is out. Certainly seems obvious. This game checks all the boxes for me.

    One more pick later.

  • Petefranklin

    Mike, those high school odds were the best thing I’ve seen on the net in a long time. My pick would have been Glen Oak +25 or 29 whatever it was over Mentor.

    On to today, Detroit+2.5 edges out the Skins and Hawks for my last play

    • i know right? i’ll try to get them for next week too. #rollredroll

      • Petefranklin

        So I just got around to checking the Mentor score and I would have won with GlenOak +25. PeteF is the king of high school spreads!

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    I’ll round out the picks with:
    Det +2.5
    Tampa +7.5

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Brownies -3 Texans
    Bengals +7 Saints
    Steelers -6 Titans
    *Pack -6 Eagles
    *What can be better on a cold November day than having the opportunity to watch my two hot home teams play meaningful games in front of football’s best and hardiest fans? Not too much. Today will bring answers to some burning questions: Will GB stay in the playoff hunt? Can Rodgers continue to be an unstoppable TD machine? Can Sanchez really flourish in the Chip offensive machine, or will they need to look for continued scoring from their special teams and defense? Will fans at Lambeau enjoy the new self-serve beer machine? (OK, that last one is not really in question.) Advantage to GB for familiarity and knowing what works.


    Bucs +7.5
    Saints -7
    Packers -6
    Seattle +1.5 (essay)

    Kansas City strikes me as the type of team that handles their business against teams they should beat, but will struggle mightily when facing real competition. Now that we are in mid November, Seattle will start rounding into form and grinding teams into pieces on the ground. This will be an ugly ground and pound game where the Seahawks find a way to win since they have the better QB. My only concern is that the Seahawks don’t have a lot of weapons at WR, but against the Chiefs that isn’t enough to sway me.

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    Sf -3.5 essay
    Great win for SF last week I new Orleans I think we are starting to see the sleeping Giants of the NFC (Seattle/SF) wake up. The 49ers get aldon smith back this week which should help a defense not living up to expectations. I also expect a heavy dose of gore and Kap to make enough plays to win by at least a TD. Really nervous about taking a road fave but this is the best I could do on what’s going to be a tough Sunday after the bath the sportsbooks took last Sunday.

    Back with the rest later

  • zarathustra

    Non-essay essay for now. Hopefully I will be able to come back with words later.

    • zarathustra

      Bellichick with Patriots off a bye is as impressive as you would imagine. Of course, last year’s loss at carolina is as relevant counter-point. Either way it’s all just noise and doesn’t really factor in this pick anyway. The ghost of kansas city still haunts this pats team. It will always be viewed as the turning point of their (championship? ) 2014 season. They have of course dominated since that game when everyone foolishly counted them out. Their first road game after KC was Buffalo (POTY:) and now they return to the road for their first prime time game since KC. Methinks they will be quite ready.
      Most importantly in my mind is another ghost. This one from last season–the ghost of Denver. The blowout of Broncos could only do so much in exorcising that particular ghost. The real exorcism can only happen in January and probably needs to be in Foxboro. They know this. The race for the number one seed continues tonight in Indy.

  • Tim Butler

    BAMA -8.5

    • Tim Butler

      WASHINGTON -7.5 over bucs
      BEARS -3 over vikes
      SAINTS -7 over bengals

      • Tim Butler

        PACKERS -6 over eagles
        ESSAY: patriots +3 over colts

        The patriots are getting points against a top team in the AFC? Yes please. Luck has yet to beat Belichick, and he has a lower QB rating vs. the Patriots than any other team. This game should be close, but turnovers could very well make the difference. Brady is throwing picks at a lower rate than any other QB in the league, and they are tied with Arizona for the best turnover differential in the league. Plus, it’s the Patriots, probably the best team in the league, getting 3 points. If I wasn’t having such a good day already, I’d make this my poty.

  • PJD19

    Miss St.

  • The Iron Sheik

    Mich state*** and poty

    This is the big daddy of the year and I want it bad. Msu has all the pieces and parts to make light work of Maryland so it all comes down to coaching. Dantonio has what it takes to get their spirits back up after a big loss and keep their hopes alive for a long shot playoff birth… And I mean longshot. Maryland is going to be looking for the long ball just like against osu and they may get one but that is about it then Msu will wear them down for an old fashioned ass whooping.

  • DQuatts

    I’ll take MSU +8.5. Weird all around…this one is up to Dak.

    • DQuatts

      Browns -3
      Falcons +2
      Saints -7
      Chargers -10

      Essay pick coming soon. Thanks!

      • DQuatts

        Packers -6***

        ***The Pack is on the move. With the change of Matthews to LB and the supurb play of J. Peppers, the defense is ready to step up to the challenge. The offense has no weakness and it seems that whoever you try to shut down turns into child’s play for everyone else. I think Sanchezzz regresses a little bit today in tough conditions at Lambeau. I don’t expect this one to be a high-scoring effort from either team, but I do believe Green Bay has the ability to control the clock and the game. Still not quite sure that Philly is a playoff team….certain this Packer team is. 27-17 Packers.

  • PICK OF THE WEEK: Florida State -1.5 over Miami: Of course I hear everything Squeeky is saying about what a gigantically square side FSU is here, and while I know that the square side has to win some decent percentage of the time for this whole thing to work, I generally try to avoid the business of trying to figure out just when that will be. That said, tonight’s 8PM slot is as good a chance as I’ll have to watch any football this weekend, I’m rooting for Florida State to repeat as champs for personal reasons (some too deeply personal to share here, others including my status as a proud Jameis apologist (anyone who thinks this kid isn’t going to be an NFL star is a damn fool)), and finally, as hard as it is to think of so much bad action winning tonight, a great man once said that we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy. If I were to pretend I had a real angle here, I’d point out that Florida State has mostly failed to cover in their premier matchups this season (Ok. St., Clemson, ND (they did get the cover v. Louisville)), and most people in America are rooting for them to lose, so this side could actually be squarer than it is. Dang do I hate this pick, though.

    Bama -8.5 over Clanga: Hate this one, too, for somewhat opposite reasons.

    Maryland +12 over Sparty: Ah, that feels better.

    Arkansas -1.5 over LSU: And some more 8PM action for me, please.

    Texans +3 over Browns: No tape out on Mallett. Texans will be looking to close to within a game of the division lead with the Colts playing the Pats at night. Their front 7 will be no picnic for the Mackless o-line. If the Browns sustain momentum after a hugely impressive win it will be the first time since the Mangini era.

    Colts -3 over Pats: Each of these teams has a comfortable division lead and neither will be inclined to open the playbook in this potential AFC Championship preview. As such, I like Luck and Co. in a lighthearted shootout here.

    I pretty much hate all of these picks. Good luck to all.

    • OK so the more I think about this Browns game the more I think they’re actually going to win and by more than three. One thing we know about how this Browns season will end is that there will be maximum or close to maximum “ambiguity” on the Hoyer v. Manziel “question.” For that to happen, the Browns have to end up winning convincingly tomorrow because despite what our illustrious host believes, the rest of this schedule is really quite brutal (I count two wins max after tomorrow (maybe they get one in Atlanta (though I think it won’t be easy) and choose one wild card from the rest, they are all going to be tough)). There’s probably actually a really good reason there’s no tape out on Ryan Mallett, and this Texans group that has talent but has struggled to find an identity on both sides of the ball is much worse off on that front without their moral center, Arian Foster, tomorrow. http://favstar.fm/users/arianfoster

      Plus and probably most importantly, not only are they from Texas but the “Houston Texans” are as poorly conceived a brand as there is in the NFL apart from the Redskins and should by all rights be sent home from Cleveland wrapped in that Lone Star flag.

      ACTUAL PICK OF THE WEEK: CMFB -3 over Texans

      Keeping the Noles for one point, tho. Thanks.

    • Petefranklin

      I cleaned up on fsu moneyline in game wagering late after miami couldnt move the ball. Really sharp guys were on both sides in this game.

  • All Play: Alabama -8.5 When in doubt, fade the public. (On Yahoo’s Pick Distribution) #RollTide

    **Essay** Missouri +6 vs. A&M

    Throughout the competition this year, there has been a little voice whispering to me, not from the back of my mind but from the depths of my stomach. Each time I say “Cheddar Bay,” the voice grows louder, for why do I torture myself each week without indulging in the flakey, garlicky, buttery eponym of this game. Today, I listened.

    I pondered my picks as I mixed together the biscuits ingredients – careful not to stir or think too much. Scenarios played out in my head as the aroma rose from the butter-herb garlic sauce and into my sinuses before saturating my soul.

    “Fear not thine enemy” the biscuits spoke to me as they slowly rose and expanded in the enemy. “Do not fight your intuition,” they pleaded. This came with a caveat however, “but please, do just a little bit of research – to confirm and deny your gut feeling.”

    The biscuits have spoken and if my picks are as successful as the biscuits tasted, someone get me a bib. Last year, I made a few picks at the mercy of Missouri, but the mercy was on me – the always covered, and in an unabashed way, as if to tell me, “seriously?” I have sworn never to pick against them but until now, I don’t believe I’ve picked for them, and now is that time. The game may be AT College Station, the highs today are “much below average” which sounds a lot more like Columbia, MO to me. Also, Yahoo tells me the spread is not TAMU -4.5, down from -6, so something’s going on there. See? I’m fact-checking this wily little brain of mine. I’m in for Mizzou to cover 6, if not win this sucker out right.

    Georgia -2.5 vs. Auburn

    Wisconsin -6.5 vs. Cornhuskers

    Michigan St. -12 vs. Maryland

    Tennessee +6 vs. The Stillers

  • FTCMikeD

    @603brown:disqus it looks like you have the wrong schools under my name in the spreadsheet.

  • Peter Markos

    Florida State -1.5 over U M
    Minnesota +3 over Chicago
    Oakland +10 over San Diego
    Cleveland -3 over Houston
    This seems like a very likely win. Mallet’s first star since the Sugar Bowl. Phil Taylor on IR is a concern. I thought he was a big part of the Cincy win. No Gipson, No Cameron, but I just feel the momentum. Kinda like $2.63 a gallon. My 401k is better than ever, unemployment is 6 %, GM lives and the Corvette is the greatest car well wince the C2. But, The Dems got rolled. I am missing something. Ebola!!!!! bullshit. ISIS Bullshit

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Missy State
    Wisconsin Badgers -6.5

  • Peter Markos

    Ohio State

  • trashycamaro

    1. AP/College: Bama -8.5 over MSU I like Bama for the win, but MSU has certainly earned more respect than that, right? Nope.

    2. POTY Essay: FSU -1.5 over Miami …um, thanks to other Cheddars for pointing this out. I mean, at this point, wouldn’t we expect TPD to travel with the team to make sure they won?

    But really…whaaaaattttt? UMiami wins: FAMU (lol), Arky State (lol), Duke (8-1, beat Ga. Tech), Cincinnati (lol), Va Tech (4-5, beat Ohio State?!?), North Carolina (4-5, beat Ga. TEch and only lost by 7 to Notre Dame). FSU has not had an unranked team get closer than 6 points all season, and no one has ended closer than 4 (although there was an OT against a top 10 opponent).

    Somehow UM will be the team that dethrones the National Champs? And don’t tell me about their home field advantage – the only reason this game sold out is because the stadium is only 8 hours away from Tallahassee.

    Sure this used to be a rivalry, but UM doesn’t have the team to compete anymore. You know what, let’s go ahead and spray some stink on it making it my Play of the Year.

    3. Washington -7.5 over Buccaneers

    4. LSU +1.5 over Arkansas …really, LSU with points?

    5. Seahawks +1.5 over Chiefs …really, Seattle with points?

    6. Bengals +7 over Saints

  • mo_by_dick

    AP: Alabama-8.5
    Ohio State -12.5
    Florida State -1.5

    Florida State Essay:

    Came here with FSU and OSU in mind for essays and planned to let the Bay sway me. Some really good words on both sides, but I’m going to take the Noles bc its just too few points for A Heisman QB vs Freshman QB. I’ve been burned by thinking the freshmen will come up big, but I’ll take Jameis here.

    • mo_by_dick

      Browns -3
      49ers -3.5
      Packers -6

  • chuckycrater

    ALL PLAY: Alabama -8.5 vs. Mississippi State
    Utah +7.5 vs. Stanford
    Georgia -2.5 vs. Auburn
    SMU +11 vs. USF
    Seahawks +1.5 vs. Chiefs

    ESSAY: FSU -1.5 vs. Miami

    I know it’s trendy to be expecting FSU to lose one of these games eventually, but what has Miami accomplished this year to make you believe they’re going to be the ones to do it? Their best win is Duke, and this is not the kind of game where Miami has risen to the occasion in the last 5-10 years. At only 1.5 points you’re basically asking the question, “Do you think Miami can win this?” I don’t think they can. Plus they will have no home-field advantage with tens of thousands of FSU fans overrunning their stadium tonight, all #TalkinBoutTheNoles.

  • Petefranklin

    2) Texas +2.5
    3) Georgia -2.5 *****essay
    4) Oregon St +9.5
    5) AP BAMA

    Well Auburns bubble was completely burst last week and the way they lost has to be a hard pill to swallow for the team. Remember that this team was the most improved in the country last year which puts them in a terrible spot here….overachievers who get the rug pulled out from under them are a lousy bet the rest of the season. Enter Georgia who lost a heartbreaker to AU last year on a hail mary, gets an 8.2 YPC RB back, and is ready to roll to an sec title game and Georgia should handle the Tigers rather easily as the only fundamental advantage that AU has (coaching) will be nullified by the gloom surrounding this team.

  • Lucy Lawrence

    1. Ohio State -12.5
    2. BAMA
    3. Florida State -1.5
    4. Arizona -9

    • Lucy Lawrence

      I’m taking OSU as my essay. Based off last week I think they are finally on the same page and clicking. I think Urban puts the pedal to the metal and leaves Minnesota playing catch up all afternoon. Hopefully OSU covers the over on their own again and allows for the defense to play loose and go balls to the wall when harassing the Minnesota offense. There is no hiding that OSU needs to run the table I’m impressive fashion and I think urban knows a think or two about putting it on teams with no shame.

    • Lucy Lawrence

      5. Packers
      6. Steelers

  • The Iron Sheik

    Ohio state
    Miss st

  • HitTheHorns

    Alabama -8.5
    Oregon State +9.5
    Virginia Tech +5.5


    NEBRASKA +6.5.

    UTAH +7.5.

    PATRIOTS +3.

    PACKERS -6.


    Not sure what’s at play in this number, but I’m not buying into the psychology that it’s trying to induce. While I don’t doubt Miami is better than years past, playing at home yields absolutely no advantage for them. They’ve got a balanced offense with one of the best runners in the country, and Florida State’s defense is far worse than last year. However, at this time of year, in these types of moments, the teams that are serious either make a statement or they fall flat. While I think Jimbo Fisher is a huge scumbag (only circumstantial evidence to defend this), and I think that while FSU may not have aided and abetted in rape (allegedly), they either covered it up because guilt was certain, or they failed to follow up because, well, Championships!!! I know that things like stealing frozen crab legs and standing up on cafeteria tables and yelling obscenities about having your way with women (even against their will) (allegedly) seem like things that any 20-year old kid might do. Perhaps not while they were balls deep (<–see what I did there?) in a 20+ game win streak and had already been accused of sexual assault though. But hey, it's nothing that a pudgy-faced smile and a "man, first I just wanna thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, man" can't fix.

    This probably has nothing to do with the game, considering Florida State has postponed Jameis' conduct hearing until December, with a decision unlikely to come until after the College Football Playoff, but in some ways the writing is on the wall, and FSU may decide they have to suspend him from school for a meaningless spring semester. But first, they'll give their best shot at winning 2 in a row. Championships!!!

  • Matt Borcas

    Miss. State -8.5 over Bama
    Oregon State +9.5 over ASU
    FSU -1.5 over Miami
    Bengals +7 over Saints

    More to come…

    • Matt Borcas

      Browns -3 over Texans

  • squeekycleen

    Clemson regular, the rest later.

    • squeekycleen

      ESSAY AND GAME OF THE YEAR *****: Miami, FL + over FSU: This has been an awfully square year, which was expected after last year’s public trouncing. To me, this is the ultimate bad habit game. Squares have been winning, and this looks like a huge cookie with FSU. I mean, how could anyone look at this and think Miami covers this game. Basically, you are saying they win the game, and they have won 20+ in a row while Miami has been trash, losing to trash teams. Something isn’t right here. My only concern (and its important to be honest with yourself) is this is almost TOO sharp of a play. It’s all squares on FSU and all sharps on Miami. Only a somewhat sophisticated gambler or the ultimate Miami homer would play them. So the question is this, can I suck it up and stick with the program and do what I do and play Miami or do I pass it. Ultimately, this is one of those situations where I would rather lose on Miami than win on FSU. It just has to be done. I have been waiting for this spot for a while, and when the line came out, it really shaped up just how I wanted. There is no turning back now. Miami, FL for the essay and GOY. Good luck everyone.

      All play: Bama (another screwy ass line)
      Washington Huskies
      Tennessee Titans
      Arkansas Razorbacks

  • Nick

    Mississippi St
    Bucs over Redskins
    Lions over Cardinals
    Browns over Texans
    Bears over Vikes Essay play***taking my free week

  • oxr

    All-Play Mississippi State +8.5 over Alabama despite the fact that I should know perfectly well by now that college team rankings are silly.

    • oxr

      Bucs +7.5 over Redskins
      Niners -3.5 over Giants
      Falcons +2 over Panthers
      Saints -7 over Bengals

      Essay Broncos -9.5 over Rams – I dislike these NFL lines enough that now not only am I picking Denver yet again, I’m essaying them. On paper, it’s the most lopsided matchup on the board unless you really believe in Shaun Hill, which I’m afraid I don’t quite. The Rams are an enigmatic team that always seem like they should be playing better than they are, but in the last three weeks they haven’t topped 14 points (albeit one of those games was a win) and they’re going to have to do substantially better than that to keep pace; their defense has been a disappointment so far this year and Manning gets to face them in a dome. Meanwhile Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, et al presumably get to tee off on the journeyman. With the heavy sigh of an incipient jinx and the clock rolling towards noon, I’m going to have to go with the Broncos on this one.

  • AmplifiedEsq

    1) Alabama -8.5
    2) OSU -12.5
    3) FSU -1.5
    4) MSU -12
    5) Nebraska +6.5
    6) Seattle +1.5

    *Essay* Watching that Ohio State performance in person was a thing of beauty last week. Where JT has come from the VT game to now is unbelievable. In the VT game every pass seemed to be off target, rushed, or just plain bad. My seats were low in the south end zone and watching the Devin Smith play unfold right before halftime was a throw I didn’t think he could or would attempt to make. The improvement isn’t just JT though. It looks like the WRs are running better routes and the line is coming together. Not to mention a much more potent running game that probably should have been utilized more earlier on. The defense is still suspect, but they can make big plays. Without a case of fumbleitis last week OSU rolls even more than they did.

    Today the mission is simple… Destroy Minnesota. If the team shows up to play as they did in East Lansing I see no reason why this doesn’t get out of hand early. That said, I think the more likely scenario is a competive first half with OSU rolling in the second half. Either way, I see OSU covering with relative ease as they try to start gaining some style points.

  • Chris Schroeder

    -8.5 Alabama vs. Mississippi State

  • Chris Schroeder

    -5.5 Duke vs. Virginia Tech

    -27.5 Texas Christian @ Kansas

    -3 Navy vs. Georgia Southern

    +1.5 Louisiana State @ Arkansas

    All Play: Alabama vs. Mississippi State

    Essay: -1.5 Florida State @ Miami

    Well….well the TPD and the Seminole community has done any and everything to keep this team in the top for and eligible for the college football play. I wonder what story line is coming out next from northern Florida. Looking like FSU is trying real hard to beat out ‘The U’ for the best 30 for 30. With all the awesome corruption going on in Tallahassee and the NCAA turning there cheek for another 3 years until they notice something fishy is going on FSU will roll. They weird thing is do they keep falling in the playoff poll. I’m thinking yes if this New York Times report hits enough viewers.

    • need an NFL pick. dropping LSU pending instruction, thanks.

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    Miss at +8.5
    Oh st -12.5
    FSU -1.5 this line makes no sense everyone is saying FSU loses but this line is too tasty.

  • thatsfine

    SDSU +14
    Oregon St. +9.5
    Alabama -8.5 – This is a lot of points to not be taking, which is precisely why I’m not taking them.
    Nevada +2.5 – Essay
    Both teams coming in with 3 game win streaks. Among those 6 wins Nevada’s look more impressive: @BYU and vs. SDSU and Hawaii, (combined 12-15). AFA beat NMU, UNLV, and Army
    (combined 8-20). Also, I’m more impressed by Nevada’s losses (Arizona by 7, CSU by 7, Boise by 5) than AFA’s losses (USU and Wyoming). I think AFA’s signature win (vs. Boise 28-14) is a bit
    misleading – BSU had 7 turnovers that day. In conclusion, the reality is that these are just statistical ramblings. I like Nevada because I think they’re underrated, and the bottom line is these two teams are evenly matched, so I’m taking the better QB and the points.

    Eagles +6 – Because Pat Shurmur + Mark Sanchez is something I want to be a part of.

    High School Bonus pick (*for informational purposes only)
    Trotwood – My Uncle Bob lived in Trotwood. He drove a giant white Lincoln and gave me one of his used bowling balls – a blue UC2 – that I used as a teenager. That ball elevated my average from 150 to 166. That year we named our bowling team The Anti-Christs and we won the 14-18 division. Somebody complained about our name after Week #1 and after that the alley wouldn’t print our full name in the weekly score sheet, they just wrote “Anti-C” or “Team 6”. I still have that ball in the garage. So, yeah…. Trotwood. Go Rams.

  • FTCMikeD

    College Plays:
    OSU – 12.5 over @Minny
    Temple +11 over @PSU
    Okla -12.5 over @TTU
    *****AP: @Bama -8.5 over Missy St****

    This will be a true test for Mississippi St. There may not be a tougher place to play than Tuscaloosa, Alabama with Nick Saban’s wizardry on full display. He may have even called up his old pal Bill Belichick for some ideas on containing Mr. Prescott. The Tide are a much better team at home, especially their defense. Amari Cooper will be unleashed and the Missy St. secondary will have a tough time keeping up with him. There also could be some funkiness going on here, as the public is on the number 1 team, but the line has moved to Bama -10. Chalk up a win and cover for the evil empire as they get back into the college playoff top 4.

  • Jonathan MacDonald

    Mississippi St +8.5
    Texas A&M -6
    Florida St -1.5
    Wisconsin -6.5

    Panthers -2
    Packers -6 (Essay)

    The Packers are hitting their stride and putting up eserious points. The Eagles are doing okay considering their QB change, and to his credit ark Sanchez is on the verge of resurrecting his career, however this is the reality check. Beating Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau will be a lot harder than beating Cam Newton at home, and this game will not be close.

  • p_forever

    Alabama -8.5 mississippi st

    Cal +14.5 USC

    TCU -27.5 kansas

    Few teams love running up the score more than TCU, and the playoffs give them a better excuse than ever to do it again and again and again and again – ugh. Somehow even when they score 70 points a game big 12 football still manages to be super boring. I feel it’s worse whenever any team with “Kansas” in its name is involved. Also will this be 2 purple uniformed teams against one another? oh right– Kansas St is the purple one. That is at least one bright spot – it would somehow be even worse if the game were a 70-20 affair *and* both teams were purple.

    Utah +7.5 stanford

    Virginia +5.5 duke

    Denver +9.5 St. Louis

    • dropping cal because it was thursday (unless i missed your submittal?) and you got it right, but,, no.

      • p_forever

        Lol ugh I hate that – i did what you said and forgot to get stuff in early – but then i panicked when i suddenly realized last night that i hadnt remembered to actually submit and i forgot to change it out. Cripes.

        • was a really good pick tho!

          • p_forever

            🙂 thx.

      • p_forever

        Tenn -8.5 Kentucky is my new pick. I sort of wish I had essayed it – bball can’t come soon enough for Kentucky. But I have a switching is for the feint of heart policy so I’m sticking with TCU and that giant line even though I hate picking games with those crazy big spreads.

  • shoseph

    AP: Mississippi St. +8.5 vs. Alabama

    • shoseph

      Seahawks +1.5 vs. Chiefs
      Saints -7 vs. Bengals
      Broncos -9.5 vs. Rams
      Patriots +3 vs. Colts

      Essay: Steelers -6 vs. Tennessee

      Essay to come.. wait for it… later.

  • Rob

    AP: Roll Tide -8.5

    • Rob

      Using my non-essay essay pick on ILLINOIS +5.5

    • Rob

      Let’s continue this tire fire with ATL +2 and DET +2.5

      (really wish I coulda had that Hudson -3.5 tho)

    • Rob

      SD -10
      NE +3

  • jdoepke

    Not a ton of thought into these as I’m on a long weekend in Gatlinburg. Here goes…
    Va tech +5.5
    Arkansas -1.5
    Bama -8.5 (AP)
    Maryland +12
    Eagles +6

    Miami +1.5 (Essay)

    This line makes no sense at all. Which means every dummy in the world will have FSU and probably win. I can’t do it. Miami isn’t great by any stretch. FSU hasn’t lost in almost 2 years. How is this line 1.5? Give me The U in an upset of epic proportions even though the line says not so epic. Miami 31 – FSU 29

    • jdoepke

      When I noticed the standings this week and that I jumped 4 spots after going 1-5 and 2-4 the past 2 weeks I did some digging and noticed an error on the part of the commissioner. I was given credit for Miami (Dolphins) as my essay this week, when it should have been Miami (Florida). The essay was written about Miami/FSU. Dolphins/Bills played on Thursday and my picks were submitted on Friday night. I just wouldn’t feel right about making a huge run over the next 4 weeks, winning my POTY, getting into the playoffs and winning “the whole f*cking thing” with this hanging over my head. Karma is a bitch when it comes to sports gambling and I’ve had my fair share of bad, now it’s time for some good…

      Please adjust my score accordingly.


  • Welp, it doesn’t look like this is my year in Cheddar. I can’t call last week’s essay loss (Dolphins/Lions) a bad beat, but it’s just the type of beat you take when you’re not on. To paraphrase Simple Jack, I see all of my essay picks in my head movies but this head movie makes my eyes rain.

    1. *OSU -12.5 at Minny Minny’s run offense against an OSU stacked box and Urban in style-points mode.
    5. at Duke -5.5 VaTech
    at UNC -2 Pitt
    *Nev +2.5 at AFA
    2. MissySt +8.5 Bama
    Okla -12.5 at TTU
    3. ***GaSo +3 at Navy No essay essay.
    at Idaho -5.5 Troy
    4. Auburn +2.5 at UGA
    at UTEP -6.5 UNT
    at Boise -14 SDSU
    6. at Browns -3 Texans
    at Saints -7 Bengals

  • Dave Borcas

    Still chasing that elusive Lobsterfest!!!
    Michigan State -12 Sparty D will show up after the spanking they took last week
    Texas A&M -6 Two bad D’s, Aggies at home with big recruits in town
    Florida State -1.5 If Seminoles lose to a 6-3 Hurricane team they should be out of the top 10. Seems too easy.
    Mississippi State +8.5 (all play) Vegas sure isn’t buying into the uh hum #1 team in the country but I am. Boy I want to take Baja in the worst way.
    Cincinnati Bengals +7 Bengals get a breather after the mighty Browns
    Ohio State -12.5 (essay)
    Urban Meyer was right about last week being a big win for this young Buckeye team. Last week the Buckeyes made a statement in East Lansing that they have arrived. I can guarantee you the numbers that were rolling through Urban head all week are 30, 7 and 23. TCU currently #4 in the college football playoff rankings beat Minnesota 30-7 or by 23 points. It is no secret that the playoff committee looks at style and point differential. Look for the Buckeyes to steamroll Minnesota.

  • bupalos

    Bleh just lost my essay. Fortunately all it contained was boring football analysis- I simply had no time for moral instruction this week and that goes double now that I have to double it. So unfortunately you all will go to hell, and for that I’m sorry. But if you want to make an omelet you have to damn the torpedoes, so on to the biscuits.

    ***Clevta’s got the essay pick right, and I sign on to everything he said there. A few ball-bounces and ASU could easily be an unranked team right now, but their supposed position as the #6 team in the country gives Oregon’s little brother a great chance for a signature win on their way to bowl eligibility. Throw in a 1300 mile trip, freezing temps, possible precip, and a great night atmosphere and I don’t think I’d be that eager to take this one the other way at -3 ½. So give me the +9.5 for 3 big and much needed biscuits.

    Missy state +8.5, just because who knows and hey, points. Nothing wrong with points.

    MSU -12, total overreaction to the disappointment of the OSU game. Maryland is really just fairly bad. How are they supposed to score in this game?

    Detroit +2.5, because while Ariz may think they can go to the playoffs with Drew Stanton in theory, that Detroit D-line can make a lot of theories look impractical. And this is one of them.

    Seattle +1.5 @ KC that was a tough game KC won in Buffalo last week, they really got outmuscled and outplayed and I think both they and their home-field are simply overrated here.

    And, finally as mandated in my Cheddar contract, CMFB -3.
    Sure wish phil was playing, but on the other side, groins and sloppy freezing fields don’t mix so I’m really not expecting to see much or any Foster. Nor do big armed rookie QB’s and cold hands mix.

    • bupalos

      After reading the board, a couple POTY plays have me convinced.

      Let’s switch out MSU for LSU. Arkansas is nothing to write home about either and I’d rather take 1.5 than give 12.

      And I re-read my contract and realized I don’t have to take the Browns if they are giving points. So Let’s switch that up too and get FSU. I like the idea that this is a somewhat compromised home field, and while FSU has had to do it on fumes a couple times, they’re still undefeated and a much better team than the U.


    1) Va Tech +5.5
    2) App St +14.5
    3) GA Southern +3
    4) Oregon St +9.5 (essay)- Total letdown game here for ASU who really isn’t nearly as good as their record indicates. Lost by 35 to UCLA when they couldn’t tackle a soul, needed an onside kick and hailmary to beat USC, OT to beat Utah and the flukiest of fluky turnovers from ND to win. 2 pick 6s off tip balls? They were actually outgained by ND 6.1 to 5.6 on a yds/play basis. Play that game 10 times and ND probably wins 6-7 times. If ASU had 3 Ls instead of 1 what is this line? 5 tops? In fact the market agrees with me as its down to 7 with the 66% of the public pounding ASU. Corvalis is never an easy place to play, especially at night.

    5) Miss St +8.5 (all play)
    6) NFL on sunday

  • Concierge

    Bama -8.5

  • cwonder23

    After going a solid 0-fer last week, I’ve got some ground to make up so this is the classic gun to my head, who cares week of picks. Here goes.
    South Carolina +6.5 @ Florida I expect The old ball coach to sling it around carelessly in this game and keep the Gators close.
    MSU -12 @ MD Classic make up curb stomping game for this veteran Spartans squad.
    Pats +3 @ Colts
    Seahawks +1.5 @ KC
    All Play: Bama -8.5 vs Miss St
    My “fuck it” Pick of the Year: LSU +1.5 @ Arkansas
    I hate Bret Bielema and think it’s hilarious how much he resembles a Razorback. The guy is such a piece of shit and I wish he would burn the Hawkeye tattoo off of his calf. This feels like a trap game for LSU but when you look under the hood you realize this is a rebuilding Arkansas squad that is 0-5 in the SEC and their only four wins were at home vs worthless opponents. LSU’s defense should be able to control the line of scrimmage and proved they can play with the big boys by taking Bama to OT last week. This young group has matured and I expect them to win this game outright. LSU 27 ARK 14.

  • Dennis Hemingway

    Bills +5 over Dolphins (Already submitted)
    Alabama -8.5 over Miss St. (All play) ***
    Miami, FL +1.5 over Florida St
    Arkansas -1.5 over LSU
    Lions +2.5 over Cardinals
    Colts -3 over Pats

    *** It’s very interesting to see the top ranked team in the country getting 8.5 points regardless of where they’re playing. While Miss St has obviously ran a tough gauntlet so far by beating the likes of Texas A&M, Auburn, and LSU, I think it’s time they take a beating on the road at the hands
    of likely the best team in the nation. A few stats I noticed pop off the page especially with Bama at home vs on the road …..
    QB Sims 53% completions on the road, 71% at home
    Bama 131 rushing yards per game on the road, 265 rushing yards per game at home
    Bama is outgaining opponents 212 yards per game vs Miss St at 95 yards per game (against a weaker schedule.)
    Lastly this will be only Miss State’s 4th road game of the year and besides winning at Death Valley against a really young LSU team earlier in the year, they haven’t been on the big stage. Bama big in this one.

  • charliefrye: U Cincinnati for 1 cheddar point, please

  • Concierge

    Bills +5 tonight too

  • Concierge

    UC +2.5 tonight.

  • technivore

    ALABAMA -8.5 over Mississippi State (AP)
    DUKE -5.5 over Virginia Tech
    MARSHALL -21.5 over Rice
    Kentucky +8.5 over TENNESSEE
    Lions +2.5 over CARDINALS

    BROWNS -3 over Texans
    Phil Taylor, difference maker. There were plenty of ways in which the Browns beat the Bengals last week and the lion’s share of the blame for Cincy rightly falls on Dalton. BUT let’s not overlook that in his first game back from knee surgery, Phil Taylor was a force in the middle of the defensive line and a big part of why Cincy’s run game went nowheresville.

    This week we’re looking at a similar matchup: Mallett won’t be Dalton-bad but you can’t expect him to look great either in his first start, and Arian Foster’s skipping practices this week so you have to figure their run game isn’t quite 100%. Watt is legit terrifying but Houston’s D has given up big plays this year and their defensive DVOA puts them exactly in the middle of the pack. They’ve mostly been successful by forcing turnovers (+7 on the season) but one thing we can say about the Hoyer Browns is that they don’t turn the ball over — they’re at +9 for the season and at this point you have to say that’s not a fluke.

    So while there’s no way you can expect the Browns to annihilate the Texans like they did the Bengals, an even stronger Phil Taylor, the return of Andrew Hawkins, and maybe even a Ben Tate revenge game make me like the Browns to cover.

    • bupalos

      Are we sure phil’s playing Sunday?

      • technivore

        Welp. Taylor to the IR today apparently. I’m sticking with the pick though.

        • bupalos

          Good man. Damn the torpedos. I’ll probably join you.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I think that I may avoid the torpedoes.
            Farragut made his rather questionable command in the last real naval battle of the war, when his enemy’s biggest defense was passive, merely laying mines/torpedoes in wait. Not long before this famous command, Farragut botched the Port Hudson battle.
            I may forget my “homer” standing and avoid this game. Thank you for the Farragut omen bupa.

  • Dennis Hemingway

    I’ll take the Bills +5 over the Dolphins to start off this weekend. Cheers.

  • swig

    AP: Miss +8.5 o BAMA, big line for the all-play.
    Bills +5 o DOLPHINS, I like the Dolphins, and I want the Bills to lose. In a defensive, divisional match-up I’m taking the points, and feel like some early game action this week.

    • swig

      3) Bengals +7 o SAINTS, Cinci is not this bad
      4) Patriots +3 o COLTS, Indy is not this good
      5) Raiders +10 o CHARGERS, gotta take the double digits
      6) Steelers -6 o TITANS ***ESSAY*** (please don’t lynch me)

      All early lines I liked moved away from the side I wanted. Always a bummer, but this makes me feel like my head is in the right place. That being said, with a slate full of road teams, I am going to select the one giving points. Pittsburg has been on and off a hot mess. Despite this I will make the most illogical, by gambling rules, game my pick of the week. They simply have too many weapons on offense, and Tennessee does not do anything well. Top this off with Roethlisberger vs Mettenberger in prime time, book it.

  • Capitalgg

    Week 12

    So another 5 and somehow I moved closer to that red line. Let’s keep driving.

    All-play: Mississippi St. +8.5 @ Alabama: If this game were in Starkville what do we think the line would be? I’m thinking Bama by maybe 1.5. That being said, I don’t think this is wrong, as the Tide has been much better at home. That being said, I think they are overrated this year and the #1 should never be getting 7+ (unless they are a fraud, which I refuse to believe based on wins over Auburn and LSU).

    1. Ohio St. -12.5 @ Minnesota: It’s gonna be cold. So what? This number should be no less than -21, if not -24 or -28.
    2. Rutgers -7.5 v. Indiana: Gary Nova and the Rutgers offense is better than Penn St’s offense. Indiana is still quarterbackless. Big Rutgers win.
    3. Dolphins -5 v. Bills: Don’t live the 5, but think Miami’s D harasses Kyle Orton into an awful game on the short week.
    4. Nebraska +6.5 @ Wisconsin: Might as well go all B1G. I think the Huskers are the better team, so why wouldn’t I take the points?

    I love taking well-coached, veteran teams in bounceback games. That goes doubly when the oppenents best player ends up lost for the year.In this one, Sparty gets spanked at home by the Buckeyes. I’ve got to believe that Mark Dantonio has his team ready to strangle the life out of their next inferior B1G opponent. In this case, it happens to be the now Stephon Diggs-less Terrapins. Based up the beat downs Sparty has been laying in conference, this number should be in the 18-24 range, so at Michigan St. -12, I’ll cash those 6-12 points of value.

    Other plays:
    Arkansas -1.5 v. LSU
    Kentucky +8.5 @ Tennessee
    Auburn +2.5 @ Georgia
    San Jose St. -10 v. Hawaii
    Seahawks +1.5 @ Kansas City

  • ChuckKoz

    USC -15 (vs Cal)
    Washington +9 (at Arizona)
    Utah +7.5 (at Stanford)
    Oregon State +9.5 (vs ASU)
    AP: Bama -8.5 (vs MSU)
    Essay: Browns -3 (vs Texans)

    I am now violating my 2 year ban on picking on Browns games. Since I implemented that ban my Cheddar performance soared to great heights, including a 2nd place finish last year. But I keep sucking it up this year, especially on the essays where I am a pathetic 4-7. So I lift my self-imposed and logical ban on selecting games where I am emotionally invested. And with that, I think we all know the Browns are going to handle the Texans. When guessing the line, I thought Browns -5.5. But the Browns are only getting the homefield 3 points from Vegas? Fact is the Texans have beat nobody (Buffalo the best, OAK/WASH/TENN suck). And they are starting a guy for the first time in a frenzied road environment, against a team that is top 5 in TO differential (would be #1 if they just signed Josh Cribbs). And the Browns are coming off their best game of the year, while the Texans have been playing so poorly that they need to start a guy that was previously considered worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick.

  • thatsfine

    Give me Ball State tonight for a single if I’m not too late.

  • PJD19

    Pick of the Year
    Bills +5 over Miami

    Tons to like about the Bills over Miami tomorrow night. I honestly think this game should be a PK. The Bills have dominated the Phins in their recent match ups, including their game earlier this year. I’ve watched each of those games and it just seems like for whatever reason the Bills just match up really well against them. Tannehill never seems comfortable against the Bills. He is 1-4 against them in 5 games and only posted a passer rating over 90, in one of those contests. Tannehill is coming in to this game banged up with ankle and shoulder injuries, with a compromised offensive line in front of him to boot. Left Tackle Branden Albert is out for the season and is being replaced by rookie Ju’Wuan James who is coming over from right tackle. There is more shuffling going on across the line to account for the void left at RT by James. This couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the Bills are leading the league in sacks and are complete monsters up front. Miami is still being overvalued based on their shutout of the decimated Chargers. Buffalo made some monumental mistakes last week against KC, without which they would have won that game handily. Bills rebound big….don’t be afraid of the money line here at +200. Oh yeah the public loves Miami.

  • clayII

    UMass (-3.5) / Ball State

    • clayII

      Cincinnati (+2.5) / ECU

    • clayII

      Bama (-8.5) / Missy St

  • zarathustra

    Bills +5 over Dolphins
    I watched both these teams last week and while the Dolphins suffered a tough loss in Detroit the teams were pretty evenly matched. The Bills on the other hand pretty much damn dominated the chiefs. Granted, the offense was only decent–they did lose points off a fumble at the goal-line–but the defense was straight nasty. The gave up a huge play for a touchdown on a fourth and short and gave up another touchdown on a short field after a fumbled punt. Kyle Orton is what he is, but I like Doug Marrone for the most part and think he will have the team ready to bounce back against a team he has yet to lose to as a head coach (three games, two blowouts).
    The Dolphins o-line is all sorts of banged up right now and Buffalo is probably the worst team in the league to face under such circumstances.
    This should be a close game and I won’t be surprised if the Bills win outright. Too many points in my opinion.

    Clanga +8.5 over Bama (all-play)
    I’ve barely wagered on any SEC games this year and have no intention to do so on this one irl, but if I must choose I will take the points and pick the team whose victory would best improve the buckeyes playoff chances.

    Both for one point, though I may come back and make the Bills my essay pick.

  • Concierge

    Umass -3.5 Essay
    This is going to be the Black Frohnapel show tonight. Umass is 6th in the league in passing with Frohanapel throwing for nearly 3k yards and 23 tds. I’ve liked them all year as they started the year with one of the toughest schedules in the country. they are only 2-7 this year but they have been great ATS this year going 7-2. I’ll lay the points with the minutemen at home in Amherst..( Not Gillette Stadium tonight)

    Kent St +13

    • all hail the king of maction!

      • Concierge


  • oxr

    Last Thursday’s game was hilarious and all, but in the past month the Browns have played fairly close games with a murderee’s row of the worst three teams in the league (by DVOA and/or acclamation: Raiders, Jags, Bucs. The Panthers are currently #29.) and managed to lose one of them. Taking past performance into account, and in a division with two other 6-win teams, 40% playoff odds hardly sounds like “lunacy”. If they play more like the team that annihilated the Bengals and less like the team that lost to the Jags, the sky’s the limit.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Well the Texans are even worse oxr, they wasted the first pick in the draft on that Courtney Clowney guy from South Carolina. Please excuse me, I meant Jadeveon Brown.

    • the toughest game the browns have before the finale in baltimore is this weekend’s against sore-groin foster and first-ever-start mallett. falcons are not good. bills will be checked out and 5-6 when the browns roll in. colts? yeah but again outdoors-cleveland-december. bengals/panthers? pfft. and then at ravens, really tough. so sure the premise of ‘tough schedule’ is lunatic.

      you want to say browns will suffer and maybe miss playoffs due to gipson concussion, continued unsettled core of o-line, or even the kierosmall/rayagnew kerfuffle,, then you have my attention. but no the schedule is not hard.

      also the steelers sschedule does look easier but that jets game looked like a W for them too. the ravens sked includes at miami at saints and at houston (presumably with savvier mallett and healthy foster).

      finally i dont know if DVOA takes into account the return of the best WR in the NFL or not but if it doesnt and theyre going forward projecting no playoffs for the browns without factoring gordon, then yes, lunacy. fraud. malfeasance. they all work as good descriptors for me.

      • oxr

        The big question, really, is to what extent we can predict the
        future by looking at the past. Intuitively, we feel that a good
        description of the past should be something that allows us to predict
        the future to a certain extent (so DVOA is way better than total
        yardage, for instance), and yet we know that the results of next week’s
        games are not predetermined (which is why my essay
        pick of the Steelers over the Jets worked out so well).

        Team DVOA is just a quantitative record of how each team has played to this point. As with any quantitative measure, it needs to be contextualized and augmented by qualitative analysis – it doesn’t take into account injuries, coach firings, or Josh Gordon coming back from suspension, because how on earth could it? Once you start putting your thumb on the scale for one team or another, saying “Let’s subtract x points from the Cardinals because of Carson Palmer’s injury” or whatever, then it’s a hop and a skip away from Mike Florio ranking every team by their win-loss record or Bill Simmons and his Swagger Points. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but ultimately it’s just a bunch of ex post facto “winning winners who win” argumentation. The point of a uniform leaguewide measure is to be able to begin to compare apples to apples – the next step is to look at whether we might expect a team to play better or worse in the future, like the perfectly sensible idea that the Texans could be bad next week and better when
        they play the Ravens. To back that up, though, you don’t need a
        backward-looking statistical measure, you need a Magic 8-Ball (and so do
        I, based on my essay pick of the Steelers over the Jets).

        By the way, the bit you quote about future schedule doesn’t say “tough”, it says “tougher” – they have the Browns at #15 in future schedule, the Steelers at #20, and the Ravens at #24. Overall, they have the Browns as an almost exactly average team who’ve played one of the easiest schedules in the league. They’re not projecting “no playoffs”, they’re saying it’s essentially a toss-up. (One of my favorite features at FO is when they ask the staff which teams they think DVOA is overvaluing or undervaluing, and I bet there’d be consensus on the Browns being undervalued based on the Gordon thing. There are also some reasons why I think they’re giving the Ravens too much credit this year but this has already gone way too long for a comment that doesn’t even contain any Cheddar Bay picks, like my awesome essay about how the Steelers were totally going to beat the Jets).

        • totally agree about the problems of using past performance to project future wins/losses. (reference: my current cheddarbay standing.)

          • Capitalgg

            The ultimate problem with football stats (and the reason I like fantasy baseball more than fantasy football), is a question of sample size. Football seasons are so short that the statistics generated are just slightly better than random events. And half season statistics are that much more noisy.

            That being said, the analytic folks have been down on the Colts for 3 years now and all they keep doing is winning, but that is why they play the games, right?

          • yeah that’s why the PFF stats are so intoxicating because ostensibly theyre grading every player on every snap. but youre messing up the ‘current’ sample if you reach back further than three games and none of this takes into account the quality of opposition.

            and like oxr correctly notes, a tweak here and a tweak there and before you know youve got the swag index.

          • swig

            Advanced Football Analytics (formally advanced NFL stats) released a good podcast yesterday discussing the ELO system with Neil Paine, if you care about number talk.

            You seem to be taking offense to the stats crews undervaluing the Browns specifically.

          • no. i am bothered by the faulty logic behind projecting a team out of playoffs without factoring in the impact of gaining the #1 WR from 2013 for the final six (playoff determining) games. it also appears that the concerns about the strength of remaining schedule are based on the panthers, bengals having been playoff teams last year when neither look very good heading into december. the only reason it got my attention is because it dealt specifically with the browns so i’m more able to see the fallacies because i’m very familiar with the browns. the primary reason it annoyed me is because it passes for ‘science’ and probably a million eyeballs got this dubious info. i mean mainly, i dont like it because it strikes me as lazy work. i’d give it a C- if it were a term paper.

          • swig

            I was projecting my observation back on the other rants about other stat systems. I agree the scheduling projection is starting to appear wrong, I would expect some acknowledgment that while our schedule is definitely tougher in the 2nd half than the 1st half of the season, it is not a daunting as it might have appeared before week 1.

            Thought about posting the link, changed my mind because of unfounded assumptions:

          • yeah there is an ongoing anti-analytics tilt going on here but it’s not entirely browns-centric. the barnwell-luckycolts-pythogorean theorem comes to mind. the layers behind the antipathy start with the implied arrogance of attempting to ‘quantify art’ so to speak, includes the consumers of such analytics who i don’t think apply the level of criticality that such work demands, and carries through to such flagrant oversights as non-consideration of the addition of josh gordon and the un-quantify-able greatness of andrew luck.

            there’s a place for all this in ‘handicapping’ but it needs to be in the context of other touchy-feely components. the rants are my small way of pushing back on what i see as a pretty ubiquitous trend. absent more push back that how this stuff becomes accepted, settled wisdom.

          • swig

            That is a fair platform to rant from. Although I am a strong supporter and believer of BIG DATA, the truth lies somewhere in the middle (as it always does).

          • oxr

            I get what you mean, but if football was art then we wouldn’t keep score. Any attempt to sum up a team’s performance in a number (or a letter, or a color, or in some cases an odor) is necessarily reductive, like Pythagorean wins – but Pythagorean wins correlate better with future wins than raw W/L, so it’s *less* reductive than just looking at the record, and it’s barely more complicated to calculate. A good metric (and god knows not all of them are good) should be the opposite of arrogant: it should measure the things it sets out
            to measure, it
            should explicitly ignore the things it is not trying to measure, and it
            should be crystal clear on the difference between the two categories,
            because otherwise it can’t be properly interpreted. The goal is to end up with more understanding, not less.

            So, as I mentioned yesterday, not adding x points for Josh Gordon is not a flagrant oversight, it’s a conscious decision to avoid unnecessarily arbitrariness (his impact once he does return will be measured, natch). Likewise, any attempt to quantify the unquantifiable greatness of Andrew Luck is – by definition! – doomed to fail. His quantifiable greatness, however, is fair game.

            Anyone who said that the “touchy-feely” components aren’t important would be an idiot. (DVOA doesn’t generally mean a whole bunch for individual players, as opposed to entire units, if you ask me.) But good macro-level statistics can help contextualize the micro-level analysis, as well as vice versa.

          • I enjoyed this back and forth, fellas. Thanks.

          • swig

            I tend to only skim the ESPN insider stats articles. Ever since Hollinger (basketball) left they really haven’t done much, especially compared to what Grantland (Lowe and Barnwell) and 538 are doing.

          • oxr

            I think a worse problem than sample size (for DVOA purposes a data point
            is one snap; there are lots of those, at least, so it’s not completely hopeless) is that it’s difficult/impossible
            to isolate individual performance in football; something that goes
            down in the game book as an incomplete pass could be the fault of the
            QB, the receiver, the blitz pickup, the left guard falling on his ass,
            or none of the above (maybe it was just a great defensive play), and it would be spurious pseudo-precision – the kind
            of thing that gets statistics a bad name – to start assigning blame
            numerically according to some uniform scheme. I guess fielding stats in baseball have a similar problem,
            although individual batting stats can obviously say a tremendous amount
            more about a given player. In football, you really can’t get that level of
            granularity except by breaking down film.

  • bupalos

    >>>Pfft DVOA. I’d love to scoff at it and present 603PWR as a better alt… but after that Dolphins/Lions games I still find myself ironing out kinks…>>>

    True dat. Suffice to say I don’t think it’s yet to that 10,000x better than ELO level. So far roughly half as good. Maybe put it to work analyzing Derek Carr.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Only one way to settle this properly gentlemen, Marquess of Queensberry Rules. I want to sell tickets.

      • Petefranklin

        Swigging bourbon between rounds. That’s what I’m talking about there!

    • i’ll be sure to deduct 50 points for his choir boy characteristics.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Kent State +13 over BGSU
    Ball U +3.5 over Mass U
    S Miss -9 over UTSA The natives are restless! “The Original 18” are having a case of the “we have to do something” jitters.
    AP Miss State +8.5 over Red Tide (Why did they name their team after an environmental disaster that creates stinky fish?)

    ****Ramblin’ Wreck +3 over Clemson**** Essay, or Assay when it comes to Clemson, their Iron Constitution Defense is not pure.
    It is rather surprising that Clemson has a 7-2 record, their play has made wide swings from the “Highlight Reel” to “The Football Funnies”. Both of Georgia Tech’s running backs should have very good days, (bad wordplay intended). Clemson’s running defense is not as good as the statistics indicate, those numbers are widely altered by game situation, plus the quality and style of their respective opponent. Georgia Tech’s running numbers are more influenced by their commitment to the run and their respective ability to matriculate the ball down field with the rushing offense. (Need to remember to fit that phrase into every essay.) Georgia Tech’s quarterback, Justin Thomas is a terrific dual threat, that means Clemson’s vaunted run defense will have to play 11, they shall not have the added advantage of facing a less versatile quarterback.
    Clemson is also going back to a less polished quarterback who has not worked with the offense in a month, so expect a bad exchange between the center and quarterback on their first possession.

    First Place Browns -3 over Houston Toxins

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I meant USM +9 @ UTSA.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Slept through my chance to take the Zips,
    I can’t getme no
    I would like
    Kent State +13 and
    Mass U +3.5 over Ball U for tomorrow please.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Begin the Beguine
      To begin my usual comedy of errors I fouled up the Ball U pick.
      Please make it
      Ball U +3.5 over Mass U
      The entire Cluster Mess of picks shall follow shortly.

  • concierge just texted in for Toledo +5.5 (and reports woodside is playing).

  • Petefranklin

    Maction Akron-3.5

  • Its Only Money

    I want to get in on a little MACtion tonight.
    Akron -3.5 @ Buffalo. The Zips right the ship tonight and keep the hopes of a trip to Boise alive.

    • Its Only Money

      So the Zips let us all down on Tuesday night, but we should be used to it. With that here are the rest of my picks:

      Duke -5.5 v Virginia Tech
      South Carolina + 6.5 @ Florida

      Kansas City -1.5 v Seattle
      All Play: Mississippi St + 8.5 @ Alabama

      Essay: New Orleans -7 v Cincinnati
      This is a lot of points for a team that is below .500 to be giving up and for me to be taking. However, I was in Cincinnati last Thursday and saw that horror show for the Bengals in person. Dalton is regressing and seems to be lacking confidence. AJ Green was completely disinterested after half time. Their defense is still hurting, Gio is still not practicing. Everything is falling apart for the Bengals. This says nothing about the Saints who have been a mess this season too. However in the dome the Saints play well. If they didn’t have a complete meltdown on a 4th and 10 last week, they would be on a 3 game win streak overall and a home win streak that dates back to 2012. The sting of last weeks loss will fuel the Saints to a strong start this week. Once they get up on the Bengals, Cincy will fold. The Bengals fall could be spectacular this year.

  • GRRustlers

    Week 12 Picks

    #MACtion #MACtion #MACtion

    Akron (-3.5) over Buffalo – The most confusing team in America needs to win out so that Bowden can get a tan at a bowl game. It starts tonight.

    BGSU (-13) over KENT – Probably terrible conditions at BG. They proved they could handle it last week at Akron. Should have no problem rolling Kent at home.

    Rest of the picks by Friday Night…

    • Petefranklin

      F-I-R-E Bowden!

      • GRRustlers

        I may be bewildered by this team but I’m not ready to go there yet…mainly because I remember Rob Ianello.

    • GRRustlers

      In one year I have went from using #MACtion and NIU to carry me to a playoff berth to now swearing off my drug for the season.

      Akron (L)
      BGSU (L)

      AP – Alabama (-8.5) over Miss St – This just feels like a blowout for Alabama which then further complicates the insanity of 125 teams playing for 4 spots.

      Packers (-6) over Eagles – As long as I see single digits next to the Packers at home I’m going to just roll with that.

      Duke (-5.5) over VT – The Rodney Dangerfield of CFB keeps rolling on.

      Essay Pick

      Find a good team coming off a bad loss and see if they have a favorable matchup. I am not an OSU fan. I don’t dislike them in any way I just don’t really watch their games. I watched Saturday night and was floored with what they did to Sparty. Michigan State is a damn good football team. Maryland is not a good football team. They even suck at shaking hands. In the 2 games against other quality Big 10 teams (OSU and WISC) they lost by 28 and 45. This is a really bad spot for them as the MSU defense got embarrassed on Saturday night and will look to bounce back in Maryland. Sparty is still playing for a prime bowl game as there is no shame in losing to what might be 2 of the 4 playoff teams.

      MSU (-12) over Maryland

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