Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stanford : our Product is the Future

The December 15, 2006 Stanford Newsletter contains the following great quotation:

"Stanford has a product. A lot of people don't know this. We produce a product, and our product is the future."

-- Brian Carilli, lab designer in the School of Engineering, and one of two recipients of this year’s Marsh O'Neill Award."

Stanford : our Product is the Future

The December 15, 2006 Stanford Newsletter contains the following great quotation:

"Stanford has a product. A lot of people don't know this. We produce a product, and our product is the future."

-- Brian Carilli, lab designer in the School of Engineering, and one of two recipients of this year’s Marsh O'Neill Award."

The 1-Minute History of the Middle East

Via CaryGEE, this one is really good...
the history of the Middle East shown by maps in about a minute's time at

The 1-Minute History of the Middle East

Via CaryGEE, this one is really good...
the history of the Middle East shown by maps in about a minute's time at


Prediction posting Nr. 2
by Andis Kaulins

(Please note that the betting spreads we use may not reflect the odds used elsewhere or may change between the time we checked them and the date of the actual game or the date at which this post is read. The same applies to ratings. Please note also that these predictions are made in good fun only and that no one should rely on them to place bets since sports outcomes are by nature unpredictable. What makes college football predicting such fun is precisely this unpredictability. We expressly disclaim any and all liability for any reliance placed by anyone upon what we write in this posting. Some years our predictions are good and other years they are off the mark. Caveat emptor. And may the best team win.)

17. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone
LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee - Friday, December 29, 2006 1:00 p.m. EST
Clemson Tigers v. Kentucky Wildcats

Clemson had a disappointing year in which they lost three close games to strong opponents and beat the only two then ranked teams they played, Florida State and Georgia Tech. This team could easily have been 11-1, but its potent offense and weaker defense let them down in crucial game-ending situations.

Both teams lost to Steve Spurrier's South Carolina, Clemson losing by 3 and Kentucky by 7, although South Carolina scored the game's last 17 points to beat Clemson, dominating in the end with its air attack. Bowden was surely playing too conservatively and lost that game needlessly.

Kentucky surprised with a team that knocked off Georgia for the first time in 10 years, 24-20. On paper, the Wildcats, who come from the stronger SEC conference, have little chance to win, with its very weak defense having surrendered an average of 457.7 yards this year.

Clemson's offense should have a field day and the Tigers are in fact favored by 10 points. Sagarin's Predictor ranks this Clemson team as very strong at 13th nationally, with Kentucky 58th, which would make Clemson about a two TD favorite. Wolfe has Clemson 36th and Kentucky 37th. We have stopped using the Massey Ratings here for comparison by the way because they have converted to difficult-to-use scrolling box-type displays. Forget that.

The Wildcat losses suggest that this Wildcat team is at times better than the statistics show, having lost only to top opposition: Louisville 59-28, Florida 27-6, South Carolina 24-17, LSU 49-0 and Tennessee 17-12. Still, the blowouts are a cause for worry when they face top offensive teams, which Clemson is.

There will be a lot of passing in this game, unless Clemson establishes a strong running attack. We call the game 38-24 for Clemson.

18. Brut Sun Bowl Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl - El Paso, Texas - Friday, December 29, 2:00 p.m. ET
Oregon State (24) v. Missouri Tigers

Oregon State finished 3rd in the Pac 10 and Missouri (Mizzou) finished 2nd in the Big 12 North Division behind Nebraska.

The Beavers came back in style this season after losing 3 of their first 5 games, winning seven of their last eight, including a totally unexpected victory over USC 33-31, which ended USC's streak of 38 consecutive regular season wins and 27 consecutive regular season Pac 10 wins. The Beavers have a very strong team.

Missouri on the other hand started out very strong this season but lost 4 of their last 6 against mostly very strong opposition. Nevertheless, the loss to Iowa State in the 2nd to last game of the season does not inspire confidence, although Mizzou won going away with a strong win over Kansas 42-17 in their last game.

The Beavers and Tigers are about equal on defense with Missouri having a slight edge in offense. The games which the Tigers lost were games in which the opposing team was able to establish a strong running game, but this is not a forte of the Beavers, so that this game must be considered up for grabs and will be decided by the success of the passing offenses. Oregon State is favored by 3.5 points.

If Missouri were a bit more aggressive on offense they would be much stronger than they are.
We call it close, Missouri 31 Oregon State 30.

19. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Liberty Bowl
Memphis, Tennessee - Friday, December 29, 4:30 p.m. EST
Houston Cougars v. South Carolina Gamecocks

Houston, the West champion, won the Conference USA championship by beating East champion Southern Miss 34-20, avenging a regular season 31-27 loss. What impresses about Houston is their 34-25 win over Oklahoma State and their one-point loss 14-13 to Miami of Florida. Houston is led by Kevin Kolb, their record-setting quarterback, and the most prolific passer in Conference USA history.

South Carolina plays in a much tougher conference, the SEC, and lost all five games to ranked teams, including a one-point loss to Florida 17-16. The Gamecocks closed out the season with a 31-28 win over Clemson. Both teams have potent offenses, especially Houston, but both also show weaknesses on defense, where the game will surely be decided.

Wolfe ranks South Carolina 30th and Houston 42nd. Sagarin's Predictor puts the Gamecocks at 28th and the Cougars at 47th.

South Carolina is favored by seven points. We look for Houston to put up a valiant battle but call it 31-27 for the Gamecocks.

20. Insight Bowl Insight Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona - Friday, December 29, 7:30 p.m. EST
Texas Tech Red Raiders v. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Texas Tech finished 4th in the tough South Division of the Big 12 Conference while Minnesota finished 6th in the Big 10 conference.

Wolfe has Minnesota 43rd and Texas Tech 50th.Sagarin's Predictor has the Red Raiders as 29th nationally and the Golden Gophers at 39th. Since the pure points approach is generally the most accurate, this has made Texas Tech a 7-point favorite, and we definitely agree that the Red Raiders should be favored.

In our analysis, this is a tough matchup for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have a weaker defense than offense and especially their pass defense is suspect, which plays right into the strength of the Texas Tech passing offense. It appears nearly impossible to us for Minnesota to avoid an offensive Red Raider blowout in this game and we call it Texas Tech 48 Minnesota 24.

21. Champs Sports Bowl Champs Sports Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Florida - Friday, December 29, 8:00 p.m. EST
Purdue Boilermakers v. Maryland Terrapins

Purdue finished 5th in the tough Big 10 Conference with an 8-5 record, albeit they played neither Ohio State nor Michigan (smart scheduling, there), while Maryland tied for second in the Atlantic division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, posting an 8-4 record with a team that averaged 304 yards on offense in spite of giving up 367 yards per game on defense. The winner of that division of the ACC, Wake Forest, has similarly strange stats, with the defense giving up more yards than the offense gained.

So how do these teams win? It can only be through opportunistic football.

The Boilermakers have an offense which is just as potent as the defense is bad, with both totalling more than 400 yards per game. To us, this game thus looks like an offensive free-for-all.

Sagarin's Predictor puts Purdue at 60th and Maryland at 55th whereas Wolfe ranks Maryland 31st and Purdue 45th.

Maryland is favored over Purdue by 1.5 (down from the opening line of 3.5) and we think that the game is a toss-up. We call it 38-36 for Purdue, giving the edge here to the Big 10 Conference strength.

22. Meineke Car Care Bowl Meineke Bowl
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina - Saturday, December 30, 2006 1:00 p.m. EST
Navy Midshipmen v. Boston College Eagles (23)

Not too many plays separate this excellent Boston College team from a perfect season, but there is no use crying over spilled milk.

Navy on the other hand has made the best of a weak schedule, losing only to a good 8-4 Tulsa team and to rated Rutgers and Notre Dame (by big margins).

Sagarin's Predictor makes Boston College 26th and Navy 5oth, whereas Wolfe has Boston College 23rd and Navy 41st. Boston College is favored by 6.5 points.

On paper, in our opinion, Navy's chances against Boston College are next to zero. Navy's offense depends on the run and the Eagles have a very strong rushing defense. Navy will be running into a stone wall here.

The Eagles look to us to be about three touchdowns better and we call it Boston College 35 Navy 14.

23. Alamo Bowl Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, Texas - Saturday December 30, 2006 4:30 p.m. EST
Iowa Hawkeyes v. Texas Longhorns (18)

Last year's Alamo Bowl game was one of the best bowl games of the season, featuring Nebraska's 32-28 win over a Michigan team that, as it turned out, was headed for a high ranking in 2006, whereas the Huskers struggled this year to move into the rankings top 20.

By landing Texas, the Alamo Bowl has again hit paydirt, featuring last year's national champion against a 6-6 Iowa Hawkeye Big Ten that lost its last three games of the season. Surprisingly, in terms of total offense, the teams are fairly even, with Texas holding the edge in defense.

Texas is ranked 21st by Wolfe with Iowa 54th. Sagarin's Predictor has Texas 4th and Iowa 41st, which makes Texas about two touchdowns better, and the Longhorns are in fact favored by 11 points. We look for Texas to win 31-17.

24. Chick-fil-A Bowl Chick-fil-A Bowl
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia - Saturday December 30, 2006 8:00 p.m. EST
Virginia Tech Hokies (14) v. Georgia Bulldogs

This should be a great game.

Georgia (8-4) suffered most of the 2006 season from an inability to stick to one quarterback to run its offense and several players shared these duties. In the course of the season Matthew Stafford won the job and in the last two games of the season led Georgia to wins over ranked Auburn and Georgia Tech. Georgia suddenly looks like a different team so that the Virginia Tech ranking and 10-2 record are not as impressive for this game as they might otherwise be.

After back-to-back midseason losses against Georgia Tech and Boston College, the Hokies returned to their winning ways and finished the season with six straight wins, so that this is a bowl game between two top teams.

Wolfe ranks Virginia Tech 19th and Georgia 25th whereas Sagarin's Predictor makes Virginia Tech 12th and Georgia 37th. Virginia Tech is favored by 2.5 points. We think however that Georgia is back on track and give them the edge, 27-24.

25. MPC Computers Bowl MPC Computers Bowl
Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho - Sunday December 31, 2006 7:30 p.m. EST
Miami of Florida Hurricanes v. Nevada Wolf Pack

The Miami of Florida Hurricanes went through some hard times in 2006, leading to the firing of their coach Larry Coker, the 2nd winningest active coach in Division I football. However, after four straight losses, they closed the year out with a 17-14 victory over a very strong Boston College team. The bowl game will be Coker's last game as Miami of Florida coach.

Nevada finished the season in a tie for third with San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference dominated this year by Boise State and Hawaii.

Wolfe ranks Nevada 55th and Miami of Florida 65th and Sagarin's Predictor has Nevada 36th and Miami of Florida 52nd. Nevertheless, the Hurricanes are favored by three points.

Nevada will have trouble running the ball against Miami and will have to rely on its passing game against a Miami pass defense which on average allows about the same yardage as the Wolf Pack averages on passing offense. Nevada lost to ranked Boise State 38-7 to close out the season whereas the Hurricanes beat a ranked team to close out their season.

We think this gives the edge to Hurricanes and we call it Miami of Florida 24 and Nevada 17.

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