Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy New Year 2007 ! Our Secret Doodle !

Dear Readers,

Father Christmas!

What a wonderful holiday season, especially for J.R.R. Tolkien fans:

"It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there ever has been. It turned the North Pole BLACK and shook all the stars out of place... The tap turning on the Aurora Borealis fireworks is still in the cellar of my old house. The North Polar Bear knew he must never, never touch it... Anyway he was nosing around the ruins this morning soon after breakfast (he hides things to eat there) and turned on all the Northern Lights for two years in one go."

Yes, the Sun really took a shot at us in December of 2006. It lit up the sky like the celebrations of fireworks that will be taking place on New Year's Eve.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year 2007.

In honor of the occasion, we have designed a "Secret Doodle" which contains several secrets.

secret Doodle

1) What is the message of the "Secret Doodle"?

You should be able to ascertain this without too much difficulty as we have made it easy for you to get an Inkling. Be HAPPY. Did we not just post on Happiness? But you might have to take a NEW look. In a pinch this YEAR, you might even engage in a Gobelin count (at least in French).

2) Where do the symbols of the "Secret Doodle" come from?

Is this the writing of a prehistoric "rock art" culture of the type we discuss at some of our other websites? You may want to ask your local mainstream archaeologist or resident expert decipherer for clues to clues, which is their profession. Perhaps these symbols were used by the small, Lilliputian - previously nameless - hobbits (modernly baptized Homo floresiensis) that mainstream science recently claimed to have discovered in Indonesia? Alas, a pipedream species in an academic area of study where fantasy, fiction and myth unwillingly meet the hard hand of evidence. A story for J.K. Rowling?

Another way to find out why the LawPundit's Secret Doodle "rocks" is to consult your local linguist about rocs and orcs and arks, or as written about Noah's Ark and rocs in 1604 by Michael Drayton - who in his youth worked as a Page boy for which you have to have a Brain (well, nearly so) :
All feathered things yet ever knowne to men,
From the huge Rucke, unto the little Wren;
From Forrest, Fields, from Rivers and from Pons,
All that have webs, or cloven-footed ones;
To the Grand Arke, together friendly came,
Whose severall species were too long to name
Which may be why we've waited 'til this day
Floresiensis as a species to portray!
3) What other special "coding" does the message contain?
You might just try some Google search words for local color or Yahoo some other clues you have already been given to arrive at the doubled rainbow at the end of a pot of gold. What are words to the hues of nature?

Is there really any perceptible difference between a Yahoo and an Orc? and it is not far from Google to Goggle to Gobble to Goblin, now is it? But that is just a play on the alphabet.

We repeat, Happy New Year.

2007. Make this world a better place, if you can.

P.S. We will post the solution in the New Year to our LexiLine Newsletter.

Happy New Year 2007 ! Our Secret Doodle !

Dear Readers,

Father Christmas!

What a wonderful holiday season, especially for J.R.R. Tolkien fans:

"It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstrous firework there ever has been. It turned the North Pole BLACK and shook all the stars out of place... The tap turning on the Aurora Borealis fireworks is still in the cellar of my old house. The North Polar Bear knew he must never, never touch it... Anyway he was nosing around the ruins this morning soon after breakfast (he hides things to eat there) and turned on all the Northern Lights for two years in one go."

Yes, the Sun really took a shot at us in December of 2006. It lit up the sky like the celebrations of fireworks that will be taking place on New Year's Eve.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year 2007.

In honor of the occasion, we have designed a "Secret Doodle" which contains several secrets.

secret Doodle

1) What is the message of the "Secret Doodle"?

You should be able to ascertain this without too much difficulty as we have made it easy for you to get an Inkling. Be HAPPY. Did we not just post on Happiness? But you might have to take a NEW look. In a pinch this YEAR, you might even engage in a Gobelin count (at least in French).

2) Where do the symbols of the "Secret Doodle" come from?

Is this the writing of a prehistoric "rock art" culture of the type we discuss at some of our other websites? You may want to ask your local mainstream archaeologist or resident expert decipherer for clues to clues, which is their profession. Perhaps these symbols were used by the small, Lilliputian - previously nameless - hobbits (modernly baptized Homo floresiensis) that mainstream science recently claimed to have discovered in Indonesia? Alas, a pipedream species in an academic area of study where fantasy, fiction and myth unwillingly meet the hard hand of evidence. A story for J.K. Rowling?

Another way to find out why the LawPundit's Secret Doodle "rocks" is to consult your local linguist about rocs and orcs and arks, or as written about Noah's Ark and rocs in 1604 by Michael Drayton - who in his youth worked as a Page boy for which you have to have a Brain (well, nearly so) :
All feathered things yet ever knowne to men,
From the huge Rucke, unto the little Wren;
From Forrest, Fields, from Rivers and from Pons,
All that have webs, or cloven-footed ones;
To the Grand Arke, together friendly came,
Whose severall species were too long to name
Which may be why we've waited 'til this day
Floresiensis as a species to portray!
3) What other special "coding" does the message contain?
You might just try some Google search words for local color or Yahoo some other clues you have already been given to arrive at the doubled rainbow at the end of a pot of gold. What are words to the hues of nature?

Is there really any perceptible difference between a Yahoo and an Orc? and it is not far from Google to Goggle to Gobble to Goblin, now is it? But that is just a play on the alphabet.

We repeat, Happy New Year.

2007. Make this world a better place, if you can.

P.S. We will post the solution in the New Year to our LexiLine Newsletter.

PicksPal Free Daily Sports Picking Competition

This is not an ad and we get nothing for it, but seeing as how we predict bowl games regularly, we ran across an interesting new site called PicksPal, which provides the free opportunity for picking the winners of sports competitions without the need to spend one's hard earned money.

As written at that site:

PicksPal "is a FREE daily sports & entertainment pick’em game. And home of the Genius Picks, consensus picks of the nation’s smartest sports pickers. "

PicksPal
has a free sign up (only e-mail, password and a freely selectable name are required).

This might be a site of interest for those who gladly predict and prognosticate without the need to wager or bet money on one's picks. Rather, PicksPal functions by means of a points system.

Football Bowl Prognostication Results up to and including the Chick-fil-A Bowl

Going into the Emerald Bowl game between UCLA and Florida State, our prognostication record based on predictions published previously here at LawPundit is 11-3 in picking winners and 8-3 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

Update. Mount Union repeated as Division III national champion by winning 35-16 over Wisconsin-Whitewater. Larry Kehres continues his magic coaching. Mount Union was favored by 2.5 and we predicted a Purple Raider win 28-24.

We are 1-0 in predicting winners and 1-0 against the spread.


Update 1: Northwest Missouri beat Bloomsburg 33-3 and Grand Valley State beat Delta State 49-30. Update 2: Grand Valley State beat Northwest Missouri State 17-14 to repeat as national Division II champions. Grand Valley State was favored by 4 and we called it 22-21.
We are 4-0 in predicting winners and 2-0 against the spread.

Update, December 16: Appalachian State repeated as national champion and won the game, 28-17 against UMass as Kevin Richardson ran for 179 yards and 4 touchdowns. Appalachian State was favored by 3 and we called it 24-20 in their favor.
We are 5-0 predicting winners and 3-0 against the spread.


Update: Sioux Falls beat St. Francis 23-19 in the NAIA championship game. Although St. Francis outgained Sioux Falls 349 to 214 yards, they lost three fumbles and allowed an 89-yard kickoff return. We can also say, coaching, coaching, coaching. Behind 16-13, St. Francis had a 4th down on the Sioux Falls 40 in the 3rd quarter and the coaching staff "conservatively" decided to punt rather than go for it. The punt misfired as the ball was centered through the legs of the punter, resulting in a 45-yard loss. Sioux Falls subsequently scored and that was the ball game. When teams have greater total offense than their opponents and still lose, always look to judgment mistakes by the coaching staff as one major cause of the loss. Indeed, this is 3rd straight final championship game lost by St. Francis, which may well point to too much conservatism by the coaches in playing the championship game. Should St. Francis make it to the finals again next year, we have a tip - play courageously and go for the win - and THEN you might win.
We are 5-1 in predicting winners and 3-0 against the spread. There was no betting line for this game that we were able to find although most observers thought that St. Francis would win by about a touchdown.

Update: TCU held the NCAA Division I leading rusher Garrett Wolfe to 28 yards and the Huskies to only 60 yards total offense, while the Horned Frogs rolled to
a 37-7 victory over Northern Illinois behind the 3 touchdown passes by their quarterback Jeff Ballard.
We are 6-1 in predicting winners and 3-1 against the spread.


Update: The Mountain West Conference certainly has put on a great show in the first two NCAA" football bowl subdivision" bowl games as BYU completely dominated Oregon 38-8, with the Cougars more than doubling the Ducks offensive output, 548 yards to 260 yards. If the TCU and BYU games are indicative of the Mountain West Conference team strength at the end of the season, then the upcoming bowl games with Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico are going to be much tougher for their opponents than they might have expected.
BYU won a bowl game for the first time in 10 years and extended their winning streak to 10 games as John Beck threw for 375 yards on 28 of 46 completions. The Ducks lone TD came in the 4th quarter when Dennis Dixon completed a pass to Brian Paysinger for 48 yards.
We are now 7-1 in predicting winners and 4-1 against the spread.

Upadate: Boy, we sure got this one wrong, as Troy vanquished Rice 41-17. . It looks like the common foe Florida State was a good indicator for this game. Troy played the Seminoles nearly even, whereas Rice was routed by them. Of course, when you throw five interceptions, as Owls quarterback Joel Armstrong did, you are not going to win.
We are now 7-2 in predicting the winners and 4-2 against the spread.


Update: South Florida jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and won 24-7 in a game that was scoreless in the second half because of inept coaching by East Carolina. East Carolina outgained South Florida 317-286 by yardage but could not get the ball into the end zone. In one case, they punted in the third quarter with a 4th and 19 at the South Florida 35 which resulted in a touchback and a meaningless net gain of 15 yards - is such a team trying to win?? whereas in the fourth quarter with a first and 4 at the South Florida 4, the East Carolina quarterback was sacked for a 13-yard loss and an 8-yard loss on subsequent plays. About such poor playcalling we can only shake our head.
We are now 8-2 in predicting the winners and 5-2 against the spread.

Update early on December 23, prior to the game. Due to the strong TCU and BYU victories in bowl games, we now predict that New Mexico will win this game 27-20. TCU, BYU and New Mexico play in the same conference and apparently the conference is stronger than originally anticipated.
Update: Well, we should not have changed our mind on this game at all, as San Jose State beat New Mexico 20-12. It just goes to show that one should generally stick with one's initial analysis. Three big touchdown passing plays were the difference in this game as the San Jose State Spartans mustered only 8 first downs against the New Mexico Lobos defense, but scoring is the name of the game and not statistics. The Lobos outgained the Spartans 376 yards to 280 yards, but could not get the ball into the end zone while losing 4 fumbles, two of them within a yard or two of scoring territory, and one because the player was trying to reach the football over the goal line. The Lobo coaches have to learn to teach their players how to hold on to the ball - New Mexico also lost against TCU in the regular season, for example, because of fumbleitis.
We are now 8-3 in predicting the winners and 5-3 against the spread.

Update: Utah put up 405 yards total offense as compared to Tulsa's 254 and Utah won 25-13 after Tulsa came close 19-13 in the 4th quarter. The number of punts generally show the relative dominance of opposing teams and Tulsa punted seven times while Utah punted only three times. Weddle, mentioned above, intercepted a Tulsa pass on the last play and generally had a great game.
We are now 9-3 in predicting the winners and 6-3 against the spread.

Hawaii defeated Arizona State 41-24 as NCAA pass efficiency leader Colt Brennan threw for 5 touchdowns and 559 yards on 33 completions of 42 passes. With that, Brennan broke the NCAA single-season record for touchdown passes, hiking his total to 58 for the season. Brennan: "led the nation in TD passes, passing yards, total offense, passing efficiency, points responsible for and completion percentage." Jason Rivers, the game's co-MVP and an exceptional receiver, had 14 catches for 2 TDs and 308 yards. The Sun Devils held the Warriors to only 3 points in the first half, but were rocked for 38 points after the intermission. The Hawaii offensive dominance was shown by the fact that they punted only once in the game. The perhaps over-rated top-ranked Pac-10 Conference has now lost its first two bowl games while the Western Athletic Conference is 2-0.
We are now 10-3 in predicting the winners and 7-3 against the spread.


Update: Although we called this game correctly and beat the official line, Middle Tennessee State played a surprisingly good game in losing 31-14, by putting up even a few more yards on total offense than the Chippewas and passing for substantially more yardage, which we would not have originally expected, with Clint Marks completing 25 of 37 passes for 251 yards. The difference in the game turned out to be two early Central Michigan scores and a 3rd quarter 56-yard TD interception by Doug Kress of a Marks pass, forced by the Chippewas defensive end Dan Bazuin, an NFL pro prospect, who had a stellar game. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour passed for one TD and ran for a second and was awarded game MVP honors, having completed 15 of 25 passes for 156 yards and no interceptions.
We are now 11-3 in predicting the winners and are 8-3 against the spread.

UPDATE: December 28, 2006

77-year-old virtually legendary head coach Bobby Bowden celebrated his 30th straight winning season, by an eyelash, with a record of 7-6, as Florida State beat UCLA in the Emerald Bowl. As we expected, Florida State passing prowess was a significant factor in this game as Drew Weatherford completed 21 of 43 passes for 325 yards. The game was much closer than the score indicates, as the 44-27 Seminole victory was inflated by a late-game 85-yard interception return for a TD by the Seminole's Tony Carter. The UCLA Bruins actually had four yards more total offense (434 to 430) and led 27-23 going into the 4th quarter. Indeed, it was a gutsy playcall by the Florida State coaching staff that was the chief turning point in the game: "When a Florida State drive stalled early in the fourth quarter with the Seminoles trailing by four, Bowden and his son proved they had nothing to lose by boldly going for it on fourth and long [4th and 9 at the UCLA 30]. Carr easily made his TD catch a step from the end zone when his defender fell down." Time and again we find that it is coaching decisions which can make or break critical game turning points. Unnecessarily conservative UCLA play in the 3rd quarter probably enabled the Florida State comeback in a series of rushing plays which backfired in a blocked punt for a Seminole touchdown. The highly ranked Pac 10 Conference is now 0-3 in bowl games.

We are now 12-3 in picking winners and 9-3 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

Update: The next three games involve Big 12 teams, all of which we have picked to win, even though the Big 12 has been ranked quite low as a conference this year, which we have found to be unjustified, but which of course will be proven or not in the bowl games to be played. Obviously, if we have ranked the Big 12 Conference too strong, then all of our prognostications involving Big 12 teams will have to be taken with a grain of salt. The Oklahoma State vs. Alabama game should be a good indicator.

UPDATE: December 29, 2006

UPDATE: Oklahoma State put up over 400 yards of offense and beat Alabama 34-31. Oklahoma State blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter by allowing an 86-yard punt return by Javier Arenas for a TD and then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff leading to a quick Crimson Tide score and a tied game 31-31, which was only resolved by a Cowboy field goal in the last 9 seconds of the game, as Jason Ricks split the uprights from 27 yards out. Defensive coordinator Joe Kines was the interim coach for 'Bama, which still has found no replacement for fired head coach Mike Shula.

We are now 13-3 in picking winners and 10-3 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE: Rutgers jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and although Kansas State cut the lead to 17-10 at halftime, special teams and the defense were the difference in the second half as Rutgers blew the game open and won going away 37-10. Kansas State seemed to have its will broken on the first play of the second half as Quintero Frierson intercepted Josh Freeman's bad judgment pass for a 27-yard touchdown. Quarterback Freeman continued to plague his team by turnovers as he had in the Kansas game. Why Ron Prince would call such a stupid play to start out the second half is anybody's guess. They should have been going for a long gainer, not a short dangerous pass to start out the half - that is just poor coaching. After a punt, on the next series of downs for Rutgers, Ray Rice rushed for 22 yards and then 46 yards on the unprepared defense for the touchdown and the game was over. Apparently, the Rutgers coaching staff had done their homework at halftime and the Kansas State coaching staff had not. The rest of the game was academic as the strong Rutgers defense allowed only 6 first downs total to a Wildcat offense that was poorly prepared for this bowl game and played worse than they did against Louisville earlier in the season. This was a rather abysmal showing by the Big 12 Conference.

We are now 13-4 in picking winners and 10-4 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE: We were really wrong on this game. We don't mind being wrong, but are a bit ashamed for the Big 12 Conference. We can at least comprehend a strong Rutgers team beating unranked Kansas State decisively, but we find little excuse for 21st-ranked Texas A&M suffering a humiliating 45-10 destruction by the 20th-ranked California Bears in the Holiday Bowl. The Aggies trailed only 14-10 at halftime and then the whole team fell apart in the second half, partly due to inept playcalling by Aggies coach Dennis Franchione, since poor coaching and playcalling are almost always the major factors in such second half collapses. As written by AP sports writer Bernie Wilson at Yahoo Sports:

"Texas A&M gambled a few times too many. After Bryce Reed gained 7 yards on a fake punt in the first quarter, the drive bogged down and the Aggies went for it on fourth-and-8 from the Cal 32. McGee was sacked by Nu'u Tafisi.

Lynch scored his first TD five plays later.

His second touchdown was set up when Texas A&M's Justin Brantly shanked a punt out of bounds for no gain at the Aggies' 41. Lynch scored four plays later.

The Aggies failed to convert on another fourth-down play in the fourth quarter."

Such comedies of errors do not happen to well-coached teams. If you go for it on 4th down, you do not call plays where the QB can be sacked for large losses, which is contra-productive - then you might as well punt. You also do not have punters shanking punts to open the 2nd half and you do not go for it on 4th down from within your own territory on 4th and 16. All in all, a miserable performance by Texas A&M, whose defense played so poorly that Cal had to punt only once the entire game. How Texas A&M could score so few points and only punt 3 times itself is a great mystery as well. Nathan Longshore completed 80% of his passes for the Bears and Cal also ran for 245 yards so that the A&M defense must have been asleep for most of the game. Even 1-win Stanford played much better against Cal than this Texas A&M team. A very poor showing for the Big 12 Conference.

We are now 13-5 in picking winners and 10-5 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).
Given the disastrous showing by the Big 12 Conference in those last two games, we do worry about our predictions involving other Big 12 Conference teams, but we will leave them as is for now, not having had much luck when we changed our New Mexico - San Jose State prognostication. Still, Caveat Emptor.

UPDATE: December 30, 2006

AP writer Jeffrey McMurray puts it correctly when he writes at Yahoo Sports:

"While Kentucky's offensive fireworks weren't unexpected, a defense that came into the game ranked second-to-last nationally made the difference.

"We didn't get any respect coming into this game," said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who led the Wildcats with 12 tackles. "A lot of people expected our defense to come in and curl up, but that's not a defense. If the game was played on paper, we'd be blown out 50-0."

As it was, Rich Brooks coached a great game, Kentucky played courageously and the subsequent 28-20 win over Clemson was a truly deserved win over a Clemson Tiger team whose offense came poorly prepared to play in this bowl. After spotting the Wildcats the initial touchdown drive, the Tigers on subsequent series of downs in the first half drove short of a TD and then missed a 38-yard field goal, drove short of a TD and then missed a 28-yard field goal, lost a fumble at midfield, blocked a punt and then scored a TD - the only bright spot in an otherwise miserable first half - but then missed the PAT, recovered a fumble at the Kentucky 20 only for the offense to be intercepted on their first play thereafter, recovered a fumble at the Kentucky 28 only for the offense to fumble the ball away again two plays later with about 6 minutes left to play in the half.

After three gains of 2-yards each, Kentucky faced a 4th and 4 on their own 20-yard line with a bit less than three minutes to play in the first half, leading 7-6 and we thought that would be the turning point for Clemson, who would gain possession and score and thus take control of the game going into the intermission. And that is when the Wildcats really stuck it to the Tigers, as Tim Masthay, the regular punter, faked a punt and threw a 10-yard pass completion for the first down. Talk about a courageous call at a critical point in the game. And then, to put icing on the cake, having totally befuddled the Clemson team and coaching staff, the Wildcats capitalized on the general Tiger confusion as Andre Woodson threw a 70-yard scoring bomb to
DeMoreo Ford, the longest TD against the nationally 12-ranked Clemson defense this year. Now, THAT's COACHING and GREAT PLAYCALLING! Well done.

Clemson's offense then came out after half-time and fumbled again on its first series of plays, leading to a fumble recovery by game defensive standout linebacker Wesley Woodyard, which 6 plays later led to a Kentucky TD and a 21-6 lead, so that the game was for all practical purposes over at that point.


This is our 3rd straight bad call, but who expected Clemson to play this poorly and Kentucky so well? We are now 13-6 in picking winners and 10-6 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE: December 30, 2006

Oregon State, down by 14 in the final quarter, rallied to tie the game and win 39-38 in overtime on a cheeky two-point conversion call. The Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel is top-ranked in the nation for overtime games and - as we have previously pointed out - we think this is the product of a timid down-the-stretch coaching style which leads to ties where there should have been victories:

"
A good example is Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who not only was involved in the first college football overtime game (Toledo vs. Nevada, 1995, in the Las Vegas Bowl, which Toledo won 40-37) but whose Missouri Tigers also hold the NCAA Division I-A record for the most overtime games played, with an 8-3 record in those games. That record would suggest that Pinkel is not aggressive enough as a coach in his playcalling during regulation time."

This game was no exception as Missouri had 100 yards more in total offense and a big lead which was allowed to slip away unnecessarily. That is almost always a sign of coaching failure and timidity toward the end of games, which allows the opponent to get back in the game. Mizzou clearly had the stronger team, but the weaker head coach.

This is the 4th straight game in which we failed to pick the winner. Still, the game outcome is by no means a surprise. It was in fact a one point game as called, but this time we were on the wrong side of the call, even though we beat the spread. We are now 13-7 in picking winners and 11-6 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE: December 30, 2006

We predicted that both offenses would roll but that the game would be decided by the Gamecock defense, which turned out to be the case in the second half, where South Carolina, after trailing Houston 28-27 at the half, shut down the Cougars enough in the second half to go out winners 44-36. AP sports writer Teresa M. Walker quotes South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier as follows:

"
I still believe our defense can play a lot better," Spurrier said. "We got out of position in the first half. But to hold Houston to eight points was a very good defensive effort in the second half."

Both teams topped 500 yards in total offense as
Houston's Kevin Kolb completed 26 of 39 passes for 386 yards and 3TDs. Blake Mitchell, the South Carolina quarterback, completed 19 of 29 passes for 323 yards and 4 TDs.

Well, we finally picked the winner again, but failed to beat the spread in our call of a Gamecock win by four points. We are now 14-7 in picking winners and 11-7 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).


UPDATE: December 30, 2006

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell uttered a great quotation at the close of this game and as reported at Yahoo Sports by AP writer Andrew Bagnato:

"
"Everyone felt like, 'Hey, we're going to win,' " said Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, who was selected bowl MVP after throwing for 445 yards and two touchdowns. "If you believe, good things can happen.""

In the first half, nothing went right for either the defense or the high-powered Texas Tech offense. Even a pass interception by Red Raider
cornerback Antonio Huffman did not turn into a touchdown as Huffman fumbled the ball into the end zone for a Minnesota touchback. Buoyed by Texas Tech turnovers, Minnesota rolled to an apparently insurmountable 35-7 lead which the Golden Gophers extended to 38-7 on a field goal after the Texas Tech defense held Minnesota out of the end zone in spite of a Golden Gopher first down at the 4-yard line. That field goal (rather than a TD) as it turned out, was the turning point in the ball game, as the Red Raiders mounted an improbable record-setting comeback and tied the game 38-38 as time expired on a last-second 52-yard 4th-quarter field goal, and then won the game 44-41 in the 2nd overtime in the biggest comeback in Division I-A bowl history.

The reason for the comeback was correctly identified by one of the Minnesota players:

"
We just broke down," Minnesota linebacker Mike Sherels said. "You just kind of got the feeling that we were back on our heels and playing not to lose instead of playing to win."

Exactly, and if you play not to lose, rather than playing to win, about which we have previously posted, this is the kind of thing that can happen to you.

We picked the winner again, but failed to beat the spread in our call of a Texas Tech win by 2 TDs.
We are now 15-7 in picking winners and 11-8 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE: December 30, 2006

So much for the strength of the Big 10 Conference as the Boilermakers, tied for 4th in that conference with Penn State, fizzled mightily in succumbing to the ACC Maryland Terrapins 24-7 , who had lost their last two regular season games 38-16 to Boston College and 38-24 to Wake Forest. The difference in the game was the Maryland defense.The Terps, who also lost 45-24 to West Virginia early in the season, had no trouble at all with Purdue's nationally 10th-ranked offense, which they held to 285 total yards, including only 21 net yards rushing. Maryland's Sam Hollenbach passed for 223 yards and 2 TDs as the Maryland offense rolled up 429 yards against a Purdue defense known to be weak. When it was clear that the Purdue offense was going nowhere in this game, the outcome was never in doubt.

We failed to pick the winner again and thus also failed to beat the spread in our call of a Purdue win. We are now 15-8 in picking winners and 11-9 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE, December 31, 2006

It was a great game by Navy as Boston College won 25-24 on a 37-yard field goal by Steve Aponavicius as time expired in the game. The Eagles are to be commended for coming back from a deficit, but the true game winners were the Navy Midshipmen who put up a terrific and valiant battle against a team that should easily have beat them by three touchdowns. Navy put 322 yards rushing on the board against a rushing defense that had allowed only 90 yards a game all season long against some stellar opponents, while the Boston College offense was stopped throughout the game by various errors and lapses. BC was surely suffering from the fact that its head coach, Tom O'Brien, had left them to become head coach at ACC rival North Carolina State, leaving defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani as interim coach for the bowl game. In the coming season, BC will be coached by Green Bay offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, who will take over duties when the pro football season has ended.

We picked the winner but failed to beat the spread. We are now 16-8 in picking winners but only 11-10 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).


UPDATE, December 31, 2006

The Texas Longhorns won this game 26-24 after falling behind early 14-0 and having to play catch-up. In terms of the game stats, the two teams played about even and there was little sign left in Texas that this was last year's national championship team as the Iowa Hawkeyes gave them all they could handle.

We again picked the winner and failed to beat the spread.
We are now 17-8 in picking winners but only even 11-11 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).


UPDATE, December 31, 2006

Georgia won 31-24, knocking off its third straight ranked opponent, which was quite unexpected given the halftime score of 21-3 in favor of Virginia Tech. It looked like the Hokies would run Georgia out of the stadium, as Virginia Tech capitalized on an interception, a long punt return and a long touchdown pass to score three unanswered TDs. However, the Georgia defense came out battling in the 2nd half, intercepting Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon 3 times in the final quarter, although the real turning point in the game was a 3rd quarter onside kick after a field goal which Georgia recovered and turned into a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-13. Thereafter, aggressive playcalling under new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and good excecution by freshman QB Matthew Stafford and the offense put Georgia into the driver's seat against a Virginia Tech defense which had shut out four opponents this year and had given up an average of only 9.3 points a game. Considering that both teams managed only about 200 yards of total offense, a lot of points were scored.

A terrific write-up
by Troy Johnson of this game and Georgia's season is found at the Ledger-Enquirer.

We picked the winner and beat the spread.
We are now 18-8 in picking winners and 12-11 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

UPDATE, December 31, 2006

Fired Miami head coach Larry Coker went out a winner, finishing with a 60-15 won-loss record (7-6 in 2006) and one national championship, as Miami of Florida beat Nevada 21-20 in a game in which the Wolf Pack out first-downed the Hurricanes 22-14 and showed clearly that the Western Athletic Conference can compete at any level. The Oklahoma Sooners will have their work cut out for them when they face the Boise State Broncos on New Year's Day.The difference in the game were two long passes by Miami quarterback Kirby Freeman, who threw a 52-yard TD to Ryan Moore in the first half and a 78-yard TD to Sam Shields in the second half. Otherwise, the game was a pretty even match, as both teams punted 6 times and as each had ca. 300 yards total offense. Not only did Nevada have trouble running the ball against the Hurricances (99 yards on 37 rushes), as we predicted, but Miami had even greater problems running against the Wolf Pack, who only allowed 28 net yards on 31 attempts, i.e. less than a yard a try, which really speaks for the Nevada rushing defense. The game was thus decided in the air.

We picked the winner but lost to the spread.
We are now 19-8 in picking winners and 12-12 against the spread (three of the games had no spread that we were able to find online).

Golf Star Michelle Wie accepted at Stanford University

Interesting news from Stanford Univeristy by AP sports writer Doug Ferguson, at least for yours truly, as a Stanford alumnus.

The good news is that super-golfer Michelle Wie has been accepted to school at Stanford University, where Tiger Woods played his college golf (for two years before turning pro).

The bad news is that Michelle Wie is not eligible for NCAA golf competition at Stanford, having turned pro in 2005 and thus of course no longer being able to play in amateur events.

Stanford women's golf head coach Caroline O'Connor currently has a team ranked 6th in the nation and thus is not hurting for good women golfers, but you can be sure she might poke her head into a rulebook to see if Wie might not in some way become an amateur again if she dropped her pro activities. If I were coach, I certainly would.

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