Monday, August 30, 2010

The Major Black Problem in America - Children Growing up Without Fathers

At the Washington Post George F. Will reports on a tough problem in modern America in For black children, daunting divides in achievement and family life. It is definitely worth a read and some considerable thought about how that could be changed.

To our way of thinking, you have to change attitudes and job opportunities first, before you can improve anything else. But how is that to be done?

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

The Pharmaceutical Patent Wars: Sanofi Offers $18.5 Billion for Genzyme

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Duff Wilson report at the New York Times that Sanofi Offers $18.5 Billion for Genzyme and explain that:
"Sanofi is following a trend in the major pharmaceuticals industry of using cash — or trying to use it — to acquire new drug opportunities to compensate for patent expirations."
Read the whole article here.

2010 College Football Game Predictions for Division I-A FBS -- Week 1 (Starting Thursday, September 2, 2010)

If an academic researcher at a university takes money illegally, do we shut down the academics department at that university or punish his lab colleagues and researchers? Of course not. So why in football?

The 2010 football season is on its way. The first day of NCAA Division I College Football is Thursday, September 2, and it opens a long football weekend, stretching to Monday.

The first weekend of the season offers many games in which major schools will be able to pad their win column in matchups against far weaker teams, whose empty coffers, however, will be filled by offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs to teams so much better that they should not be on the same field.

The reward for 62-3 beatings or similar (Florida beat Charleston Southern and FIU by 62-3 last season), simply put, is cash. Schools playing a lower class of football pocket a lot of money for playing sparring partner to the big guys.

This all takes place in an allegedly "amateur" sport in which the NCAA has just imposed severe and unjust sanctions on USC "for the sake of the sport", because isolated players allegedly received "impermissible" gratuities as "amateurs". We think the right line here is that of Papa Joe Paterno of Penn State, who:

"[B]elieves that scholarship college athletes should receive a modest stipend, so that they have some spending money. As justification, Paterno points out that many scholarship athletes are from poor families and that other students have time to hold down a part-time job. On the other hand, busy practice and conditioning schedules prevent college athletes from working during the school year."
The answer of the NCAA to isolated students taking impermissible gratuities is to assess penalties not on the rule-breakers, but rather on thousands of OTHER people who had nothing to do with the alleged violations (e.g. innocent school donors whose donations are thus diminished in value, or the innocent players and innocent coaches who are barred from going to bowl games, or the innocent football fans who are denied this same pleasure, or players who can in the future not receive an education at that school because of a lowering of permissible athletic scholarships).

We are VERY surprised that no one has challenged these NCAA sanctions in court as a clear violation of due process and equal protection of the laws for those directly affected and without guilt for the penalized behavior.

When one looks at the BCS catastrophe and the money-motivated conference shifting of teams during the off-season, college football is in need of some healthy "moral" changes and one of those changes would be to replace the zealous over-reaching NCAA policemen with a new ruling body that puts students' and players' interests at the top.

Any ruling college sports organization which bars non-scholarship athletes from eating at the "dining table" of the team is in need of serious revision. They have lost their sense of correct priorities, which should have the welfare of students and players at the top, not the other way around.

When NCAA rules infractions are discovered, the penalized are almost always those who had nothing to do with the rule-breaking. We think there is method in this madness, as it increases NCAA power even more. Any ruling sports body that damns the guilty and punishes the innocent so that they do not commit such acts in the future has a concept of justice which is totally at odds with American values and totally contrary to the principles of the legal system.

Bet let us get on to the game, THE GAME of football.

There are some very interesting games on tap to start the season, involving both ranked and unranked teams: for example, Boise State at Virginia Tech (both ranked), Pittsburgh at Utah (both ranked), LSU at North Carolina, Oregon State at TCU, Cincinnati at Fresno State, Villanova at Temple, and SMU at Texas Tech, just to mention a few.

Odds are taken from the College Football Prediction Tracker, Friday, August 27, 2010, 1:40:59 PM.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Presbyterian at Wake Forest. The Blue Hose had a perfect season last year, losing all 11 games. The Demon Deacons were 5-7, but had a much better team than that win-loss record, losing five games by three points or less. Nine days later Presbyterian plays Clemson. The Blue Hose are a courageous bunch.
YPPSYS calls it: 52-0 for Wake Forest.

Hampton at Central Michigan. The Pirates were 5-5 last year while the Chippewas were 12-2 including a 44-41 thriller in a GMAC Bowl win over Troy. Central Michigan has a new head coach in Dan Enos, who replaced Butch Jones, new head coach at Cincinnati, replacing departed Brian Kelly -- to Notre Dame.
YPPSYS calls it: 54-7 for Central Michigan.

SE Missouri State at Ball State. The Redhawks were 2-9 last year, losing to Cincinnati 70-3 after beating Quincy 72-3 the week before. Yes, there are differences in classes in football. The Cardinals self-destructed last season after the departure of head coach Brady Hoke to San Diego State and went 2-10 in 2009 after a 12-2 season in 2008.
YPPSYS calls it: 42-3 for Ball State.

Murray State at Kent State. The Racers were 3-8 last year, losing 65-7 to N.C. State after beating Kentucky Wesleyan 66-10 the week before. Yes, there are differences in classes in football. Did we read that somewhere before? The Golden Flashes were 5-7 last year in a disappointing season.
YPPSYS calls it: 49-7 for Kent State.

Rhode Island at Buffalo. The Rams were 1-10 last year, losing 52-10 to Connecticut. They are getting bigger in the line, so that should improve this year, but their 10-game losing streak is unlikely to end in Buffalo. The Bulls had a very disappointing year in 2009, going 5-7 and losing 4 close games, but Turner Gill was still a very much coveted head coach and departed for Kansas. The new head coach in Buffalo is Jeff Quinn, former offensive coordinator at Cincinnati under Brian Kelly.
YPPSYS calls it: 48-10 for Buffalo.

Towson at Indiana. The Tigers were 2-9 last year in a rebuilding year, losing to Northwestern 47-14 to open their season. The Hoosiers were 4-8 last year but it is always amazing how well they play against overly dominant teams in the Big 10. Towson is in a different league.
YPPSYS calls it: 42-14 for Indiana.

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee State (favored by 5.5 points). The Golden Gophers have been improving steadily the last couple of years under head coach Tim Brewster, but face a brutal schedule including USC this year, Most of their fans are probably thinking they will win this game, which may not turn out way. Minnesota was 6-7 in 2009 while the Blue Raiders had a banner 10-3 year, topping Southern Miss 42-32 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Our stats would normally favor the Blue Raiders in this game, except that their star quarterback Dwight Dasher has just been declared ineligible under a strange set of circumstances. Minnesota also has a mystery quantity in new offensive coordinator Jeff Horton.
YPPSYS calls it therefore in favor of the Big 10: 24-23 for Minnesota.

Norfolk State at Rutgers. The FCS Spartans of the MEAC went 7-4 last season and face a young but talented Scarlet Knights team that went 9-4 in 2009 in a much stronger FBS league.
YPPSYS calls it: 44-7 for Rutgers.

Southern Miss at South Carolina
(favored by 13.5 points). The Golden Eagles have lost 10 straight games to ranked opponents so it was unusual for head coach Larry Fedora to predict a win over the unranked but well-regarded SEC Gamecocks, adding a bit of color to this game, as South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier picked up the bait in a radio show, commenting ""They're very confident they're going to come in here and kick our ....," Spurrier said on his weekly radio show. "We have to be ready.""
YPPSYS calls it:  21-9 for the Gamecocks.

Florida A&M at Miami of Florida. The Rattlers were 8-3 last year and lost to the Hurricanes 48-16. Could that score be even more lopsided this year? Miami is highly regarded this year. Are the 'Canes back? We will know nine days later when they play the Ohio State Buckeyes.
YPPSYS calls it: 51-13 for Miami.

Marshall at Ohio State (favored by 29.5 points). Marshall finished 7-6 last year, upsetting Ohio 21-17  in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Thundering Herd will have problems this season to unleash the stampede, however, as their first seven opponents are bowl teams from last year, much to the chagrin of first year coach Doc Holliday. Nevertheless, Ohio State will have to work to win this one, even if they are the much better team.
YPPSYS calls it: 34-7 for the Buckeyes.

Florida Atlantic at UAB (favored by 14 points). The Owls porous defense under the guidance of legendary now 76-year old coach Howard Schellenberger submerged their season last year and UAB was not much better as both teams posted 5-7 records due to defensive weaknesses. Blazer head coach Neil Callaway is constantly improving his team, but Schellenberger is a coach you can not underestimate. On paper, the Blazers would be favored.
YPPSYS calls it: 33-17 for UAB.

Northern Illinois at Iowa State (favored by 3.5 points). The Huskies were 7-6 last year, beating Big 10 Purdue 28-21, but losing 27-3 to South Florida in the International Bowl. In 2008, Iowa State averaged 25.3 points per game but gave up 35.8. In 2009, in the first year with Wally Burnham, formerly of USF, as defensive coordinator, the Cyclones scored 20.5 points but gave up only 21.8 points, a fantastic two-touchdown improvement per game, and that in the Big 12 is something. Iowa State also had the 2nd best red zone offense in the nation. We think that the Cyclone defense will be determinative in this game.
YPPSYS calls it: 23-16 for Iowa State.

SE Louisiana at Tulane. Although SE Louisiana lost 52-6 to Mississippi in 2009, FCS schools are growing stronger through transfers from FBS schools. Constantly improving SE Louisiana, 6-5 last year, is one example of this trend. FBS Tulane on the other hand ranked 115th both in scoring offense and scoring defense last year among FBS schools so that a win over SE Lousiana can not be regarded as a guaranteed win here, after which Tulane is in serious danger of going winless this season.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-26 for Tulane.

Pittsburgh at Utah (favored by 2.5 points). The Panthers have a tough schedule this year and will find it difficult to beat the Utes at home. Our stats see this game as nearly even except for the Utah home field advantage.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-21 for Utah.

North Dakota at Idaho. The Fighting Sioux were 6-5 last year, losing to a good Texas Tech team 38-13. Idaho is not that good, but according to our YPPSYS and NAYPPA stats and to the joy of Moscow, Idaho was the most improved FBS team in the country.
YPPSYS calls it: 30-24 for Idaho.

Eastern Washington at Nevada. The FCS Eagles were 8-4 last year, losing to Cal 59-7. The high offense Wolf Pack were 8-5 after losing a close one to Boise State 44-33 to end the regular season and then were surprisingly stuffed 45-10 by SMU in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 43-21 for Nevada.

USC (favored by 21 points) at Hawaii. No bowl games for USC players or coaches or fans? Why that? We have little understanding for the ill-conceived sanctions issued by the NCAA against USC, sanctions which punish coaches, players and fans who are totally innocent of any wrongdoing, while those in charge at the time of the alleged infractions are earning good money elsewhere. What is the sense of sanctions which punish the innocent?? What is the sense of rules that bear little relationship to the money realities of college football -- just look at the conference shifting by universities -- this is big bucks and big business. The entire rationale of amateur purity in "sport" for the NCAA sanctions is ludicrous. It offends our sense of justice. If the "institutions" at fault are to be punished, then high money fines should be imposed against those institutions. Leave the innocent people out of it.
YPPSYS calls it: 42-20 for USC.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Villanova at Temple. Temple was a greatly improved team last year, but they lost to Villanova 27-24 at home in last year's opener. Can Al Golden's constantly improving Owls now beat 'Nova, last season's FCS national champions? It should be close, but it is a definite possibility.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-23 for Temple.

Arizona (favored by 15.5 points) at Toledo. In Pac 10 Conference play last year, the Wildcats not only beat USC 21-17 but were theoretically just a few seconds away from a Rose Bowl berth, only to lose in two overtimes to Oregon and have to settle for the Holiday Bowl, where they were blitzed by the Nebraska Cornhuskers 33-0, a singularly impressive Husker win, as Arizona had scored no less than 16 points in any game in 2009. Arizona should be on the prowl this year to make amends for a season that was better than it was, but you have to be on your guard in Toledo.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-17 for Arizona.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Miami of Ohio at Florida (favored by 36 points). The Redhawks were one of the worst 10 teams in FBS football last year so that this is a mismatch against the mighty Gators.
YPPSYS calls it: 62-3 for Florida.

Samford at Florida State. I had to look it up in the Wikipedia, where it says that Samford should not be confused with Stanford - right - and that "Samford University is a private, coeducational, Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated university located in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, United States." The Bulldogs, 5-6 last season, play in the same league as Appalachian State, against whom they lost 20-7 in 2009. The Seminoles are an unkown quantity as Jimbo Fisher takes over as head coach from the legendary Bobby Bowden.
YPPSYS calls it: 41-14 for Florida State.

Youngstown State at Penn State. The Penguins were 6-5 last year, losing to Pittsburgh 38-3. "JoePa" Paterno, who will turn 84 years of age in December, 2010, is entering his 45th season as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, and his 61st at Penn State. The magic number for Papa Joe and his team this year is 11. If Penn State wins 11 games, it would give all Penn State teams a total of 822 wins and 411 of those would be wins under Paterno as head coach (they currently have 811 wins and 400 of those belong to "JoePa". . He would have half of all the wins ever of Nittany Lions football teams. If Penn State went undefeated in their 12 games, he would have MORE than half of all wins. Truly amazing. Could Penn State beat Alabama on September 11, 2010? They could, they could. Then it would be off to the races. If I were a Penn State player today, that is what I would play for - a special team of glory for a head coach who has gone to 36 bowl games and had 5 undefeated teams --thus far. Will these be the year of freshman QB Robert Bolden?
YPPSYS calls it:  41-7 for the Nittany Lions.

Western Michigan at Michigan State (favored by 21.5 points). The Spartans (6-7 last year with a 41-31 Alamo Bowl loss to Texas Tech) remain in the State of Michigan for their first seven games this season, with six home games and one away game at the Michigan Wolverines, which should prove advantageous.
YPPSYS calls it: 38-20 for the Spartans.

Eastern Illinois at Iowa. The Panthers were 8-4 last year, losing to Penn State 52-3. The Hawkeyes have a talented coach in Kirk Ferentz. Last year they won 4 games by 3 points or less and lost twice, once by 7 and once in overtime, to Ohio State. Because the Hawkeyes lack overwhelming dominance, there is a fine line between victory and defeat. On any given day, Iowa can beat any team in the country, but they are also going to lose one or two close ones.
YPPSYS calls it:  51-0 for Iowa.

LA Lafayette at Georgia (favored by 28.5 points). The Ragin' Cajuns lack the physicality of the Bulldogs and were 6-6 last year, with a hallmark win over Big 12 Kansas State. Georgia has fielded very strong teams the past decade but head coach Mark Richt may sometimes be too easy in his dealings with players, as off-field problems have escalated. Players have to be given sensible limits and those limits have to enforced by the head coach, whose authority is important in directing a successful team. There has to be discipline on and off the field. That is a part of good coaching, especially in the modern age, where temptations are plentiful.
YPPSYS calls it:  34-10 for Georgia.

Missouri (favored by 12.5 points) at Illinois. The Tigers were a disappointing 8-5 last year, even losing inexplicably to Baylor and 35-13 to Navy in the Texas Bowl. The Illini lost 37-9 to the Tigers last year in a 3-9 season marked by very poor defense. An extremely capable Vic Koenning is the new defensive coordinator in 2010 and that should make a big difference in the Illini season, as Koenning's defense made a difference of 12 points per game in the previous season at Kansas State. Since YPPSYS sees Mizzou as 12 points better based on last year's stats, this would make the Illini even with the Tigers if the defense has gotten that much better under his tutelage.
YPPSYS calls it: 21-20 for the Illini.

South Carolina State at Georgia Tech. The FCS Bulldogs were 10-2 last year, losing only to South Carolina 38-14 and to Appalachian State 20-13. Georgia Tech had an excellent year, going 11-3 in the won-loss column but losing 24-14 to Iowa in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 52-10 for the Yellow Jackets.

Weber State at Boston College.The Wildcats were 7-5 last season, losing to Wyoming 29-22. The Eagles were 8-5, losing to USC 24-13 in the Emerald Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it 44-7 for Boston College.

Colorado (favored by 12.5 points) at Colorado State. For financial reasons, the Buffaloes are remaining one year longer in the Big 12 before they move to the Pac 10. Last year the Rams upset the Buffs 23-17.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-24 for Colorado.

Northwestern State at Air Force. The Demons had a perfect record last year, losing every game for an 0-11 record, including a 68-13 beating by Baylor. The Falcons were 8-5, including two overtime losses and a narrow 20-17 loss to TCU.
YPPSYS calls it: 52-7 for the Falcons.

North Texas at Clemson (favored by 23.5 points).  According to YPPSYS stats, the Mean Green were the 4th most improved team in the country last year, losing only 53-7 to Alabama, but that will help them little against the much stronger Tigers.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-14 for Clemson.

Coastal Carolina at West Virginia. The Chanticleers were 5-6 in 2009, losing 18-0 to Kent State. The Mountaineers were 9-4 last year, losing 33-21 to Florida State in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 38-14 for the Mountaineers

Connecticut at Michigan (favored by 3 points). This is a very tough opening game for a rebuilding Michigan team whose head coach Rich Rodriguez is running out of excuses. The Huskies were 8-5 closing out the season with 4 straight wins including a 20-7 win over SEC South Carolina in the Bowl. The five losses were by a total of 15 points, with no loss by more than 4 points.
YPPSYS calls it: My better half is a University of Michigan grad so I am calling it 31-27 for the Wolverines, but that might be a stretch.

Jacksonville State at Mississippi. The Gamecocks were 8-3 last year, losing to Georgia Tech 37-17 and to Florida State 19-9, so this team is no pushover. Ousted Oregen QB Masoli is trying to get an NCAA clearance to play for the Rebels. Ole Miss should sport a tough defense and be 5-0 by the Alabama game on October 16.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-13 for Ole Miss.

Texas (favored by 28.5 points) at Rice. The Owls were one of the ten worst teams in FBS Division I-A football last year. Highly-ranked Texas has lost Colt McCoy and it remains to be seen whether a number of departed stars can be replaced. We do not expect Texas to be as strong this year as last.
YPPSYS calls it: 61-7 for Texas.

New Mexico at Oregon (favored by 34 points). The Lobos were 1-11 last year in a rough season on and off the field. At Oregon, starting QB Masoli has gone to Mississippi, to be replaced by Darron Thomas in this game.
YPPSYS calls it: 45-13 for Oregon.

Purdue at Notre Dame (favored by 11 points). Purdue incredibly beat Ohio State last year, but lost to a much weaker Notre Dame team. This year, a new era for the Fighting Irish dawns. The biggest loss by score last year for Notre Dame was the last game of the season, where Stanford beat them by 7 points, 45-38. The other five losses were closer. Hence, under new coach Brian Kelly, anything is possible, even an undefeated season, as the margin between victory and defeat last year was small. They need only a shift of 8 points to win them all. Read the article by Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times, Notre Dame's offense truly something to behold.
YPPSYS calls it: 41-24 for the Fighting Irish.

UCLA at Kansas State (favored by 3 points). The Bruins were 7-6 last year thanks to a 30-21 win over Temple in the EagleBank Bowl. They face problems at many positions. Bill Snyder has the Wildcats (6-6 last year) heading back in the right direction and they might even garner a bowl invitation this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-21 for the Wildcats.

Kentucky (favored by 3 points) at Louisville. The Cardinals under first year head coach and former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong of Florida could surprise this year and will sport a new spread offense. Kentucky has been plagued by injuries and might not be as strong as expected.
YPPSYS calls it: 21-17 for Louisville.

UC Davis at California. Cal closed out its season last year with a 42-10 washout at Washington and then lost 37-27 to Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl so that not too much can be expected in 2010. UC Davis was 6-5, losing to Boise State 34-16.
YPPSYS calls it: 38-23 for Cal.

South Dakota at UCF. The FCS Coyotes were 5-5 last year, struggling on defense. The Knights were 8-5 and lost to Rutgers 45-24 in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 38-14 for UCF.

Tennessee-Martin at Tennessee.The Skyhawks were 5-6, losing to Eastern Illinois 49-13. The Volunteers are starting out this season with new head coach, Georgia Law School graduate Derek Dooley. Intelligence is a nice asset in a head coach and his football savvy comes from his legendary father, coach Vince Dooley. We are optimistic for the Vols this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 56-7 for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Richmond at Virginia. Richmond this year has a new head coach in Latrell Scott, who replaces the very successful Mike London, winner of the FCS national championship in 2008. London starts out his first year as head coach of Virginia, making this a very unusual matchup between those two teams. Aaron Corp, a transfer from USC, will start the game for Richmond. London is creating a new bonding, team spirit for the Cavaliers that always results in more wins than expected. Success breeds success.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-21 for Virginia.

Western Carolina at North Carolina State. The Catamounts were 2-9 last season losing 45-0 to Vanderbilt to open the season but improving and coming close to Appalachian State in a 19-14 season-ending loss. Head coach Tom O'Brien has struggled to bring the Wolfpack up to snuff and has made little progress in 3 years. Will this be the year?
YPPSYS calls it: 38-14 for North Carolina State.

Syracuse (favored by 9 points) at Akron.The Orange were 4-8 last year and lit a spark with a 31-13 win over Rutgers which however evaporated in a final game 56-31 drubbing by Connecticut, but it was only Doug Marrone's first season of total resurrection for a previously decaying Orange, who needed a tough taskmaster and they got one, as Nolan Weidner of The Post-Standard writes:
"Marrone turned off the music that used to play at the start of football practices. He banned facial hair on players, and he changed the game-day dress code from sweatsuits to suits and ties. He put a new emphasis on the classroom, community service and leadership, instituting programs for more effective studying and for better communication between players and coaches."
Will this team be MUCH better this year? It is hard to believe not. Discipline on and off the field is one of the keys to winning.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-7 for Syracuse.

Sacramento State at Stanford. The Hornets were 5-6 last year, losing 38-3 to UNLV. Stanford comes off a splendid 8-5 season in which they beat USC 55-21 and made it to the Brut Sun Bowl, their first bowl game in a 8 years, where they lost a close one to Oklahoma 31-27. Under now 4th-year Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh we think that the Stanford team will be even better this year and the incoming recruiting class was ranked 5th in the nation by  The defense has improved, which has been a weak point, because it is defense that ultimately wins football games. Not only do eight starters return on offense, but Stanford may also have the nation's best college quarterback in Andrew Luck. Stanford even has a chance to go undefeated, but to do that, they will also have to beat Notre Dame, which will be tough.
YPPSYS calls it: 61-6 for the Cardinal.

San Jose State at Alabama (favored by 39.5 points). It is your first game as a college football head coach for a team with one of the worst defenses in the country last year and you face last year's national champions headed by a coach clearly ranked among the best ever. What is your strategy? That is the question facing the Spartans Mike MacIntyre and the Spartans new team coaches. You can be sure that a good part of that strategy will be defense, defense, defense. The Crimson Tide should be surprised some by the unexpected resistance, but otherwise the Spartans can just try to keep the score down. They will be helped by the fact that Saban is not only a great coach, but he rightly sees no sense in running the score up against weaker teams, rather giving reserves a chance to play.
YPPSYS calls it: 44-3 for the Crimson Tide.

Memphis at Mississippi State (favored by 21 points). Fledgling head coach Larry Porter has a tough job on his hand with a Tigers team that went 2-10 last year and had a leaky defense. The Bulldogs on the other hand were 5-7 last year in a season hallmarked by their 41-27 win over in-State rival and then ranked Ole Miss at season's end. Second-year coach Dan Mullen, the former offensive coordinator at the University of Florida and QB coach of Utah under Urban Meyer for the undefeated 2004 Utes, is building a powerhouse at Starkville at Mississippi's largest university by enrollment.
YPPSYS calls it:  45-10 for Mississippi State.

Stephen F. Austin at Texas A&M. The Lumberjacks were 10-3 last year, but got unexpectedly annihilated in their last game 51-0 by Montana. The Aggies are loaded on offense but were 6-7 after losing to Georgia in the Independence Bowl 44-20, although their worst losses were to Oklahoma 65-10 and Kansas State 62-14. Serious work had to be done on that defense and so former Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter has been brought in, so that A&M will be a stronger team this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 55-7 for the Aggies.

Bowling Green at Troy State (favored by 14.5 points). The Trojans were 9-4 last year losing 44-41 in overtime to Central Michigan. They lost on the road to the Falcons 31-14 to open the season. This time the game is on their home field.  By comparison, Bowling Green lost to the Chippewas 24-10.
YPPSYS calls it:  31-27 for Troy State

Utah State at Oklahoma (favored by 31 points). The Aggies worst loss last year was 52-21 to Boise State. Oklahoma (8-5 last year after 4 close losses) is always loaded with talent and this year is no exception, as Phil Steele puts them at Nr. 1 in the nation. The Sooners play Texas October 2 at home and except for September 11 and 25 matches against Florida State and Cincinnati, neither of which team should be able to beat Oklahoma, they should go into the Big 12 Championship game undefeated against an equally undefeated Husker team, as we predict both teams will beat Texas. The key for Oklahoma is to improve their pass defense and to get more consistency in their offense.
YPPSYS calls it: 65-7 for the Sooners.

Washington at BYU (favored by 3 points). Check out David Wharton's article at the Los Angeles Times about the off-season conditioning of the Washington players. Look out Huskers on September 18 - be prepared! The Huskies finished last season with an impressive 42-10 win over ranked California and could beat the more highly regarded BYU in this game, a team which might be a bit weakened by the controversy over where it belongs conference-wise.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-26 for Washington.

Western Kentucky at Nebraska (favored by 37 points). Will the Huskers leave the Big 12 at the end of this year to go to the Big 10 as national champions? New head coach Willie Taggart has come to Western Kentucky from Stanford and he is certain to greatly improve the Hilltoppers this season, but this game remains a real mismatch. The Hilltoppers (0-12 in 2009) have the longest losing streak in FBS football at 20 games and were ranked 118th out of 120 teams in our YPPSYS rankings last season. They run the risk of being destroyed by the Husker defense, which might well send the score spiraling upwards, even if the Cornhuskers have not optimized their own offense yet, as the QB position is still unclear. If the Huskers don't get ambushed by Washington on September 18 and if they can beat Texas at home on October 16, they should be undefeated in the regular season going into the Big 12 Championship game - we predict against Oklahoma - and could stamp a ticket to the national championship -- a revenge game against Virginia Tech. But those are big ifs.
YPPSYS calls it: 70-0 for the Huskers.

Grambling State at Louisiana Tech. The Tigers were 8-5 last year but lost to Oklahoma State 56-6 and are not the formidable team they were years ago. New Bulldogs head coach Sonny Dykes who replaced Derek Dooley just suspended 4 players.
YPPSYS calls it: 43-14 for Louisiana Tech.

Wofford at Ohio. The FCS Terriers struggled through an unaccustomed injury-plagued losing 3-8 season in 2009 and are certain to be much better this year. The Bobcats had an excellent 9-5 season in 2009, losing to a rapidly improving Marshall team 21-17 in the Little Caesars Bowl. This game could be close.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-24 for Ohio.

Arkansas State at Auburn (favored by 30.5 points). The Red Wolves disappointed with a 4-8 record last year, losing to Nebraska 38-9 but to ranked Iowa only 24-21, and yet still lost 6 other games to much weaker teams. Who can explain it? At Auburn, we love the wide-open style of football called by Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Coaches often forget that football is a spectator sport, so why not give them action? Of course you can not neglect the defense, which wins football games and that is where Auburn must improve. Auburn has been recruiting for speed and should start to run rings around many teams.
YPPSYS calls it: 61-14 for Auburn.

Army (favored by 9.5 points) at Eastern Michigan. The Black Knights, 5-7 last season, are aiming to reach a bowl game this year and they may make it. For Eastern Michigan, the first lesson for a good head coach is not to offer his opinions unnecessarily about potentially controversial topics. Ron English, former defensive coordinator at Michigan, not only had an extremely rough season in his first year as head coach as the Eagles went 0-12, but his comments about the sons of single mothers and their role to taking orders from men have raised much negative and needless controversy. Do not expect Eastern Michigan to show much improvement this season. Army beat them last year 27-14.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-10 for Army.

Tennessee Tech at Arkansas. The 6-5 Golden Eagles lost 38-0 to Georgia and 49-7 to Kansas State last year. The Razorbacks of Bobby Petrino have a juggernaut of an offense with 6'7" QB Ryan Mallet.

YPPSYS calls it: 59-7 for Arkansas.

Sam Houston State at Baylor. The 5-6 Bearkats lost 56-3 to Tulsa last season. The Baylor Bears started strong last year, winning 3 of 4 non-conference games and then were ground to dust in the brutal Big 12, finishing 4-8.
YPPSYS calls it: 61-7 for Baylor.

Elon at Duke. Elon lost 35-7 to Wake Forest last year as the Phoenix had an excellent 9-3 season. The Blue Devils have been steadily improving after a 1-11 season in 2007, going 5-7 last year.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-7 for Duke.

Stony Brook at South Florida. Last year the Seawolves lost 44-17 to Massachusetts. The Bull's Jim Leavitt has left amidst controversy and the new head coach is Skip Holtz from East Carolina, who inherits a team that won 8 games last year and beat Northern Illinois in the International Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 52-7 for South Florida.

North Dakota State at Kansas. The 3-8 Bison lost to Iowa State last year 34-17. There is every reason to expect Turner Gill to be successful as the new head coach at Kansas, replacing Mark Mangino. Do nice guys win as coaches - yes. That was Tom Osborne's trademark. Be respectful. It is called leadership.
YPPSYS calls it: 56-7 for Kansas.

Washington State at Oklahoma State (favored by 16.5 points). The Cougars were 1-11 last year, saved from a winless season only by a miracle win over a much better SMU team. The Cowboys are rebuilding after a disappointing 9-4 year and a 21-7 loss to Mississippi in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 51-14 for the Cowboys.

Northwestern (favored by 5 points) at Vanderbilt. The Wildcats were 8-5 last year, losing in overtime to Auburn 38-35 in the Outback Bowl. Vandy was 2-10 in the SEC but played tough, even when losing.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-24 for Northwestern.

Oregon State at TCU (favored by 12.5 points). The Beavers lost the big Rose Bowl decider to Oregon 37-33 and then was defeated by BYU 44-20 in the MAACO Bowl Law Vegas to finish 8-5. TCU was undefeated in the regular season but then the Horned Frogs lost in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl 17-10 to Boise State to finish 12-1.
YPPSYS calls it : 21-10 for TCU.

LSU at North Carolina (favored by 1 point). The Tigers finished the past season 9-4 after losing 19-17 to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl, losing 13-3 and 24-15 to Florida and Alabama during the regular season, plus a 25-23 loss to Ole Miss. North Carolina was 8-5 including season closing losses to NC State 28-27 and to Pittsburgh in the Meineke Car Care Bowl 19-17. The Tar Heels are currently embroiled in an academic conduct investigation.
YPPSYS calls it: 27-26 for LSU.

Texas State at Houston. The Bobcats were 7-4 and lost to TCU 56-21 last season. The Cougars were 10-4 last year with some impressive wins against good teams and puzzling regular season losses to weaker teams. Houston lost 47-20 against the Air Force in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it: 51-24 for Houston.

Nicholls State at San Diego State. The Colonels were 3-8 last year, losing 72-0 to Air Force. Brady Hoke has already greatly improved the Aztecs (4-8 last year) and that process should continue this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 49-14 for the Aztecs.

Southern Utah at Wyoming.Wyoming was 7-6 last year with a 2OT 35-28 victory over Fresno State in the NEW MEXICO BOWL as head coach and former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen steadily improves the Cowboys.
YPPSYS calls it: 38-7 for Wyoming.

Arkansas Pine Bluff at UTEP. The Golden Lions were 5-5 last season. The 4-8 Miners were a mystery team in 2009, losing one week to Texas 64-7 and beating then-ranked Houston 58-41 the following week.
YPPSYS calls it: 41-6 for UTEP.

Cincinnati at Fresno State (favored by 2).The Q&A at Bill Koch's UC Athletics Blog at the Cincinnati Enquirer should dispell any doubts about the quality of new head coach Butch Jones among those sorrowing over the departure of Brian Kelly.
YPPSYS calls it: 31-30 for Cincinnati.

Portland State at Arizona State. The Vikings were 2-9 last year, losing to Oregon State 34-7. The Sun Devils (4-8 last year) should have an improved team this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 41-6 for the Sun Devils.

Wisconsin (favored by 20.5 points) at UNLV. The Rebels were 5-7 last year with losses to strong teams. The Badgers were 10-3 in 2009, beating Miami of Florida 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl.
YPPSYS calls it:  31-14 for Wisconsin.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tulsa (favored by 7.5 points) at East Carolina. The Golden Hurricane were 5-7 last year as the offense sputtered and the defense deflated, losing e.g. to Oklahoma 45-0 and to East Carolina 44-17, which has lost Skip Holtz to South Florida and is now coached by Ruffin McNeill, former defensive coordinator at Texas Tech.
YPPSYS calls it: 24-17 for East Carolina.

SMU at Texas Tech (favored by 13.5 points). June Jones has resurrected the Mustangs. SMU was 8-5 in 2009 and finished the season with a 45-10 win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Texas Tech was 9-4, including a shocking 31-10 win over Nebraska and a 41-31 win over Michigan State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Red Raiders, now coached by Tommy Tuberville, replacing Mike Leach, have an extremely strong team potentially, but have to be very careful about a vastly improved Mustangs team. Still, Texas Tech has two QBs, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, who would start at most schools, and we regard footwork-fast "Shifty" Sheffield to be the best of the two when he is on target. Tuberville will be working hard to fix the defunct defense.
YPPSYS calls it: 51-24 for the Red Raiders.

Monday September 6, 2010

Navy (favored by 6.5 points) at Maryland. The Midshipmen were 10-4 last year with a closing 35-13 win over Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Any team without a very good rushing defense has no chance against Navy. The Terrapins were 2-10 in the past season and had an average rushing defense.
YPPSYS calls it: 42-13 for Navy.

Boise State (favored by 2.5 points) at Virginia Tech. The Broncos return 22 of 24 starters from an undefeated 14-0 team. Boise State and TCU both got the BCS shaft last year in a bowl game matchup of the two teams rather than having each team play one of the BCS biggies, who they each might have beaten. There is no question that Boise State is a top 10 team to start out the year, but according to our YPPSYS stats, Virginia Tech was the 6th most improved team in FBS last year, and they were already very good prior to that. Because of their defense, they led Alabama for 3 quarters last year before disintegrating at game end. Look out! These Hokies now have both a defense AND an offense and will be hard to beat by anyone, even if the Broncos likely will win all of their remaining games this year.
YPPSYS calls it: 17-16 for the Hokies.

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