Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 8:25 PM
College football “Regular Season Win” totals are now up in the offshore world. We’ll be devoting weekends through the summer to our college football conference previews…and running through the early projections seemed like a perfect way to kick that off here on the final day of June.
There was a lot of talk this week about the new four-team playoff that will determine the college football national champion. It’s important to remember that it WON’T be in play this season! We’ll still have the standard BCS format that’s done a good job of isolating the best two teams in the country each season…largely because the best two teams in the country have been so dominant that no clear outsiders could have made an “after the fact” case that they were better than the team who won the trophy. The SEC plays the best football. The best in the SEC has been rightfully winning the trophy! Adding a semifinal round may just increase the number of teams getting bullied by the SEC.
We’ll start off our study of the popular college win props with a look at the teams who are in the national title race. Today’s report will focus exclusively on the top contenders. Part Two of this Weekend Special on Sunday will cover all the other teams (generally bowl caliber teams who will be on TV a lot) who also have numbers on the board offshore.
Remember that these are market win projections based only on REGULAR SEASON results. Conference championship games don’t count. Bowls don’t count. These are market projections from offshore based solely on the regular season schedule that each team is facing.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS
Southern Cal 10.5 (Under -120)
LSU 10 (Over -155)
Alabama 10 (Over -150)
Oregon 10 (Over -130)
Oklahoma 10 (Under -150)
Florida State 9.5 (Over -165)
Georgia 9.5 (Over -170)
Boise State 9.5 (Under -120)
Virginia Tech 9.5 (Under -125)
Southern Cal was playing great football down the stretch last year, in a season where they were ineligible to play in the postseason. They have the best mix of talent and schedule according to the market. Keep in mind that they will have to survive a Pac 12 championship game if they want to play for the BCS title. Since Oregon is the fourth team listed…that would likely be against the Ducks.
In fact, the season is already shaping up as the Pac 12 champion vs. the SEC champion based on those projections. This was a common theme last year until Oregon and Stanford failed to run the table, which set up the all-SEC yawner you remember between Alabama and LSU. Teams from other conferences will really have to impress to sneak into the big game.
Alabama and LSU, of course, are in the same division of the SEC…though they’re guaranteed a head-to-head meeting in the regular season. That’s set for November 3rd this year. Neither team can afford to get caught looking ahead to that game because the rest of the sports power block is dying to keep the SEC out of the mix this year!
Florida State has been a popular offseason choice to make history. Some major newsstand publications are predicting a national title for the Seminoles. You longtime readers of the NOTEBOOK know that we’re generally skeptical about FSU in terms of media hype. Even when they’re good, they’re not as good as their hype. Their quarterbacks aren’t as good as their hype. And, the team typically gets exposed when they step up in class (which happened in a home loss to Oklahoma last year where they were outplayed badly at the point of attack). We’ll stay open-minded about Florida State this year…particularly because they have a manageable schedule in the ever-softening ACC.
Georgia was in the headlines for the wrong reasons Friday morning. The market didn’t immediately adjust to the news of player misbehavior but may by the time you read this. We’re not sold on Mark Richt as a guy who can lead a team all the way to the top. The Bulldogs were badly outclassed by LSU 42-10 in last year’s SEC championship game, then lost in overtime to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. They do have a soft schedule this year…which will keep them in the media forefront all season if they don’t stub their toe.
Note that Boise State is still in the Mountain West this year. But, their schedule got softer because TCU left that league to join the Big 12. The chance to make a statement will come in the August 31st season opener at Michigan State. Losing that would knock them out of the title mix immediately. And, this is going to be a rebuilding year anyway with a new quarterback and only one starter returning on defense. This isn’t a vintage Boise State team…and they rate high in win projections mostly because of a very soft schedule.
Virginia Tech is another ACC team that is often overrated by ESPN (based partly on ESPN’s contract to show ACC games!). Yes, Beamer Ball can play with anybody on any given Saturday. But, they lose focus vs. a bad team at least once per season, and generally play a conservative offensive style that top defenses can shut down. If there was ever an 8-team of 16-team tournament, somebody like Virginia Tech might benefit because they do have athletes and they focus on fundamentals. Still, if either the Hokies or the Seminoles played in the SEC, fans and gamblers would have a more realistic picture of where they stood in the national picture.
We’ll be back tomorrow to run the numbers for darkhorses, other bowl bound teams, and others who have snuck into the summer discussions. Please remember that you can purchase early-bird football packages RIGHT NOW from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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Back with you Sunday to continue our discussion on college football regular season win totals. Your favorite team may not be part of the national title discussion (yet), but they’re probably looking at some marquee matchups and a bowl season. Among the teams under discussion Sunday will be Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, and Florida,
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