Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM
COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE - WE HIT THE REWIND BUTTON ON THE 39 BOWLS PLAYED WITH KEY SPREAD STATS & MORE ...
NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND COMIN'' FAST
Okay, everyone, you can take a breath now!
The 39 College Football Bowl Games that flooded the air waves from December 15, 2018 thru January 1, 2019 have come to an end ... the season is now down to one game called the National Championship and it''s being played Monday night with the "usual suspects" hooking up:
We''ll have plenty to say about #2 Clemson vs. #1 Alabama in the next few days including an in-depth preview in Monday''s Jim Sez column but we thought it''s a good time to digest some of what we''ve just seen from the bowl wars ... so here goes as we offer up a batch of fun categories:
BEST CONFERENCE SPREADWISE (AND WHY) - The Big 12
As you can see from our accompanying chart below, the Big 12 rattled off a sizzling 6-1 ATS (against the spread) mark in its bowl games with TCU, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas all snagging pointspread wins while only West Virginia (what else is new!) failed to cover the number at bowl times. Okay, so many folks predicted doom-and-gloom for Big 12 teams in these bowls - nobody plays defense, etc. - but the fact is TCU held Cal to 7 points, Oklahoma State kept Missouri to a subpar 33 points and Texas smothered lifeless Georgia in the Sugar Bowl while holding the Dawgs to 21 points.
THE POWER 5 POINTSPREAD RE-CAP
Go down the list of the five power conferences - that''s the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC -- and you''ll see they exited the bowls with a cumulative pointspread mark of 24-20-0 ATS (a .545 winning rate). Dig a little deeper and you''ll see that the Power 5 teams registered a 4-1 spread log when playing non-Power 5 teams and that included LSU''s 40-32 win/cover against 7.5-point pup UCF in Tuesday''s Fiesta Bowl. In case you were wondering, the non-power conference teams went 15-19 against the odds with the American Athletic Conference swooning badly at 1-6 vig-wise.
THE FAVORITES VS. UNDERDOGS REPORT
Now, this is wild: After the first 11 games were played, Bowl Favorites were rolling in the dough at 8-3 ATS but - believe it or not - the dogs won the war with a 22-17-0 spread log and, of course, that included pups going an electric 9-2 vig-wise in the New Year''s Eve / New Year''s Day bowl tilts ... really, the only chalk-eaters to cover Dec. 31 / Jan. 1 games were Texas A&M over N.C. State and aforementioned LSU by a mere half point over UCF.
FINALLY, WHO WINS FOR BEST BOWL TEAM PERFORMANCE / BEST BOWL COACHING JOB / TOP INDIVIDUAL OUTING? AND WORST BOWL SHOWING?
Northwestern overcame a 20-3 halftime deficit to beat 6.5-point fav Utah 31-20 in the Holiday Bowl - no wonder everyone wants to hire head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Texas'' Tom Herman had his ''Horns good and ready for that rollicking 28-21 (and it was never that close) Sugar Bowl win against 13.5-point fav Georgia.
Congrats to Duke QB Daniel Jones who threw for 423 yards and 5 TDs in a 56-27 come-from-behind win against 3.5-point favorite Temple (one of the 18 Jim Hurley Network Bowl Winners).
Give the Miami Hurricanes the booby prize for worst bowl showing in that 35-3 Pinstripe Bowl loss to 2.5-point dog Wisconsin. No wonder ''Canes coach Mark Richt quit!
COLLEGE BOWL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
Through Tuesday, Jan. 1st
NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND
Wanna hear something really crazy? Seven of the eight teams that will be in action in this weekend''s NFL Wild Card Playoff Games didn''t make the post-season a year ago - the exception to the rule was (of course) the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
And if you wish to find out who comes in "hot" against the almighty pointspread, then it''s the Chicago Bears who''ve covered four in a row and nine of their last 10 games; the Dallas Cowboys who are 6-1-1 ATS since Nov. 11th; the Houston Texans who are 4-1-1 spreadwise in their last half-dozen tilts; the Los Angeles Chargers who are 6-3 vig-wise since a Week 8 bye; and the Seattle Seahawks who are 5-2-1 ATS since early November.
NOTE: NFL Wild Card Round Previews in the next couple of Jim Sez columns.