Why is there so much football strangeness circulating in Tucson, Arizona?
A week ago, a coaches poll voter looked at the University of Arizona, which hasn’t won a game in 23 months, and gave the Wildcats his vote for national ranking because, well, that’s what coaches poll voters do. Right?
Within 24 hours, betting lines told us that winless Arizona would defeat undefeated San Diego State. It was an impressive and bold prediction.
Until the game started.
SDSU only needed 98 seconds to take a lead that culminated in a 38-14 rout.
Then yesterday, a reporter from Tucson’s Arizona Republic told his readers that cross-state rival Arizona State, whose highest-ranked victim is 125th, is not only on a path to the PAC-12 Conference championship but the Sun Devils should be considered among the candidates for the national playoff.
Let’s go with that.
Someone really needs to check for peyote in the aquifers.
Although our Savvy Index rating system predicts Arizona (0-2) will finally get its first win, the prediction comes with considerable caution because Northern Arizona (0-2) has already played two FCS national contenders and played both of them rather well.
Two other winless PAC-12 teams are 15-point picks as California [0-2} is favored over Sacramento State [1-1], and Washington (0-2) is favored over Arkansas State (1-1).
But, keep an eye on the Washington game because the Huskies rank 127th for yards per rush, 106th for stopping the rush, and quarterback Dylan Morris is graciously gifting 7% of his passes to the other team.
Also, Arkansas State has added some big names to its program as former Tennessee coach Butch Jones is now the Red Wolves head coach, and former Florida State quarterback James Blackman is off to a great start in a system that fits him well.
I wonder if Husky head coach Jimmy Lake might now be interested in knowing how quarterbacks who transferred out of the Washington program are doing.
For example, would he think some wrong decisions were made if he knew that Jake Haener now leads the nation in passing yardage after transferring to Fresno State?
How about Jacob Sirmon, who transferred to Central Michigan and already has one 300-yard passing game against an SEC opponent and is now in the top third of the nation for number of touchdown passes.
We could mention former UW quarterbacks Ethan Garbers and Colson Yankoff, who both transferred to UCLA but let’s skip them for now since Garbers is only the top heir-apparent and not yet the starter, and Yankoff is a starter but only as a wide receiver.
In other games, the #5 Oregon Ducks (2-0) won’t be at much risk in flaunting newly-minted top-five status against Stony Brook University (1-1) (formerly SUNY) from the FCS. Duck fans should show a little heart since Stony is coming all the way across the country to lose by six touchdowns.
In other games, the Index shows Oregon State overcoming Idaho’s NFL prospect Mike Beaudry [42-24]; Stanford over Vanderbilt [30-21]; UCLA over Fresno State [36-24]; Utah over San Diego State [30-24]; USC over Washington State [35-27]; Colorado over Minnesota [27-24]; and BYU over Arizona State [28-20].
To see all 73 of our predictions for games this week, please visit us at savvygameline.com.
Around the nation . . .
A week ago, our system went against the odds and predicted Iowa’s win over Iowa State. It is doing it again this week with #16 Indiana (1-1) projected to upset #9 Cincinnati (2-0). The projected margin is 30-27.
Betting lines show Chattanooga (1-1) coming within ten points of Kentucky (2-0), but our ratings show Kentucky by 30+ as KU’s defense smothers the Mocs (yes, that’s their real nickname). Only a Kentucky turnover in the short field will get the Moc U. Chatters on the board.
Oddsmakers say #6 Oklahoma (2-0) is 22 points better than Nebraska (2-1). Still, the Cornhuskers’ trend lines have taken a sudden and impressive turn upward until our Index now sees a mere two-possession difference. Nebraska currently carries the metrics of a bowl team.
SMU’s Tanner Mordecai has already thrown 11 touchdown passes in just two games.
Experts are not predicting East Carolina (0-2) to win for the first time this season. For whatever reasons, it seems the Pirates have become the darlings of the prognostic world, even to the point of being predicted to beat South Carolina last week, which of course, didn’t happen. This week, the experts are finally calling for an ECU loss, although the 9.5 margin to Marshall (2-0) is only about half of what it should be.
There is a high upset alert when Purdue (2-0) visits third-ranked Notre Dame (2-0). The Fighting Irish may have won both of their games, but both were by only three points, and each was against an unranked opponent. There’s a gluttony of trouble in the land of the Dames, so it’s high time they put down the turnovers.
Last week . . .
The Index was 77-11 (87%) in predicting winners compared to 80% for the betting lines. Our system was three games better in predicting spreads, but an algorithm issue contaminated the over/unders.
Best predictions were:
Wisconsin over E Michigan, 37-7 [final was 34-7]
Cincinnati over Murray St., 44-7 [final was 42-7]
Kentucky over Missouri, 31-27 [final was 35-28]
Miami Fl over App State, 25-23 [final was 28-24]
The worst prediction for Savvy was USC over Stanford by 15. Stanford won by 14.
For the year, the Index is 84% accurate in predicting games (145-28) compared to betting lines which are 75% (77-25).