A pair of 9-3 teams go at it in a MAC title game that might actually be worth tuning in to see. At best, it’s a showcase of ‘double-deuce’ offenses– units gaining 200+ yards both rushing and passing – as Ohio averages 212 RYPG and 250 PYPG compared to NIU’s 255 and 233 YPG, respectively. At worst, it’s an opportunity for two programs that have been left at the altar in previous conference championship appearances to fi nally hoist the trophy. This Friday evening trip to Detroit marks the Bobcats’ third chance at the overall league title in seven seasons under current head coach Frank Solich (1-1 ATS) while the Huskies have lost and failed to cover MAC title games in 2005 and 2010. Last year’s defeat was particularly exasperating for Northern Illinois: coping with the news that then-head coach Jerry Kill would be leaving DeKalb to take over the top spot at Minnesota, the 19-point favorite sled dogs were stunned by Miami Ohio, 26-21. This year, however, NIU mushes to Motown riding a seven-game SU win streak and planning to pay back Ohio for a 38-31 loss in their last meeting (2009). The Bobbies boast a current fi ve-game win skein of their own and have cashed in the last three meetings with the Huskies. The boys from Athens can also claim a spotless 5-0 ATS record as Weekday dogs and a 5-1 ATS mark as underdogs of 6 or fewer points. In addition, our database leans to the Bobcats as it tells us dogs in MAC title games are a toothsome 7-1-1 ATS versus a foe off a SU win. Don’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire: six of Ohio’s eight conference games were one-possession affairs decided by a combined total of just 23 points – and fi ve of those were decided in the fi nal minute of play! Tough to buck a Northern Illinois team that’s committed a paltry three turnovers in its last fi ve games but we’ll go with the green-and-white to grab the green in 2011’s leadoff conference title showdown.
You probably didn’t see this one coming. Yes, we realize that the 6-5 Cyclones have very little to play for while the Wildcats are looking for their fi rst 10-win season since 2003 and a possible at-large invite to a BCS bowl game. However, our MIDWEEK ALERT reminds us that K-State hasn’t been as ‘AWESOME’ as one would think this season and our ‘Cross Dresser’ ditty on page 2 cements it. In fact, the Manhattan Cats look to be the phoniest 9-2 team to come down the pike in quite some time. Not only is Bill Snyder’s squad 1-8 ‘In the Stats’ the last nine games, they have been outgained by an average of 60 YPG on the season. And to top it off, Iowa State holds a 53-YPG net advantage against eight common opponents played this campaign. Our PLAYBOOK.com database further reminds us that ISU is 5-2 ATS as double-digit dogs with conference revenge and 4-1 ATS on the road after dealing with Oklahoma while the Wildcats are 0-3 ATS as double-digit chalk in LHG’s and 0-3 ATS after tangling with Texas
versus a foe off back-to-back ATS wins. And while our NCAA Coaches League even has a say in the matter as Cyclones’ HC Paul Rhoads owns eight SU underdog wins (four this season) in his three years with ISU. In addition, Rhoads is a steady 6-1 ATS as a double-digit dog versus an opponent off a SU and ATS win. The clincher, though, once again comes from our powerful database as it notes: Iowa State is 10-1 ATS with triple revenge-exact versus a foe off a SU win, including 5-0 ATS if the foe arrives with back-to-back SU victories. Yes, Kansas State has a ‘real’ 9-1 ATS ledger this campaign but that brings plenty of value to a double-digit blue-collar dog that doesn’t have a phony ‘bone’ in its body. As Eddie Albert said, “Keep Manhattan but give me that countryside”… outright!
DETROIT over New Orleans by 3
Originally, it was supposed to be the Colts and the Pats featured in this Sunday night contest but thankfully NBC called off the horses and replaced that 21-point mismatch with this important NFC showdown. The Lions suddenly fi nd themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture but a win tonight in the Superdome would give them at least a leg up over the Saints in the wild card race should the Falcons wind up winning the South. We’re certain that the Lions don’t want to get in a shootout with Brees and company (just ask the Giants) and they’ll count on a defense that has held two of three foes (Bears and Packers) to season-low yards since their Bye week. And while New Orleans’ 0-4 ATS log after a Monday night game along with HC Sean Payton’s 2-9 ATS mark as a favorite versus a .500 or greater opponent off a SU loss clearly tells us that the Lions stay within the number,Detroit’s 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS record in its last seven road games says the outright win is within reach. As does the Lions’ 5-3 SU and ATS mark in this series when taking points, along with a 6-3 SU record in their last nine Dome games. Suh or not, we’ll look for the visitors to stomp the hosts – and we’re not offering up any apologies!
NY GIANTS over Green Bay by 6
With three home games and only a road trip to KC left on the slate, it appears as if the G-Men are the only thing standing in the way of Green Bay’s perfect regular season. And wouldn’t it be apropos if theGiants spoiled the Packers 2011 campaign? After all, if they didn’t blow a 21-point lead with less than nine minutes to play against the Eagles in Week 14 last season, the Packers would have never even made the playoffs. While we know it’s getting old trying to beat the Pack week in and week out, our MIDWEEK ALERT is not about to give up. Unless you subscribe, you probably didn’t realize that GB is 1-5 ‘ITS’ over its last six games, allowing season high – or 2nd high –yards in fi ve of those contests. And while the Giants’ 12-8 SU and 13-7 ATS record after playing on Monday, along with Tom Coughlin’s 11-8 SU and 12-5-3 ATS mark versus .1000 opposition (including 2-1 SU
and 3-0 ATS as a home dog) is all good, the real gem comes from our database: since 1980, undefeated NFL teams from Game Twelve out are 17-8 SU and 7-18 ATS, including 0-6 ATS away versus non-division opposition. Yes, we realize that the Pack played last Thursday while the Giants played this past Monday but teams with this added rest advantage are only 10-9 ATS since 1982. And then there were none.