Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 5, Confidence Rules

7-1.

Just saying.

So what do we KNOW today?

Well, I KNOW that Ohio State is better than Michigan State. And I KNOW that Urban Meyer has esophageal issues. But that won't matter today. Ohio State will score and score again today. AND they are catching points. I'll let you have them, I'd take them straight up.

Ultimate, outside-the-SEC confidence: Ohio State +120

Next up, I'm going back to my man. Who is apparently now living a life of vengeance.

South Carolina at Kentucky. Steve's on a war path against Ron Morris, and sadly, he'll be taking it out on Joker Phillips. To compound it, Kentucky's administration spent last night denying that Joker had resigned.

Not good for the Wildcats.

South Carolina -20. No sweat.

Confidence is the way to go.

I'm on Twitter. It's like a peek into the brain of Einstein, Newton, Socrates, and Andy Kaufman all at the same time. You should follow me. @harry_long

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Confidence Again, 4th Edition

Did you know that the alternate keyboard key for 4 is '$'? You should, because it's right in front of you...

Let's call it Week $.

5-1 so far on confidence picks. It's all about what we KNOW.

Today's confidence:

Early game, so get moving. My boy Ron Higgins is down in New Orleans, and just put out that there is NO ONE in the Super Dome. That place is going to have no atmosphere, like a black hole for energy. Tulane's on something like their 5th string QB, and I also think it takes lots of teams a quarter or so to wake up on those 11a kicks.

Ole Miss/Tulane UNDER 53

He's let me down once this year, but don't do it to me again, Steve. Connor Shaw's got the start, and I believe he's going to let it fly. (When he should have Shaw run QB draws, because that is his best play.) A cover in this game is all on Shaw's shoulders. I'm confident that he'll deliver. And despite a grand three quarter effort against Georgia, Mizzou ain't ready for prime time, and we're getting to prime time.

Sahkerlina -10 vs. Mizzou

I'm off to take it all in. Check me on Twitter for more.

And you can do that here. @harry_long

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SEC Expectation Scorecard, Week 3 | The Expectation Battles

Updated expectation scoreboard for the SEC is here. But, I've been thinking (and I've known this for some time) - fan bases are incredibly short-term centric, and the changes in expectations from off-season to in-season are dramatic.

In this, lies either the inaccuracy or ingeniousness of my expectation scoreboard. We can account for both.

So I can get it out of the way, the updated preseason expectation scorecard:
Click to enlarge.
Tennessee +2
Ole Miss +1
Missouri +1
Miss State +1
Florida E
Georgia E
South Carolina E
Alabama E
LSU E
Texas A&M E
Auburn -1
Kentucky -2
Arkansas -2
Vandy -2

And, if we could all just remember (and stick with what we thought the season was going to be like, then this would probably be pretty accurate. Problem, like stated above, is that we change our expectations. This is where things get dangerous for coaches, because think about it - who is it that answers for expectations? The coaches. It's their fault or to their credit on where the team performs against them.

So, based on where you thought the Tennessee Vol fan base's expectations were going into this weekend, should they still be on top of these rankers?

Or how about Auburn barely holding on against ULM? To be only just below offseason expectations feels a bit generous doesn't it?

I bet you'd dock points from both.

Tennessee should be at EVEN - because they are doing exactly what you would have thought going into the year... with Dooley making a mess in his and Vol Nations' collective orange pants.

Auburn? If it wasn't for John L. Smith, Gene Chizik would have the lowest Q Score of all SEC coaches right now. (Apologies to Joker Phillips - he'd be up there too if anyone in Kentucky cared.)

And that ain't good - Chizik needs to set a higher bar than John L.

It works the other way, too - if your team is kicking ass, then you can get some bump. As in, I expected Alabama to win its first three games. I didn't expect them to beat the shit out of everyone like this. Plus 1 for Nasty Nick.

Georgia, South Carolina, and LSU are all right on with expectations so far - LSU really doesn't have a shot at picking anything up until October, so they'll have to hold tight (unless they throw up 80 on Auburn, then we can reconsider).

So, let's adjust the scorecard:
Ole Miss +1 (Hey, they shouldn't have been anywhere close to Texas Saturday, and they weren't. That's right in line.)
Missouri +1 (It's been a fine introductory season. They are where they should be, or even a little better.)
Miss State +1 (The Mullen train has got a shot to win 10 games. Holy mackerel.)
*Alabama +1 (From 'EVEN'. Stomping mudholes has become de facto in Tuscaloosa, but this is ridiculous.)
Florida E (Still not sold on the QB situation, as Florida has to continue to rely on Trey Burton's seventh year of eligibility to help them score. Good athletes all over, though, and that beats Tennessee.)
Georgia E (Playing northeast Georgia junior high teams.)
South Carolina E (Winning ugly, but I've become accustomed to it.)
LSU E (Just waiting on their season to begin.)
Texas A&M E (Not scoring at the rate Sumlin wants, so Sumlin should change his expectations.)
*Tennessee E (From +2. As far as expectations are concerned, the Vols fell in love after Week 1. Oh, they will be disappointed. Don't get those hopes up, Knoxville. And start passing the hat for Petrino before someone else does.)
Vandy -2 (I like James Franklin, the coach. Good attitude for Vandy, but the air is coming out of the balloon.)
*Auburn -3 (From -1. Fans are fed up, but they have been using the "but he's a good guy" excuse. Georgia fans must be lending it to them this year. The lack of player development at Auburn is starting to raise a lot of eyebrows. 5-19? Mmmph. Auburn fans were expecting a little more than this.)
*Kentucky -4 (From -2. There's one thing to lose to a team that's better than you, but when you are the state's university, you shouldn't be the third best team in the state. Bobby Petrino is #1 on speed dial.)
*Arkansas -Infinity (From -2. I don't know the keyboard code for 'infinity' so please pass along if you do. I called it from the jump that this was going to be a disaster. But boy, I had no idea it was going to be this bad.)

Now, I'm not sure this all makes sense, but I benefit from college fan bases and college sports from not making much sense, either. So don't hate on me, hate the game. But it's like the value of football tickets over the course of the season, expectations move with the successes and perceptions of the on-field product. Up and down.

Then after it's all over, you say, "Well, what did we expect was going to happen?"

I'm on Twitter, and it's an amazing experience. Promise. @harry_long

Saturday, September 15, 2012

For Some Reason This Didn't Make It Up Last Week. SEC Scoreboard

It was probably because I was busy and lazy. Regardless, the scorecard after Week 2, now that Week 3 has begun...
A little bit of movement after Week 2.
Alright, so this means the against-expectations-scorecard scoreboard:

Tennessee +2
Ole Miss +1
Miss State +1
Alabama E
LSU E
Florida E
Mizzou E
South Carolina E
Texas A&M E
Auburn -1
Vandy -2
Arkansas -2

Derek Dooley maintains the lead, and if they pull it out today, then it's even more boo-kooz for DD. But I think there's going to be some disappointment in Knoxville today. We'll see what I know.

I'm on Twitter, in case you'd be interested in real time commentary on ridiculousness. @harry_long

Semana Tres de Confianza

Back to what we know, because what we've known so far has been pretty good to us. 3-1 on confidence plays this year, and I've got more this week.

Texas at Ole Miss, and it's ONLY ten points on the spread? Vegas is buying into some Hugh Freeze story that I haven't read yet. Texas has been down for a few years, but they are still bigger, faster, and stronger than the SEC West's worst team. Like two touchdowns or more bigger, faster, and stronger.

So, yeah, Texas -10. #AintSkeered

And next, is Tennessee a lot better than I think they are? Would seem that people think that way since they are FAVORITES going into Knoxville.

That's crazy. Now, I've been one of the least impressed people with Florida so far this year - the team is an offensive disaster, in my opinion. But I don't think they will be letting anyone who wants to get behind their safeties like the Vols did against NC State 2 weeks ago.

Florida may not be Spurrier or Urban Florida, but they ain't NC State. Let's not get caught up in Derek Dooley hope.

I don't even need the points here. Wrong team favored, whatever you want to say.

Take Florida +130 on the moneyline and save the extra dough for that new iPhone.

I'm on Twitter throughout today, and really everyday. Give me a follow for more information that will change your life: @harry_long

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ladies (& Football Fan Bases) Love A Guy On A Motorbike

Every girl's crazy 'bout
a sharp dressed man.
Boy oh boy - it is now a legit discussion. Everybody wants Bobby Petrino.

And we aren't even talking about Tennessee fans. (Yet.)

I thought that the Petrino fire would last at least until October before teams/universities/athletic directors/fans would start to realize that nobody cares about people's transgressions as long as they are winning.

Gene's getting the heat.
Auburn fans were all over sports talk today clamoring for the dude. It's like this fan base is looking for a reason to put their coach on the hot seat. Prior to the season, you'd hear the "What has he done without Cam Newton?" rants. I'm all for a coaching controversy, and I understand that the numbers aren't overly impressive (a couple of 8-5 seasons) - but it was just 54 weeks ago that Auburn was the defending national champs.

I'm not overly impressed with where Auburn is right now, but this isn't the first time that Auburn has been without playmakers on the offensive end. Maybe Tiger fans are panicking like they did with Tuberville after Saban had arrived. That's not an Alabama-guy shot I'm taking. Tubs had just won 6 of 7 against Alabama, but the et. al. of Auburn didn't like how they felt about the direction and sent Tommy packing.

In defense of the headhunters, 54 weeks ago - you also had Gus Malzahn. Maybe Auburn fans need to add him to the candidate list.

But who else wants Petrino? According to Facebook and Twitter, Hog fans. Boy, that was a mad group about 11:00 Saturday night. To quote a Hog-friendly friend of mine:
Thanks Jeff Long for firing BMFP, but hey, like you said, at least our program has integrity...and now a loss to a Sun Belt team. What a joke...wins are what matters, brings in money, fills the seats, and wins championships, NOT integrity.
Followed up by:
Awesome...the Hog loss was just the lead story to start off Sportscenter. "Integrity goes a Long way." What a joke...
Paul still loves the Hogs, but he - and a lot of other Arkansas fans - ain't happy.

This is the risk you take with the high road. Like with Petrino, there are consequences for your actions. The question here is, a year from now, who will have better consequences - Arkansas football or Bobby Petrino?

I think we all know the real answer to that question.

Twitter twitter, blah blah, follow follow: @harry_long

Sunday, September 9, 2012

NFL Week 1 Plays

Saturday... AND SUNDAY FOOTBALL!!!

From the sound of Chris Berman's gruffness, I can tell the NFL is back for real. And I'm excited to win. I know much less about the NFL going into the season, as it's just too damn hard to predict offseason improvements, motivation levels of teams, players. Takes me awhile to get a feel.

Fortunately, I know people who do have a feel.

Here you go:

Jets -3
Chiefs +2'
Bucs +2'
Cardinals +2'

I'm on Twitter, give a follow: @harry_long

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Confidence Rules Again, Week 2

College football, Week 2.

Not too bad last week with the new confidence strategy. 2-0, and if Alabama plays like that the rest of the year (which isn't easy), I'm not sure who can beat them.

This week, we are doing the same strategy - go with what we KNOW, NOT what we THINK.

Here's what we know:

Auburn @ Mississippi State
Here's Chris Relf overthrowing someone.
Tyler Russell couldn't beat him out.
A couple of QBs, that in my view haven't won me over. Auburn doesn't have passing game weapons beyond the QB either. (Lutzenkirchen isn't exactly a deep threat.) State is rolling with Tyler Russell, who I liked in years' past, but only because the other option was Chris Relf - and the dude couldn't beat out Chris Relf. Tells me enough about his potential.

Plus, it's a morning game, the cowbells won't be as bourbon-infused, and - most importantly - it's an SEC game. It's going to fast players on the defensive side of the football.

What we KNOW is to take the under. (I got at 49', I've seen 48' - take it, buy a half if you can.)

AUBURN/MISS STATE UNDER

Another thing we know:

USC @ Syracuse
Lane Kiffin don't play, and he wants a Heisman winner for recruiting purposes. Huge numbers for Barkley again, USC in a total route.

USC -25'

Do what you need to do.

**Earlier post had a brain fart with USC playing Washington. Another one of those looking at something else while typing deals.

I'm on Twitter, you should follow me there for more bad life decisions. @harry_long

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The ATWOB SEC Scorecard

Well, it seems that Nick Saban continues to find large, fast, and strong young men to play football for him. Problem is, his young men are larger, faster, and stronger than your young men. If Alabama plays like that every weekend, I'm not sure who is going to beat them.

Auburn had the effort, but you could see that the inexperience at QB put them in a bad spot late, with Frazier taking sacks with no timeouts. With experience, the decision making will come.

Big winner of the weekend? The great Derek Dooley. Big win over NC State moves him up the ATWOB SEC Rankings - where the league's performance is judged against my prognostications. If you do as predicted, no points. If you win an undecided, plus one. Win or lose a game that you shouldn't have, plus or minus two.

It's just that easy.

The scorecard:

Updated scorecard - click to enlarge.

And the standings after Week 1...

Tennessee: +2
Everybody Else: Even

Keep in mind that it will be impossible for Alabama or LSU to win this scorecard, because they should win every game. This is a scorecard against expectations.

Look for some possible shakeups next week, as I was more than unimpressed with Florida. Still seems to be just an empty suit at QB in Gainesville. I also have no read at this point on State and Auburn. That one should be a good game, played ugly.

Post-script: It was just pointed out to me who the weekend's biggest loser was - Floyd Mayweather. Betting $3 million against Nick Saban only makes him angry, Floyd. You know better.

I'm on Twitter, you should be, too: @harry_long
Check out the Facebook page and Like that thing: Facebook.com/ATWOB

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Year, New Strategy?

Okay, so you'll know - I've been pretty good on baseball this year. Mostly because I take games that I know who is going to win. (Know = really damn confident)

Nothing says confidence like Steve.
I'm going to try and adopt that strategy this year with college football. Fewer games, more confidence. Because what would happen would be that I'd go 3-2 and end up with $30. That's really no good. It was great on the days when I'd go 5-0, but let's be honest, there weren't too many of those.

So there you have it. Fewer games, more confidence, 2012.

(Editor's note: This had been the strategy going into to Thursday and Friday, and I Harry did not follow the strategy. He currently sits at 1-3 on the year.)

From a Facebook conversation with my boy Roberto this morning:
Roberto: Who you liking today Longschanks?

Me: Lot of confidence in Alabama - look for them to hang back and force Denard to throw, and bring pressure when ball is on a far hash and push him to side with less room to scramble.
I took bama early and have them at -12'. If you can get below 14, do it.

Also like Clemson. Auburn losing their center less than a week out + an inexperienced QB isn't good against a Dabo defense.
And I believe this. Even more so with Michigan suspending their best running back. The only pause and why I don't like the number creeping up too high is that Alabama does not regularly score lots of points, and I don't see that time-of-possession philosophy changing. They like to make defenses work. So, if it's still achievable to grab at less than two full touchdowns, make the play.

Auburn with just too many question marks against a team that under-performed (to a degree) last year. Dabo spent a great amount of time on the hot seat last year, and then fooled around and won the ACC - and gets NO credit. This is a team (and coach) with something to prove. A high-profile win over an SEC school can help with that.

Couple that with not believing that Kiehl Frazier became John Elway in the offseason and the suspension of Auburn's center a few days out from the game, I see a lot of potential for confusion that Dabo's defense will be sure to create. Take the Tigers, Clemson.

And really, that's it. Sorry, just bet bigger, but with more confidence.

What I got:
Alabama -12'
Clemson -3

Check me out on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day in case I stray from my strategy. (Highly likely.)

Twitter: @harry_long
Facebook: ATWOB