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Top 25 – Week 12

November 14th, 2012 1 comment

By Phil Steele

Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-3 85% and on the year they are now 180-38 83%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which look to bounce back this week.

For projected box scores and last 14 years matchups, click here.

#1 Oregon vs #14 Stanford

Stanford has lost 2 games during the regular season in ‘10 and ‘11 and they were both to Oregon as the Ducks are 9-1 in this series. Last year the grass was wet and muddy which favored the bigger Cardinal but the speedy Ducks still won 53-30. The last time here SU actually led 21-3 after 1Q and 31-24 at the half but UO would score the only points in the 2H in the 52-31 home win. Last week the Ducks withstood injuries to their entire DL and brief absences by QB Mariota and Barner to win their 13th straight game overall 59-17 over Cal. Mariota threw 6 td’s and UO scored the game’s final 35 points after Cal cut it to 24-17 in the 3Q. SU is off a 27-23 win over OSU in a topsy-turvey game that saw Stanford race out to a 14-0 lead before OSU scored 23 straight points, then the Cardinal closed it out with 2 td’s. QB Hogan got his first start and completed 22-29-254-3-2 and they overcame a -3 TO deficit. UO has the Civil War on deck but after being crowned the AP’s new #1 team with GameDay on hand, look for the Ducks to keep their foot on the gas here as this is a terrible matchup for the slower Cardinal.

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Phil Steele’s Bowl Confidence Contest Picks!

December 16th, 2011 No comments

As of today here are my picks for the 2011-12 Bowl Confidence Contest. Naturally the team highlighted in green is my pick to win the game and the pts column represents how confident I am with that pick. I may or may not make a change tomorrow before the 2:00 PM ET deadline but will post the new picks (if there are some) in tomorrow’s blog. Enjoy and make sure you check out the information below on how to sign up for this year’s contest!

Phil Steele’s 2011-12 Bowl Confidence Picks

Date
Bowl Game
Time (ET)
TV
TEAM
VS
Pick
Pts
Dec. 30 Music City Bowl
6:40 PM
ESPN
Wake Forest
VS
Mississippi St
35
Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl
8:00 PM
ESPN
Arizona St
VS
Boise St
34
Dec. 21 Poinsettia Bowl
8:00 PM
ESPN
Louisiana Tech
VS
TCU
33
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl
7:30 PM
ESPN
Virginia
VS
Auburn
32
Dec. 30 Insight Bowl
10:00 PM
ESPN
Iowa
VS
Oklahoma
31
Dec. 31 Car Care Bowl
12:00 PM
ESPN
Northwestern
VS
Texas A&M
30
Jan. 6 Cotton Bowl
8:00 PM
FOX
Kansas St
VS
Arkansas
29
Dec. 29 Champs Sports
5:30 PM
ESPN
Notre Dame
VS
Florida St
28
Dec. 27 Belk Bowl
8:00 PM
ESPN
Louisville
VS
NC State
27
Jan. 4 Orange Bowl
8:30 PM
ESPN
West Virginia
VS
Clemson
26
Jan. 2 Capital One Bowl
1:00 PM
ESPN
Nebraska
VS
South Carolina
25
Dec. 28 Holiday
8:00 PM
ESPN
California
VS
Texas
24
Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl
9:00 PM
ESPN
Washington
VS
Baylor
23
Jan. 2 Outback Bowl
1:00 PM
ABC
Michigan St
VS
Georgia
22
Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl
8:00 PM
ESPN
Nevada
VS
Southern Miss
21
Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl
3:30 PM
ABC
Cincinnati
VS
Vanderbilt
20
Dec. 27 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
4:30 PM
ESPN
Purdue
VS
Western Mich
19
Dec. 30 Armed Forces Bowl
12:00 PM
ESPN
Tulsa
VS
BYU
18
Jan. 9 BCS Championship
8:30 PM
ESPN
LSU
VS
Alabama
17
Dec. 31 Fight Hunger Bowl
3:30 PM
ESPN
UCLA
VS
Illinois
16
Jan. 2 Gator Bowl
1:00 PM
espn2
Florida
VS
Ohio St
15
Jan. 7 Compass Bowl
1:00 PM
ESPN
SMU
VS
Pittsburgh
14
Dec. 31 Sun Bowl
2:00 PM
CBS
Georgia Tech
VS
Utah
13
Jan. 2 TicketCity Bowl
12:00 PM
espnU
Houston
VS
Penn St
12
Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl
8:30 PM
ESPN
Oklahoma St
VS
Stanford
11
Dec. 28 Military Bowl
4:30 PM
ESPN
Toledo
VS
Air Force
10
Dec. 20 St Petersburg Bowl
8:00 PM
ESPN
FIU
VS
Marshall
9
Jan. 3 Sugar Bowl
8:30 PM
ESPN
Michigan
VS
Virginia Tech
8
Jan. 8 GoDaddy.com Bowl
9:00 PM
ESPN
Northern Illinois
VS
Arkansas St
7
Dec. 30 Pinstripe Bowl
3:20 PM
ESPN
Iowa St
VS
Rutgers
6
Dec. 17 New Orleans Bowl
9:00 PM
ESPN
Louisiana
VS
San Diego St
5
Jan. 2 Rose Bowl
5:00 PM
ESPN
Wisconsin
VS
Oregon
4
Dec. 26 Independence Bowl
5:00 PM
espn2
North Carolina
VS
Missouri
3
Dec. 17 New Mexico Bowl
2:00 PM
ESPN
Wyoming
VS
Temple
2
Dec. 17 Idaho Potato Bowl
5:30 PM
ESPN
Utah St
VS
Ohio
1

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Week 12 Top 25 Forecasts

November 16th, 2011 3 comments

Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game. Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 13-7 (65%) and so far this season I am 176-39 (82%).

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week.

#1 LSU at MISSISSIPPI

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
LSU 245
168
39
1.5
-
MISSISSIPPI
106
128
4
2.7
-
Six of the L/9 in have been decided by a FG or less. LY The lead changed 6 times and UM was up 36-35 but allowed a 51/8pl TD drive w/:44 left. LTH Miles’ clock mismanagement cost LSU in a 25-23 loss in ‘09. LW it was announced that this will be Nutt’s final yr and the Rebels after jumping out to a 7-0 lead all’d 27 unanswered in the loss to La Tech. QB Mackey had his worst game in his 6 sts w/106 yds (33%) and he and leading rusher Jeff Scott will be susp’d for this gm for violating team rules. LSU predictably after their “Game of the Century” slept thru the 1H LW (led just 14-7 at HT) before pulling away in the 2H in their 42-9 win over WKU. It was Miles 100th career win (72 at LSU) and the first time S/’58 that LSU is 10-0. QB Jefferson has gotten the majority of the snaps the L2W avg 118 ypg (58%) with a 1-0 ratio after Lee threw the 2 int’s at Bama. Clearly LSU has the edges on off (#20-87) and def (#2-73). Ole Miss as Houston Nutt has a reputation of knocking off Top 5 tms (4x in career) and is the only SEC coach who has beaten Miles 3 times in a row (at Ark) while LSU does have the all-everything gm vs Ark, a Friday game on deck. The Rebels keep it interesting for a half before the significant talent edges take over.

PHIL’S FORECAST: LSU 37 MISSISSIPPI 13 Read more…

Week 10 News and Notes Part 2

November 8th, 2011 15 comments

Tough loss for Alabama to LSU. Bama’s first possession got to the LSU27 but they missed a 44 yd FG. Bama’s 2nd poss got to the LSU23 but they lost 10 yds then missed a 50 yd FG. Bama got to the LSU24 but they lost 7 yds and brought in their short kicker to attempt a 49 yd’r but it was blk’d. Bama got to the LSU17 but settled for a 34 yd FG to lead 3-0. At this point Bama had a 181-55 yd edge but only led 3-0 and LSU, thanks to an offsides on 3&1 and a defensive holding on an incomplete pass on 3&4, would get a 19 yd FG on the final play of the half to tie it. LSU was int’d and ret’d to their 4 but a penalty brought it back to the 35 and Bama settled for a 46 yd FG, 6-3. LSU got a 33 yd IR to the UA15 setting up a 2 yd “drive” for a 30 yd FG to tie (14:13 4Q). Richardson ripped off a 24 yd run to the LSU28 and Bama had a great call. Maze, out of the shotgun, threw deep and the TE caught the ball, came down on his back with it at the 1 yd line but the LSU DB wrestled the ball away from him and amazingly it was ruled an int and LSU got off a 73 yd punt with 9:00 left but neither crossed the 50 and the game went to OT. In OT Bama took a sk and missed their FOURTH FG of the game, a 52 yd’r and LSU got a 25 yd FG for the win. Read more…

Week 10 Top 25 Forecasts!

November 2nd, 2011 3 comments

Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game. Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-2 (89%) and so far this season I am 154-25 (86%).

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week.

#1 LSU AT #2 ALABAMA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
LSU 90
85
18
1.6
-
ALABAMA
150
190
26
1.8
-
First #1 vs #2 matchup in the reg ssn S/’06 and the first matchup of the top 2 tms in Bryant-Denny Stadium history. This is Saban Bowl 5 and Bama and LSU have split the L/4 meetings since Saban took over at Bama. Both teams are off a bye and LY both tms were also off byes and LSU held AL to a ssn low 102 rush yds while LSU rushed for 225 yds and pulled out a 24-21 win. LSU has outgained the Tide in 4 of the last 5 and Miles is 4-2 vs AL (only LSU HC to ever beat AL 4x). The Tigers are led by QB Lee who is avg 156 ypg (63%) w/a 13-1 ratio (#12 NCAA pass eff) while Jefferson has played in the L/4 and is getting more reps each week. RB Ware leads with 512 (4.0) and after being susp vs Aub will be back here along with defensive star Mathieu. Bama’s young QB McCarron is becoming more than just a game-manager and is avg 208 ypg (67%) with a 10-3 ratio while RB Richardson 989 (6.6, #7 NCAA) and 17 TD’s could lock up a trip to NY for the Heisman with a big gm here. While LSU’s D gets alot of pub they are giving up 251 ypg (14.4 FD’s) while Bama’s D only allows 181 ypg (9.9 FD’s). Bama is also +280 ypg while LSU is +120 ypg. While it is well noted that LSU is 30-1 S/’01 in AG’s w/a start of 6:00 pm or later, Bama is 25-1 at home S/’07, has the better D, the better HC and the best player on the field in Richardson. Add it all up and Bama stakes their claim for the national title! Roll Tide!

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 17 LSU 6

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Week 7 Pro Selections

October 21st, 2011 No comments

HERE ARE MY NFL SELECTIONS: 49-27 64%

CHICAGO AT TAMPA BAY

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
CHICAGO 113
223
24
1.4
#2
TAMPA BAY 118
243
17
1.6
#15
This is the 5th year in a row for the London game. TB has a big edge in planning as while they lost to NE 35-7 in Morris’ rookie season in 2009. It was their 3rd road game in 4 Wks and Morris entered into the game with a defeatist attitude after NE had blown out TEN 59-0 prior. Both teams are beat up injury wise with TB expected to be without RB Blount (MCL) and DT McCoy (high ankle sprain) here. TB comes in off a tight physical game vs NO where they converted 4 TO’s into 10 pts. While they gave up 453 yds they held NO to 2 FG’s and an int on 4 drives inside their 20. CHI is off B2B primetime games and their level of interest is uncertain. Cutler has been sacked 70 times since Martz took over and has been behind 4 diff OL’s in 5 weeks prior to LW. The key to this game will be if TB can control Forte who is playing at an MVP level with 785 total yds (7.0) or 49% of the Bears total offense prior to MIN. I’ll call for CHI by a FG.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHICAGO 17 TAMPA BAY 14 Read more…

Week 6 News and Notes Part 2

October 12th, 2011 No comments

TCU took its opening drive 36/7pl for a 47 yd FG. San Diego St went 72/16pl but a 31 yd FG had a bad snap and on 4&8 they gained 5 yards. TCU went 91/9pl and on 3&6 got a 39 yd TD pass, 10-0. SDSt went 74/6pl but fumbled into the EZ for a TB. TCU went 58/7pl and was int’d at the 15 and ret’d 23 yds and a personal foul brought it to the TCU47. SDSt was int’d 3 plays later at the 24 and ret’d 26 yards. TCU went 50/5pl for a 31 yd TD pass, 17-0. TCU went 61/11pl but on FD from the SDSt17 was int’d in the EZ. The Frogs had a 281-144 yd edge at the half. TCU got 2 FD’s and punted to open the 3Q and the Aztecs on 3&8 were int’d and returned 22 yds to the 10. TCU settled for a 21 yd FG, 20-7. TCU fumbled the punt at their own 15 and on 3&11 SDSt got a 16 yd TD pass, 20-0. SDSt went 77/10pl and got a 4 yd TD pass, 20-14 (13:39). TCU punted and SDS got a 3&12, 20 yd pass to the TCU49 but was int’d and ret’d 19 yards (10:08 4Q). TCU went 49/9pl and got a 4 yd TD run, 27-14. SDSt was SOD at their own 44 on 4&1, SOD at their own 33 on 4&10 and TCU then got a 24 yd run to the 5 but fumbled. SDS was SOD at their own 14 on 4&1. Read more…

Who Will Be This Year’s Team That Got Away?

July 1st, 2011 No comments

I have been publishing a Most Improved Teams list since 1999 and the list hit a home run that very first year. I pegged Hawaii as my #1 Most Improved Team and they were coming off an 0-12 record in 1998. The then “Rainbow Warriors” simply set an NCAA record for largest improvement ever by going to 9-4 in 1999!

This year there are 16 teams on my Most Improved List and these are all teams that had losing records last year but ones I believe will be bowl eligible this year. Last season I had 19 teams on the list and 13 of them were bowl eligible at the end of the year with 17 of them improving their record! Do you think it is easy picking teams with losing records that will have a winning record the next year?

I went back to 1992 and there have been 969 teams that had a losing season. Of those 969 teams only 279 had a winning record the next year which is 28.8%. That means if a team is coming off a losing season there is over a 70% chance that they will have another losing record the next year!

Over the last nine years 109 of the teams that have made my Most Improved List have been bowl eligible the next year. In that same nine-year span there have been 475 teams with a losing record and of those 475 only 129 have gone onto a winning record (above .500) the next season (27.1%). Of those 129 teams, 79 of them were on my Most Improve List. Now you do the math here but as you can see very few teams go from a losing record to a bowl the next year if they are not on my Most Improved list.

This blog is about the one that got away. Read more…

My Early Forecasts for the Top 4 Requested Games!

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Today I will take a break from the best case/worst case scenarios. First we are only 65 days away from the start of college football season and today I want to talk about a couple of new features on PhilSteele.com.

First, this past weekend on my Facebook Fans page I took requests for some of my early forecasts for 2011’s top games.  From the hundreds of requests here were the first four games.

Facebook Forecasts

1. Arkansas at Alabama, Sept 24th – Both teams have 1st year starting QB’s but Ark’s Wilson makes his first road start vs the best defense in the country (not ideal situation). In Mallett’s 1st start here (12 of 35 passing) and the Hogs lost 35-7 with just 254 yds offense. Ark Oline also is young and has to replace three 3-yr starters. Both teams are in my Top Ten in my Power Poll but 1st road starts are tough and the Tide wins at home 27-17. Read more…

Slipping and Sliding: 2-Year Net Loss!

June 24th, 2011 No comments

Yesterday I blogged about a 2 year net win differential on teams that improved their record after having a record much weaker one season than they had the previous 2 years. I went in depth as to how I came upon that chart and the results. Today I will take a look at the 2 year net loss indicator. For a deeper explanation on how this chart was achieved, go to the blog posted on June 23rd.

When I reviewed the numbers since 1990, it was surprising that team’s with a -4.5 net loss indicator or higher, which was a great sampling than the -7.5 net or higher actually achieved a better percentage. While two teams managed to improve their record at the very top of the chart, none did in 6.5 or 6.0. In fact of teams that had a -6.0 net loss indicator or higher, only 2 managed to improve their record. In 2003 Navy which went from 8-5 to 10-2 and 2000 South Carolina which went from 8-4 to 9-3. The biggest drop offs were 1998 Tulane which had a -7.5 net loss indicator and went from 12-0 to 3-8. Interestingly in 1998 I called for Washington St to go from a Rose Bowl to last place in the Pac-10 – which they did and in the 2 year net loss indicator they were -6.0 and went from 10-2 to 3-8. Others that achieved large drop offs were 2008 Ball St which went from 12-2 to 2-10 with a -6 net loss indicator and 1996 Army which went from 10-2 to 4-7 with a -5.5 net loss indicator. Read more…