Another college football regular season is just about in the books. My list of teams that impressed me this season has to start with LSU.
The Tigers brought in Joe Brady from the NFL’s New Orleans Saints as a co-Offensive Coordinator on their coaching staff and switching to a Run-Pass Option offense for QB Joe Burrow and the results have been exceptional. LSU was No. 1 in the country in total yards per game, 2nd in passing yards per game and 3rd in points per game. And given the schedule of very tough teams and defenses they faced, it’s even more impressive how good their offense has been this season.
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The defense has also steadily improved all season and shut down Georgia in the SEC title game last weekend. LSU proved to be deserving of their No. 1 ranking entering the College Football Playoff and I agree with not only the four teams selected for the playoff but also the order they were ranked.
Baylor deserves some praise for the season they had. Matt Rhule did a fantastic coaching job leading this team to a Big 12 title game appearance and an 11-2 record this season. Baylor was also a cash cow at 9-4 ATS this season.
Staying in the Big 12, the Texas Longhorns qualify as one of my biggest disappointments this season. Texas boasted about how the Longhorns were back after drilling Georgia in the Sugar Bowl last season but they couldn’t follow it up with a solid encore. Texas underachieved this season stumbling to a 7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS record. The preseason expectations were a Big 12 Championship and major bowl game at the very least for the Longhorns but they fell short of that as injuries and a porous defense did them in.
Texas is relegated to playing in the Alamo Bowl against Utah on New Year’s Eve which is not what they were hoping for prior to the season.
The teams I made the most profits from this season were SMU and Louisville. SMU rode a better defense than in past seasons and a big QB upgrade with Texas transfer Shane Buechele to a 10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS season. Louisville was a disastrous 2-10 SU, 1-11 ATS last season as the Bobby Petrino era crashed and burned. Enter Scott Satterfield who was a great head coaching hire from Appalachian State and in just his first year on the job, he turned Louisville into a 7-5 SU/ATS bowl-bound squad. It was a very strong first step to turning around Louisville football.
Army +11 vs. Navy: Navy almost found their way into the AAC championship game. The Midshipmen compiled a fine 9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS record this season and did it with precise execution of their triple-option offense led by QB Malcolm Perry and the defense was much improved from last season.
Army was a disappointment at 5-7 as they were expected to have a good season but injuries really plagued them throughout the campaign. It was the pass-heavy offenses that really hurt this Army defense as their numbers were better against the run and it showed as the Black Knights covered the spread as underdogs against Michigan and Air Force during the season losing by four points or less in those contests.
Army has won three straight meetings and the Black Knights are 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight games between these teams. Expect more of the same here on Saturday in Philadelphia. ARMY
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