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  • Blog Entries

    • By FrogAbroad in FrogAblog 0
      She stands tall and fair and impossible to overlook in the Managua airport’s duty free shop.  Her ash-blond hair and heaven-blue eyes cause more than one head to glance a second, a third time in her direction.  Her name is Evelina.  She’s 18 and Nicaraguan, but bears only latent genes from her tropics-born mother.  Instead her features carry the memory of her East German father, long-returned to his homeland.  Perhaps her delicate cheek bones and milky complexion are the only memories her mother has of her lover, one of hundreds of military advisors whose tour of duty brought them to this hot and dusty outpost.  Evelina is a woman-child born of a brief union between a soldier chilled by loneliness and a woman burning with a desire to escape a nation destroyed by war and political intrigue.  Her hair is pulled back and fastened with a black bow, exposing her ears and throat, emphasizing her whiteness next to her light bronze coworkers.  She is tall and slim, nearly a head taller than her Latin companions, an especially beautiful flower standing a bit more lovely than the others in their little garden.  Evelina sells watches and perfumes and T-shirts and American liquors to departing international travelers.  I sit observing her from the chairs in front of her shop.  I see her watch the departing passengers standing in line to board their plane.  I wonder how much of her heart leaves with them.  Does it seek someone like herself?  Does it seek a country where she does not stand out so emphatically as being different?  She shares a joke with Marvina, their laughter mingling on its way to where I sit.  Marvina’s laughter is like thick, sweet honey, Evelina’s like water bubbling from a cold spring.  Even as her lips grace her admirers with a smile, there is a distant look in her eyes.  How cold is the loneliness of her own heart every time she looks in the mirror and thinks of a father she never saw?  What are the passions that burn within as she works in a menial job, earning barely enough to pay her tuition as she seeks to escape the same desperation that entrapped her mother?  I feel drawn to her, to ask her these questions, to listen to her open her heart.  But...no…for now I hear my flight called.  I rise from my watching-place and cast a final glance her way.  Good-bye, fair Evelina.  May you someday follow your heart to find whatever it is you seek.

    • By FrogAbroad in FrogAblog 0
      The Summer of 1980 was by far the hottest, evilest heat I've ever experienced.  I remember that summer well. I was riding for Will Speck, the owner of the Draggin'-S brand down northeast of Bandera. The grass was brown and dry and brittle...Will told all us hands he wanted no smokes outside the ranch house so's to lower the chance of a sudden fire. Lots of the boys took up chewin' because of that "no smokes" rule, but it didn't last too long because we were all too dry to spit.
       
      Anyway, one really hot, hot day I was ridin' the fence to patch up any breaks the stock caused from trying to get into the next field to look for moisture. It was miserable with hardly any shade except for this one old tree leaning out over the creek, which was now nothing but a dry creek bed. So I ease my horse--a pretty little mare called Dynamite Chica 'cause she was little but could blow up mighty big under a careless rider--I ease Chica down into the dry creek bed and we stop under the shade of that one tree. Well, I dismount and loosen the cinch to give Chica a bit of breathin' room and lean back against the rocky sides of that creek bed to wipe what little sweat I could produce from out of my hat. There were the usual noises out there, 'way off from town--the wind blowing through dry grass and leafless tree limbs, the whirring whine of the cicadas, all those were normal, but...there was something else I couldn't quite place. It was like something scraping on hard ground or rock, sort of metallic-like.
       
      So bein' naturally curious I start looking around for what's making that noise. I figured at first maybe an old tin can was blowing around in the breeze, but the sound was from down low, in the creek bed, where there wasn't much wind. I keep looking and finally I saw it...something that made my jaw drop.
       
      Comin' right down the middle of that rocky creek bed was one of those green and yellow and black striped lizards. And the scrapin' sound was sure enough metal on rock, 'cause that lizard was draggin' a canteen.
       
      Yeah...that Texas summer of 1980 was sure enough one to remember.
    • By FrogAbroad in FrogAblog 2
      This was a joke told many years ago by Will Rogers which I borrowed and turned into a poem.  I now post it to FrogAblog, and dedicate it to Baylor administrators, coaches and fans.
       
                                                      When A Feller Oughta Keep Quiet
       
      Let me tell you `bout a mountain lion a `way out in th' west.
      When it come to killin' cows an' sheep, why, he must've been th' best.
      A reg'lar varmint legend of widespread renown,
      He was the scourge of ranchers for a'hunnerd miles around.
       
       
       
      While passin' through a cattle ranch he killed hisself a bull,
      He ate an' ate, an' stuffed hisself until he was plumb full!
      Then to celebrate th' feast, or maybe cuz he was bored,
      That fat ol' mountain lion rared back and roared…an' roared…an' roared!
       
       
       
      Now all the caterwaulin' that th' mountain lion had done
      Caught the ear of a passin' cowboy, who pulled out his trusty gun.
      He took his aim.his shot was true.an' to that cat's su'prise,
      Th' cowboy shot hisself a lion! Smack between th' eyes!
       
       
       
       
      So the moral to my story, with no "if" "and" or "but,"
      Is when a feller's full o' bull. he'd best keep his mouth shut!
       
       
    • By Duquesne Frog in Numbers Make Me Horned 2
      In a Numbers Make Me Horned first, we're going to turn away from college football and DUSHEE (although not team performance metrics) and try to put this most recent TCU basketball season in some perspective.
       
      A running gag among some on this board, there has been a revisionist tendency by some to elevate the Billy Tubbs years as putting TCU among the elite programs in the country.  It was, by some measures, the pinnacle of TCU basketball, challenged only by the brief run of success had by the Killer Frogs of the mid-1980s.  But that pinnacle consisted of a single NCAA tournament bid, followed by an unceremonious 1st round exit at the hands of a 12-seed Florida State team, and two NIT bids.
       
      The Frogs have made the NCAA tournament seven times (1952, 1953, 1959, 1968, 1971, 1987, and 1998), but four of those times were in the 1950's and 60's, when the NCAA tournament was arguably less prestigious than the NIT. The 1953, 1968 and 1971 teams were 16-9, 15-11 and 15-12, respectively.
       
      This season was the Frogs' seventh NIT bid (1983, 1986, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2017).
       
      Then there were all the years in between.  Since 1950, the Frogs have had 19 seasons of single digit wins
       
      So how special was the 2017 Frogs NIT run in the program's history?  How does it compare to the other teams in the conference and in the state?  Just how dismal has TCU basketball been otherwise?
       
      To assess this, I went to College Basketball Reference and used their SRS metric (Simple Rating System), which uses a similar approach as DUSHEE, to plot team performance as a function of time.  SRS, like DUSHEE, provides a relative performance compared to an average team (SRS = 0).  College Basketball reference only has SRS calculated back to the 1949-1950 season. 
       
      Then, in addition to a marker for each team's performance in a given year, I plotted a 5-year moving average (MAV) for each team as an indicator of program strength during the time the senior class was at the school.  Thus the MAV value in a given year, say 2000, is the average SRS score of the 1995-1996, 1996-1997,1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 seasons.  By following the MAV curve, you can qualitatively assess when a program is ascendant, declining, or keeping performance level.  Because I'm plotting the MAV in the last year of the 5-year envelope, it will often appear that the MAV is lagging the actual year-to-year performance.
       
      Texas Schools:

       
      This plot is the collective basketball history of most of the Texas D-1 schools since 1950, the bold purple line showing TCU's MAV.  From 1955 until 1984, TCU was a below average D-1 program during that three decade period.  For a 5-year stretch in the late 1970's, TCU and Rice needed binoculars to be able to see the rest of the state; and the rest of the state, particularly outside of Houston and UTEP, wasn't all that spectacular.  That's just how bad TCU was during that stretch.
       
      But the Frogs did become sharply ascendant during the end of that period, becoming solidly middle-of-the-pack in the state in the late 1980s (Jamie Dixon's tenure as a player) before a slow decline through the mid-1990s.  Then Tubbs made the program sharply ascendant again, briefly challenging Tom Penders' UT teams as the best program in the state before another steady decline into another decade of mediocrity from 2005-2015.
       
      But if you look at the tip of that peak during the Tubbs' era, and look for the little purple triangles that mark the year-to-year SRS scores for TCU around that peak, you can see that the peak is largely driven by one single year, the 1997-1998 NCAA team.  Based on the SRS metric, that team had the highest score of any team in the state from 1985 forward, and behind only the 1968 and 1983 Houston teams since 1950.  Also note that this past season's TCU team has the second highest SRS score of any TCU team, the only other TCU team to exceed a single season SRS over 15.
       
      Houston and UTEP dominated the state from the mid-1960s until almost the mid-1990s, when Texas became the most consistently high-performing team in the conference, which it held until about 2012.  SMU showed some early dominance in the 1950s and Baylor has emerged the top power in the state over the last few years.
       
      Southwest Conference:

       
      This chart has a lot of the same data as the previous chart, but includes only the SWC teams for the years in which the teams were actually in the conference.  So Tech arrives in 1961, Houston doesn't arrive until 1977, and Arkansas, which wasn't included in the previous figure, disappears after 1992, four years before everybody else disappears.  Perhaps the most interesting thing to note here is how awful a basketball conference the SWC was during most of the 1960s and 1970s.  From 1968-1973, there was not a single SWC program with an above-average SRS 5-year MAV.  And even into the 1980s, only the addition of Houston and the ascendancy of Nolan Richardson's Hogs made the conference look halfway respectable.  Arkansas left on a very high note; its 1990-1991 team had, by far, the highest SRS score (27.3) in the conference from 1950 on.
       
      WAC/MWC:

       
      As we all remember, after the demise of the SWC, we joined the new and "improved" 16-team WAC, which shortly after we joined broke apart into the MWC and the Leftovers WAC.  This hybrid chart shows all the teams that were in the WAC prior to the MWC split and then the teams that joined the WAC after the split; thus after 1998, this chart shows all the teams in both conferences.  Thus TCU shows up twice, from 1996-1997 through 2000-2001 as a part of the WAC, and then from 2005-2006 through 2011-2012 as a part of the MWC.  The "WAC Folds" line marks when the WAC ceased to exist as a football conference; I recognize that the WAC still has life as a basketball conference, but a man only has so much time to account for so many basketball teams.  Note that during this time, while Utah, Tulsa, BYU, UNLV, UNM, and Fresno all vied for the best program in these conferences, the 1997-1998 TCU team has the highest single season SRS score.  In fact, even if you take the WAC back to it's predecessor days (next chart), that TCU team had the highest SRS in conference history, dating back to 1950.  Higher than Rick Majerus', Keith Van Horn-led, Final Four Utes, higher than Bill Self's best Tulsa team.
       

       
      Conference USA/American Athletic:

       
      This chart, like the WAC/MWC one, shows multiple related conferences on one chart; the teams that formed the original CUSA, the core of which formed the eventual American Athletic Conference, leaving behind a gutted and transformed CUSA.  I didn't try to add all the new teams in the modern CUSA.  This conference was always dominated by three teams, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Memphis.  TCU was already on the way down from their 1998 peak and was never really a factor in this conference.
       
      Big 7/8/XII/XII-II:

       
      Our current home.  TCU and Tech have battled for the cellar of the Big XII-II throughout our short time in the conference, but both teams appear to be sharply ascendant.  This chart goes a long way to show just how good a basketball conference this is right now.  Going back to the very first chart with all the Texas teams and the current TCU program is squarely middle-of-the-pack. In the Big XII-II, we are, by this metric, the worst team in the conference, and with Tech, the two worst programs by a significant margin.
       
      The other interesting thing to note, going back historically, is that from 1950 to 1980 or so, while Kansas was (with Kansas State) the best program in the conference, it was only by nature of a fairly weak conference.  Kansas really didn't become a true national power (by the SRS metric, at least) until it and (Billy Tubbs-led) Oklahoma began to rise in the late-1980s.  Then, unlike Oklahoma, Kansas has stayed at an elite level over the better part of the last three decades.  No one has really come close to Kansas' supremacy since OU's decline in the early-1990s.
       
      The best ever Big XII team based on SRS?  The 1987-1988 Oklahoma team coached by one Billy Tubbs.  The SRS metric seems to really like Billy, Chuck ...
       
      Completing TCU's basketball journey to date, let's take a look at some of the other major conferences' histories.
       
      Big East:

       
      I figured I'd start with our coach's old conference, to give a sense of what he and Ben Howland did with the Pitt program prior to coming to TCU.  The Big East formed as a basketball conference beginning with the 1979-1980 season with members from a number of other conferences.  At the time of its formation, Notre Dame (which didn't actually join the conference until a few years later), Syracuse, and Georgetown were the top teams until the mid-1990s.  At that point, UConn became and remained the top program in the conference until about 2005 when a bunch of teams, including Pitt (bold blue line), Louisville, Villanova, and WVU all reached about the same consistent level until the football schools all left the Big East after the 2012-2013 season.  Aside from a brief rise from 1985-1990, Pitt basketball had not been anything other than a pretty average program, and sometimes terrible (around 1970).
       
      PAC 12:

       
      Those John Wooden UCLA teams were pretty good.
       
      SEC:

       
      The late-2000s Florida team is the only program to be able to say it was clearly better than Kentucky over the last seven decades.
       
      ACC:

       
      The ACC started out as kinda a crappy basketball conference.  From 1970 on, however, pretty salty.
       
      B1G:

       
      Perhaps the most evenly competitive of all the major conferences. Illinois, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin , and even Purdue have all had at least a brief claim to be the best program in the conference.  Only Northwestern has been consistently mediocre over the last seven decades.
    • By Duquesne Frog in Numbers Make Me Horned 1

       
      This season, to prepare for the bowls, I'm expanding on a bit I did two years ago and looking at the predictive capability of my scrappy little model.  So we're going to look at what DUSHEE says compared to Vegas bookies, Jeff Sagarin, and ESPN's FPI ranking. 
       
      ESPN's FPI results in a number that is very comparable to DUSHEE; it is a point total relative to an average FBS team.  Sagarin's system scale is different; the best team in the country is generally around a 100, but the difference in two teams' scores is effectively the point spread between the two teams.
       
      For 28 of the 39 bowl games, DUSHEE, Sagarin, FPI and Vegas come to a unanimous consensus about the favorite, although there can be considerable variation among the four as to the point spread.
       
      Since there are two formulations for DUSHEE, 1) the original which looks solely at point and yardage margins compared to how the other teams compared against the same opponent, and 2) the revised which deemphasizes statistical outliers and emphasizes strength-of-schedule, I'll provide numbers for both formulations and the average of the two to see how well each of the three predict outcomes.
       
      First, we'll start with the bowl our readers probably care about the most ... the Cactus Bowl.
       
      Liberty Bowl
       
      Just kidding.  The Liberty Bowl is one of the 11 bowl games where the 4 predictors do not come to a consensus and is one of two where the lack of consensus comes from the Vegas bookies.  Here are the numbers for the two teams:
       
      Team Record    DO    DR Sag FPI SoS Georgia  7-5 1.51 2.18 73.19 7.40 0.73 TCU  6-6 3.55 5.03 74.53 10.10 1.16  
      In the following table and all of the ones that follow, DO means DUSHEE Original Formulation, DR is DUSHEE Revised, DA is the average of the two DUSHEE models, Sag is Sagarin and FPI is, well, FPI.  Ignore the sign in front of the number; it is just used to account for which of the two teams is the favorite.
       
      DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI TCU  -2.04 TCU  -2.85 TCU  -2.44 Georgia  1 TCU  -1.34 TCU  -2.7  
      The "computer" models all agree that the Frogs are a slight favorite with Sagarin at roughly 1.5-points and DUSHEE Revised at almost 3-points.  However, Vegas, at the moment, has the Dawgs as a 1-point favorite.  As we will see, the agreement between the models (a range of less than 4-points between all of the predictors) is quite tight compared to some of the other games.
       
      New Years Six
       
      Orange:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Florida St.  9-3 15.99 21.43 87.35 21.50 5.55 Michigan  10-2 32.77 36.95 99.74 27.80 3.18 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Michigan  -16.79 Michigan  -15.52 Michigan  -16.15 Michigan  -6.5 Michigan  -12.39 Michigan  -6.3  
      The models are unanimous that Michigan is the favorite, but DUSHEE and Sagarin think Michigan is a significantly larger favorite than either Vegas or the FPI does.
       
      Peach:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Alabama  13-0 37.11 45.21 105.37 31.70 6.77 Washington  12-1 24.52 26.25 97.89 26.10 -0.22 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Alabama  12.60 Alabama  18.96 Alabama  15.78 Alabama  16.5 Alabama  7.48 Alabama  5.6  
      In this case, DUSHEE and Vegas are on the same page, placing Alabama as a 2TD+ favorite, but Sagarin and the FPI have the game at a TD or less.
       
      Fiesta:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Clemson  12-1 25.65 30.08 94.50 25.80 3.99 Ohio St.  11-1 34.82 40.78 102.06 28.10 5.37
      DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Ohio St.  -9.17 Ohio St.  -10.71 Ohio St.  -9.94 Ohio St.  -3 Ohio St.  -7.56 Ohio St.  -2.3  
      Like the Orange Bowl, DUSHEE and Sagarin agree that Ohio State is a 7-10 point favorite but Vegas and the FPI have the game around a field goal.
       
      Cotton:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS W. Michigan  13-0 17.94 15.09 84.62 13.00 -5.60 Wisconsin  10-3 17.82 22.13 90.62 17.80 5.14 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI W. Michigan  0.12 Wisconsin  -7.04 Wisconsin  -3.46 Wisconsin  -7.5 Wisconsin  -6.00 Wisconsin  -4.8  
      The Cotton Bowl illuminates the difference between the two DUSHEE formulations.  Western Michigan and Wisconsin have the biggest strength-of-schedule disparity of any two bowl opponents.  Original DUSHEE, which does account for strength of schedule but does not emphasize it to the degree that Revised DUSHEE does, has Western Michigan as an ever-so-slight favorite.  Revised DUSHEE, Sagarin, and Vegas all have Wisconsin at about a TD favorite, with the FPI putting the game a little closer.  This will be an interesting game to see play out.
       
      Rose:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Penn St.  11-2 16.69 19.59 91.97 18.00 3.37 USC  9-3 16.41 21.29 90.65 20.30 4.99 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Penn St.  0.28 USC  -1.70 USC  -0.71 USC  -7 Penn St.  1.32 USC  -2.3  
      The Rose is another interesting case in that all the models have the game as a near toss-up except for Vegas which has the Trojans as a TD favorite.  It is conceivable that bettors are giving USC a home-field advantage boost which would account for some of the disparity, but even with the 3-points, Vegas likes USC more than any of the computer models do.
       
      Sugar:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Auburn  8-4 17.54 21.16 84.64 20.10 6.32 Oklahoma  10-2 19.23 22.39 90.29 21.90 2.66 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Oklahoma  -1.70 Oklahoma  -1.24 Oklahoma  -1.47 Oklahoma  -5.5 Oklahoma  -5.65 Oklahoma  -1.8  
      DUSHEE and the FPI have Oklahoma as a slight favorite, Vegas and Sagarin like them a little more.
       
      Other Big XII-II and Bowls
       
      Aside from TCU and Oklahoma, four other conference mates managed to become bowl eligible. Three are unanimous underdogs in their matchups.
       
      Cactus:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Baylor  6-6 1.91 3.06 67.00 7.40 -0.54 Boise St.  10-2 13.25 12.41 79.05 11.00 -2.08 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Boise St.  -11.34 Boise St.  -9.35 Boise St.  -10.35 Boise St.  -7.5 Boise St.  -12.05 Boise St.  -3.6  
      Only the FPI has this game within a touchdown and both DUSHEE and Sagarin think the Broncos are at least two-score (as in football scores, not Gettysburg Address scores) favorites.  Given Baylors' nose dive at the end of the season, it seems like the Broncos are a safe bet, if you are a betting man.
       
      Russell Athletic:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Miami (FL)  8-4 11.98 12.17 82.72 16.00 1.63 West Virginia  10-2 10.05 11.40 82.25 14.10 1.13 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Miami (FL)  1.92 Miami (FL)  0.77 Miami (FL)  1.35 Miami (FL)  3 Miami (FL)  0.47 Miami (FL)  1.9  
      The models are all unanimous in favor of the Hurricanes, but they are also unanimous that this is a close matchup.  Vegas has the largest spread at 3-points and all the models are within 2.5 points.
       
      Texas:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Texas A&M  8-4 5.81 8.65 81.03 16.20 4.16 Kansas St.  8-4 4.90 4.69 81.36 11.30 0.31 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Texas A&M  0.91 Texas A&M  3.96 Texas A&M  2.44 Texas A&M  2 Kansas St.  -0.33 Texas A&M  4.9  
      This should also be a tight game with the FPI giving the Aggies a 5-point advantage and Sagarin giving the Fighting Snyders a not-quite-half-point advantage.  Vegas splits the difference at a 2-point Agricultural spread.
       
      Alamo:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Colorado  10-3 16.06 20.77 89.05 16.30 6.14 Oklahoma St.  9-3 6.72 7.81 82.93 15.40 1.62 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Colorado  -9.34 Colorado  -12.96 Colorado  -11.15 Colorado  -3 Colorado  -6.12 Colorado  -0.9  
      All of the models are unanimous about Colorado in the sequel to the epic Bram Kohlhausen show of last year.  However, DUSHEE was pretty down on Oklahoma State this year in comparison to other models.  While most models had OSU easily in the Top-25, DUSHEE had the Cowboys at 33 and 32.  DUSHEE dinged the Pokes for below average performances against Central Michigan, Baylor, Kansas, and Oklahoma, with that Baylor loss in week 4 looking worse and worse as the season went along.  Thus, DUSHEE has Colorado as a double-digit favorite while the other models all have Colorado between a 1-to-6 point favorite.
       
      Other Bowls of Texas Note
       
      Las Vegas:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Houston  9-3 14.19 15.71 81.10 10.60 -0.45 San Diego St.  10-3 8.40 4.69 72.07 6.30 -6.44 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Houston  5.79 Houston  11.02 Houston  8.41 Houston  3.5 Houston  9.03 Houston  4.3  
      The models are unanimous for Houston with Vegas being the least enthusiastic about their chances.  A big discrepancy in Strength-of-Schedule between these two teams which means Revised DUSHEE likes Houston even more than Original DUSHEE which litkes the Cougars a lot more than Vegas or the FPI.  Sagarin and the DUSHEE Average are about on the same page for Houston. 
       
      Armed Forces:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Navy  9-3 6.54 7.67 73.73 4.80 1.50 Louisiana Tech  8-4 7.69 4.24 67.27 3.60 -5.39 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Louisiana Tech  -1.15 Navy  3.43 Navy  1.14 Louisiana Tech  -3.5 Navy  6.46 Navy  1.2  
      Another big Strength-of-Schedule disparity probably is the cause of such a mixed bag of predictions here with Original DUSHEE and Vegas leaning toward Terry Bradshaw's alma mater and Revised DUSHEE and everyone else leaning toward Roger Dodger's alma mater.
       
      Heart of Dallas:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Army  7-5 -0.89 -5.12 63.12 -1.80 -5.40 North Texas  5-7 -15.64 -19.55 50.84 -15.40 -3.93 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Army  14.75 Army  14.44 Army  14.59 Army  10 Army  12.28 Army  13.6  
      No one thinks this will be a close game, not because Army is a juggernaut but because North Texas is a ridiculous bowl team.  All 4 computer models have North Texas as the worst team playing in a bowl, edging out 6-7 Hawaii and miles from anybody else.  Regardless of method, all agree that the Mean Green are on the order of two touchdowns WORSE than and AVERAGE FBS team.  And Army is about an average FBS team.  Again I wonder if bettors are giving UNT a home-field boost playing a county away from home.
       
      Sun:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Stanford  9-3 6.68 9.14 84.15 14.40 3.41 North Carolina  8-4 3.52 4.99 78.74 14.10 1.93 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Stanford  3.17 Stanford  4.14 Stanford  3.65 Stanford  3.5 Stanford  5.41 Stanford  0.3  
      Everyone likes Stanford in the bowl that gives a warm feeling in the heart of any TCU fan over the age of 40.  Sagarin likes the Trees the most, FPI the least.  Only 5 points separate any of the predictions.
       
      Independence:
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS N.C. State  6-6 5.44 9.42 74.72 7.40 4.80 Vanderbilt  6-6 -2.18 -0.62 72.15 5.70 2.69 DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav DUSHEE Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI N.C. State  7.62 N.C. State  10.03 N.C. State  8.82 N.C. State  4 N.C. State  2.57 N.C. State  1.7  
      Yes, I know that this game is neither in Texas nor includes a Texas team, but it is right across the border.  It involves two mediocre teams from good conferences and everyone agrees that Philip Rivers' alma mater is slightly less mediocre than the Fightin' Robber Barons of Nashville.  This a game where DUSHEE likes a team far more than the others.
       
      All the Others
       
      All the rest of the that I haven't discussed to this point are captured in the table below.
          DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav D Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI New Mexico Albuquerque, NM New Mexico  -4.05 New Mexico  -4.07 New Mexico  -4.06 New Mexico  -7 New Mexico  -5.40 New Mexico  -6.4 Camelia Montgomery, AL Toledo  -4.81 Toledo  -7.25 Toledo  -6.03 Appalachian State 1 Toledo  -0.52 Toledo  -0.5 Cure Orlando, FL UCF  2.05 UCF  6.12 UCF  4.09 UCF  6 UCF  4.64 UCF  4.6 New Orleans New Oleans, LA Southern Miss  6.38 Southern Miss  8.16 Southern Miss  7.27 Southern Miss  3.5 LA Lafayette  -1.15 Southern Miss  4.6 Miami Beach Miami, FL Tulsa  -12.79 Tulsa  -14.39 Tulsa  -13.59 Tulsa  -11.5 Tulsa  -19.98 Tulsa  -9.2 Boca Raton Boca Raton, FL West. Kentucky  11.38 West. Kentucky  10.71 West. Kentucky  11.05 West. Kentucky  4.5 West. Kentucky  1.03 West. Kentucky  3.9 Poinsettia San Diego, Ca BYU  4.83 BYU  3.80 BYU  4.31 BYU  9 BYU  11.68 BYU  13.2 Potato Boise, ID Colorado St.  -12.59 Colorado St.  -17.19 Colorado St.  -14.89 Colorado St.  -13.5 Colorado St.  -10.48 Colorado St.  -9.2 Bahamas Nassau, BA Old Dominion -6.41 Old Dominion -2.31 Old Dominion -4.36 Old Dominion -4 Old Dominion -6.65 Old Dominion -5.4 Dollar General Mobile, AL Troy  9.11 Troy  10.11 Troy  9.61 Troy  3.5 Troy  3.11 Troy  5.3 Hawai'i Honolulu, HI Middle Tenn. St.  -10.04 Middle Tenn. St.  -8.13 Middle Tenn. St.  -9.09     Middle Tenn. St.  -2.28 Middle Tenn. St.  -9.7 St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, FL Mississippi St.  4.60 Mississippi St.  11.44 Mississippi St.  8.02 Mississippi St.  13 Mississippi St.  13.41 Mississippi St.  16.0 Quick Lane Detroit, MI Maryland  2.32 Maryland  2.72 Maryland  2.52 Maryland  1 Maryland  1.63 Maryland  0.2 Military Annapolis, MD Temple  21.26 Temple  19.57 Temple  20.42 Temple  13 Temple  15.81 Temple  8.8 Holiday San Diego, Ca Washington St.  -16.00 Washington St.  -18.64 Washington St.  -17.32 Washington St.  -6.5 Washington St.  -6.45 Washington St.  -8.7 Pinstripe New York, NY Northwestern  -0.68 Northwestern  -1.44 Northwestern  -1.06 Pittsburgh  5.5 Pittsburgh  3.43 Pittsburgh  5.3 Foster Farms Santa Clara, CA Utah  -3.20 Utah  -4.60 Utah  -3.90 Utah  -8 Utah  -9.32 Utah  -9.8 Birmingham Birmingham, AL South Florida  -18.35 South Florida  -17.60 South Florida  -17.98 South Florida  -10.5 South Florida  -15.02 South Florida  -10.1 Belk Charlotte, NC Virginia Tech  -11.39 Virginia Tech  -7.61 Virginia Tech  -9.50 Virginia Tech  -7 Virginia Tech  -6.78 Virginia Tech  -6.6 Music City Nashville, TN Tennessee  -0.49 Tennessee  -2.16 Tennessee  -1.32 Tennessee  -3 Nebraska  0.76 Tennessee  -7.2 Arizona Tucson, AZ Air Force  11.83 Air Force  13.75 Air Force  12.79 Air Force  13.5 Air Force  15.13 Air Force  12.4 Citrus Orlando, FL Louisville  5.67 Louisville  0.43 Louisville  3.05 LSU  -3.5 LSU  -2.57 Louisville  0.6 TaxSlayer Jacksonville, FL Georgia Tech  0.46 Kentucky  -2.04 Kentucky  -0.79 Georgia Tech  3.5 Georgia Tech  6.70 Georgia Tech  3.8  
      A few notes on these games:
       
      1) I'm not sure why, but there is no Vegas line for the Middle Tennessee - Hawaii game.
       
      2) There are a few games where DUSHEE is in noticeable disagreement with the other predictors/models.  DUSHEE likes Toledo in the Camellia, Western Kentucky in the Boca Raton, Troy in the Dollar General (new candidate for top-5 worst Bowl Sponsor Names), and Washington State in the Holiday a lot more than the others.  DUSHEE likes Northwestern in the Pinstripe when the others all have Pitt as a 3.5-point or greater favorite.  Revised DUSHEE is the only model that likes Kentucky over Georgia Tech.  And DUSHEE is significantly less favorable toward Utah against Indiana than the others.  Northwestern and Western Kentucky were arguably the biggest DUSHEE WTF teams of the year so it is not surprising that DUSHEE favors them more than the others.  DUSHEE has also been noticeably undersold on Pitt this season.
       
      3) DUSHEE does not encourage gambling, but if one were inclined to make wagers based on the advice of DUSHEE, he would steer you toward Washington State (-6.5) against Minnesota in the Holiday, Michigan (-6.5) against Florida State in the Orange, Colorado (-3) against Oklahoma State in the Alamo, South Florida (-10.5) against South Carolina in the Birmingham, and Toledo (+1) against Appalachian State in the Camellia.
       
      4) DUSHEE's highest confidence picks are Temple, South Florida, Washington State, Michigan and Alabama.  Lowest confidence picks are USC, Kentucky, Northwestern, Navy, and Tennessee.
       
      So there you have it everybody.  After the bowls are over, we'll come back to this and see how DUSHEE fared.  Two seasons ago, DUSHEE did pretty well.  Last year, I petered out before bowl season and never kept track.
       
      Correction: Where's the Outback Bowl, mate?
       
      As Newbomb so astutely pointed out, I totally missed the Outback Bowl between Florida and Iowa.  And it turns out, the numbers for this game are notable.
       
      Team Record DO DR Sag FPI SoS Florida 8-4 6.59 7.58 79.58 12.60 1.96 Iowa 8-4 6.77 7.58 84.01 12.60 1.30

        DO Fav DDO DR Fav DDR DA Fav D Avg Vegas Fav Vegas Sag Fav DSag FPI Fav DFPI Iowa -0.18 Iowa 0.00 Iowa -0.09 Florida 2.5 Iowa -4.43 Even 0.0  
      DUSHEE Original, DUSHEE Revised, and FPI all could not have this game more even.  You have to go out to the FIFTH decimal place in Revised DUSHEE to give Iowa the edge.  The FPI listing only goes to one decimal place.  Sagarin likes Iowa by 4.5, Vegas likes Florida by 2.5.  This game couldn't be more of a coin flip and becomes the new lowest DUSHEE confidence pick.  Which of course probably means that it will be a blowout.
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