Louisville Cardinals vs Houston Cougars

Ever since a six-point loss at Clemson on October 1st, Louisville knew it was going to need a number of upsets to happen to teams in front of them in the rankings in order to re-enter the College Football Playoff discussion, and most of them came to fruition last weekend. The Cardinals hope to take advantage of their good fortune and impress the CFP committee with a resume-building win Thursday when they attempt to end Houston’s 14-game home winning streak (Enter Contest).

Michigan, Clemson and Washington were three of the teams Louisville in the coaches’ poll before Saturday. In one single day, those three programs fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, putting the Cardinals in a much more favorable position. Louisville moved from No. 6 to No. 5 in the CFP rankings. Top 4 teams will have a chance to play for a national championship. For the first 45 minutes of its last contest, Louisville appeared to be on the verge of joining the aforementioned top-five teams before piling up 34 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 44-12 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. It is the most productive quarter in NCAA football history since a 35-point eruption against Washington-Tennessee on October 8, 1913.

The Cougars lost two of their first three games in October to fall out of the Top 25, but they have seemingly righted the ship with back-to-back wins. Houston served notice early last season that it was ready to wreak havoc on the big boys of college football, forcing four turnovers and blocking a potential tying field goal in the final minute to pull off a 34-31 upset at Louisville.

ABOUT LOUISVILLE (9-1)

Quarterback Lamar Jackson continued to shatter records on a near-weekly basis last Saturday, breaking Teddy Bridgewater’s single-season school record of 4,048 offensive yards and tying another single-season school mark with his seventh 100-yard rushing effort. While the Heisman Trophy frontrunner was limited to season lows in total yards (298) and touchdowns responsible for (one), senior running back Brandon Radcliff sparked Louisville’s 41-point second-half explosion with a career-high three TDs and rushed for 141 yards, giving the Cardinals a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game for a school-record third time this season. The Cardinals lead FBS with 6.68 yards per carry. Devonte Fields matched a personal best with three sacks Saturday, while fellow linebacker James Hearns added a career-high two of Louisville’s season-high seven sacks.

ABOUT HOUSTON (8-2)

Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. joined Case Keenum (20,114) and Kevin Kolb (13,715) as the only players in school history to amass 10,000 yards of total offense last weekend, and he moved into a second-place tie with Kolb (26) for the most wins by a Cougars quarterback. Junior wide receiver Linell Bonner caught nine passes for 97 yards Saturday, marking the fifth time this season he has managed at least eight receptions and 97 yards in the same game. Freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver continued to wreak havoc in last weekend’s 30-18 win over Tulane, recording his FBS-best (among defensive linemen) sixth pass breakup while adding 1.5 tackles for loss to give him 16.5 for the season. Houston’s average margin of victory during its home winning streak is 19.3 points.

Posted in CFB

Connecticut (2-2) vs Houston (4-0)

Seventh-ranked Houston gets a chance to avenge its only loss from last year when it hosts Connecticut in an American Athletic Conference game Thursday night (Enter Contest). Both starting quarterbacks missed the majority of last year’s meeting but return healthy for this game.

About Houston

Houston’s Greg Ward Jr. played one quarter of the UConn game last year, but missed most of it because of an ankle injury. After their victory over Texas State last week,  Ward managed to have  won 17 straight as the Cougars’ starter. Ward (936 passing yards, five touchdowns and 113 rushing yards, three TDs) leads a balanced offense that’s averaging 44.8 points. Senior linebacker Steven Taylor (tied for second nationally with 5.5 total sacks) leads a unit that is ranked first in the nation in rushing defense (37 yards), fourth in scoring defense (10.5 points) and fifth in total defense (228.8 yards). Houston held six straight opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards, including three straight (Texas State, 33; Cincinnati, 30; Lamar, 15) to 33 or fewer. They’ve recorded at least 40 points and 500 total yards in three straight games.

This Cougars squad is looking to begin 5-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history. They are the only team in the country holding opponents to fewer than 1.5 yards per rush. Houston will be without CB Brandon Wilson (lower leg) and RB Mulbah Car (knee)  who are out due to injuries.

About UConn

QB Bryant Shirreffs, who left last year’s game with a concussion on the second series, helped the Huskies overcome slow starts in all four games. UConn has been outscored 31-0 in the first quarter this season before having all four games decided by seven or fewer points. Shirreffs threw for 819 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and rushed for another score. Noel Thomas Jr. (40 receptions, 388 yards, one TD) has nearly half of UConn’s catches (81) and receiving yards (861) after a 14-catch performance against Syracuse. The Huskies were stopped at the goal line in losses to Navy (as time expired) and Syracuse (late in the fourth quarter), and got late game-winning field goals from Bobby Puyol (5-of-5 in field goals and 10-of-10 on extra points) in their two wins.

On the downside, UConn lost six turnovers (four fumbles, two interceptions) with three (two fumbles and an interception by Shirreffs) returned for touchdowns.

Posted in CFB

CFB Thursday Preview

Houston (2-0) vs Cincinnati (2-0)

No. 7 Houston will be back at full strength on offense when it tries to win at Cincinnati for the first time since 1971 on Thursday night. Heisman Trophy-candidate Greg Ward Jr. (shoulder) and running back Duke Catalon (ankle) were held out of last week’s dominating victory over Lamar so that they’d be ready for Thursday’s American Athletic Conference opener. Join this CFB game, play it here.

Cincinnati Bearcats

This game will be Cincinnati’s defense first real challenge this year. They were ranked 124th in turnover margin last year. The Bearcats scored 35 points off the 8 turnovers they’ve forced. They give their inexperienced offense much needed support. Coach Tom Herman called his D-squad the “backbone of his team” on Monday. Sophomore quarterback Hayden Moore (510 passing yards, five TDs, one INT, 71 rushing yards and two TDs) was responsible for five scores in a road win at Purdue last week. Nate Cole (12 catches, 145 yards, three TDs) and Devin Gray (nine catches, 167 yards) heads a new group of receivers after the Bearcats graduated six senior receivers. Linebacker Eric Wilson leads the AAC with 24 total tackles. Cincinnati ranks second in the league with 13.5 points allowed.

Houston Cougars

The Cougars are no slouch in defense either. They lead the AAC in total defense (233 yards), scoring defense (11.5 points), sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (20). Houston held their last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Greg Ward will return to the lineup after sitting out one game. In the team’s season opener against Oklahoma, he threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Duke Catalon added 88 rushing yards in that matchup. Kevrin Justice (111 yards, two TDs), Mulbah Car (109 yards, TD) and quarterback Kyle Postma (106 yards, two TDs) all rushed for more than 100 yards versus Lamar. Linebacker Steven Taylor leads the league with  3.5 sacks. Freshman lineman Ed Oliver collected 10 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 tackles. The Cougars have won 16 of their past 17 games.

Posted in CFB

NCAA Fantasy Football Preview

The American Athletic Conference

The time has come for college football. With a little less than two month before kickoff in Sidney, FanPicks previews the NCAA 2016 campaign. First off is the American Athletic Conference holding twelve programs on their list. The Houston Cougars came out on top, winning fourteen out of their fifteen 2015 games including the Peach bowl. They’ve stunned Florida State, who came in as the heavy favorite, to win by a score of 38-24 and take home silver football.

The American Athletic Conference last claimed the national championship in 1982, when the SMU Mustangs won it for two consecutive years. The Cincinnati Bearcats barely missed a participation to the BCS championship after recording a 12-0 season in 2009. The American Athletic Conference may not be has strong of a conference as the Big 12 or SEC, but has what it takes to make some noise as one of the five power conferences in the BCS.

Click here to play NCAA DFS football.

Cincinnati Bearcats Cincinnati logo

One team that may be pretty surprising going into the 2016 season is the Cincinnati Bearcats as they could make some noise in the AAC. They have a good problem right now as any one of their three quarterbacks (Hayden Moore, Ross Trail and Gunner Kiel) could win the starting job.

Connecticut Huskies Connecticut logo

Running back Arkeel Newsome led the AAC with 1,686 all-purpose yards as a sophomore, including two 100-yard rushing performances in the Huskies’ final five games.

East Carolina Pirates East Carolina logo

One of the top returning receivers in the nation, Isaiah Jones hauled in 98 passes for 1,099 yards and five touchdowns last season.

Houston Cougars Houston logo

The Cougars are coming off a breakthrough 13-1 season and Peach Bowl upset of Florida State. Dynamic dual-threat QB Greg Ward Jr. (2,828 yards and 17 TDs) should continue to develop under guru Tom Herman. He’ll have help from RB Duke Catalon and WRs Chance Allen and Isaiah Johnson.

Memphis Tigers Memphis logo

Doroland Dorceus was Memphis’ top all-around back last season, rushing for 661 yards and eight TDs while adding 217 receiving yards and three TD catches.

Navy MidshipmenNavy logo

The Navy Midshipmen had one of their best seasons in program history last year, going 11-2 and winning the Military Bowl. It was a relief for Navy’s fan to see coach Ken Niumatalolo decide to stay rather then take the offer to coach BYU this winter. Senior QB Tago Smith will have to follow in the footsteps of four-year starter Keenan Reynolds.

SMU Mustangs SMU logo

The 6-foot-4 sophomore, Courtland Sutton, is ranked fifth nationally among freshmen receivers with 862 yards and tied for the conference lead with nine TD receptions.

South Florida Bulls South Florida logo

Tailback Marlon Mack ran for a school-record 1,381 yards last year and led the conference in rushing, averaging 6.6 yards a carry with 13 runs of more than 20 yards.

Temple Owls Temple logo

QB P.J. Walker, a senior with 33 starts, holds school records for TD passes (52) and total offense (8,237 yards), and with 7,374 passing yards, he’s 121 short of the school record.

Tulane Green Wave Tulane

Former Tulane starting QB Tanner Lee has transfered to Nebraska. This means, Sherman Badie and Dontrell Hilliard, whom have both rushed for more than 600 yards in a season, should see more carries in an offense designed to run the football with multiple backs.

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes Tulsa logo

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, Dane Evans threw 25 TDs and completed 63 percent of his passes with just eight picks. He threw for 427 yards and four TDs with no interceptions at Oklahoma.

UCF Knights UCF logo

New University of Central Florida head coach Scott Frost introduced new uniform for the team, in hopes that they can shine from the few bright spots that they’ve offered last year. Wide receiver Tre’quan Smith led the Knights in receptions (52), receiving yards (724) and receiving TDs (four) and was one of the team’s few bright spots.

Posted in CFB

Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

Chick-Fil-A Peach BOWL

Florida State vs. Houston

 

Fanpicks.com is proud to bring you the Peach Bowl game preview featuring Florida State against Houston.  This bowl game will be another close nail bitter with Florida State topping Houston 24-20.  Play the best fantasy college football contests at Fanpicks.com

 

Houston is looking for its second 13-win season in school history and some national respect when it faces Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Seminoles’ senior class is trying to become the first in FBS history to win 50 games in a four-year span. The Cougars own a 12-2-2 record against Florida State, but the teams haven’t met since 1978.

Florida State became the first team since Alabama in 2011 to hold each regular-season opponent to fewer than 25 points and is ranked fifth in scoring defense (15.8). The Seminoles is tough against the run, allowing 141.8 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns on the ground. Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1,041 rushing yards, 19 TDs) and running backs Kenneth Farrow (949 yards, 12 TDs) and Ryan Jackson (353 yards, three TDs) powered the Cougars’ ground attack.

Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook led the ACC in rushing yards (1,658) and touchdowns (18) and finished the season with four straight 100-yard games. Houston was also solid defensively – ranked 19th in scoring defense (20.5 points) and 12th in rushing defense (116 yards) – but hasn’t faced a back as explosive at Cook. The Cougars were also second nationally with a plus-17 turnover margin after recording 30 takeaways.

 

HOUSTON Season Overview(12-1, 7-1 American Athletic Conference): Ward, who completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 2,590 yards, 16 TDs and five interceptions, leads FBS quarterbacks with 16 runs of at least 20 yards. Cornerback Brandon Wilson rushed for 181 yards and two scores in two starts in place of the injured Farrow (missed past two games with ankle injury) and Jackson (past four games, collarbone), but the duo returned to practice and should be available New Year’s Eve. Demarcus Ayers led the Cougars – who averaged 40.6 points – with 89 catches for 1,140 yards and six touchdowns.

FLORIDA STATE Season Overview (10-2, 6-2 ACC): Sean Maguire (90-of-145 for 1,128 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions) prepares to start his first bowl game after replacing Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson – who did not make the trip to Atlanta because of personal reasons – for the second half of the season. Cook has the most rushes of at least 20 yards among FBS running backs (22) while Kermit Whitfield (53 catches for 742 yards, six TDs) and Travis Rudolph (52, 715 yards, six) lead the receivers. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker was tied for second in the ACC with 10.5 sacks while the cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and Marquez White provide a solid secondary.

 

Posted in CFB

College Football Weekend Leaders

Daily Fantasy College football is often overlooked in the fantasy world. It typically serves as a Saturday side note to the Fantasy focus of the weekend, the NFL Sunday action. However, by skipping the amateur football contests, you may be missing out on some volatile and exiting Cash Drafts where you can make a lot of money.

Look at this weekends leaders for example. We saw the leading Quarterback score 45.3 fantasy points, the leading wide receiver score 51.9 fantasy points, and the leading receiver score an unreal 65.7 fantasy points. In the NFL these totals would be historic, even record breaking, but in the NCAA, this is the norm. College games are more fast paced and with the constant scoring, there is much more to the fantasy excitement.

Quarterback

The top quarterback of the weekend should be no surprise. Brandon Doughty from Western Kentucky has been consistent in providing fantasy value all season. While he comes at a premium price, he provides fantasy return week after week. Doughty scored his massive point total of 45.3 fantasy points with pure passing, no rushing touchdowns or yards (he actually had -29 rushing yards). Rather he stayed in the pocket and threw 6 touchdowns and 457 passing yards to lead the list of quarterbacks.

The second quarterback on the list scored his points a little differently. Greg Ward Jr. from Houston scored 39 fantasy points, but he did a lot of work with his legs. He scored 6 touchdowns like Doughty, but only 4 of those were passing and he ran in the rest. He only scored 274 passing yards, falling short of the 300 yard fantasy bonus, but matched that with 91 rushing yards, almost enough for the rushing yards fantasy bonus.

Running Backs

Deandre Washington from Texas Tech had a dominating 51.9 fantasy point performance this weekend. He rushed for 188 yards with 4 rushing touchdowns. Once a player exceeds that 100 yard mark and attains that rushing bonus, they get most of their fantasy value from touchdowns. Compare Washington to Leonard Fournette of Louisiana State who ran for 244 yards, but only got 2 touchdowns, and therefore ended the day with 41.1 fantasy points, far less than Washington. The key to maximizing fantasy value in your running back draft picks is to find a back who gets enough attempts to surpass that 100 yards mark yet still gets the red zone attempts. A running back who does all the work down the field, just to hand off the duties in the red zone has little value in a Daily Fantasy CFB contest.

Receivers

Way above the competition at the receiver position was Josh Doctson of Texas Christian. He scored a total of 65.7 fantasy points this weekend with 267 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. The next closed on this list was Ed’Marques Batties from Middle Tennessee with 45.5 fantasy points from 2 touchdowns and 175 receiving yards.

The point differential here is key. At the quarterback position, if you swap out Ward for Doughty that only costs your lineup 7 fantasy points while swapping out Doctson for Batties costs your lineup a huge 20 fantasy points. The key to winning Daily Cash Drafts is to spend a little extra money on those positions with high point differentials, and maybe save a little cash at those positions like quarterback where there is a lot of depth to be found.

Posted in CFB