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Streaking Into College Football 2014

   by Larry Ness - 08/27/2014

Streaking Into College Football 2014

The BCS began back in 1998 but 2013 was its final season. College football’s 2014 national champion will be crowned in a new four-team playoff. As the old Chinese proverb says, “be careful what you wish for.” I, for one, am not a big fan of the new format but that has little to do with handicapping. The most significant streak in place entering last year was the SEC’s SEVEN consecutive national (BCS) titles. That streak ended last January, when Florida St 'escaped' with a thrilling 34-31 win over Auburn, finishing the season a perfect 14-0.

SEC teams won just two of the first eight BCS titles (Tennessee in the first year of 1998 and LSU in 2003) but beginning with Florida’s 41-14 rout of Ohio State in the 2006 national championship game, the SEC had won and covered each of the previous seven BCS title games, outscoring opponents by the combined scores of 225-to-106 (or 32.1-to-10.6 PPG). Maybe the most frustrating of all years (for the rest of college football) came in 2011, when Alabama beat LSU 21-0, in an all-SEC affair.

Does last year's breakthrough by Florida St of the ACC, as well as the new four-team format, mean the SEC's domination is coming to a close? We'll have to wait and see. Florida St opens the 2014 season Saturday night in Arlington, Texas ("Jerry's House"). That just happens to be the site of the first-ever College Football Championship Game, which is the official name for the new college football championship game of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

The Seminoles will take on Oklahoma St (8:00 ET on ABC), putting the nation's longest active winning streak (16) on the line. FSU is currently (as of Wednesday morning) a 17 1/2-point choice. The Seminoles last loss came back on November 24, 2012 at home to Florida, 36-27. FSU is a money-making 12-4 ATS during its current 16-game streak. Michigan St (10) and UCF (9), own the 2nd and 3rd-longest winning streaks behind Florida St.

The Spartans (8-2 ATS during their streak) open Friday at home vs Jacksonville St in an "extra game," meaning many won't have a line on this contest. As for UCF (just 4-5 ATS during its win streak), coming off its impressive 52-42 Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor (as a 17-point 'dog), the Golden Knights will take on Penn St over in at Dublin, Ireland (8:30 ET Saturday morning on ESPN2) and are currently favored by two points.

The nation's longest active home winning streak belongs to Northern Illinois (26) and the Huskies open Thursday night at home against Presbyterian (another "extra game," in which many won't find a line). The Huskies are 16-9-1 ATS during their streak. Northern Illinois' last home loss was 34-31 back in 2009 to Idaho (Huskies were favored by 15 1/2 points in that one).

Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks have won 18 in a row at home (nation's 2nd-longest streak) and will host Texas A&M Thursday in the SEC Network's debut telecast (6:00 ET). The Gamecocks are 12-6 ATS during their streak and currently are favored by 10 1/2 points over the Johnny Football-less Aggies. Stanford owns a 16-game home winning streak and Ohio St a 15-game one.

Northern Illinois also owns the nation's longest road winning streak at 15 in a row. The Huskies' last road loss was 48-41 back in 2011 at Central Michigan. Northern Illinois is a highly profitable 12-3 ATS during its road streak and plays its first road game of 2014 at Northwestern on September 6. Ohio St (9) and Florida St (8) own the next two-best road winning streaks.

Looking at the other end of the ‘food chain’ we find Miami, Ohio, which was college football's lone winless team in 2013 at 0-12 (3-9 ATS). The RedHawks have lost 16 in a row, dating to a 23-20 home win over Ohio U back on October 27, 2012 (Miami is a woeful 3-13 ATS in its slide. Miami opens its 2014 season Saturday at home against Marshall on Saturday and checks in as a 24-point home 'dog against a team which beat them 52-14 last year at Huntington, WV.

Two schools from "Power-5" conferences, California (Pac-12) and Purdue (Big Ten), each open the 2014 season having lost 10 straight games, which represents the second-longest active losing streak. Cal's last win was back on September 7, 2013, when the Bears edged Portland St 37-30, as a 31-point favorite. Cal would go on to lose the final 10 games of the season, going 2-8 ATS. The Bears open Saturday at Northwestern, where they are 11-point underdogs (Northwestern opened the 2013 season with a 44-30 win at Cal).

Purdue's last win, like Cal's, came on September 7 of 2013, 20-14 at home over Indiana St (Boilermakers were 17 1/2-point favorites). Purdue (again, just like Cal), then lost its final 10 games of 2013, going 3-6-1 ATS. The Boilermakers open the 2014 season at home vs Western Michigan on Saturday as a 10-point choice over a team which like Purdue, is coming off an 1-11 season in 2013 (Broncos lone win was 31-30 at UMass, which was also 1-11 with that lone win coming over Miami-Ohio). Here's one game you "won't want to miss, right?!"

The nation's longest active road losing streak belongs to Kansas (24), which last won a true road game at UTEP (34-7) back in 2009. The Jayhawks are 6-17-1 ATS during their slide and the school's first road game of 2014 comes at Duke on September 13. Idaho owns 16 straight road losses, while Army and New Mexico St have each lost 15 consecutive true road games.

Army's worth noting, as the Cadets were 5-0 SU on the road back in 2010, including a win in The Armed Services Bowl on SMU's home field (Army won 16-14 as a TD underdog). However, Army's lost all 15 true road games the last three seasons, going 1-14 ATS and will take a 10-game ATS road losing streak into its September 13th game at Stanford (note: The Cardinal open the 2014 season with 16 straight home wins).

Florida International opens the 2014 season with the nation's longest active home losing streak at 11 in a row. The Golden Panthers last won a home game September 8, 2012, 41-38 (in OT) over Akron (as a 23 1/2-point favorite, by the way!). FIU is 3-8 ATS during its home slide and hosts Bethune Cookman this Saturday. However, considering the not-so-Golden Panthers lost 34-13 at home to Bethune Cookman last year, that losing streak just may reach 12 in a row and counting... Miami-Ohio and Western Michigan of the MAC, have each lost seven straight home games.

Enjoy the season and good luck...Larry

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