Championship Week Notes and Stats - College Surprise Teams

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IT'S NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WEEK AND WE'VE GOT OODLES AND OODLES OF POINTSPREAD STATS INCLUDING THE LAST 10 YEARS OF NFC & AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE! ...

OUR COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT: WHO'S THE TOP "SURPRISE TEAMS"IN THE LAND? IF YOU ANSWERED DUQUESNE, COLORADO & ARKANSAS THAN GO AHEAD AND TAKE A BOW!

By Jim Hurley:

Here's something you might not have known about the NFC & AFC Championship Games the past 10 years:

Some 12 of the past 20 head-to-head showdowns (or 60 percent of'em) have produced double-digit sized wins ... so the next time a buddy of yours tells you that these title tilts are "always close"you can be quick to correct'em!

Alright?

True, things have tightened up in the NFL Conference Championship Games in more recent years as five of the last six games have been decided by single-digit margins including a pair of overtime games - see New Orleans' 31-28 non-cover win against 4-point underdog Minnesota last year in the NFC Championship Game and the 2007 NFC Championship Game that saw the road-warrior New York Giants conquer the 8-point favorite Green Bay Packers by a 23-20 final score in overtime.

As you can see by our Jim Sez chart below, the largest margin of victory on NFL Championship Game Sunday the past 10 years was the Giants' 41-0 torch-job of Minnesota back in 2000 and the closest game in terms of final score these past 10 years of title games was the aforementioned pair of overtime games in 2007 and '09.

What can we expect this Sunday when the Green Bay Packers (12-6) battle the Chicago Bears (12-5) in the NFC Championship Game at 3 p.m. ET and when the red-hot New York Jets (13-5) take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) in the AFC Championship Game at 6:30?

Well, based on the recent games the odds say one of'em will be a double-digit win for somebody ... so you do you think is most likely to win their title game by 10-or-more points? Good question!

And now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to rock your NFL Playoff world with this weekend's NFC and AFC Championship Games - get both the Side & Totals Winners, folks -- and do remember there's NBA and NCAA Basketball too when you call us daily at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else simply when you log online right here.
    
    

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WEEKEND

Let's kick off today's Jim Sez column with that 10-year look (2000-thru-2009) at the NFL Championship Games. Note that all teams below are in CAPS

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES CHART (2000-thru-2009)

SEASON WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
2009 NEW ORLEANS - 4 Minnesota 31-28 (ot)
INDIANAPOLIS - 8 Ny Jets 30-17
2008 ARIZONA + 3.5 Philadelphia 32-25
PITTSBURGH - 6 Baltimore 23-14
2007 NEW ENGLAND - 14 San Diego 21-12
Ny Giants + 8 GREEN BAY 23-20 (ot)
2006 CHICAGO - 3 New Orleans 39-14
INDIANAPOLIS - 3.5 New England 38-34
2005 Pittsburgh + 3 DENVER 34-17
SEATTLE - 3.5 Carolina 34-14
2004 PHILADELPHIA - 5.5 Atlanta 27-10
New England - 3 PITTSBURGH  41-27
2003 Carolina + 4 PHILADELPHIA 14-3
NEW ENGLAND - 3 Indianapolis 24-14
2002 Tampa Bay + 4 PHILADELPHIA 27-10
OAKLAND - 8 Tennessee 41-24
2001 New England + 10 PITTSBURGH 24-17
ST. LOUIS - 10.5 Philadelphia 29-24
2000 NY GIANTS + 2.5 Minnesota 41-0
Baltimore + 6 OAKLAND 16-3

It's interesting how home and away teams have split the last 20 pointspread verdicts in NFC/AFC Championship Games right down the middle and - for you folks looking for covers this weekend from both the Packers and the Jets - we have not had an NFL Championship Game Sunday in which both road sides covered the Las Vegas pointspread since way back in 2001 when 10-point underdog New England topped Pittsburgh 24-17 in the AFC Championship Game while the 10 ½-point dog Philadelphia Eagles slipped under the somewhat-bloated price tag in that 29-24 loss in St. Louis in the NFC Championship Game.

Note that only twice in the past 10 years have home teams swept the spread verdicts on the same day/night with Arizona and Pittsburgh banging out spread wins in 2008 and, two years earlier, Chicago and Indianapolis marched into the Super Bowl off home covers and so that means seven times in the last 10 years there's been a spread split between home/away teams ... hmmm.

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES - TEAM-BY-TEAM PAST 10 YEARS

Now, let's throw you another chart as we check out the team-by-team Pointspread Breakdown of all NFL teams that have participated in Conference Championship Games the past 10 years:

TEAM WON LOST PUSH PCT
NY Giants 2 0 0 1.000
Arizona 1 0 0 1.000
Chicago 1 0 0 1.000
San Diego 1 0 0 1.000
Seattle 1 0 0 1.000
Tampa Bay 1 0 0 1.000
Indianapolis 2 1 0 .667
New England 3 2 0 .600
Minnesota 1 1 0 .500
Pittsburgh 2 2 0 .500
Baltimore 1 1 0 .500
Carolina 1 1 0 .500
Oakland 1 1 0 .500
Philadelphia 2 3 0 .400
Atlanta 0 1 0 .000
Denver 0 1 0 .000
Green Bay 0 1 0 .000
NY Jets 0 1 0 .000
St. Louis 0 1 0 .000
Tennessee 0 1 0 .000
New Orleans 0 2 0 .000

The four NFL Championship Game participants this year are a combined 3-4 ATS (against the spread) with the Steelers' 2-2 spread log in these games far and away the most among the still-alive teams and take note Pittsburgh's split its two spread verdicts when favored in this Championship Game round with the 23-14 triumph over 6-point pup Baltimore in '08 the pointspread winner when in the chalk role with the already-mentioned 24-17 home loss to 10-point dog New England (in 2001) the chalk-role loser.
 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT: OUR TOP THREE SURPRISE TEAMS

The calendar is on the "other side"of the month of January and so it's high time we bring you our biggest surprise teams for the 2010-11 season:

DUQUESNE (11-5, 3-0 Atlantic-10) - The A-10 prognosticators believed the Dukes were more fitting for an eighth- or ninth-place finish in the league this year but they might want to amend that following last Saturday's rollicking 78-66 win against Temple in a pick 'em affair.

Okay, so Duquesne's 22-2 start in that clash really opened eyes and the Dukes wound up shooting nearly 48 percent from the floor against one of the country's best defensive teams and now the Atlantic-10 co-leaders will head into Wednesday's game at LaSalle with a sizzling six-game winning streak that also includes triumphs over rivals Saint Louis and St. Joseph's.

The Dukes have really been getting solid contributions from everyone that sees significant time including swingman Bill Clark who drained all 10 of his free throws in the win against Temple (note that Clark also connected on 5-of-9 FGs) en route to a game-high 22 points and don't forget senior F Damian Saunders who grabbed nine rebounds and swatted away three shots against the Owls.

Maybe this is the year fifth-year head coach Ron Everhart's club finally cracks the code of how to get to the NCAA Tournament - stay tuned.
 

COLORADO (14-4, 3-0 Big 12) - Are the Buffs finally back? The Big 12 bunch headed into Tuesday's tilt at Nebraska sitting pretty as part of a three-team leader at the top of the Big 12 along with Kansas and Texas A&M and who would ever have guessed that first-year head coach Tad Boyle already would own conference wins against "name teams"Missouri, Kansas State and Oklahoma State?

The Buffaloes' 75-71 hang-on-for-dear-life win against Okie State last Saturday - played before their first sellout crowd of the season - featured a 20-point performance by 6-foot-6 guard Alec Burks whose four free throws in the game's final 10.8 seconds iced matters for a team that last year finished 15-16 overall (and a lowly 6-10 in league play) and then waved bye-bye to head coach Jeff Bzdelik who took his act to Wake Forest where things ain't going so good for him so far.

If under-the-radar Colorado can manage to navigate its way through upcoming games against Kansas, Baylor and Mizzou than maybe this Boulder bunch can start thinking about a long-lost NCAA Tourney bid.


ARKANSAS (12-4, 2-1 SEC) - Okay, so if only the 2010-11 Razorbacks could play all of their hoop games at home, right? The Hogs - who already have lost road games this season at Texas A&M, Texas and LSU (including a 33-point loss in Austin) - still have overachieved through the first two months of this current campaign with last Saturday's 70-65 triumph over 1 ½-point pup Alabama the latest raise-your-eyebrow performance as Arkansas rallied from a 10-point first-half deficit while four players scored in double digits including soph forward Marshawn Powell (17 points).

The jury is still very much out on these Razorbacks and the schedule is gonna get real tough here in a hurry with road games at South Carolina (Wednesday) and at Florida (Saturday) but John Pelphrey's club has better-than-you-think balance with the likes of G Rotnei Clarke averaging 13.5 points while forward Delvon Johnson is kicking in 10.4 ppg and 7.9 rebs per game and it's not as if the Hogs are scared to take crunch-time shots as evidenced so far this year.

This might not be the early 1990s of Nolan Richardson "40 Minutes of  Hell"fame but you better believe you can carve out an NCAA Tournament berth for this year's club could wind up in the Top 25 one of these days.
 

NOTE: Get more NFL Championship Game coverage including the NFC Championship Game Preview plus more College Hoops too in our next Jim Sez column.

21
Nov

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