The first month of the college football season is usually devoted to a number of non-conference matchups. College teams like to get out of the gate with a handful of “warm up” games before heading into conference play. For years, I’ve questioned whether or not that was the right thing to do. Why not start things off with a conference war right away? Regardless of whether you win or lose, at least you know exactly where you stand.
With a cup of coffee and my updated college football database in hand, I went to work looking at how teams did in the first few games of the season lined up against non-conference teams or conference foes. First, I analyzed how teams performed (good or bad) after opening with a conference war. There were a couple of situations that showed promise but nothing substantial. Then, I looked at how teams did going into conference play off a couple of non-conference games. That’s when the magic started to happen. Check out this major discovery.
Since 1980, PLAY AGAINST any conference host coming off the comforts of a home game provided they opened the season with back-to-back non-conference battles and are matched up against a foe that checks in off a straight up win.
38 Year ATS Record = 77-39-3 ATS for 66.3 percent
This Week’s Play’s = Boston College, Florida State, LSU and Alabama
When forced to step up and face an opponent that has some merit, these game three conference hosts struggle something fierce. It was surprising to me that these home teams did so poorly. The knee-jerk reaction would be to side with a host competing in their first conference game of the season. It would make sense that these “homers” would want to start conference play out with a victory.
I played around with that base record and found a number of different parameters that really made this system pop. Here is the best mixture that I discovered that served up the most profit. If our “play against” side is battling with revenge, priced as an underdog or a favorite of -4 or less and did not lose to the pointspread by 15 points or more last, this Game 3 Serious Conference Trouble system falls to a jaw-dropping 6-35-3 ATS! That’s an 85.3 percent winning situation and it asks that we fade Syracuse and Mississippi!
Good luck with Florida State and Alabama on Saturday and be sure to hang on to this situation for more potential plays in the future.