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CFB Notes (Week 5)
by Larry Ness - 09/30/2010
The first month of the 2010 CFB season closes with Thursday night's Big 12 showdown between Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Both schools enter undefeated, two of 25 such schools. The AP's preseason top-three remain the same in the most recent poll (9/26). Alabama is a solid No. 1, followed by Ohio State and Boise State. Each of these three schools are led by legitimate Heisman contenders, Alabama RB Mark Ingram (last year's winner), Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor (my preseason favorite) and Boise State QB Kellen Moore (a modest 29-1 as a starting QB along with a 46-4 TD-to-INT ratio since '09). See my latest Heisman Watch for more on that.
This weekend's schedule gives us five matchups between top-25 opponents, the most of any weekend so far this season. It doesn't get any bigger than No. 1 Alabama hosting No. 7 Florida. These schools have met in the last two SEC championship games, Florida winning in 2008 and going on to win the BCS national title that season (beat Oklahoma 24-14) while Alabama won last year's rematch and then followed with a BCS national title of its own by beating Texas 37-21. The other four top-25 meetings involve No. 4 Oregon hosting No. 9 Stanford, No. 8 Texas taking on No. 21 Texas in Dallas, No. 11 Wisconsin visiting No. 24 Michigan State and No. 17 Iowa hosting No. 22 Penn State.
Top-25 teams (AP poll) playing unranked opponents went 17-0 SU last weekend but a more modest 8-6 ATS with three non-lined games (note: you've seen "extra games" listed on some schedules but those lines don't come out until the day of the game and I'm considering them non-lined games, as in previous years). Year-to-date, top-25 teams playing unranked opponents are 71-4 SU (.947) but again, a more modest 33-26-2 ATS (.560). North Carolina St, Ohio State and San Diego State all enter this weekend's play on five-game ATS winning streak (the longest active), while Utah comes in 4-0-1 over its last five. At the other end of the 'food-chain' we find Boston College with seven straight ATS losses, Tulsa with six consecutive ATS losses plus New Mexico on a four-game ATS slide and Wake Forest at 0-3-1 ATS in its last four games.
No. 1 Alabama owns the nation's longest active winning streak at 18 in a row with Boise State one game behind at 17 straight wins. The nation's longest active home winning streak belongs to Oklahoma but the Sooners are playing Texas in Dallas, a neutral site game. Boise State has won 27 straight at home but plays at New Mexico State where the Broncos will try to extend the nation's longest-active road winning streak to 14 in a row (Broncos have won their last 13 road games). Western Kentucky owns the nation's longest active losing streak at 24 (plays at South Florida), followed by Eastern Michigan (home to Ohio U) which has lost 16 straight games. Western Kentucky easily owns the longest active home losing streak (11) but is on the road this weekend. The longest active road losing streak is 13, held by Eastern Michigan (at home), Washington (at USC), Washington State (at UCLA) and Western Kentucky (at USF).
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are 25 unbeaten teams heading into Thursday night's Texas A&M / Oklahoma State game. There will be 24 after that game, compared to just six winless schools. The Big 10 and Big 12 have six unbeaten teams (Big 12 will lose one tonight). The Pac 10 and SEC have four unbeatens while fellow BCS conferences like the ACC has just one unbeaten (North Carolina St) and the Big East has none. Two non-BCS conferences each have two unbeaten teams. In the MWC it's TCU and Utah while the WAC contributes Boise State and Nevada, which finds itself in the AP's top-25 for the first time since 1948.
I'll be back on Saturday with my NFL Week 4 notes. Until then, here's a free play in a battle of unbeatens: Take Michigan State +2 over Wisconsin.