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College Football Recap
by Brandon Shively - 10/23/2016
College Football Saturday’s are a very long day and I know how hard it can be to try to keep up with all of the games as we have families, events, and other activities going on. I would like to recap Week 8 in the College Football world and help you get caught up in case you missed some of the action. Just looking at final scores and watching Sports Center is not going to be enough to handicap the games for next week. Hopefully, some of these notes can help you out in your handicapping for Week 9. Let’s get started.
*There is a reason that Army, Tulane, and Air Force all run the triple option and prefer to keep the ball on the ground. Saturday the 3 quarterbacks (Tulane’s Cuiellette, Army’s Bradshaw, Air Force’s Romine) went 11-for-50 combined with 5 interceptions. All 3 teams lost which is no surprise after seeing these horrendous passing numbers.
*Penn State might have scored the ‘upset of the year’ against Ohio State. Having said that, this was the most misleading final score of the week as far as teams losing that outgained their opponent. Ohio State outgained Penn State by 137 yards. A blocked punt in the 4th quarter followed by a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown gave Penn State the lead and all the momentum they needed to close out the game with a win.
*If you had Boise State Friday night, then you took a tough loss in what was a win, but no-cover for the Broncos. They outgained BYU by 280 yards and averaged 7.25 yards per play while holding BYU to 3.27 yards per play. Boise State had 5 turnovers in what was a crazy game and blocked a field goal as time expired to win 28-27. I released Boise State (-7) as a free pick and it was a disappointment not to have the Broncos cover after dominating the game.
*Who took the biggest loss on Saturday? It was the Arkansas Razorbacks who lost 56-3 to Auburn. The Razorbacks offensive line played an embarrassing game and got called on publicly for their lackluster performance. Auburn had 543 rushing yards, averaged 9.16 yards per play, and held Arkansas to only 25 rushing yards and only 1 scoring opportunity. The Auburn Tigers are only allowing 14 ppg this season as they have what might be the most improved defense in the nation, behind new DC Kevin Steele and a 4-3 base with a pair of former five-star recruits in Karl Lawson and Montravious Adams on the defensive line. The two have combined for 9.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
*Kentucky got a much needed win over Mississippi State as there are not many winnable games on the Wildcats schedule remaining. In a game that featured 6 lead changes, Kentucky kicked a 51 yard field goal as time expired to give Mississippi State their 2nd consecutive tough defeat as they squandered a lead at BYU the previous week and lost in overtime. While Kentucky only won this game by 2 points, they outgained Mississippi State by 192 yards. It is worth noting that neither team could stop the run as the Wildcats averaged 6 yards per rush while the Bulldogs averaged 7.2 yards per rush.
*Air Force lost their 3rd consecutive game in overtime against Hawaii. The Hawaii defense was on the field for 102 plays but held Air Force to only 3.92 yards per play, much due to QB Romine going 1-for-10 for 20 yards through the air. Hawaii QB Dru Brown has a 9 TD/ 2 INT mark his last 4 games as the Rainbow Warriors have averaged 36 ppg. The Hawaii offense has improved 14 ppg from last year and 102 ypg and only needs two wins to become bowl eligible under first year coach and former Hawaii QB, Nick Rolovich.
*Texas Tech and Oklahoma accounted for 1708 yards of offense in case you missed it! Both teams had equal yardage with 854 yards each. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes had a perfect QB rating of 100 on 3rd downs (16-of-19 for 263 yards/ 3 rushes for 39 yards). The Oklahoma defense was on the field for 111 snaps as this defense ranks 127th in passing yards allowed per game. Last year the Sooners were ranked 9th in the nation in pass defense. They had 20 interceptions and only allowed 19 touchdowns. This year it’s the complete opposite as the depleted secondary has only 3 INT’s while giving up 22 TD’s.
*While there were 69 total points scored in the Washington State/ Arizona State game, there were only 626 total yards of offense which usually produces final point totals in the 45-52 point range. If you had the ‘over’, then you were fortunate to cash this one in.
*If you had the ‘over’ in the Western Kentucky/ Old DOminion game, then you had to love the Hilltoppers after they put up 52 points in the first half with the ‘over’ cashing at halftime. Western Kentucky was perhaps the most efficient offense of the week, running neck and neck with Auburn.
*The 10-5 final score in the Colorado/ Stanford game is about as crazy as a final college football score you will see. When would we ever think Colorado would hold ‘Stanford’ to only 5 points, 3 scoring opportunities, and force 4 turnovers? Stanford is down big time this year with terrible QB play and RB McCaffrey less than 100%. Only South Carolina and Buffalo average less points a game than Stanford. A 21 ppg decrease from 2015 might be the biggest decrease in offense in FBS this season. For Colorado, they remain perfect in the ‘ATS’ category (8-0 ATS). Colorado is doing it on defense as they have tightened p their defense by 21 ppg and 133 ypg since 2014 under DC Leavitt. I am looking forward to this Washington State/ Colorado matchup on 11/19 as it’s possible that both team will be ranked. Who would have ever guessed that being a possibility?
*There were 2 games super high totals (90, 85.5) and both games went ‘Over the Total’, but the Cal/ Oregon game needed help going into overtime in what was a terrible bad beat for all bettors that had the ‘under’.
*Best teams on 3rd down conversions this year: Texas Tech (59.2%), Western Mich (56.3%), Toledo (53.9%), MTSU (51.7%), and La Tech (51.5%)
*Worst defenses on 3rd down conversions this year: Purdue, Nevada, Ga Tech, Hawaii, New Mexico State.
*Most efficient teams in the Red Zone: Kansas State (32/33), Arizona State (29/30), BYU (29/30, Vanderbilt (25/26), and Iowa State (20/21).
*Turnover margin: Boise State and Stanford are -8 in turnover margin and tied for 120th in the nation. Washington (+14), Western Michigan (+12), and BYU (+11) are the only 3 teams with a double digit positive turnover margin.
*Penalties: What is amazing is the majority of the most penalized teams in 2016 are Power 5 teams, with 3 of the bottom 10 coming out of the BIG 12 (Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU). Also, Louisville is ranked 125th committing 9 penalties a game.
I hope I touched up on some games or stats that can help you get caught up and help you with your handicapping. I like to get a head start in handicapping College Football as early as possible as there are so many games to handicap and then injuries and weather also have to be handicapped later in the week, not to mention handicapping NFL. Now, NHL has started and Basketball is right around the corner, I am very busy studying and preparing looking for prime spots in each sport.I wish you guys the best of luck as always and encourage you to join me as I will be working hard to build your bankroll while we have a fun time winning, all at the same time!