College Football Handicapping: Week 1 Misleading Scores

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College football is back! Week one is in the rearview mirror. We didn’t have too many dramatic finishes, but it sure was nice to watch some action on the gridiron once again. The most disappointed fan bases in week one were likely Miami and Michigan. A lot was expected from those teams. As bad as some teams looked, keep in mind it was only one week.

BangTheBook always tries to help readers and listeners be well-informed. The weekly misleading scores piece I do here is a good place to go for extra information on teams, and data that helps you dive much deeper than simply knowing the final score. A final score can be very misleading. It’s hard to keep track of all the games, especially if you have a day job and are doing this on the side. I’ll highlight several games and what made the final score misleading. Keep these in mind as you update you handicap the games for the upcoming weekend.

UCF 56 UConn 17 – UCF certainly deserved to win this game, but the margin was very misleading. UConn fumbled once and threw an interception once deep in UCF territory in the first half. The Huskies were moving the ball well, but they weren’t able to cash in with points. UConn was stopped on downs deep in UCF territory twice in the second half.

In the end, UCF finished with 31 first downs compared to 27 for UConn. UCF had a total yardage advantage of 652-486. UCF was penalized only 3 times for 27 yards. UConn was called for 7 penalties for 93 yards. UCF didn’t turn the ball over, while UConn had three turnovers.

Virginia Tech 24 Florida State 3 – The Seminoles fan base is another one that has to be really disappointed after week one. Florida State couldn’t get out of their own way on Monday night. The Seminoles outgained Virginia Tech 327-319. Florida State’s front seven stuffed Virginia Tech’s run game all night. The Hokies averaged only 2.8 yards per carry. Florida State didn’t get much of a running game going either, averaging 3.4 yards per carry on the night.

Both teams struggled badly on third down. Virginia Tech was only 3/14 on third down. Florida State was just 5/16 on third down. Florida State turned the ball over five times, while Virginia Tech had zero turnovers. Virginia Tech also blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.

Northwestern 31 Purdue 27 – Northwestern was fortunate to win this one. Purdue outgained Northwestern 472-401. Purdue averaged a stunning 8.1 yards per carry, while Northwestern averaged only 4.0 yards per carry. Northwestern was only 6/18 on third down, while Purdue was 8/15 on third down. Northwestern finished +3 in turnover margin. Purdue also committed some major penalties at inopportune times in this one. Despite the loss, Rondale Moore looks like a difference maker for Jeff Brohm’s offense.

Vanderbilt 35 MTSU 7 – Every single year MTSU catches steam against Vanderbilt, and Vanderbilt constantly beats down the boys from Murfreesboro. They did it again this year, though the final score is misleading. Vanderbilt outgained MTSU 346-294. MTSU had 21 first downs to 19 for Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt was very efficient with the pass, averaging 10.0 yards per pass in this contest. MTSU averaged only 4.8 yards per pass as Brent Stockstill and company struggled. MTSU had two turnovers compared to none for Vanderbilt. One of MTSU’s turnovers was a fumble returned for a touchdown.

Boise State 56 Troy 20 – Boise State is a really talented team, but Troy’s mistakes are what this one get out of control. Troy turned the ball over four times compared to only one for Boise State. Troy had 21 first downs compared to 16 for Boise State. The Broncos led in total yardage, but only by a 416-387 count. Don’t upgrade Boise State too much or downgrade Troy too far solely because of the results of this game.

USC 43 UNLV 21 – USC didn’t win this game as easily as it looks from the final score. UNLV had a lot of success on the ground in this game. The Rebels averaged a whopping 7.2 yards per carry in this one. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they couldn’t get anything going through the air. On 27 pass attempts, UNLV could gain only 97 yards through the air. UNLV trailed only 19-14 after the third, but USC scored 24 points to pull away in the fourth quarter.

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