College Football Handicapping: Week 10 Misleading Scores


The Top 25 didn’t quite crater the way they have in recent weeks, but Top 25 teams were still under water against the spread. Alabama absolutely dominated LSU in Baton Rouge. The Crimson Tide are massive favorites to win it all at this point. Who can beat them? Another team that made a nice statement last weekend was Georgia with their blowout win on the road at Kentucky. Michigan also had a good win over Penn State, and the Wolverines defense is scary good.

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.

Boise State 21 BYU 16 – If you saw the end of this game, you know BYU blew their chance in an epic way. BYU outgained Boise State 388-227, and the Cougars averaged 5.79 yards per play compared to only 4.54 for the Broncos. BYU didn’t take advantage of their red zone chances. BYU averaged only 2.29 points per trip into the red zone. Boise State averaged 3.50 points per trip into the red zone. BYU was a miserable 3/12 on third down conversion attempts. Boise State was 8/14 on third down. Boise State turned the ball over twice. BYU turned it over three times.

Oregon 42 UCLA 21 – The Oregon Ducks won handily here, but the box score shows a different story. Oregon did average 6.56 yards per play. UCLA averaged a solid 5.70 yards per play. UCLA actually outgained Oregon 496 yards to 492 yards. Oregon was great in the red zone. The Ducks averaged 5.83 points per trip in to the red zone. UCLA averaged only 3.00 points per trip into the red zone. Oregon averaged starting on their own 37.5 yard line. UCLA started on their 25.2 yard line on average. UCLA finished -3 in the turnover margin, and that crushed them in this one.

Duke 20 Miami 12 – This game was played on a nasty field with heavy rains in the area. Miami outgained Duke 411 yards to 290 yards. The Hurricanes also averaged 5.71 yards per play compared to Duke’s 4.33 yards per play. Miami had 16 first downs compared to only 13 for Duke. Field position was crucial here. The Blue Devils started on their own 41.7 yard line on average. Miami had a terrible averaging starting position of their own 18.7 yard line. Miami also finished -1 in turnover margin.

Tennessee 14 Charlotte 3 – This was a really ugly game. Tennessee only scored one offensive touchdown against Charlotte. The Volunteers were outgained by the 49ers. Charlotte had 244 yards compared to 192 for Tennessee. Charlotte only managed 1.5 points per trip into the red zone. They started on their own 21.5 yard line on average. Tennessee averaged starting on the 34.5 yard line. Charlotte turned it over once, while Tennessee didn’t turn the ball over.

Syracuse 41 Wake Forest 24 – Syracuse won comfortably here, but it was primarily because Wake Forest turned the ball over three times and the Orange didn’t turn it over at all. Wake Forest outgained Syracuse 434-421. The Demon Deacons averaged 5.36 yards per play compared to 4.43 per play for the Orange. Syracuse averaged 5.3 points per trip into the red zone, while Wake Forest averaged only 4.00 points per trip into red the zone.

Washington 27 Stanford 23 – Chris Petersen’s Huskies were fortunate to win this one. Stanford outgained Washington 424-371. The Cardinal averaged 6.33 yards per play compared to 5.50 yards per play for the Huskies. Stanford had 22 first downs. Washington had 19 first downs. Stanford turned the ball over three times though, and Washington didn’t turn it over at all in this one.

Southern Miss 26 Marshall 24 – There were two misleading things about this game. First, Marshall should have won. Secondly, the total should have never been this high. Marshall outgained Southern Miss 249-222. The Thundering Herd averaged 4.15 yards per play. Southern Miss averaged just 3.17 yards per play. Southern Miss averaged 5.00 points per trip into the red zone. Marshall averaged only 2.83 points per trip into the red zone. Southern Miss turned the ball over twice. Marshall turned it over five times! An ugly game.

San Diego State 31 New Mexico 23 – I’ve saved the best for last this week. San Diego State absolutely dominated this game. This score was far closer than it ever should have been. The Aztecs finished with 401 total yards. New Mexico finished with 142 yards. San Diego State averaged 6.17 yards per play. New Mexico finished with 2.49 yards per play. San Diego State turned the ball over three times, and New Mexico turned it over only once. New Mexico ran one fumble back for a defensive touchdown. They also had a 13 yard touchdown drive after a San Diego State turnover.