College Football Handicapping: Week 12 Misleading Scores


The big change near the top of the rankings in the college football world this past weekend was West Virginia losing to Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are now out of the playoff picture. They have a chance to ruin Oklahoma’s playoff chances this weekend in Morgantown. It’s rivalry week this weekend, and we should see a lot of exciting contests this weekend.

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.

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Miami 38 Virginia Tech 14 – Miami only outgained Virginia Tech 339-335 in this one. The Hurricanes averaged 5.14 yards per play. Virginia Tech averaged 4.86 yards per play. Miami took advantage of their chances in the red zone. Miami averaged 5.14 points per trip into the red zone. Virginia Tech averaged only 4.86 points per trip into the red zone. The Hurricanes averaged starting on their own 35.8 yard line. Virginia Tech averaged starting on their own 23.1 yard line. Miami finished +3 in turnover margin.

Troy 12 Texas State 7 – This is the game that got Everett Withers fired. Well, it was clearly primarily his 7-28 record overall, but this was the last straw. Troy won this one despite gaining only 220 yards. The Trojans averaged a paltry 2.87 yards per play. Texas State averaged 4.81 yards per play. What was the problem? Texas State turned the ball over five times in the first half. They finished -6 in turnover margin here. Texas State averaged a brutal 1.75 points per trip into the red zone. Troy threw for only 79 yards on 27 passing attempts, and yet they still won. Wow.

UCLA 34 USC 27 – The UCLA Bruins averaged 6.47 yards per play. USC averaged 7.36 yards per play. The Bruins averaged 5.67 points per trip into the red zone though, and USC only averaged 2.86 points per trip into the red zone. USC had poor field position all game as well. The Trojans averaged starting on their own 19.6 yard line. USC finished -1 in turnover margin.

Utah State 29 Colorado State 24 – Utah State was very fortunate to win this game. Colorado State outgained them 506-310. The Rams averaged 6.17 yards per play. The Aggies averaged 5.96 yards per play. Colorado State had 29 first downs compared to only 16 for Utah State. Colorado State had the ball for just over 42 minutes in this game. The Rams did have 11 penalties though, and they turned the ball over twice. Utah State had just one turnover.

Miami Ohio 13 Northern Illinois 7 – The Miami Ohio Redhawks have finally found a way to win some close games. They shouldn’t have won this one. Northern Illinois had 369 yards of total offense in this contest. Miami had only 201 yards. The Redhawks averaged only 3.09 yards per play. Northern Illinois averaged 5.27 yards per play. Northern Illinois averaged starting on their own 18.1 yard line. Miami averaged starting on their own 35.5 yard line. Miami finished +2 in turnover margin in this MACtion contest.

Vanderbilt 36 Ole Miss 29 – Ole Miss should have won this one. The Rebels outgained Vanderbilt 578-387 here. Ole Miss averaged 7.05 yards per play. Vanderbilt averaged only 5.45 yards per play. Ole Miss couldn’t cash in when they got into the red zone. The Rebels averaged only 2.90 points per trip into the red zone. Vanderbilt averaged 4.86 points per trip into the red zone. Ole Miss was then ripped off by a terrible overturn of a game tying touchdown in overtime. A brutal way to lose.

Georgia Tech 30 Virginia 27 – Virginia outgained Georgia Tech 403-305 here. Virginia averaged 5.08 yards per play. The Cavaliers had a 55.7% success rate on offense. Georgia Tech had a 31.7% success rate on offense. Virginia had 24 first downs compared to only 13 for Georgia Tech. Virginia had one costly turnover, and that ended up being the difference in this game. Georgia Tech didn’t turn the ball over all game, and they only committed three penalties.