College Football Handicapping: Week 14 Misleading Scores


The playoff is set. Alabama will take on Oklahoma in one game. Clemson will take on Notre Dame in the other game. It’s strange to see such big lines in the playoff, but the top two teams seem to have really separated themselves from the pack. Can either Notre Dame or Oklahoma pull the upset? Or are we headed for another Alabama vs. Clemson title game? The Alabama vs. Clemson title games have been a lot of fun before, so many college football fans would like to see another.

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 moving forward.

Washington 10 Utah 3 – There wasn’t an offensive touchdown scored in this game. This game wasn’t much fun to watch to be honest. Washington outgained Utah 306-188. A couple things stood out in this one. Washington doesn’t have a kicker they can trust at all. Also, Utah definitely misses Huntley and Moss on offense. Washington got into the red zone six times in this game, but scored only three points on offense. Washington finished plus two in turnover margin, and yet they barely won the game.

Iowa State 27 Drake 24 – Iowa State is a much improved team, but this was far from their best work. The Cyclones were outgained 279-273 by Drake. Drake averaged 4.73 yards per play. Iowa State averaged 4.07 yards per play. Iowa State even finished -1 in turnover margin here, but they managed to pull out the close win.

Virginia Tech 41 Marshall 20 – Virginia Tech only outgained Marshall 454-452. The Hokies averaged 7.09 yards per play. Marshall averaged 6.55 yards per play. Virginia Tech averaged 5.13 points per trip into the red zone. Marshall averaged 3.5 points per trip into the red zone. Field position was huge in this one. Virginia Tech started on average at their 38 yard line. Marshall started on average at their 20.2 yard line. The Thundering Herd finished -2 in turnover margin. Virginia Tech’s win here made them bowl eligible.

UCF 56 Memphis 41 – Memphis managed to blow another big lead against UCF. It is becoming the norm at this point. Memphis averaged 7.77 yards per play. UCF averaged 7.76 yards per play. UCF took advantage of their chances in the red zone. The Knights averaged 6.22 points per trip into the red zone. The Tigers averaged only 4.1 points per trip into the red zone. UCF was -2 in turnover margin here, and they still won by 15 points. It was a strange game. UCF has now won 25 straight games.

Stanford 23 Cal 13 – Cal actually outgained Stanford 352-329 here. The Golden Bears didn’t take advantage of their opportunities in the red zone though. Cal averaged only 2.6 points per trip into the red zone. Stanford averaged 4.6 points per trip into the red zone. Stanford continued their long winning streak over their rivals. Cal was -2 in turnover margin. Cal could have a lot more wins if it weren’t for their severe turnover problems this season. They need some better quarterback play.

Appalachian State 30 Louisiana 19 – The Ragin’ Cajuns actually outgained Appalachian State by a yard 301-300 here. Appalachian State averaged 6.0 points per trip into the red zone. Louisiana averaged only 3.6 points per trip into the red zone. Appalachian State finished plus two in turnover margin in this contest. Neither team passed for 100 yards here. Winds and rain definitely changed the game.