College Football Handicapping: Week 3 Misleading Scores

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What do I say about week three in college football? It was utter chaos, and even that doesn’t seem strong enough to describe how crazy of a Saturday it was in college football. Wisconsin lost at home to BYU. Troy won at Nebraska. The Akron Zips won at Northwestern in a massive upset. It was a great week for underdog bettors.

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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This past weekend was filled with a bunch of misleading scores, so let’s get right to it.

South Florida 25 Illinois 19 – Illinois led most of the game. It took a South Florida late comeback to win this one. Maybe the Fighting Illini are back? No. South Florida racked up 626 yards compared to only 380 for Illinois here. South Florida managed only 2.7 points per trip into the red zone. Illinois averaged 3.8. The Bulls were penalized 14 times for a whopping 124 yards. Illinois was penalized only six times for 65 yards. South Florida averaged 7.45 yards play. Illinois averaged only 4.81 yards per play. The Bulls were minus one in turnover margin as well.

Notre Dame 22 Vanderbilt 17 – Notre Dame was very fortunate to get out with a win. Vanderbilt outgained Notre Dame 420-380. The Commodores averaged 6.00 yards per play. Notre Dame averaged only 5.14 yards per play. Vanderbilt averaged 7.6 yards per pass compared to only 5.2 yards per pass. Vanderbilt was only able to manage 2.4 points per trip into the red zone. The Commodores three turnovers were what crushed them here. Notre Dame didn’t turn the ball over in this contest.

Bowling Green 42 Eastern Kentucky 35 – Eastern Kentucky dominated the statistics in this one. Eastern Kentucky outgained Bowling Green 498-388. The Colonels averaged 6.5 yards per carry and finished with 389 rushing yards. Bowling Green ran for only 140 yards and 3.3 yards per carry. Eastern Kentucky had three turnovers compared to only one for Bowling Green, and that was enough for the Falcons to squeak out a win.

Louisville 20 Western Kentucky 17 – Louisville put up a terrible performance on Saturday night. The Cardinals had only 292 total yards against the lowly Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky had 428 yards of offense here. Western Kentucky had a 25 to 16 first down advantage. The Hilltoppers were 9/17 on third down. Louisville was only 2/11 on third down. The field position battle helped Louisville in a big way here. Louisville started on average at their 39.3 yard line. Western Kentucky started on their own 25.2 yard line on average. Western Kentucky was whistled for 29 yards more in penalties than Louisville as well.

Florida 48 Colorado State 10 – On the surface it would be easy to say that Florida’s offense got on track Saturday. A closer look at the box score shows it wasn’t nearly as pretty as the final score indicates. Florida had a 341-310 advantage in total yards. To be fair, Florida did average 7.75 yards per play here, so their offense was at least improved. Still, they aren’t likely to be able to live on a bunch of big plays in SEC action. The Gators ran one punt back for a touchdown and blocked another and recovered it for a touchdown.

Troy 24 Nebraska 19 – Troy pulled one of the big upsets of the weekend, though this one was definitely misleading. The Trojans had only 253 yards of total offense. Nebraska had 364 yards of total offense. Nebraska started on their own 29.3 yard line on average. Troy started on their own 32.4 yard line on average. Nebraska turned the ball over three times, while Troy turned it over twice. It was a sloppy game where Troy edged out a win.

New Mexico 42 New Mexico State 25 – New Mexico got the win in this rivalry game, but be careful upgrading them too much. New Mexico State actually outgained New Mexico 368-325. New Mexico State averaged 4.84 yards per play. New Mexico averaged 4.01 yards per play. New Mexico averaged 5.8 points per trip into the red zone. New Mexico State put up only 2.8 points per trip into the red zone. New Mexico State turned the ball over five times. New Mexico turned it over twice.

Charlotte 28 Old Dominion 25 – Charlotte did outgain Old Dominion 373-338 in this one, but they were fortunate to win. Charlotte averaged only 4.66 yards per play. Old Dominion averaged 6.05 yards per play. Charlotte had a big field position advantage here. The 49ers started on average from their 34.7 yard line. Old Dominion started from their 24.3 yard line. Charlotte was +1 in turnover margin in this game.

Tennessee 24 UTEP 0 – So UTEP was somewhat competitive here? Wrong! Tennessee had a massive 512-134 advantage in total yards. Tennessee had a 24 to 7 first down advantage. The Volunteers averaged 7.42 yards per play. UTEP averaged 2.63 yards per play. Tennessee turned it over twice. UTEP didn’t get into the red zone all game! Ouch.