College Football Handicapping: Week 4 Misleading Scores

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Maybe we should just get accustomed to this craziness. Maybe week four wasn’t quite as wild as week three in college football, but Old Dominion beating Virginia Tech is about as crazy as we ever see. This is the same Old Dominion team that lost their season opener 52-10 to Liberty. Non-conference games will be rare in the next few weeks. Will conference action bring more stability to the results in college football or will the huge upsets continue?

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.

Wisconsin 28 Iowa 17 – Wisconsin won this game by 11 points, but Iowa looked like the better team for much of the game. Iowa turned the ball over three times though, and it was too much to overcome. Wisconsin averaged 6.29 yards per play. Iowa averaged 7.48 yards per play. Wisconsin capitalized on their scoring opportunities here too. The Badgers scored 7 points per trip into the red zone. Iowa scored 4.3 points per trip into the red zone. Wisconsin’s average starting field position was the 32.0 yard line. Iowa averaged starting at only the 19.2 yard line. With one minute left, Iowa led 17-14 in this one. If you had under 44, that was one of the worst beats of the weekend.

Auburn 34 Arkansas 3 – This was an extremely misleading final score. Arkansas outgained Auburn 290-225 here. The Razorbacks averaged 4.14 yards per play, while Auburn averaged only 3.88. Arkansas went into the red zone three times, and came away with only one field goal. Auburn had a 96 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and they also blocked a punt which gave them a very short field. Arkansas is still a bad team, and their special teams are among the worst in the nation, but this game makes me wonder about Auburn’s offense. Not a good look for the Tigers.

LSU 38 LA Tech 21 – It was a letdown spot for LSU, and the Tigers did play down to their competition here. Louisiana Tech outgained LSU 417-409 in this one. The Bulldogs averaged 5.49 yards per play. The Tigers averaged 5.38 yards per play. The Tigers won the field position battle here in a big way. LSU averaged starting at the 37.0 yard line, while LA Tech started at their own 24.5 yard line.

UTSA 25 Texas State 21 – UTSA did outgain Texas State 272-248, but Texas State solidly won the yards per play state. UTSA averaged only 3.58 yards per play, while Texas State averaged 4.68. Texas State had three turnovers. UTSA had only one turnover. Interestingly, according to Bill Connelly, Texas State had a 94% win expectancy in this one. Tough loss for the Bobcats.

Toledo 63 Nevada 44 – Nevada outgained Toledo 582-460 in this contest. The Wolf Pack averaged 6.85 yards per play. Toledo averaged only 6.48 yards per play. Toledo averaged starting at their own 40.4 yard line. Nevada averaged starting at their own 26.4 yard line. A huge key here was special teams. Toledo had a whopping 171 return yards. Nevada had only 40 return yards.

New Mexico State 27 UTEP 20 – UTEP outgained New Mexico State 429-311, but managed to lose yet again. The time of possession statistics here were crazy. UTEP had the ball for nearly 41 minutes. The Miners turned the ball over three times though, and New Mexico State turned it over only once. A missed opportunity for UTEP.

UMass 49 Charlotte 31 – This game was primarily misleading from a totals standpoint. With 80 points scored, you would think the offenses went crazy. That wasn’t the case. UMass scored 49 points on only 331 yards of total offense. Charlotte had 364 yards of total offense. UMass a kick return touchdown, and one touchdown drive on offense of just 20 yards. UMass averaged 6.0 points per trip into the red zone. Charlotte averaged only 4.4 points per trip into the red zone.

SMU 31 Navy 30 – Navy suffered some key injuries in this one, and they fell just short in a very strange game. Navy outgained SMU 374-324 here. The field position disparity here was drastic. SMU averaged starting on their own 45.5 yard line. Navy averaged starting on their own 24.8 yard line. The Midshipmen turned it over three times. SMU turned it over only once.

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