College Football Handicapping: Week 5 Misleading Scores


Was that a return back to some level of sanity in college football? Week five lacked the huge upsets that the previous two weeks had featured. There was plenty of drama in the Ohio State/Penn State contest that went right down to the wire. Notre Dame picked up a marquee win as well. There aren’t too many elite matchups on the card this coming weekend, but there’s always value on the board somewhere!

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.

Purdue 42 Nebraska 28 – Purdue was outgained 582-516 by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers averaged 7.19 yards per play compared to 6.53 per play for Purdue. This is the second time in the last four weeks that Nebraska has been on the losing end of a misleading final score. Nebraska averaged starting on their 22.3 yard line. Purdue started on average at their 31.3 yard line. Nebraska was -1 in the turnover margin. Nebraska also went 0/3 on fourth down conversion attempts.

Boston College 45 Temple 35 – Temple outgained Boston College 452-423 in this one. The Owls averaged 5.58 yards per play compared to only 4.23 yards per play from Boston College. It’s extremely rare to see a team score 45 points with that kind of yards per play average. Boston College benefited from some great field position here. The Eagles averaged starting on their own 40.2 yard line. Temple started on average at their own 26.1 yard line. Boston College had two turnovers in this one, but Temple had three turnovers. A sloppy high scoring contest.

Western Michigan 40 Miami (OH) 39 – Miami continues to lose close games under Chuck Martin. It’s getting a little ridiculous how bad they have been in the close games. This one shouldn’t have been this close though. Western Michigan was the dominant team. The Broncos had 562 total yards of offense. Miami had only 349 yards of offense. Miami averaged 5.67 points per trip into the red zone. Western Michigan averaged 4.67 points per trip into the red zone. Western Michigan had two turnovers. Miami didn’t turn the ball over at all. The Redhawks had just 45 penalty yards, while the Broncos were whistled for 96 yards worth of penalties. Western Michigan should have won by more.

Nevada 28 Air Force 25 – This one shouldn’t have been this close. Nevada outgained Air Force 436-250 in this game. Nevada averaged 6.51 yards per play, and Air Force averaged only 3.57 yards per play. Both teams turned the ball over twice. There were a couple key statistics that helped Air Force stay close. Nevada was only 1/3 on fourth down conversion attempts. Air Force was 3/4 on fourth down. Also, Nevada was whistled for a whopping 103 yards worth of penalties. Air Force was whistled for only 40 penalty yards.

East Carolina 37 Old Dominion 35 – Old Dominion managed to score 35 points here despite having only 271 total yards of offense here. The Monarchs averaged only 3.82 yards per play. Old Dominion started at their own 39.8 yard line on average. East Carolina started at their own 23 yard line on average. Old Dominion had three touchdown drives of 49 yards or less here. East Carolina dominated this game much more than the score would suggest.

Ohio State 27 Penn State 26 – The Buckeyes were fortunate to win this one. Ohio State was badly outplayed in the first half. They played much better in the second half, but the statistics still show Penn State should have won this contest. Penn State outgained Ohio State 492-389. The Nittany Lions averaged 6.47 yards per play. Ohio State averaged 5.12 yards per play. Ohio State averaged 5.6 points per trip into the red zone. Penn State averaged only 3.86 points per trip into the red zone. Penn State was 1/3 on fourth down conversions.

Hawaii 44 San Jose State 41 – These teams played well into the night on Saturday night. This is a really strange box score. Generally it is turnovers that lead to misleading finals. Hawaii turned the ball over twice, while San Jose State didn’t turn it over at all. Still, the statistics seem to show that the Spartans should have won the game. San Jose State averaged 5.7 yards per play. Hawaii averaged only 4.8 yards per play. San Jose State did miss four field goals. Hawaii averaged 4 points per trip into the red zone. San Jose State averaged 3.42 points per trip into the red zone.

Louisiana Tech 29 North Texas 27 – It was a rough night for North Texas on Saturday. They lost a game they should have won. Their star quarterback and primary running back were also dinged up in this game. North Texas outgained LA Tech 427-359. The Mean Green averaged 5.93 yards per play. The Bulldogs averaged just 5.06 yards per play. North Texas turned the ball over twice. Louisiana Tech didn’t turn the ball over at all. LA Tech blocked a field goal at the end of the game to secure the win.