College Football Handicapping: Week 7 Misleading Scores

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Four top ten teams fell last weekend. Outside of Alabama, the teams at the top that won were tested in a big way also. Alabama has been playing so much better than anyone else so far this year. It’s hard for me to think of another year in recent memory where one team was so dominant versus the rest. Who can give the Crimson Tide a challenge? There’s still plenty of time left, but the challengers are going to have to improve drastically.

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.

There weren’t as many misleading scores as normal last weekend, but I was still able to find several good examples.

Ohio State 30 Minnesota 14 – The Buckeyes didn’t play well in this one. The score would make you think that Ohio State won fairly easily, but that wasn’t the case at all. Minnesota averaged 7.07 yards per play compared to 6.63 points per play from Ohio State. The Buckeyes averaged 4.29 points per trip into the red zone. The Golden Gophers averaged only 2.8 points per trip into the red zone. Ohio State didn’t turn the ball over. Minnesota turned it over three times. There were plenty of warning signs in this one for Ohio State though. The Buckeyes averaged only 2.9 yards per carry, while they allowed Minnesota to average 5.4 yards per carry.

Iowa State 30 West Virginia 14 – What was it about 30-14 scores that were misleading last weekend? Iowa State absolutely dominated in this game, and the Cyclones should have won by more than 16 points. West Virginia blocked a field goal and ran it back for a touchdown. The Mountaineers offense didn’t score a point in the last 3.5 quarters of this game. Iowa State rolled up 458 yards of offense, while West Virginia had just 152 yards. The Mountaineers picked up only nine first downs, compared to 25 first downs for Iowa State. Iowa State averaged 6.92 yards per play. West Virginia averaged only 3.62 yards per play.

Texas A&M 26 South Carolina 23 – This was a strange one. Texas A&M finished with 458 yards of total offense. South Carolina gained only 299 yards. The Gamecocks averaged 5.25 points per trip into the red zone. The Aggies averaged 3.71 points per trip into the red zone. Texas A&M possessed the ball for more than 41 minutes of this game. The Aggies were flagged 12 times while South Carolina was flagged only four times.

Virginia 16 Miami 13 – Miami outgained Virginia 339-231. The Hurricanes averaged 5.84 yards per play to only 3.73 per play for Virginia. Both teams turned the ball over three times. This was one of the sloppiest games of the weekend. Virginia’s average starting field position was their own 40.8 yard line. Miami’s average field position was their 30.0 yard line. Who will be Miami’s quarterback going forward?

UCLA 37 Cal 7 – Can Cal find anyone to play quarterback who won’t just turn the ball over constantly? The Golden Bears turnover woes are getting ridiculous. The teams were 20-20 in first downs in this one. UCLA outgained Cal by only 38 yards. UCLA averaged 5.0 points per trip into the red zone. Cal averaged only 2.33 points per trip into the red zone. UCLA didn’t turn the ball over. Cal turned it over five times!

Virginia Tech 22 North Carolina 19 – North Carolina should have won this game. This was probably the most misleading game of the weekend. North Carolina outgained Virginia Tech 522-375. The Tar Heels averaged 7.15 yards per play compared to only 4.87 yards per play for Virginia Tech. North Carolina averaged 6.2 yards per carry. Virginia Tech averaged only 3.8 yards per carry. North Carolina averaged only 2.11 points per trip into the red zone. Virginia Tech averaged 5.25 points per trip into the red zone. North Carolina turned it over three times. Virginia Tech turned it over twice. This game should have been much higher scoring, and the Hokies were very fortunate to win.

Oregon 30 Washington 27 – The Ducks got the win in overtime, but the statistics say Washington probably should have won this contest. Washington outgained Oregon 437-379. The Huskies averaged 6.24 yards per play. Oregon averaged 4.68 yards per play. Oregon won the field position battle and that was crucial here. The Ducks averaged starting on their own 37.9 yard line. Washington averaged starting on their own 28.3 yard line. Oregon was 3 for 3 on fourth down conversions. Washington was 1 for 2 on fourth down conversions.

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