College Football Handicapping: Week 9 Misleading Scores


The Top 25 underperformed yet again last weekend. This has been a consistent theme all throughout the course of the season. If you have blindly faded the Top 25 so far this year, you have done very well. The Top 25 teams went 8-12 ATS last weekend, and several of them lost straight up again. It’s another reminder that paying much attention to the media’s rankings isn’t going to help you improve as a sports bettor.

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.

MTSU 51 Old Dominion 17 – The MTSU Blue Raiders won by 34 points, but they actually lost many key statistical battles. Old Dominion outgained MTSU 520-488 in total yardage. The Monarchs also averaged 7.43 yards per play on Saturday. MTSU averaged 6.87 yards per play. MTSU averaged 4.75 points per trip into the red zone, while Old Dominion averaged just 2.13 points per trip into the red zone. The great equalizer in this case was turnovers, as it so commonly is in these misleading finals. Old Dominion turned the ball over five times. MTSU had just one turnover.

Nevada 28 San Diego State 24 – San Diego State outgained Nevada 456-297, but the lost by four points. The Aztecs averaged 5.92 yards per play. The Wolf Pack averaged 4.5 yards per play. Nevada had only 14 first downs, but San Diego State had 24 first downs. Nevada finished plus two in turnover margin here. Nevada averaged starting on their own 33.1 yard line. San Diego State averaged starting on their own 23.7 yard line. San Diego State’s mistakes cost them a victory.

Charlotte 20 Southern Miss 17 – The Charlotte 49ers snuck out with a win. Charlotte had only 224 yards here, but they managed to win. Southern Miss gained 426 yards in this one. Southern Miss averaged 5.84 yards per play compared to only 4.7 yards per play for Charlotte. Southern Miss turned the ball over three times. One of those turnovers was a pick-six for the 49ers. Southern Miss was only able to average 2.14 points per trip into the red zone.

Northwestern 31 Wisconsin 17 – Northwestern outgained Wisconsin 349-323. The Badgers did have the edge in yards per play though. Wisconsin gained 4.97 yards per play. Northwestern averaged 4.42 yards per play. Both teams turned the ball over three times, so this was a very sloppy contest. Northwestern won the field position in a big way here. Northwestern averaged starting on their own 40.5 yard line. Wisconsin averaged starting on their own 30.1 yard line. Northwestern had only 20 penalty yards. Wisconsin was flagged for 54 penalty yards.

Kansas 27 TCU 26 – Congratulations to Kansas for yet another win, but this one shouldn’t make you move the Jayhawks up much in your power ratings. TCU outgained the Jayhawks 504-307. The Horned Frogs had a big advantage in yards per play as well. They averaged 7.0 yards per play. Kansas averaged just 4.58 yards per play. Kansas has 17 first downs in this one, while TCU had 27 first downs. Kansas scored 5.4 points per trip into the red zone. TCU averaged only 4.0 points per trip into the red zone.

Penn State 30 Iowa 24 – This is a misleading total. There wasn’t much success on offense in this game, but it went over the total. Why? There were essentially 16 points scored by the defense. There was a pick-six and a safety in this one. There was another long interception returned back to the 3 yard line. That turned into a quick touchdown. There were only 662 yards of total offense in this game. This should have been an under.

Oregon State 41 Colorado 34 – How did Colorado blow this one? It was an embarrassing loss for the Buffaloes. Oregon State averaged only 4.64 yards per play here. Colorado averaged 7.15 yards per play. Oregon State took advantage of their scoring opportunities. The Beavers averaged 5.86 points per trip into the red zone, compared to only 3.86 points per trip into the red zone. Colorado only went 4/15 on third down. Oregon State went 11/24 on third down. Colorado went 0/2 on fourth down. Oregon State went 3/3 on fourth down in this shocking win.