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College football’s shocking unbeaten programs

College football’s shocking unbeaten programs

Surprise party: College football’s shocking unbeaten programs

This weekend’s SEC showdown between Georgia and Alabama has the undivided attention of the sports world. And why shouldn’t it?

Two undefeated, ranked powerhouses collide for the top spot in college football’s toughest conference.

There are two things wrong with that sentence that might come as a surprise.

The SEC is not the toughest league in the nation right now and there’s another program claiming bragging rights on top of the standings.

The Vanderbilt Commodores are not only perfect in the SEC standings, but also at the pay window. And as far as the top league in the country is concerned, that nod could go to the Mountain West Conference which sports three 4-0 programs and another surprise standout in Air Force.

The first four weeks of the schedule were full of surprises like those. Check out the other undefeated teams causing NCAA pundits to do a double take.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

It’s a down year for the Big Ten and the Golden Gophers are enjoying life atop the standings after winning their first four games of the season. This is a big turnaround after the team was 1-11 (4-6-1 ATS) last year.

Minnesota is 2-1 ATS with paydays on the road versus Bowling Green and at home in a surprise stomping of Florida Atlantic.

Bettors should be sending the Gophers’ defense a fruit basket for those wins. Minnesota locked down the Owls for under 300 total yards of offense and had four interceptions last Saturday.

The Gophers open Big Ten play on the road against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Oddsmakers have set OSU as an 18-point home favorite.

Ball State Cardinals

The Cardinals’ celebration of their upset over Indiana in Bloomington was secondary to the health of receiver Dante Love. The senior was carted of the field after suffering a spinal injury and underwent hours of surgery Sunday.

Love looks like he’ll be all right but will likely never return to the gridiron. He was Ball State’s leading receiver with 460 yards and three touchdown receptions over the past four games.

The loss is a shot to the Cards’ high-powered offense that is currently ranked 12th in the nation in total yards. Ball State scored 40 or more points in three of its four games, the majority of that coming through the air, and quarterback Nate Davis is eighth in the country in passing with 1,155 yards.

The Cardinals take their 4-0 record and 3-0 mark against the spread into Saturday’s home matchup with Kent State. Books have set Ball State as a 17 ½-point home favorite.

Utah Utes

One of the strongest cases toward the MWC’s top billing is the current play of the Utes. They are one of three undefeated teams in the league and have made a bundle for over bettors after topping the total in each of those contests.

New offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has breathed new life into Utah’s attack. The team is scoring almost 39 points per game and averaging 416.8 total yards of offense. They tagged rival Utah State with 58 points two weeks ago and beat conference foes Air Force in dramatic fashion on the road.

The Utes returned just six starters on defense and were faced with questions in the d-line and linebacker corps before the season. However, they’ve proved doubters wrong with a stingy run defense that is allowing just over 61 rushing yards per game and has helped limit opponents to an average of 199.5 total yards (third in the nation).

Utah could and probably will go 5-0 SU after hosting Weber State Saturday night. Oddsmakers will not be setting a line for this matchup.

Northwestern Wildcats

The last time Northwestern was 4-0 the nation was more concerned with Russian missiles in Cuba then Big Ten football.

The Wildcats’ defense is the biggest surprise. They’ve shut down opponents for just 11.2 points against per game, mostly in part to an impressive defensive line that has snuffed out runners before they get started.

Some may say that Northwestern’s wins have come over weak opponents, and they have. However, the Wildcats are playing above their equally weak expectations heading into Big Ten play this weekend.

The boys in purple are 8 ½-point underdogs traveling to Iowa to face the Hawkeyes Saturday. The teams have split their last 10 meetings straight up and against the spread.

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