NCAAF: Let Downs - Week 9
NCAAF: Let Downs - Week 9
Let Downs -- Week 9
By Judd Hall
Two weeks ago we saw several Top 10 teams tumble into the ranks of the beaten. This past Saturday, however, was an exercise in dominance as 23 games in the Football Bowl Subdivision were won by no less than 20 points. And there was a chalky aftertaste to many of those contests for us since 21 of those blowouts were doled out by the favorites.
Those big wins by the “chalk” shouldn’t surprise anyone since they put up a remarkable 45-7 record straight up. Let alone the fact that bettors would have a 59 winning percentage if they just backed the favorites in every game in Week 8.
We had several teams that had big wins last week, but could suffer from a let down this weekend.
Roping the Horned Frogs…
It’s not like people didn’t think that TCU could beat the BCS darling Cougars. Most of VegasInsider.com’s expert handicappers had a play on the Horned Frogs as two-point home favorites over Brigham Young. What we didn’t expect was the clinical dissection that we saw with Texas Christian winning 32-7.
The Horned Frogs were able to run at will on BYU, gaining 240 rushing yards and moving the chains 14 times. It also doesn’t hurt when your offense is able to convert 11 of 16 third downs against the then-No. 9 team in the country. Not a bad way to avenge a 27-22 loss in Provo the previous season.
Now Gary Patterson’s club welcomes Wyoming to town this week as a huge 32-point home favorite. This is another revenge game for the Horned Frogs since they fell in Laramie last season, 24-21.
While this contest seems like a total mismatch, you have to take into consideration that the Cowboys are coming off of an open date. Since 2001, Wyoming has gone 5-2 SU and 4-1-1 ATS when playing after a bye.
It’s been a rough season in Piscataway.
Expectations were for at least an eight-win season for Rutgers, but poor coaching and sub par play had yielded just one win (against an FCS school) leading into last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights didn’t cough up the ball once at home against Connecticut. Yet they had to get the Huskies’ kicker, Tony Ciaravino, to miss three field goals for 12-10 victory.
The odds are long that Greg Schiano’s program will keep it close against Pittsburgh as a 9 ½-point road ‘dog. The Panthers are coming of a 42-21 win at Navy as three-point road favorites. Pitt’s LeSean McCoy beat the Midshipmen at his own game, rushing 18 times for 156 yards and three scores. His numbers should stay on the high this Saturday since Rutgers is giving up 150.9 rushing yards per game.
Maryland just might be the most enigmatic 5-2 team in college football right now. On one end, the Terrapins have dominating home wins over California and Wake Forest. Then before you can pour accolades on top of them, folks remind you that they lost at Middle Tennessee State and got blanked by Virginia.
So with knowledge of the Terps’ 26-0 drubbing of Wake Forest last week, conventional wisdom says that North Carolina State is in position to shock the system as a 10 ½-point road pup. It’s hard to believe that the Wolfpack have a shot here with a 1-4 record SU in their last five games. But you have to realize that Tom O’Brien’s club is 4-1 ATS during that stretch. And the home team is 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head meetings of these schools.
Lancing the Cavaliers…
It’s amazing how a three-game win streak can erase a bad start. Virginia was arguably the worst team in the FBS after losing to Duke, Connecticut and Southern Cal by a combined score of 128-20. Al Groh has turned it around with victories over Maryland, ECU and North Carolina. The respect isn’t easy to gain from the betting shops right now as the Cavs are 11 ½-point road underdogs to Georgia Tech.
To be honest, Virginia was lucky to win last week against the Tar Heels. The Cavaliers’ offense sputtered to just 275 yards total. Almost a third of their total yardage (82) came on the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. And North Carolina turned the ball over three times, but UVA was only able to turn them into one field goal.
Adding fuel to the fire for the Yellow Jackets is the fact they’ve really adapted to Paul Johnson’s triple option, leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing with 248.1 YPG. That will prove difficult for Virginia as it is 10th in the ACC against the run, giving up 146.7 YPG on the ground.
The fact that Georgia Tech is 4-1 SU and ATS when hosting the Cavs since 1998 doesn’t thing much easier.
The Falcons shouldn’t have had any problems in dispatching UNLV last Saturday as 3 ½-point road favorites. The game certainly started off like a laugher as Air Force scored on three of its first four drives in the first half to break out to a 17-7 lead. Yet the Rebels were up to the task, answering practically each scoring drive of the Academy with a score of their own. Ultimately, the Falcs found their way into a 29-28 victory.
Air Force now gets to square off with the Lobos, who are fresh off of a 70-7 throttling of San Diego State. New Mexico isn’t scared of the option offense that the Falcons run. In fact, Rocky Long’s team is looking forward to AF’s ground game since they picked up five fumbles in last year’s 34-31 home win.
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