Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:45 AM
If you were focusing on the TV games last Saturday in the colleges, there were some interesting results and statistical developments that may have stayed off your radar. Sure, you know Wisconsin killed Oregon State…Alabama dominated Penn State…and Michigan stunned Notre Dame in an instant classic. The Las Vegas board features about 120 teams! You’ll pick more winners if you devote some time each week to studying what happened in lower profile games.
Here are a few things we uncovered in our stat research:
*Ohio State was outgained by Toledo 345-301, and lost yards-per-play 4.8 to 4.7. You probably know that Ohio State survived a toughie 27-22. If you weren’t watching on the Big 10 Network, you probably don’t realize that this was a true dead heat. Ohio State played a statistical and scoreboard coin flip game as a 17-point favorite. Now, Toledo is good this year…possibly best in the MAC. Ohio State’s supposed to be a lot better than “best in the MAC” even with their recent suspensions.
*North Carolina actually CRUSHED Rutgers this past Saturday even though the final score was just 24-22. The Tar Heels won yardage 405-244, and yards-per-play 7.4 to 3.4. North Carolina own rushing yardage 132-1! In fact, this game was very similar to Notre Dame-South Florida the week before with a home team dominating stats but finding themselves in a naibliter because of turnovers. North Carolina lost the ball FIVE times. Be careful giving Rutgers too much credit for the scoreboard result.
*Virginia Tech held East Carolina to just 112 yards of total offense Saturday, which is amazing given the potent offence of the Pirates. This was a boring game to watch, so you probably spent the rest of the afternoon elsewhere. Be aware that Tech has a great defense this year, but no passing game on offense. Tech was just 8-20-1-91 in the air against one of the worst defenses in the college game. East Carolina plays wild shootouts on a regular basis. Tech’s defense was amazing, but their offense probably played as bad here as they did in that loss to James Madison awhile back.
*New Mexico State’s win at Minnesota was a clean victory. The only news reports coming from the game were about the unfortunate health situation of Minnesota coach Jerry Kill. Everyone wishes him the best of course. Hopefully his recovery will be strong and shot. As handicappers, you need to be aware that a very bad New Mexico State team won total yardage 421-419 and yards-per-play 6.2 to 5.6 on the road. This is a very bad sign for Minnesota…and a very bad sign for the USC team that had to sweat Minnesota the prior week.
*Colorado may play a lot of Overs this year. Their offense gained 582 yards on 7.1 yards-per-play in an overtime home loss to California. And, they did all that without turning the ball over! But, the defense couldn’t keep Cal out of the end zone…so the Bears were able to win with less raw production. When teams start a season playing this way, it only blows up even more later when the defense gets tired.
*BYU doesn’t have much of an offense. It’s easy to lose sight of that because they beat Ole Miss then almost beat Texas. You may have watched BYU lose to the Horns 17-16, and you may even know they gained just 237 yards in Austin. Ole Miss was playing poorly against Southern Illinois at the same time, which gives us more perspective on BYU
BYU gained 316 yards and scored only 1 offensive TD at Ole Miss
S. Illinois gained 420 yards and scored 3 offensive TD’s at Ole Miss
The BYU offense was disappointing last year except against the very worst defenses. There may not have been much improvement. ESPN’s announcers must have been getting royalties on the phrase “People don’t realize how good this BYU team is.” We may be dealing with a triumvirate of BYU, Ole Miss, and Texas who just aren’t anything special right now…which is a continuation of last year.
*Pittsburgh, a 29-point favorite on the outlaw line over Maine, only won yardage 381-371 and lost yards-per-play 5.2 to 4.2 to the Black Bears. The Panthers were supposed to have a new-look offense under Todd Graham. Well, they may be embracing mediocrity with a different approach…but the results have been ugly so far. If you’re playing total yardage dead heats with the likes of Buffalo and Maine, then you’re nowhere near ready for the big time. Pitt is up 17 yards combined on those teams laying a little over four touchdowns in both games.
*Clemson was barely better than Wofford this past Saturday, even though they were favored by 25 points on the outlaw line. You may have seen the final score was 35-27. It’s true that some of the “no-name” teams out there are actually pretty good. A program like Clemson shouldn’t be sweating Wofford, or allowing 6.1 yards-per-play to them while forcing only one turnover.
*Syracuse snuck by Rhode Island 21-14 as 26-point favorites on the outlaw line. The Orangemen were outrushed 112-36, gaining just 1.4 yards-per-carry against a small college team who should be outmatched at the point of attack. A lot of bad news for Big East teams this week. Let’s quickly run through some of the black eyes:
Louisville lost to FIU on national TV as a home favorite
Cincinnati was routed by Tennessee
Connecticut last to lowly Vanderbilt, gaining 193 yards and suffering 4 turnovers
Rutgers was crushed in the stats by North Carolina
Pittsburgh played poorly vs. Maine
Syracuse didn’t impress vs. Rhode Island
West Virginia trailed non-entity Norfolk State at the half (but did rally strong)
South Florida had the biggest win for the Big East thus far when they upset Notre Dame in South Bend. As we detailed for you last week, they lost stats badly and won because of turnovers. Big East teams just aren’t anything special when they’re not winning turnovers!
We strongly encourage you to log the key stats from every board game. Several websites out there have boxscores for all the games. If you just take a few seconds per game to log total yardage, yards-per-play, rushing yardage, and turnovers, you’ll be amazed at what you learn. Vegas oddsmakers talk a good game…but they don’t spend much time looking at stats. That’s why they miss so many games by so many points!
Tomorrow we’ll look over some key numbers from this past weekend’s NFL action. We can’t cover the whole board for you in both sports here in the NOTEBOOK…but we can at least point out some things you may be missing. If you’re serious about winning, you ALSO need to find the things that we’re keeping under wraps for ourselves!
Or, you can just take the easy way out and sign up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK. Both our Touchdown Club and Red, White, and Blue Club swept the board this past Sunday in the NFL. We’ll be looking to cash in big this week when the football schedule resumes.
Thursday: LSU at Mississippi State in a HUGE game in the SEC West. You know the Bulldogs will be sky high at home for the highly ranked Tigers.
Friday: Boise State at Toledo is now much better than you were thinking with Toledo going toe-to-toe with Ohio State. Wouldn’t Boise State at Ohio State have your attention?! We’ll be working with our sources to see if Toledo has anything left in the tank after their big day in Columbus.
Iowa State at Connecticut also goes Friday…with the Cyclones coming off an emotional rivalry win over Iowa, and UCONN trying to bounce back from a nailbiter loss at Vandy.
We’ll talk more about Saturday when we get closer to the weekend. Oklahoma-Florida State highlights the best slate we’ve seen so far in the colleges.
Go day by day with us here at the website, sign up for a full season package to get the most bang for your buck. You can call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 if you have any questions.
See you again tomorrow. Be sure you’re with us every day in the NOTEBOOK so you know what’s REALLY happening in the world of sports!