Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM
It’s always dangerous to put too much weight on a surprising final score in Week One of college football. There are definitely some teams that are going to be much better than the market thought before the season started. But, sometimes, a big result is a lot more about good luck or turnover breaks rather than true quality.
With that in mind, let’s run through double digit covers from last week to see who was legit and who wasn’t. To be LEGIT, a team must:
*Have covered the market price by at least 10 points at the end of regulation
*Had the yardage and point of attack stats to back it up.
Starting from last Thursday:
*Minnesota (-14) beat UNLV 51-23…NOT LEGIT
The Gophers were actually outgained 418-320, padding their point total with non-offensive scoring. You can’t return kicks and interceptions for TD’s on command. Minnesota was not really all that much better than UNLV, which you know if you watched the game.
*Bowling Green (-3) beat Tulsa 34-7…FAIRLY LEGIT
Bowling Green wasn’t as good as the final score made it look…but they were clearly the better side with a yardage edge of 396-273 and a rushing advantage of 233-51. They should have been more than -3…even if they weren’t quite as dominant as 34-7 suggested.
*Rutgers (+11) tied Fresno State 45-all after regulation…LEGIT
This was a dead even game all night. Rutgers ultimately won total yardage 543-337 and rushing yardage 195-81. The market price had little connection to the way the game played out on the field.
*Western Michigan (+27) only lost to Michigan State 26-13…tough call
Weather was a factor here, making it tough for both teams to drive the field for points. The stats sure didn’t reflect a pointspread of four touchdowns. Handicappers will have to decide if that was great defense from Western Michigan, or horrible offense from Michigan State.
*Texas Tech (-5) beat SMU 41-23…LEGIT
Texas Tech gained 461 yards without turning the ball over a single time. They scored 31 points on long drives. This doesn’t mean the Red Raiders will contend in the Big 12. They’re a lot better than SMU.
*Buffalo (+34) only lost to Ohio State 40-20…tough call
Buffalo was dominated in the trenches. A defensive score helped them cover. They were better than the Vegas spread would have suggested…but not necessarily a team that would offer much value going forward.
*NC State (-14) beat Louisiana Tech 40-14…LEGIT
The Wolfpack won total yardage 542-321 and rushing yardage 237-143. They also converted 50% of their third downs. Just want you want to see when a new head coach takes over. The market underrated NC State, and probably overrated Louisiana Tech, who’s going through a coaching change of its own.
*Maryland (-21) beat Florida International 43-10..LEGIT
How about a total yardage edge of 576-171!
*Cincinnati (-11) beat Purdue 42-7…fairly LEGIT
The Bearcats dominated the game. They’re not as good as the final score made it seem…but a yardage edge of 425-226 with a rushing edge of 221-65 suggests they were much better than this price. Purdue was probably overrated as well.
*Michigan (-32) beat Central Michigan 59-9…fairly LEGIT
The Wolverines did dominate the game, but they only gained 463 total yards. They made the most of those though, scoring on five different long touchdown drives.
*Western Kentucky (+5) beat Kentucky 35-26…LEGIT
Bobby Petrino knows how to coach! Western was the superior side all night, running up a yardage edge of 487-419 and scoring all 35 points on long TD drives.
*Marshall (-20) beat Miami of Ohio 52-14..LEGIT
Big yardage edge for the Thundering Herd, 591-239. Definitely a team to watch.
*Texas State (+8) beat Southern Miss 22-15…NOT LEGIT!
It was a miracle Texas State won this game. They were outgained 400-215, and only converted 25% of their third downs. It was SIX turnovers from Southern Miss that determined the win and cover for the road dog. Don’t be fooled!
*North Texas (-16) beat Idaho 40-6…fairly LEGIT
It’s possible Idaho is so horrible that everybody is going to do this to them this season. North Texas did have dominating numbers though…much more than the market projected.
*Wyoming (+31) only lost to Nebraska 37-34…LEGIT
Wyoming actually won total yardage 602-530, which should be impossible for a 31-point underdog. This was one of the worst clean misses of the day by the market. Not much separated these teams on this night.
*Washington (-4) beat Boise State 38-6…LEGIT
This was a slaughter, as Washington won total yardage 592-346. Amazing how far Boise has fallen the past two seasons.
*UCLA (-20) beat Nevada 58-20…LEGIT
The Bruins won yardage 647-353, moving the ball at will all night long. They converted 75% of their third down tries!
*Louisville (-21) beat Ohio 49-7…LEGIT
You probably watched this game on TV, or at least the first half. Louisville won yardage 615-273.
*Colorado (+2.5) beat Colorado 41-27…LEGIT
Another new head coach having an immediate impact. Colorado was a neutral site underdog, yet won total yardage 509-295.
*Florida State (-11) beat Pittsburgh 41-13…LEGIT
Maybe they won’t look as good the rest of the way as they did in their Monday Night TV showcase. But, that was mighty impressive…with Jameis Winston leading the Seminoles to a 533-297 yardage edge in his first game on a national stage.
There you go….apply what you’ve just learned to this weekend’s games!
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