College Football Week 8 Review
The Oklahoma Sooners, ranked No. 1 in last week’s USA Today poll, were favored by 29 points at home Saturday vs. Texas Tech. And they had won 39 games in a row in Norman. But OU fell behind 24-7 at the half to the Red Raiders, and gave up the first score of the second half. A furious rally ensued, but it came up short, as the Sooners became the first national championship contender to bite the dust this season.
Then Saturday night the Wisconsin Badgers, favored by 7.5 points at Michigan State, had their national championship hopes dashed by a Hail Mary pass at the buzzer. Wisconsin jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Spartans, then fell behind 31-17 in the fourth quarter. The Badgers rallied to tie the game with a minute to go, and looked headed for overtime, until MSU scored on a 44-yard ricochet that needed instant replay to overturn the call on the field.
So USA Today’s poll has a new No. 1 in LSU, and the number of unbeatens is down to eight – Clemson, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Houston, Boise State, Stanford, Alabama and Louisiana State.
Ranked teams broke even over the weekend against unranked opponents, going 12-4 straight-up and 8-8 vs. the pointspreads. So on the season ranked teams are now 114-17 SU vs. unranked foes, and 71-57 ATS (55%).
Wisconsin lost to Michigan State in a battle between ranked teams, but of the three games that matched to Top 25 squads the higher-ranked outfits won and covered the other two. No. 2 LSU pounded No. 23 Auburn 45-10, covering as 21-point favorites; and No. 5 Stanford rolled over No. 24 Washington 65-21, covering as 18-point chalk.
So on the season, in games between two ranked teams, the higher-ranked squads have won 18 of 26 games outright, and are a profitable 17-7-2 ATS (71%).
This week gives us two more games matching ranked teams to play with. As of Monday morning 5Dimes.com is listing No. 13 Nebraska as four-point home favorites over No. 10 Michigan State; and No. 9 Oklahoma as 14-point road favorites at No. 12 Kansas State.
The upsets by Texas Tech and the Spartans were just the tip of the iceberg over the weekend. Other surprises included UAB, getting 17 points Thursday night vs. Central Florida, winning 26-24; Syracuse, getting 14.5 points Friday night vs. West Virginia, shocking the Mountaineers 49-23; East Carolina, at +13 vs. Navy, winning 38-35; Bowling Green, at +12.5, beating Temple 13-10; Memphis, at +12.5, knocking off Tulane 33-17; Eastern Michigan, getting 12 points, beating Western Michigan 14-10; and USC, at +9.5, dumping Notre Dame 31-17.
College football total tilted slightly toward the “overs” over the weekend, by a 25-22-2 margin. But of the 17 games with totals in the 60s, nine of them played “under” the number.
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