Let’s take a pause of condolence for all of our gambling brothers and sisters who dared wager their precious treasure on college football games last week. With only 60% accuracy in the betting lines, their losses were brutal. Our Savvy system experienced a similar crash and was the worst prediction week since October 5th of 2016.
Nonetheless, isn’t that what makes college football so much fun?
Twenty-eight of the nation’s FBS teams are idle this week but that still leaves us enough for 51 games.
Leading the way is the #6 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) at #3 Iowa (5-0). Fans who love to hear the caterwaul from tons of scoring will hear only a sad trombone because neither of these defenses gives up an average of more than 12 points. While it’s true that last year’s outlier game totaled 62 points, we have to keep in mind that PSU was not its own self last year and seemed more like the Knitting Lions as they lost their first five games.
As most of us expected, the Hawkeye defense leads the nation in interceptions and that should play well against a PSU outfit that has a higher pass-to-run ratio than most.
The Red River Rivalry game is this week and this is one in which the Savvy Index disagrees with the oddsmakers. Betting lines show #4 Oklahoma (5-0) as a three point favorite on the road against #15 Texas but our system favors the Longhorns 33-31. Texas has played a stronger schedule and has outperformed expectations whereas Oklahoma has yet to beat an FBS opponent by more than one score.
Second-ranked Georgia (5-0) has been terrific all year. We all know of the Bulldogs’ history of choking when it comes to big games, but the gagging will just have to wait because #19 Auburn (4-1) doesn’t have enough to do the job. Georgia’s anticipated 31-20 win will likely vault the ‘Dogs past Alabama and into the top spot on next week’s Savvy rankings.
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at #1 Alabama (5-0). The only question I have about the Crimson Tide’s cruising past #23 Texas A&M (3-2) is style points. Can UA make a strong enough impression to keep Georgia out of the top spot? If so, it should be smooth sailing from here because four of the red elephant’s final six games are at home and none are against teams currently ranked on the Index.
The only other game matching ranked teams shows #22 Mississippi (3-1) as a 32-28 favorite at home against #17 Arkansas (4-1).
I’ve been watching the trend lines and see a significant whirlwind developing in Columbia, Missouri as the spiraling Missouri Tigers (2-3) host North Texas (1-3). On the surface, this looks like an impossible situation for UNT but the acute convergence of several trend lines points to an upset in the making.
Our Index and just about everyone else expects Troy (2-3) to take down Georgia Southern (2-3). Personally, I think it will go the other way. Why? Because Georgia Southern fired its head football coach last month and the team has since posted some of the fastest growing metrics on Savvy. Troy has been stagnant and struggling. Georgia Southern is instant lightning in a bottle. That combination triggers the upset alarm every time.
Why was GSU head coach Chad Lunsford fired? Probably because the best performance of his players didn’t happen on the field but rather on top of the team bus. An offensive lineman surfed atop the bus and drank beer just prior to the Eagles’ loss to Louisiana. Coaches just love it when they see videos of their players having so much fun. And yes, that was part of the athletic director’s decision to send Lunsford packing to which one fan posted, “To hold him accountable for the actions of a students inappropriate actions is also wrong.”
Savvy agrees with 44 of the winners projected by the betting experts, but goes against the grain on the following seven:
San Jose State over Colorado State 25-22 (oddsmakers say CSU by 1)
LSU over Kentucky 26-23 (oddsmakers say Kentucky by 3)
Louisiana Monroe over Georgia State 27-26 (oddsters favor Georgia State— but by 15?)
UTEP over Southern Miss 25-22 (oddsmakers say Southern Miss by 1)
Texas over Oklahoma 33-31 (oddsmakers say Oklahoma by 3)
Memphis over Tulsa 32-31 (oddity-makers say Tulsa [1-4] by 3.5)
UTSA over Western Kentucky 33-27 (oddsters say WKU by 2.5)
(UTSA is 5-0. WKU is 1-3)
In the PAC-12 . . .
UCLA (3-2) gave up nine yards per play last week against Arizona State and added 89 more via penalties. As we said in the preseason, the Bruins are not yet ready to win the PAC-12 South although their path to a bowl game is still pretty clear. The journey resumes this week as UCLA is a modest 34-24 favorite over Arizona, a team that has used three quarterbacks to throw 6% of their passes to the wrong team.
Stanford (3-2) travels to Arizona State (4-1) for a Friday night matchup of programs that have yet to lose in their respective divisions. This game will be a battle of ASU’s splash offense against the Cardinal’s discipline and patience.
ASU has the better talent but also has less discipline as the Sun Devils give away nearly 100 yards in penalties per game and rank 93rd for giving up turnovers.
Stanford’s offense is the nation’s third in fewest turnovers led by freshman quarterback Tanner McGee who has yet to throw an interception. The Cardinal have one of their best rush attacks in years but it won’t be enough in a 34-24 loss.
Utah (2-2) meets with USC (3-2) to ponder the question: “Why are neither of us ranked anymore?” Regardless of who wins this game, neither will be ranked next week either although the winner will still be undefeated in the PAC-12 South. USC interim head coach Donte Williams seems to have figured some things out as he said this week that he doesn’t really like penalties or turnovers very much. That sounds like a magnificent understatement once you see the Trojans ranked 119th in the nation for both.
Utah has been struggling with difficult personnel issues this season with the accidental death of a running back, the murder of a defensive back, the transfer-out of quarterback Charley Brewer, and this week’s arrest of a murder suspect.
Although expert analysts and our Savvy system all predict USC will win, I personally think Utah will pound the ball on the ground behind a stellar offensive line. It was the rush attack of Oregon State that took down the mighty Trojans in Los Angeles and I think Utah will follow the same script with the same results.
League leading Oregon State (4-1) is a narrow three point favorite against Washington State (2-3). The Beavers are on a four game winning streak which has been propelled by a top 20 rushing attack. However, the OSU offensive line ranks in the bottom 15 for giving up the most tackles for loss as well as the most sacks per game. The sack problem of the offensive line is further compounded by OSU’s greater-than-average tendency to throw long.
Washington State protects its quarterbacks but that only increases bewilderment of why Cougar quarterbacks are throwing so many interceptions.
California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington all lost last week and don’t get to play this week.
Although the pickins’ were slim last week, we did have a few favorable predictions, such as:
BYU over Utah State 35-20 (final was 34-20)
Texas over TCU 38-27 (final was 32-27)
SMU over USF 43-17 (final was 41-17)
Oregon State over Washington 28-27 (final was 27-24)
Since last week was so tough, it’s hard to give equal attention to all of the bad predictions that are so deserving. After all, you don’t have all day. So, the best way to give equal acknowledgement to all of them is to not acknowledge any of them at all.
Despite horrendous prognostic carnage, the Savvy Index is still above 78% in predicting winners this season compared to 73% by the oddsmakers. We’re working on a calibration enhancement in the spread module but Savvy was 15 games better in predicting total points (over/under) than the betting lines and is 33 games better in just the past three weeks.
|last week: 36-25 59%||Oct||9|
|top 25||Season: 290-83 78%||wins||losses||game rating||notes|
|UCLA||3||2||34||UCLA doing what we projected . . . good|
|Arizona||0||4||24||enough for a bowl but not PAC-12 South title.|
|Stanford||3||2||25||Stanford defense is 114th vs the rush.|
|Arizona St.||4||1||28||ASU is top 20 in rush yards per carry.|
|Utah||2||2||26||Despite shortcomings, both of these teams|
|USC||3||2||29||are undefeated in the PAC-12 South.|
|Oregon St.||4||1||29||OSU is 12th In FBS for rush yards per carry.|
|Washington St.||2||3||26||WSU is 124th in giving up interceptions (5.3% rate).|
|Wyoming||4||0||23||AFA’s David Cormier is on the injury list.|
|Air Force||4||1||31||But, he’s a WR so no one cares.|
|12||Coastal Car||5||0||43||CCU offense is 2nd in FBS yards per play.|
|Arkansas St.||1||4||25||ASU defense is last in FBS yards per play.|
|2||Georgia||5||0||31||Georgia is probably going to be|
|19||Auburn||4||1||20||#1 on Savvy with this win.|
|W Virginia||2||3||26||With a full offseason, we are finally|
|Baylor||4||1||27||seeing Baylor coach Aranda do his magic.|
|Akron||1||4||20||Akron defense giving up 42 ppg.|
|Bowling Green||2||3||31||Coach Loeffler has done a great job at BGSU.|
|Boise St.||2||3||24||BSU qb Bachmeier is #8 in FBS passing yardage.|
|10||BYU||5||0||28||BYU rb Allgeier is #8 in FBS rushing yardage.|
|Temple||3||2||17||D’Wan Mathis of Temple has been fabulous.|
|5||Cincinnati||4||0||39||UC defense gives up just 14.5 ppg.|
|San Jose St.||3||2||25||SJSU’s Starkel is questionable. So
|Colorado St.||1||3||22||is Vegas favoring CSU.|
|Georgia Tech||2||3||30||I personally think GTU wins this|
|Duke||3||2||29||by 12 or more.|
|Charlotte||3||2||29||FIU has played a very weak schedule|
|Florida Intl.||1||4||28||and is top 10 on Savvy for most negatives.|
|Vanderbilt||1||3||16||Betting lines say this is|
|16||Florida||3||2||35||a 38 point win for Florida.|
|6||Penn St.||5||0||21||Iowa is second in FBS for giving|
|3||Iowa||5||0||23||up fewest points (11.6).|
|Buffalo||2||3||26||Expect fantastic weather but little scoring|
|Kent St.||2||3||28||through the air. O/U will be under Vegas’ 64.|
|LSU||3||2||26||Vegas says Kentucky by 3.|
|Middle Tenn||2||3||21||Liberty has four WR’s on|
|20||Liberty||4||1||35||the injury list as questionnable.|
|Georgia St.||1||4||26||Betting lines say GSU by 15|
|LA Monroe||2||2||27||but Savvy is solid for ULM.|
|Virginia||3||2||30||Two teams with identical metrics.|
|Louisville||3||2||31||UL gets the nod at home.|
|Old Dominion||1||4||25||Marshall qb Wells is top 10 in|
|Marshall||2||3||34||passing yardage but has 3.5% interc rate.|
|Connecticut||0||5||30||Oddsmakers favor UConn and says|
|Massachusetts||1||4||31||55 total game points which is too low.|
|17||Arkansas||4||1||28||Savvy agrees with betting lines|
|22||Mississippi||3||1||32||on this minor upset.|
|N Texas||1||3||24||This has the metrics
|Missouri||2||3||32||of an upset.|
|SMU||5||0||35||SMU’s Ulysses Bentley IV has 400|
|Navy||1||3||23||yards, 7.6 ypc, but may not play.|
|7||Michigan||5||0||30||Michigan’s 8th-best scoring def will|
|Nebraska||3||3||22||stifle Nebraska’s 503 ypg offense.|
|New Mexico St.||1||5||20||NMSU nearly beat San Jose St.|
|Florida St.||1||4||22||FSU qbs have thrown 9 interceptions|
|N Carolina||3||2||36||in 153 pass attempts = 5.8% int rate.|
|Maryland||4||1||24||Ohio State shows 16 players|
|11||Ohio St.||4||1||37||as questionable vs Maryland.|
|8||Michigan St.||5||0||29||MSU’s Kenneth Walker III leads|
|Rutgers||3||2||24||the nation in rushing but MSU has a fumble problem..|
|New Mexico||2||3||14||UNM averages 8 pts against full time FBS opponents.|
|San Diego St.||4||0||32||SDSU defense is 2nd in FBS for yards per rush.|
|UTEP||4||1||25||Oddsmakers say SoMiss will|
|S Miss||1||4||22||win this.|
|21||Wake Forest||5||0||32||The margin should be much|
|Syracuse||3||2||24||greater than Vegas’ 6.5 or Savvy 8.0.|
|S Carolina||3||2||22||USC has been the most predictable|
|Tennessee||3||2||28||team in Savvy this season.|
|4||Oklahoma||5||0||31||Upset. All 4 OU wins vs FBS|
|15||Texas||4||1||33||opponents are by one possesion.|
|1||Alabama||5||0||32||A&M averages just 23 ppg and has lost|
|23||Texas A&M||3||2||20||twice since qb King was injured.|
|N Illinois||3||2||21||Harrison Waylee of N.Ill already|
|Toledo||3||2||33||has 574 rushing yards.|
|Georgia So.||2||3||23||I disagree with Savvy and Vegas. GSU is on|
|Troy||2||3||27||a huge upturn under its new head coach.|
|Houston||4||1||33||Houston defense is top|
|Tulane||1||4||31||10 in giving up just 15 ppg.|
|Memphis||3||2||32||UM qb Henigan is 12-to-1 td-to-int. Tulsa has a 6-to-8 td-to-int|
|Tulsa||1||4||31||qb, just one win, and yet is favored by oddsmakers.|
|Florida Atl.||3||2||26||Too close to call this one but UAB is at|
|UAB||3||2||27||home and controls tempo better.|
|E Carolina||3||2||30||UCF has been upset in both of its|
|UCF||2||2||35||last two games. ECU may do it again.|
|9||Notre Dame||4||1||28||Both teams have ailing|
|Virginia Tech||3||1||21||offensive lines.|
|24||UTSA||5||0||33||UTSA’s Sincere McCormick has 541 rush yards.|
|W Kentucky||1||3||27||Oddsmakers favor WKU by 2.5.|
|Ball St.||2||3||22||WMU has won four straight|
|W Michigan||4||1||28||including at Pittsburgh|