This college football season has been one of the strangest in recent memory. Each week there are several teams that simply do not play well after quality showings the week before. We also see a lot of teams that looked really bad one week look extremely good the following week.
No team in college football seems to be very trustworthy this season. Trying to find any angle we can to project a team’s upcoming performance is more important than ever and the box scores can shed some light on how to proceed.
Here are two games that stood out for Week 8 and hopefully can be predictive of what will happen in Week 9.
Illinois 20, Penn State 18 (9 OT)
The new overtime rules stipulate that teams must go to alternating two-point conversions after the second overtime. Getting 3 yards proved to be a real challenge for these offenses, as it took 10 tries for points to be scored on the two-point conversion attempts. Both teams scored in the eighth overtime, but Illinois was the only team to score in the ninth.
Illinois was a 23.5-point underdog in the game, which stands out in and of itself. What also stands out is that Illinois managed only 10 points in regulation and had 370 yards. The Illini had 26 first downs to 14 for Penn State, but also committed the game’s only three turnovers.
Penn State was outgained 395-227 and managed just 3.6 yards per play against an Illinois defense that ranked 104th in the nation with 6.12 yards per play allowed going into this game.
Recommendation: Fade the Penn State offense. It is clear that Sean Clifford is not healthy. He was knocked out of the Iowa game and looked quite bad in this one. You can bet Team Total Unders with the Nittany Lions or simply bet against them, which could make sense this week against a highly potent Ohio State offense. There is one really interesting angle this week that offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State in 2019, so he should know how to attack this defense, but I don’t believe he has the personnel for it.
Louisville 28, Boston College 14
This was a pretty ugly game for those that had the Over. There were seven combined turnovers and Boston College got stopped on downs at the Louisville 35. The Cardinals fumbled at the Boston College 27-yard line and the teams traded turnovers twice. The teams also combined to go 7 of 24 on third down. Louisville ran for 331 yards and managed only 28 points.
Boston College managed just 3.9 yards per play against a Louisville defense that ranked 95th in yards per carry allowed and still ranks 95th in the nation in yards-per-play allowed, even after holding the Eagles to such a low number. It seemed like a good spot for the BC offense after facing two top-30 rush defenses in Clemson and NC State, but it was not.
Recommendation: Fade Boston College. Louisville left points on the field, which has long been the story for this team. This game should have been worse than 28-14 and this was a middle-of-the-road, pretty similar team to the Eagles. The fact that BC looked so bad in this game is concerning to me, even with the lack of good teams in the ACC. I’ll be looking to play against them going forward.
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