Upset Watch: Week 10

What a week. Top 10 teams Clemson, Michigan State and Kansas State lost; Stanford and Arkansas survived scares on the road. Michigan State’s loss now means they no longer control their own destiny, and that Nebraska is in the driver’s seat. And the Big Ten Leaders Division? Penn State is on top, at least for the next two weeks.

For you sports gamblers out there:

Rank Team ATS Overall ATS Favorite ATS Dog


LSU 6-2 5-2 1-0 8-0


Alabama 7-1 7-1 0-0 8-0


Oklahoma State 7-1 6-1 1-0 8-0


Stanford 7-1 7-1 0-0 8-0


Boise State 4-3 4-3 0-0 7-0


Oregon 4-4 4-4 0-0 7-1


Oklahoma 5-3 5-3 0-0 7-1


Arkansas 4-4 3-3 1-1 7-1


Nebraska 3-5 3-4 0-1 7-1


South Carolina 3-4-1 3-4-1 0-0 7-1


Clemson 7-2 6-2 1-0 8-1


Virginia Tech 2-7 2-7 0-0 8-1


Michigan 6-2 5-1 1-1 7-1


Houston 6-2 6-2 0-0 8-0


Michigan State 5-3 3-1 2-2 6-2


Penn State 2-7 2-6 0-1 8-1


Kansas State 6-2 2-1 4-1 7-1


Georgia 5-2-1 5-1 0-1-1 6-2


Wisconsin 5-3 5-3 0-0 6-2


Arizona State 4-4 3-3 1-1 6-2


USC 5-3 3-2 2-1 6-2


Georgia Tech 5-3-1 4-2-1 1-1 7-2


Cincinnati 5-2 4-1 1-1 6-1


West Virginia 4-4 3-3 1-1 6-2


Auburn 4-5 1-2 3-3 6-3

The Top 25 teams were 9-11 ATS last week, with last week’s Top 10 teams going 0-6. To date, current top 10 teams are 50-28-1 ATS (63.9% success rate; 3-2 as underdogs) and current top 25 teams are 121-79-3 ATS (60.3% success rate; 20-16-1 as underdogs).

As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. We’ll also look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.



@ UCLA (4-4) +5.5 California (4-4). Result: UCLA 31 California 14.

Ball State (5-4) +11.5 @ Western Michigan (5-4). Result: Western Michigan 45 Ball State 35.

Louisiana-Lafayette (7-2) +3.0 @ Middle Tennessee (2-5). Result: Louisiana-Lafayette 45 Middle Tennessee 20.


NC State (4-4) +19.5 @ Florida State (5-3). Result: Florida State 34 NC State 0.

Navy (2-6) +20.5 @ Notre Dame (5-3). Result: Notre Dame 56 Navy 14.

Bowling Green (4-5) -4.5 @ Kent State (2-6). Result: Kent State 27 Bowling Green 15.

@ Michigan (7-1) -13.5 Purdue (4-4). Result: Michigan 36 Purdue 14.


This Week

Looks like from this point out college football can be had on Tuesdays through Saturdays. I’ll be there to witness week 10 kickoff, with Northern Illinois visiting Toledo (7:00 PM EST/ESPN2/ESPN3). Another MAC clash on Wednesday night, with Temple visiting Ohio University (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3). On Thursday there is a matchup of disappointments, with Boston College playing host to Florida State (8:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3) and Virginia visiting Miami (FL) (8:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). On Friday, USC visits Colorado – Colorado is looking to snap a six game losing streak –  (9:00 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3) and Central Michigan visits Kent State, with the loser being eliminated from the postseason (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN2/ESPN3).

Games involving two top 25 teams doesn’t take place until the evening, with (#9) South Carolina visiting (#7) Arkansas (7:15 PM/EST/ESPN/ESPN3); Arkansas has won four of the last five meetings. (#14) Kansas State continues their murderer’s row stretch, visiting (#3) Oklahoma State (8:00 PM/EST/ESPN2/ESPN3); Kansas State has lost three of the last four, before that, Kansas State had won nine straight. Finally, the top two teams in the nation meet, in what is a BCS Title elimination game, with the consolation prize likely being a Sugar Bowl trip – (#1) LSU visits Bryant Denny Stadium, for a showdown with (#2) Alabama (8:00 PM/EST/CBS).

Upset Watch

@ Kentucky (3-5) +1.0 Ole Miss (2-6). The Wildcats are 118th in total offense (78th rushing, 115th passing); Ole Miss is 115th (93rd rushing, 105th passing). Kentucky is 67th in total defense (100th rushing, 22nd passing); the Rebels are 104th (116th rushing, 50th passing). The team who rushes for more yards is 4-1 in the last five meetings. Since 2003, Kentucky has averaged just over 2 conference wins per season and 3.75 home wins. The last time Kentucky didn’t have at least two home wins was 2001. Kentucky finishes with Tennessee at home. Kentucky isn’t a very good team, but neither is Ole Miss. In the five of the last seven seasons Ole Miss has had one or zero road wins (two and three road wins in the others); the Rebels last road conference win was week four of 2009. Since 2006, Ole Miss is 4-16 in SEC road games (9-11 ATS); Kentucky is 7-13 in SEC home games (8-12 ATS). Take Kentucky to win.

Washington State (3-5) +10.0 @ California (4-4) The Cougars are 32nd in total offense (95th rushing, 10th passing); California is 46th (80th rushing, 27th passing). Washington State is 84th in total defense (61st rushing, 100th passing); the Golden Bears are 33rd (51st rushing, 32nd passing). Washington State is 5-3 ATS this season; California is 3-5. Washington State Coach Paul Wulff is 3-29 SU in PAC-12 play, but 10-17 ATS (9-5 since last season). Washington State has lost six straight to California, and is 5-7 since 1997, but is 9-3 ATS. California should get the win, but a much improved Washington State team should keep it around a touchdown.

@ Rutgers (5-3) +2.5 South Florida (4-3). The Scarlet Knights are 97th in total offense (111th rushing, 56th passing); South Florida is 14th (27th rushing, 26th passing). Rutgers is 19th in total defense (46th rushing, 17th passing); the Bulls are 44th (33rd rushing, 77th passing). South Florida is 20-25 in the Big East (21-24 ATS), including 0-3 this season. South Florida Coach Skip Holtz was 38-27 SU at East Carolina and 38-25-1 ATS (30-12 SU in C-USA and 26-16 ATS in C-USA). Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano is 64-66 SU and 65-56-1 ATS (26-47 in Big East and 36-37 ATS in Big East). Since 2005, Rutgers is 23-23 in the Big East (23-23 ATS), including 2-2 this year. These teams have met six times since USF joined the league in 2005, with Rutgers winning four meetings, but losing last year. Rutgers is 4-2 ATS against USF with an average MOV of 9. Three of six meetings have been decided by three or less (2009, 2008, and 2005 were 31, 33, and 24 point differences, with USF only winning in 2005). Take Rutgers to cover the points, and win.

Duke (3-5) +15.0 @ Miami Florida (4-4). The Blue Devils are 73rd in total offense (109th rushing, 28th passing); Miami Florida is 79th (75th rushing, 61st passing). Duke is 77th in total defense (60th rushing, 97th passing); the Hurricanes are 68th (82nd rushing, 42nd passing). Duke hasn’t beaten Miami since 1976, losing seven straight since then. Under Coach David Cutcliff, Duke is 15-29 SU, 6-22 in the ACC (23-17-1 ATS and 14-12-1 ATS in the ACC). Since 2005, the average score has been 34.5-16. Duke is 4-2 ATS against Miami since 2005. This year, Duke is 5-3 ATS (4-2 as an underdog) and Miami is 4-4 (2-3 as a favorite). Take Duke with the points, but Miami should get the “w”.

Kansas (2-6) +14.5 @ Iowa State (4-4). The Jayhawks are 87th in total offense (53rd rushing, 88th passing); Iowa State is 63rd (43rd rushing, 76th passing). Kansas is 120th in total defense (119th rushing, 118th passing); the Cyclones are 101st (108th rushing, 66th passing). Kansas conference opponents to date are a combined 17-7 in Big 12 play; Iowa State’s are 13-13. Only two of Kansas’ four remaining games are against teams with high-powered offenses, and all are against teams with suspect defenses. Kansas Coach Turner Gill is 34-33-2 ATS and 24-21-1 ATS in conference play (7-13 at Kansas and 4-9 in the Big 12); Iowa State Coach Paul Rhodes is 17-15 ATS and 10-11 ATS in the Big 12. I’m gambling the numbers will even out here, as Kansas is 2-6 ATS and Iowa State is 4-4. Since 1997, Kansas is 8-6 SU (6-2 SU since 2003) against Iowa State and 6-7-1 ATS. The home team is 11-3 SU, but 9-4-1 ATS. Iowa State should win, but more than two touchdowns seems a bit high, especially for teams who don’t like to play defense.


Sure-fire Favorite

@ Oklahoma (7-1) -13.0 Texas A&M (5-3). The Sooners are 2nd in total offense (51st rushing, 2nd passing); Texas A&M is 7th (16th rushing, 17th passing). Oklahoma is 34th in total defense (34th rushing, 53rd passing); the Aggies are 90th (21st rushing, 120th passing). Oklahoma has won 10 of the last 12 meetings, with a MOV of 22 (17 if you exclude the 77-0 whitewashing in 2003). The team with more rushing yards in the game is 13-1 since 1997 (lone loss was in 2005). Texas A&M has allowed an average of 27 points/game (30.6 points/game in Big 12 play). Oklahoma has been suspect against the pass, as shown in the Florida State and Texas Tech games allowing 219 yards and 452 through the air, respectively. However, Oklahoma has averaged 46 points/game (47.2 points/game in Big 12). A&M’s secondary should get torched. The Aggies are 2-6 ATS this season; Oklahoma is 5-3. Take Oklahoma to cover.


Gameday Prediction

Kirk Ferentz is 94-63 straight up at Iowa. Coach Ferentz is 62-21 at home (5-0 this year), 55-45 against the Big Ten (2-2 this year), and 18-25 against the top 25. Coach Ferentz is 70-49-3 ATS and 21-13-3 as an underdog ATS at Iowa since 2001.

Brady Hoke is 54-51 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 59-41-3 ATS and 31-16-2 against the spread as a favorite.

Iowa’s defense is ranked 76th (81st passing [238.63 yards/game], 69th rushing [163.63 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 21st (79th passing [209.90 yards/game], 8th rushing [253.29 yards/game]).

Iowa’s offense is ranked 57th (50th passing [243.50 yards/game], 60th rushing [159.13 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 35th (26th passing [196.29 yards/game], 55th rushing [144.29 yards/game]).

Since 1997, Michigan is 6-4 straight up against Iowa (3-5-2 against the spread). Michigan has averaged 341.5 offensive yards (compare with 401.3 against Purdue) with 220 of those being passing (compare with 230.5 against Purdue) and 121.5 rushing (compare with 170.8 rushing against Purdue) since 1997.

Iowa has never beaten Michigan three straight times. In the last two years, Iowa has been +8 in the turnover margin against Michigan, result in two wins (+3 in the previous 8 meetings, with Iowa 2-6 in those games). Michigan holds a +3 turnover margin against opponents (+1 in Big Ten play); Iowa holds a +3 turnover margin as well (-1 in Big Ten play).

Last week, I talked about how field position would be key. Iowa ranks 100th in terms of punt return yardage, averaging 4.86 yards returned/punt. Michigan ranks 111th in net punting, averaging a net 32.71 yards/punt. Michigan gave up 213 yards on the ground in a loss to Michigan State, allowing 5.5 yards/carry. Iowa is led by the dangerous RB Marcus Coker (969 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 10 rushing TDs). QB James Vandenberg (1918 passing yards, 62.2% completion, and 17 passing TDs) has been very good, in his first year starting. The Wolverines will need to be aware where WR Marvin McNutt (858 receiving yards, 17.9/catch, and 9 receiving TDs) is on the field (7 catches, 114 yards in 2 meetings). Michigan actually has done surprisingly well against Iowa’s ground game in the recent two meetings, holding them to an average of 109 yards, but gave up an average of 266 through the air.

Iowa graduated QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, and TE Allen Reisner last year. Regardless of the talent Iowa lost, they always seem to reload. Michigan must avoid turning the ball over if they hope to get away with a win. They will also need to dominate the line of scrimmage, as Iowa’s run defense is weaker than in recent memory. Iowa outscores their opponents 130-57 in the first half (62-34 in Big Ten), but only outscores opponents 114-108 in the second half (48-56 in Big Ten).

@ Iowa +4.0 Michigan -4.0.

Michigan 29 Iowa 27.


One response

  1. Pingback: Before Visiting The Sportsbook - New Content Added: Week of October 30th

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