Ferringo CFB Report: Reggie Ball, Dr. Greg House Continue To Be Overrated
by Robert Ferringo - 10/10/2006
Here are my random and scattered thoughts on a topsy-turvy weekend in the Realm of College Football:
- Looks like my intuition about Auburn was dead-on. I wrote last week about how their lack of a killer instinct shocked me in their close win over South Carolina. Needless to say, a hungrier team came into (Auburn's stadium) and smashed the Tigers.
- Cal has scored more than 40 points in its past five games. Southern Cal has scored less than 30 points in four straight games, the first time that's happened since 2001. But right now that matters about as much as A-Rod's regular season numbers. Until the Bears go to USC and beat the Trojans they still can't say anything.
- Don't start writing the obituaries for the one-loss teams just yet. At this moment there are six undefeated teams. And the way the schedule works out - West Virginia plays Louisville and Ohio State plays Michigan - it's only possible for four teams to end the season with an unblemished record. What's that I hear? "Playoff?" Who said that?
- Kudos for Florida for a big win on Saturday, which effectively ended LSU's national title hopes. But the Tigers have no one to blame but themselves. Missed assignments, shoddy third-down tackling and dropped passes gave the game to the Gators.
- A lot of average gamblers may think that gambling on Sun Belt games is for degenerates and Reds fans. But sharp bettors know that a big payday can often be found in the dark, dank corners of college football.
Well, I would hate to be the dog of anyone who bet on last week's clash between Florida International and North Texas. Denis Hopovac (N. Texas) and Dustin Rivest (FLI) combined to miss eight - yes, I said eight - overtime field goals. The teams played seven OT periods, four of which were scoreless. That level of futility is comedic to some, but on behalf of those of us who make a living at the fickle hand of Fate, I couldn't help but cringe.
- What is West Virginia going to do if they fall behind to Louisville? They only threw the ball nine times against Mississippi State, and quarterback Pat White has only attempted 43 throws in five games this year. Further, the Mountaineers averaged a first-half advantage of 31-7 through the first three weeks. But against East Carolina and MSU they went into the break ahead just 14-7.
I think they are a devastating club, and WVU imposes its will on opponents. But one of these games a turnover or special teams play is going to go against them and they'll have to play from two scores behind. That could be their downfall.
- So, I guess Arkansas bounced back pretty well from their opening season loss to USC. They were charmed in their overtime victory at home against Alabama, and they hadn't covered all season long. But I guess that meant they were due. This is a veteran team (20 returning starters in fall ball) and those guys waited their whole college careers for that one win. Good show.
- With their blowout of Texas Tech I think the cat is out of the bag on Missouri (6-0). That is a very good team - swarming on defense and efficient and creative on offense. In turn, they are now No. 19 in the Associated Press poll.
However, they have trips to College Station, Lincoln and Ames, as well as a home game against Oklahoma. A 10-win season isn't out of the question, but anything greater than that is as likely as Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo going to see "Employee of the Month".
- Listen, I know they're 5-1, but how is Wisconsin in the Top 25? Where is Pittsburgh or Boston College? Granted, they're 4-1 against the spread so they're sheik in Vegas, but whom have they beaten? Is that ranking justified because they only lost to Michigan by 14 - even though they didn't cross half-field until their final drive? I don't get it.
- What a roller coaster week for Houston. They missed a watershed victory at Miami by a single point, and then they come back and lose to a putrid Louisiana-Lafayette team. Yikes.
- Phil Fulmer is living up to his reputation in the South as a ruthless, cold-blooded dictator. After last year's 5-6 debacle, Fulmer has been more revenge-minded than Beatrix Kiddo. Tennessee is 5-1 ATS this season and was a one-point loss to Florida away from being a lock at No. 2 in the nation. The Vols last three games - against decent competition - have been won by an average of 26 points while racking up 124 points.
I have to take my hat off to Phil Steele, the handicapping legend, who had the Vols pegged for a monster season since June. Good show.
- Last week I said that the most overrated team in the nation was the University of Georgia. This week I'm sticking in the Peach State and tabbing Georgia Tech as the most overrated thing this side of "House".
I will give the Jackets credit: that game against Maryland is the type that they've blown in the fourth quarter in recent years. Perhaps Reggie Ball has turned the corner in his senior year. Or maybe, other than overrated Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, the Yellowjackets have managed to methodically beat inferior opponents. They have a week off before their showdown with Clemson. I know I'm not betting the mortgage on Tech in that one.
- Speaking of Clemson, kicking karma came back to help them in a big way on Saturday. Their only loss was at the hands of Boston College via a blocked extra point. But last week their crucial road victory at Wake Forest was spearheaded after Gaines Adams returned a muffed snap on a field goal attempt for a 66-yard touchdown.
As for the Demon Deacons, I have to wonder if Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe left his stones on his dresser Saturday morning. Facing a fourth-and-two at half field, with the score tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, and with his crew having less momentum than "The Marine", I would have thought that Grobe would have tried to turn the tide with a bold maneuver. Nope. He punted. And Clemson went on to cap a 24-0 run with 10 more points and the Deacons let one get away.
- Didn't "Saw II" come out like three days ago? Now there's a "Saw III"? Doesn't the Jigsaw Killer ever take some time to vacation with the wife and kids?
- Fresno State is in a Buckner-like free fall. After their epic loss to USC last fall the Bulldogs have lost eight of nine games. But their 13-12 loss to an absolutely pathetic Utah State club (as 25-point favorites, no less) has to be a new low.
- UTEP is continuing to back up my early theory that they are an overhyped team to fade. They've failed to cover in three consecutive weeks as double-digit favorites against three below-average clubs.
The Miners latest flop came against a Southern Methodist team that was starting its backup quarterback. Funny story about that: SMU starter Justin Willis was suspended after he punched out some guy at an off-campus party. As it turns out, according to Willis' father, that guy has been "stalking" Justin for nearly a year. Bizarre.
- Be very wary of Kansas State for the rest of the year. Ron Prince has clearly mailed in this season and is now starting freshman quarterback Josh Freeman and freshman running back Leon Patton. They both played well in an emotional home win against Oklahoma State, but I'm not expecting similar production against Nebraska this weekend. Also, I'm kind of hoping that Missouri loses at Texas A&M on Saturday. That could water-down the line on the K-State-Mizzou clash Oct. 21 and open up the door for a big payday.
- Keep an eye out for the status of Toledo quarterback Clint Cochran. The Rockets were hammered at home last week against Central Michigan (42-20) and they travel to face Kent State this Saturday. I can't find any info on Cochran's "injury", I just know that if he plays (Toledo is a 10.5-point dog as the Flashes shoot for a fifth consecutive win) there's a chance for an outstanding value play. If not, it could be another ugly loss by a flailing Toledo team.
- Here's your weekly update on nonconference records by BCS schools:
ACC: 0-2 straight-up, 1-1 against the spread (20-12 SU, 8-18 ATS for the season)
Big East: 3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS (28-8 SU, 22-7 ATS)
Big 10: 1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS (29-9 SU, 17-15 ATS)
Big 12: 0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS (33-14 SU, 19-13 ATS)
Pac 10: 0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS (20-8 SU, 11-14 ATS)
SEC: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS (26-8 SU, 16-15 ATS)
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