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College Football Season

FSU Whips Miami; Georgia Tops Florida

Nebraska Sinks Northwestern On Hail Mary

by Dave Congrove
November 3, 2013

As I pointed out in the pregame report, top-ranked Oregon had nothing to worry about this week. Neither did 2nd-ranked Baylor or No. 3 Alabama. All three schools were among the 26 programs that were idle for week 10 of the college football season.

In fact, 6 of the top 10 teams in the Congrove Computer Rankings had the week off as the Ducks, Bears and Tide were joined by 6th-ranked Stanford, 8th-ranked Oklahoma and No. 8 Louisville. It was also a rest week for 18th-ranked LSU, No. 19 UCF and 24th-ranked BYU for a total of 9 schools in the top 25.

Last week, only 2 schools in the entire top 25 were idle.

That all served to make the stage even bigger for the ACC heavyweight tilt in Tallahassee between No. 4 Florida State and No. 7 Miami. The Seminoles were installed by the oddsmakers as 21-point betting favorites while the computer pulled a Lee Corso "not-so-fast" and projected FSU as an 11.74-point victor. Turns out, the oddsmakers were spot-on as the Seminoles rolled Miami 41-14, just as they had rolled their previous 3 opponents, including Clemson, by a cumulative 163-31 while the Hurricanes had needed last-minute heroics to overcome challenges from heavy underdogs North Carolina and Wake Forest.

That game also came just 7 days after Virginia Tech had taken an unexpected upset loss at home to Duke, propelling the 'Canes into sole possession of first place in the ACC's Coastal Division. The loss by Miami puts the Coastal back in play, though Virginia Tech did itself no favor by losing 34-27 at Boston College. The Hokies, who were projected 12.67-point winners, fell victim to a second straight 4-turnover game (2 picks, 2 fumbles lost) by QB Logan Thomas. A 20-20 tie was broken when Thomas committed his biggest sin as a throw back over the middle while backpedaling from a rush turned into a pick-6 for the opposition. He later fumbled while inexplicably trying to rush for a first down with precious time clicking off the clock as Virginia tech tried to rally for a game-tying touchdown in the final minute.

Still, Miami holds just a 1-game lead on Virginia Tech and Duke which just happen to be the next two games on the Hurricanes' schedule. Miami hosts Virginia Tech next Saturday in Miami. Duke, which downed Virginia Tech last week, hosts Miami on November 16.

Two other big rivalry games this week sent Michigan to Michigan State, and Navy to Notre Dame.

The 16th-ranked Spartans were mere 3.18-point computer favorites over 17th-ranked Michigan, but obliterated their rival 29-6. Michigan State has now won 5 of the last 6 meetings.

No. 20 Notre Dame had won the last two games vs. Navy by 40 and 42 points, and a 21.08-point rout was forecasted for this go around. Instead, the Midshipmen battled neck-and-neck before painfully falling 38-34 in South Bend.

Meanwhile, 5th-ranked Ohio State visited a Purdue team that looked severely out-manned on paper, and played that way on the field. The Buckeyes romped 56-0 to notch their 21st straight victory and keep head coach Urban Meyer undefeated as the head coach in Columbus.

Perhaps, the day's most memorable final play took place in Lincoln where a 49-yard Hail Mary pass gave Nebraska a 27-24 win over Northwestern on the final play of the game. The Wildcats had just reclaimed a 24-21 lead 1:20 left on a field goal following an interception. Five games ago, Northwestern was undefeated and hosting Ohio State with ESPN's College GameDay on campus. The Wildcats haven't won since then.

Elsewhere, then-No. 9 Oklahoma State routed then-No. 14 Texas Tech 52-34. It was the second straight loss for the Red Raiders who began the year with 7 straight victories.

Kudos to Air Force which bagged just its 2nd win of the season by downing rival Army 42-28. The Falcons (2-7) were already out of bowl contention and put the Cadets (3-6) on the cusp of the same fate.

Congrats also go to Akron for the 16-7 win over Kent State. The Zips improved to 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the MAC while dropping the Golden Flashes to 2-8 overall and 1-5 in conference play. Just a year ago, Kent State went 11-3 and lost to Northern Illinois in double-overtime in the AMC Championship game. They were expected to compete for the title again this year, but have been a mere shadow of their former selves with the loss of head coach Darrell Hazell to Purdue. As for Akron, the 3 wins this season equals the totals wins for the school over the last 3 seasons. Perhaps Kent State players and fans can find some solace in the fact the Hazell's Boilermakers are 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten. Purdue has been blanked in its last 2 games and scored only 92 points all season.

I can't omit the gutsy performance by FAU. Just days after seeing head coach Carl Pelini and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis get fired for illicit drug use, interim head coach Brian Wright led the team to a 34-17 win over Tulane to hand the Green Wave their first Conference USA loss of the season.

Northern Illinois and Fresno State continue to present themselves as potential BCS bowl busters. The Huskies stomped UMass 63-19 while the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 41-23. NIU is 9-0 while Fresno State is 8-0.

The college football week began last Tuesday with Cincinnati's 34-21 win at Memphis. It continued with 4 games on Halloween that saw Arizona State, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe and North Texas all emerge victorious. The Sun Devils won 55-21 at Washington State, the Cougars prevailed 35-23 vs. USF, the Warhawks outlasted Troy 49-37 with QB Kolton Browning back behind center, and the Mean Green got past Rice 28-16.

The computer was 41-8 in picking the winner of heads-up FBS games, and 26-23 against the spread. So far this season, it has forecasted the winner of 80.8% of all games played while hitting 58% against the spread.

Meanwhile, Feature Picks writer Mike Mitchell is 132-17 with his selections and 88-61 against the spread. In addition, the computer is 37-33 on forecasted upsets and 47-23 against the spread with those games.

The undefeated list contains 7 teams as it only shrunk by 1 with Miami (Fla.) being the lone victim. Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Ohio State and Oregon are the only teams remaining with perfect records.

The winless list stays at 5 as Connecticut, Georgia State, Hawaii, Miami (Ohio) and Southern Miss are still searching for their first victory.

FBS vs. FCS:
Kentucky beat Alabama State 48-14 in the only FBS vs. FCS matchup this week.

The FBS is 87-14 (.861) this season vs. the FCS, and 823-79 (.912) in such matchups since 2003.

FBS teams have lost 14 games to FCS members this season and 10 FBS-FCS games still remain to be played. The FBS lost just 10 such games in all of 2012.

Originally, 106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. But Colorado later replaced a game it lost vs. Fresno State (due to flooding) with Charleston Southern. Thus, 106 FBS schools will play a total of 111 games vs. FCS foes. The schedule change also made Colorado the 4th FBS team to face at least two such schools this year. The others are Clemson and Georgia Tech with 2 apiece while FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
9/21: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)

Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.

Ohio State - Won 21 straight overall. Won 56-0 at on Saturday.

Northern Illinois - Won 24 straight at home and 22 straight vs. conference foes. Won 63-19 at UMass on Saturday.

LSU - Won 45 straight regular season nonconference games. Idle this week.

Michigan - Won 19 straight home games. Lost 29-6 at Michigan State on Saturday.

Oregon - Won 18 straight road games. Idle on Saturday.

Southern Miss - Lost 20 straight overall. Lost 61-13 at Marshall on Saturday.

New Mexico State - Lost 20 straight to FBS teams. Lost 49-35 at Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 26 straight conference games and 22 straight road games. Lost 35-13 at Texas on Saturday.


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