PredictionMachine.com’s Manager of Research and Analytics, John Ewing, reviews the week that was with a look at three college football teams that stood out for good reasons and three whose weekends did not turn out as successfully as anticipated.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2012 Record: Straight-Up 11-0, Against-the-Spread 6-5
Previous Game: 38-0 win against Wake Forest
Notre Dame has not won the national championship since 1988. Last week, Notre Dame received one first place vote in the coaches’ poll. After a dominating 38-0 victory over Wake Forest (and losses by Kansas State and Oregon), Notre Dame received all of the first place votes and is #1 for the first time since November 14, 1993. An 11-0 record, first since 1989, has the Irish one win away from playing for the national title. The last time Notre Dame was undefeated heading into their final game they lost to the Miami Hurricanes. Notre Dame will face a Matt Barkley-less USC team this week; a win guarantees the Irish a berth in the BCS Championship game.
Since Notre Dame last won the national championship:
World Wide Web was created – 1990
Viagra invented – 1998
Justin Bieber become JUSTIN BIEBER!!!– 2009
Reader’s Note: I was in a casino this weekend and I saw a very large man wearing one of these!
Notre Dame is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing USC
USC is 9-1 straight-up in its last 10 games when playing Notre Dame
Alabama Crimson Tide
2012 Record: Straight-Up 10-1 Against-the-Spread 5-6
Previous Game: 49-0 win over Western Carolina
With a week off, excuse me; with a game against an FCS opponent, Alabama was able to get its affairs back in order. After a heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M last week, Alabama rolled against an overmatched Western Carolina. AJ McCarron completed only six passes (he only attempted 6), one for a touchdown that helped him tie a single season touchdown record for the Crimson Tide. Eddie Lacy rushed for three first-half touchdowns and Alabama put the game away by halftime leading 42-0.
After losing last week to Texas A&M, Alabama was still #1 in our Power Rankings. The Tide needed some help (again) to get back into the BCS Championship picture . Losses by both the Wildcats and Ducks have the Tide back in contention for a second consecutive title.
The total has gone under in 5 of Auburn’s last 7 games on the road
Alabama is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games at home
2012 Record: Straight-Up 9-2 Against-the-Spread 7-4
Previous Game: 38-28 trend reversing win against USC
UCLA entered the game with more victories and a higher ranking than USC for the first time since 2001. After a 50-0 thrashing last year it took a freshmen quarterback and a first-year head coach to change UCLA’s fortunes against their crosstown rivals. Brett Hundley threw for 234 yards and a touchdown while adding two more scores with his legs, his effort helped end a five-game losing streak.
The Bruins victory over USC, their first since 2006, clinched the PAC-12 South title and a berth in the conference title game. A UCLA victory against Oregon (presumably) would give the Blue and Gold their first conference championship since 1998 when they went 8-0 in PAC-10 play.
The total has gone under in 5 of Stanford’s last 5 games when on the road at UCLA
The total has gone over in 5 of UCLA’s last 6 games
Kansas State Wildcats
2012 Record: Straight-Up 10-1, Against-the-Spread 8-2-1
Previous Game: 52-24 drudging by Baylor
“Disappointing, everything that could have went wrong in the game did. Our injuries killed us, we abandoned the running game, we committed penalties, it was just brutal to watch us implode in every way possible.” That’s not a quote from Bill Snyder or Collin Klein, that quote comes from my buddy, a Kansas State grad, who said he needed many adult beverages after watching his Wildcats lose their first game after being ranked #1. A lot did go wrong for KSU, they had been averaging 145 yards rushing in away games; they only managed to rush for 76 yards in Waco. Collin Klein threw 3 interceptions against Baylor; he had only thrown 3 interceptions all season.
On the bright side, Kansas State has a week off to prepare for Texas. A win against the Longhorns guarantees them at least a share of the Big 12 title and the conference’s automatic BCS spot.
Texas is 4-1 straight-up in its 5 games on the road this season
Kansas State is 5-1 ATS in 6 games at home this season
2012 Record: Straight-Up 10-1, Against-the-Spread 6-5
Previous Game: 17-14 upset at the hands of Stanford
Immovable object, unstoppable force… Oregon entered the game with the 3rd best rushing attack in the country, averaging 325 yards per game. Stanford had the best rushing defense in the country only allowing 54.8 yards per game. Oregon’s high-powered offense was stunted by Stanford’s stout defense. Oregon rushed for 198 yards against the Cardinals but came up short on big plays. Prior to this contest the Ducks averaged 10 rushes of over 10 + yards a game, the Cardinal defense surrendered only 4 such rushes. The loss not only ruined Oregon’s chances of a BCS Championship but also put a Pac-12 title at risk.
Kansas State and Oregon losing marks the 3rd time that the top two teams in the BCS lost in the same weekend. The last time was in 2007; I remember this because my Missouri Tigers were ranked #1 before get shellacked by Oklahoma.
The total has gone over in 4 of Oregon’s last 5 games on the road
The total has gone over in 4 of Oregon State’s last 6 games
2012 Record: Straight-Up 7-4, Against-the-Spread 3-8
Previous Game: 38-28 loss to UCLA
Hopes of a trip to the BCS Championship game long since faded but the loss to UCLA ended USC’s shot at a Pac-12 title. Adding insult to injury, Matt Barkley suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out of next week’s game against Notre Dame. The only hope for Trojans fans would be to upset Notre Dame and bounce them out of the national championship game. This is not the first time that an undefeated Irish team came to LA looking to win a national title. Notre Dame played USC in the Coliseum in 1980 and lost 20-3.
Still the joy gained from knocking out the Irish won’t replace the anguish of beginning a season with national title aspirations but ending in a second tier bowl game.
Notre Dame is 4-1 straight-up in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone over in 4 of USC’s last 6 games when playing Notre Dame at home