The college football season is a week and a half away and we’ve seen some historical trends of teams that start slow. That’s important to note as we start to evaluate the Week 1 college football betting lines. Here are four notorious slow starts.
The Tigers do start slowly. Sometimes the slow start builds into a big finish, and other times the slow start is a harbinger of more inconsistency. In any case, Auburn does get out of the blocks in less than full form. In 2010, when the Tigers went unbeaten and won the national title, one of their worst performances of the whole season came in the first half of September at Mississippi State, when quarterback Cameron Newton was still learning the offense. Once Newton got the hang of it, though, Auburn sprang to life and became a very hard team to play in the middle of October.
In 2013, Auburn looked very imprecise and ragged for much of the first half of the season, and the Tigers lost at LSU in a game where they showed a lot of fight, but didn’t seem like an SEC or national title contender. Then, in November, they beat Georgia and Alabama to make the SEC Championship Game. In that game, they crushed Missouri with a near-perfect offensive display. Auburn does start slowly – the question for those who place college football picks will be how the Tigers finish.
It is true that Stanford’s 2014 season was different from the previous four. The Cardinal did not make a prestigious January bowl game last year, as they fell off the cliff. Yet, even in Stanford’s successful seasons, the team has not been a force in September. The Stanford Cardinal lost a couple of games before November in multiple seasons that ended in January bowl bids. The Cardinal played their best football of the year in November, lacking that same winning edge in September and October. Last year’s September loss to USC led to even more losses during the season, but it was part of a picture in which Stanford’s first half of the season was not as good as the second. Every year, November is this team’s best month against the college football odds, not the earlier months.
The Bulldogs, a few years ago, started the season 0-2 but then won their way into the SEC Championship Game. Georgia struggles in its annual game with South Carolina every September, but even though the Bulldogs have a hard time in that game, they often work through it and usually finish above South Carolina in the SEC East. September has not been a friendly month for Georgia in a lot of seasons, and that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
The Tigers lost in the non-conference part of their season last year, at home against Indiana, in one of the most puzzling results of the whole season. Missouri’s blowout home loss to Georgia also occurred in the first half of the season, leading a lot of people to doubt the Tigers. However, Missouri has gone unbeaten the last two Novembers, finishing with only one loss in the SEC regular season. Late finishes have enabled the Missouri Tigers to win consecutive SEC East division titles.