History Lesson: Learning from Last Week’s College Football Upsets

Jay Pryce

Thursday, September 14, 2017 3:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 3:17 PM UTC

A total of 16 favorites lost outright in Week 2. A couple performances caught our eyes. They're not pretty. Here's what we learned.

Baylor is Bad

It does not take a Ph.D to figure out Baylor is bad. The Bears lost to FCS-representative Liberty 48-45 as 30.5-point favorites in Week 1. They followed up that effort with a 17-10 defeat to UT-San Antonio, a program that just came into existence in 2012, as 11.5-point chalk. Both losses were in Waco. The victories a first over a Power 5 school for both the Flames and Roadrunners.

First-year head coach Matt Rhule has the toughest job in college football as he attempts to rebuild the scandal-plagued program. The team is young, inexperienced, and lacking in talent. There are 31 newcomers to the squad. The first two games were chock-full of miscues and errors. Baylor is averaging 10 penalties for 98 yards per game. The most glaring weakness of all is the fact UT-San Antonio looked faster and more physical on the field. This is bad news with the Bears scheduled against Power 5 programs for the rest of the season.

Since October 2016, Baylor is 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS in its last nine games. It is failing to cover a -1.6 average spread by 12.3 points per game. Only Ole Miss, a program also embroiled in controversy, has fallen to the number (-13.8) by more during this time. At some point, the betting market will catch up to the Bears, but it’s not there yet. Oddsmakers opened Duke a 10.5-point favorite for its matchup with Baylor on Saturday. Within hours, the line jumped to two touchdowns. Expect it to climb even more with Rhule in desperation mode. Earlier in the week, coach announced Zach Smith would start at quarterback over the highly touted Arizona transfer Anu Solomon.

 Will quality football ever return to the state of Arizona?

We learned last week Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez and Arizona State’s Todd Graham’s coaching seats are a bit hotter after each lost at home to non-Power 5 programs. The Sun Devils slipped up against San Diego State 30-20 as 3.5-point chalk, while the Wildcats fell to Houston in a coin-flip encounter as 1.5-point underdogs. Both opponents are about as tough as you can schedule outside of the major conferences, but it doesn’t mask the fact the Arizona teams are in freefall. Combined, the two are 3-11 SU and ATS since Week 8 of last season.

The Sun Devils are particularly worrisome. The defense is still as porous as swiss cheese. It allowed both New Mexico State and San Diego State to score nearly 5 more points than projected in the betting market through the first two weeks. The most glaring trouble spot is at the line of scrimmage, where the Aztecs dominated throughout on both sides of the ball. Arizona State is a 7.5-point pup at Texas Tech this Saturday. It outgunned the Red Raiders 68-55 in Tempe last season, but has put up more than 38 points just once in its last 15 away games. The Sun Devils will need 40-plus to come close to winning and covering the spread versus the high-flying Kliff Kingsbury-led squad. 

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