3 Up 3 Down (College Week 1)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
College Football Review - Week 1.



A review of the week that was with a look at three college football teams that stood out for good reasons and three whose weekend did not turn out as successfully as anticipated.

Three Up

Alabama Crimson Tide
2015 Record: Straight-Up 1-0, Against-the-Spread 1-0

Roll Tide! Alabama opened the season by defeating Wisconsin 35-17. New quarterback Jake Coker passed for 213 yards and a touchdown. Alabama's defense dominated holding Wisconsin's potent rushing attack to 40 yards – the Badgers' lowest total since 2012. The real star of the game was running back Derrick Henry.

Henry rushed for 147 yards on 13 carries. Alabama's latest workhorse scored three touchdowns including long runs of 37 yards and 56 yards respectively.



Wisconsin might wonder what would have happened if kicker Rafael Gaglianone had not missed a 34-yard field goal just before half. Wisconsin would have received the second-half kickoff trailing 14-10. Instead, the Badgers trailed by a touchdown at the start of the third quarter and were only 7 percent likely to win.

Next Up: Middle Tennessee State

Trends
Alabama is 5-11-1 against-the-spread in its last 17 games.
Middle Tennessee State is 2-9 against-the-spread in its last 11 road games.

Texas A&M Aggies
2015 Record: Straight-Up 1-0, Against-the-Spread 1-0

Texas A&M upended Arizona State 38-17. The Aggies used a combination of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray at quarterback as the offense sputtered at times but the defense picked up the slack. A&M's defense allowed 17 points and 291 yards, the fewest totals against a Power Five opponent since the start of the 2013 season. Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall combined for six sacks.

This is the second year in a row that the Aggies won their opener on the road against a ranked opponent. Texas A&M started the season 5-0 a year ago but then dropped their last seven. Head Coach Kevin Sumlin said after the game “If you learn anything, you learn from last year it doesn't mean much of anything.”

The 12th Man hopes for a different result this season. The Aggies have a favorable schedule. Texas A&M draws South Carolina and Vanderbilt from the SEC East and gets Alabama and LSU at home. The Aggies had a top 20 offense entering the season, now its defense may be on the same level.

Next Up: Ball State

Trends
Texas A&M is 3-7 against-the-spread in its last 10 games.
Ball State is 2-5 straight-up in its last seven game on the road.

Northwestern Wildcats
2015 Record: Straight-Up 1-0, Against-the-Spread 1-0

One defense entered the game ranked in the top five but the other showed up to play. Northwestern's defense held Stanford to under 250 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers in a 16-6 victory. The Wildcats run defense stuffed the Cardinal holding Stanford to just 85 yards on the ground and 3.1 yards per carry.

It was the first time since 1967 that Northwestern beat a ranked team at home to start the season. The Wildcats, 12 point underdogs, beat Stanford for the first time since 1958.

How did Northwestern celebrate? By dancing, of course!



Next Up: Eastern Illinois

Trends
Northwestern is 7-16 against-the-spread in its last 23 games.
Eastern Illinois is 1-13 straight-up in its last 14 road games.

Three Down



Kansas Jayhawks
2015 Record: Straight-Up 0-1, Against-the-Spread 0-1

It's just so sad, it's just so Kansas football.

Trailing 31-14 at halftime, the Jayhawks rallied in the second half to have a chance to tie the game late. With no timeouts, within field goal range, Kansas fumbled the snap on an attempted spike play and the clock ran out on KU's comeback.



Kansas became the third team from a Power 5 conference to lose to an FCS team twice since 2010 (Iowa State and Oregon State are the other two teams).

To be fair to the Jayhawks, the consensus closing line before kickoff was Jackrabbits -1.5. So technically, South Dakota State almost blew it.

Next Up: Memphis

Trends
Kansas is 1-9 straight-up in its last 10 games.
The total has gone under in 4 of Memphis' last 5 road games.

Texas Longhorns
2015 Record: Straight-Up 0-1, Against-the-Spread 0-1

Notre Dame slammed Texas 38-3. Irish quarterback Malik Zaire completed 19-of-22 passes against Texas, the second highest single-game completion percentage in Notre Dame history. Zaire threw for 313 yards and Texas' offense was held to 163 total yards. The poor showing is nothing new for the Longhorns lately.

This is the third time in the last 13 games that Texas lost by at least 30 points. The three points scored by the Longhorns is the fewest in a season opener. This is the first season opening loss for Texas since 1999.

Misery loves company and Jordan Spieth can feel Texas' pain.



The Longhorns will have a chance for redemption; Notre Dame opens next season in Austin.

Next Up: Rice

Trends
Rice is 1-4 against-the-spread in its last five road games at Texas.
Texas is 2-4 against-the-spread in its last six games at home.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2015 Record: Straight-Up 0-1, Against-the-Spread 0-1

With a second remaining, leading BYU 28-27, Nebraska was 74 percent likely to win. Then the Cougars' backup Tanner Mangum, filling in for an injured Taysom Hill, tossed up a Hail Mary.



The 42-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Mathews gave BYU a 33-28 victory. It was the first loss for the Huskers in a season opener since 1985. Salt in the wound – Nebraska paid BYU $1 million to play them because they refused to agree to a home and home series.

Next Up: South Alabama

Trends
The total has gone over in five straight Nebraska games.
South Alabama is 1-8 against-the-spread in its last nine games.