3 Up 3 Down (College Week 10)

By John Ewing
A review of 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. 



Three Up
 
South Carolina Gamecocks
2013 Record: Straight-Up 7-2, Against-the-Spread 4-5
 
The Gamecocks won their 15th straight game at home by scoring 20 points off of five Mississippi State turnovers. Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns and Mike Davis broke 1,000 yards rushing for the season. After losing to Tennessee two weeks ago everything is clicking for South Carolina as they are back in the SEC East race, but the Gamecocks will need help from Missouri and Georgia to make the conference championship.
 
South Carolina may have won its’ last two games but they have failed to cover the over in each. What is worse is how painfully close the totals came to covering. Against Missouri two weeks ago it took a missed 24-yard field goal in double overtime to avert the over and against the Bulldogs a failed two-point conversion prevented a push on the over.
 
Next Up: A bye week before taking on Florida (4-4)
 
Trends
The total has gone under in 4 of Florida’s last 6 games on the road
The total has gone under in 4 of South Carolina’s last 6 games
 
Oklahoma State Cowboys
2013 Record: Straight-Up 7-1 Against-the-Spread 5-3
 
The Cowboys got a big win on the road in Lubbock to stay one game behind Texas for the Big 12 title. The Red Raiders could not stop Oklahoma State’s rushing attack allowing 281 yards on the ground. The Cowboys will need strong offensive performances to navigate a back-loaded conference schedule.
 
There are four teams in the Big 12 with one or fewer losses in conference play. Each of those teams plays at least two games against the other three teams to end the season.
 
Next Up: A tune-up against Kansas before facing Texas, Baylor, & Oklahoma
 
Trends
The total has gone over in 5 of Oklahoma State’s last 7 games on the road
The total has gone over in 4 of Texas’s last 5 games
 
USC Trojans
2013 Record: Straight-Up 6-3, Against-the-Spread 4-5
 
The Trojans are back? After firing Head Coach Lane Kiffin, starting the season 3-2 and enduring a number of injuries, USC has won 3 of its last 4 games. This includes Friday’s win over Oregon State in Corvallis, the first since 2004. Southern Cal welcomed Marqise Lee back from a knee injury and the talented receiver shined catching five balls for 105 yards and a touchdown.
 
USC is in a three-way tie for second in the Pac-12 South, one game behind Arizona State. We will find out if the Trojans are truly contenders for the Pac-12 title when they face Stanford at home in two weeks.
 
Next Up: Cal, whose only win came over FCS opponent Portland State
 
Trends
The total has gone under in 8 of USC’s last 11 games
The total has gone under in 8 of Cal’s last 9 games when playing USC


 
Three Down
 
Miami Hurricanes
2013 Record: Straight-Up 7-1, Against-the-Spread 4-4
 
Miami was ranked 7th in the BCS coming into this game but the Hurricanes were 17th in our Power Rankings and are now outside our top 30 after the loss to Florida State. Miami looked like a team capable of keeping the game within the 22 point spread trailing 21-14 at the half. However, the wheels came off in the second half starting with turnovers and ending with an injury to Duke Johnson.
 
Johnson will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle. Johnson was 15th in the FBS in rushing yards, he accounted for 58% of Miami’s rushing (8th-highest percentage among players from BCS-AQ) per ESPN Stats & Info.  
 
Next Up: A Coastal Division showdown with Virginia Tech
 
Trends
VaTech is 1-8 against-the-spread in its last 9 games on the road
Miami is 1-5 against-the-spread in its last 6 games when playing at home vs. VaTech
 
Northwestern Wildcats
2013 Record: Straight-Up 4-5, Against-the-Spread 3-6

After starting the season 4-0 and being ranked 16th in the AP Poll the Wildcats predictably dropped a home game to Ohio State. But then things got weird; Northwestern got blown out at Wisconsin followed by three more losses, all by one touchdown or less. What once looked like a promising season has spiraled out of control. This week’s loss to Nebraska might be the hardest pill to swallow.
 
With 0:04 remaining in the 4th quarter, Nebraska quarterback Ron Kellogg III tosses a Hail Mary 55 yards, it gets tipped by Northwestern defenders and caught by a Cornhusker for the game winner.
 
Next Up:  A possible sixth straight loss as they host Michigan
 
Trends
Michigan is 5-1 in its last 6 games when playing on the road at Northwestern
The total has gone under in 4 of Northwestern’s last 6 games when playing Michigan
 
Fake Injuries

Auburn is a legit 8-1 behind one of the best offensive rushing attacks in the country (306 yards/game, 6th in the nation). But faking an injury when you are up three scores is bush league. Auburn linebacker Anthony Swain fell to the ground with an apparent knee injury late in the 3rd quarter. There are no rules against faking injuries but conferences can take action after the fact. Three years ago Cal defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi was suspended by the Pac-12 for one game for instructing a player to fake an injury to slow down Oregon’s offense.