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College Football Season

Wisconsin-Michigan St., USC-Notre Dame Top This Week's Slate

Oklahoma State Visits Missouri; 52-game slate begins Tuesday night

by Dave Congrove
October 18, 2011

The race to BCS glory has begun with LSU and Alabama leading the pack in the initial BCS Standings of 2011, released Sunday. The Tide and Tigers face each other in Tuscaloosa on November 5th. Oklahoma is 3rd in the BCS Standings, followed by Big 12, and state, rival Oklahoma State. The Sooners and Cowboys renew their Bedlam rivalry on December 3rd at Stillwater.

This week, the Congrove Computer Rankings has Oklahoma, Alabama, Boise State and LSU as its top four with Oklahoma State trailing Wisconsin for 6th.

LSU, Alabama, Boise State and Oklahoma are each favored by at last 22 points in their respective games this week, but Wisconsin is only a narrow projected winner and Oklahoma State is forecasted to be on the wrong end of a very tight game.

The Badgers are just 5.30-point favorites at Michigan State to get their first win in East Lansing since 2002.

However, Oklahoma State is a 0.88-point underdog at Missouri where it has won in its last two visits (2008 and 2004) after coming up empty in three of its four preceding trips to Columbia.

LSU is a is a 22.90-point home computer favorite over defending BCS Champion Auburn. Auburn's No. 20 ranking is the worst BCS Standings debut for a defending title team.

Alabama is a 29.47-point choice at home vs. a Vanderbilt school it has defeated 20 straight times and has only lost to three times going back to 1956. These teams have the odd stat in their series history of having tied 3 consecutive times from 1957-1959.

Oklahoma is a 22.11-point projected winner at Iowa State. The Sooners have a 39-1-1 record against the Cyclones since 1962, including victories in 20 of the last 21 meetings and a current string of 12 straight. Oklahoma hasn't lost in Ames since 1960.

Boise State is a somewhat surprisingly large 25.68-point computer pick over Air Force it its Mountain West Conference home debut. The Broncos were 40-0 in home WAC games while a member of that league from 2001-2010. This is their first-ever meeting with the Falcons.

USC heads to South Bend where the Trojans and Irish will renew their rivalry that began in 1926. The computer projects Notre Dame as a 10.61-point winner in the 83rd battle between the two storied programs that rank 4th (Notre Dame) and 10th (USC), respectively on the FBS list of all-time wins. The Irish have won 849 games and the Trojans have 773 victories. The Irish ended an 8-game losing streak to the Trojans with a 20-16 triumph in Los Angeles last year. Notre Dame leads the series 43-34-5.

Steve Sarkisian takes his Washington Huskies, ranked 21st in this week's CCR Top 120, to Stanford to face the No. 7 Cardinal. Washington QB Keith Price has a 21-4 touchdown to interception ratio and has thrown at least 3 TD passes in all 6 games this year. Stanford's Andrew Luck has tossed 18 TD passes and only 3 INT's. The computer projects Stanford as a 12.27-point winner.

A pair of top ACC games feature Clemson hosting North Carolina and Georgia Tech traveling to Miami. The undefeated Tigers are a 12.24-point favorite to beat the Tar Heels while the 'Canes are 3.51-point computer pick to hand the Yellow Jackets their second straight loss. Miami has won the last two meetings after Georgia Tech won four straight in the series from 2005-2008.

The college football week will start on Tuesday for the next six weeks, beginning with tonight's matchup between two of the top teams in the Sun Belt as FIU travels to Jonesboro to face Arkansas State. The computer forecasts a 1.90-point upset loss by the Red Wolves.

The action continues on Thursday with a pair of games that feature a PAC-12 duel between UCLA and Arizona and a Conference USA battle between UCF and UAB.

Two Big East games take place Friday with Rutgers at Louisville and West Virginia at Syracuse.

Overall, 52 games take place this week. 18 teams are idle.

FBS vs. FCS:
Two games this week pit FBS teams against FCS schools. For the year, FBS teams are 83-6 (.933) to improve their record to 630-55 (.920) in such games since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams play a total of 97 games against FCS foes this year. Four schools play two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

Boise State - 8 overall wins, 34 home wins, 64 regular season home wins, and 46 straight conference home victories. BSU joined the Mountain West this season. The Broncos were 40-0 in home conference games as a member of the WAC from 2001-2010. Boise State's last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 7-1 in their last eight matches with BCS conference schools. (Next: vs. Air Force on Saturday).

Stanford - 14 straight wins overall. (Next: vs. Washington on Saturday).

Oklahoma - 11 straight wins overall and 39 straight home victories. (Next: vs Texas Tech on Saturday).

TCU - 19-game conference winning streak. (Next: vs. New Mexico on Saturday).

Virginia Tech - 10-game road winning streak. (Next: vs. Boston College on Saturday).

Memphis - 15 straight losses vs. FBS schools. (Next: at Tulane on Saturday).

New Mexico - 9 straight losses overall and 18 straight road losses. (Next: at TCU on Saturday).

FAU - 9 straight losses overall. (Next: vs. Middle Tennessee on Saturday).

Colorado - 20 straight road losses. (Next: vs. Oregon on Saturday).

Two coaches have already been fired this season - Arizona fired Mike Stoops on October 10th and named defensive coordinator Tim Kish as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, and New Mexico fired Mike Locksley on September 25th and named defensive coordinator George Barlow as interim head coach through the end of the season.

At the start of the season, 24 FBS teams had a new head coach. Last season saw 23 new head coaches, only 8 of whom matched or exceeded the W-L record of their predecessors' final season.

Stanford is the only school with a new head coach that remains undefeated. Only 15 teams with a new head coach have defeated at least 1 school from a "Big 6" conference - Ball State, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, North Carolina, North Texas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Stanford, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

None of this week's games pit new head coaches against each other.

Here is how each of the new head coaches is faring this season:

Team Coach Game
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze (4-2) vs. FIU (Tuesday)
Ball State Pete Lembo (4-3) vs. Central Michigan
Colorado Jon Embree (1-6) vs. Oregon
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni (3-4) Idle
Florida Will Muschamp (4-3) Idle
Indiana Kevin Wilson (1-6) at Iowa
Kent State Darrell Hazell (1-6) Idle
Louisiana-Lafayette Mark Hudspeth (6-1) at Western Kentucky
Maryland Randy Edsall (2-4) at Florida State
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (3-3) vs. Georgia Tech
Miami (O.) Don Treadwell (2-4) at Toledo
Michigan Brady Hoke (6-1) Idle
Minnesota Jerry Kill (1-5) vs. Nebraska
North Carolina Everett Withers (Interim) (5-2) at Clemson
North Texas Dan McCarney (2-5) vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Northern Illinois Dave Doeren (4-3) at Buffalo
Ohio State Luke Fickell (Interim) (4-3) Idle
Pittsburgh Todd Graham (3-4) Idle
San Diego St. Rocky Long (4-2) Idle
Stanford David Shaw (6-0) vs. Washington
Temple Steve Addazio (5-2) at Bowling Green
Tulsa Bill Blankenship (3-3) at Rice
Vanderbilt James Franklin (3-3) vs. Army
West Virginia Dana Holgorsen (5-1) at Syracuse (Friday)


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