Stanford, Ohio State Hold Off Still Challenges
Upset weekend averted as Oklahoma, Miami, Georgia also escape
Stanford, the top-ranked team in the Congrove Computer Rankings, held off a stiff challenge from Washington, while 6th-ranked Ohio State outscored Northwestern 27-10 in the second-half to push its winning streak to 18 games.
Stanford defeated the No. 9 Huskies 31-28, thanks in large part to the return magic of Ty Montgomery whose 290 all-purpose yards included a game-opening 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 39-yard receiving TD and a 68-yard kickoff return to set up another score.
Meanwhile, Ohio State got a 7-yard TD run with 5:22 left to lift the Buckeyes to a 40-30 win at Northwestern. Ohio State added a TD on the final play with a fumble recovery in the endzone when the Wildcats' attempt at a multi-lateral play went awry.
No. 3 Oklahoma, 11th-rated Miami and 16th-ranked Georgia also escaped upset bids. The Sooners eked past TCU 20-17, Miami scored 21 points in the last half of the 4th quarter to put down Georgia Tech 45-30, and Georgia needed overtime to get out of Knoxville with a 34-31 win over Tennessee after blowing a 17-3 halftime lead.
That's not to say that the weekend wasn't without upsets, though they largely flew under the radar.
Utah State was a 5.23-point favorite at BYU, but succumbed to the Cougars 31-14 on Thursday night after star QB Chuckie Keeton injured his knee in the first quarter; 6-point computer choice UL-Monroe continued to disappoint with a 31-10 home loss to Western Kentucky; Tulane continues to control a share of the CUSA West lead after upending 4.24-point favorite North Texas 24-21; and USF notched its first win of the Willie Taggart era with a 26-20 win over 19.59-point favorite Cincinnati.
Other surprising results included Indiana pounding Penn State 44-24 for its first win over the Nittany Lions on its 17th try, and Louisiana Tech securing its first win over a FBS school for new head coach Skip Holtz with a 38-35 triumph at UTEP.
But perhaps the most scintillating victory of the weekend belongs to FIU which downed winless Southern Miss 24-23 in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles entered the game ranked 120th in the CCR Top 125 and on a 16-game losing streak. The Golden Panthers had dropped 5 straight, and 15 of their last 18. FIU was averaging just 5.75 points and 150 yards of total offense per game this season, but managed 341 total yards vs. Southern Miss.
Conversely, the computer doesn't consider Ball State's 48-27 win at Virginia an upset. In fact, it called for the victory as the Cavs added to their habit of falling to non-BCS schools at home. As "Feature Picks" writer Mike Mitchell pointed out, Virginia has also lost home games in recent seasons to Louisiana Tech (2012), Southern Miss (2011), and William & Mary (2009).
The computer also nailed upset picks of Notre Dame over Arizona State (37-34), Washington State over Cal (44-22), and Michigan State over Iowa (26-14), while missing on projections of UL-Monroe downing Western Kentucky and Kent State toppling Northern Illinois.
PLAYING IT CLOSE:
Rutgers and Georgia have both developed an earlier trend of scaring their faithful followers practically every week.
In its last game two weeks ago, the Scarlet Knights had to rally for a 28-24 home win over Arkansas after opening the season with a 52-51 overtime loss at Fresno State. On Saturday, Rutgers needed triple-overtime to get past pesky SMU 55-52.
Georgia's 34-31 OT win on Saturday at Tennessee only materialized after the Vols fumbled the ball out of the endzone on their opening possession of the extra period. Of course, previous Bulldog games produced wins by 44-41 (LSU) and 41-30 (South Carolina) to go with the 38-35 opening loss at Clemson.
UNDEFEATED AND WINLESS TEAMS:
The number of undefeated teams was whittled down from 20 to 17 after weekend losses incurred by Maryland (63-0 at Florida State), Northwestern (40-30 vs. Ohio State), and Washington (31-28 at Stanford).
There are 9 teams left on the winless list after USF and FIU dropped off by defeating Cincinnati 26-20 and Southern Miss 24-23, respectively.
PICKING LIKE CRAZY:
The computer was 42-13 in picking straight-up winners of FBS vs. FBS games and 32-23 against the spread. CollegeFootballPoll.com's Mike Mitchell was 12-3 to raise his Feature Picks record to 80-8 for the year (he's 49-39 against the spread). The computer was also 4-2 with this week's upset winner picks and 4-2 ATS on those games.
POINTS, AND MORE POINTS:
Baylor has topped the 70-point mark in 3 straight games. The Bears routed West Virginia 73-42 on Saturday to add to victories of 70-7 over Louisiana-Monroe and 70-13 over Buffalo. Baylor opened the season with a 69-3 win over FCS member Wofford. The Bears had 864 yards vs. the Mountaineers to set a new Big 12 record while raising its 2013 season yards per game output to 780.
FBS vs. FCS:
There weren't any FBS vs. FCS matchups this week. FBS teams have lost 14 such matchups this season after losing just 10 all of last year. 15 FBS-FCS games still remain to be played.
The FBS is 81-14 (.853) this season vs. the FCS, and 817-79 (.912) in such matchups since 2003.
106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. Clemson and Georgia Tech each scheduled two such schools. FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
8/29: Towson 33, Connecticut 18
8/29: Southern Utah 22, South Alabama 21
8/30: Samford 31, Georgia State 21
8/30: North Dakota State 24, Kansas State 21
8/31: Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20
8/31: Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46
8/31: Eastern Illinois 40, San Diego State 18
8/31: McNeese State 53, USF 21
9/7: UT-Chattanooga 42, Georgia State 14
9/7: Maine 24, Massachusetts 14
9/7: Nicholls State 27, Western Michigan 23.
9/14: Fordham 30, Temple 29
9/14: Bethune-Cookman 34, FIU 13
9/21: Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT)
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Ohio State - Won 18 straight overall. On 40-30 at Northwestern on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 22 straight at home and 18 straight vs. conference foes. Won 38-24 at Kent State on Saturday.
LSU - Won 44 straight regular season nonconference games. Won 59-26 at Mississippi State on Saturday.
Michigan - Won 18 straight home games. Won 42-13 vs. Minnesota on Saturday.
Oregon - Won 17 straight road games. Won 57-16 at Colorado on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 17 straight overall. Lost 24-23 vs. FIU on Saturday.
New Mexico State - Lost 17 straight overall. Lost 66-17 at New Mexico on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 29 straight road games, 27 straight FBS games and 18 straight conference games (MAC). Lost 43-3 vs. Ohio on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 22 straight conference games and 20 straight road games. Lost 54-16 vs. Texas Tech on Saturday.