Ranking college football's Week 9 final scores by surprising-ness – SB Nation


Following a couple of pretty wild weeks, we were due a bit of a dud, at least as far as shake-ups at the top of the rankings were concerned. In Week 9 of the 2018 college football season, three of the top five teams didn’t even play, and only two of the top 14 lost — No. 6 Texas to Oklahoma State and No. 9 Florida to No. 7 Georgia.

That’s not to say there wasn’t silliness. Kentucky stole a game in Columbia, Washington State out-lasted Stanford in the final 30 seconds, and plenty of teams near the bottom of the AP top 25 lost. But by the standard set in recent weeks, this was a calmer weekend.

Let’s look back at Week 9 action by looking at the difference between projection and reality. S&P+ had another excellent week, going 57 percent against the spread to stay at 55 percent ATS for the season. Its absolute error — the average difference between projected and actual scoring margin — in FBS vs. FBS games was a solid 12.9 points per game (anything below 13 or so is solid, and anything below 12 is tremendous).

Whether the numbers were dialed in or not, however, there are always surprises. Using the S&P+ projections as a guide, let’s look at which games played out as expected and which ones very, very much did not.

(Rankings listed below are from the most recent AP poll.)


NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State

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  • UAB 19, UTEP 0 (projected margin: UAB by 19.2)
  • No. 17 Penn State 30, No. 18 Iowa 24 (projected margin: PSU by 5.4)

Iowa out-gained PSU by 38 yards (primarily by running 24 more plays), scored twice on safeties, recovered all four of the game’s fumbles, and scored on a fourth-quarter pick six. It’s actually kind of an upset that PSU didn’t get upset here.

  • Coastal Carolina 37, Georgia State 34 (projected margin: Coastal by 3.9)
  • Nebraska 45, Bethune-Cookman 9 (projected margin: NU by 34.7)
  • No. 3 Notre Dame 44, Navy 22 (projected margin: ND by 23.5)
  • No. 14 Washington State 41, No. 24 Stanford 38 (projected margin: Wazzu by 1.5)
  • Texas State 27, NMSU 20 (projected margin: TXST by 5.4)
  • Virginia 31, North Carolina 21 (projected margin: UVA by 11.6)

That’s ACC Coastal favorite Virginia, thank you very much.

  • Boise State 48, Air Force 38 (projected margin: BSU by 11.9)
  • Akron 17, CMU 10 (projected margin: Akron by 4.7)

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Brigham Young

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  • NIU 7, BYU 6 (projected margin: BYU by 2.4)

Ew.

  • Fresno State 50, Hawaii 20 (projected margin: FS by 26.3)
  • Oklahoma State 38, No. 6 Texas 35 (projected margin: OSU by 6.8)
  • South Carolina 27, Tennessee 24 (projected margin: SC by 7.0)
  • No. 12 Kentucky 15, Missouri 14 (projected margin: Mizzou by 3.4)
  • UL-Lafayette 47, Arkansas State 43 (projected margin: ASU by 0.9)
  • Minnesota 38, Indiana 31 (projected margin: Gophers by 2.1)
  • UMass 22, UConn 17 (projected margin: UMass by 10.7)
  • Cincinnati 26, SMU 20 (projected margin: Cincy by 12.7)
  • Nevada 28, SDSU 24 (projected margin: SDSU by 3.0)

Nevada, by the way, has played three straight strong games: a near-upset of Boise, an easy win over Hawaii, and now this. The Wolf Pack are 5-4 and will be favored in each of the next three games. Well done, Jay Norvell.


NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California

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  • North Texas 41, Rice 17 (projected margin: UNT by 31.3)
  • Iowa State 40, Texas Tech 31 (projected margin: ISU by 0.9)
  • Arizona State 38, USC 35 (projected margin: USC by 5.1)

Nothing like a game that features two punt return scores, two long scores in the final two minutes, a 24-0 run by the winning team, and a 21-0 run by the losing team…

  • Tulane 24, Tulsa 17 (projected margin: Tulsa by 1.9)
  • No. 8 Oklahoma 51, Kansas State 14 (projected margin: OU by 27.9)
  • Wyoming 34, Colorado State 21 (projected margin: UW by 3.2)
  • Troy 38, South Alabama 17 (projected margin: Troy by 11.2)
  • Syracuse 51, No. 22 NC State 41 (projected margin: NCST by 1.1)

Syracuse hasn’t played well in November under Dino Babers, so the Orange came up with a novel way of achieving bowl eligibility this time around: complete it before November! They’re 6-2 and would be contenders for the ACC title game if they weren’t in the wrong damn division (or if divisions didn’t exist).

  • Michigan State 23, Purdue 13 (projected margin: Purdue by 1.3)

East Lansing: a Bermuda Triangle for fun things. Purdue’s Big Ten West hopes went in and never came out.

  • Louisiana Tech 21, FAU 13 (projected margin: FAU by 3.7)
  • No. 7 Georgia 36, No. 9 Florida 17 (projected margin: UGA by 6.3)
  • Charlotte 20, Southern Miss 17 (projected margin: USM by 9.9)
  • Mississippi State 28, No. 16 Texas A&M 13 (projected margin: MSU by 2.0)
  • Kansas 27, TCU 26 (projected margin: TCU by 12.1)
  • Cal 12, No. 15 Washington 10 (projected margin: UW by 11.7)
  • Houston 57, No. 21 USF 36 (projected margin: UH by 5.7)
  • San Jose State 50, UNLV 37 (projected margin: UNLV by 2.6)
  • Maryland 63, Illinois 33 (projected margin: UM by 13.5)

The last two games for Maryland’s offense: zero points and 115 total yards (2.95 per play) against Iowa and 63 points and 712 total yards (10.32 per play) against the Illini. Quite the lurch.

  • Pitt 54, Duke 45 (projected margin: Duke by 7.7)
  • BC 27, Miami 14 (projected margin: Miami by 5.1)
  • Vanderbilt 45, Arkansas 31 (projected margin: Arkansas by 4.5)

Chad Morris’ best shot at a 2018 SEC win just fell by the wayside.

  • No. 23 Utah 41, UCLA 10 (projected margin: Utah by 12.3)
  • FIU 38, WKU 17 (projected margin: FIU by 2)
  • Army 37, EMU 22 (projected margin: EMU by 4.5)
  • Wake Forest 56, Louisville 35 (projected margin: UL by 2.6)

Revenge of the Wakey-Leaks.

  • Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 (projected margin: CU by 17.2)
  • Utah State 61, New Mexico 19 (projected margin: USU by 16.7)

Utah State will probably be ranked for just its third game ever this coming week, when the Aggies head to Hawaii. Here’s to hoping they handle their status better than Appalachian State did.

  • Northwestern 31, No. 20 Wisconsin 17 (projected margin: UW by 11.3)
  • Ohio 52, Ball State 14 (projected margin: Ohio by 12.2)
  • Georgia Tech 49, Virginia Tech 28 (projected margin: VT by 4.9)
  • MTSU 51, ODU 17 (projected margin: MTSU by 4.8)
  • No. 2 Clemson 59, Florida State 10 (projected margin: Clemson by 19.1)

Clemson began the game with three punts and didn’t score in the final 10 minutes, and the Tigers still put up 59.

  • Toledo 51, WMU 24 (projected margin: WMU by 4.0)

It had been a bad month for the Rockets, but they just inserted themselves back into the MAC West race.

  • Georgia Southern 34, No. 25 Appalachian State 14 (projected margin: App State by 11.6)

App State was ranked for the first time, had already lost its star running back, and lost its starting QB early in the game. And Georgia Southern had no interest in feeling sorry for the Mountaineers.

Statesboro is fun as hell when it’s got a reason to be.

  • No. 13 WVU 58, Baylor 24 (projected margin: WVU by 10.9)

To say the least, West Virginia responded well to the setback loss to Iowa State.

  • Arizona 44, No. 19 Oregon 15 (projected margin: UO by 6.3)

34-24 in 2007, 42-16 in 2013, and now this. Oregon’s recent history is dotted with really, really disappointing trips to Tucson.


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