Week 5 Rewind
September 29, 2008
By Brian Edwards
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Week 5 of the 2008 college football season had it all. The ‘dogs weren’t just barking; they were roaring. There were upsets galore, as four of the top nine teams in the AP Top 25 went down, including top-ranked USC.
Six double-digit underdogs – Ole Miss, Oregon State, Maryland, Florida International, Houston and Navy – won outright. Double-digit ‘dogs posted a 15-10 against-the-spread record. Also, 11 single-digit underdogs were triumphant, including Virginia Tech, Alabama, Michigan and Northwestern.
Houston Nutt’s team pulled Saturday’s biggest stunner, going into The Swamp and beating Florida 31-30 as a 23-point underdog. Next, Navy shocked previously-unbeaten Wake Forest by a 24-17 count as a 15-point ‘dog.
Alabama might have been the nation’s most impressive team, punching Georgia in the mouth from the get-go. By the time intermission came around, the game was basically over with the Crimson Tide leading 31-0.
The Dawgs scored the first 17 points of the second half to make it respectable, but ‘Bama answered with 10 straight points to put the game out of reach. The Tide held on for a 41-30 victory as a seven-point underdog in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.
Wisconsin blew a 19-0 lead at Michigan as a 5 ½-point ‘chalk.’ The Wolverines scored 27 unanswered points and held on for a 27-25 win. The Badgers scored with 13 seconds left and converted the two-point conversion for the tie. However, Wisconsin was flagged for an illegal man down field on the conversion, and the next attempt failed.
Clemson lost yet another game as a double-digit favorite, blowing a lead and dropping a 20-17 decision to Maryland as an 11-point home ‘chalk.’ Since the start of the 2006 season, the Tigers have lost 11 – ELEVEN! – games in which they were favored. Three of those losses – vs. Maryland twice and against Kentucky in a bowl game -- have come as double-digit ‘chalk.’
Staying in the ACC, Butch Davis returned to South Florida and beat his former team for the second year in a row. The Tar Heels, who were playing without their starting QB Tyler Yates, trailed virtually the entire game. Nevertheless, they took a 28-24 lead in the final stanza and held on to win as 7 ½-point underdogs.
Florida State finally showed some life and dominated Colorado in Jacksonville. The ‘Noles captured a 39-21 victory as six-point favorites thanks to a huge day from RB Antone Smith, who had 154 rushing yards and three TDs.
Oklahoma faced its first ranked team and passed that test with flying colors. Sam Bradford threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Sooners to a 35-10 win over TCU as 18-point home ‘chalk.’ OU faces a look-ahead spot this Saturday when it travels to Waco to take on Baylor a week before the Red River Rivalry showdown in Dallas.
LSU was in a similar spot as Florida – coming off a big road win and facing an SEC team as a huge home favorite. The Bayou Bengals were laying 24 ½ at home against a Mississippi State squad that was coming off a blowout loss at Ga. Tech.
Just like the Gators, LSU was flat. The difference? Les Miles’ team survived with a 34-24 win, but it never threatened to cover the number.
Northwestern stayed undefeated by rallying for a 22-17 win at Iowa as a 7 ½-point underdog. C.J. Bacher threw the game-winning TD pass, his third of the day to go with 284 passing yards, with a little more than four minutes left. The Hawkeyes were inside Northwestern’s 10 in the waning moments, but the Wildcats kept them out of the end zone to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1962.
East Carolina was a nice story when it beat Va. Tech and West Virginia in its first two games. But the Pirates lost in overtime at N.C. St. last week and then got drilled by Houston on Saturday. The Cougars went into Greenville and spanked ECU 41-24 as 11 ½-point underdogs.
Texas won’t be flying under the radar much longer. The Longhorns stroked Arkansas 52-10 as 27-point home favorites. Colt McCoy had a monster day, completing 17-of-19 passes for 185 yards and three TDs. McCoy also ran for 84 yards and a pair of scores.
Penn State remained undefeated with a 38-24 win over Illinois, but Ron Zook’s team took the cash as a 15-point underdog. The Nittany Lions, who are now 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS, have back-to-back road games looming at Purdue and Wisconsin.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ball State, UConn, Northwestern, Boise State and Utah are undefeated. Meanwhile, there aren’t any remaining ACC teams with unbeaten records, and Florida, Georgia, USC and Auburn have all gone down. Go figure.
--Teams coached by Houston Nutt are 10-2 ATS the last 12 times his squads have been listed as a double-digit underdog. Furthermore, his teams have won the last three of those games outright – at Florida on Saturday, at LSU last season and at Auburn in 2006.
--Rice QB Chase Clement threw for 298 yards and five TDs to lead Rice past North Texas 77-20 as a 16-point favorite. Clement also ran for a pair of TDs. Jarrett Dillard caught four TD passes, three from Clement, as the Dillard-Clement duo set a new NCAA career record for TDs by a tandem.
--Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno has an elbow contusion that might keep him out of an Oct. 11 home game against Tennessee. The Dawgs, who are off this week, have a number of injuries after getting beat up by Alabama.
--If UConn is going to stay undefeated at North Carolina this week, it will have to do so without QB Tyler Lorenzen, who is "out" after going down with a broken foot in Friday's 26-21 win at Louisville.
--Washington QB Jake Locker will be out several weeks with a broken thumb. That makes it a given that Ty Willingham's pink slip is coming soon.
--Best Coaches in Week 5:
1-Mike Riley (Oregon State)
2-Nick Saban (Alabama)
3-Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
4-Butch Davis (North Carolina)
5-David Cutcliffe (Duke)
--Best Week 6 Games:
1-Oregon at USC
2-Ohio State at Wisconsin
3-Missouri at Nebraska
4-Texas at Colorado
5-Kentucky at Alabama
6-Auburn at Vandy
7-UConn at North Carolina
--Here’s B.E.’s Top 30 Index after Week 5. Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.