Last year, College Football bettors made a lot of money betting on teams playing with rest against unrested foes. Let's take a look at last week's results to see if the trend continues in 2008. The most noteworthy team "off a bye" was top-ranked USC, who crushed then #5 Ohio State, 35-3, as 10.5-point favorites. However, the same fortune did not hold true for the Trojans' rival, UCLA, who was completely embarrassed by BYU 59-0. The team UCLA beat in its opener, Tennessee, was also off a bye last week and did not cover in a 35-3 win over UAB. However, it should be pointed out that the Vols just missed out as 33-point favorites. Another rested team, Boise State (-15.5), also just missed out on the cash in a 20-7 win over Bowling Green. The fifth and final team that was coming off a bye was LA-Lafayette, who had no trouble covering a 25.5-point spot in an eventual 20-17 loss to Illinois.
So, to summarize, teams off a bye went just 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in Week 3. Yet, two of the pointspread losses came by a combined 3.5-points. Still might be worth your while to invest in researching just which teams are rested and which are not each week in College Football. This week, there are a truckload of teams coming off byes. There are 14, in fact. The most noteworthy team is Florida, a 7.5-point road favorite in Tennessee. Indiana is a three-point home favorite over Ball State. Cincinnati is an 11.5-point choice over Miami. Colorado State is a 6.5-point home dog to Houston. Pitt has been bet to a one-point home dog against Iowa. Wake Forest is getting five points from the oddsmaker at Florida State. Tulsa is laying 9.5-points at home vs. New Mexico. Army gets 10.5 when they host Akron. UTEP is a seven-point favorite against New Mexico State. Florida International is getting a ton of points (+28.5) at home vs. South Florida. There are also a pair of matchups pitting rested teams against one another as Boston College host Central Florida and Miami (FL) pays a visit to Texas A&M.
Clearly, the talk around the watercoolers concerning College Football has been the decline of the so-called "power" or BCS Conferences. It looks as if the mighty SEC is still immune, however, as this week they place a record five teams in the top ten of both polls. Interestingly, beyond that there are no SEC teams in the Top 25. Eight of the conference's 12 teams remain unbeaten, however, as they boast a collective 26-6 SU record. Four of those six losses come from a pair of teams, Mississippi State and South Carolina. Two of the aformentioned Top 10 teams meet this week when Auburn hosts LSU, a game we will preview on Friday.
The Big 12 is the other BCS Conference doing well. Big 12 teams have the best collective record of any conference at 28-5. They place two teams, Oklahoma and Missouri, in the Top Five and that pair could potentially both be unbeaten and meet in December's conference championship game. Were that to be the case, the winner would likely move on to the BCS Title game, most likely against USC, who will be favored in all remaining games. The only "black mark" against the Big 12 is a poor head-to-head performance against the much maligned Big East. Last week, Kansas dropped a thriller to South Florida and then on Wednesday Louisville won outright as a home dog vs. Kansas State. However, on Thursday, Colorado reversed that trend with an upset of West Virginia. On Friday, UConn is almost a two touchdown favorite at home over Baylor.
We've already mentioned USC a couple of times in this article and while both they and Oregon carried the conference banner well last week (Oregon won at Purdue), the rest of the conference ouught to be ashamed of itself. Arizona State got caught looking ahead to Georgia and lost outright at home to UNLV as 22.5-point favorites. Arizona and Cal also both lost outright (to New Mexico and Maryland) and we already mentioned what happened to UCLA earlier. Throw in the fact that Stanford, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State all appear to in be for long seasons and the Pac 10 isn't really all its cracked up to be.
The Big 10 looks dreadful. Ohio State was embarrassed for a third straight season on the national stage, only this time it happened in September, not January. Purdue lost to another Pac 10 team (Oregon). Wisconsin was a lucky winner at Fresno State, as the Bulldogs missed three FG's. Penn State right now is playing better than any team in the conference, but Oregon State and Syracuse are hardly two quality BCS wins. We don't even need to go into how bad Michigan looks.
The Big East has long been considered the "ugly duckling" of the BCS and other than South Florida, none of its members have done anything to disprove that notion in 2008. National Title hopeful West Virginia was beaten badly on the road by East Carolina and Rutgers has already lost outright as a home favorite twice.
The ACC has just three ranked teams (one more than the Big East), but one of them (Florida State) is ranked based on name recognition alone. The Seminoles, who own only a pair of non-lined wins on their resume, host another one of the ranked teams this week - Wake Forest. Another big ACC game this week is Virginia Tech at North Carolina.
We are very likely to see a PAIR of BCS busters (would be a 1st) come January. East Carolina of Conference USA should be favored in every game the rest of the way after surviving a scare against Tulane last week. This week, they draw NC State, who has been outscored 115-9 in its last 13 quarters vs. lined opponents. The Mountain West could also produce a Cinderella as a BYU at Utah game the final week of the regular season could really draw lots of national interest.
Over in the NFL, all the talk is about who is 2-0 and who is 0-2. Twenty of the league's 32 teams fall into one of these two categories with ten each comprising both lists. Of the 2-0 teams, half were expected to be here (Dallas, New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the Giants), while the other half are a surprise (Buffalo, Tennesee, Denver, Carolina and Arizona). These teams have combined to go a strong 15-4-1 ATS in the first two weeks of action. Three of those losses actually come from the former group. One of these teams is guaranteed to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten after this week as Green Bay hosts Dallas Sunday Night.
How about the 0-2 teams? Once again you can break this group in half with five teams surprisingly listed (San Diego, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Seattle) and the other five not so much (Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Miami and Kansas City). This group of ten is a simply dreadful 3-17 ATS on the year and one of those covers was very lucky as the Chargers covering as 1.5-point dogs. The other two covers were Cleveland (in backdoor fashion) vs. Pittsburgh and Kansas City getting a truckload (16.5 to be exact).
Interestingly, there are also 10 teams sitting at 1-1. Baltimore and Houston have both only played once after their scheduled game was rescheduled.
Eight teams blew fourth quarter leads in Week 2. How did that affect the pointspread results of those games? One of the wilder games was Green Bay at Detroit. The Packers (-3) led the game 21-3 at halftime, but actually fell behind 25-24 in the final stanza before three Jon Kitna interceptions gave the game back to the visitors.
Minnesota (-1) led Indianapolis 15-0 before losing 18-15.
New Orleans led Washington 24-15 before losing 29-24
Underdog Chicago (+3) had to settle for a push with Carolina after leading 17-13 heading into the 4th.
Jacksonville (-6) gave away a win to Buffalo (led 13-10, lost 20-6)
San Diego (+1.5) led 37-30 over Denver before suffering its shocking loss
San Francisco (+6.5) blew a 4Q lead but was the lone team to survive and win, needing OT at Seattle.
Dallas (-6.5) rallied back from numerous deficits to beat Philly 41-37 on MNF.
Here are our Conference Power Rankings as of Week 2:
NFC: 1. Dallas (2-0), 2. Green Bay (2-0), 3. Carolina (3-0), 4. NY Giants (2-0), 5. Philadelphia (1-1), 6. Arizona (2-0), 7. Chicago (1-1), 8. Washington (1-1), 9. New Orleans (1-1), 10. Tampa Bay (1-1), 11. Minnesota (0-2), 12. San Francisco (1-1), 13. Seattle (0-2), 14. Atlanta (1-1), 15. Detroit (0-2), 16. St. Louis (0-2).