College Football Misleading Box Scores: Unexpected Results from Texas Tech vs. Texas & More Week 4 Games
Josh Hedges/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
If you’ve ever watched any sport, particularly college football, then you’ll understand that the best team isn’t always victorious. That proved to be true in Week 4 as well.
Once you look at the metrics behind the game, you can better understand how the game actually played out rather than just looking at the final score.
This weekly column looks deeper than the basic box score statistics to point out games from the previous week that didn’t end as expected. This information can help us become more informed sports bettors as we get a better idea of who these teams really are.
Texas Tech 37, Texas 34 (OT)
One of the more surprising upsets on Saturday was when Texas went down to in-state rival Texas Tech.
Texas entered as a seven-point home favorite and probably should have actually covered this spread. But instead, it managed to lose this game.
According to ESPN's Bill Connelly’s post-game win expectancy numbers, Texas Tech had just a 2% post-game win expectancy, and the adjusted point margin was Texas by 16.6 points.
Instead, Tech won, 37-34, in overtime. With the victory, the Red Raiders became the team with the lowest post-game win expectancy all season to actually pull off a win.
The Longhorns posted a Success Rate in the 80th percentile to just a 47th percentile figure for Texas Tech. Texas also gained 7.52 yards per play (84th percentile) to 4.79 for the Red Raiders (18th percentile).
Image via Action Analytics.
The Longhorns lost the turnover battle, 3-1, on the back of two lost fumbles and an interception. Texas Tech fumbled three times but lost only one. This turnover luck gave Texas Tech a 6.4-point advantage, according to Game on Paper.
Next week, Texas is an 8.5-point favorite against West Virginia.
Even with Hudson Card at quarterback, I would take the Longhorns here, but there is a possibility of Quinn Ewers starting under center this week. If that news is announced, then this line would move in Texas’ favor, so I would recommend taking it sooner rather than later.
Auburn 17, Missouri 14 (OT)
Neither offense in this game performed exceptionally well, but Missouri did slightly outplay Auburn surprisingly. Mizzou posted a 71st percentile Offensive Success Rate to just a 20th percentile mark for Auburn. It also beat out Auburn in yards per play, 4.92-3.52.
Auburn had just a 9% post-game win expectancy and would have been expected to lose by 11.1 points based on these underlying metrics.
It was also outmatched in Points per Opportunity and PPA per Play. Missouri outgained Auburn by 95 yards in this game.
Image via Action Analytics.
Auburn started out the game with a 59-yard touchdown drive on its first possession. Mizzou then threw an interception to give its opponent the ball from the 24-yard line, which resulted in another Auburn touchdown drive. The next 10 ([) drives for Auburn resulted in eight punts and two turnovers on downs before overtime.
The overtime period started out with Auburn running three plays for three yards and taking a field goal. Everything was primed for Mizzou to pull off the upset before the improbable happened.
Mizzou fumbles at the goal line, and Auburn recovers
the ball for the win.
What an ending pic.twitter.com/EvprdqUVcU
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 24, 2022
Nathaniel Peat had the win right in front of him and dropped the ball. Even if he had just gone down or out of bounds, Missouri likely would have left Jordan-Hare Stadium with a win, but it they continued to give this game away.
This game should not have made it to overtime, and even when it did, Missouri certainly was the better team and should have come out on top.
Auburn appears to be a dead team walking. After getting shellacked by Penn State a week ago, it seems that this team may have given up on head coach Bryan Harsin already.
The upcoming schedule for the Tigers is brutal. They play LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Arkansas over the next four weeks. I will be shocked if Harsin is still employed by the end of October.
As for fading Auburn going forward, LSU is favored by 7.5 points over it this upcoming weekend. LSU has looked pretty strong to start the season and owns the 28th-best Offensive Success Rate in the country.
I would take LSU to cover this spread now against an Auburn team that has thrown in the towel.
Oregon 44, Washington State 41
This game was not misleading in which team won the game, but the final result was much closer than it should have been.
Anyone who bet on this Oregon vs. Washington State game on Saturday knows how much of a roller coaster the fourth quarter was. There were 43 points scored in the final frame between these two teams alone.
Images via Action Analytics.
Twice in the second half, Oregon trailed by 12 points. It then completely erased this deficit in a few minutes and suddenly found itself with a 10-point lead with less than a minute left.
With a spread of 7.5, Oregon had one of the best backdoor covers of recent memory — until Wazzu had a backdoor score of its own.
On the very last play of the game, the Cougars ran in a one-yard touchdown to cover the spread and make the final result a 44-41 Ducks win.
Connelly had this as a 15.1-point Oregon victory. Even with the final touchdown drive, the Ducks still outgained Washington State, 624 yards to 428. Oregon even won the turnover battle, 2-1, and still played this close somehow.
In the first half, Oregon had three drives in which it crossed Washington State's 10-yard line and ended up kicking field goals.
Its only other drive of the first half — besides the one that brought us to halftime — was an 81-yard journey that ended with a Bo Nix interception that resulted in a 95-yard pick-six.
On paper, Oregon dominated this game, but Washington State found a way to keep the final score close.
The Ducks' offense was firing on an unreal level Saturday. Next week, they face a Stanford defense that allowed 40 points to Washington and 41 to USC. Oregon’s offense ranks higher than both of those teams, according to SP+, and should be able to score against Stanford’s No. 97 defense.
I’m torn between taking the over and taking Oregon, but I have more faith in the Ducks' ability to score than I do in Stanford. I'm taking Oregon -15.5 this weekend.