4 Biggest Edges Among College Football Week 1 Over/Unders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cincinnati QB Desmond Ritter vs. UCLA
- Collin Wilson identifies the four biggest discrepancies between college football Week 1 totals and his projected over/unders.
Oklahoma State at 72?
That’s the text that alerted me Week 1 college football game totals have dropped.
Circa Sports — a new player in the Las Vegas football scene, with a 1.25 million-square-foot property being built downtown — became the first sportsbook to release totals for every college football Week 1 game on Monday.
Week 1 totals can best be described as a rodeo of information as new coaches and schemes take center stage. Some teams have bigger Week 2 matchups, which means they might have a vanilla playbook going into the opener. Starting quarterbacks are also still being announced, and teams could make decisions (like Miami naming Jarren Williams its starter for the season opener) that affect totals.
Here’s a look at the opening Week 1 totals, followed by analysis on four that differ greatly from our projections.
College Football Week 1 Totals
Week 1 Totals vs. Our Projections
UCLA at Cincinnati
- Opening Total: 63
- Projected Total: 54.8
There shouldn’t be much deviation from what the Bruins and Bearcats had on display at the end of last season. Last season’s opener saw a total of 43 points on 610 total combined yards. UCLA ranks 16th in defensive returning production, giving the Bruins plenty of experience against Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ritter.
Big-time win for Luke Fickell and @GoBearcatsFB as Cincinnati sees Michael Warren II run for 141 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a 26-17 victory over UCLA. #AmericanPow6r #AmericanFB pic.twitter.com/2dISq1pjh4
— American Football (@American_FB) September 2, 2018
Safeties, interceptions and fourth down conversions at the goal line were needed to get points on the board. Cincinnati will again try to dictate tempo, as the Bearcats ranked 57th in adjusted pace: Luke Fickell’s offense was 28th in passing downs run rate.
It should also be noted that Cincinnati was one of the most penalized teams in all FBS last season. The Bearcats were 125th in the nation with 107 total penalties.
This could be another grind between UCLA and Cincinnati.
Eastern Michigan at Coastal Carolina
- Opening Total: 58
- Projected Total: 48.7
Even with Joe Moglia stepping down as head coach of Coastal Carolina, neither team has much of a change in coaches or schemes on either side of the ball. Coastal Carolina was 119th in adjusted pace while Eastern Michigan had a bit more tempo at 72nd. Both teams lose their leading passers and receiving targets.
It’s also worth noting the temperature in Myrtle Beach this time of year. A high around 90 degrees combined with choking humidity will be a factor the roster from Ypsilanti will not be prepared to play in.
Our Action Network mathematical projection is closer to 49, and does not account for the weather.
UMass at Rutgers
- Opening Total: 57
- Projected Total: 46.2
Mark Whipple has been replaced as head coach at UMass by former Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
The Seminoles’ offensive struggles are well documented, but Bell had a game plan with an adjusted pace of 49th and was 122nd in havoc allowed last season — an increase from his two seasons as Maryland’s offensive coordinator, when the Terps had an adjusted pace of 100th in 2016 then 71st in 2017.
The Minutemen fanbase will have a new reality as wide receiver Andy Isabella and plenty of top-20 explosive quarterbacks cycle out of the program.
Rutgers also has issues with pace, efficiency and explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball. The Scarlett Knights had an adjusted pace of 95th for an offense that ranked dead last in success rate. Last season’s statistics, with better offensive weapons and scheme for UMass, would have projected this total a full touchdown lower.
Colorado vs. Colorado State
- Opening Total: 62.5
- Projected Total: 53.2
New offensive coordinator Jay Johnson wants to lean on a physical run game with the Buffaloes. That left some critics scratching their heads with the combination of quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Laviska Shenault returning.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 13, 2019
Johnson comes to Colorado via head coach Mel Tucker, both formerly of Georgia. Johnson is said to have learned from Jim Chaney, who has moved on as offensive coordinator at Georgia to Tennessee. The Bulldogs had an adjusted pace of 108th last season, ranking in the top 25 in passing downs run rate. If Johnson adopts what Chaney did last season at Georgia, Colorado totals could be down.
On the flip side, Colorado State ranks 126th in offensive returning production. While the Rams will break in a new quarterback and skill positions, the Buffs will be looking to ‘share the load‘ among the entire offensive roster.