Another week has passed into the college football season, giving us a chance to get another look at which teams seem to be contenders and which appear to be pretenders. Not a ton of drama unfolded this weekend, as ranked teams continued to handle business in what is, for most, a lackluster non-conference schedule.
There were a few upsets and big games of note in Week 2. The No. 6 LSU Tigers and No. 9 Texas Longhorns battled it out in Austin, where the Tigers came away with a 45-38 win on the road. Good game, but nothing crazy.
In terms of upsets, No. 14 Washington fell at home 20-19 to an unranked Cal team in a game that was delayed for hours due to lightning in the area. At the bottom of the top 25, USC knocked off No. 23 Stanford, and Maryland bullied No. 21 Syracuse — although both unranked squads were favored in these matchups.
As is the case each and every week in college football, there were some teams that failed to cover the spread in shocking and emotional ways for sports bettors across the country. While nothing quite unseated the Auburn Week 1 win as the worst beat of the year thus far, there were still a few pretty bad ones to look at in week two.
Boise State 14 - Marshall 7
(Line: BSU -14)
We start our tour of ill-fated outcomes in Thursday night’s game on the blue turf, as the Boise State Broncos hosted the Marshall Thundering Herd. Bettors of the Broncos were unhappy for the majority of the first half, as the Herd got on the board first with a touchdown run late in the opening quarter. A Boise State TD just before halftime knotted the game at 7-7, and then the Broncos came out swinging to start the second half, ripping off a 47-yard TD on their opening possession to take a 14-7 lead.
Neither team would score for the duration of the contest, but that isn’t where this beat turns bad.
BSU got the ball back off of an interception with 7:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. Already having a lead, the Broncos were in no rush to score again, content with running as much clock as possible. With 1:25 remaining, Boise State converted a third down on Marshall’s six yard line. Instead of attempting to punch the ball in from just six yards out, a score that would have pushed the spread — paying back all bettors — BSU knelt to end the game.
It is very rare to see a college football team kneel the ball that many times, especially in a situation like this. A 21-7 victory would look a lot better than just a one-score win, and it was really surprising to see Boise State not even attempt to run it in from just outside the goal line. So close, but so far, from a much-needed push for bettors of the home team.
Clemson 24 - Texas A&M 10
(Line: Clemson -16)
The reigning National Champions were in action Saturday afternoon, playing in their first — and likely only — ranked matchup of the regular season. The Texas A&M Aggies came to town looking for a signature win, and played the Clemson Tigers tough early, with the first quarter ending in a scoreless tie. A&M struck first, nailing a field goal to open the second quarter, but Clemson answered with a 30-yard TD pass on the ensuing possession to take a 7-3 lead.
The Aggies offense struggled mightily, as the Tigers added on with a field goal and another touchdown in the quarter to take a 17-3 lead into halftime. Clemson continued to roll in the second half, as a short touchdown run in the middle of the third quarter opened up a 24-3 lead.
The No. 1 team in the nation was rolling, as Texas A&M’s offense punted three times and turned the ball over on their first four possessions in the second half. As time was running out, it looked like Clemson would cover. But then...
With 10 seconds remaining in the game, the Aggies called their final time out, and on 4th and goal, found the end zone for the first time all game. The touchdown was meaningless in terms of the outcome of the game, as Jimbo Fisher wanted the score just for pride, but it would cut the Clemson lead from 21 points to just 14, with the Tigers failing to cover the 16-point spread in the final seconds.
Penn State 45 - Buffalo 13
(Line: PSU -32)
The Penn State Nittany Lions got a bit of a scare in the first half against the Buffalo Bulls this weekend. After Penn State scored on their second possession of the game, the Buffalo defense held them scoreless for the rest of the half. The visitors were able to put up 10 points of their own, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, as the two teams went into the break with the Bulls up 10-7.
Penn State came out of half with a vengeance, as they quickly showed why they were the ranked team in this matchup. The Nittany Lions outscored Buffalo 28-3 in the third quarter, including a pick-six and two 20-plus yard TD passes, taking a 35-13 lead. The fourth quarter was more reminiscent of the first half, as it looked like PSU would not score again after an early field goal in the final stanza. However, James Franklin would leave the starters in with a 25-point lead and five minutes remaining, and he would be rewarded:
A deep touchdown pass with three minutes remaining was the dagger in any hopes of covering for bettors of the Bulls. Despite sitting pretty for basically the entire game, a meaningless TD to run up the score with just over three minutes left put Penn State up exactly 32, pushing the spread and sending bettors on both sides home unhappy (with those on the Nittany Lions very content with a push after a bad first half). On top of that, this touchdown put the total at 58, just barely squeezing past the over/under of 56.5.
Honorable Mention: Florida State 45 - UL Monroe 44
(UL Monroe ML +1000)
This has nothing to do with beating a spread, as the Florida State Seminoles were -23 in this game, but just a brutal loss for UL Monroe Warhawks with a chance to take down a Power Five opponent on the road. After nailing a 24-yard field goal with 1:30 left to force overtime, the Seminoles would score on their first OT possession. The Hawks matched their touchdown, but were unable to convert the PAT as the kicker pushed it wide right.
A $100 bet on UL Monroe to win the game outright would have netted a $1,000 profit. Maybe next time, Warhawks fans.