Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 9/28/13

  • September 28, 2013

The game of college football has changed dramatically over the past few years. It’s all about the fast break offense right now. The ball is in the air more frequently, and the task of containing all these spread offenses is certainly a challenge for even the best defensive coordinators.

Yet the old formula still works far more often than not. That is, dominate the ground game, take home the win. Stats don’t lie, and those numbers still speak loudly and clearly. Teams that outrush their opponent by a ratio of 2:1 or better win the game close to 90% of the time, and they cover in the 70% neighborhood. That goes back roughly 30 years, and regardless of the way the games are played, the results still stay roughly the same.

Obviously, that’s an after the fact stat. The task is to isolate those ground game controllers before the games are played. But if you’re looking for a philosophy to utilize on a regular basis when breaking down upcoming games, I’ll maintain that focusing on the respective running games will get you paid more often than not. You might need to asterisk a handful of entries who basically run all the time, but by and large this remains a terrific starting point each week as you begin your analysis.


The Friday free play on the Padres was a miss, but no beefs with the current 14-4 run. Football comps are on a 7-2 roll, and I’ll try and extend that a big chalk side on today’s slate.



I don’t play all that many huge favorites. But I’ve never hesitated when the numbers and the situation suggest a blowout, and I see that being the case here as Central Michigan journeys to Raleigh to face North Carolina State.

The Chippewas are pretty bad this season. They’re a whopping -15 in turnovers, the QB isn’t very accurate, and the second half melts by CMU suggest they’re not very strong physically. They haven’t been blown out statistically, but that data is a little skewed because of all the turnovers. The bottom line is that Central Michigan is not good at all, and with the shaky QB play they’re not a huge back door threat, either.

NC State is no great shakes themselves. But this looks like a favorable matchup for the Wolfpack. They lack explosion in the running game, but should be able to churn out better than four yards per carry here. I like the defense. I thought the Wolfpack showed plenty of grit against Clemson and even though they lost that contest, I took away some positive impressions.

The scheduling favors the home team. NC State still hasn’t had to travel even a single mile, with this being their fourth straight home game. CMU has not played well on the road. They were supposed to get crushed at Michigan, but it was even worse than expected. The blown 21-0 lead at UNLV was worse, as they were overrun after halftime by the Rebels.

This line is right about where it’s supposed to be off my power ratings. But the matchup on the ground is always big for me. Teams that win the running game by a margin of 2/1 or better are still the best percentage play around, and I see a very good chance we get that stat win here with the Wolfpack. I also think it’s reasonable to project a net turnover win for the home team, given the major issues on that count for CMU. I can definitely see this being a 4 TD landslide, so I’m favoring the NC State side as this week’s free college play.