• Paul Compton

Wednesday's Best College Football Play

My play recommendation for tonight was 2 units on the NIU @ BUFF Under 56. By my rankings both teams have better defenses than offenses. BUFF's run offense is particularly weak, failing to have an above average game versus an opponent's usual ypc averages allowed even once this season. And it's even worse than that, they've actually gained fewer ypc than every team they've played this year usually allows. It's not that their run game is terrible every game -- it's not, it's just consistently below average. The BUFF passing game finally had it's first above average game a couple of weeks ago against Miami of Ohio (who has a surprisingly average pass defense this year -- surprisingly because you probably expected it to be bad, lol). They followed that up with one of their worst games of the season against Kent. NIU's pass defense is better than the average range of pass defenses Buffalo has faced, which is why I only project BUFF to average 5.8 ypp tonight. The NIU pass defense had some severe ups and downs through the first 6 weeks of the season, but has settled into a groove their last three games, allowing only 4.6 ypp to teams with a combined pass offense ranking not much worse than BUFF's. NIU lost QB Drew Hare for the season last week, though freshman backup Ryan Graham filled in well in leading the team to a come from behind victory at Toledo. Still, that's a pretty small sample size of success, and the kid is a freshman. On top of that, NIU's best WR by far, Tommylee Lewis, has been downgraded to doubtful for tonight as well. Yeah, I'm still a little stung that NIU suffered those two injuries and still came back to win/cover at Toledo last week, lol. NIU is typically a run-oriented team, though statistically they are a little better passing the ball than running it. BUFF is below average defending both the pass and rush, but they're not too far behind NIU's offensive rankings, so NIU shouldn't be marching up and down the field on them, and the home field will help BUFF. NIU does run an uptempo offense most of the time, which is somewhat counteracted by BUFF's slightly slow pace. This game isn't going to be a shoot out, and really shouldn't have many quick scoring drives. With a line in the 50s it can withstand a defensive or special teams score or two as well. If NIU does indeed have the 4th quarter lead, they'll also slow their pace while continuing to run the ball. Buffalo's offense should struggle throughout. Buffalo last week scored on an amazing one handed grab and a final drive where they converted multiple fourth downs (one because of a pass interference penalty) -- yeah, I'm still stung by losing the Kent 2nd half play because of that improbable last drive, lol (though the Under was still an easy winner in spite of it). I kid -- nothing stings after the great week I ended up having. Don't plan on Buffalo getting the backdoor score that pushes this one Over tonight.