• Paul Compton

The Best College Football Week #12 First Half Plays

NCAAF Week #12 1st Half Plays

1 Unit:

329 IOWA -6.5 (vs Illinois)

Only two teams have scored more than 7 first half points against Iowa this year; Penn State and Northwestern. Illinois hasn't scored more than 7 points in the first half in their last six games. The last time they were able to do so was against Purdue's pitiful defense. I think Iowa can score two touchdowns in the first half.

390 SMU OVER 38

Season 1st half scoring averages for USF and SMU are less than 38, but USF has faced some tough defenses this year, where SMU is pretty average, defensively. USF should score plenty here. USF has an above average pass defense, but is really vulnerable against the run. SMU is pretty balanced, and should do well enough, given that they've faced one of the toughest schedules of pass defense in the FBS. Both teams play fast on offense, too, which is especially relevant in the first half when there's no reason to kill clock.

.7 Unit:

334 PUR OVER 26.5

It will be windy, but not too wet in West Lafayette Saturday. The wind won't affect Wisconsin's offense too much, they might run for four first half touchdowns themselves. Purdue has enough of a passing offense to have some success even against good defenses like Wisconsin's. Wisconsin has faced an incredibly tough schedule of defenses this year, but in the three games where they've faced below average defenses (and Purdue is probably the worst defense they've faced this year) Wisconsin has scored 31 first half points twice.

352 WYO OVER 29

The weather should be cool, but dry in Laramie Saturday night. Wyoming's games have averaged 34.8 first half points, San Diego State's 28.7. Wyoming's games have gone over this number in their last 4, and 6-3 this season. SDSU is the inverse at 3-6. Wyoming has a much better, balanced offense, than SDSU has faced on average this season. That's not to say that Wyoming's offense is great (pretty average overall), but SDSU has played 6 straight games against teams with a worse passing offense than Wyoming has. So who did SDSU play 7 games ago that has a better pass offense than Wyoming? Southern Alabama, who ended up smoking SDSU for a very high YPP average in a convincing upset win. I like SDSU to win the game, but considering that Wyoming has beaten Boise this year at home another upset win wouldn't be that surprising to me.

354 CSU OVER 31

New Mexico is back to facing an opponent where the first half points should flow. Colorado State has averaged 31.6 points in their first halves, and are 5-3-1 to the Over this number this season, though they've averaged 27.3 over their last 3. New Mexico has had their first halves average 40 points this season, 5-3 overall, with all 3 of those unders coming in their last three. Weather shouldn't be a factor.

418 ECU OVER 34 (-105)

Navy has seen their first halves go over this number in 4 of their last 5 games, with the one that stayed under 31 points against Notre Dame, whose defense has been improving. ECU's rush defense is only slightly better than the worst rush defense Navy has faced over this stretch. Eastern Carolina has enough passing offense to contribute to the scoring, with my 40th ranked pass offense having faced the 20th toughest schedule of pass defenses thus far. Navy has the worst pass defense that ECU has faced this year.

370 ORST Over 31 (-115)

Arizona is down to their 5th string RB, but their primary running threat is QB Dawkins. Both teams have very good run offenses, and have run well even against good run defenses, neither of which these teams have. Neither teams' passing game has been too reliable, but ORST's has been improving some, even having faced the toughest schedule of pass defenses of any FBS team. Look for big plays and scores in this one. The weather could be a little wet, but not too windy or cold.

.5 Unit:

404 GAST +0.5 (-105)

Teams that fire their coach typically have a spirited effort in their next game, so I'm banking on Georgia State to at least not play worse than their season averages. Georgia State has allowed an average of just 7 points in the first half in conference games this year. It's not a great match up for Georgia State, as they're much better defending the pass than the run, but Georgia Southern's run offense has plummeted hugely this year, and has had 7 "worst" qualifying games of run offense in just 9 games, and it's been versus a pretty poor schedule of run defenses. GASO's passing game has actually been statistically better than their run game, which isn't what their offense is built around at all, and why this team has struggled mightily this year.

323 UTEP +0.5

UTEP is playing Rice, which is almost all you need to know to make the play. Sure, Rice had a 2nd half comeback to beat Charlotte last week, but consider the fact that Rice was a 10.5 point underdog versus Charlotte heading into that contest. Rice has the worst pass defense in the FBS, and their run defense has been pretty poor over their last 3 games as well. Rice has led at the half in one FBS game this year, against North Texas, a game they got smoked in the second half in. UTEP had a bit of a heart-breaking late loss to Florida Atlantic last week, so hopefully they come to play in another road game.

368 NMSU -6

New Mexico State hosts Texas State here, and that is almost all you need to know. NMSU is typically a much better home than away team, while TXST is just flat out awful everywhere they play. TXST has averaged 9.6 first half points in conference games, NMSU just 10.75, so I'm not super-enthused about the play, but it's worth chucking a half unit down on.

382 WMU -21 (-115)

ESPN Gameday will be in Kalamazoo for this one, so the home crowd and team are gonna' be pumped, even in the awful weather projected. Western Michigan has quietly morphed into run-centric offense this year after relying on the pass more last year, which will suit them in the bad weather. Buffalo QB Jackson is "?" with a leg for this game, and his ability to run the ball has been a big component of the Buffalo offense this year. Buffalo hasn't faced an offense anywhere near as good as WMU's this year, so this game could get ugly fast, even in the poor weather.

397 TEX -14

It's Kansas, so yeah, even with the game being played in Lawrence. Texas has actually been playing pretty solid ball as of late, especially defensively. I think the had some injury issues during the games against the Oklahoma schools, where they struggled, but they've been pretty solid since then. Texas' running game has also gotten back on track.

401 MIZZ +9

Tennessee has been a poor first half team this season, but they did well enough to cover our first half fade against them last week by one point, because of a missed XP, if I'm not mistaken. TENN's defense is, if anything, overrated, and Mizzou has just enough balance on offense to hang with the Vols in the first AND second halves, if they don't shoot themselves in the foot.