The last full week of the college football regular season is upon us. Week 12 gave us some really fascinating box scores to scroll through. It is hard to accuse a player or a team of quitting, but it absolutely does happen and there were some instances in which we really saw it happen. We’re going to see it happen next week as well.
Going back through the previous week’s box scores can give you an indication of the teams in question. We also saw some crazy outliers unrelated to motivation and engagement level.
Let’s dig into the box scores and find some nuggets for the finale.
California 41, Stanford 11:
On the subject of teams that have quit, would it be fair to say that Stanford fits the bill? Cal, which had a game canceled because of a major COVID outbreak, came back to win by 30 and outgained Stanford 636-282. The Golden Bears ran only 63 plays, so they had over 10 yards per play. Stanford managed 4.09 YPP and threw the ball 43 times.
Stanford has lost six in a row. The Cardinal aren’t supposed to be this bad, but they’ve lost by 30, 21 and 45 over the last three weeks. David Shaw’s job doesn’t seem to be on the line, but maybe it should be. Maybe his messaging has just gone stale in Palo Alto.
Recommendation: Fade Stanford — Notre Dame (-18.5) takes the long flight west to California to face the Trees next week. As we saw against Georgia Tech, the Fighting Irish are attempting to rack up some style points that they might need if the next two weeks work out in their favor.
Stanford doesn’t seem very engaged or invested right now. This looks like a team ready for it all to be over.
Louisiana 42, Liberty 14:
Louisiana has made a few appearances in my articles this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns are a very frustrating and irritating team. They’ve also been remarkably inconsistent for a 10-1 football team. The 42-14 win looks like a huge triumph on the surface, but the box score tells a different story.
Louisiana outgained Liberty 296-293. The Cajuns had 4.55 yards per play to Liberty’s 4.13. The difference in the game was that the Flames had six turnovers and also went 2-for-5 on fourth down. Liberty fumbled on the opening possession, forced a punt, fumbled the return and Louisiana missed a field goal. Louisiana led 21-7 at the half with 105 yards of offense.
To put this game in perspective, Liberty had a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line and wound up punting from the 44.
Recommendation: Fade Louisiana and Liberty — Louisiana (-21.5) plays a plucky rival in UL Monroe this week, as the Warhawks have had a knack for upsets this season and just kept it close with LSU. The Ragin’ Cajuns have Appalachian State on deck in the Sun Belt Championship game. They’ve lost two of those to the Mountaineers, so it wouldn’t be a total stunner if they overlook the rivalry.
Liberty (-3.5) plays Army. Malik Willis’ draft stock has probably taken a bit of a hit this season, but his offensive line is horrendous. The Flames have allowed 45 sacks in 11 games with a QB as mobile as Willis. This last game should be about self-preservation for the youngster as he looks ahead to the next level.