SEC Struggles, CUSA Scores Huge Victories on College Football Opening Night

Skai Moore’s late interceptions saved the SEC from a second upset on the opening day of the football season, but the conference still joined the American and Sun Belt as Thursday’s disappointments.

Conference USA boasted three impressive showings to lead the ACC and Mountain West as Thursday’s better-than-expected conferences.

Moore’s two interceptions in the end zone for South Carolina stopped the ACC’s winning streak against the SEC. The Gamecocks 17-13 win over UNC was the first regular-season action since the ACC swept the SEC and joined the Pac-12 as the top conferences according to Breitbart Sports Conference Ratings. The SEC still suffered an upset when Vanderbilt’s two-point conversion failed in a 14-12 loss to Western Kentucky.

Conf Team (Away unless noted) Chance Final Final All Sqrt Exceed Opponent
ACC +7 Duke 87% 37 7 5.5 1.4 Tulane (home)
ACC +7 Georgia Tech (home) 100% 69 6 7.9 1.2 Alcorn St
ACC +7 North Carolina 28% 13 17 -2.0 0.6 South Carolina (neutral)
ACC +7 Wake Forest (home) 97% 41 3 6.2 0.9 Elon
Amer -7 Connecticut (home) 39% 20 15 2.2 4.2 Villanova
Amer -7 Tulane (home) 13% 7 37 -5.5 -1.4 Duke
Amer -7 UCF (home) 86% 14 15 -1.0 -5.1 Florida Intl
Big 12 +9 Oklahoma St 81% 24 13 3.3 -0.4 C Michigan (home)
Big 12 +9 TCU 80% 23 17 2.4 -1.2 Minnesota (home)
Big Ten +7 Michigan 25% 17 24 -2.6 0.5 Utah (home)
Big Ten +7 Minnesota (home) 20% 17 23 -2.4 1.2 TCU
CUSA – 9 Florida Intl 14% 15 14 1.0 5.1 UCF (home)
CUSA – 9 UT San Antonio 5% 32 42 -3.2 1.8 Arizona (home)
CUSA – 9 W Kentucky 49% 14 12 1.4 2.4 Vanderbilt (home)
Mid-Am -13 Ball St (home) 96% 48 36 3.5 -1.8 VMI
Mid-Am -13 C Michigan (home) 19% 13 24 -3.3 0.4 Oklahoma St
Mid-Am -13 Ohio 67% 45 28 4.1 1.5 Idaho (home)
Mid-Am -13 Toledo (home) 94% 16 7 3.0 -1.9 Stony Brook
Mt West -6 Fresno St (home) 89% 34 13 4.6 0.1 Abilene Chr
Mt West -6 Nevada (home) 94% 31 17 3.7 -1.3 UC Davis
Mt West -6 San Jose St (home) 45% 43 13 5.5 7.2 New Hampshire
Mt West -6 Utah St (home) 98% 12 9 1.7 -3.8 Southern Utah
Pac 12 +11 Arizona (home) 95% 42 32 3.2 -1.8 UT San Antonio
Pac 12 +11 Utah (home) 75% 24 17 2.6 -0.5 Michigan
SEC +15 South Carolina (neutral) 72% 17 13 2.0 -0.6 North Carolina
SEC +15 Vanderbilt (home) 51% 12 14 -1.4 -2.4 W Kentucky
SunB -14 Idaho (home) 33% 28 45 -4.1 -1.5 Ohio

UNC,  on course to build on the ACC’s sweep of the SEC at the end of the 2014 regular season, lost when Shon Carson broke a 48-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the final 17-13 margin. The four-point margin fell below expectations to give the SEC a -0.6 rating for the game and the ACC a +0.6.

Conference USA scored the biggest upset (Florida International 15, Central Florida 14). FIU exceeded expectations (see explanation below table) by +5.1 after being given a 14% chance of winning at Central Florida. However, Western Kentucky’s win proved a bigger resume-builder over the SEC. Despite their 5% chance of winning, UT-San Antonio scored 20 second quarter points against No. 22 ranked Arizona before finally falling late.

Based on the expected result and final of each game, the following are the team’s starting points (+15 for the SEC to -14 for the Sun Belt) and whether they are on pace to improve or drop.

Thursday’s winners: ACC started +7 (all 4 teams exceeded expectations), CUSA -9 (all three games great showings with 2 huge upsets and gave #22 Arizona a scare), Mountain West (3-0 included San Jose’s blowout upset of New Hampshire

Thursday’s neutral: Big 12 +9 (both wins closer than expected), Big Ten +7 (both losses closer than expected), Mid-American -13 (3-1 as expected), Pac-12 +11 (two wins closer than expected)

Thursday’s losers: American -7 (Central Florida shocked by FIU), SEC +15 (upset and near upset), Sun Belt (Idaho not very competitive in home loss to Ohio)

The SEC starts with a +15, while the Sun Belt is the 10th-ranked conference with a -14. This means the SEC would be expected to beat the Sun Belt by an average of 29 points-

The ratings are adjusted each week after looking at the difference between the square root of the anticipated score at www.masseyratings.com and the actual result, and the number of wins the conference gets verses the cumulative percent chance of winning each game.

A conference’s overall anticipated record includes the percent change of upsets. For example, the SEC was projected to go 12-2 because the chances of wins in their 14 opening week games was 1176% or 11.76 wins in 14 games.


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.