College Football Stability Scores for Week 3
After last week’s Stability Mismatches produced a record of 9-12 ATS, we are now at 18-18 ATS for the season, and this week’s games will be the last of the season for this system. On the line for this week is the 11-year winning streak of the methodology. Of course, this pattern is similar to what happened last year, when the Stability Mismatch games were at .500 going into the Week 3 action and proceeded to go 11-4 ATS. Hopefully, we’ll see that same type of success in ’23.
I’m here to unveil the Week 3 college football plays that qualify for my long-running system that quantifies the stability level of all FBS teams in college football entering a given season. Of note, the mere fact that we have already seen 36 Stability Mismatches over the Week 0/1/2 schedules and have 17 more for this week should give you an idea of just how much instability there is in play for 2023. This is a greater volume of plays than usual. Last year, we closed with 47, going 27-20 ATS.
A point I made last week and will continue to look at is that the two most unstable teams in terms of roster changeover due to the transfer portal, Colorado and Texas State, have each put up 2-0 ATS records to date and have cost this system four defeats. This will be something to watch going forward, not just this season, but in future years. Perhaps when this much change occurs, even the experts behind the betting counter have trouble quantifying it. You’ll see that head coach Deion Sanders’ Buffaloes team is on the list to fade once again on Saturday.
If you missed the explanation and other full details for the Stability System, or are new to VSiN, I encourage you to go back into the VSiN College Football Betting Guide or in the archived stories from last week on VSiN.com under my author page and find the articles in which I fully detail the methodology.
For a short explanation, this Stability System, which I’ve employed for the last 12 seasons without a losing campaign, measures one team’s stability against another’s. Using a time-tested point-assigning process for coaches, quarterbacks, and returning starters, I am able to come up with an overall stability score for each team. When the difference between these scores is 8 or higher, I consider it a Stability Mismatch.
One important thing to note here is that the stability score difference between the two teams has nothing to do with the point spread for a given game. I am simply making the assumption that oddsmakers have not given enough credence to the stability difference and that their line is off because of it.
Just below, I’ve again put together a list of the Top College Football Stability Mismatches for Week 3 on the schedule. I have also reattached the updated Stability Chart for all 133 FBS teams.
VIEW UPDATED COLLEGE FOOTBALL STABILITY CHART
College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits | College Football Matchups
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2023
Navy at (106) Memphis (-14.5)
Stability Advantage: Memphis by 8
Navy is typically not one of the programs that anyone would label as unstable, but for the first time in 16 years, the Midshipmen changed coaches in the offseason. Not surprisingly, they are off to a slow start, going 1-1 SU and 0-2 ATS in their first two games while scoring just 13.5 PPG. This week, Navy runs into a Memphis squad that returned to 2023 in stable shape with 12 starters back and virtually its entire coaching staff. The Tigers have outscored their first two opponents 93-17 and have held them to 58 yards rushing per game and 2.1 yards per carry. That’s typically the winning recipe for beating Navy.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2023
Florida State (-27.5) at Boston College
Stability Advantage: Florida State by 11
There were a ton of experts high on Florida State this season, including yours truly if you can label me as such. The Seminoles seem to be playing with the swagger that defined them in their heyday. The bonus is that they have an offense that is unrivaled in recent program history. So far, they’ve put up 111 points in two games, and there is a reason they are favored heavily on the road in a place where they once struggled. Boston College is 0-2 ATS thus far with a new QB and new coordinators settling in. For as much as this might look like a tough number to cover on the road in conference play, this veteran FSU team looks hungry and is playing with a chip on its shoulder.
Louisville at Indiana (+10)
Stability Advantage: Indiana by 9
Louisville’s offense is off to a great start under new head coach Jeff Brohm, and it would seem that the high expectations fans had for this program might be well placed. Quarterback Jack Plummer has picked up right where he left off at Purdue where he played the position for Brohm previously. That said, Saturday’s game at Indiana could be a tricky spot for an “unstable” team. It’s on the road in Big Ten country against an Indiana team that is 2-0 ATS so far and playing some really good defense. The Hoosiers have allowed just 30 points, with a game against Ohio State factored in, and with just three starters back on that side of the ball coming into this season, the newbies on that side of the ball have seemingly turned the page on the ugly performance of 2022. Off a game in which they exploded for 41 points and 558 yards of offense, this Indiana team could be a live home dog.
LSU (-10) at Mississippi State
Stability Advantage: LSU by 11
Despite the loss to Florida State in the season opener, most or all of LSU’s preseason goals are still in front of them. In fact, with Alabama not looking like its usual self, and A&M having already lost, it could be argued that a SEC West Division title is more realistic than ever. Getting off to a strong start in league play is a must, and this is game #1 in that endeavor. The Tigers have put up some huge numbers offensively in the first two games behind stud QB Jayden Daniels, scoring 96 points while gaining 667 yards and 9.4 YPA through the air. MSU is in its first year under head coach Zach Arnett and his defense, which returned just four starters, struggled a bit last week with Arizona, allowing 340 yards passing.
Bowling Green at Michigan (-39.5)
Stability Advantage: Michigan by 11
Michigan has failed to cover the point spread in either of its first two games, and its offense doesn’t seem to be clicking to the point of being able to beat this week’s huge number. That said, instability is a concern for Bowling Green this season, as they turn to two new coordinators and a new starting quarterback. The Falcons are 1-1 so far in 2023, but the tougher of their first two opponents, Liberty, would not be confused with Michigan. The Falcons allowed 248 yards rushing in that 10-point loss. The Wolverines have had a balanced attack in their first two outings and will be far superior upfront in this particular matchup. Is this the week that Michigan finally puts it together and wallops someone at the Big House?
New Mexico State (+1) at New Mexico
Stability Advantage: New Mexico State by 12
The big rivalry game in the state of New Mexico qualifies as a stability mismatch for the visiting Aggies, the team in much better shape at this point in time. Head coach Jerry Kill has his program heading in the right direction, having played in a bowl game for the first time in five years this past season. They are 1-2 SU and ATS in 2023, however, despite some gaudy offensive numbers. NMSU is on a 7-1 ATS run in this rivalry series. The Lobos have been on the opposite end of two blowout decisions for far in ’23, and this will be a good test for head coach Danny Gonzales’ rebuilding club.
Western Michigan at Iowa (-28)
Stability Advantage: Iowa by 13
Iowa makes its third straight appearance on the stability mismatch list, and why not? The Hawkeyes’ coaching staff has been as stable as it comes in college football, and with 16 starters back for this season, the expectations are high. They are 2-0 to start the season but again haven’t clicked offensively, scoring just 44 points in the wins. Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s team is laying a pretty big number to WMU out of the MAC in this one. With a total set at 43 combined with a line of Iowa -28, oddsmakers are making the assumption that we should only expect about a TD from the Broncos here. That would seem to be about the only chance for Iowa to get us a W on our stability system.
South Alabama (+7) at Oklahoma State
Stability Advantage: South Alabama by 8
South Alabama brought back 18 starters and essentially its full coaching staff from the 10-3 team of a year ago, but it doesn’t seem as if the Jaguars have put it together yet. They are 0-2 ATS and were thoroughly outplayed in their season-opening loss to Tulane. Perhaps a road tilt against a Big 12 foe will motivate USA to get it going. If you recall last year, this team went on the road in Week 3 to UCLA and nearly upset the Bruins, losing 32-31. The line in that game was +15, so theoretically this would figure to be a much more winnable game, assuming the oddsmakers got their stuff together. Oklahoma State is 2-0 so far, but they have scored just 54 points against two defensively deficient teams. Head coach Mike Gundy’s rebuilding offense is still looking for a spark.
Oklahoma (-27) at Tulsa
Stability Advantage: Oklahoma by 16
Oklahoma has looked fantastic on both sides of the ball so far in 2023, outscoring its first two opponents 101-11. That was generally the hope for the Sooners in 2023, as they come back with a bunch of veteran returning starters that have a year under head coach Brent Venables’ systems under their belts. They get a final tune-up before starting Big 12 play next week here against Tulsa, a team in the throngs of a rebuilding year. The Golden Hurricane brought back just nine total starters and have welcomed in a new coaching staff. The early returns have been mixed. Despite covering the point spread last week at Washington, the defense allowed 454 yards through the air and 15.1 yards per pass attempt to a potent offense. OU’s offense isn’t as good but the Huskies failed to capitalize, and a more efficient effort by the Sooners could make this a rout.
Georgia State (-7.5) at (172) Charlotte
Stability Advantage: Georgia State by 11
Sometimes the stability mismatches reveal the reasons why lines look like they do. On the surface, Georgia State and Charlotte wouldn’t figure to be separated by so much as to have a 7.5-point road favorite in the contest. The teams are from similar-level conferences, the 49ers were 3-9 last year, and the Panthers were 4-8. However, when you look beneath the hood, you’d find that one of the teams is in rebuild mode, and the other is trending upward. Charlotte, under new head coach Biff Poggi brought back just 10 starters and is still getting comfortable in the new systems. Georgia State is 2-0 and dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They have outrushed their first two opponents 481-162. This could be a sneaky mismatch that few bettors pay attention to.
Miami (OH) (+16) at Cincinnati
Stability Advantage: Miami (OH) by 13
Admittedly, Cincinnati has been better than I’ve expected in the first two weeks, and the Bearcats cost my stability system last week, coming up with a surprise upset win at Pitt. This week’s line could be a big overreaction to that win however, as at -16, they are only 7-point less of a favorite over Miami (OH) than they have been the last two years when they combined to go 22-5 under head coach Luke Fickell. The reality is that this team is still rebuilding and whether or not they are ready to cover big chalk lines is still a major question. The experienced Redhawks are gaining over 10 yards per pass attempt in their first two games behind veteran QB Brett Gabbert and seem capable of staying in this game accordingly as the big underdog.
North Texas at Louisiana Tech (-3)
Stability Advantage: Louisiana Tech by 9
North Texas has been the winning play in back-to-back stability mismatches, and we’ll go for the trifecta this week when the Mean Green visit Louisiana Tech. UNT has started 2023 0-2 SU and ATS behind new head coach Eric Morris and has been absolutely thrashed defensively, allowing 591.5 yards per game in the two contests. Lousiana Tech meanwhile, is already playing its fourth game of the season and comes in at 2-1. The Bulldogs will have a taste of revenge on their minds as well, having lost to UNT 47-27 on the road last year.
Northern Illinois (+11.5) at Nebraska
Stability Advantage: Northern Illinois by 14
Some of you may recall Northern Illinois walking into Nebraska in 2017 and coming away with an improbable 21-17 win as a 10.5-point dog. The Cornhuskers got their revenge a couple of years later in a 44-8 decision, leaving this year’s tilt as the rubber match. Head coach Matt Rhule’s team has not looked good in its first couple of contests, turning the ball over often and failing to capitalize on opportunities. One might say they look like the unstable team they were pegged as on this system. For this week, they are laying double-digits to a veteran NIU team that brought back 15 starters this year and has already pulled off a sizeable upset by winning at Boston College.
Vanderbilt (-4.5) at UNLV
Stability Advantage: Vanderbilt by 10
This is a strange contest in that the more stable of the teams sports an 0-3 ATS record to start the season, while the rebuilding or transitioning team is 2-0 ATS. Perhaps that has bought us some more line value, as a few weeks ago, this line would have probably been Vandy -7 or so. The Commodores have looked good throwing the ball behind QB AJ Swann and have scored 34 PPG while gaining 8.2 yards per pass attempt. UNLV has struggled against the pass in its first two outings, allowing 9.2 yards per attempt. The Runnin’ Rebels have enjoyed little home-field advantage in recent years in Las Vegas either. If head coach Clark Lea’s team can stay hot offensively, they should move to 3-1 and get the job done on this road chalk line.
Louisiana Lafayette (+1) at UAB
Stability Advantage: Louisiana Lafayette by 15
UAB’s offense under new head coach Trent Dilfer has been better than expected, as the Blazers have put up 70 points in their first two outings. It’s the defensive unit that looked like the unstable group last week in the 49-35 loss to Georgia Southern. Dilfer’s ZERO stability score club gets another home game this week against a Louisiana team that has been an early disappointment, going 0-2 ATS and coming off a loss at Old Dominion in which it was favored by 6 points. Head coach Michael Desormeaux’s team put up 458 yards of offense in that game and has looked potent and balanced so far. The Ragin’ Cajuns should have little to no trouble moving the ball on UAB on Saturday. Can they capitalize and put up a big number and get this W?
Syracuse (-2.5) at Purdue
Stability Advantage: Syracuse by 9
Do yourself a favor and look at Purdue’s schedule for 2023. It is not an easy one for new head coach Ryan Walters and his 11 returning starters. I would argue that the Boilermakers may not be favored until they travel to Northwestern in late November. Here they get their final tuneup before Big Ten play starts next Friday (hosting Wisconsin) against a Syracuse team that has dominated its first two opponents. The Orange have outscored Western Michigan and Colgate 113-7 while outgaining them 1173-424. They look every bit the experienced and stable team they were projected to be out the gate and are rightfully the favorite here. Purdue is off a big win last week at Virginia Tech but a second straight solid outing might be too much to ask from a team sporting a stability score of 2.
Colorado State (+22.5) at Colorado
Stability Advantage: Colorado State by 16
Perhaps you’re getting sick of seeing Colorado on this list, and quite honestly, I’m a little apprehensive about suggesting to bet against Coach Prime’s team again, but in truth, is this the week that oddsmakers have gone too far with the line? This Colorado State team was supposed to be one of the unheralded teams coming into 2023 as well. The Rams brought back 15 starters for head coach Jay Norvell in his second season, a campaign expected to be much more successful than the first. They’ve only played once so far and were ripped by Washington State, allowing 466 yards through the air in a 50-24 decision. Obviously, the Cougars are turning out to be a quality team. Meanwhile, not much more can be said about Colorado and QB Shedeur Sanders’ first two performances. However, when you consider that they have gone from 20.5-point underdogs to 22.5-point favorites in just two weeks, have we witnessed an official over-adjustment?