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NCAAF Dirty Dozen: Can a Coaching Change Turn Around the Buffaloes’ Fortunes

Two Pac-12 Teams Are Part of the Dirty Dozen this Week

Colorado State’s first win of 2022 leaves Colorado as the only Football Bowl Subdivision team yet to win a game this season.

There was quite the shakeup in the weekly Dirty Dozen, with Nebraska, UConn, and Georgia State all heading outside the Dirty Dozen thanks to Week 6 victories.

Cole Becker #36
Cole Becker #36 | Dustin bradford/getty images/afp

Other than Northern Illinois only being listed as a 2½-point underdog by the sportsbook, the other teams at the bottom of the FBS standings will have some work to do in order to find their way out of the Dirty Dozen.

Let’s check the latest NCAAF picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAF predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAF expert picks for you to consider.

12. Stanford Cardinal

Stanford was on the verge of a much-needed win before the Cardinal came up with a unique way to lose a game.

Stanford led visiting Oregon State by 10 points at halftime. Then, Joshua Karty’s 46-yard field goal with 58 seconds remaining gave Stanford the lead.

Oregon State needed to go 76 yards in the final minute and did just that thanks to a 56-yard pass from Ben Gulbranson to Tre’Shaun Harrison with 13 seconds remaining.

An interception on the next play ended any hopes of Stanford’s first Pac-12 win of the season.

Things don’t get much easier with Stanford making the trip to South Bend to face a Notre Dame team that has won three games in a row.

11. Colorado State Rams

Colorado State found a way to go on the road and pick up its first Mountain West win of the season despite allowing 103 more yards than it gained.

In true Dirty Dozen fashion, it took a penalty on a missed field goal attempt to set up the winning points in the 17-14 victory. Perhaps this will be the building block for first-year coach Jay Norvell.

Both of Colorado State’s touchdowns were scored on defense. Other than the one scoring drive for Nevada, Colorado State allowed 78 yards on the other seven drives.

The next two games come against 2-4 Utah State and 1-5 Hawaii, and both games are at home, so the Rams will look to start a winning streak.

The Rams are the only FBS team yet to have a touchdown run this season.

10. Fresno State Bulldogs

It seems pretty clear that if you lose a game to UConn, it is just a matter of time before you land in the Dirty Dozen.

Nobody blinked when Fresno State dropped back-to-back games to Pac-12 teams Oregon State and Southern California. However, the 19-14 loss to a UConn team that it had defeated 45-0 in the 2021 season opener was followed by a 40-20 defeat to Boise State.

The Bulldogs rank 11th in the Mountain West in rushing defense. They play a San Jose State team that is 11th in rushing offense, so that might be a positive sign. The college football predictions list the Bulldogs as a 9-point underdog against visiting San Jose State.

9. Northern Illinois Huskies

Northern Illinois opened more than a few eyes when the Huskies traveled to face a nationally ranked Kentucky team and only trailed by eight points after a late touchdown and two-point conversion. Unfortunately, it has been all downhill from there.

Northern Illinois has allowed 96 points over the last two weeks. Toledo went on the road and scored 52 against them despite having the ball for less than 22 minutes.

Allowing the same player to intercept four passes and return two of them for touchdowns ended any hopes that the Huskies had to pick up their first win of the season against an FBS opponent.

8. Northwestern Wildcats

Just when it appeared like Northwestern was ready to make things difficult for the opposition, the Wildcats allowed Wisconsin to convert on 10 of 14 third downs in a 42-7 loss at home.

After Wisconsin missed a field goal on the game’s first possession, the Badgers scored touchdowns on four of the next five drives beginning with a 98-yard scoring drive. It was 28-0 at halftime, and the second half was more of the same.

Northwestern has already allowed 10 offensive plays of 40 yards or more, and the Wildcats don’t have the offensive firepower to overcome those defensive lapses.

7. Florida International Golden Panthers

Any momentum that Florida International gained in a 21-7 win at New Mexico State came crashing to an end when UConn, a program that dropped 40 of 41 games against FBS competition before a win over Fresno State, came to Miami and rolled to a 33-12 win.

How a team can recruit in the talent-laden Dade County and average just 4.6 yards per play is a bit of a mystery.

If there is a silver lining, just one of the teams left on the FIU schedule has a winning record. That contest is on Friday, with visiting UTSA listed by the college football betting lines as a 33½-point favorite.

Tony Gaiter IV #16, James Morgan #12, and Austin Maloney #15
Tony Gaiter IV #16, James Morgan #12, and Austin Maloney #15 | Mark brown/getty images/afp

6. Army Black Knights

Army faces a lower-level team this week when Colgate comes to town. Perhaps that is what the Black Knights need.

A rematch of last year’s wild showdown with Wake Forest never materialized as Army turned the ball over on two of its first five possessions. By the time Army reached the end zone with a seven-play, 70-yard drive, the Black Knights were already trailing 38-0.

Army’s option offense is not designed to play catch up. Army’s 21 passing attempts were the most since a 2020 loss at Cincinnati.

Typically one of the best running teams in the country, Army has been held under 4.5 yards per carry twice this season.

Army’s lone win came against FCS Villanova, and there was an overtime loss to UTSA as well.

5. Akron Zips

Akron had 478 yards of total offense, the most against an FBS opponent since a 2016 win over Ball State. Unfortunately, the Zips gave up a 75-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play.

Ohio finished with 561 yards and a staggering 15.8 yards per passing attempt in the 55-34 victory.

After being competitive in the last two games, Akron allowed touchdowns on six of the first seven drives of the game and never had a chance to pick up its first conference win of the year.

A pair of 1-5 teams meet up on Saturday when Akron plays host to Central Michigan, so somebody will need to win that game.

4. New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State had an extra week to stew after being held to 221 yards in a 21-7 loss to a one-win Florida International team.

Only four teams at the FBS level average fewer yards per game than New Mexico State’ 265.5. The good news is one of them is New Mexico, the Week 8 opponent for the Aggies.

New Mexico State has already turned the ball over 13 times in the first six games of the season. With better ball security, perhaps better results could be around the corner.

Gavin Frakes and Diego Pavia have split time at quarterback, and both are completing less than 50% of their passes.

3. Hawaii Rainbows

Coming off a bye week, the Rainbows appeared to be on the verge of victory when Dedrick Parson’s 22-yard run with 1:19 left in the game gave them a one-point lead on the road against San Diego State.

The only incomplete pass on the ensuing drive resulted in a pass interference penalty as San Diego State drove 56 yards to get up the game-winning field goal with nine seconds left to play.

Hawaii has run for at least 140 yards in three of the last four games, so that is something to build on. However, allowing an offensively challenged San Diego State team to finish with 417 yards is a cause for concern.

Hawaii welcomes a 2-4 Nevada team to town on Saturday, so perhaps the Rainbows can seal the deal this week.

 Dru Brown #19
Dru Brown #19 | Mark brown/getty images/afp

2. UMass Minutemen

It has been a tough road in Don Brown’s second stint with UMass.

The Minutemen were 1 of 14 on third-down conversions in a 42-24 home loss to Liberty. Nine drives finishing with less than 10 yards didn’t help UMass stay with the Flames.

UMass’s only win so far is against Stony Brook, a Football Championship Subdivision team. Against FBS competition, the Minutemen have been outscored 187-57, and only Colorado being winless has kept UMass from securing that dreaded No. 131 spot out of 131 FBS teams in 2022.

UMass doesn’t play a team with a winning record the rest of the way, with games against New Mexico State, UConn, and Army likely the best opportunities to win. A Nov. 19th showdown with Texas A&M probably will not end well.

Something to consider for those who bet online: UMass has covered in each of the last two games as a double-digit underdog. The Minutemen are 17-point underdogs against visiting Buffalo on Saturday.

1. Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado hasn’t played since Oct. 1st when the Buffaloes allowed 43 points to Arizona.

The good news is that the next three games come against unranked teams, so perhaps there is a chance for Colorado to win for the first time since topping Washington on Nov. 20th, 2021.

The coaching changes have helped teams like Wisconsin and Arizona State pick up victories. Will that happen with the Buffaloes, a team ranked last in the Pac-12 in both total offense and total defense?

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