The 8 Tastiest Cupcake Games of College Football Week 6
Just because we're nearing the halfway point of the 2012 college football season doesn't mean we're through with the one-sided affairs.
While many teams like to load up on football calories early in the season, there's still plenty of pastries out there for the top teams in the nation—even within their own conferences.
It's not always about the odds or the Vegas line; sometimes perception can be as much of a determining factor as anything. But whether it's a statistical cakewalk, or a perceived one, there are plenty of games out there this weekend that should be decided pretty quickly.
So which teams have a tasty cupcake waiting for them? Here are our favorites for top college football cupcake games for Week 6.
Florida State at North Carolina State
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Line: Florida State, -15
We'll start with what is our least fattening cupcake game of the week, at least according to the current Vegas line.
Florida State has to be feeling confident after knocking off then-No. 10 Clemson at home before avoiding the potential letdown at South Florida last week.
The Seminoles currently sport the No. 6 scoring offense in the FBS with 51.0 points per game while also fielding a championship-caliber defense which is giving up just 11.4 points per game (7th in the FBS).
North Carolina State, on the other hand, has had some trouble finding the end zone this season and is just 54th in the nation in scoring offense (30.2 points per game).
While the game doesn't instantly appear to be a blowout candidate, we're still talking about the top team in the ACC facing what has proven to be a truly middle-of-the-road 3-2 (0-1) NC State.
Michigan State at Indiana
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Line: Michigan State, -15.5
After a narrow loss to Ohio State, you can expect MSU to be pretty riled up this week.
The Michigan State-Indiana series is charitably called a rivalry game, although MSU had dominated the series and holds a commanding 41-14-7 lead all time.
Indiana has held the Old Brass Spittoon only twice since 1994 and hasn't won't back-to-back games in the series since the Hoosiers won three straight from 1967 to 1969.
Funny enough, though, is that both teams have two losses are are 0-1 in Big Ten play.
Still, don't expect too much from the Hoosiers. Their losses were to Ball State and Northwestern, compared to Michigan State, who lost to Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Michigan State also has a win against a Top 25 team to its credit, whereas Indiana knocked off an FCS team and a first-year FBS program.
The Spartans should be eager for that first Big Ten victory, and if the offense can finally find a spark, MSU should cruise to a victory over Indiana, easily outpacing the 15.5-point spread.
Massachusetts at Western Michigan
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Line: Western Michigan, -17
Usually, when we talk about the MAC and cupcakes, it's the MAC team that's the cupcake.
In this instance, we have a MAC team as the winner—and as the cupcake.
We've already mentioned Massachusetts earlier on our list and how bad the Minutemen are this season. They're not without their excuses, chief among them this being the first FBS season for the Minutemen, but we can't escape the point that anyone who comes up against UMass is heavily favored.
Western Michigan was widely viewed as a potential MAC West contender this season, but a 2-3 start, including a conference loss to Toledo last week has tempered expectations a bit.
Still, as under-performing as WMU may be this season, don't expect the Broncos to lose this Saturday at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo for homecoming.
The Broncos may only have the sixth-ranked offense in the MAC so far this season, but that should be more than adequate to gallop past the clearly over-matched and unprepared Minutemen. And maybe this win can help spur Western Michigan to a midseason turnaround.
Miami University at Cincinnati
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Line: Cincinnati, -18.5
All of the sudden, Cincinnati looks like a Big East contender.
The Bearcats are an impressive 3-0 (1-0), and knoed off Virginia Tech at FedEx Field last week to stay unbeaten.
Cincinnati has a few more weeks before the Big East season gets underway in earnest, but it looks as if the Bearcats could be bowl-eligible before their next conference game on October 26 (at Louisville).
Win No. 4 on the season should come in fairly easy fashion this Saturday as the Bearcats host the Miami RedHawks for homecoming at Nippert Stadium.
It's not that Miami is a particularly bad team, mind you. The RedHawks' two losses this season have both come on the road, at Ohio State and at Boise State, but they have looked a bit flat in their three wins.
Miami edged past Akron last week, 56-49 and had trouble with new-to-the-FBS Massachusetts the week prior, scoring just 27 points in the victory.
Remember that Michigan put up 63 on the 0-5 Minutemen earlier this season, and UMass is giving up an average of 41.8 points per game. In fact, the 27 scored by Miami was by far the fewest of the season.
With Cincy's ability to put up points quickly and in bucket loads, this game should be decided by halftime.
Kansas at Kansas State
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Line: Kansas State, -24
There was a time in the not-too-distant past where the Kansas-Kansas State football game was the definition of inconsequential.
Kansas was a doormat, and Kansas State wasn't far behind.
Things have certainly changed, at least when it comes to the Wildcats. K-State is 4-0 and has found its way into the Top 10 for the second consecutive season, and a win over Oklahoma in Norman two weeks ago has placed the Wildcats in the position of being a Big 12 favorite this season.
Unfortunately, fate hasn't been as kind to the folks in Lawrence.
The hiring of Charlie Weis as head coach was cause for hope, but the 1-3 start for the Jayhawks appears to be more of the same we've come to expect from Kansas.
Kansas State is an overwhelming favorite again this season, and the Governor's Cup will remain in Manhattan, as it has since 2009.
Washington at Oregon
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Line: Oregon, -24.5
Washington may have done what was at the time thought to be the unthinkable by knocking off Stanford, but that was last week.
Now, it's time to take on the team that is clearly the class of the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon has been nothing short of impressive so far this season, and with USC's early stumble, the Ducks have emerged as the odds-on favorite in the conference and even have a shot at earning their second trip to the BCS National Championship Game in three seasons.
The problem for Washington—like any Oregon oppoent—will be finding a way to shackle the high-octane Ducks offense. There haven't been many teams that have been successful against Oregon's relentless attack, and those that have were top national powers.
And Washington isn't what anyone can honestly call a national power.
The Huskies do appear to have the talent this season to keep pace with the Ducks for a time, but in the end, Oregon is just too fast, too talented and too deep for Washington to keep up.
And it's going to be another blowout win for the Ducks.
UNLV at Louisiana Tech
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Line: Louisiana Tech, -27
With a sense of parity coming over the college football world, we sometimes forget that the “minor” FBS conferences are still home to some really bad football programs.
UNLV is one such program, as their plus-27 line against Louisiana Tech proves.
The Rebels have four losses already this season, including a loss to FCS Northern Arizona on September 8.
It's no secret why UNLV has such a hard time winning games. The Rebels are averaging just 23.8 points per game, which ranks them 91st in the FBS. They're also giving up 446.6 yards per game at the same time (94th in the nation), and when you combine the two, you have the recipe for being labeled a perpetual cupcake.
In contrast, Louisiana Tech is emerging as one of the new, quality programs of the BCS non-AQ conferences. The Bulldogs are 4-0 and have progressed to the point where they're receiving votes in both major polls.
With just one tough game remaining on the 2012 schedule—an October 13 rescheduled visit from Texas A&M—there's a distinct possibility that Tech could be looking at an 11-1 season.
And UNLV won't be that one loss.
Tulane at Louisiana-Lafayette
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Line: Louisiana-Lafayette, -27
It can't be easy for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns to make a name for themselves, especially when their rivals from Monroe are gallivanting around the South beating teams like Arkansas and taking Auburn to overtime.
Still, the Cajuns are following up their program's first-ever bowl season as an FBS program in 2011 with a great start to 2012. The Cajuns are 3-1 to start the season—a feat Lafayette has matched or beaten just five times since becoming an FBS program in 1978.
But Louisiana-Lafayette isn't that good, is it?
Sorry, Cajun fans. No. The whopping 27-point spread has a lot more to do with inept Tulane than anything else.
The Green Wave rank dead last amongst the 124 FBS programs in total offense, averaging just 187.3 yards per game.
Believe it or not, in four games already in 2012, Tulane has 20 rushing yards. Total. Combined. All together. As in five yards per game.
Not surprisingly, Tulane also ranks 124th in scoring offense, with an average of just 8.0 points per game—the only FBS team that's in the single digits.
To go along with that fatally anemic offense, Tulane also sports one of the worst defenses in the nation, ranked 114th in total defense giving up 490.8 yards per game. And, yes, the scoring defense is similarly pitiful (42.8 points per game, 122nd in the FBS).
Given those laughable numbers from the Green Wave, a 27-point spread might be charitable.
It's also why Louisiana-Lafayette is our unlikely winner of the Golden Cupcake award for tastiest cupcake college football game of Week 6.