The Fraud Five by Mike Kern – Week 11 Edition

November 10, 2019

Fraud Five, which isn’t always as simple as some out there might think. Sometimes I have to make those dreaded executive decisions, just because. I do have certain guidelines. It doesn’t always come down to being a favorite and losing, especially when you’re playing another quality team. With that being duly noted, here goes:

Michigan State – You can’t be blowing a 21-point lead by giving up 27 points in the fourth quarter at home, to Illinois. But Lovie Smith, who was 2-4, does have the Illini bowl eligible for the first time in five seasons. Still, the Spartans should be better than that.

Arkansas – I know the Razorbacks aren’t much. But they are an SEC team. Which probably means you’re not supposed to lose at home to Western Kentucky. Especially not by 45-19. And it was 35-7 at the half. Good thing the Hogs scored twice in the final 12 minutes. Western Kentucky, it should be mentioned, opened with a loss at home to Central Arkansas. At least the Razorbacks now get a bye. But then they have to go to LSU.

South Carolina – Along those same lines, remember when the Gamecocks won at Georgia? Sure seems like a long time ago. Now they just lost at home to Appalachian State. Good thing USC led 6-3 early. Too bad it only scored 15 points at home. And I don’t want to hear about how App State is 8-1, or that it won at North Carolina in September. The Mountaineers play in the Sun Belt.

Alabama – And not because The Tide lost at home as a touchdown favorite to the team that for the time being has done way more to deserve the No. 1 ranking than anybody else, with a quarterback who wasn’t quite 100 percent. So sorry, Buckeyes. No, this is about them giving up 46 points at home. Even Nick Saban would tell you that probably shouldn’t happen.

Penn State – Again, this isn’t necessarily about the Nits losing to an unbeaten team as a TD fave on the road. Hey, they didn’t make themselves the fave. And they almost found a way to win at the end. That late pass-interference call was questionable, but they let it come down to that. No, this is more about the fact that the coach continues to not have a very good record against ranked opponents on the road. Neither does Jim Harbaugh or Brian Kelly, by the way. Which means the detractors will continue to pile on, perhaps rightfully so. Yet in all fairness it’s hard to overlook the fact that these Nits weren’t picked to be a 10-win team by most experts. So they’ve done a good job getting to this point. Let’s see how it plays out from here. They go to Ohio State in two weeks. I’m guessing the Bucks will still be in the Top 25.

Dishonorable Mention

Central Florida – Shouldn’t be losing at Tulsa, which was 2-7, especially when you led by 11 at halftime. Just saying.

Oklahoma – I know, I know, the Sooners won by one at home to two-touchdown underdog Iowa State at home. But they got outscored 20-0 in the fourth quarter. And it came down to a missed two-point conversion. Not a good to try and convince the playoff committee of your worthiness, coming off that loss at Kansas State.

Wake Forest – I thought they might lose at Virginia Tech. Just didn’t think they’d lose by 19, after leading by four midway through the third quarter. But they wouldn’t score any more. It happens.

Washington State – Cougs were favored by a TD at Cal. Lost 33-20. The Bears, who admittedly did have their injured QB back, had lost four straight. They scored a total of 41 points in those games. They hadn’t scored more than 28 in any game this year. And yes, the Mike Leach’s did score with 5 seconds left. Shame the PAT failed.

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