College Football Pick’em: Week of 9/14

After last weekend, it’s official: The regular season college football machine is firing on all cylinders as we chug on toward Week 3. Well, unless you’re Auburn or Notre Dame, who are probably thanking their lucky stars right now they limped through last weekend’s games. And oh no, now there are “just” seven Southeastern Conference teams in the Top 25 rankings — though Auburn did plummet 12 spots after barely holding off an Football Championship Subdivision team they were predicted to beat. Though it’s true the Pacific Coast Conference has had a somewhat quiet start to the regular season, thankfully our Trojans handily beat a team we paid $1.1 million to come play us, and we have been improving each week just in time for our first conference game against the Farm.

Now it’s that time again where I talk about that darn model thing. But after getting all excited about the stuff we added to the model last week, I promise to keep this section short and sweet. We expected our predictions for Week 2 to be somewhat shaky with the addition of new data. But rather than a complete bloodbath, we came out mostly unscathed with a 76 percent accuracy for the week. Sure, this drops our week over week average to 78 percent, but when you consider that many NFL pundits average approximately 61 percent accuracy when, you know, their livelihood focuses on knowing all about football, I’d say we are doing quite well.

See? Nice and short. Now let’s check out the predictions!

Day Time Home Team Away Team Home Team Odds Away Team Odds Spread
Thu 04:30 PM Louisville Clemson 8.82% 91.18% 16.5
Fri 07:00 PM Arizona State New Mexico 99.5% 0.5% -20.5
Sat 01:00 PM Indiana Western Kentucky 68.55% 31.45% -8
Sat 02:00 PM Washington Utah State 89.07% 10.93% -16.5
Sat 03:00 PM Georgia South Carolina 87.86% 12.14% -16
Sat 04:00 PM Arkansas Texas Tech 79.6% 20.4% -12.5
Sat 04:00 PM Colorado State Colorado 1.68% 98.32% 19
Sat 04:00 PM Old Dominion North Carolina State 47.03% 52.97% 1
Sat 04:00 PM Texas State Southern Mississippi 25.05% 74.95% 9.5
Sat 04:30 PM Kentucky Florida 45.46% 54.54% 1.5
Sat 04:30 PM Texas California 4.03% 95.97% 18
Sat 05:00 PM Iowa Pittsburgh 90.93% 9.07% -17
Sat 05:00 PM New Mexico State Texas-El Paso 61.47% 38.53% -5
Sat 05:00 PM Oregon State San Jose State 99.18% 0.82% -20.5
Sat 05:00 PM Penn State Rutgers 80.53% 19.47% -13
Sat 05:00 PM San Diego State South Alabama 54.59% 45.41% -2.5
Sat 05:00 PM Southern California Stanford 98.92% 1.08% -20.5
Sat 05:00 PM Texas Christian Southern Methodist 90.45% 9.55% -17
Sat 05:00 PM Toledo Iowa State 61.16% 38.84% -5
Sat 05:30 PM Washington State Wyoming 98.52% 1.48% -20
Sat 06:15 PM Alabama Mississippi 97.47% 2.53% -19.5
Sat 07:30 PM Fresno State Utah 1.41% 98.59% 19.5
Sat 07:30 PM UCLA Brigham Young 66.84% 33.16% -7.5
Sat 09:00 AM Army Wake Forest 21.32% 78.68% 11
Sat 09:00 AM Florida Atlantic Buffalo 72.98% 27.02% -10
Sat 09:00 AM Maryland South Florida 0.67% 99.33% 19.5
Sat 09:00 AM Michigan Nevada-Las Vegas 78.86% 21.14% -12
Sat 09:00 AM Michigan State Air Force 64.29% 35.71% -6.5
Sat 09:00 AM Minnesota Kent State 98.15% 1.85% -20
Sat 09:00 AM Missouri Connecticut 44.12% 55.88% 2
Sat 09:00 AM North Carolina Illinois 26.42% 73.58% 9
Sat 09:00 AM Oklahoma Tulsa 92.99% 7.01% -18
Sat 09:00 AM Texas A&M Nevada 97.03% 2.97% -19.5
Sat 09:30 AM Duke Northwestern 3.27% 96.73% 18.5
Sat 09:30 AM Syracuse Central Michigan 92.97% 7.03% -18
Sat 11:00 AM Oregon Georgia State 86.83% 13.17% -15.5
Sat 11:30 AM North Texas Rice 1.69% 98.31% 19
Sat 12:00 PM Eastern Michigan Ball State 11.84% 88.16% 15
Sat 12:00 PM Kansas State Louisiana Tech 63.12% 36.88% -6
Sat 12:00 PM Massachusetts Temple 0.5% 99.5% 19.5
Sat 12:30 PM Louisiana State Auburn 83.85% 16.15% -14
Sat 12:30 PM Miami (Florida) Nebraska 99.55% 0.45% -20.5
Sat 12:30 PM Miami (Ohio) Cincinnati 0.81% 99.19% 19.5
Sat 12:30 PM Notre Dame Georgia Tech 70.72% 29.28% -9
Sat 12:30 PM Ohio State Northern Illinois 96.21% 3.79% -19
Sat 12:30 PM Oklahoma State Texas-San Antonio 73.32% 26.68% -10
Sat 12:30 PM Purdue Virginia Tech 66.15% 33.85% -7
Sat 12:30 PM Wisconsin Troy 97.42% 2.58% -19.5

No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (Spread: -19.5)

After a week out of the spotlight, ESPN’s College GameDay is back in Tuscaloosa as Alabama hosts Ole Miss this weekend. Readers will likely recall that Ole Miss was the only team to beat Alabama during the regular season last year. And while it is true that Ole Miss has averaged 74.5 points in their past two games, they’ve also only played an FCS team and a non-power five conference team. Despite their impressive final scores and other statistics, Ole Miss’ weak strength of schedule means that Alabama is a 19.5 favorite in our model. Nonetheless, this will be an interesting matchup, as a largely unproven Ole Miss team faces off against the ’Bama powerhouse.

No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 Louisiana State (Spread -14)

Remember when the Associated Press projected Auburn in the National Championship? Oh boy, it’s been a rough period for Auburn since their high preseason aspirations. It’s true, Auburn is still undefeated, but after squeaking by Jacksonville State last week, many are questioning whether Auburn is even capable of winning the SEC. And now the Tigers are traveling to “Death Valley” where they haven’t won since 1999.

As fun as it is to bag on Auburn for its early season issues, there is no question that this is not going to be a cakewalk for LSU. Last week, LSU very much looked liked a team just starting their season, especially with six Tigers making their first career starts and playing seven freshmen. Our model has LSU as a 14-point favorite, but they need to get rid of the sloppy penalties, especially against a more high-powered team like Auburn to pull out their first home win.

Stanford at No. 6 USC (Spread -20.5)

Ah, the infamous Stanford-USC game. While the spread seems to indicate that this should be yet another easy game for USC, Trojan fans should be wary of playing the Farm, regardless of what a college football writer’s model might say.

History aside, it’s important to point out the signs of improvement we’ve seen each game from USC. In particular, I want to give a shout out to our offensive line who, after giving up five sacks to Arkansas State, made sure Kessler had a much more enjoyable evening last weekend. They did not give up a single sack against the Vandals and enabled Kessler to throw for 410 passing yards.

This will be an interesting conference opener for both teams. For Stanford, this game is an opportunity to try and get their season back on track after a slow start. For USC, this game will be an opportunity to show that the first two games weren’t just flukes and that they deserve a spot in the top 10.

Side note:
While we’re on upset alert, another potential upset-alert matchup is No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA. Though BYU rolled UCLA 59-0 back in 2008, the UCLA team today is quite a different beast. BYU has been able to keep their undefeated start going with both wins coming from last minute Hail Marys, and they have quite a few offensive options, but they will be going up against a fast, tough UCLA defense. This should be a good game to catch the tail-end of after the USC game.