College Football Pick’em: Week of 9/21
Alright, Pac-12, this week is our moment in the spotlight. Week 4 is shaping up to be a weekend to showcase all the potential our wonderful west coast teams have to offer in the postseason (Assuming we don’t eat each other alive during conference play). To be fair, Pac-12, you’ve got a tough week to follow. Week 3 was full of upsets (I’m still in shock about the Bama-Ole Miss game and that happened five days ago) and close endings (Sorry not sorry, Texas, I consider last weekend as a very roundabout form of karmic retribution for 2006).
Though we aren’t the only region with interesting games this week. The Big-12 has a game that could end up with a score so high it makes the guys who toss people in the air after every touchdown sore just looking at it. And last but not least, Auburn has another opportunity to try and convince us that it actually deserves a spot in the Coaches Poll or any poll for that matter.
Quick note about the model: It’s still holding at 78% accuracy week over week (better than NFL pundits) so at least that is something to cheer about. Without further ado, here are this week’s predictions!
|Day||Time||Home Team||Away Team||Home Team Odds||Away Team Odds||Spread|
|Fri||05:00 PM||Virginia||Boise State||31.93%||68.07%||7|
|Fri||07:00 PM||Oregon State||Stanford||26.5%||73.5%||9|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Charlotte||Florida Atlantic||0.35%||99.65%||19.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Texas-San Antonio||Colorado State||28.26%||71.74%||8.5|
|Sat||05:00 PM||Northwestern||Ball State||82.55%||17.45%||-13.5|
|Sat||06:00 PM||Idaho||Georgia Southern||5.57%||94.43%||17.5|
|Sat||07:30 PM||San Jose State||Fresno State||4.44%||95.56%||18|
|Sat||7:30 PM||Arizona State||Southern California||27.71%||72.29%||8.5|
|Sat||4:30 PM||Auburn||Mississippi State||6.87%||93.13%||17|
|Sat||10:00 AM||Boston College||Northern Illinois||16.32%||83.68%||13|
|Sat||12:30 PM||12:30 PM||East Carolina||Virginia Tech||10.89%||89.11%||15.5|
|Sat||3:00 PM||Eastern Michigan||Army||37.98%||62.02%||4.5|
|Sat||5:00 PM||Houston||Texas State||99.27%||0.73%||-20.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Iowa||North Texas||99.65%||0.35%||-20.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Kent State||Marshall||60.17%||39.83%||-4.5|
|Sat||4:00 PM||4:00 PM||Mississippi||Vanderbilt||99.16%||0.84%||-20.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Nebraska||Southern Mississippi||75.24%||24.76%||-10.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Ohio State||Western Michigan||99.59%||0.41%||-20.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Penn State||San Diego State||97.16%||2.84%||-19.5|
|Sat||5:00 PM||12:30 PM||Texas||Oklahoma State||15.72%||84.28%||13.5|
|Sat||4:00 PM||Texas A&M||Arkansas||43.29%||56.71%||2.5|
|Sat||1:45 PM||Texas Tech||Texas Christian||84.67%||15.33%||-14.5|
|Sat||4:00 PM||Toledo||Arkansas State||51.64%||48.36%||-1|
|Sat||9:30 AM||Wake Forest||Indiana||1.58%||98.42%||19|
|Sat||12:00 PM||West Virginia||Maryland||100%||0%||-21|
|Sat||11:30 AM||Louisiana Tech||Florida International||84.72%||15.28%||-14.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Wyoming||New Mexico||65.67%||34.33%||-7|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Notre Dame||Massachusetts||98.54%||1.46%||-20|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Old Dominion||Appalachian State||40.06%||59.94%||3.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Western Kentucky||Miami (Ohio)||91.56%||8.44%||-17.5|
#3 TCU at Texas Tech (Spread -14.5)
As the defenses of both teams prepare for the game this weekend, I want to make a plea to both teams. Think of the poor college students who decide to toss their friend in the air. I want you to think of how exhausted they’re going to be when the score is 56-42 and TCU just scored another touchdown. How is that poor student going to get homework done the next day when his arms are so sore from the night before? So play some defense, please. Do it for your fellow student.
If you couldn’t tell from that last paragraph, both of these teams have high-powered offenses and porous defenses. Lest you think I am exaggerating, here are some stats. This season Texas Tech has averaged 399 passing yards per game (2nd in the nation) and scored 54.3 points per game (3rd in the nation). Pretty impressive, right? Until you realize that they’re playing against a TCU team that has averaged 367 yards per game and scored 49.7 points per game. Once you also consider the fact that last year TCU won 82-27, the fact that our model predicts Texas Tech as a 14.5 point favorite seems a little odd. But, as last week has shown, anything can happen in college football.
Mississippi State at Auburn (Spread: 17)
I know what you’re thinking — both of these teams are unranked and Mississippi State is a big favorite according to our model. But what makes this game particularly interesting from a prediction standpoint is that Auburn is the Vegas favorite. This is not only surprising because of their performance against LSU last week, but also because Sean White is replacing Jeremy Johnson at quarterback. Though with 6 interceptions in three games, this might be a good call. From our perspective, this game could either be an uneventful Mississippi State steam roll or a chance for Auburn to remain relevant.
#9 UCLA at #16 Arizona (Spread: 0.5)
Arizona and UCLA will be opening up Pac-12 play in what is predicted by our model to quite a close game.
UCLA’s seemingly invincible quarterback is actually human, which is pretty understandable when you remember that last year he was a senior in high school. Despite Rosen’s lackluster performance last week with 106 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INT, UCLA was still able to hold off BYU and stay undefeated.
While everyone has been obsessing over Rosen, we feel that Paul Perkins hasn’t gotten enough appreciation. Though it hurts to say, Perkins is arguably the best running back in the Pac-12 with 26 carries for 219 yards and one touchdown last weekend against BYU. Note the only 26 carries. Even if Rosen still has some growing pains, UCLA’s got plenty of other weapons to lean on.
Arizona’s offense has racked up some impressive numbers. Returning quarterback Anu Solomon has thrown 10 touchdowns and has yet to give up an interception (Knock on wood, Arizona fans.). Nick Wilson adds to the Arizona’s offensive threat with five rushing touchdowns and seven yards per carry.
To add to the drama, UCLA’s linebacker Myles Jack is out for the season after sustaining a “significant knee injury”. Meanwhile, Arizona’s linebacker Scooby Wright might be back from injury this weekend. His presence alone could completely reshape Arizona’s defense and change the course of the game. This Pac-12 opener is going to quite an interesting matchup to watch.
#19 USC at Arizona State (Spread: 8.5)
Last weekend was definitely a bummer for both our football team and for our model. Sure we hung with Stanford through most of the game, but our inability to stop their run offense ultimately led to our demise. Our loss combined with several upsets in our favorite conference (C’mon, you should know I’m talking about the SEC by now) meant it was a tough weekend for everyone. But you know, last year Ohio State made it into the College Football Playoffs with one loss and that turned out pretty well for them so there is hope yet for our Trojans! But that was last week, let’s see what this week has in store.
Good ol’ Arizona State. Last time we played the Sun Devils, we lost in a last-second hail mary and two years ago, Lane Kiffin was fired on the LAX tarmac after losing to ASU. I think it’s a little early to start putting Sarkisian in the hot seat, but nonetheless our history with ASU and our current situation makes this an important game.
Our defensive struggles last weekend do not bode well, especially since we are going up against an ASU team who’s returning the same quarterback that threw five touchdowns against us last year in our last minute, heartbreaking loss. If we want to win the Pac-12 South and maybe – just maybe – get into the playoffs, the Trojans are going to need to bring their A-game this weekend in Tempe.
Data provided by cfbstats.com
Team logos courtesy of sportslogos.net