College Football Pick’em: Week of 9/28
Well, folks, clear your calendar this Saturday, stock your fridge and get ready for a good week of football. The Trojans aren’t playing this week, you say? Well, I think our team deserves a good break after stomping all over Sparky. And trust me, even though the boys in cardinal and gold aren’t playing this weekend, there’s still plenty of good football to watch. Sure, most people will be focusing on Notre Dame-Clemson and Alabama-Georgia. But don’t let those high-profile games distract you from a deep lineup of exciting games to watch. As the Oregon-Utah game showed us, there is no such thing as a predictable weekend in college football and things are going to get even more unpredictable in the best way possible.
For those of you who have been keeping track, as of last week we were at 78 percent accuracy overall. Due to several last-minute tips and botched punt attempts, we were 72 percent accurate last week (Our condolences go out to the state of Texas — y’all had a rough weekend of football). So our C+ days are over but you win some and lose some as Arkansas State knows well (They’re finally not in the Coaches Poll anymore!!).
A final comment before we get to this week’s games. The sharp-eyed college football fan will notice there are some odd predictions for this week such as Indiana over Ohio State or Idaho over Arkansas State. We realized that these odd predictions are due, in large part, to the structure of our model. Rather than mess with the numbers to protect our ego and our oh-so-precious accuracy, we are keeping those potentially erroneous predictions just in case someone is foolish to use these predictions as a basis for placing sports bets. Got to throw off the competition, you know? All jokes aside, we chose to keep these predictions in because they are the product of the model we created for this season and while it far from a perfect model, we wanted to see how this general model would fare throughout the season. Enough talk — it’s time for predictions!
|Day||Time||Home Team||Away Team||Spread|
|Thu||04:30 PM||Cincinnati||Miami (Florida)||17|
|Fri||04:00 PM||South Florida||Memphis||12.5|
|Fri||07:15 PM||Brigham Young||Connecticut||-18|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Auburn||San Jose State||-12|
|Sat||01:00 PM||California||Washington State||-18|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Oklahoma State||Kansas State||-15|
|Sat||01:00 PM||Southern Methodist||East Carolina||-13.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Arkansas State||Idaho||7.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Louisiana State||Eastern Michigan||-20.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Louisiana Tech||Louisiana-Lafayette||-19|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Louisiana-Monroe||Georgia Southern||18|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Nevada||Nevada-Las Vegas||-14|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Southern Mississippi||North Texas||-19|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Troy||South Alabama||13.5|
|Sat||04:00 PM||Utah State||Colorado State||4|
|Sat||04:30 PM||Texas A&M||Mississippi State||-13|
|Sat||04:30 PM||UCLA||Arizona State||-13|
|Sat||05:00 PM||Clemson||Notre Dame||0|
|Sat||05:00 PM||New Mexico||New Mexico State||-3.5|
|Sat||05:00 PM||Texas-El Paso||Texas-San Antonio||16.5|
|Sat||07:15 PM||Boise State||Hawaii||-20.5|
|Sat||07:30 PM||San Diego State||Fresno State||17|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Iowa State||Kansas||-4.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Michigan State||Purdue||-17|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Missouri||South Carolina||12|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Oklahoma||West Virginia||13.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Penn State||Army||-16.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Texas Christian||Texas||-15.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Tulane||Central Florida||6.5|
|Sat||09:00 AM||Virginia Tech||Pittsburgh||-17.5|
|Sat||09:30 AM||North Carolina State||Louisville||-20|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Ball State||Toledo||9.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Central Michigan||Northern Illinois||-9.5|
|Sat||12:00 PM||Massachusetts||Florida International||-1.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Appalachian State||Wyoming||-20.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Buffalo||Bowling Green State||17.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Duke||Boston College||18.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Georgia Tech||North Carolina||-17.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Indiana||Ohio State||-12|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Kent State||Miami (Ohio)||-17.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Marshall||Old Dominion||-10.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Navy||Air Force||9|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Rice||Western Kentucky||16.5|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Texas Tech||Baylor||11|
|Sat||12:30 PM||Wake Forest||Florida State||17.5|
West Virginia at Oklahoma (Spread: 13.5)
Come Saturday this game will have been beaten to death by all major sports media outlets, but don’t let that keep you from checking out this game. West Virginia racked up 601 total yards last week against Maryland (a large reason why they’re favored in our model despite Vegas thinking otherwise). The final score, 45-6, and West Virginia’s fake punt while up 38-0 shows that they still haven’t forgotten their 37-0 loss to Maryland in 2013.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, had a bye last week, so not much has changed since their 52-38 victory over Tulsa in Week 3. Something of note though is quarterback Baker Mayfield’s offensive production against Tulsa where he threw for 487 yards and scored four touchdowns. On the season he has thrown more than 1000 yards and gotten to the end zone 10 times.
Our model is favoring West Virginia because of their blowout wins but they’re going to have a much more difficult time against Oklahoma’s productive offense.
No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 25 Florida (Spread: 4)
I think it is safe to say that at the beginning of the season, few people believed both of these teams would be going into Week 5 undefeated. Ole Miss is now a team being discussed as a contender for the College Football Playoffs. Florida’s comeback victory over Tennessee last weekend showed they’re not a team to take lightly. They snatched that victory from Tennessee’s grasp with a 63-yard touchdown with less than two minutes to play on fourth down. It doesn’t get much colder than that. But that, my friends, is college football.
Now Florida’s prize following the win is playing one of the hottest programs. OK, they didn’t look too hot against Vanderbilt last weekend but we’ll cut them some slack after beating Alabama the week before that. Facing off against already offensively challenged team, Ole Miss’s defense is going to make this a tough game for Florida. But if the Gators’ defense can keep them in the game then maybe —just maybe — Florida can keep their undefeated dream alive.
No. 5 Baylor at Texas Tech (Spread: 11)
Last week I begged Texas Tech’s defense to think of the poor college students who love to toss their friends in the air after a touchdown. Clearly they didn’t hear my plea because they had yet another shootout against Texas Christian and almost upset them except for one tipped ball in the end zone.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Texas Tech showed that they are better than everyone gave them credit. While defense is a big concern for Texas Tech, an even bigger concern is the health of quarterback Pat Mahomes. If you don’t know or didn’t see, Pat Mahomes injured his left knee in the first quarter of their loss to TCU last weekend. He wore a brace for the rest of the game and his mobility was limited. That didn’t seem to affect his throwing arm, though; he went on to throw for 392 yards and 2 touchdowns while giving up no picks. To beat Baylor, Texas Tech needs its quarterback. It’s as simple as that.
Against Rice, Baylor quarterback Seth Russell completed just 12 passes but six of those passes went for touchdowns and he still threw for 277 yards on 16 attempts. There’s really not much more to say about Baylor except that their offense is firing on all cylinders right now.
Both teams are going to score a lot but ultimately our model says Baylor will come out on top. Get your popcorn ready for this one — it’s gonna be a true shootout.
No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia (Spread: 1)
An Alabama team that Vegas thinks is an underdog? What a time to be alive. That’s not to say Alabama is suddenly a bad team, but questions — particularly at quarterback — still exist.
Georgia started the season with similar questions about their offense but promising performances from graduate transfer Greyson Lambert has helped put some of those questions to rest. While Georgia hasn’t had the toughest schedule of late, Lambert is 33 for 35 passing completions is nothing to sneeze at.
As a rivalry game, this game always means quite a bit for both teams, and this year is no exception. All we can do now is see what underdog Alabama has up its sleeve.
Data provided by cfbstats.com
Team logos courtesy of sportslogos.net
Patrick Vossler is a senior majoring in economics. His column, “College Football Pick’em,” runs every week.