Each Monday, WhatIfSports.com’s college football simulation engine generates predictions for every Division I FBS game for the coming week. Our highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team’s likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 101 times.
Week 11 in Review
Game of the Week may as well be called Lock of the Week. Our simulating computer is now 9-1 after Ohio State won the GotW. Even our struggling It was a good news/bad news week for our computer simulations. While we lost our Game of the Week (USC/Washington), we were successful in the Upset of the Week (WVU/Texas). We are still 9-2 in our marquee game and an acceptable .500 (5-5) in the upsets.
Nailed It: Iowa State 31 – Kansas 24
Matt Campbell received his first Big 12 win last week. Freshman running back David Montgomery rushed for 169 yards in the win. We predicted Iowa State to win 61.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.8-22.4.
Wide Right: Pitt 43 – Clemson 42
Not many thought the Panthers could give the Tigers their first loss of the season. Nathan Peterman threw five TDs for Pittsburgh and Chris Blewitt connected on a 48-yard game-winning field goal. We predicted Clemson to win 70.3 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.8-22.2.
If the season ended today, this would be the matchup for the Pac-12 Championship. The Cougars are undefeated in conference play (7-0) and the Buffs have a half-game lead over USC. After starting the season 0-2, WSU has won eight straight games. However, if the Cougars want to win a ninth game, they’ll have to do it without senior wide receiver River Cracraft. He tore is ACL in last week’s win over Cal. Cracraft was second on the team in receptions, yards and TDs. He tallied three TDs in his final game. That should mean more looks to Gabe Marks. The senior WR has scored six TDs in the past four games and has notched at least one TD in nine of ten games this year. It will be a tough task to produce against this Colorado defense. The Buffalos have allowed 17.9 points per game (ninth-best in FBS) and only 176.3 passing yards per game (10th-best). The Cougs pass for 385.5 yards per contest. Something has to give. Colorado wins this simulation 52.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 31.1-30.9.
No. 21 Florida at No. 16 LSU
In October, Hurricane Matthew forced this game to be pushed back and now we are in store for an exciting final two weeks of the regular season. Much like the Colorado pass defense against WSU’s air attack, the Tigers of LSU will look to do their damage on the ground against one of the best run defenses in football. The Gators allow only 111.4 rushing yards per game. Leonard Fournette averages 133.8 yards per game and his backup, Derrius Guice, has an impressive 97.9 rushing yards per contest. Florida is looking to secure a slot in the SEC championship game, but Tennessee is lurking. The ground-and-pound of LSU will be too much for Florida as LSU wins 50.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 24.6-24.5.
No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 10 West Virginia
We don’t have a Big 12 championship game yet, but the ending to the 2016 season might inadvertently create one this year. Oklahoma currently leads the conference with a 7-0 record. West Virginia is one game back, along with Oklahoma State. The Sooners’ final two games are against the Mountaineers and Cowboys. A win in both games would lock up the Big 12. If WVU wins this game, some chaos could ensue. Oklahoma State already defeated the Mountaineers earlier this season. As for this week’s game, the Sooners will have their full complement of running backs, again. Last week, both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon ran for over 100 yards and each scored at least one TD. West Virginia will continue to rely on quarterback Skyler Howard. He struggled last week against Texas (three interceptions), but the Sooners allow 297.1 passing yards per game (eighth-most in FBS). Prepare for an exciting conclusion to the regular season in the Big 12 as OU wins our simulations 51.1 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.4-26.0.
Week 12 Upset Pick
Virginia (+1) over Notre Dame
The Hokies might’ve fallen from the Top 25 in the AP poll after losing to Georgia Tech, 30-20, last week, but VT still has the firepower on offense to right the ship. The 7-3 Hokies are fighting for a berth in the ACC Championship game. Dual-threat quarterback Jerod Evans will be the deciding factor in this contest. He leads the team in rushing with 608 yards on 132 carries (4.6 yards per carry). He’ll also look to Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges in the passing game against a defense that allows 188.5 passing yards per game. VT wins 51.9 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.5-27.0.