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 13 in Review
Yet again, our simulations correctly predicted the Game of the Week. We are now 11-2 in those games. Unfortunately, the Upset of the Week did not come through. That record has fallen back to .500 (6-6). Overall, 75.3 percent winners (613-201).
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Nailed It: Ohio State 30 – Michigan 27
The computer simulations suggested a tight game and if you took the points (-3.5), you won. We predicted OSU to win 52.9 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.2-25.6.
Wide Right: Air Force 27 – Boise State 20
This game came down to the wire as Boise State was stuffed at the goal line in the fourth quarter. Brett Rypien fumbled inside the five yard line and Air Force recovered. We predicted Boise State to win 69.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 31.6-25.5.
The Buffaloes defense stepped up against the Utes and earned a spot in the Pac-12 championship. However, Washington is a team on a mission. Its only stumble was to USC, which also beat Colorado. Other than that loss, the Huskies have produced at least 31 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning has thrown at least two TDs in every win. So, if Colorado wants to win: hold Washington under 31 points and don’t allow Browning to throw more than one TD pass. Yeah, our computers don’t think that will happen either. Washington wins 58.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 30.0-25.7.
No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 7 Oklahoma
The Big 12 lucked out by getting the two best teams in the conference playing for a championship in the final week of the season. The Sooners have an explosive offense. They are tied for first in scoring with Louisville, averaging 45.3 points per game. Baker Mayfield struggled in his last game (9-15 for 169 yards against West Virginia), but has still thrown at least two TDs in every game. Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon can both hit the 100-yard rushing mark, too. The Cowboys are no slouch and average 40.4 points per game. Mason Rudolph to James Washington is as dangerous as a combo as Mayfield to Dede Westbrook. OU has the better running game, though, and our computers favor the Sooners. Oklahoma wins 51.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.9-28.8.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 15 Florida
Nick Saban’s boys are 24-point favorites in the SEC championship. The Gators lost last week to their in-state rivals, 31-13. Florida was great against the running game, but Dalvin Cook didn’t care. He ran for 153 yards. Bama is better in its air attack, but the Gators allow only 158 yards per game through the air (third-best in FBS). The computers don’t seem to mind and the Tide should continue to roll. Alabama wins 62.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 25.6-21.8.
No. 3 Clemson at No. 19 Virginia Tech
After Clemson’s loss to Pittsburgh, the Tigers amped their dominance in order to get votes in the Top Four. Clemson just needs one more impressive win to lock in its spot. Deshaun Watson threw six TD passes last week against South Carolina. His counterpart, Jerod Evans, can get it done both in the air and on the ground. Evans has rushed for a TD in four consecutive games. Our projections say Watson will win this showdown. Clemson wins 54.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.0-25.0.
No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 8 Penn State
Though many believe Ohio State is guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoffs, it will ultimately be up to the committee to decide. With the Buckeyes watching from home this week, Penn State and Wisconsin will get their chance to impress the voters and leapfrog OSU. Also, if enough teams lose ahead of them, the winner of this game could join the Bucks in the playoffs. Wisconsin’s defense has been dominant. Since their loss to Ohio State, the Badgers haven’t allowed more than 20 points in a contest. The Nittany Lions have won eight straight games after being demolished by Michigan. Penn State has also scored 38 or more points in six of the past seven games. Our simulations favor the Badgers, with Wisconsin winning 56.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.2-24.2.