WhatIfSports college football Week 2 predictions: Tennessee improves to 2-0

BY foxsports • December 24, 2016

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 1 in Review

After a long offseason, our college football simulation engine shook off the cobwebs and accurately predicted 72 of 87 Week 1 games. The successes included a couple of upset picks, with Toledo (+3) taking down Arkansas State 31-10 and BYU (+1) knocking off Arizona 18-16. 

Nailed It: Minnesota 30 - Oregon State 23

Oddsmakers envisioned Minnesota to handle Oregon State, installing the Gophers as 13-point favorites. We predicted a closer game, however, picking Minnesota to win 56.4 percent of the time and outscoring the Beavers by an average margin of of 26.8-25.6. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Gophers erased a 23-17 deficit as the team won 30-23.

Wide Right: South Alabama 21 -€“ Mississippi State 20

When an SEC school plays a member of the Sun Belt, it's usually a safe assumption that the SEC team will triumph. We placed Mississippi State's odds to beat South Alabama at 74.3 percent. At the half, the Bulldogs led 17-0. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was 20-7. But two fourth-quarter touchdowns by South Alabama, the second with 57 seconds remaining, delivered the Jaguars a huge 21-20 upset. 

Track our 2016 performance or view our accuracy last season, when we correctly picked the winner in 80.0 percent of all games involving FBS teams.

Week 2 Games to Watch

Arkansas at No. 13 TCU

Hunting for Top 25 matchups was a struggle this week, so we went with some solid games that may not have high-ranking aspirations. This battle between the Big 12 and SEC made the cut. Both of these teams were victorious last week, but allowed way too many points against weaker opponents. The Horned Frogs were locked up with South Dakota State until the third quarter before earning the 59-41 win. Arkansas needed a fourth-quarter comeback in order to defeat Louisiana Tech by a score of 21-20. Our simulation engines don't believe the Razorbacks can make another come-from-behind win. TCU wins 52.5 percent of the time by an average score of 26.9-25.6.

BYU at Utah

The Holy War has gone the way of Utah in the past five matchups, including twice last year (2015 Las Vegas Bowl). The Utes own the series overall record, too (58-34-4). Transfer quarterback Troy Williams won his first start for the Utes last week (24-0 over Southern Utah). Kalani Sitake won in his debut, as well. The new BYU head coach made the right move starting Taysom Hill at QB and earned the close 18-16 win over Arizona. One team will receive its first loss of the season and our computers say it will be the Cougars. Utah wins 56.4 percent of the simulations by an average score of 27.2-24.3.

Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Tennessee

Gentlemen, start your engines! The Hokies and Volunteers square off at Bristol Motor Speedway in what is expected to be the largest crowd on-hand for a college football game (estimated attendance around 150,000). Tennessee might've had their sights on this game one week too soon. The Volunteers needed overtime to beat Appalachian State 20-13 at home. Virginia Tech won its opener thanks to new starting QB Jerod Evans (221 passing yards and four TDs). However, our computer simulations suggest the SEC will win this contest 59.4 percent of the time by an average score of 26.8-25.4, in favor of the Vols.

Week 3 Upset Pick

Penn State (+6) at Pittsburgh

Instate rivals Penn State and Pitt meet in Heinz Field (Pitt's home) on Saturday afternoon. Both won their first game of 2016 by at least 20 points. Both teams also rely heavily on their ground attack. The Nittany Lions have sophomore Saquon Barkley. He rushed for over 100 yards and a TD in Week 1. The Panthers have James Conner. He tallied 69 total yards and two TDs in his emotional return. Our computers give the edge to the Big 10 in this one 55.4 percent of the time by an average score of 26.2-24.8.

College Football Week 2 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
Charleston Southern Buccaneers 5.0 9.0 Box Score
@ Florida State Seminoles 95.0 52.6  
Mercer Bears 5.0 6.5 Box Score
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 95.0 47.7  
Troy Trojans 19.3 22.9 Box Score
@ Clemson Tigers 80.7 32.8  
Florida Atlantic Owls 20.3 20.6 Box Score
@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes 79.7 29.0  
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 48.0 24.3 Box Score
@ Duke Blue Devils 52.0 25.8  
Penn State Nittany Lions 55.4 26.2 Box Score
@ Pittsburgh Panthers 44.6 24.8  
Louisville Cardinals 68.3 29.4 Box Score
@ Syracuse Orange 31.7 22.4  
Indiana State Sycamores 5.0 6.8 Box Score
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers 95.0 43.6  
Howard Bison 5.0 7.6 Box Score
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights 95.0 45.2  
Illinois State Redbirds 5.0 8.9 Box Score
@ Northwestern Wildcats 95.0 46.1  
UCF Knights 17.8 21.4 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 82.2 33.2  
Akron Zips 23.8 21.3 Box Score
@ Wisconsin Badgers 76.2 29.0  
Iowa State Cyclones 23.3 21.2 Box Score
@ Iowa Hawkeyes 76.7 28.5  
Wyoming Cowboys 29.7 28.0 Box Score
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers 70.3 33.2  
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 30.7 23.3 Box Score
@ Ohio State Buckeyes 69.3 31.4  
Ball State Cardinals 40.7 29.4 Box Score
@ Indiana Hoosiers 59.3 32.5  
Cincinnati Bearcats 62.4 31.8 Box Score
@ Purdue Boilermakers 37.6 27.0  
North Carolina Tar Heels 66.8 30.2 Box Score
@ Illinois Fighting Illini 33.2 23.6  
Maine Black Bears 5.0 8.3 Box Score
@ Toledo Rockets 95.0 50.6  
North Carolina Central Eagles 5.0 7.6 Box Score
@ Western Michigan Broncos 95.0 51.6  
North Carolina A&T Aggies 5.0 7.2 Box Score
@ Kent State Golden Flashes 95.0 38.4  
Eastern Illinois Panthers 5.0 9.6 Box Score
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks 95.0 42.1  
North Dakota Fighting Hawks 5.0 7.5 Box Score
@ Bowling Green Falcons 95.0 45.6  
Idaho State Bengals 5.0 6.9 Box Score
@ Colorado Buffaloes 95.0 48.0  
Grambling State Tigers 5.0 6.6 Box Score
@ Arizona Wildcats 95.0 50.4  
Idaho Vandals 24.8 24.1 Box Score
@ Washington Huskies 75.2 34.3  
UNLV Rebels 33.7 25.4 Box Score
@ UCLA Bruins 66.3 32.4  
Virginia Cavaliers 37.6 27.5 Box Score
@ Oregon Ducks 62.4 32.3  
BYU Cougars 43.6 24.3 Box Score
@ Utah Utes 56.4 27.2  
Utah State Aggies 43.6 28.6 Box Score
@ USC Trojans 56.4 31.0  
Texas Tech Red Raiders 47.5 30.9 Box Score
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 52.5 31.2  
Jacksonville State Gamecocks 5.0 6.1 Box Score
@ LSU Tigers 95.0 49.4  
Wofford Terriers 5.0 6.2 Box Score
@ Ole Miss Rebels 95.0 50.4  
Prairie View A&M Panthers 5.0 7.0 Box Score
@ Texas A&M Aggies 95.0 48.1  
Nicholls Colonels 5.0 8.5 Box Score
@ Georgia Bulldogs 95.0 47.8  
Eastern Michigan Eagles 25.2 23.6 Box Score
@ Missouri Tigers 74.8 30.2  
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 30.7 26.7 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 69.3 32.1  
Kentucky Wildcats 35.6 23.9 Box Score
@ Florida Gators 64.4 28.6  
Virginia Tech Hokies 40.6 25.4 Box Score
@ Tennessee Volunteers 59.4 26.8  
Arkansas State Red Wolves 41.6 24.5 Box Score
@ Auburn Tigers 58.4 27.6  
South Carolina Gamecocks 41.6 26.7 Box Score
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs 58.4 29.9  
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 47.5 26.3 Box Score
@ Vanderbilt Commodores 52.5 26.7  
Nevada Wolf Pack 20.8 24.9 Box Score
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish 79.2 34.1  
Rice Owls 47.8 27.9 Box Score
@ Army West Point Black Knights 52.2 28.6  
Boston College Eagles 62.9 26.0 Box Score
@ Massachusetts Minutemen 37.1 21.6  
Youngstown State Penguins 5.0 6.7 Box Score
@ West Virginia Mountaineers 95.0 45.4  
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 8.4 21.9 Box Score
@ Oklahoma Sooners 91.6 35.6  
SMU Mustangs 15.8 23.1 Box Score
@ Baylor Bears 84.2 35.8  
UTEP Miners 25.2 24.2 Box Score
@ Texas Longhorns 74.8 32.1  
Central Michigan Chippewas 34.7 26.3 Box Score
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys 65.3 31.8  
Arkansas Razorbacks 47.5 25.7 Box Score
@ TCU Horned Frogs 52.5 26.9  
Ohio Bobcats 52.0 27.5 Box Score
@ Kansas Jayhawks 48.0 26.4  
Savannah State Tigers 5.0 8.0 Box Score
@ Southern Miss Golden Eagles 95.0 48.8  
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 5.0 10.0 Box Score
@ North Texas Mean Green 95.0 40.5  
South Carolina State Bulldogs 5.0 7.9 Box Score
@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 95.0 47.3  
Elon Phoenix 5.0 8.1 Box Score
@ Charlotte 49ers 95.0 36.8  
Morgan State Bears 5.0 8.2 Box Score
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 95.0 47.3  
Maryland Terrapins 58.4 29.1 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 41.6 25.6  
Portland State Vikings 5.0 8.6 Box Score
@ San Jose State Spartans 95.0 43.0  
Sacramento State Hornets 5.0 7.9 Box Score
@ Fresno State Bulldogs 95.0 42.8  
UT Martin Skyhawks 5.0 9.3 Box Score
@ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 95.0 40.9  
Georgia State Panthers 27.7 27.0 Box Score
@ Air Force Falcons 72.3 32.7  
California Golden Bears 41.6 27.9 Box Score
@ San Diego State Aztecs 58.4 29.4  
UTSA Roadrunners 44.3 26.3 Box Score
@ Colorado State Rams 55.7 27.9  
Washington State Cougars 44.6 32.5 Box Score
@ Boise State Broncos 55.4 33.6  
McNeese State Cowboys 5.0 8.5 Box Score
@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 95.0 43.5  
Old Dominion Monarchs 26.7 27.6 Box Score
@ Appalachian State Mountaineers 73.3 35.2  
Georgia Southern Eagles 51.5 30.0 Box Score
@ South Alabama Jaguars 48.5 28.0  
New Mexico Lobos 68.3 33.4 Box Score
@ New Mexico State Aggies 31.7 27.9  
Stony Brook Seawolves 5.0 7.1 Box Score
@ Temple Owls 95.0 44.7  
Lamar Cardinals 5.0 9.2 Box Score
@ Houston Cougars 95.0 50.1  
Southern University Jaguars 5.0 7.8 Box Score
@ Tulane Green Wave 95.0 40.3  
Connecticut Huskies 43.6 26.3 Box Score
@ Navy Midshipmen 56.4 28.1  
Northern Illinois Huskies 43.1 26.1 Box Score
@ South Florida Bulls 56.9 28.6  
North Carolina State Wolfpack 54.5 27.9 Box Score
@ East Carolina Pirates 45.5 24.6  

In addition, view our Week 2 power rankings or visit our college football archive for predictions from past weeks. For more statistics, view our weekly college football predictions.



share story