WhatIfSports college football Week 3 predictions: Georgia Tech wins at Notre Dame

BY Fox Sports • 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 2 in Review

Our college football simulation engine built on a strong opening week (85.9 percent accuracy) with another good showing in Week 2. We predicted the winner in 84.2 percent of all games involving an FBS team (64-12 record). In games featuring a Top 25 team, the simulation engine boasted an accuracy of 92.0 percent (23-2 record). The only Top 25 games we missed were Toledo over Arkansas and BYU over Boise State.

Track our 2015 performance or view our accuracy last season, when we correctly picked the winner in 77.6 percent of all games involving FBS teams.

Week 2 Highlight: Our Oklahoma over Tennessee prediction was looking precarious, with the Volunteers taking a 17-3 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Sooners managed two touchdowns in the final stanza to send the game to OT, where they outscored Tennessee 14-7. Final score: Oklahoma 31 – Tennessee 24. The WhatIfSports prediction: Oklahoma 28.7 – Tennessee 24.0.

Week 2 Lowlight: Eastern Michigan ranked 128th in our Week 2 power rankings. Paying a visit to Wyoming, our simulation engine felt comfortable picking against EMU, with Wyoming winning 64.4 percent of games simulated between the two teams. Vegas oddsmakers agreed with the pick, taking the Cowboys by 13. Naturally, Eastern Michigan steamrolled Wyoming, leading 38-14 at the half en route to a 48-29 victory.  If the Eagles can defeat Ball State this week, they’ll match their win total from 2014.

Week 3 Top 25 vs. Top 25 Matchups

No. 19 BYU @ No. 10 UCLA: BYU has overcome the loss of star quarterback Taysom Hill with back-to-back game-winning heaves from new starter Tanner Mangum. With victories over Nebraska and No. 20 Boise State, BYU’s ranking is well-deserved. But can the Cougars survive their toughest test yet? After 101 simulations, the computer gives the nod to UCLA, with the Bruins winning 55.6 percent of the time.

No. 15 Ole Miss @ No. 2 Alabama: Last year, Alabama’s only regular-season loss was a 23-17 defeat at Ole Miss. Now the Rebels are tasked with traveling to Tuscaloosa to make it two in a row over ‘Bama. We’re not predicting a pleasant outcome for Ole Miss, however, with the Crimson Tide winning by an average score of 28.2-23.5.

No. 14 Georgia Tech @ No. 8 Notre Dame: Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame is our featured Game of the Week. Check below for the full breakdown.

Week 3 Upset Picks

Colorado State (+3.5) over Colorado: The Buffaloes dropped their first game of the year to Hawaii and lost to in-state rival Colorado State in 2014. Yet the CSU Rams, coming off a 23-20 overtime defeat to Minnesota, are 3.5-point dogs in the matchup. We like Colorado State to pull the upset, with the Rams winning 57.4 percent of simulations.

Western Kentucky (+2.5) over Indiana: Western Kentucky is 2-0 with a two-point win at Vanderbilt and a three-point win over Louisiana Tech. Although Indiana may be a tougher opponent, we like the Hilltoppers to escape with another narrow win. Watch for a high-scoring affair in Bloomington.

Game of the Week: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame

This week's matchup between the Yellow Jackets and Fighting Irish was supposed to be a showdown of two athletic quarterbacks: Justin Thomas (GT) and Malik Zaire (ND).

However, Zaire broke his ankle and will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

But, don't count Notre Dame out just yet. They will move from a Kettering, Ohio quarterback to a Toledo, OH player. DeShone Kizer took over for Zaire and the Irish offense didn't miss a beat. Kizer completed 8-of-12 passes for 92 yards including the 39-yard game-winning TD pass to Will Fuller.

Georgia Tech's offense has been impressive, too. The Yellow Jackets have scored the second-most points in FBS, thus far (134 points). They trail only Ole Miss by 15 points for the lead. Tech has an effective running attack. Freshman Marcus Marshall leads the team with 221 rushing yards on only 14 attempts (15.8 yards per carry).

While GT is producing points at an outstanding rate, they have yet to see the quality of opponent as ND. Tech's wins have been over Alcorn State and Tulane. Notre Dame has defeated Texas and Virginia.

Our computers simulated this game 101 times and are awarding Georgia Tech as the winner 55.4 percent of the time by an average score of 28.8-28.3.

The quarterback change had to influence this decision tremendously. If Notre Dame remains undefeated after Week 3, look for our simulations to lean more toward the luck of the Irish throughout 2015.

In addition, view our Week 3 power rankings or visit our college football archive for predictions from past weeks. For more statistics, view our weekly college football predictions.

College Football Week 3 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
William & Mary Tribe 5.0 8.5 Box Score
@ Virginia Cavaliers 95.0 44.4  
Illinois Fighting Illini 38.1 29.5 Box Score
@ North Carolina Tar Heels 61.9 33.0  
Central Michigan Chippewas 39.6 23.5 Box Score
@ Syracuse Orange 60.4 26.2  
Northwestern Wildcats 46.5 23.7 Box Score
@ Duke Blue Devils 53.5 26.0  
Nebraska Cornhuskers 47.9 28.4 Box Score
@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes 52.1 28.9  
Clemson Tigers 58.4 29.0 Box Score
@ Louisville Cardinals 41.6 25.5  
Florida State Seminoles 69.3 29.6 Box Score
@ Boston College Eagles 30.7 23.8  
Troy Trojans 14.9 22.4 Box Score
@ Wisconsin Badgers 85.1 34.7  
Northern Illinois Huskies 16.8 22.8 Box Score
@ Ohio State Buckeyes 83.2 35.6  
Air Force Falcons 19.8 21.6 Box Score
@ Michigan State Spartans 80.2 32.2  
Kent State Golden Flashes 21.8 22.2 Box Score
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers 78.2 32.4  
UNLV Rebels 26.7 22.4 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 73.3 31.2  
South Florida Bulls 40.6 24.9 Box Score
@ Maryland Terrapins 59.4 27.7  
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 45.0 24.3 Box Score
@ Penn State Nittany Lions 55.0 26.0  
Pittsburgh Panthers 49.4 28.1 Box Score
@ Iowa Hawkeyes 50.6 28.5  
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 57.4 32.6 Box Score
@ Indiana Hoosiers 42.6 30.5  
Virginia Tech Hokies 63.4 26.6 Box Score
@ Purdue Boilermakers 36.6 21.8  
Murray State Racers 5.0 7.4 Box Score
@ Western Michigan Broncos 95.0 47.6  
Savannah State Tigers 5.0 8.1 Box Score
@ Akron Zips 95.0 46.6  
Southeastern Louisiana Lions 5.0 7.7 Box Score
@ Ohio Bobcats 95.0 43.2  
Iowa State Cyclones 48.2 29.5 Box Score
@ Toledo Rockets 51.8 29.9  
Memphis Tigers 56.0 31.5 Box Score
@ Bowling Green Falcons 44.0 30.3  
Ball State Cardinals 68.3 33.4 Box Score
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles 31.7 27.3  
Temple Owls 68.3 32.4 Box Score
@ Massachusetts Minutemen 31.7 25.4  
Cincinnati Bearcats 79.2 36.1 Box Score
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks 20.8 26.7  
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 5.0 6.1 Box Score
@ Arizona Wildcats 95.0 51.5  
Georgia State Panthers 9.9 22.9 Box Score
@ Oregon Ducks 90.1 38.3  
New Mexico Lobos 23.8 25.6 Box Score
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 76.2 34.9  
Utah State Aggies 31.7 25.1 Box Score
@ Washington Huskies 68.3 28.8  
Wyoming Cowboys 31.7 29.1 Box Score
@ Washington State Cougars 68.3 33.7  
San Jose State Spartans 35.6 28.0 Box Score
@ Oregon State Beavers 64.4 32.2  
Stanford Cardinal 41.6 27.4 Box Score
@ USC Trojans 58.4 30.6  
BYU Cougars 44.4 27.4 Box Score
@ UCLA Bruins 55.6 29.1  
Western Carolina Catamounts 5.0 9.2 Box Score
@ Tennessee Volunteers 95.0 51.1  
Northwestern State Demons 5.0 8.3 Box Score
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs 95.0 49.1  
Austin Peay Governors 5.0 6.3 Box Score
@ Vanderbilt Commodores 95.0 43.5  
Connecticut Huskies 22.3 20.4 Box Score
@ Missouri Tigers 77.7 30.0  
Nevada Wolf Pack 27.7 27.7 Box Score
@ Texas A&M Aggies 72.3 35.5  
Ole Miss Rebels 33.2 23.5 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 66.8 28.2  
South Carolina Gamecocks 40.6 25.0 Box Score
@ Georgia Bulldogs 59.4 30.0  
Texas Tech Red Raiders 43.6 28.2 Box Score
@ Arkansas Razorbacks 56.4 32.3  
Auburn Tigers 44.6 26.0 Box Score
@ LSU Tigers 55.4 27.4  
Florida Gators 69.3 28.3 Box Score
@ Kentucky Wildcats 30.7 23.5  
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 55.4 28.8 Box Score
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish 44.6 28.3  
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 69.3 27.3 Box Score
@ Army West Point Black Knights 30.7 21.6  
SMU Mustangs 11.9 22.2 Box Score
@ TCU Horned Frogs 88.1 35.8  
UTSA Roadrunners 20.8 18.8 Box Score
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys 79.2 30.6  
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 21.8 22.8 Box Score
@ Oklahoma Sooners 78.2 31.9  
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 32.7 27.7 Box Score
@ Kansas State Wildcats 67.3 33.1  
California Golden Bears 57.4 30.2 Box Score
@ Texas Longhorns 42.6 28.5  
Norfolk State Spartans 5.0 7.6 Box Score
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 95.0 46.9  
North Carolina Central Eagles 5.0 6.4 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 95.0 41.3  
Charlotte 49ers 29.7 27.3 Box Score
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 70.3 32.1  
Buffalo Bulls 51.4 32.5 Box Score
@ Florida Atlantic Owls 48.6 31.8  
Rice Owls 60.4 29.2 Box Score
@ North Texas Mean Green 39.6 24.2  
North Carolina State Wolfpack 75.2 33.7 Box Score
@ Old Dominion Monarchs 24.8 25.3  
UC Davis Aggies 5.0 6.7 Box Score
@ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 95.0 46.5  
Idaho State Bengals 5.0 6.2 Box Score
@ Boise State Broncos 95.0 46.9  
South Alabama Jaguars 34.7 25.0 Box Score
@ San Diego State Aztecs 65.3 30.1  
Colorado Buffaloes 42.6 30.7 Box Score
@ Colorado State Rams 57.4 32.9  
Utah Utes 62.4 29.8 Box Score
@ Fresno State Bulldogs 37.6 25.9  
Missouri State Bears 5.0 7.0 Box Score
@ Arkansas State Red Wolves 95.0 47.9  
Citadel Bulldogs 5.0 7.5 Box Score
@ Georgia Southern Eagles 95.0 46.8  
Wofford Terriers 5.0 8.5 Box Score
@ Idaho Vandals 95.0 41.7  
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 42.1 31.2 Box Score
@ Texas State Bobcats 57.9 32.2  
UTEP Miners 53.4 29.7 Box Score
@ New Mexico State Aggies 46.6 28.7  
Furman Paladins 5.0 7.3 Box Score
@ UCF Knights 95.0 41.8  
Maine Black Bears 5.0 7.6 Box Score
@ Tulane Green Wave 95.0 42.9  
East Carolina Pirates 45.5 32.0 Box Score
@ Navy Midshipmen 54.5 32.4  




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