WhatIfSports college football Week 4 predictions: MSU keeps rolling vs. Wisconsin

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 3 in Review

Our predictions were correct 83.6 percent of the time last week, which actually dropped our season-long percentage to 84.7 overall. However, when it came to one of the most-watched games of the evening, the computer called the OSU win over Oklahoma. Also, the Upset of the Week was a push. We had Oregon (+3) and the Ducks lost by three.

Nailed It: Maryland 30 - UCF 24

It took double overtime, but the Terrapins survived a scare from the Knights. McKenzie Milton fumbled for UCF, so Maryland needed to score a point in any way in order to win. Tyrrell Pigrome ended up scoring on a 24-yard run to earn the victory. We predicted Maryland to win 59.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.3-25.1. If you had UCF +11, you won too.

Wide Right: Louisville 63 - Florida State 20

Lamar Jackson produced video game numbers, yet again. This time, it was against the second-ranked team in the nation. Jackson rushed for 146 yards and four TDs in the win. Our computers will likely adjust to Jackson's dominance now that he's succeeded against a formidable opponent. We predicted Florida State to win 60.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 30.2-26.1.

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 4 Top 25 vs. Top 25 Matchups

No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 9 Michigan State

Someone will get saddled with their first loss of the season when these two Big Ten teams meet in East Lansing. The Spartans had a very impressive win in South Bend last week (36-28) while the Badgers struggled to defeat Georgia State (23-17). Michigan State has won this matchup in three of the past four years and hasn't lost at home to Wisconsin in the past four contests. The Spartans' dominance continues as our predictions have Michigan State winning 54.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.0-23.7.

No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss

There are eight SEC teams in the AP Top 25 and six of them are listed in this piece for Week 4. The Rebels lost a hard-fought battle with Alabama last week and they need to make sure they are ready for another tough contest. The Bulldogs are still unbeaten, but they need Nick Chubb to get back to his Heisman hopeful self. After rushing for 222 yards in Week 1, Chubb has averaged only 71.5 rushing yards in the past two games. Ole Miss has lost twice already, but they are to high-quality opponents (Florida State and Alabama). They are basically eliminated from SEC Championship contention and there is still plenty of football left to be played. Ole Miss rebounds, according to our computers, and wins 52.7 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.5-26.2.

No. 19 Florida at No. 14 Tennessee

The Vols are taking a survive-and-advance approach to their 2016 football campaign, which is always dangerous. First, they needed overtime to beat Appalachian State at home. Then, the Vols trailed by 14 in the Battle at Bristol before coming back to defeat Virginia Tech. Finally, last week, Tennessee led by only two after three quarters against the MAC's Ohio Bobcats. As for Florida, its defense has feasted on weaker competition. The Gators have allowed a grand total of 14 points after three games. Florida has won 11 straight games against the Vols. Tennessee does most of its damage on the ground with Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd. However, Florida's defense is allowing only 42.3 rushing yards per game (second-best in NCAA). In a nail-biter, the simulations suggest Tennessee wins 50.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 23.6-23.0.

No. 17 Arkansas at No. 19 Texas A&M

Jerry's World will be ringing with more cowbell when the Aggies and Razorbacks battle on Saturday night in Arlington. Both teams are 3-0 and looking to represent the SEC West in 2016. Texas A&M is led by Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight. Arkansas has its offense operating through the ground attack of Rawleigh Williams III. RW3 is a Dallas native and will have some extra incentive playing in the same stadium as the Dallas Cowboys. That little motivation could be enough as the projections have Texas A&M winning 50.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.3-26.0.

Week 4 Upset Pick

California (+3.5) over Arizona State

It always seems to be a shootout when Cal is involved. In Australia, the Golden Bears won 51-31 against Hawaii. After that, they lost a high-scoring affair with San Diego State (45-40). Last week, they outlasted Texas, 50-43. This one will likely come down to the final drive, too. Cal's Davis Webb has tallied 13 TDs and only three INTs in the team's air attack. Look for Chad Hansen to have a big impact, as well. He leads the team with 40 receptions, 28 more than the team's second-leading receiver, Melquise Stovall. Cal wins 50.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 30.1-27.2.

College Football Week 4 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
Wagner Seahawks 5.0 8.9 Box Score
@ Boston College Eagles 95.0 40.6  
East Carolina Pirates 37.6 25.2 Box Score
@ Virginia Tech Hokies 62.4 28.9  
Pittsburgh Panthers 49.5 26.8 Box Score
@ North Carolina Tar Heels 50.5 28.0  
Central Michigan Chippewas 53.5 28.3 Box Score
@ Virginia Cavaliers 46.5 27.0  
Clemson Tigers 63.9 28.0 Box Score
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 36.1 22.6  
Penn State Nittany Lions 35.6 24.3 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 64.4 29.1  
Colorado State Rams 42.6 26.9 Box Score
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers 57.4 29.8  
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 44.8 26.7 Box Score
@ Indiana Hoosiers 55.2 27.3  
Wisconsin Badgers 45.5 23.7 Box Score
@ Michigan State Spartans 54.5 26.0  
Nevada Wolf Pack 48.5 28.5 Box Score
@ Purdue Boilermakers 51.5 29.5  
Iowa Hawkeyes 51.0 29.2 Box Score
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights 49.0 29.0  
Nebraska Cornhuskers 67.3 26.4 Box Score
@ Northwestern Wildcats 32.7 21.4  
Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs 5.0 7.8 Box Score
@ Ohio Bobcats 95.0 45.8  
Western Illinois Leathernecks 5.0 7.0 Box Score
@ Northern Illinois Huskies 95.0 46.0  
Georgia Southern Eagles 41.6 29.6 Box Score
@ Western Michigan Broncos 58.4 31.2  
Wyoming Cowboys 53.5 33.4 Box Score
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles 46.5 32.6  
Appalachian State Mountaineers 55.5 29.0 Box Score
@ Akron Zips 44.5 26.9  
Army West Point Black Knights 58.4 29.9 Box Score
@ Buffalo Bulls 41.6 27.4  
Colorado Buffaloes 39.7 27.5 Box Score
@ Oregon Ducks 60.3 31.4  
USC Trojans 44.6 27.9 Box Score
@ Utah Utes 55.4 28.3  
California Golden Bears 50.5 30.1 Box Score
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 49.5 27.2  
Stanford Cardinal 57.4 29.0 Box Score
@ UCLA Bruins 42.6 27.0  
Boise State Broncos 60.4 29.7 Box Score
@ Oregon State Beavers 39.6 28.3  
Washington Huskies 63.4 33.3 Box Score
@ Arizona Wildcats 36.6 29.2  
Delaware State Hornets 5.0 9.0 Box Score
@ Missouri Tigers 95.0 45.0  
Kent State Golden Flashes 13.9 16.3 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 86.1 31.2  
Georgia Bulldogs 47.3 26.2 Box Score
@ Ole Miss Rebels 52.7 27.5  
Arkansas Razorbacks 49.2 26.0 Box Score
@ Texas A&M Aggies 50.8 26.3  
Florida Gators 49.5 23.0 Box Score
@ Tennessee Volunteers 50.5 23.6  
LSU Tigers 51.5 27.5 Box Score
@ Auburn Tigers 48.5 26.3  
South Carolina Gamecocks 57.4 29.2 Box Score
@ Kentucky Wildcats 42.6 28.7  
Duke Blue Devils 45.5 27.3 Box Score
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish 54.5 30.0  
Mississippi State Bulldogs 75.2 33.5 Box Score
@ Massachusetts Minutemen 24.8 26.7  
Missouri State Bears 5.0 8.7 Box Score
@ Kansas State Wildcats 95.0 46.0  
Oklahoma State Cowboys 44.6 29.4 Box Score
@ Baylor Bears 55.4 30.7  
BYU Cougars 49.5 25.8 Box Score
@ West Virginia Mountaineers 50.5 26.8  
San Jose State Spartans 49.5 26.4 Box Score
@ Iowa State Cyclones 50.5 28.5  
Vanderbilt Commodores 35.6 25.8 Box Score
@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 64.4 30.7  
North Texas Mean Green 37.6 27.7 Box Score
@ Rice Owls 62.4 33.2  
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 45.5 30.3 Box Score
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 54.5 31.8  
UTSA Roadrunners 45.5 27.6 Box Score
@ Old Dominion Monarchs 54.5 28.9  
UCF Knights 53.9 28.9 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 46.1 28.4  
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 55.4 31.1 Box Score
@ UTEP Miners 44.6 29.2  
Ball State Cardinals 60.4 27.4 Box Score
@ Florida Atlantic Owls 39.6 25.6  
Louisville Cardinals 81.2 33.0 Box Score
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 18.8 22.5  
Idaho Vandals 38.8 28.7 Box Score
@ UNLV Rebels 61.2 32.3  
Air Force Falcons 53.5 31.1 Box Score
@ Utah State Aggies 46.5 30.4  
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 63.4 32.6 Box Score
@ Fresno State Bulldogs 36.6 27.5  
Nicholls Colonels 5.0 6.9 Box Score
@ South Alabama Jaguars 95.0 45.3  
Central Arkansas Bears 5.0 8.9 Box Score
@ Arkansas State Red Wolves 95.0 46.4  
New Mexico State Aggies 31.7 27.0 Box Score
@ Troy Trojans 68.3 32.5  
Houston Cougars 72.3 35.0 Box Score
@ Texas State Bobcats 27.7 26.3  
Miami (OH) RedHawks 24.8 26.4 Box Score
@ Cincinnati Bearcats 75.2 34.1  
Charlotte 49ers 29.7 21.4 Box Score
@ Temple Owls 70.3 28.7  
Syracuse Orange 35.6 23.1 Box Score
@ Connecticut Huskies 64.4 25.8  
Bowling Green Falcons 41.6 28.5 Box Score
@ Memphis Tigers 58.4 31.3  
Florida State Seminoles 56.4 30.3 Box Score
@ South Florida Bulls 43.6 29.2  
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 63.4 31.3 Box Score
@ Tulane Green Wave 36.6 26.4  
TCU Horned Frogs 79.2 35.1 Box Score
@ SMU Mustangs 20.8 23.3  

In addition, view our Week 4 power rankings or visit our college football archive for predictions from past weeks. For more statistics, view our weekly college football predictions.



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