WhatIfSports college football Week 5 predictions: Clemson holds off Louisville

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 4 in Review

Our projections continue to rock when it comes to Top 25 teams. Last week, we correctly predicted 17 of the 20 games involving Top 25-ranked clubs. That improved our season Top 25 accuracy to 81.7 percent. Unfortunately, our Game to Watch and Upset of the Week failed to come through. It was the first time we lost the Game of the Week in 2016.

Nailed It: Washington 35 - Arizona 28

As we'll get into later, the Huskies are rebounding from a rough 2015 season. Our computers saw this and projected a score very close to the actual outcome. We predicted Washington to win 63.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 33.3-29.2.

Wide Right: Wisconsin 30 - Michigan State 6

Wisconsin continues to impress in 2016. They started the season with a big win over LSU and have now won on the road against a tough MSU team. We predicted Michigan State to win 54.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.0-23.7. Let's see if the computers change their tune when the Badgers have another big in-conference matchup.

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 5 Top 25 vs. Top 25 Matchups

No. 7 Stanford at No. 10 Washington

The winner of this game has a fast track to the Pac-12 Championship as the representative from the North. Every other team in their division has two losses. Washington was the victim of some tough-luck losses in 2015. The Huskies lost three of their first six games by six points or less, to Boise State, Cal, and Oregon. This year, the Huskies are on the other side. They defeated Arizona in overtime last week. Washington is led by Jake Browning. The sophomore has thrown 14 TDs with only two interceptions. Stanford won the division last year, along with the Rose Bowl game. The Cardinal offense runs through Christian McCaffrey. He's averaging 145.3 rushing yards per game. David Shaw's squad is projected to win 57.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 29.6-26.9.

No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia

One team fell victim to its past while the other one bucked the trend last week. Tennessee had been Gator bait for the last 11 meetings...until last Saturday. After trailing 21-0, the Vols rallied and won 38-28. As for Georgia, the Bulldogs have the stigma of not living up to expectations and always dropping two or three games, causing them to fall in the rankings and remove themselves from top bowl consideration. Last week, the 'Dawgs were defeated by Ole Miss, 45-14. The series matchup between these two couldn't be much closer. Tennessee barely owns the overall record, 22-21-2. Its balanced attack of Joshua Dobbs through the air (201.3 passing yards per game) and the combo of Dobbs and Jalen Hurd on the ground (151.6 rushing yards per game) has resulted in an undefeated start to the season. The dream season should continue for Tennessee as our computer has the Vols winning 52.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 25.9-25.2.

No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan

It's been a tough early schedule for Wisconsin. As for Michigan, this is the biggest test they've had all season. Will the team who played better competition be better for it or will the team who almost coasted through the first four games be more refreshed? The Badgers have won three of the past four meetings, but the tune-up strategy is predicted to be best as the Wolverines win 67.3 percent of the simulations, by an average score of 26.9-23.1.

No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson

We have six of the Top 10 teams playing one another this week in a great slate of games, but this one is the headliner. Louisville's Lamar Jackson has been on fire. He's thrown 13 TDs and rushed for 12 in the first four games. He has the Cardinals offense averaging 63.5 points per game and an astounding 682 yards per contest. Both currently lead the NCAA. On the other side of the field, Deshaun Watson's Tigers led in the National Championship after three quarters of play before eventually falling to Alabama. This year, they are looking to get back to the title game. Our computers still don't believe in Bobby Petrino's boys as Clemson wins 56.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.9-26.7.

Week 5 Upset Pick

Utah (+1) over California

The Utes haven't lost a game in 2016, yet they are the slight underdog against the two-loss Golden Bears. Junior quarterback Troy Williams is starting to find his rhythm. Last week, he threw for 270 yards and two TDs against USC. Cal has been involved in a shootout every week this season. According to our projections, the Utah defense keeps the scoring low and wins 51.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 28.6-28.5.

College Football Week 5 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
Buffalo Bulls 34.7 20.2 Box Score
@ Boston College Eagles 65.3 26.7  
Marshall Thundering Herd 37.6 23.1 Box Score
@ Pittsburgh Panthers 62.4 29.0  
North Carolina Tar Heels 40.6 28.4 Box Score
@ Florida State Seminoles 59.4 31.6  
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 42.6 23.9 Box Score
@ North Carolina State Wolfpack 57.4 25.3  
Louisville Cardinals 43.6 26.7 Box Score
@ Clemson Tigers 56.4 28.9  
Virginia Cavaliers 47.5 27.0 Box Score
@ Duke Blue Devils 52.5 27.3  
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 65.3 29.6 Box Score
@ Syracuse Orange 34.7 26.1  
Miami (FL) Hurricanes 66.3 28.8 Box Score
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 33.7 23.4  
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 23.8 21.8 Box Score
@ Ohio State Buckeyes 76.2 32.5  
Wisconsin Badgers 32.7 23.1 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 67.3 26.9  
Purdue Boilermakers 33.7 25.5 Box Score
@ Maryland Terrapins 66.3 29.7  
Illinois Fighting Illini 39.6 27.0 Box Score
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers 60.4 31.4  
Minnesota Golden Gophers 40.6 25.3 Box Score
@ Penn State Nittany Lions 59.4 27.1  
Northwestern Wildcats 42.7 21.4 Box Score
@ Iowa Hawkeyes 57.3 23.3  
Michigan State Spartans 57.4 28.3 Box Score
@ Indiana Hoosiers 42.6 25.0  
Northern Illinois Huskies 46.5 30.9 Box Score
@ Ball State Cardinals 53.5 31.8  
Eastern Michigan Eagles 48.5 30.4 Box Score
@ Bowling Green Falcons 51.5 31.3  
Western Michigan Broncos 52.5 31.1 Box Score
@ Central Michigan Chippewas 47.5 29.4  
Akron Zips 57.4 26.5 Box Score
@ Kent State Golden Flashes 42.6 23.3  
Ohio Bobcats 60.3 30.5 Box Score
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks 39.7 27.4  
Oregon State Beavers 39.6 26.1 Box Score
@ Colorado Buffaloes 60.4 28.7  
Arizona Wildcats 42.6 29.8 Box Score
@ UCLA Bruins 57.4 31.0  
Arizona State Sun Devils 47.0 29.3 Box Score
@ USC Trojans 53.0 30.0  
Utah Utes 51.5 28.6 Box Score
@ California Golden Bears 48.5 28.5  
Oregon Ducks 56.4 34.5 Box Score
@ Washington State Cougars 43.6 33.0  
Stanford Cardinal 57.4 29.6 Box Score
@ Washington Huskies 42.6 26.9  
Alcorn State Braves 5.0 8.8 Box Score
@ Arkansas Razorbacks 95.0 48.2  
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 19.8 23.3 Box Score
@ Auburn Tigers 80.2 33.6  
Kentucky Wildcats 29.7 21.3 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 70.3 28.6  
Missouri Tigers 37.6 21.9 Box Score
@ LSU Tigers 62.4 26.5  
Memphis Tigers 37.1 27.3 Box Score
@ Ole Miss Rebels 62.9 30.8  
Tennessee Volunteers 52.8 25.9 Box Score
@ Georgia Bulldogs 47.2 25.2  
Florida Gators 63.4 24.4 Box Score
@ Vanderbilt Commodores 36.6 21.0  
Texas A&M Aggies 65.3 29.3 Box Score
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 34.7 24.4  
Toledo Rockets 38.6 28.1 Box Score
@ BYU Cougars 61.4 30.7  
Tulane Green Wave 56.4 28.7 Box Score
@ Massachusetts Minutemen 43.6 26.9  
Kansas Jayhawks 23.8 25.7 Box Score
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders 76.2 33.1  
Kansas State Wildcats 42.6 24.3 Box Score
@ West Virginia Mountaineers 57.4 25.7  
Texas Longhorns 47.0 28.1 Box Score
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys 53.0 29.1  
Oklahoma Sooners 55.4 28.1 Box Score
@ TCU Horned Frogs 44.6 27.0  
Baylor Bears 67.3 31.4 Box Score
@ Iowa State Cyclones 32.7 25.8  
Houston Baptist Huskies 5.0 8.2 Box Score
@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 95.0 48.8  
Rice Owls 39.6 30.1 Box Score
@ Southern Miss Golden Eagles 60.4 32.5  
UTEP Miners 42.6 30.3 Box Score
@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 57.4 32.6  
Florida Atlantic Owls 55.0 27.4 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 45.0 26.0  
Old Dominion Monarchs 69.8 29.5 Box Score
@ Charlotte 49ers 30.2 23.8  
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 77.2 33.5 Box Score
@ North Texas Mean Green 22.8 24.7  
Utah State Aggies 33.2 26.9 Box Score
@ Boise State Broncos 66.8 31.5  
Wyoming Cowboys 36.6 28.2 Box Score
@ Colorado State Rams 63.4 30.3  
Fresno State Bulldogs 44.1 29.7 Box Score
@ UNLV Rebels 55.9 30.3  
San Jose State Spartans 47.6 28.5 Box Score
@ New Mexico Lobos 52.4 29.6  
Navy Midshipmen 48.4 28.7 Box Score
@ Air Force Falcons 51.6 29.5  
Nevada Wolf Pack 59.9 29.2 Box Score
@ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 40.1 27.4  
Incarnate Word Cardinals 5.0 9.7 Box Score
@ Texas State Bobcats 95.0 46.2  
Georgia State Panthers 37.6 29.2 Box Score
@ Appalachian State Mountaineers 62.4 33.3  
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 56.4 33.1 Box Score
@ New Mexico State Aggies 43.6 30.3  
Troy Trojans 66.3 31.1 Box Score
@ Idaho Vandals 33.7 26.8  
San Diego State Aztecs 71.3 31.9 Box Score
@ South Alabama Jaguars 28.7 25.5  
Connecticut Huskies 22.3 20.6 Box Score
@ Houston Cougars 77.7 29.4  
UCF Knights 41.6 27.0 Box Score
@ East Carolina Pirates 58.4 32.6  
SMU Mustangs 49.5 26.2 Box Score
@ Temple Owls 50.5 26.8  
South Florida Bulls 51.5 28.9 Box Score
@ Cincinnati Bearcats 48.5 28.1  

In addition, view our Week 5 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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