WhatIfSports college football Week 8 predictions: Bama keeps rolling against Texas A&M

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 7 in Review

The computer predictions continue to produce around 80 percent winners. Last week, we correctly picked the Game of the Week (Ohio State over Wisconsin) and the Upset of the Week (Stanford over Notre Dame). The computer is now a remarkable 6-1 for the GotW.

Nailed It: Ohio State 30 - Wisconsin 23

We predicted the Buckeyes to remain undefeated in the Game of the Week. It took overtime, but Ohio State was victorious. OSU won 65.3 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.9-23.0. Also, with the spread being 10.5, our projections had the Badgers covering, which they did.

Wide Right: Syracuse 31 - Virginia Tech 17

The Hokies are a tough team to predict. In last week's post, this space was used for Virginia Tech 43 – North Carolina 3 (we had the Tar Heels winning 66 percent of the time). This time, we predicted VT to win 61.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 29.3-25.6 and they lost.

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 8 Top 25 vs. Top 25 Matchups

No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama

When the top team in college football plays, the game is always on the public's radar. When the opponent is in the Top 25 as well, a little more interest is put toward the game. When both teams are undefeated, and it's later in the season, you get all of the attention. The Tide rolled on Tennessee last week, 49-10, yet they are still tied with the Aggies at 4-0 in the SEC West standings. Texas A&M's last game was against the Vols, too. Both team produced at least 45 points against the common opponent, but Bama held Tennessee to 10 points and the Volunteers scored 38 points against the Aggies. Both teams also defeated Arkansas, this time by similar margins. Bama's biggest strength is its defense. Teams are averaging 274 total yards per game when facing Alabama (fifth in the nation) and scoring only 15 points per game. A&M's quarterback, Trevor Knight, has thrown for at least 200 yards and helped the offense produce at least 24 points in each game this season. The outcome of our simulation was surprisingly close. Alabama wins 55.9 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.5-26.3.

No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn

The Razorbacks' only two losses this season have come to undefeated teams (Texas A&M and Alabama). Auburn is in the same boat. A&M and Clemson gave the Tigers their only losses of 2016. When a team gets its third loss, the wheels tend to fall off and programs start planning for next season. If Arkansas wants to win, it needs to get the ball into the hands of Rawleigh Williams. In both losses, RW3 rushed for under 80 yards. Auburn has two RBs to work with: Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway. KJ missed last week's game with a leg injury, but has returned to practice for this week's contest. KP filled in nicely in the win over Mississippi State on Saturday: 39 carries, 169 yards and three TDs. With that duo, Auburn wins the simulations 54.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.7-25.2.

No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU

That dreaded third loss I was eluding to earlier could impact the Rebels this week. They lost a 34-30 battle with Arkansas last week and the wind could be completely taken out of their sails as they travel to LSU. After losing to Auburn, and firing Les Miles, the Tigers have won back-to-back games and have carved up their opponents with their ground attack. They've also been doing it without Leonard Fournette. Sophomore Derrius Guice has tallied 325 yards and five TDs in the past two games. Fournette is already expected to play this week, but Guice will be ready to take advantage of his opportunities, too. LSU wins 52.5 percent of the simulations, by an average score of 28.1-27.4.

Week 8 Upset Pick

Akron (+2) over Ball State

There's always that one game when scrolling through the Vegas lines and you think, "That doesn't look right." That's the case for this matchup. The Zips have lost three times this season. First, they were whopped by the Badgers (54-10). Then, FBS-buster, Appalachian State narrowly beat Akron (45-38). Finally, last week, undefeated (and ranked) Western Michigan destroyed the Zips, 41-0. Three, albeit bad, losses to good programs. Yet, Akron is a two-point underdog to Ball State. The computers expect the Zips to bounce-back as Akron wins 57.1 percent of the simulations, by an average score of 30.9-29.1.

College Football Week 8 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
North Carolina State Wolfpack 34.7 23.3 Box Score
@ Louisville Cardinals 65.3 27.6  
Miami (FL) Hurricanes 41.1 27.3 Box Score
@ Virginia Tech Hokies 58.9 28.3  
Syracuse Orange 48.0 22.8 Box Score
@ Boston College Eagles 52.0 23.2  
North Carolina Tar Heels 55.4 29.7 Box Score
@ Virginia Cavaliers 44.6 28.2  
Illinois Fighting Illini 15.8 21.3 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 84.2 32.6  
Purdue Boilermakers 29.2 24.8 Box Score
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers 70.8 31.2  
Indiana Hoosiers 38.7 24.9 Box Score
@ Northwestern Wildcats 61.3 28.2  
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 43.4 25.1 Box Score
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers 56.6 27.9  
Michigan State Spartans 60.1 27.1 Box Score
@ Maryland Terrapins 39.9 24.9  
Wisconsin Badgers 60.9 26.7 Box Score
@ Iowa Hawkeyes 39.1 22.4  
Ohio State Buckeyes 74.3 30.6 Box Score
@ Penn State Nittany Lions 25.7 22.2  
Buffalo Bulls 38.1 26.1 Box Score
@ Northern Illinois Huskies 61.9 30.3  
Eastern Michigan Eagles 40.6 29.5 Box Score
@ Western Michigan Broncos 59.4 34.1  
Central Michigan Chippewas 44.6 29.6 Box Score
@ Toledo Rockets 55.4 31.6  
Miami (OH) RedHawks 45.1 28.7 Box Score
@ Bowling Green Falcons 54.9 30.2  
Akron Zips 57.1 30.9 Box Score
@ Ball State Cardinals 42.9 29.1  
Ohio Bobcats 59.4 28.7 Box Score
@ Kent State Golden Flashes 40.6 26.5  
Oregon State Beavers 31.2 23.0 Box Score
@ Washington Huskies 68.8 30.3  
Oregon Ducks 48.2 32.9 Box Score
@ California Golden Bears 51.8 33.2  
Colorado Buffaloes 48.3 28.2 Box Score
@ Stanford Cardinal 51.7 28.7  
Utah Utes 51.2 27.4 Box Score
@ UCLA Bruins 48.8 27.1  
Washington State Cougars 58.4 32.5 Box Score
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 41.6 30.5  
Tennessee State Tigers 5.0 8.6 Box Score
@ Vanderbilt Commodores 95.0 44.0  
Massachusetts Minutemen 32.7 25.4 Box Score
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 67.3 32.1  
Texas A&M Aggies 44.1 26.3 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 55.9 27.5  
Arkansas Razorbacks 45.6 25.2 Box Score
@ Auburn Tigers 54.4 26.7  
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 46.0 26.3 Box Score
@ Missouri Tigers 54.0 27.6  
Ole Miss Rebels 47.5 27.4 Box Score
@ LSU Tigers 52.5 28.1  
Mississippi State Bulldogs 55.4 30.2 Box Score
@ Kentucky Wildcats 44.6 26.4  
North Texas Mean Green 48.7 26.9 Box Score
@ Army West Point Black Knights 51.3 27.6  
TCU Horned Frogs 47.4 27.0 Box Score
@ West Virginia Mountaineers 52.6 27.7  
Texas Longhorns 53.4 25.9 Box Score
@ Kansas State Wildcats 46.6 24.7  
Oklahoma Sooners 65.3 32.3 Box Score
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders 34.7 29.0  
Oklahoma State Cowboys 74.3 34.7 Box Score
@ Kansas Jayhawks 25.7 23.9  
Prairie View A&M Panthers 5.0 9.8 Box Score
@ Rice Owls 95.0 43.7  
Old Dominion Monarchs 37.6 31.0 Box Score
@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 62.4 35.7  
UTEP Miners 40.6 27.6 Box Score
@ UTSA Roadrunners 59.4 30.8  
Charlotte 49ers 41.7 25.5 Box Score
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 58.3 28.5  
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 57.4 32.1 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 42.6 29.9  
San Jose State Spartans 23.8 24.7 Box Score
@ San Diego State Aztecs 76.2 31.2  
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 37.6 26.4 Box Score
@ Air Force Falcons 62.4 29.3  
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 38.6 26.6 Box Score
@ New Mexico Lobos 61.4 29.4  
Fresno State Bulldogs 43.6 28.2 Box Score
@ Utah State Aggies 56.4 30.1  
BYU Cougars 46.8 28.1 Box Score
@ Boise State Broncos 53.2 28.8  
Colorado State Rams 53.4 29.5 Box Score
@ UNLV Rebels 46.6 28.3  
Wyoming Cowboys 55.1 29.9 Box Score
@ Nevada Wolf Pack 44.9 28.4  
UT Martin Skyhawks 5.0 8.9 Box Score
@ Georgia State Panthers 95.0 42.5  
Idaho Vandals 34.2 26.0 Box Score
@ Appalachian State Mountaineers 65.8 32.3  
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 51.3 33.4 Box Score
@ Texas State Bobcats 48.7 32.2  
Troy Trojans 58.4 30.4 Box Score
@ South Alabama Jaguars 41.6 27.5  
Georgia Southern Eagles 61.4 34.4 Box Score
@ New Mexico State Aggies 38.6 29.7  
Tulane Green Wave 36.6 26.1 Box Score
@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane 63.4 30.4  
East Carolina Pirates 42.9 28.3 Box Score
@ Cincinnati Bearcats 57.1 30.1  
UCF Knights 47.9 26.8 Box Score
@ Connecticut Huskies 52.1 27.1  
Memphis Tigers 51.9 28.1 Box Score
@ Navy Midshipmen 48.1 27.9  
South Florida Bulls 54.5 28.6 Box Score
@ Temple Owls 45.5 26.2  
Houston Cougars 68.3 31.4 Box Score
@ SMU Mustangs 31.7 24.5  

In addition, view our Week 8 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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