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 12 in Review
Our Game of the Week is back to its winning ways. Last week, we had Oklahoma defeating West Virginia and they did. We also nailed another upset…
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Nailed It: Virginia Tech 34 – Notre Dame 31
Our computer simulation said the Hokies would upset Notre Dame last week and they did. We predicted Virginia Tech to win 51.9 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.5-27.0. Now, our Upsets of the Week are above .500 for the first time this season (6-5).
Wide Right: Kansas 24 – Texas 21
How does a team hang tough with West Virginia one week and then lose to one-win Kansas the following week? Our computers don’t understand, either. We predicted Texas to win 73.3 percent of the time, by an average score of 29.5-19.9.
The final week of the college football regular season has quite the list of ranked opponents facing one another. These two SEC West teams meet on Thanksgiving. Alabama has already locked up the division and both teams are already bowl-eligible. Both teams have also dealt with big injuries to their offenses. The Aggies are without senior QB Trevor Knight and the Tigers’ star running back, Leonard Fournette, has a nagging ankle injury. His backup, Derrius Guice, has surpassed the Heisman-hopeful in rushing yards and TDs this season. According to our computers, Guice will get it done. LSU wins 65.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 29.7-26.6.
No. 6 Washington at No. 23 Washington State
The Apple Cup isn’t the only thing on the line in this matchup. The winner of this rivalry advances to the Pac-12 championship game as the representative from the North region. The Cougars were undefeated in conference play until last week. They lost to Colorado, 38-24. Junior quarterback Luke Falk is third in the FBS in passing yards (3,935) and TDs (36), yet he’s only thrown seven interceptions this season. As for the Huskies, Jake Browning is second in passing TDs with 37. He’s also committed seven interceptions. It looks like Browning will best Falk after this week, too. Washington wins 53.5 percent of the time, by an average score of 32.7-30.0.
No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State
This is arguably the biggest rivalry in college football. It’s even better that both teams are ranked in the top three. What’s crazy is the fact that there is a chance that neither one advances to the Big Ten championship. If Michigan wins, it advances to the Big Ten championship. If Ohio State wins, the Big Ten East spot depends on the outcome of the Penn State vs. Michigan State game. Either way, it’s possible that this is a play-in game for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Expect this game to be a defensive battle. The Wolverines lead the FBS by only allowing an average of 10.9 points per game. The Buckeyes are tied for third with 13.0 PPG allowed. The committee could be put in a difficult situation since OSU is projected to win 52.9 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.2-25.6.
No. 16 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama
The Tide have trounced all opponents in their path this season. They are set to play in the SEC championship and basically have an automatic bid to the College Football Playoff. However, Auburn would love to put a blemish on Nick Saban’s season. For that to happen, the Tigers will need to produce points. That will be a tough task. Alabama has surrendered three points or fewer in each of the last three games. Auburn’s defense is stingy, too. They’ve allowed an average of 14.3 points per game (seventh-best in FBS). It looks like Alabama’s perfect season will continue, though. The simulations say Alabama wins 68.8 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.4-21.8.
No. 21 Utah at No. 9 Colorado
The Buffs have a trip to the Pac-12 championship hanging in the balance. Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau gets it done in the air and on the ground. Last week, he ran 23 times for 108 yards and three TDs against Washington State. Now, they are one game away from playing in their very first Pac-12 title game. In fact, Colorado hasn’t played in a conference championship game since 2005 (in the Big 12). The Utes lost on a last-second touchdown to Oregon last week. Instead of playing for a shot at a conference title, they are only playing for a better bowl game. Our computer simulations predict Colorado winning 51.2 percent of the time, by an average score of 26.4-26.0.
No. 13 Florida at No. 15 Florida State
Not only does Florida have a chance to play for an SEC title, but the Gators could potentially run the table and make a surprise appearance in the College Football Playoff. It started last week with an impressive win over LSU on the road. They stuffed the Tigers at the goal line to secure the win. Florida State dropped three ACC games this season and is just looking to improve its bowl situation. Dalvin Cook is also looking to boost his Heisman stock. Last week, against Syracuse, Cook cruised for 225 rushing yards and four TDs. Looks like Cook will continue to dominate. FSU wins 51.7 percent of the time, by an average score of 25.4-25.1.
Week 14 Upset Pick
Nebraska (+3) over Iowa
The Cornhuskers climbed to 17th in the AP rankings this week, yet Vegas isn’t a believer. Nebraska has only lost to Wisconsin and Ohio State this season. Both teams are currently in the top five and both games were on the road. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. may not be ready for Friday’s matchup, but Nebraska still has Terrell Newby to run the ball. He accumulated 98 yards and three TDs last week. Nebraska wins 53.4 percent of the time, by an average score of 27.0-26.1.