WhatIfSports college football Week 6 predictions: Northwestern falls to Michigan

No. 13 Northwestern takes its first loss of the season, falling to No. 18 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

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 5 in Review

There were five separate games with Top 25 opponents facing one another in Week 5. Our simuation machine went 4-1. One of those wins was in the biggest game of the night. For the Notre Dame/Clemson outcome, the computers produced a two-point win for the Tigers. They won 24-22.

Our upset picks were also 4-1, including the Louisville win over North Carolina 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 5 Highlight: Ohio State over Indiana

The simulations had the Buckeyes winning 34.7 to 24.6 over the Hoosier. In actuality, Ohio State scored 34 points to Indiana’s 27. Either way, we had the underdog winning when you factor in the 21.5 points that Vegas was doling out.

Week 5 Lowlight: Arizona State defeating UCLA

Unfortunately, our computers weren’t perfect. According to the simulations, the Bruins were supposed to win by three (59.4 percent of the time). However, this game must have been one of the 40.6 percent. The Sun Devils won by 15.

Week 6 Top 25 vs. Top 25 Matchups

College Football Pick 'Em!

No. 13 Northwestern vs. No. 18 Michigan

The Wildcats currently sit atop the Big Ten West standings and their path hasn’t been easy. They started the season with a win over Stanford, defeated Duke, and were golden against the Gophers last week. Northwestern’s biggest strength has been its defense. This season, they have yet to allow more than 19 points in a game. When an offense knows that scoring 20 points will get the win, the pressure eases a bit. As for the Wolverines, the world wrote them off after they lost in Week 1 to Utah. Since that game, Michigan has allowed only 14 points in four combined contests. Naturally, they also won those four games. Our simulations suggest that Michigan’s winning streak will extend to five. The Wolverines won 60.4 percent of the contests by an average score of 24.6-22.0 over Northwestern.

No. 23 California vs. No. 5 Utah

If I saw a 62-20 final score between Oregon and Utah in Eugene, my guess would be that the Ducks rolled at home. Wrong. It was the Utes who brought the noise to Autzen Stadium and left with the dubya. While the Utes (4-0) lead the Pac-12 South, Cal (5-0) is tops in the North. However, this isn’t the Pac-12 Championship…yet. The Golden Bears have teetered on the brink of defeat, but managed to keep a clean slate on the loss side. Last week, Cal needed to score 21 points in the third quarter to win over Washington State. The week before that, Cal won by six, on the road, against Washington. Then, in Week 3, there was the one-point pressure cooker in Texas. When teams rely heavily on the close victory, the odds tend to even out and sway in the other direction. After 101 simulations, the Utes remained undefeated 58.4 percent of the time by an average score of 31-29.7 over Cal.

Week 6 Upset Pick: Wisconsin (+1.5) over Nebraska

The Badgers lost 10-6 last week to Iowa…in Madison. Nebraska’s Week 5 outcome wasn’t better. They lost by one (14-13) to Illinois. After 101 simulations, our computers believe that Wisconsin has the better shot to bounce back. With 55.4 percent of the simulations, Wisconsin won by an average score of 26.4-25.8 over the Cornhuskers.

College Football Week 6 Predictions
Matchup Win % Avg. Score  
Virginia Cavaliers 28.2 23.0 Box Score
@ Pittsburgh Panthers 71.8 28.8  
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 31.7 23.9 Box Score
@ Clemson Tigers 68.3 30.3  
Miami (FL) Hurricanes 32.7 25.9 Box Score
@ Florida State Seminoles 67.3 31.9  
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 38.6 21.2 Box Score
@ Boston College Eagles 61.4 25.3  
North Carolina State Wolfpack 46.5 25.5 Box Score
@ Virginia Tech Hokies 53.5 25.9  
Maryland Terrapins 18.8 22.5 Box Score
@ Ohio State Buckeyes 81.2 35.4  
Northwestern Wildcats 39.6 22.0 Box Score
@ Michigan Wolverines 60.4 24.6  
Illinois Fighting Illini 42.6 24.8 Box Score
@ Iowa Hawkeyes 57.4 27.7  
Indiana Hoosiers 47.6 25.4 Box Score
@ Penn State Nittany Lions 52.4 26.7  
Wisconsin Badgers 55.4 26.4 Box Score
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers 44.6 25.8  
Minnesota Golden Gophers 62.9 26.5 Box Score
@ Purdue Boilermakers 37.1 23.4  
Michigan State Spartans 77.2 32.0 Box Score
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights 22.8 20.9  
Kent State Golden Flashes 30.2 27.7 Box Score
@ Toledo Rockets 69.8 34.0  
Miami (OH) RedHawks 35.6 26.1 Box Score
@ Ohio Bobcats 64.4 29.7  
Massachusetts Minutemen 35.6 29.2 Box Score
@ Bowling Green Falcons 64.4 33.5  
Ball State Cardinals 44.6 28.3 Box Score
@ Northern Illinois Huskies 55.4 29.0  
Central Michigan Chippewas 48.0 28.3 Box Score
@ Western Michigan Broncos 52.0 28.9  
Akron Zips 65.3 33.4 Box Score
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles 34.7 27.2  
Colorado Buffaloes 26.7 26.1 Box Score
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 73.3 34.4  
Washington Huskies 33.7 27.5 Box Score
@ USC Trojans 66.3 32.5  
Washington State Cougars 36.6 28.7 Box Score
@ Oregon Ducks 63.4 32.1  
California Golden Bears 41.6 29.7 Box Score
@ Utah Utes 58.4 31.0  
Oregon State Beavers 45.5 29.1 Box Score
@ Arizona Wildcats 54.5 30.7  
New Mexico State Aggies 24.8 24.8 Box Score
@ Ole Miss Rebels 75.2 35.2  
Troy Trojans 29.2 22.8 Box Score
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs 70.8 31.6  
Arkansas Razorbacks 38.6 23.3 Box Score
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 61.4 27.6  
Florida Gators 59.4 25.5 Box Score
@ Missouri Tigers 40.6 22.4  
Georgia Bulldogs 64.4 28.6 Box Score
@ Tennessee Volunteers 35.6 24.2  
LSU Tigers 70.3 31.5 Box Score
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 29.7 24.7  
Navy Midshipmen 31.7 26.0 Box Score
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish 68.3 31.9  
East Carolina Pirates 40.6 29.0 Box Score
@ BYU Cougars 59.4 31.2  
Duke Blue Devils 74.3 33.0 Box Score
@ Army West Point Black Knights 25.7 22.4  
Iowa State Cyclones 40.1 28.3 Box Score
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders 59.9 33.3  
Oklahoma State Cowboys 48.1 28.1 Box Score
@ West Virginia Mountaineers 51.9 28.8  
TCU Horned Frogs 58.4 33.0 Box Score
@ Kansas State Wildcats 41.6 30.2  
Oklahoma Sooners 64.9 29.9 Box Score
@ Texas Longhorns 35.1 23.2  
Baylor Bears 78.2 32.2 Box Score
@ Kansas Jayhawks 21.8 23.1  
Portland State Vikings 5.0 7.8 Box Score
@ North Texas Mean Green 95.0 40.0  
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 35.6 29.4 Box Score
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 64.4 31.8  
UTEP Miners 38.6 23.3 Box Score
@ FIU Golden Panthers 61.4 26.7  
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 47.5 32.8 Box Score
@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 52.5 34.4  
Rice Owls 62.4 30.8 Box Score
@ Florida Atlantic Owls 37.6 27.5  
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 65.3 27.8 Box Score
@ UTSA Roadrunners 34.7 22.4  
Wyoming Cowboys 34.7 27.7 Box Score
@ Air Force Falcons 65.3 31.8  
New Mexico Lobos 48.5 29.7 Box Score
@ Nevada Wolf Pack 51.5 30.6  
San Diego State Aztecs 57.4 29.9 Box Score
@ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 42.6 27.2  
San Jose State Spartans 60.2 31.3 Box Score
@ UNLV Rebels 39.8 28.5  
Boise State Broncos 63.4 31.8 Box Score
@ Colorado State Rams 36.6 27.8  
Utah State Aggies 67.3 31.3 Box Score
@ Fresno State Bulldogs 32.7 27.1  
Texas State Bobcats 49.1 30.7 Box Score
@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 50.9 30.9  
Appalachian State Mountaineers 66.8 33.7 Box Score
@ Georgia State Panthers 33.2 27.6  
SMU Mustangs 30.7 24.7 Box Score
@ Houston Cougars 69.3 32.0  
Tulane Green Wave 41.6 23.4 Box Score
@ Temple Owls 58.4 28.6  
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 44.6 28.0 Box Score
@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane 55.4 30.3  
Connecticut Huskies 44.6 23.9 Box Score
@ UCF Knights 55.4 25.3  
Syracuse Orange 54.5 24.4 Box Score
@ South Florida Bulls 45.5 22.3  

In addition, view our Week 6 power rankings or visit our college football archive for predictions from past weeks. For more statistics, view our weekly college football predictions.