Which teams are for real, which have a number of missing pieces. Opening Week is when lots of questions will be answered. Well, ‘many’ questions. There are lots of FCS opponents this week, but still a few gems that will shape the post-season.
#1 Alabama vs. Wisconsin (13%, 19%) (66% Alabama)
This is, appropriately, the marquee game of the week. It has a 13% chance of deciding a playoff spot and a 19% chance of deciding a NYS spot. Alabama is the favorite in this neutral site game and we’ll get a first look at Alabama’s new QB. With a win here either Alabama or Wisconsin will be in playoff position moving forward.
#2 TCU vs. Minnesota (8%, 17%) (63% TCU)
Last year’s marquee OOC win for TCU could be the same this year. Minnesota is set to be #3 in the Big Ten West but could jump high here with a win and potential Wisconsin loss to Alabama. Although this is this week’s #2 game, TCU could still be doomed by the Big 12’s poor OOC schedule. The Horned Frogs will need to win this and every week if they want to guarantee a playoff spot.
#3 Michigan State vs. Western Michigan (5%, 12%) (86% MSU)
The Spartans are heavy favorites going into this game and are on track for making the playoffs, but Western Michigan is not a complete pushover. Friday night’s game will give us a good look at MSU’s team before next week’s showdown against Oregon.
#4 Boise State vs. Washington (4%, 10%) (71% Boise)
The other big Friday night game features Coach Peterson’s return to the Blue Turf. Boise State has real hopes at making the playoffs should they go undefeated, playing in the best division outside the Power Five. The Huskies too have hopes at making the playoff, sitting 3rd in the Pac-12 North.
#5 Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech (4%, 9%) (87% Ohio State)
Only #5? The computer is so high on Ohio State that 11-1 may be better than most teams that go 12-0. Still, Virginia Tech will be one of the biggest hurdles in the Buckeyes’quest for a repeat National Title.
#6 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (3%, 9%) (57% ASU)
These teams are stuck in the two most difficult divisions in the FBS. An OOC win here will give the winner a nice trump card should they be on the verge of a playoff or NYS berth. This is the top game with <60% winning chance for either team. Plus, we wanted to list another Top 5 game actually played om Saturday.
The ACC – Next 3 games favored
Florida State > Texas St (91%)
Notre Dame > Texas (59%)
Duke > Tulane (81%)
Florida State is again predicted to win the conference, but last year proved that the Seminoles are not going to bulldoze their opponents; they’ll need to win one game at a time, beginning against Texas State. Notre Dame is not as favored by the computer as by the human polls, bjt their game against Texas will still be ‘marquee’ in the “brand-name” category.
Duke is the next team favored to win, meaning many of the higher ranked ACC teams are underdogs this week. This week will again set the tone for the ACC’s position among the Power Five conferences.
The SEC – Next 3 games favored
Auburn > Louisivlle (57%)
Tennessee > Bowling Green (66%)
Arkansas > UTEP (79%)
These teams are all predicted to improve over last year’s preformances. This week we’ll see whether there is a little bit of truth in these predictions. Only the Louisville game features a Power Five opponent, but the SEC could prove to be on the up if it sweeps these 3.
The Big Ten – Next 2 games favored
Nebraska > BYU (65%)
Penn State > Temple (70%)
The Big Ten is only favored in 2 more games that are projected to have >1% impact on the postseason. BYU and Temple will provide some tough competition though. These games will be exciting to watch. Will the Big Ten stumble in the opening weeks again?
The Pac-12 – Next 3 games favored
UCLA > Virginia (84%)
Utah > Michigan (74%)
USC > Arkansas St (87%)
The Pac-12 is favored in all of their OOC games except for the Boise State game. Expect this to wow humans and computers alike. But, until the sweep happens, these 3 teams will have a lot to play for to keep them on track for the playoff and NYS.
The Big 12 – Next 3 games favored
West Virginia > Georgia Southern (59%)
OK State > Central Michigan (67%)
Baylor > SMU (93%)
Some big names there *cough*. Note also the chances given to Georgia Southern; a team this new to the FBS would score quite an upset if they took down West Virginia. These games should still be exciting, given itis the first week.
Group of Five – Next 3 games favored
Marshall > Purdue (82%)
La Lafayette > Kentucky (50%)
Western Kemtucky > Vanderbilt (74%)
Do you have these games as upsets? The computer likes all 3 teams to win and begin their march toward a New Years Six bowl birth.
BONUS – FBS Pillow Fights
Ohio > Idaho (81%)
Colorado > Hawaii (59%)
Georgia St > Charlotte (60%)
These are the three games which carry less weight than some FCS games. The Computer treats all FCS teams equally, so no odds are listed for FCS upsets. Miami(OH) is given the lowest odds of a win, 64%.