Here comes the second week of College Football Action and the schedule is still filled with tune-up games. But that doesn’t mean every team is stuck in the preseason. Many games will have an impact on the postseason and, after simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times, here are the games upon which the postseason turned:
#1 Michigan State vs. Oregon (14%, 17%) (55% Michigan State)
Yep. This is the big one. This game has a 1 in 7 (14%) chance of determining a playoff spot and a 1 in 6 (17%) chance of determining a New Years Six spot. Both teams played mid-majors last week, so this will be the first true test. While the loser can certainly bounce back after this game, it’ll take a couple weeks for teams ahead to lose their own games. But, history shows that losing early has its advantages over losing late.
#2 LSU vs. Mississippi State (8%, 18%) (50% LSU)
The SEC Schedule begins with a key SEC West showdown. Well, which SEC West matchup could not be considered “Key” at this point of the year. This game will have a larger impact on the NYS selection process than the game in East Lansing, mostly because the loser will be buried behind other contenders from the same division. The computer barely favors LSU, so this should be an exciting watch to kickoff the SEC schedule.
#3 Boise State vs. BYU (9%, 16%) (67% Boise State)
Yes, Boise State has national title aspirations and we have even slotted them as a favorite, should they win out. BYU’s Hail Mary win over Nebraska last week hypes this game up even more, giving Boise State a decent opponent for one more week. Don’t forget that BYU has postseason hopes as well and would clock in at a 7% playoff chance with a win this Saturday.
#4 Utah vs. Utah State (6%, 14%) (67% Utah)
Every game is a playoff game for a team from the Pac-12 South. Utah State stumbled in their opener yet still won; they too are playing in a difficult division (the most difficult Mid-Major division).
SEC – Next 3 Games Favored
Arkansas > Toledo (68%)
Alabama > MTSU (90%)
Florida > East Carolina (74%)
My Gators are finally making an appearance, playing in a game that may actually mean something. Alabama and Arkansas play the two other games that ‘might’ mean something during an SEC week that seems devoid of any real competition outside the headline game.
Big 12 – Next 3 Games Favored
Oklahoma > Tennessee (52%)
Texas > Rice (55%)
Kansas State > UTSA (81%)
Scheduling is bad for a conference when the second best game of the weekend features a team embarrassed in their opener drawing near even with a middling mid-major. The computer is not sold on Tennessee yet, but either team could surprise as the season goes on.
Big Ten – Next 3 Games Favored
Minnesota > Colorado State (50%)
Ohio State > Hawaii (95%)
Maryland > Bowling Green (67%)
Maryland is making a march toward relevancy in a division topped by two heavy weights, get lucky in one of those games and they might just end up tied for the division lead. The Hawaii game is listed because any game involving the Buckeyes is must-see, either to cheer for them to lose or simply to watch them steam-roll the competition. Colorado State, like Utah State and Boise State, is competing for prestige in the Mountain West; wins by these teams could help propel the eventual champion to exciting heights.
Pac-12 – Next 3 Games Favored
Arizona > Nevada (79%)
Stanford > Central Florida (68%)
UCLA > UNLV (95%)
Not much to look at here. The Stanford-UCF game might have been a compelling match if neither team had lost last week.
ACC – Next 3 Games Favored
Notre Dame > Virginia (71%)
Florida State > South Florida (93%)
Clemson > App State (87%)
Nothing much exciting here either. All 3 teams have title aspirations, and each opponent listed is no push over. As with most conference schedules, we’ll have to tune-in next week to start seeing compelling matchups.
Others – Next 3 Games Favored
Western Kentucky > Louisiana Tech (54%)
Cincinnati > Temple (60%)
Marshall > Ohio (80%)
WKU is the computer’s dark horse candidate from the mid-majors; LA Tech will be a tough opponent who also has NYS aspirations. Temple showed something against Penn State last week and we’ll see if that something can help them contend in the American Athletic Conference. Marshall is still riding high computer predictions thanks to last year’s record. They beat their ‘major’ competition in Purdue last week; it’ll be a narrow road to relevancy at the end of the season for the Thundering Herd.