Finally the regular season has arrived. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are still playing most of their games out-of-conference, but we have some big games to watch on the road to the postseason beginning out West between Bruins and Cougars. Last week the only upset among our Marquee games was completed by BYU; perhaps they’ll pull the same feat twice.
#1 UCLA vs. BYU (14%, 24%) (67% UCLA win)
Joshua “Chosen” Rosen against Tanner “Hail Mary” Mangum. With BYU earning Contender Status, this game beats out the big SEC bouts for our game of the week. The outcome of this game has a 14% chance of determining a playoff spot and a 24% chance of determining a spot in a New Years Six bowl.
#2 Alabama vs. Ole Miss (15%, 22%) (65% Alabama win)
Ole Miss ‘looks’ like they have an unstoppable offense, but looks can be deceiving when you play a couple bottom dwellers your opening weeks (sorry Fresno State). But Alabama is not invincible either. They won’t get wins on name alone, the Crimson Tide will have to work hard to avenge last year’s loss. Who knows, maybe both of these teams will finish the season with 3 losses; it’ll still be an exciting game.
#3 Ohio State vs. Northern Illinois (12%, 19%) (83% Ohio State win)
Northern Illinois in the #3 game this week? Much of that is simply watching mighty Ohio State in action, but Northern Illinois is 2-0 themselves and one of the better MAC teams, who impressed last week with a few Power Five upsets. If NIU gets an upset of their own this week, it’ll be monumental. Enjoy, all ye who watch this game.
#4 Michigan State vs. Air Force (11%, 19%) (75% Michigan State win)
Another Big Ten titan taking on a not-so-small Mid-Major. Air Force has some postseason hopes of their own being the only undefeated team remaining in the Mountain West. With OSU-MSU looming on the distant horizon in late November, every game is a trap game.
#5 Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame (11%, 17%) (59% Georgia Tech win)
Notre Dame hasn’t gotten much love by the Computer this year, but an upset over Favorite Georgia Tech could change all of that. Last year Navy game the Golden Domers all they could handle and Georgia Tech’s Running offense is like Navy’s on steroids. It’ll be an exciting game to watch.
#6 LSU vs. Auburn (9%, 17%) (58% LSU win)
We’re adding back a sixth game because this one is 50% more likely to affect the postseason than any other game run through the Simulator. These two Tigers bring in 2 fewer impressive wins than we might have expected at this juncture in the season, but they are both still undefeated and chugging toward the playoff. We’ll be seeing a lot of SEC West showdowns this year, welcome to numbers 2 and 3 of the season.
ACC – Next 3 Games Favored
Florida State > Boston College (82%)
Clemson > Louisville (72%)
NC State > Old Dominion (69%)
All the ACC front runners are facing big tests this week. The conference has fallen in many of its marquee out-of-conference games, we’ll see how they fair in conference. Duke is favored 55% over Northwestern as well. NC State is looking impressive at 2-0 and a test against Old Dominion could be the right mix of trial and ease to prepare themselves for conference play.
Pac-12 – Next 3 Games Favored
USC > Stanford (65%)
Utah > Fresno State (85%)
Arizona State > New Mexico State (85%)
The Stanford game headlines Pac-12 play this week and even though the Cardinal already has 1 loss, the Oregon Ducks look vulnerable atop the North Division and they could play spoiler to a Trojan team that has surged into the Top 10 nationally. The other games are tough-ish games and more likely trap games for the other Pac-12 South teams wishing to stay competitive for the playoff.
SEC – Next 3 Games Favored
Florida > Kentucky (62%)
Georgia > South Carolina (72%)
Texas A&M > Nevada (79%)
Although not as stacked as the West division, the East has a pair of exciting matchups this week. Florida and Georgia are favored and while South Carolina is falling apart, Kentucky is impressing and very much has a chance to defeat the Gators. The Aggies play a mildly difficult Nevada team with a chance to climb high once two of their fiercest division rivals lose this week.
Big 12 – Next 3 Games Favored
Kansas State > La Tech (68%)
Oklahoma > Tulsa (83%)
Texas > California (53%)
The Big 12 still has one more week of preseason play, and you may notice that Baylor has yet to make an appearance in these articles. Texas has stumbled all over the place and has made this upcoming California game a much more exciting affair. Kansas State and Oklahoma tackle one last marginally difficult tune-up opponent before heading into the meat of their schedule.
Big Ten – Next 3 Games Favored
Nebraska > Miami (58%)
Iowa > Pittsburgh (52%)
Rutgers > Penn State (50%)
Three VERY close games on tap for the middling Big Ten teams; Illinois is also favored over UNC 61%. This week will be the last week perception of the conference against others will be set. The computer favors them in each of these games, but they are also very loseable. Rutgers vs. Penn State is a matchup of teams embarrassed out of conference, but both teams could still climb into 3rd position in the conference and with a lucky bounce challenge for the division crown.
Others – Next 3 Games Favored
Memphis > Bowling Green (62%)
Western Kentucky > Indiana (69%)
Navy > East Carolina (59%)
Each of these games still has at least a 1% chance of affecting the Final Four and 4%-10% of affecting the quest for becoming this year’s “BCS Buster” The Bowling Green game will be of greatest import because both teams are at least Long Shots for making the playoff.