No week is bigger than this week. No, the week is not chock full of marquee games, BUT it is the week when many, many teams still have postseason aspirations. Last week Ole Miss and Notre Dame upset playoff favorites. Who will it be this week? After 10,000 simulations, here are the games with the most playoff impact:
#1 UCLA vs. Arizona (15%, 22%) (62% UCLA win)
For the second week in a row UCLA is favored in the week’s most important game. This game has a 15% chance of deciding a playoff spot and 22% of deciding a New Years Six spot. These teams are 2 of the 3 remaining undefeated in the Pac-12 South. It is no wonder this game is given top billing. The winner here will certainly make it into playoff position.
#2 Utah vs. Oregon (9%, 20%) (56% Utah win)
This game does not have as substantial playoff implications, but it is still by far the second most important game of the week. Oregon is looking to re-assert mastery in the Pac-12, but Utah has impressed thus far. These two teams, along with Arizona and Florida have the most spots to climb in the playoff race this week.
#3 TCU vs. Texas Tech (6%, 14%) (76% TCU win)
This game was supposed to be a way for TCU to ease into conference play, but Texas Tech looks a lot more complete than they did last year. While I think both teams will meet our ‘preseason’ expectations, I would not be surprised if the Red Raiders made this one interesting.
#4 Ohio State vs. Western Michigan (7%, 11%) (87% Ohio State win)
After struggling against Northern Illinois, is the Buckeye’s game against Western Michigan… “lovable”? Anything is possible, but more likely this will be a chance for Urban Meyer to kick the tires a bit more on his offense; WMU won’t keep it within two scores. Only 4 games this week because game number 5 has only a 3% chance of impacting the playoffs.
Big Ten – Next 3 Favored
Minnesota > Ohio (72%)
Michigan State > Central Michigan (93%)
Northwestern > Ball State (75%)
Lots of MACtion this week before Big Ten play opens. Don’t expect anyone to stumble. But maybe pay attention to the Minnesota game because Ohio has some weapons and the whole MAC has been on the upswing so far in the preseason.
Pac-12 – Next 3 Favored
USC > Arizona State (51%)
Washington > California (51%)
Stanford > Oregon State (73%)
10 of the 12 Pac-12 teams are featured this week. If you are a fan of the conference, call in sick! or mourn the fact that you have picked a career with Saturdays in Fall. I’ll be at a wedding.
SEC – Next 3 Favored
Florida > Tennessee (66%)
Missouri > Kentucky (71%)
LSU > Syracuse (84%)
The SEC East features the two most exciting games from the conference! ? While Georgia is the presumptive favorite in the division, none of these four teams have had a crack at the Bulldogs. LSU takes the rare northern road trip against another undefeated team; LSU is expected to dominate but Syracuse could surprise. Tune in.
ACC – Next 3 Favored
Georgia Tech > Duke (70%)
NC State > South Alabama (74%)
Notre Dame > Massachusetts (95%)
The Georgia Tech-Duke game is the only conference game with strong New Years Six implications; both teams look to avenge losses to Midwest schools and to gain the upper hand in the ACC Coastal.
Big 12 – Next 3 Favored
Baylor > Rice (75%)
OK State > Texas (59%)
West Virginia > Maryland (57%)
Baylor makes an appearance! OK State and West Virginia are favored slightly in their games in their quest to maintain perfection.
Others – Next 3 Favored
Memphis > Cincinnati (63%)
BYU > Michigan (56%)
Northern Illinois > Boston College (56%)
We still have Northern Illinois favored to win the MAC over Toledo, but it is surprising to see a 2-1 MAC team on our list. Memphis-Cincinnati kick this week off in an American Athletic Conference Duel, with the winner likely to join Temple as conference front runners form the New Years Six. BYU is logo,ingfor redemption against another storied program; can Harbaugh finally get a signature win?