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Each week, Mike Mitchell examines the computer's picks and selects those which he believes have the best chance of being correct. Lines in parenthesis are the opening lines as reported at Later lines are used in the event of a "pick 'em" opening. The Congrove Computer Rankings' pick is shown outside the parenthesis. The HOME TEAM is in CAPS. An explanation of how the computer's SU and ATS wins and losses are scored can be found at Weekly Picks Help.

The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2013 Regular Season: 111-18 SU (.860), 78-51 ATS (.605)
2014 Regular Season: 15-9 SU (.625), 4-20 ATS (.167)
This Week: 3-3 SU (.500), 0-6 ATS (.000)

Thursday, September 18
Auburn (-6.5) by 12.57 over Kansas State - The Wildcats have had over a week to prepare for this game, but it won't matter. The 'Cats blew out FCS member Stephen F. Austin in the opener before barely surviving a game at Iowa State. That's the same Iowa State that lost its opener by 20 points to FCS member North Dakota State - the same NDSU that beat Kansas State last year by 3. And though NDSU is the defending 3-time FCS national champions that have won 5 straight over FBS schools, you should also know this - the first 3 wins came against schools that finished a combined 10-26. Kansas State was 8-5 last year. Iowa State is currently 1-2. There is no way any reasonable person (who isn't a KSU fan) doesn't believe Auburn will win this game by two touchdowns or more.
Auburn won 20-14. The computer won SU, lost ATS. (Auburn gave up TD with 3:49 left to blow pick)

Saturday, September 20
BYU (-13.5) by 17.30 over Virginia - BYU actually lost by 3 at UVA in the opener last year and then went on to finish 8-5 while the Cavs went 2-10. UVa upset Louisville last weekend 23-21 to stop a 10-game losing streak vs. FBS schools so I can see how this pick would worry some people. Or you could just look at this way - UVa already has its 2 wins for the year so it's only a matter of how much will the Cougars win by. The computer line is up from 16.11 in the preseason.
BYU won 41-33. The computer won SU, lost ATS. (BYU gave up TD with 1:48 left to blow pick)

VIRGINIA TECH (-7) by 10.85 over Georgia Tech - The Hokies have won 4 straight in the series with 3 of those by 7 points or less, but Bud Foster's run defense is only allowing 86 yards a game. Coming off of the upset loss to East Carolina, Virginia Tech should be ready to roll the Jackets who were outscored 28-7 by Georgia Southern in the second half of a 42-38 win this past Saturday, and needed a TD with 23 seconds left to pull out the victory.
Georgia Tech won 27-24. The computer lost SU, lost ATS. (Had the necessary lead but blew it on turnovers)

PITTSBURGH (-4) by 6.37 over Iowa - This game looks like a lock for the Panthers on numerous fronts. The computer line has flipped from taking Iowa by 0.56 in the preseason to siding with Pitt by a touchdown, which puts the trend line in the double-digit area for the Panthers. Then there's also the repeated woes of the Big Ten so far this season. Add to that the fact that Iowa ranks 92nd on offense and Pitt ranks 4th on defense and you have a potential rout on your hands.
Iowa won 24-20. The computer lost SU, lost ATS. (Had the necessary lead but blew it in last 16 minutes as Iowa scored the last 10 points of the game)

SYRACUSE (-1.5) by 5.14 over Maryland - In the first 48 hours, this game fluctuated from a Pick 'em contest, to a 1-and-a-half point Orange advantage, and back to Pick 'em. My deciding factor is that the computer line has grown by about 1-and-a-half points in favor of Syracuse since the preseason.
Maryland won 34-20. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

South Carolina (-20.5) by 21.01 over VANDERBILT - The Vegas line had grown to 21-1/2 by Tuesday night and I believe SC even beats that spread. Vandy's computer power rating has already shrunk nearly 8 points since the preseason.
South Carolina won 48-34. The computer won SU, lost ATS. (SC gave up TD with :47 left to blow pick)

The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2013 Regular Season: 70-12 SU (.854), 41-41 ATS (.500)
2014 Regular Season: 21-2 SU (.913), 10-13 ATS (.435)
This Week: 7-0 SU (1.000), 4-3 ATS (.571)

Saturday, September 20
SOUTHERN MISS (-4) by 1.90 over Appalachian State - Southern Miss was an 8.73-point preseason favorite so this game is trending to an outright Appalachian State win by 3 or more. The Golden Eagles are a sad story - a southern football mid-level power school for several years that would play anyone, anytime, anywhere and make them sweat. Now, they've lost 24 of their last 25 games vs. FBS schools after going 12-2 in 2011 under then-head coach Larry Fedora who was promptly hired away by North Carolina. When a train is going this fast in one direction, it is much better to be on it than to run right into it.
Southern Miss won 21-20. The computer won SU, won ATS. (Southern Miss blocked Appalachian State PAT with 6 seconds left).

Cincinnati (-32) by 31.38 over Miami (Ohio) - The Bearcats have won the last 8, but only 2 of those win margins would have covered this year's spread. Cincinnati trails the series 52-59-7 and the RedHawks are coming off a respectable 34-10 loss at Michigan. Let me be clear - I am NOT suggesting Miami has any chance of winning this game as the program is riding the nation's current longest losing streak at 19 games. But it's a big rivalry game that's tied for the third-most meetings between two schools and one in which routs of this size have been few and far between. (Note: The Vegas line had dropped to 28 as of Monday night).
Cincinnati won 31-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Florida State (-22) by 9.46 over Clemson - FSU won last year's meeting by 37 at Clemson and the computer had the Tigers as an outright upset winner. BUT, Florida State was a projected 12.07-point winner in the preseason so the computer line is trending toward Clemson, AND last year's result was the first time either school won this game by more than 21 points since 2000. (NOTE: It was announced on Friday that Florida State QB Jameis Winston is suspended for the entire game after jumping on an outdoor table in the middle of campus on Tuesday and screaming a sexually derogatory statement. As TMZ notes, the phrase has become an internet sensation in the past few months with hecklers often screaming it behind news reporters who are in the middle of live shots. As a result of Winston's half-game suspension, the Vegas line had plunged to 16.5 by late Wednesday. By late Friday night, after the full-game suspension was announced, the line had dropped to as low as 12.5).
Florida State won 23-17 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Louisville (-28) by 20.66 over FIU - This is the fourth straight meeting between these schools in a home-and-home series. The Cards won in Louisville 72-0 last year, but only 28-21 in Miami two years ago. FIU won the initial meeting in Louisville 24-17. The computer margin has moved up from 19.02 in the preseason, but is still well under the 28-point Vegas opening line.
Louisville won 34-3. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

ILLINOIS (-14) by 5.62 over Texas State - The Illini rank 87th on defense and 75th on offense, while the Bobcats rank 42nd and 11th in those categories. I took Texas State to beat the 13 they were giving up vs. Navy last week, but they wound up losing by 14. Texas State was a 10.59-point computer underdog in the preseason so this game is trending toward a pick 'em contest.
Illinois won 42-35. The computer won SU, won ATS.

MEMPHIS (-7.5) by 1.95 over Middle Tennessee - The Vegas line has inexplicably risen from 7-1/2 to 12 since the opening while the computer has MTSU as only a 1.95-point underdog.
Memphis won 36-17. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

NEBRASKA (-8) by 0.09 over Miami - The 'Canes were the preseason favorite by 5.88, but that has flipped to calling the 'Huskers a 0.09-point favorite. That still puts the Nebraska advantage at no more than about 5-6 points on the trend line.
Nebraska won 41-31. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

The computer likes the underdog as the outright winner. I don't select the games in this category. Instead, we list every upset projected by the computer.
2013 Regular Season: 47-48 SU (.495), 59-36 ATS (.694)
2014 Regular Season: 9-19 SU (.321), 11-17 ATS (.393)
This Week: 0-2 SU (.000), 0-2 ATS (.000)

Saturday, September 20
Northern Illinois by 5.15 over ARKANSAS (-8) - The Vegas line had climbed to 15 by Monday night which gives NIU more room to work with, but the computer spread favoring the Huskies has dropped more than 4 points since the preseason (was 9.78). NIU already has a win at one Power 5 conference school after beating Northwestern 23-15 two weeks ago.
Arkansas won

Central Michigan by 5.77 over KANSAS (-4) - The Vegas line had stayed pretty steady as of Monday night with enthusiasm for CMU being held back by the arrest of one key player and the injury to another. CMU RB Thomas Rawls is out (arrested on alleged theft charges) and receiver Titus Davis is questionable (knee injury). CMU was only a field goal underdog at home to Syracuse this past Saturday and lost 40-3 as neither played a snap. Rawls had 205 yards of total offense in the Chippewas' win over Purdue. Even without those components, you have to give CMU a chance this week. After all, the opponent is a Kansas program that has lost 38 of its last 47 games, and 4 of the 9 wins came against FCS schools.
Kansas won 24-10. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

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