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10/3/13-10/5/13


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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 docsports.com. 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. You can research the computer's performance with each team and conference with the Team-By-Team Picks Tracking data. An explanation of how the computer's SU and ATS wins and losses are scored can be found at Weekly Picks Help.


EASY PICKINS:
The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2012 Regular Season: 94-27 SU (.777), 67-54 ATS (.554)
2013 Regular Season: 42-4 SU (.913), 30-16 ATS (.652)
This Week: 7-1 SU (.875), 5-3 ATS (.625)
PAST RECORDS

Friday, October 4
SAN DIEGO STATE (-5.5) by 12.15 over Nevada - Nevada has not shown itself to be a very good football team - it needed everything it had to barely rally for a home win over a bad Air Force team, and was blown out by 38 in the opener at UCLA when it was only an 11-point computer underdog. San Diego State hasn't played well either as it needed to rally from a 16-0 deficit to win at lowly New Mexico State. At the end of the day, I'm pretty much just giving the computer a deserved benefit of the doubt.
San Diego State won 51-44 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Saturday, October 5
Ohio (-3) by 10.95 over AKRON - It concerns me a bit that the line quickly moved up to the 6 to 6-1/2-point range and the computer margin has trended downward from a 14.6-point separation between these teams. But this IS Akron, after all - a team which has lost 25 straight FBS games and 16 straight conference games (MAC).
Ohio won 43-3. The computer won SU, won ATS.

BAYLOR (-21) by 23.47 over West Virginia - Oklahoma State gifted West Virginia a 30-21 win last week. The Mountaineers managed a total of 7 points in their previous two games away from home this season. Baylor leads the nation in total offense and ranks 15th in total defense. Last season's 70-63 regulation shootout (WVU won in Morgantown) is not going to come close to repeating itself.
Baylor won 73-42. The computer won SU won ATS.

FLORIDA STATE (-17.5) by 20.05 over Maryland - FSU won the last two meetings by 27 and 25, and that was without Jameis Winston at QB. Winston has 12 TD's passing to 2 INT's and has added 2 more scores on the ground.
Florida State won 63-0. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Georgia (-10.5) by 14.97 over TENNESSEE - No way the Vols can keep up with the Bulldog offense which has scored between 35 and 45 points in every game against some stiff competition - Clemson, South Carolina, LSU and even a good North Texas team.
Georgia won 34-31 in OT. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Texas Tech (-14) by 29.28 over KANSAS - This week's early Christmas present - still on sale at minus-17.
Texas Tech won 56-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

UTEP (-1.5) by 3.72 over Louisiana Tech - What do USF and Louisiana Tech have in common? Skip Holtz. Don't know why, but things aren't going too good for Skip lately as the man has won just 3 of his last 23 games vs. FBS foes.
Louisiana Tech won 38-35. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Rutgers (-3) by 7.25 over SMU - Rutgers was only a 2.47-point computer favorite in the preseason and is now up to 7.25.
Rutgers won 55-52 in 3 OT's. The computer won SU, lost ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2012 Regular Season: 52-17 SU (.754), 42-27 ATS (.609)
2013 Regular Season: 38-4 SU (.905), 19-23 ATS (.452)
This Week: 5-2 SU (.714), 4-3 ATS (.571)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, October 5
BOSTON COLLEGE (-10) by 3.11 over Army - BC's 76th-ranked run defense will be charged with the task of halting Army's 2nd-ranked rushing offense. Army won last year's game 34-31 at West Point.
Boston College won 48-27. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Clemson (-13.5) by 8.41 over SYRACUSE - Clemson would surely seem to have the advantage in this game as it boasts the 22nd best offense while Syracuse ranks 55th. But the Orange rank 32nd on defense and Clemson ranks 38th. The computer's advantage for Clemson has dropped by about 1 point since the preseason.
Clemson won 49-14. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

East Carolina (-9.5) by 4.94 over MIDDLE TENNESSEE - The Pirates destroyed UNC last week 55-31 to improve to 3-1 while MTSU was blown out 37-10 at BYU to fall to 3-2. Both teams are 1-0 and tied for the early lead in the CUSA East standings. The Blue Raiders' potential saving grace for this game is that it will be played in Murfreesboro. It's the first ever meeting between these teams.
East Carolina won 24-17. The computer won SU, won ATS.

UAB (-7) by 2.73 over Fau - UAB outranks FAU among CUSA teams 7th to 12th on offense while FAU outranks the Blue Raiders on defense 3rd to 12th (out of 14 teams). The Blazers' computer advantage has shrunk 3.27 points since the preseason.
FAU won 37-23. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

SOUTHERN MISS (-14.5) by 10.48 over Fiu - FIU is last in the nation on offense wile Southern Miss ranks 120th. On defense, the Golden Panthers rank 102nd while the Golden Eagles rank 61st. FIU failed to score at all in games vs. UCF and Louisville and is averaging 5.75 ppg. USM is averaging 9.5 ppg.
FIU won 24-23. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Lsu (-9.5) by 6.56 over MISSISSIPPI STATE - LSU hits the road for a second straight game at a team nicknamed "Bulldogs" after falling 44-41 at Georgia last Saturday. The computer margin favoring LSU is basically flat since the preseason, indicating that these teams have performed about as expected. Statistically, MSU ranks above LSU on defense and they're relatively identical on offense.
LSU won 59-26. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Ucf (-10) by 5.92 over MEMPHIS - I would think that Memphis shouldn't be any match for UCF, but the computer line favoring the Golden Knights has only risen 1.20 points since the preseason.
UCF won 24-17. The computer won SU, won ATS.


UPSETS:
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.
2012 Regular Season: 36-50 SU (.419), 42-44 ATS (.488)
2013 Regular Season: 24-25 SU (.490), 33-16 ATS (.673)
This Week: 4-2 SU (.667), 4-2 ATS (.667)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, October 3
LOUISIANA-MONROE by 6.02 over Western Kentucky (-3) - The computer favored the Warhawks by more than 15 points in the preseason so it's actually trending toward the Hilltoppers.
Western Kentucky won 31-10. The computer lost SU, lost ATS

Saturday, October 5
Notre Dame by 4.23 over Arizona State (-6.5) (at Arlington, TX) - The computer had Notre Dame winning this game by 11-1/2 points in the preseason. The Irish would surprisingly drop to 3-3 with a loss to the Sun Devils. Notre Dame won both previous meetings in 1998 and 1999.
Notre Dame won 37-34. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Ball State by 3.17 over VIRGINIA (-5) - UVa has a history of falling at home to non-BCS schools in recent years - Louisiana Tech (2012), Southern Miss (2011), William & Mary (2009) - so this pick shouldn't come as a surprise. The computer favored BSU by 1.94 in the preseason.
Ball State won 48-27. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Washington State by 5.60 over CALIFORNIA (-1.5) - The line quickly flipped to Washington State by 1-to-2 points after the game opened on Tuesday morning with Cal favored by 1-1/2. The Cougs began the season strong, winning 3-of-4 before getting manhandled 55-17 by Stanford in Seattle last weekend. At the same time Mike Leach's team was getting taken down a rung, Cal was flopping at Oregon 55-16. Both teams are heavily unbalanced on offense with the Bears getting 74.6% of their offense through the air and the Cougars going up top for 84.3% of their yardage. So who has the better pass defense? Washington State by a mile with 7 picks vs. 3 TD's allowed vs. Cal with 8 TD's and just 1 pick while surrendering nearly 100 yards more per game via the pass. But stats be damned - I still personally like Cal at home.
Washington State won 44-22. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Michigan State by 2.83 over IOWA (-2) - Over 6 points have disappeared from Michigan State's preseason advantage in this game. Since bowing to Northern Illinois in the opener, the Hawkeyes have bounced back with 4 straight wins to already double the computer's expected 2013 season total of 2. However, the Spartans are exactly where the computer said they would be at this point - 3-1 with the lone loss to Notre Dame.
Michigan State won 26-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

KENT STATE by 2.59 over Northern Illinois (-9.5) - Rather obvious that some of the computer's love for Kent State is a holdover from last year's team which went 11-3 overall and 8-0 in the MAC, but lost head coach to Darrell Hazell to Purdue. Northern Illinois is coming off a rout a 55-24 rout at Purdue that made the Huskies the first MAC team to ever beat two Big Ten teams in the same season as they also edged Iowa in the season opener.
Northern Illinois won 38-24. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.


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