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11/4/14-11/8/14


FEATURE PICKS ARCHIVES
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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. 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.
2013 Regular Season: 111-18 SU (.860), 78-51 ATS (.605)
2014 Regular Season: 59-25 SU (.702), 36-48 ATS (.429)
This Week: 7-1 SU (.875), 5-3 ATS (.625)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, November 6
Clemson (-21) by 22.23 over WAKE FOREST - Clemson has won the last two meetings by 49 and 29, and enters this game with the ACC's top-ranked defense and 4th-ranked offense. Wake has the ACC's least productive offense and 8th-ranked defense (out of 14 teams).
Clemson won 34-20. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, November 8
ARKANSAS STATE (-3.5) by 6.17 over South Alabama - The computer trend line has the Red Wolves winning by 12. Arkansas State has averaged over 45 points per game in its last 3 contests. South Alabama has struggled in wins over conference bottom-dwellers Troy and Georgia State, and only managed 9 points against UL-L last week.
Arkansas State won 45-10. The computer won SU, won ATS.

FLORIDA STATE (-19.5) by 24.26 over Virginia - Virginia's pass defense ranks 11 out of 14 ACC teams while FSU's passing offense tops the conference. However, the Seminole defense ranks 10th while UVA ranks 6th. On a measure of quality opponent, I'd put UVa squarely between Wake Forest (a 43-3 home win for FSU) and Notre Dame (a 31-27 home win for FSU). The Cavs are reeling with 3 straight losses after winning 4 of its first 6. If Florida State doesn't handicap itself with another slow start, this could be a blowout by halftime.
Florida State won 34-20. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Georgia (-11) by 14.79 over KENTUCKY - The Kentucky offense was held to 3 points by LSU and 10 points by Missouri. In between, the 'Cats lost 45-31 at home to Mississippi State. Georgia's been unbelievably inconsistent. The 'Dawgs won 34-0 at a Missouri team that bashed Florida 42-13 the following week. And then Georgia goes and gets trucked 38-20 by Florida. So I base my pick largely on this stat - Kentucky's run defense is the second-worst in the SEC while Georgia's rushing offense ranks 3rd in the SEC.
Georgia won 63-31. The computer won SU, won ATS.

TROY (-7) by 11.38 over Georgia State - The Trojans have the best pass defense in the Sun Belt and that's the only way the Panthers have been able to move the ball.
Troy won 45-21. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Georgia Tech (-5) by 9.64 over N.C. STATE - The ACC's top-ranked rushing offense should shred the conference's No. 10 rush defense. The Jackets come in off of solid wins over Pitt and Virginia. The Wolfpack just snapped a 4-game losing streak with a 24-17 win at Syracuse.
Georgia Tech won 56-23. The computer won SU, won ATS.

HOUSTON (-17) by 17.39 over Tulane - The computer trend line is over 27 for the Cougars. Tulane hasn't topped 14 points on offense in its last 5 games, and Houston owns the American conference's 2nd-best total defense.
Tulane won 31-24. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Marshall (-26) by 27.79 over SOUTHERN MISS - The computer trend line is 33 for a Marshall team that was held under 42 points for the first time all year in its last outing vs. FAU, a 35-16 win. The 8-0 Herd have 5 wins by at least 30 points and this game pits Marshall's 2nd-ranked (nationally) offense against USM's 99th-ranked defense.
Marshall won 63-17. The computer won SU, won ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
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: 50-7 SU (.877), 24-33 ATS (.421)
This Week: 2-2 SU (.500), 3-1 ATS (.750)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, November 8
Alabama (-6) by 0.09 over LSU - 'Bama is on a 3-game winning streak over the Bayou Bengals dating back to the 21-0 win in the 2011 season BCS Championship game. But the Tide hasn't won by more than 6 points in Baton Rouge since a 31-0 romp in 2002 when current Alabama head coach Nick Saban was then the head coach at LSU.
Alabama won 20-13 in OT. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

San Diego State (-21) by 18.11 over IDAHO - SDSU doesn't have a FBS win all year by more than 17 points and they've played #95 New Mexico, #97 Fresno State, #113 UNLV and #117 Hawaii.
San Diego State won 35-21. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Iowa State (-5.5) by 1.36 over KANSAS - It's a collision of the conference's 2 worst offenses, as well as the 8th and 9th worst defenses (out of 10 teams). The computer had Kansas winning by less than a point in the preseason and the trend line still only favors ISU by 3.
Kansas won 34-14. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

OREGON STATE (-7.5) by 5.15 over Washington State - Yes, Wazzu (2-7) QB Connor Halliday is out for the season, but all Luke Falk did in his first start vs. USC last week was complete 38-of-57 for 370 yards, 2 TD's and 1 pick. The computer trend line favors the unimpressive Beavers (4-4) by just under 2-1/2.
Washington State won 39-32. The computer lost 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.
2013 Regular Season: 47-48 SU (.495), 59-36 ATS (.694)
2014 Regular Season: 37-43 SU (.463), 44-36 ATS (.550)
This Week: 6-6 SU (.500), 9-3 ATS (.750)
PAST RECORDS

Tuesday, November 4
Bowling Green by 2.49 over AKRON (-5) - BGSU has won 5 straight in the series, but the computer trend line for this week's matchup actually points to the home-standing Zips by 9.
Bowling Green won 27-10. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Wednesday, November 5
BALL STATE by 0.75 over Northern Illinois (-3) - The Huskies have owned the Cardinals with wins in the last 5 meetings, and 12 of the last 15. But this week, the computer trend line points to BSU by 2.
Northern Illinois won 35-21, scoring 21 points on 5 BSU turnovers. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, November 8
UNLV by 0.43 over Air Force (-6.5) - I have a difficult time even fathoming that UNLV will put down Air Force. Perhaps it's a good time to draw the Falcons since they're coming off a high of having clinched the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, but everything on paper points to the Air Force improving its record to 7-2 and dropping UNLV to 2-8. The computer trend line points to the AFA by double-digits. Statistically, the Rebels are significantly outranked on both sides of the ball.
Air Force won 48-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Louisiana-Monroe by 4.74 over APPALACHIAN STATE (-2.5) - UL-L is a 12.05-point favorite on the computer's trend line.
Appalachian State won 31-29. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Notre Dame by 3.82 over ARIZONA STATE (-2) - The computer trend line has Notre Dame by a little over 2 points. ASU outranks the Irish on offense nationally, 23rd to 36th. Notre Dame gets the defense edge, 41st to 60th. Both teams are 7-1 and fighting to stay in the Final 4 conversation. The loser will essentially be eliminated from the discussion.
Arizona State won 55-31. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

NORTH TEXAS by 1.86 over Fau (-4) - FAU is a 1.44-point favorite on the computer's trend line.
North Texas won 31-10. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Fiu by 3.11 over OLD DOMINION (-3) - ODU can score some points, but the upstart Monarchs can't stop water in a bucket as they've allowed an average of 48.17 over the last 6 games to rank 123rd nationally (out of 128 teams). Among those last 6 opponents, ODU surrendered 56 to Marshall and 66 to Western Kentucky. For FIU, points have been hard to come by as the Panthers only average 21 per game, and just 14 per game in the last 3 outings. But, FIU has only allowed an average of 23.9. The trend line favors FIU by 4.8.
Old Dominion won 38-35. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

TEXAS STATE by 3.39 over Georgia Southern (-10) - Texas State has won 4 of its last 5 games to improve to 5-3 on the season. Georgia Southern is the surprising leader of the Sun Belt at 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the conference. The Eagles lead the nation in rushing at 402 yards per game. Texas State ranks 111th against the run so this upset pick looks awfully shaky right from the start. The computer trend line further blows it out of the water as it indicates that Georgia Southern should be favored by 15.
Georgia Southern won 28-25. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

MINNESOTA by 1.95 over Iowa (-2.5) - The computer trend line points to Iowa by 4.31, but this battle for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy could go either way as the teams are statistically close, and each control their own destiny in the Big Ten's West division title hunt. Minnesota (6-2) hosts Ohio State next week and then hits the road for Nebraska and Wisconsin to close out the season. Iowa (6-2) gets Wisconsin and Nebraska at home after visiting Illinois next week. Minnesota suffered a surprising home loss to Illinois in its last outing but has had an extra week to regroup. Iowa posted a 48-7 shellacking of Northwestern last week. The teams are meeting for the 108th time overall.
Minnesota won 51-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Michigan by 1.70 over NORTHWESTERN (-2) - Northwestern was blasted 48-7 at Iowa last week while Michigan woke up with a 34-10 win over Indiana. The trend line favors Michigan by 3.24.
Michigan won 10-9. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Ohio State by 2.52 over MICHIGAN STATE (-2) - The trend line likes OSU by 4.61 in this battle for the outright lead in the Big Ten's East division. A division title, conference crown, and final 4 playoff berth are all that's riding on the outcome.
Ohio State won 49-37. The computer won SU, won ATS.

TEXAS by 2.22 over West Virginia (-4) - WVU has been one of this season's biggest surprises, bit a loss to the Horned Frogs dropped the Mountaineers' record to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the conference. Texas enters at 4-5 overall, 3-3 in the conference, and needing to win 2 of its last 3 games just to become bowl eligible. Unfortunately for Longhorn fans, the computer's trend line points to WVU winning by 10.
Texas won 33-16. The computer won SU, won ATS.



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