Tuesday, August 26, 2014

College Football Predictions - 27 Aug to 1 Sep

Upset picks are in italics.

Wednesday

Abilene Christian at Georgia State - Wildcats by 4

Thursday

(21) Texas A&M at (9) South Carolina - Gamecocks by 26
Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe - Warhawks by 12
Eastern Illinois at Minnesota - Golden Gophers by 32
Howard at Akron - Zips by 30
Presbyterian at Northern Illinois - Huskies by 28
Chattanooga at Central Michigan - Chippewas by 24
Idaho State at Utah - Utes by 45
Boise State vs. (18) Ole Miss - Rebels by 1
Cal Poly at New Mexico State - Mustangs by 10
Tulane at Tulsa - Green Wave by 23
Temple at Vanderbilt - Owls by 1
Rutgers at Washington State - Cougars by 28
North Dakota at San Jose State - Spartans by 16
Weber State at (19) Arizona State - Sun Devils by 54

Friday

BYU at Connecticut - Cougars by 11
Villanova at Syracuse - Orange by 33
Jacksonville State at (8) Michigan State - Spartans by 57
Bowling Green at Western Kentucky - Falcons by 13
Colorado State vs. Colorado - Rams by 1
UTSA at Houston - Cougars by 33
UNLV at Arizona - Wildcats by 20

Saturday

Penn State vs. UCF - Nittany Lions by 7
(7) UCLA at Virginia - Bruins by 21
Delaware at Pittsburgh - Panthers by 35
Appalachian State at Michigan - Wolverines by 28
North Dakota State at Iowa State - Cyclones by 28
Indiana State at Indiana - Hoosiers by 20
Northern Iowa at Iowa - Hawkeyes by 51
(5) Ohio State at Navy - Buckeyes by 5
Western Michigan at Purdue - Boilermakers by 25
Troy at UAB - Trojans by 15
Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky - Wildcats by 16
Youngstown State at Illinois - Fightin Illini by 12
Wofford at Georgia Tech - Yellowjackets by 33
Georgia Southern at NC State - Wolfpack by 12
Colgate at Ball State - Cardinals by 17
Nicholls State at Air Force - Falcons by 15
Southern Utah at Nevada - Wolf Pack by 22
Boston College at Massachusetts - Minutemen by 8
James Madison at Maryland - Terrapins by 46
Florida Atlantic at (22) Nebraska - Cornhuskers by 15
California at Northwestern - Wildcats by 13
West Virginia vs. (2) Alabama - Crimson Tide by 37
Duquesne at Buffalo - Bulls by 10
Hampton at Old Dominion - Monarchs by 5
Rice at (17) Notre Dame - Fighting Irish by 12
Marshall at Miami (OH) - Thundering Herd by 28
South Dakota State at (24) Missouri - Tigers by 39
Montana at Wyoming - Cowboys by 2
Portland State at Oregon State - Beavers by 44
UC Davis at (11) Stanford - Cardinal by 57
Arkansas at (6) Auburn - Tigers by 35
William & Mary at Virginia Tech - Hokies by 38
(16) Clemson at (12) Georgia - Bulldogs by 20
Elon at Duke - Blue Devils by 39
Liberty at (23) North Carolina - Tar Heels by 53
Ohio at Kent State - Golden Flashes by 30
Morgan State at Eastern Michigan - Eagles by 2
New Hampshire at Toledo - Rockets by 15
Savannah State at Middle Tennessee - Blue Raiders by 17
Bethune-Cookman at FIU - Golden Panthers by 3
Northern Arizona at San Diego State - Aztecs by 15
Idaho at Florida - Gators by 42
Austin Peay at Memphis - Tigers by 34
Western Carolina at South Florida - Bulls by 10
Louisiana Tech at (4) Oklahoma - Sooners by 22
Samford at TCU - Horned Frogs by 36
Central Arkansas at Texas Tech - Red Raiders by 32
Montana State at Arkansas State - Red Wolves by 14
Southern at Louisiana-Lafayette - Ragin Cajuns by 38
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Texas State - Bobcats by 20
Stephen F Austin at (20) Kansas State - Wildcats by 41
Fresno State at (15) USC - Trojans by 30
Southern Miss at Mississippi State - Bulldogs by 64
UTEP at New Mexico - Lobos by 20
North Texas at Texas - Longhorns by 37
North Carolina Central at East Carolina - Pirates by 33
(1) Florida State vs. Oklahoma State - Seminoles by 23
(14) Wisconsin vs. (13) LSU - Badgers by 20
(25) Washington at Hawaii - Huskies by 17
South Dakota at (3) Oregon - Ducks by 64

Sunday

Utah State at Tennessee - Volunteers by 13
SMU at (10) Baylor - Bears by 65

Monday

Miami (FL) at Louisville - Hurricanes by 6


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

College Football Preseason Rankings

In two weeks, football will be back, so it is time for my annual college football preview. As usual, I have taken each team's final rating from last season, adjusted it for all roster changes, and used that to determine each team's preliminary season rating. I then analyzed each team's schedule in order to determine strength of schedule and projected final record. Here are my first rankings of the 2014 season:





Record
Proj
SOS
Rank
LW
Team
Rating
W
L
W
L
Curr
Overall
1
2
Oregon
-38.679


11
2

15
2
3
Baylor
-36.418


12
0

73
3
1
Florida State
-35.893


12
1

79
4
9
Auburn
-35.283


11
1

22
5
11
UCLA
-34.821


11
2

1
6
23
Michigan State
-32.12


11
2

51
7
4
Alabama
-31.625


12
1

53
8
5
Stanford
-31.557


9
3

2
9
6
Arizona State
-29.341


10
2

9
10
33
North Carolina
-27.785


11
2

41
11
43
Iowa
-26.031


11
2

65
12
41
Houston
-24.819


11
1

101
13
40
Washington State
-24.526


8
4

8
14
29
Mississippi State
-23.961


10
2

80
15
15
South Carolina
-23.475


10
3

32
16
17
USC
-23.421


8
4

11
17
25
Brigham Young
-21.821


10
2

44
18
30
Miami (FL)
-20.726


9
3

19
19
10
Ohio State
-20.549


9
3

27
20
18
Georgia
-20.506


9
3

37
21
69
Maryland
-20.48


9
3

25
22
26
Utah
-20.056


6
6

7
23
42
Bowling Green
-18.755


12
1

115
24
32
Oregon State
-18.399


7
5

12
25
35
Texas
-17.318


8
4

20
26
31
Kansas State
-16.339


8
4

35
27
28
Ole Miss
-15.511


8
4

17
28
54
Tennessee
-14.609


8
4

28
29
39
Boise State
-14.58


10
3

59
30
37
Duke
-14.191


8
4

66
31
8
Missouri
-13.969


9
3

60
32
14
Wisconsin
-13.389


9
3

58
33
72
Louisiana-Lafayette
-13.22


10
2

117
34
13
Oklahoma State
-13.1


7
5

23
35
38
Virginia Tech
-12.636


8
4

57
36
45
Marshall
-10.98


12
1

128
37
51
Navy
-10.844


10
2

87
38
55
TCU
-10.675


8
4

46
39
7
Washington
-10.576


7
6

21
40
52
Pittsburgh
-10.281


7
5

36
41
24
Louisville
-9.4603


8
4

84
42
53
Nebraska
-9.0258


7
5

33
43
63
Penn State
-8.9325


7
5

45
44
93
Memphis
-8.8038


8
4

76
45
107
Army
-8.6699


9
3

95
46
86
Virginia
-8.3483


4
8

5
47
49
East Carolina
-8.0588


8
4

77
48
64
Syracuse
-7.9426


8
4

67
49
20
Georgia Tech
-7.9247


6
6

30
50
44
Texas Tech
-7.3359


7
5

39
51
27
Utah State
-7.2728


9
4

93
52
60
Minnesota
-7.1439


7
5

48
53
46
Michigan
-6.8343


6
6

34
54
21
Oklahoma
-6.7044


6
6

38
55
47
Florida
-6.6786


7
5

47
56
82
Arkansas
-5.926


5
7

24
57
105
Connecticut
-5.54


7
5

72
58
12
Clemson
-5.318


7
5

61
59
67
Northwestern
-5.2868


7
5

55
60
108
Akron
-4.7878


8
4

108
61
59
Cincinnati
-3.5719


6
6

62
62
85
Nevada
-3.2731


8
5

74
63
56
Northern Illinois
-2.9683


10
3

118
64
91
Iowa State
-2.8011


5
7

26
65
22
Texas A&M
-2.2577


6
6

29
66
34
UCF
-1.6331


6
6

75
67
94
Rutgers
-1.6304


4
8

13
68
66
Colorado State
-1.578


8
4

112
69
79
Colorado
-1.0588


4
8

10
70
68
Western Kentucky
-0.4726


7
5

88
71
19
Arizona
0.16451


4
8

6
72
74
South Alabama
0.16593


7
5

89
73
75
Florida Atlantic
0.50266


8
4

105
74
111
Central Michigan
1.17009


9
3

124
75
50
Fresno State
1.43451


6
6

78
76
97
Temple
2.46066


5
7

64
77
112
Purdue
2.501


5
7

63
78
99
California
2.69805


2
10

3
79
80
UTSA
3.15439


7
6

97
80
78
Tulane
3.21642


5
7

52
81
110
New Mexico
3.91878


6
6

94
82
57
Indiana
4.814


3
9

16
83
36
Notre Dame
4.83516


2
10

4
84
88
West Virginia
4.91057


3
9

14
85
106
Texas State
5.31239


9
3

127
86
101
Kent State
5.91744


5
7

83
87
16
LSU
6.52336


4
8

42
88
65
Ball State
7.91355


6
6

90
89
81
Middle Tennessee
8.01945


6
6

109
90
48
Vanderbilt
8.10352


4
8

50
91
83
Kentucky
8.73604


4
8

54
92
77
San Jose State
8.97394


4
8

70
93
92
San Diego State
9.99748


5
7

81
94
113
Louisiana Tech
10.1942


6
6

104
95
114
Air Force
10.2012


4
8

86
96
70
Toledo
10.2141


5
7

91
97
62
Arkansas State
11.2378


6
6

107
98
100
Hawaii
11.8799


4
9

85
99
71
Rice
11.9024


6
6

106
100
87
Troy
12.0606


7
5

121
101
90
North Carolina State
12.9032


5
7

82
102
84
Illinois
13.6395


2
10

31
103
109
South Florida
14.6878


3
9

71
104
58
North Texas
14.8962


6
6

125
105
89
UNLV
15.0719


3
10

69
106
76
Buffalo
15.5466


5
7

100
107
98
Louisiana-Monroe
15.9459


5
7

119
108

Appalachian State
16.1273


6
6

126
109
104
Kansas
18.9447


1
11

18
110
118
UTEP
19.014


4
8

113
111

Georgia Southern
19.273


4
8

120
112

Old Dominion
19.9359


4
8

116
113
73
Wake Forest
22.2984


2
10

49
114
116
Western Michigan
22.4822


3
9

111
115
119
Massachusetts
22.5638


3
9

99
116
125
Florida International
22.6064


3
9

114
117
123
Miami (OH)
22.6786


3
9

103
118
102
Wyoming
22.8144


1
11

43
119
124
Eastern Michigan
22.9376


2
10

92
120
95
Southern Methodist
23.1744


1
11

40
121
61
Boston College
25.3535


1
11

56
122
117
Georgia State
29.4433


2
10

110
123
120
Idaho
29.8678


2
10

123
124
96
Ohio
30.4982


2
10

102
125
103
Tulsa
31.2688


1
11

68
126
115
UAB
31.9066


2
10

98
127
122
Southern Miss
34.6062


1
11

96
128
121
New Mexico State
35.192


1
11

122

As usual, the Pac 12 is dominating the Strength of Schedule rankings, due to a 9-game conference schedule and a large number of quality teams, a combination no other conference can claim. For that reason, the conference has 4 of the top 10 teams and 8 of the top 25, including the #1 overall team, Oregon, who is projected to lose twice, with a schedule that includes Michigan State, Stanford, and UCLA, plus a potential rematch with UCLA in the Pac 12 title game, which would mean 4 games against the top 8 teams. If any Pac 12 team finishes undefeated, they should be the automatic top seed in the first college football playoff.

The only team projected to finish undefeated is Baylor, the class of the Big 12, which is returning a large portion of a team that finished 11-2 last season, with both losses to teams in the top 11. They will be helped along this season by a weak schedule, ranked in the bottom half of the nation, including only one opponent in my preseason top 25, #25 Texas. The Bears must finish undefeated to have a shot at the playoffs.

Last year's champions, the Florida State Seminoles, look to be in the running again this year, with the bulk of their lineup returning, a schedule that includes a load of cupcakes, and the confidence and momentum that comes from winning a championship decisively. Their only real test in the regular season will be a trip to Miami in mid-November, and they will also have to navigate the ACC title game, a hurdle Baylor will not have to face.

This year's SEC title should once again come down to the result of the Iron Bowl, where Auburn will be visiting Alabama in the rematch of one of the most exciting finishes in college football history. The Tigers look like the better team right now, but the Crimson Tide will have home field advantage in the rivalry game, so they are my pick to take the 4th and final spot in the playoff.

I will update my rankings weekly throughout the season, usually on the day after the week's final game has been played, and I will also post my predictions for each week's games before the week's slate of games begins. Last season I correctly predicted the winner in 77.5% of college football games, up 2% from the previous season, and I hope to top that number this season.