2009 College Football Projections: Week 1 From WhatIfSports.com image

2009 College Football Projections

Week 1 NCAA Football Predictions
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
August 17th, 2009

Beginning with Week 1 today, WhatIfSports.com will preview a week of the college football season each day for 15 days, including projected scores from 10,000 simulations for all FBS games and updated standings as of that week. Once we have reached the end of the season, we will present our projected bowl match-ups with results.

Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of August 1, 2009. A schedule of our 2009 College Football Preview, including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

Also, see below for details on how you can run your own college football program with Gridiron Dynasty.

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Each regular season FBS game is simulated 10,000 times. The Absolute Record is simply the total number of games in which a team is favored. The Expected Record, the more accurate approach, is the sum of the team's win probabilities from each game. The Expected Record accounts for the fact that some wins are less certain than others (a 50.1% win is different than a 99% win). Since the favored team does not win every game (otherwise, why would we watch?), the likelihood of an upset is important to take into account. We may ultimately say that six teams are favored to win all of their games, but we don't expect any to do so.

Also, since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points than the opponent on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage. We are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.

The inputs to the simulations are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings from 2008. Once this step is complete, we make our modifications for 2009 based on returning starters (who, where and how many), expected progression of returning players in new roles, depth at each position and incoming recruits and transfers.

Games for each week are ordered by the conference of the home team and then winning percentage of the home team, with the score reading the visitors first followed by the home team. If a team is listed as having a 95% chance of winning, that means that it won at 95% or more of the 10,000 simulations. Every underdog has a chance to win. Along those lines, this may be relatively obvious for some examples (i.e. James Madison vs. Maryland), but non-FBS rosters and ratings are not maintained individually due to lack of data. In other words, right or wrong, all non-FBS teams are treated equally.

Today we preview Week 1 (9/5/09).

Game of the Week: #5 Alabama 20 vs. #12 Virginia Tech 12
Two of our top 12 teams open the season in primetime at the Georgia Dome. With great defenses on both teams, do not expect much scoring. Alabama returns nine starters from a defense that only allowed 14.3 points-per-game in 2008, while Virginia Tech brings back seven starters from a defense that gave up just 16.7 points-per-game. The Crimson Tide is just a little bit better than the Hokies are at each position on defense. Virginia Tech sophomore running back Darren Evans may have been enough to neutralize that advantage, but he was just lost for the year due to a torn ACL. As even and as tough as these teams look, it may take a special teams or defensive touchdown to score enough points to decide victory. Alabama gets what it needs to pull off the victory, winning 79.4% of the 10,000 simulations and by an average score of 20-12.


MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Citadel @ North Carolina95.05-35
Jacksonville State @ Georgia Tech95.05-50
Middle Tennessee @ Clemson95.07-27
Richmond @ Duke93.47-26
William & Mary @ Virginia92.09-23
Northeastern @ Boston College90.79-24
South Carolina @ North Carolina State81.110-21
Miami (FL) @ Florida State70.413-21
Baylor @ Wake Forest23.926-18
Alabama @ Virginia Tech20.620-12
Brigham Young @ Oklahoma95.019-44
Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska95.013-38
Louisiana-Monroe @ Texas95.04-67
North Dakota @ Texas Tech95.09-47
Northern Colorado @ Kansas95.09-46
Massachusetts @ Kansas State86.78-24
North Dakota State @ Iowa State84.413-29
Georgia @ Oklahoma State83.127-42
New Mexico @ Texas A&M48.220-21
Colorado State @ Colorado44.520-20
Indiana State @ Louisville95.08-34
Liberty @ West Virginia95.05-51
Wofford @ South Florida95.08-39
Youngstown State @ Pittsburgh95.06-37
Cincinnati @ Rutgers64.521-29
Minnesota @ Syracuse10.024-12
Akron @ Penn State95.09-43
Montana State @ Michigan State95.06-32
Navy @ Ohio State95.08-32
Northern Illinois @ Wisconsin95.011-40
Northern Iowa @ Iowa95.05-44
Towson @ Northwestern93.77-26
Eastern Kentucky @ Indiana85.010-24
Missouri @ Illinois72.126-34
Toledo @ Purdue56.813-16
Western Michigan @ Michigan41.521-20
Alcorn State @ Southern Miss95.08-43
Appalachian State @ East Carolina95.07-34
Northwestern State @ Houston95.07-51
Southern Illinois @ Marshall91.78-28
Samford @ UCF82.48-19
Stephen F. Austin @ Southern Methodist73.812-21
Buffalo @ UTEP67.817-26
Rice @ UAB46.826-28
Tulsa @ Tulane7.036-17
Mississippi @ Memphis5.048-10
Nevada @ Notre Dame60.523-28
Villanova @ Temple85.78-22
North Texas @ Ball State84.112-28
Coastal Carolina @ Kent State80.711-26
Army @ Eastern Michigan38.515-14
Troy @ Bowling Green36.522-18
Connecticut @ Ohio24.318-12
Kentucky @ Miami (OH)13.618-7
Nicholls State @ Air Force95.06-40
Utah State @ Utah95.06-36
Sacramento State @ UNLV93.710-30
Weber State @ Wyoming82.79-21
Idaho State @ Arizona State95.08-32
Maryland @ California95.08-33
Portland State @ Oregon State95.07-44
San Jose State @ USC95.04-55
Central Michigan @ Arizona85.014-28
San Diego State @ UCLA78.111-24
LSU @ Washington5.048-8
Stanford @ Washington State5.039-9
Charleston Southern @ Florida95.03-74
Missouri State @ Arkansas95.07-38
Western Carolina @ Vanderbilt95.06-30
Western Kentucky @ Tennessee95.04-40
Jackson State @ Mississippi State88.77-24
Louisiana Tech @ Auburn22.923-15
Mississippi Valley State @ Arkansas State95.06-33
Southern University @ Louisiana-Lafayette87.710-28
California-Davis @ Fresno State95.06-32
Central Arkansas @ Hawaii79.413-26
Idaho @ New Mexico State74.111-22
Oregon @ Boise State48.225-26

Week 1 Standings

ConferenceTeamAbs RecordExp Record
Atlantic CoastBoston College1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastClemson1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastDuke1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastFlorida State1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastGeorgia Tech1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina State1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastVirginia1 - 01 - 0
Atlantic CoastMaryland0 - 10 - 1
Atlantic CoastMiami (FL)0 - 10 - 1
Atlantic CoastVirginia Tech0 - 10 - 1
Atlantic CoastWake Forest0 - 10 - 1
Big 12Baylor1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Iowa State1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Kansas State1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Kansas1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Nebraska1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Oklahoma State1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Oklahoma1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Texas Tech1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Texas1 - 01 - 0
Big 12Colorado0 - 10 - 1
Big 12Missouri0 - 10 - 1
Big 12Texas A&M0 - 10 - 1
Big EastConnecticut1 - 01 - 0
Big EastLouisville1 - 01 - 0
Big EastPittsburgh1 - 01 - 0
Big EastRutgers1 - 01 - 0
Big EastSouth Florida1 - 01 - 0
Big EastWest Virginia1 - 01 - 0
Big EastCincinnati0 - 10 - 1
Big EastSyracuse0 - 10 - 1
Big TenIllinois1 - 01 - 0
Big TenIndiana1 - 01 - 0
Big TenIowa1 - 01 - 0
Big TenMichigan State1 - 01 - 0
Big TenMinnesota1 - 01 - 0
Big TenNorthwestern1 - 01 - 0
Big TenOhio State1 - 01 - 0
Big TenPenn State1 - 01 - 0
Big TenPurdue1 - 01 - 0
Big TenWisconsin1 - 01 - 0
Big TenMichigan0 - 10 - 1
Conference USAEast Carolina1 - 01 - 0
Conference USAHouston1 - 01 - 0
Conference USAMarshall1 - 01 - 0
Conference USARice1 - 01 - 0
Conference USASouthern Methodist1 - 01 - 0
Conference USASouthern Miss1 - 01 - 0
Conference USATulsa1 - 01 - 0
Conference USAUCF1 - 01 - 0
Conference USAUTEP1 - 01 - 0
Conference USAMemphis0 - 10 - 1
Conference USATulane0 - 10 - 1
Conference USAUAB0 - 10 - 1
Independents (FBS)Army1 - 01 - 0
Independents (FBS)Notre Dame1 - 01 - 0
Independents (FBS)Navy0 - 10 - 1
Independents (FBS)Western Kentucky0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanBall State1 - 01 - 0
Mid-AmericanKent State1 - 01 - 0
Mid-AmericanTemple1 - 01 - 0
Mid-AmericanWestern Michigan1 - 01 - 0
Mid-AmericanAkron0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanBowling Green0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanBuffalo0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanCentral Michigan0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanEastern Michigan0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanMiami (OH)0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanNorthern Illinois0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanOhio0 - 10 - 1
Mid-AmericanToledo0 - 10 - 1
Mountain WestAir Force1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestColorado State1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestNew Mexico1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestUNLV1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestUtah1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestWyoming1 - 01 - 0
Mountain WestBrigham Young0 - 10 - 1
Mountain WestSan Diego State0 - 10 - 1
Pacific-10Arizona State1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10Arizona1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10California1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10Oregon State1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10Oregon1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10Stanford1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10UCLA1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10USC1 - 01 - 0
Pacific-10Washington State0 - 10 - 1
Pacific-10Washington0 - 10 - 1
SoutheasternAlabama1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternArkansas1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternFlorida1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternKentucky1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternLSU1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternMississippi State1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternMississippi1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternTennessee1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternVanderbilt1 - 01 - 0
SoutheasternAuburn0 - 10 - 1
SoutheasternGeorgia0 - 10 - 1
SoutheasternSouth Carolina0 - 10 - 1
Sun BeltArkansas State1 - 01 - 0
Sun BeltLouisiana-Lafayette1 - 01 - 0
Sun BeltTroy1 - 01 - 0
Sun BeltFlorida Atlantic0 - 10 - 1
Sun BeltLouisiana-Monroe0 - 10 - 1
Sun BeltMiddle Tennessee0 - 10 - 1
Sun BeltNorth Texas0 - 10 - 1
Western AthleticFresno State1 - 01 - 0
Western AthleticHawaii1 - 01 - 0
Western AthleticLouisiana Tech1 - 01 - 0
Western AthleticNew Mexico State1 - 01 - 0
Western AthleticBoise State0 - 10 - 1
Western AthleticIdaho0 - 10 - 1
Western AthleticNevada0 - 10 - 1
Western AthleticSan Jose State0 - 10 - 1
Western AthleticUtah State0 - 10 - 1

A schedule of our 2009 College Football Preview, including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

Ever wanted to be in be in charge of your own college football program? With Gridiron Dynasty from WhatIfSports.com, you have a chance to do just that. From recruiting and running practice to gameplanning and scheduling - it is all under your control. Start at DIII and try to work your way up to winning the DI championship at your favorite school.

Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in NCAA Matchup analysis and college football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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