Week 3 NCAA Projections

Scores and standings for every team
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
August 13th, 2008

We will preview a college football week each day for 15 days, including scores and updated standings for each week. At the conclusion of those previews, we will present our bowl match-ups with results and final updated pre-season Power Rankings (see original rankings below).

Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of August 1, 2008. A schedule of upcoming college football preview content including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

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Each regular season FBS game is simulated 1,000 times, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our Expected and Absolute Records as of the conclusion of that week. 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 only expect one team to do so (stick around to August 26th to find out who).

Also, especially 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 and 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 first considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings from 2007 and then makes modifications for 2008 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 winning percentage of the home team descending, with the score reading the visitors first and then 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 1,000 simulations. Every underdog has a chance to win. Along those lines, this may be relatively obvious for some examples (i.e. LSU vs. Appalachian State), 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 3.

Game of the Week: #1 Ohio State 27 (3-0) @ #5 USC 16 (1-1)
If the New England vs. Indianapolis game last season was Super Bowl XLI.5, is this game BCS Championship.5? Or is it the Grandmommy of Them All? No matter what name sticks, this non-conference showdown will be one of the most anticipated regular season games ever. Two top 5 teams in our pre-season Power Rankings square off in a game that means everything to the perception and direction of the program of the visiting team and its conference. If Ohio State wins, it could erase many of the doubts surrounding its last two championship game performances as it eases into this year's national championship. If the Buckeyes lose, then Ohio State cannot truly be considered an elite team and the Big Ten looks like a weak BCS conference. We say they win - convincingly. In the simulated game, Ohio State wins 87% of the time, by an average score of 27-16. It is the only game all season (until the national championship) where OSU is less than a 95% favorite.

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Chattanooga @ Florida State954-41
NC St. @ Clemson958-36
Montana State @ Minn.957-41
Southern Illinois @ Northwestern956-37
Missouri State @ Oklahoma State956-48
Charleston Southern @ Miami (OH)954-39
North Dakota State @ Wyoming954-39
North Texas @ LSU955-43
Samford @ Mississippi954-36
Western Kentucky @ Alabama958-36
Alabama A&M @ LA-Monroe955-33
Alcorn State @ Troy956-30
Delaware State @ Kent St.956-36
Stanford @ TCU958-32
UNLV @ Arizona St.9515-34
UAB @ Tennessee9511-35
LA-Laf @ Illinois9512-38
Iowa State @ Iowa93.47-31
Mid Tenn @ Kentucky91.88-31
SMU @ Texas Tech88.520-33
Bowling Green @ Boise State86.915-37
GA Tech @ Virginia Tech85.212-29
New Mexico State @ Nebraska85.218-34
Arkansas @ Texas83.622-33
Nevada @ Missouri83.632-40
San Diego State @ San Jose State73.812-22
Virginia @ Connecticut72.110-24
Air Force @ Houston67.224-34
Memphis @ Marshall60.721-28
Hawaii @ Oregon State60.716-21
UCLA @ Brigham Young5922-32
Oregon @ Purdue54.123-28
Florida Atlantic @ Michigan State52.526-31
California @ Maryland47.532-33
Washington St. @ Baylor44.325-25
Rice @ Vanderbilt42.623-22
North Carolina @ Rutgers4128-27
Temple @ Buffalo4125-23
Toledo @ E. Michigan4128-24
Navy @ Duke39.326-23
C. Michigan @ Ohio37.732-27
Wisconsin @ Fresno State36.133-29
Kansas @ South Florida34.436-34
Arizona @ New Mexico34.424-21
S. Miss @ Arkansas St.34.429-22
Michigan @ Notre Dame26.226-21
W. Michigan @ Idaho2328-21
Ball State @ Akron21.331-21
Auburn @ Mississippi State14.817-10
Ohio State @ USC13.127-16
East Carolina @ Tulane6.634-18
Penn State @ Syracuse536-18
Oklahoma @ Washington538-25
Georgia @ S. Carolina535-10
Utah @ Utah State537-8

Updated FBS Standings through Week 3

ConferenceTeamAbs RecordExp Record
Atlantic CoastClemson3 - 03 - 0
Atlantic CoastVirginia Tech3 - 03 - 0
Atlantic CoastBoston College2 - 02 - 0
Atlantic CoastFlorida State2 - 02 - 0
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina2 - 02 - 0
Atlantic CoastWF2 - 02 - 0
Atlantic CoastDuke1 - 22 - 1
Atlantic CoastMaryland2 - 12 - 1
Atlantic CoastMiami (FL)1 - 11 - 1
Atlantic CoastGA Tech1 - 21 - 2
Atlantic CoastNC St.1 - 21 - 2
Atlantic CoastVirginia1 - 21 - 2
Big EastLouisville2 - 02 - 0
Big EastPittsburgh2 - 02 - 0
Big EastW. Virginia2 - 02 - 0
Big EastConnecticut3 - 02 - 1
Big EastSouth Florida2 - 12 - 1
Big EastCincinnati1 - 11 - 1
Big EastRutgers0 - 21 - 1
Big EastSyracuse1 - 21 - 2
Big TenIowa3 - 03 - 0
Big TenOhio State3 - 03 - 0
Big TenPenn State3 - 03 - 0
Big TenWisconsin3 - 03 - 0
Big TenIndiana2 - 02 - 0
Big TenPurdue2 - 02 - 0
Big TenIllinois2 - 12 - 1
Big TenMichigan State2 - 12 - 1
Big TenMichigan3 - 02 - 1
Big TenMinn.3 - 02 - 1
Big TenNorthwestern3 - 02 - 1
Big TwelveKansas3 - 03 - 0
Big TwelveNebraska3 - 03 - 0
Big TwelveOklahoma3 - 03 - 0
Big TwelveTexas Tech3 - 03 - 0
Big TwelveTexas3 - 03 - 0
Big TwelveColorado2 - 02 - 0
Big TwelveKansas State2 - 02 - 0
Big TwelveMissouri3 - 02 - 1
Big TwelveOklahoma State3 - 02 - 1
Big TwelveTexas A&M1 - 11 - 1
Big TwelveBaylor1 - 21 - 2
Big TwelveIowa State1 - 21 - 2
Conference USATulsa2 - 02 - 0
Conference USAHouston2 - 12 - 1
Conference USAMarshall2 - 12 - 1
Conference USARice2 - 12 - 1
Conference USAS. Miss2 - 12 - 1
Conference USASMU2 - 12 - 1
Conference USAUCF1 - 11 - 1
Conference USAEast Carolina1 - 21 - 2
Conference USAMemphis0 - 31 - 2
Conference USATulane0 - 20 - 2
Conference USAUAB0 - 30 - 3
Conference USAUTEP0 - 20 - 2
Independents (FBS)Navy2 - 12 - 1
Independents (FBS)Army1 - 11 - 1
Independents (FBS)Notre Dame1 - 11 - 1
Independents (FBS)Western Kentucky1 - 21 - 2
Mid-AmericanBall State3 - 02 - 1
Mid-AmericanC. Michigan2 - 12 - 1
Mid-AmericanKent St.2 - 12 - 1
Mid-AmericanMiami (OH)2 - 12 - 1
Mid-AmericanTemple2 - 12 - 1
Mid-AmericanW. Michigan2 - 12 - 1
Mid-AmericanToledo1 - 11 - 1
Mid-AmericanAkron0 - 31 - 2
Mid-AmericanBowling Green0 - 31 - 2
Mid-AmericanBuffalo1 - 21 - 2
Mid-AmericanE. Michigan1 - 21 - 2
Mid-AmericanOhio0 - 31 - 2
Mid-AmericanNorthern Illinois0 - 20 - 2
Mountain WestTCU3 - 03 - 0
Mountain WestAir Force2 - 12 - 1
Mountain WestBrigham Young3 - 02 - 1
Mountain WestUtah2 - 12 - 1
Mountain WestWyoming2 - 12 - 1
Mountain WestColorado St.1 - 11 - 1
Mountain WestNew Mexico1 - 21 - 2
Mountain WestSan Diego State1 - 21 - 2
Mountain WestUNLV1 - 21 - 2
Pacific-10Arizona St.3 - 03 - 0
Pacific-10Arizona3 - 02 - 1
Pacific-10California3 - 02 - 1
Pacific-10Oregon State2 - 12 - 1
Pacific-10Oregon2 - 12 - 1
Pacific-10UCLA0 - 21 - 1
Pacific-10USC1 - 11 - 1
Pacific-10Washington St.1 - 21 - 2
Pacific-10Stanford0 - 30 - 3
Pacific-10Washington0 - 30 - 3
SoutheasternAuburn3 - 03 - 0
SoutheasternGeorgia3 - 03 - 0
SoutheasternLSU3 - 03 - 0
SoutheasternFlorida2 - 02 - 0
SoutheasternTennessee2 - 02 - 0
SoutheasternAlabama2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternArkansas2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternKentucky2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternMississippi State2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternMississippi2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternS. Carolina2 - 12 - 1
SoutheasternVanderbilt0 - 31 - 2
Sun BeltArkansas St.1 - 22 - 1
Sun BeltFlorida Atlantic1 - 22 - 1
Sun BeltLA-Monroe1 - 21 - 2
Sun BeltMid Tenn1 - 21 - 2
Sun BeltTroy1 - 21 - 2
Sun BeltFla. Int.0 - 20 - 2
Sun BeltLA-Laf0 - 20 - 2
Sun BeltNorth Texas0 - 30 - 3
Western AthleticBoise State2 - 02 - 0
Western AthleticSan Jose State2 - 12 - 1
Western AthleticFresno State1 - 11 - 1
Western AthleticNew Mexico State1 - 11 - 1
Western AthleticHawaii1 - 21 - 2
Western AthleticIdaho1 - 21 - 2
Western AthleticNevada1 - 21 - 2
Western AthleticLouisiana Tech0 - 20 - 2
Western AthleticUtah State0 - 30 - 3

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