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

2009 College Football Preview

NCAA Football Predictions, Scores and Standings
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
August 31st, 2009

WhatIfSports.com simulated every 2009 FBS college football 10,000 times.

Below are recaps of the top games as well as links to the updated scores and standings from each week, including our 2009 Bowl Projections.

Check back each Monday during the season for our updated college football game projections.

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Each regular season FBS game is simulated 10,000 times. Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of August 1, 2009. The Absolute Record is simply the total number of games in which a team is favored. The Expected Records 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.

Week 1 Game of the Week: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
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... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 1: Georgia @ Oklahoma State, Miami @ Florida State
All Week 1 FBS Scores >

Week 2 Game of the Week: USC @ Ohio State
Ohio State is a top ten team this season, but they are on the outside looking in at what appears to be a four-horse race for the national championship. USC is one of those horses. The Trojans return almost everyone from an offense that lit up Ohio State's defense in USC's 35-3 victory a year ago... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 2: Clemson @ Georgia Tech, Notre Dame @ Michigan
All Week 2 FBS Scores >

Week 3 Game of the Week: Utah @ Oregon
This game is at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, which should provide the difference in a game that is otherwise a toss-up. Oregon's non-conference schedule is one of the toughest in the nation, playing at Boise State and hosting Purdue and Utah. While favored in all three, there is a good chance they lose at least one of those games. If they don't, watch out for the Ducks, who get USC, Cal and Oregon State at home this year... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 3: Tennessee @ Florida, Texas Tech @ Texas
All Week 3 FBS Scores >

Week 4 Game of the Week: Iowa @ Penn State
In another game where homefield advantage should mean the difference, Penn State hosts fellow top 20 team Iowa in the Big Ten opener for both squads. By Week 4, Daryll Clark and Penn State should have the passing game figured out after losing three senior starting wide receivers, while Iowa will know if Jewel Hampton is the answer to replace Shonn Greene... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 4: California @ Oregon, Illinois @ Ohio State
All Week 4 FBS Scores >

Week 5 Game of the Week: LSU @ Georgia
These two teams that underachieved last season both lose key pieces, yet still rank among our pre-season top 15. LSU finished just 8-5 in 2008, including losing a 52-38 shootout to Georgia at home. The key to optimism with the Tigers is their 38-3 win over favored Georgia Tech last season in the Chick-fil-A Bowl... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 5: USC @ California, Oklahoma @ Miami (FL)
All Week 5 FBS Scores >

Week 6 Game of the Week: Georgia Tech @ Florida State
There may be bigger games for the national championship picture, but we will throw the ACC some love for one of its top games of the season. Head coach Paul Johnson will bring his option attack and nine returning offensive starters to Tallahassee to take on a Seminole team with a defense in flux. It's in the other matchup where the game will likely be won or lost. The Yellow Jackets will move the ball on the ground... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 6: Alabama @ Ole Miss, Florida @ LSU
All Week 6 FBS Scores >

Week 7 Game of the Week: Oklahoma vs. Texas
It's the biggest game on the schedule and should very likely feature two undefeated teams yet again in 2009. Texas won the 2008 contest 45-35, evening the series between quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy at a win a piece. McCoy and Bradford are a wash in the passing game, while the defenses are essentially even as well. The difference in this game should come on the offensive line... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 7: Cincinnati @ South Florida, USC @ Notre Dame
All Week 7 FBS Scores >

Week 8 Game of the Week: TCU @ BYU
The Mountain West has three top 25 teams in TCU, BYU and Utah. That can be good and bad. The good news is that there are three teams from the non-BCS conference that could make some noise nationally. The bad news is that they could all beat up on each other to the point where none of the teams can make a BCS bowl game... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 8: Florida State @ North Carolina, Oklahoma @ Kansas
All Week 8 FBS Scores >

Week 9 Game of the Week: West Virginia @ South Florida
In one of the marquee Big East games of the season, Noel Devine and the West Virginia Mountaineers will travel to face Matt Grothe and the South Florida Bulls. As our 11th ranked team, we expect big things from a West Virginia team that underachieved last season... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 9: Texas @ Oklahoma State, USC @ Oregon
All Week 9 FBS Scores >

Week 10 Game of the Week: Ohio State @ Penn State
The defacto Big Ten Championship game will take place on November 17 in Beaver Stadium when Ohio State travels to Penn State for a rematch of a game that the Nittany Lions won 13-6 in Columbus last year. With teams that look equally talented at just about every other position, this game should come down to the quarterbacks and secondary... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 10: LSU @ Alabama, Oklahoma @ Nebraska
All Week 10 FBS Scores >

Week 11 Game of the Week: Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh
Admittedly, this is not a great week for college football, but that shouldn't downplay the potential importance of this game on the BCS bowl picture. Notre Dame's schedule shapes up well for the Fighting Irish to be favored in every game except at home against USC. Obviously, 11 wins would get the team into a BCS game, but so may 10 or even 9... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 11: Iowa @ Ohio State, Utah @ TCU
All Week 11 FBS Scores >

Week 12 Game of the Week: LSU @ Mississippi
LSU may be ranked ahead of Mississippi as our 7th best team in the country, but games against Florida, at Georgia, at Alabama and at Mississippi may give LSU more losses than its ranking would indicate... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 12: Ohio State @ Michigan, Air Force @ BYU
All Week 12 FBS Scores >

Week 13 Game of the Week: Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma
With Texas in the mix, neither of these top ten ranked teams is likely to represent the Big 12 South in the conference championship, but Bedlam is still destined to be a fun shootout with national implications... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 13: Florida State @ Florida, Alabama @ Auburn
All Week 13 FBS Scores >

Week 14 Game of the Week: Alabama vs. Florida
This entire season we have yet to focus on our top ranked team, the Florida Gators, and with good reasons. They have been huge favorites in every game prior to this SEC Championship... Read More >
Other Notable Games in Week 14: Florida State vs. Virginia Tech, Kansas vs. Texas
All Week 14 FBS Scores >

BCS Championship Game: Florida vs. Texas
Florida proved its dominance by blowing out its competition all year long, but ultimately gets a big test from #2 Texas in the BCS National Championship... Read More >
Other Notable Bowl Games: Oklahoma vs. Cal, USC vs. OSU, Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia
All Bowl Scores >

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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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