Week 1 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 1 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
September 1st, 2009

Each Monday morning, we will preview every college football DI FBS game of the upcoming week. All of our college football content, including our most recent power rankings and links to the pre-season preview are located here. If you want to take WhatIfSports weekly college football and/or NFL picks with you (to your MySpace, Facebook or personal homepage), please see the widget on our WhatIf To Go page.

The inputs to the 10,000 simulations of these games are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position.

Game of the Week: #23 Oregon 25 @ #21 Boise State 27
The college football season kicks off Thursday night with what shapes up as a classic in Boise on the blue turf. Big things will be expected from the winner of this game. Oregon is looking for revenge after a 37-32 home loss to Boise State last season. Winning on the road could be a huge boost to the Ducks' season. After this week, Oregon gets all of its toughest opponents - Utah, Cal, USC and Oregon State - at home. A victory could mean even more to Boise State. The Broncos likely need to go undefeated to make a BCS bowl game. Oregon is the only ranked team on the schedule. The Broncos' other non-conference games are against Miami (OH) (our #119 team nationally), Bowling Green (a middle of the pack MAC squad) and UC Davis (an FCS team). In conference, Boise State should cruise. The Broncos went undefeated in the WAC in 2008 with an average victory of 42-12. So much is on the line for both teams in the first college football game of the season.

The verdict? This should turn out to be a great game and is essentially too close to call. Very little has changed since our original Week 1 Preview, which predicted Oregon would win 51.2% of the time, yet had Boise State scoring more points on average. The homefield advantage must have kicked in a little more in these 10,000 simulations as Boise State takes the crucial contest 52.3% and by an average score of 27-25.

Other Notable Games in Week 1
Most of the biggest non-conference games of the season take place this weekend. Alabama and Virginia Tech will meet in the Georgia Dome and with the Hokies' top running back, Darren Evans, out for the season, the Crimson Tide becomes a prohibitive favorite, winning 85.6% of the time and by an average score of 21-9. Offensive juggernaut and 2009 Big 12 sleeper team, Oklahoma State, wins convincingly over the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs. The Cowboys average more than six touchdowns in winning 85.8% of the time and by a score of 43-27. Non-BCS contender BYU opens its bid for a perfect season and national recognition by traveling to our #3 team Oklahoma. The Cougars' dreams of playing David to the BCS' Goliath are crushed in a 45-17 rout that the Sooners win 95.0% of the time.

Notre Dame faces an early trap game when it hosts Nevada. While the Fighting Irish may be looking forward to Michigan, USC and others, the Wolf Pack brings a prolific offense running the unconventional "Pistol" spread. Notre Dame can't afford to overlook Chris Ault's squad. In the simulations, the Irish win just 58.9% of the time at home and by an average score of 28-23. Michigan could be in a similar boat. Using three quarterbacks in a game may work against an FCS opponent (not named Appalachian State), but Western Michigan appears to be the MAC's best. Right now the Wolverines are in a position where that should be considered good competition. Michigan wins just 53.9% of the time and by an average score of 22-19.

And, the Big East and ACC pictures get a little clearer right off the bat as Rutgers defeats Cincinnati (68.5%) and Florida State takes out Miami (77.0%) ... Auburn fans should thank me for not mentioning their game.

Week 1 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Citadel @ North Carolina95.0 5.3-34.9
Jacksonville State @ Georgia Tech95.0 5.5-51.8
Middle Tennessee @ Clemson95.0 7.5-27.4
Brigham Young @ Oklahoma95.017.4-45.3
Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska95.013.6-38.8
Louisiana-Monroe @ Texas95.0 4.5-65.4
North Dakota @ Texas Tech95.0 6.2-46.4
Northern Colorado @ Kansas95.0 8.8-45.5
Indiana State @ Louisville95.0 8.3-33.4
Liberty @ West Virginia95.0 4.7-51.5
Wofford @ South Florida95.0 6.7-37.8
Youngstown State @ Pittsburgh95.0 6.1-38.3
Akron @ Penn State95.0 8.7-44.0
Montana State @ Michigan State95.0 5.5-33.0
Navy @ Ohio State95.0 9.0-32.7
Northern Iowa @ Iowa95.0 5.0-44.3
Towson @ Northwestern95.0 7.1-25.5
Alcorn State @ Southern Miss95.0 7.8-43.6
Appalachian State @ East Carolina95.0 6.5-33.6
Northwestern State @ Houston95.0 6.6-50.2
Nicholls State @ Air Force95.0 6.5-39.8
Utah State @ Utah95.0 6.6-37.1
Idaho State @ Arizona State95.0 7.4-31.2
Portland State @ Oregon State95.0 7.3-41.3
San Jose State @ USC95.0 4.8-54.3
Charleston Southern @ Florida95.0 2.7-70.6
Missouri State @ Arkansas95.0 7.3-37.6
Western Carolina @ Vanderbilt95.0 6.3-28.3
Western Kentucky @ Tennessee95.0 4.1-39.6
Mississippi Valley State @ Arkansas State95.0 9.0-34.1
California-Davis @ Fresno State95.0 6.7-30.8
Sacramento State @ UNLV94.8 9.5-31.6
Maryland @ California94.6 8.6-33.0
Richmond @ Duke93.8 6.7-24.8
Northern Illinois @ Wisconsin93.210.8-37.6
Northeastern @ Boston College92.6 8.5-25.3
Southern Illinois @ Marshall91.8 7.8-28.1
Jackson State @ Mississippi State91.4 6.8-24.6
Southern University @ Louisiana-Lafayette87.8 9.7-27.3
North Texas @ Ball State87.411.6-28.5
William & Mary @ Virginia86.8 6.5-23.2
Weber State @ Wyoming86.6 7.5-21.0
North Dakota State @ Iowa State86.413.0-28.2
Georgia @ Oklahoma State85.826.8-42.6
Villanova @ Temple85.4 7.6-21.8
Massachusetts @ Kansas State85.2 8.3-23.5
Samford @ UCF83.8 7.5-20.3
Coastal Carolina @ Kent State83.011.3-26.7
Central Arkansas @ Hawaii82.812.0-26.4
Central Michigan @ Arizona81.414.8-28.4
Eastern Kentucky @ Indiana80.8 9.5-22.8
Idaho @ New Mexico State80.210.3-23.3
San Diego State @ UCLA79.811.0-23.6
Miami (FL) @ Florida State77.010.8-22.7
Buffalo @ UTEP75.416.2-27.7
Missouri @ Illinois73.324.4-34.2
South Carolina @ North Carolina State72.511.6-19.7
Stephen F. Austin @ Southern Methodist71.712.5-22.3
Cincinnati @ Rutgers68.521.6-29.8
Nevada @ Notre Dame58.923.1-27.7
Colorado State @ Colorado56.918.6-23.2
Toledo @ Purdue56.512.6-16.2
New Mexico @ Texas A&M56.319.2-23.2
Western Michigan @ Michigan53.919.0-22.2
Oregon @ Boise State52.324.7-27.0
Rice @ UAB39.029.3-27.1
Army @ Eastern Michigan37.715.2-12.9
Troy @ Bowling Green33.322.8-18.4
Connecticut @ Ohio28.517.4-11.4
Baylor @ Wake Forest26.525.5-18.0
Louisiana Tech @ Auburn24.023.1-15.6
Alabama vs Virginia Tech14.420.5- 8.9
Kentucky @ Miami (OH)12.417.9- 6.6
Minnesota @ Syracuse12.025.3-10.6
Tulsa @ Tulane 6.434.5-15.9
Mississippi @ Memphis 5.047.2- 9.4
LSU @ Washington 5.047.6- 7.6
Stanford @ Washington State 5.038.8- 7.8

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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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