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College Football SimMatchup
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.
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. To see other picks like our Upset and Locks of the Week, as well as our season-to-date performance, click here.
Game of the Week: #30 Nevada 33 @ #7 Boise State 45
The Boise State Broncos almost surely aren't going to be playing for a national championship. They might even get shut out of a Bowl Championship Series bowl game. They won't have to worry about either of those things if they can't finish off their unbeaten season.
Just two more hurdles stand in Boise State's way of a perfect 12-0 season. Unlucky for the Broncos, this week's just happens to be their toughest opponent in weeks - a record-setting offense and a Nevada team that has won eight games in a row and will be looking for a perfect season of its own - in Western Athletic Conference play that is.
Which unbeaten season remains intact over the final week?
Boise State took care of business against Utah State on Friday and have now won five straight games by double digits. The Broncos have scored at least 45 points in eight of 11 games and scored 81 combined in the three games they didn't reach 45. Sophomore quarterback Kellen Moore has been about as good as any signal-caller in the country, completing two-thirds of his passes for nearly 2,800 yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Gaining 8.33 yards per pass attempt, the Broncos' passing game ranks in the top 10 in the nation. Their ground game, mostly behind feature back Jeremy Avery and goal-line threat Doug Martin, isn't far behind. They pick up 5.22 yards per carry, giving them one of the country's most prolific offenses at 6.66 yards per play.
We know the Broncos can play offense, but will they be able to stop - or at least slow down - another one of the nations' most dynamic offensive units? Nevada specializes in its ground attack and the Broncos are run-of-the-mill at stopping the run. Opponents average 3.80 yards per carry against Boise State. That said, since giving up more than 300 yards rushing against Fresno State, they held five opponents under 100 yards on the ground before giving up 209 to Idaho. Against the pass, the Broncos are amongst the nation's best in terms of interceptions. They are one of just 16 teams giving up less than six yards per pass attempt.
After losing three consecutive non-conference games to start the season, the Wolfpack has bounced back in a big way and they rolled New Mexico State last week for their eighth consecutive victory. A victory at Boise State would give them a perfect 8-0 league season and the WAC championship. They'll try to get there by using their stunningly successful ground attack that has seen Nevada become the first team in NCAA history to post three 1,000-yard rushers in one season. Vai Tua leads the way with 1,185 yards and is followed closely by quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Luke Lippincott. None of them average less than 7.7 yards per carry and the team nearly averages that same number, making the Wolfpack far and away the best rushing offense in the nation. Kaepernick hasn't been bad through the air when they've needed to go that route, either. They rank outside the top 100 in terms of passing yards per game, but still average a respectable 7.32 yards per pass attempt.
But can Nevada slow down Boise's offense in what figures to be a track meet? For as good as the Wolfpack has been on the ground offensively, they've been pretty good at stopping opponents. Nevada gives up just 3.53 yards per carry. The Broncos should, however, be able to have their way through the air. Nevada ranks second-to-last amongst 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams against the pass in terms of yards per game and are in the bottom five in yards per attempt, giving up 8.85 yards.
Both teams have phenomenal offenses that should be able to find the gaps in each teams' defense, but who does it better? Well, which school from a non-BCS conference school has done it better than just about any other since the BCS' inception?
Boise State takes care of Nevada, capturing the WAC championship and keeping its dream season alive. In 10,001 simulations, the Broncos move to 11-0 79.5% of the time and by an average final score of 45-33.
Other Notable Games in Week 13
Here's what we already know: Ohio State has won the Big Ten; Florida and Alabama will play for the SEC championship; Nebraska and Texas will do the same in the Big 12; Clemson and Georgia Tech will battle for the ACC crown; and TCU has already won the Mountain West Conference. We also know that Oregon and Oregon State will vie for the Pac-10 title, but that won't come until next week.
All of that means that there isn't a whole lot on the line this week.
Outside of the WAC, the biggest game comes from the Big East, where Pittsburgh travels to West Virginia. The Panthers are hoping to remain unbeaten in conference play heading into next week's game with Cincinnati and do so 57.6% of the time by a score of 29-27. The Bearcats move to 11-0 86.1% of the time against Illinois.
As for the other unbeatens: Florida takes care of Florida State at an 82.5% clip; Alabama heads into the aforementioned title game with the Gators unbeaten 86.8% of the time at Auburn; Texas closes out a perfect regular season 94.7% of the time at Texas A&M; and TCU cruises to 12-0 95% of the time against one-win New Mexico. In total, there is a 44.1% that all six current FBS undefeated teams win this week. In other words, there is a 55.9% chance that at least one undefeated team loses.
In the preseason, we had Oklahoma and Oklahoma State squaring off in our predicted Game of the Week. But with Bradford out and only the Cowboys clinging to BCS hopes, that game skipped the back seat and went straight to the trunk. Oklahoma State does win that matchup 63.6% of the time.
In the Charlie Weis Watch - presumably for one more week - Notre Dame loses at Stanford 71.5% of the time by two scores.
To see other picks like our Upset of the Week and Lock of the Week, as well as our season-to-date performance, click here.
College Football Week 13
|@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||85.4||38|
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||68.9||23|
|@ Duke Blue Devils||31.1||18|
|Boston College Eagles||80.1||21|
|@ Maryland Terrapins||19.9||14|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||86.8||23|
|@ North Carolina State Wolfpack||13.2||10|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||94.7||32|
|@ Virginia Cavaliers||5.3||14|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||13.9||24|
|@ Cincinnati Bearcats||86.1||40|
|@ Connecticut Huskies||77.5||28|
|@ West Virginia Mountaineers||42.4||27|
|Rutgers Scarlet Knights||66.9||21|
|@ Louisville Cardinals||33.1||19|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes||66.9||30|
|@ South Florida Bulls||33.1||25|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||17.9||17|
|@ Central Michigan Chippewas||82.1||30|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles||27.2||12|
|@ Akron Zips||72.8||22|
|Ball State Cardinals||37.7||16|
|@ Western Michigan Broncos||62.3||23|
|@ Bowling Green Falcons||38.4||22|
|@ Kent State Golden Flashes||31.8||16|
|@ Ohio Bobcats||27.2||17|
|@ USC Trojans||80.1||30|
|Washington State Cougars||27.8||14|
|@ Washington Huskies||72.2||24|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||28.5||26|
|@ Stanford Cardinal||71.5||37|
|@ Arizona State Sun Devils||15.2||16|
|Florida State Seminoles||17.2||22|
|@ Florida Gators||82.8||37|
|@ LSU Tigers||66.2||28|
|@ Kentucky Wildcats||39.7||19|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||25.2||17|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||86.8||30|
|@ Auburn Tigers||13.2||16|
|@ Mississippi State Bulldogs||9.9||18|
|Nevada Wolf Pack||20.5||33|
|@ Boise State Broncos||79.5||45|
|Utah State Aggies||24.5||27|
|@ Idaho Vandals||75.5||37|
|New Mexico State Aggies||45.7||14|
|@ San Jose State Spartans||54.3||17|
|@ Hawaii Warriors||23.8||23|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||63.6||23|
|@ Oklahoma Sooners||36.4||21|
|@ Kansas Jayhawks||17.9||24|
|@ Colorado Buffaloes||9.3||13|
|@ Texas A&M Aggies||5.3||13|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||95.0||37|
|@ Baylor Bears||5.0||15|
|@ Houston Cougars||95.0||47|
|Tulane Green Wave||6.6||13|
|@ Southern Methodist Mustangs||93.4||33|
|@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane||65.6||27|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||59.6||28|
|@ East Carolina Pirates||40.4||28|
|@ UAB Blazers||39.7||24|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||77.5||26|
|@ UTEP Miners||22.5||18|
|New Mexico Lobos||5.0||8|
|@ TCU Horned Frogs||95.0||45|
|@ Brigham Young Cougars||54.3||29|
|San Diego State Aztecs||49.0||18|
|@ UNLV Rebels||51.0||20|
|@ Colorado State Rams||35.8||16|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||17.2||17|
|@ Florida Atlantic Owls||82.8||35|
|North Texas Mean Green||38.4||16|
|@ Arkansas State Red Wolves||61.6||25|
|Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||44.4||19|
|@ Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks||55.6||22|
|@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns||7.3||15|
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Eric Schmoldt is a writer and 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 and Eric can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!