Week 4 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 4 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
September 21st, 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.

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: #15 Miami (FL) 31 @ #22 Virginia Tech 23
Miami is entering its third game of a gauntlet involving four teams ranked in the pre-season AP Top 25. The Hurricanes already defeated ACC foes Florida State and Georgia Tech and get Oklahoma in two weeks. This week, they travel to Blacksburg to face a Virginia Tech Hokies team that just won over Nebraska in dramatic fashion.

While many may be expecting a "typical," low-scoring, close ACC game, it could easily be a high-scoring shootout. Jacory Harris, the Hurricanes' sophomore quarterback is averaging an astounding 11.1 yards-per-pass-attempt by completing 69.5% of his 59 attempts for 656 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. And it's not like those have come against Central Arkansas, Washington State and UNLV (like Hawaii's Greg Alexander who has similar numbers). Harris has posted huge stats against what should be good ACC defenses. Florida State just kept Max Hall and BYU in check and Georgia Tech held Clemson to under 50% completions and intercepted two passes. Harris is clearly in sync with his offense, completing three throws of 40 yards, while averaging at least 14 yards-per-completion to all (nine) of his receivers.

Virginia Tech's defense is very good, but it probably will not be able to hold off Harris and the big-play Canes all game. Unless he gets another 30 seconds to find a receiver in a critical situation, Tyrod Taylor (2009 stats: 47.6% completions and 0.4 yards-per-rush on 24 carries) and Virginia Tech's offense are probably not going to be able to keep up. Miami wins 74.9% of the 10,000 simulations and by an average score of 31-23.

Other Notable Games in Week 4
The start of the Big Ten season highlights the marquee conference games of the week. Penn State runs over Iowa, winning 76.1% of the time at home and by an average score of 25-14. At Camp Randall, Wisconsin fends off Michigan State in a relative shootout 64.7% of the time and by an average score of 31-25. Ohio State routs Illinois in Columbus 85.8% of the time and by an average score of 34-17. Elsewhere in conference play, Cal goes to Oregon and wins 75.6% of the time and by an average score of 23-17. Florida shuts down Kentucky, winning 88.1% of the time and by an average score of 26-11. Alabama out-duels Arkansas 79.1% of the time and by an average score of 34-23.Washington continues its winning ways by traveling to Stanford and emerging victorious 74.6% of the time and by an average score of 28-22.

As conference play has begun for most teams, there are not too many notable non-conference matchups, but there are still a few to watch. At home, Georgia takes out a good Arizona State squad 65.7% of the time and by an average score of 23-16. Cincinnati, our #4 team in our new power rankings, continues its winning ways by defeating Fresno State 86.1% of the time and by an average score of 40-23. South Florida, which just lost three-year starting quarterback Matt Grothe to an ACL tear, goes down to the Florida State Seminoles 71.6% of the time and by an average score of 30-19. With Grothe, the Bulls would actually be slight favorites. Houston, which looks like it has a solid chance at a BCS bowl, stays unbeaten by winning over Texas Tech 81.6% of the time an by an averge score of 36-23.

And finally, with the computer finally starting to like them, the Auburn Tigers beat Ball State 95% of the time and by an average score of 42-7.

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.

Week 4 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Grambling State @ Oklahoma State95.0 6.9-50.1
Northwestern State @ Baylor95.0 7.6-40.8
UTEP @ Texas95.0 5.4-45.4
Rhode Island @ Connecticut95.0 5.9-28.0
Sam Houston State @ Tulsa95.0 6.5-39.8
Western Kentucky @ Navy95.0 9.0-38.3
Washington State @ USC95.0 7.1-34.4
Ball State @ Auburn95.0 6.6-42.3
Hofstra @ Western Michigan93.5 7.6-26.8
Tennessee Tech @ Kansas State92.8 8.5-25.8
Army @ Iowa State92.5 8.3-27.9
San Diego State @ Air Force91.5 7.0-28.0
Maine @ Syracuse91.0 6.8-21.8
Louisiana-Lafayette @ Nebraska90.512.0-31.2
Ohio @ Tennessee90.0 8.7-23.4
Southern Utah @ Utah State89.611.6-30.0
Fresno State @ Cincinnati86.122.6-40.3
Illinois @ Ohio State85.817.2-33.5
UAB @ Texas A&M85.617.1-33.9
Southern Miss @ Kansas85.415.0-30.2
Indiana @ Michigan84.010.5-25.8
Texas Tech @ Houston81.623.3-35.9
Idaho @ Northern Illinois80.413.8-28.2
Arkansas @ Alabama79.122.8-34.0
North Carolina Central @ Duke77.6 9.7-19.6
Iowa @ Penn State76.114.1-24.9
Colorado State @ Brigham Young75.625.4-35.7
Miami (OH) @ Kent State75.0 7.9-17.7
McNeese State @ Tulane74.114.5-23.5
Akron @ Central Michigan73.617.7-27.0
South Florida @ Florida State71.618.5-30.0
UCF @ East Carolina68.711.6-19.1
Arizona @ Oregon State68.216.7-23.2
Arizona State @ Georgia65.716.3-22.8
Michigan State @ Wisconsin64.725.2-31.1
Wake Forest @ Boston College61.713.3-17.5
Louisville @ Utah56.720.0-24.2
Troy @ Arkansas State55.721.6-25.2
Cal Poly @ San Jose State53.217.5-20.4
Minnesota @ Northwestern36.826.5-23.7
New Mexico State @ New Mexico35.518.2-15.1
Middle Tennessee @ North Texas29.917.7-12.7
Louisiana-Monroe @ Florida Atlantic29.920.9-16.4
Washington @ Stanford25.428.4-21.5
Miami (FL) @ Virginia Tech25.130.5-23.0
California @ Oregon24.423.1-17.0
Marshall @ Memphis22.021.4-13.2
Notre Dame @ Purdue21.439.1-29.0
Pittsburgh @ North Carolina State20.822.4-13.9
Buffalo @ Temple19.925.7-16.3
Middle Tennessee @ North Texas19.926.5-19.2
TCU @ Clemson18.421.8-13.0
Boise State @ Bowling Green15.923.8-12.8
North Carolina @ Georgia Tech13.923.8-13.0
Mississippi @ South Carolina12.927.3-14.8
Florida @ Kentucky11.925.6-10.9
Vanderbilt @ Rice10.925.0- 9.6
Missouri @ Nevada10.636.0-20.6
Rutgers @ Maryland 9.532.5-17.3
Toledo @ Florida International 8.031.4-13.0
LSU @ Mississippi State 6.527.6- 9.7
UNLV @ Wyoming 5.032.8-11.5

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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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