Week 6 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 6 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Eric Schmoldt and Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
October 5th, 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: #1 Florida 24 @ #17 LSU 15
Exactly how much does Tim Tebow mean to the Florida Gators? Now we know, at least for one game against one particular team.

As most conferences truly begin conference play, one game stands out amongst the rest, especially in the national championship picture. LSU at Florida wasn't our projected original Week 6 Game of the Week - and our power rankings still don't like the Tigers as much as the pollsters - but, with LSU up to No. 4 in the major polls and the Gators continuing to hold down the top spot, the championship ramifications of this game could be enormous.

Another reason this matchup didn't look like the Game of the Week before the season opened is because it looked like such a blowout based on our projections (we had Florida winning 40-17). Not anymore.

LSU quelled some more doubts last week with a 20-13 victory at Georgia. It was the Tigers' only victory over a team that will enter Week 6 with a winning record. The win, which featured a strong defense and saw LSU's rushing game break out a bit (Charles Scott ran 19 times for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns), helped the Tigers jump up 10 spots in our power rankings.

After a 41-7 victory at Kentucky helped the Gators moved to 4-0, they had last week off. And they needed it. Florida ranks first in the nation in total defense (allowing just 3.4 yards-per-play) and has given up just 29 points in four games. The Gators are third in the nation in total offense, but much of that offense hinges on the Tim Tebow, who suffered a concussion against Kentucky and his status for Saturday's game is up in the air.

Which brings us to the initial question: How much will Tebow’s presence, or lack thereof, effect the Gators?

The answer: About eight points.

When the game is simulated with Tebow in - and playing at 100% based off of his numbers to-date - the Gators win nearly 88% of the time and by an average of 11 points (26-15). With John Brantley - assumed to be an "average" SEC quarterback - running the Florida offense, we have the Gators winning just over 50% (50.4%) of the time and on average by a score of 18-15.

To get our final number, we assume a 75% chance that Tebow is able to go.

Ultimately, in those 10,000 simulations, the Gators win 77.7% of the time and by a final average score of 23.7-15.2.

The bottom line is we like Florida in the Game of the Week whether Tebow gets the nod or not. But it's essentially a coin flip with him on the sidelines.

Other Notable Games in Week 6
The Badgers as Big Ten contenders? The pollsters don't like it nearly as much as we do. Unbeaten Wisconsin, fresh off a conference road win at Minnesota, heads to Ohio State this weekend, and, while we have the Buckeyes winning, our 10,000 simulations only had them doing so at a 55.1% clip and by an average of a little more than a field goal, 24-21. For reference, we liked Ohio State to win nearly 87% of the time in the preseason. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, we have Iowa handing Michigan a second straight loss 63.1% of the time by a score of 22-17, Minnesota bouncing back against Purdue about two-thirds of the time and Penn State rolling up on another cupcake non-conference opponent in Eastern Illinois.

In Big 12 action, Nebraska and Missouri face off in a game that will help shape the race for the North division title. We like the Cornhuskers winning on the road 63.5% of the time. We also like Oklahoma over Baylor just over 68%, Oklahoma State over Texas A&M on the road over 72% and Texas to roll up on Colorado.

Florida isn't the only SEC road team we like this week. Alabama at Ole Miss certainly looked like a much bigger game a couple of weeks ago when it looked like a couple of undefeated teams might be matching up with a top three spot in the national polls on the line. We liked Alabama about 57% of the time in the preseason, but with the Tide up to #2 in our power rankings, we now like them to win 89% of the time. We also like Auburn to win at Arkansas about 83% of the time and Georgia to beat Tennessee in Knoxville about 78% of the time.

We had Georgia Tech at Florida State as our preseason Week 6 Game of the Week, but that fell about as fast as the Seminoles did after an eye-opening victory at BYU. Now, we like Georgia Tech in that ACC battle about 63.5% of the time, but by less than a field goal. We have Houston bouncing back on the road, but less than 60% of the time and by an average margin of just 0.7 points. And for all you Golden Flashes fans out there, Kent State hosting Bowling Green is our closest game of the week in terms of winning percentage. The Flashes win just 54.2% of the time.

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 6 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Florida A&M @ Miami (FL)95.0 6.2-45.6
Georgia Southern @ North Carolina95.0 6.8-26.8
Colorado @ Texas95.0 7.3-34.0
Eastern Illinois @ Penn State95.0 6.0-43.5
Eastern Michigan @ Central Michigan95.0 9.2-34.9
Iowa State @ Kansas91.712.0-35.2
Western Michigan @ Toledo91.410.0-29.1
Ball State @ Temple89.7 8.7-26.9
Southern Miss @ Louisville84.711.9-27.5
Gardner-Webb @ Buffalo84.7 8.8-24.9
Boston College @ Virginia Tech80.714.2-28.9
Duke @ North Carolina State80.712.1-24.5
New Mexico @ Wyoming76.711.8-23.8
Maryland @ Wake Forest73.815.6-26.6
Louisiana Tech @ Nevada73.116.3-27.0
Connecticut @ Pittsburgh72.814.8-25.5
Kentucky @ South Carolina71.413.3-23.6
Miami (OH) @ Northwestern71.113.4-21.5
North Texas @ Louisiana-Lafayette68.813.5-21.3
Baylor @ Oklahoma68.118.4-26.6
Purdue @ Minnesota66.414.4-21.8
Michigan @ Iowa63.116.5-22.0
Indiana @ Virginia60.510.9-16.3
Kansas State @ Texas Tech60.532.7-37.8
Florida International @ Western Kentucky56.515.0-19.5
Wisconsin @ Ohio State55.121.2-24.5
Bowling Green @ Kent State54.210.5-14.0
Houston @ Mississippi State41.925.7-25.0
Middle Tennessee @ Troy39.917.6-16.5
Marshall @ Tulane37.520.0-17.6
Georgia Tech @ Florida State36.526.8-24.7
Nebraska @ Missouri36.529.7-27.4
East Carolina @ Southern Methodist35.516.4-13.8
Fresno State @ Hawaii31.631.0-25.8
Oklahoma State @ Texas A&M27.630.9-23.7
Vanderbilt @ Army27.616.6-10.4
Ohio @ Akron24.919.4-11.9
Florida @ LSU22.323.7-15.2
UTEP @ Memphis21.324.4-14.7
Georgia @ Tennessee21.324.2-17.0
Stanford @ Oregon State19.926.9-16.9
Michigan State @ Illinois19.329.0-18.6
Auburn @ Arkansas16.936.3-24.1
Oregon @ UCLA15.624.0-12.0
Utah @ Colorado State15.327.8-15.3
Arizona @ Washington15.028.8-16.0
Alabama @ Mississippi10.630.6-14.5
West Virginia @ Syracuse10.328.2-12.4
Utah State @ New Mexico State 9.330.1-12.2
TCU @ Air Force 8.627.4-12.4
Arizona State @ Washington State 8.622.4- 7.3
Navy @ Rice 6.629.8-12.2
Brigham Young @ UNLV 5.038.5-15.9
Idaho @ San Jose State 5.036.4- 9.7

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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!

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