Week 7 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 7 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Eric Schmoldt and Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
October 12th, 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: #5 Texas 26 vs #14 Oklahoma 23
Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford have had very different starts to the 2009 season. Defending winner Sam Bradford's Heisman Trophy hopes have been dashed by injury, yet a major victory over rival Texas would keep two-loss Oklahoma's BCS hopes alive.

Colt McCoy remains in the Heisman running and could become the front-runner, not to mention solidify Texas' national-title aspirations if the Longhorns can win against the Sooners.

We're just at the midpoint of the college football season, but Saturday's matchup between Texas and Oklahoma could have an impact on nearly every major race in the country.

The Longhorns-Sooners matchup was our Game of the Week for Week Seven before the season began, but both teams now enter the game with worse rankings. And while this matchup looks to be a lower-scoring affair than initially anticipated, the final score should be just as close. Texas didn't exactly dominate hapless Colorado last week. The Longhorns trailed at halftime and that, combined with Alabama's dominant performance, dropped them to the #3 line in the Associated Press poll. Texas sits even lower at fifth in our power rankings, which do not fully take into consideration the slow first-half starts against Colorado and Wyoming. The Longhorns do have the nation's top-scoring offense with 47.2 points-per-game (against just the 100th toughest schedule thus far), in part, due to McCoy's highly-touted arm. But it is Texas' defense that has shined the brightest. Opponents are rushing for just 1.58 yards-per-rush. And while the Horns are outside the top 25 in terms of passing yards allowed per game, their 4.89 mark in yards-per-attempt make them one of just eight teams in the country giving up less than five ypa.

Oklahoma bounced back from its second loss of the season at Miami by cruising past Baylor, giving Bradford - returning from a shoulder injury - a tune-up heading into Saturday's big matchup with Texas. The Sooners are the only two-loss team in the major top-25 polls and are ranked even higher than most polls (at #14) in our power rankings. Oklahoma is 14th in the nation in total offense at 457 yards per game, but is one of just two teams in the top 28 in that category that are averaging less than six yards-per-play. The Sooners' rush defense has been nearly as stout as Texas. Oklahoma is giving up 1.79 yards per carry and has not allowed a single touchdown.

With such strong defenses up to this point, the projected total score in this game has decreased by three touchdowns since the season began, but the margin of victory remains a one-score affair.

In 10,000 simulations, Texas wins the "majority" of the time (if 50.2% of the time counts as a majority). The average final score is a 26-23 Texas victory.

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.

Other Notable Games in Week 7
Texas-Oklahoma is not the only game this week that could have huge implications down the stretch.

Thursday's matchup of unbeatens could end up determining the champion in the Big East. It could even have national championship implications as both teams rank in the top 11 of our power rankings, with the winner likely to be favored in all its remaining games. Visiting Cincinnati beats South Florida 60.2% of the time in a game that is decided, on average by less than a field goal. Pitt defeats Rutgers to remain unbeaten in the Big East and become the top contender to the winner of Cincinnati-South Florida just 44.8% of the time.

In the Pac-10, all eyes are on USC, which takes on Notre Dame. Both teams have had nearly two weeks to prepare for the game, which the Trojans win 69.2% of the time by an average score of 31-25. In a battle of teams with 0-2 conference records, Cal tops UCLA 69.7% of the time. Stanford remains a legitimate threat by winning at Arizona 55.7% of the timea, but by a score of just 26-25.

In the Big Ten, Wisconsin has won four of its last six home meetings and is 26-17-1 against Iowa in Madison, but the Hawkeyes remain undefeated by beating the Badgers 75.1% of the time, winning by an average of eight points. Penn State ends its streak of cupcake non-conference games, and defeats Minnesota at more than an 87% clip.

Auburn, looking to avoid a second consecutive setback, beats Kentucky just 53.7% of the time, while Arkansas has a less than 10% chance to pull of a second straight upset against Florida.

In a battle of Big 12 one-loss teams, Oklahoma State tops Missouri 77.1% of the time and by an average of more than two scores, while Kansas remains unbeaten with a win over Colorado 94% of the time.

Week 7 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Delaware State @ Michigan95.0 9.0-38.4
San Jose State @ Fresno State95.011.4-45.4
Colorado State @ TCU94.014.1-36.5
Miami (OH) @ Ohio93.5 7.2-26.5
Arkansas @ Florida90.519.8-38.5
UAB @ Mississippi90.512.8-32.5
Marshall @ West Virginia89.114.9-37.2
Northwestern @ Michigan State88.112.4-30.5
Minnesota @ Penn State87.114.3-31.4
Memphis @ Southern Miss85.611.6-27.3
Rice @ East Carolina84.615.0-30.8
Florida Atlantic @ North Texas81.615.3-30.4
Texas Tech @ Nebraska78.621.5-33.8
South Carolina @ Alabama78.612.2-24.7
Hawaii @ Idaho78.122.9-34.5
New Mexico State @ Louisiana Tech78.113.1-26.3
Missouri @ Oklahoma State77.121.4-33.2
Army @ Temple70.112.9-22.2
Akron @ Buffalo61.717.3-24.1
Louisville @ Connecticut61.214.5-20.5
Wyoming @ Air Force59.719.9-23.9
North Carolina State @ Boston College58.717.0-22.2
Pittsburgh @ Rutgers55.223.4-27.6
Kentucky @ Auburn53.720.0-24.3
Arkansas State @ Louisiana-Monroe51.222.8-26.3
Oklahoma vs Texas50.223.4-26.1
Stanford @ Arizona44.326.1-24.9
Cincinnati @ South Florida39.829.4-27.7
Illinois @ Indiana36.326.2-23.8
Georgia @ Vanderbilt34.319.6-16.8
Mississippi State @ Middle Tennessee33.824.8-19.7
Wake Forest @ Clemson32.823.6-19.6
USC @ Notre Dame30.830.8-24.8
California @ UCLA30.320.8-15.8
Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech29.432.6-26.6
Texas A&M @ Kansas State27.930.4-24.5
Navy @ Southern Methodist25.925.6-16.9
Washington @ Arizona State25.421.0-13.3
Iowa @ Wisconsin24.930.9-23.2
Northern Illinois @ Toledo23.931.0-23.8
Central Michigan @ Western Michigan23.432.0-23.8
Bowling Green @ Ball State22.925.1-16.2
Virginia @ Maryland21.925.2-16.3
Baylor @ Iowa State20.429.1-20.5
Nevada @ Utah State18.937.0-23.6
Boise State @ Tulsa11.434.4-19.5
Louisiana-Lafayette @ Western Kentucky11.431.1-14.5
Kent State @ Eastern Michigan10.926.7-12.5
Ohio State @ Purdue 9.030.0-14.8
Troy @ Florida International 8.030.2-10.7
Kansas @ Colorado 6.033.1-12.6
Utah @ UNLV 5.537.3-17.1
Houston @ Tulane 5.043.9-19.9
Miami (FL) @ UCF 5.033.3-10.9
Brigham Young @ San Diego State 5.036.7-14.3

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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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