Week 3 NCAA Predictions

Scores from every upcoming game
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
September 8, 2008

Each Monday morning will preview every college football DI FBS game of the upcoming week. Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of Monday morning before the 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 below on the right or at this page.

The inputs to the 201 simulations of each upcoming game 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. This may be relatively obvious for some examples (i.e. LSU vs. Appalachian State), but non-FBS rosters and ratings are not maintained individually due to lack of data. In other words, right or wrong, all non-FBS teams are treated equally.

Games of the Week: #2 Ohio State 20 @ #4 USC 17
We will have a lot more on this game, including a boxscore and play-by-play, later in the week and the results may even change the more we learn about the health of Chris Wells. For now, we say he plays at full strength and the Buckeyes come out on top just 52.2% of the time and by an average score of 20-17. This highly anticipated matchup should live up to its billing.

#10 Kansas 36 @ #17 South Florida 32
This should be an extremely close game involving two ranked teams that will likely go under the radar a bit with the game above. The visiting (a theme this week) Jayhawks edge the USF Bulls only 51.7% of the time and by an average score of 36-32. Each of these teams lost a corner to the first round of the NFL draft and each team has an experienced, play-making quarterback, so expect a shootout.

#11 Wisconsin 38 @ #35 Fresno State 25
This is a much bigger game for Fresno State than it is to Wisconsin. Credit the Badgers for pulling a Pat Hill and playing "anybody, anywhere." After starting off slowly against Marshall, Wisconsin dropped 51 unanswered points on the Herd. With tight end Travis Beckum back in the mix and the running game clicking, Wisconsin's offense looks strong heading into this game. That being said, Fresno State is a lot better than Marshall (like 60 spots in our power rankings better), so the Badgers can't afford another slow start. 74.6% of the time Wisconsin avoids that issue and wins the game.

#49 Michigan 23 @ #87 Notre Dame 11
Unfortunately for football fans, this game has all the makings of a Bengals-Ravens-esque clash of offensive ineptitude. The winner of this game may not be catapulted into national relevance, but the loser will likely do the opposite: fall off the college football scene completely for 2008. We say Michigan prevails 73.1% of the time and Irish struggle through the year again. A .500 record appears to be a best-case-scenario goal for Notre Dame (and it's probably about right for Michigan as well).

#14 Oregon 30 @ #31 Purdue 25
Hey look, another road team wins a pivotal non-conference game! Oregon has the slight edge in both offense and defense (both offenses are great and neither defense appears all that good) so it gets the nod in this projection 55.7% of the time. In one of the few games where the Boilermakers will likely trail, and potentially by a wide margin, watch for Curtis Painter to approach, if not exceed, his career high of 60 pass attempts in a game than he set last season against Ohio State.

Week 2 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Alcorn State @ Troy954-37
North Texas @ LSU954-56
NC St. @ Clemson959-33
Mid Tenn @ Kentucky958-33
UAB @ Tennessee9512-36
Western Kentucky @ Alabama957-36
Montana State @ Minn.956-42
Southern Illinois @ Northwestern955-37
Samford @ Mississippi955-42
Missouri State @ Oklahoma State955-48
SMU @ Texas Tech9515-35
North Dakota State @ Wyoming954-37
Delaware State @ Kent St.957-32
Charleston Southern @ Miami (OH)955-36
Chattanooga @ Florida State954-44
Arkansas @ Texas9517-35
Alabama A&M @ LA-Monroe955-35
LA-Laf @ Illinois9516-35
Iowa State @ Iowa9510-31
UNLV @ Arizona St.9518-40
Stanford @ TCU9410-31
Washington St. @ Baylor9414-33
New Mexico State @ Nebraska9418-39
Nevada @ Missouri9332-39
Virginia @ Connecticut919-24
Bowling Green @ Boise State87.619-34
Florida Atlantic @ Michigan State85.121-34
UCLA @ Brigham Young77.120-30
Rice @ Vanderbilt74.121-29
Memphis @ Marshall73.124-32
Hawaii @ Oregon State72.619-28
Air Force @ Houston68.225-32
Navy @ Duke67.221-28
San Diego State @ San Jose State67.215-20
North Carolina @ Rutgers64.726-32
Temple @ Buffalo59.224-26
GA Tech @ Virginia Tech54.216-18
S. Miss @ Arkansas St.53.227-29
C. Michigan @ Ohio51.228-30
Kansas @ South Florida48.336-32
Ohio State @ USC47.820-17
Toledo @ E. Michigan47.829-25
Oregon @ Purdue44.330-25
W. Michigan @ Idaho37.327-21
Michigan @ Notre Dame26.923-11
Wisconsin @ Fresno State25.438-25
Ball State @ Akron24.934-23
Auburn @ Mississippi State22.419-8
Arizona @ New Mexico1033-15
California @ Maryland8.538-18
East Carolina @ Tulane533-13
Georgia @ S. Carolina536-9
Penn State @ Syracuse535-11
Utah @ Utah State535-8
Oklahoma @ Washington541-17

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