Week 10 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 10 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Eric Schmoldt and Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
November 2nd, 2009

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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: #14 LSU 14 @ #4 Alabama 22
Week 10 lacks the multitude of compelling matchups we've seen over the past few weeks. But one game should make up for it as it features two of the top 15 teams in our most recent power rankings and could play a large role in deciding who plays for the national championship.

For Alabama, it's a chance to stay undefeated against a ranked team and if the Tide can get past the toughest team left on its schedule, a date with Florida in the SEC Championship Game will be all but set in stone.

But LSU could jump back into the SEC title picture, getting another chance to take down an unbeaten league foe late in the season. A victory puts the Tigers in a tie with Bama in the SEC West standings and could set up a Tigers/Gators rematch.

With two of the top defenses in the country, it will likely be a low-scoring, one-possession game.

Alabama had a week off to recover from a near-upset against Tennessee two weeks ago. The Crimson Tide rank second in the country defensively in yards allowed per game, giving up 3.82, and are one of just four teams in the country giving up less than four. The Tide have given up just 19 points in their last three games combined and have held opponents under 10 points four different times this season. Bama ranks second in rushing offense, allowing just 2.23 yards per carry. And while they're 20th in the country in passing yards per game, they also rank in the top five in terms of passing yardage per attempt at just 5.20 yards. Paced by Mark Ingram, who has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, the Tide's offense flies under the radar a bit. At 5.31 yards per carry, Alabama ranks in the top 10 there as well. And while Greg McElroy and the passing attack doesn't jump off the page, Bama is still averaging more than seven yards per attempt.

That offense will be matched up against a comparably solid LSU defense. The Tigers drubbed Tulane 42-0 on Saturday and have outscored opponents 73-10 in two games since losing to top-ranked Florida. The Tigers have allowed 10 points or less on five separate occasions this season. They're giving up just 3.21 yards per carry and 5.65 yards per pass attempt, combining to form a top-20 defense that's giving up just 4.36 yards per play. Like the Tide, the Tigers' defense doesn't have many individual standouts defensively - at least statistically - but units that strong aren't relying on individuals. On offense, it's all about balance for LSU. Jordan Jefferson has thrown for more than 1,400 yards and is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt this season, most of them going to Terrance Toliver or Brandon LaFell. But you have to search a bit to find the Tigers' rushing and passing offense when looking at the FBS statistics, and LSU will have a tall task getting that unit untracked against Bama's defense.

Alabama's strong play and undefeated mark to this season have seen them stretch their margin of victory just slightly compared to our preseason prediction, but the home-standing Tide are still the favorites. Once a six-point favorite, Alabama now wins this game by eight points, 22-14, and wins the matchups 66.2% of the time over 10,000 simulations.

Other Notable Games in Week 10
In the pre-season, we predicted that Penn State and Ohio State would play this week's Matchup of the Week, but instead of this game deciding the Big Ten champion, it will only decide which team remains in the race. With Iowa undefeated and out front, the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes - who each have one league loss - have taken a back seat. With Ohio State still on its schedule, Iowa will be looking for a Penn State victory, as a head-to-head victory over the Nittany Lions would put the Hawkeyes in great position to win the league. Ohio State had the advantage in the preseason, but host Penn State now wins 56.7% of the time and by a score of 23-17.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes remain undefeated more than 78% of the time, outscoring visiting Northwestern by 11 points. And Wisconsin, looking to move to 7-2, wins on the road at Indiana more than 88% of the time.

In the ACC, upstart Georgia Tech remains one of the hottest teams in the country by beating Wake Forest at an 81.1% clip. And Clemson - quietly moving up amongst the nation's best teams - takes care of Florida State 70.6%, but by single digits.

In the Big East - which moved ahead of the Big 12 to take the #2 spot in our most recent conference power rankings this week - Cincinnati remains unbeaten against Connecticut 75.1% of the time and by a score of 31-19. West Virginia rebounds from its loss to USF by beating Louisville 82.6% of the time and Pittsburgh moves to 8-1 95% of the time with a victory over Syracuse.

And the rest of the current undefeated teams - Florida, Texas, TCU and Boise State - are all virtual locks to remain that way going into Week 10. They all win their games the maximum 95% 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.

College Football Week 10
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Wake Forest Demon Deacons18.924
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets81.137
Virginia Cavaliers26.413
@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes73.623
Florida State Seminoles29.419
@ Clemson Tigers70.628
Duke Blue Devils29.912
@ North Carolina Tar Heels70.120
Maryland Terrapins34.814
@ North Carolina State Wolfpack65.221
Syracuse Orange 5.010
@ Pittsburgh Panthers95.035
Louisville Cardinals17.414
@ West Virginia Mountaineers82.631
Connecticut Huskies24.919
@ Cincinnati Bearcats75.131
Western Michigan Broncos17.413
@ Michigan State Spartans82.627
Northwestern Wildcats21.415
@ Iowa Hawkeyes78.626
Ohio State Buckeyes43.317
@ Penn State Nittany Lions56.723
Purdue Boilermakers47.821
@ Michigan Wolverines52.224
Illinois Fighting Illini55.727
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers44.326
Wisconsin Badgers88.128
@ Indiana Hoosiers11.915
Eastern Michigan Eagles10.412
@ Northern Illinois Huskies89.632
Miami (OH) RedHawks13.410
@ Temple Owls86.626
Bowling Green Falcons21.914
@ Buffalo Bulls78.127
Kent State Golden Flashes80.126
@ Akron Zips19.917
Washington State Cougars 5.08
@ Arizona Wildcats95.043
Oregon State Beavers40.326
@ California Golden Bears59.731
Washington Huskies40.817
@ UCLA Bruins59.222
USC Trojans85.629
@ Arizona State Sun Devils14.415
Oregon Ducks90.034
@ Stanford Cardinal10.018
Vanderbilt Commodores 5.08
@ Florida Gators95.048
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 5.07
@ Georgia Bulldogs95.035
Eastern Kentucky Colonels 5.09
@ Kentucky Wildcats95.031
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 5.08
@ Mississippi Rebels95.041
Furman Paladins 5.09
@ Auburn Tigers95.045
Memphis Tigers 5.09
@ Tennessee Volunteers95.030
LSU Tigers33.814
@ Alabama Crimson Tide66.222
South Carolina Gamecocks50.228
@ Arkansas Razorbacks49.826
Utah State Aggies43.326
@ Hawaii Warriors56.731
Fresno State Bulldogs63.236
@ Idaho Vandals36.833
Nevada Wolf Pack95.045
@ San Jose State Spartans 5.013
Boise State Broncos95.042
@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 5.014
Navy Midshipmen22.923
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish77.135
Troy Trojans95.033
@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 5.012
UCF Knights 5.08
@ Texas Longhorns95.037
Baylor Bears16.414
@ Missouri Tigers83.628
Kansas Jayhawks73.126
@ Kansas State Wildcats26.919
Texas A&M Aggies78.127
@ Colorado Buffaloes21.918
Oklahoma State Cowboys80.634
@ Iowa State Cyclones19.423
Oklahoma Sooners86.125
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers13.914
Rice Owls30.327
@ Southern Methodist Mustangs69.735
Florida Atlantic Owls36.325
@ UAB Blazers63.732
UTEP Miners75.626
@ Tulane Green Wave24.418
Virginia Tech Hokies80.130
@ East Carolina Pirates19.919
Houston Cougars91.047
@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9.030
New Mexico Lobos 5.08
@ Utah Utes95.036
Army Black Knights32.314
@ Air Force Falcons67.722
Colorado State Rams70.123
@ UNLV Rebels29.917
Brigham Young Cougars88.131
@ Wyoming Cowboys11.916
TCU Horned Frogs95.043
@ San Diego State Aztecs 5.06
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns29.415
@ Arkansas State Red Wolves70.625
Florida International Golden Panthers44.820
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders55.224
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks83.128
@ North Texas Mean Green16.918

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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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