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College Football SimMatchup
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: #20 Iowa 15 @ #11 Ohio State 21
The Big Ten race was supposed to come down to one game.
It just wasn't this one.
Heading into the season, many thought that the Big Ten champion would be decided by Ohio State's trip to Penn State. Instead, that game - combined with a surprise - simply set up a different winner-take-all matchup one week later as Iowa travels to Ohio State with a trip to the Rose Bowl up for grabs.
The Hawkeyes were in the conference's driver's seat until this past weekend when their 13-game winning streak came to a screeching halt against Northwestern. The Wildcats knocked out Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, ending the Hawkeyes' dreams of finding their way into the BCS title game. Now they'll most probably need a victory this week to land spot in a BCS bowl game. And they'll likely have to do so without Stanzi. His numbers certainly weren't earth-shattering, but Stanzi had a knack for helping the Hawkeyes find a way to win. Iowa will now look to James Vandenberg to jumpstart the Hawkeyes' offense. Against the 37th toughest schedule to-date, Iowa ranks near the bottom of the national rankings with just 3.4 yards per carry. The Hawkeyes' passing marks are a little better at 7.5 yards per attempt, but they've thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns. Thus, for the Hawkeyes to succeed, the game will probably come down to how well Iowa can limit Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor and the Buckeyes offense. The Hawkeyes give up just over 3.5 yards per carry and rank among the best in the nation, allowing less than 5.5 yards per pass attempt.
While Iowa will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season, Ohio State is coming off its best victory of the year, a road win over Penn State that helped create this winner-take-all game. Pryor has had an inconsistent season, but threw for two touchdowns and ran for another against the Nittany Lions. Playing against the 46th toughest schedule, Ohio State hasn't had quite the prolific ground game that it has brought to the table in the past, but the Buckeyes are still averaging 4.7 yards per carry and, while they rank in the 90s in passing yards per game, that statistic is a bit deceiving as they average 7.5 yards per attempt. The Buckeyes really make their mark on defense. They rank third in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 2.7 yards per carry, and they rank fifth in the country through the air, allowing just 5.2 yards per pass attempt.
In a battle of stiff defenses and top 20 teams in our most recent power rankings, it's no surprise that the total stays under 40 points in the Battle for the Big Ten. And in 10,000 simulations, the team that won that game that many thought would decide the league's race last week wins the game that will actually decide the champion this time around. The Buckeyes win exactly two-thirds of the time (66.7%) and by an average score of 21-15.
Other Notable Games in Week 11
One of the best games this week will be played under the Friday night lights as West Virginia travels to Cincinnati looking to shake up the BCS and Big East standings. But the Bearcats remain undefeated in the country's most competitive conference 73.1% of the time, 33-24. That game will kick off a monster weekend for the Big East, though we could be saying those same words every week from here on out. Pittsburgh goes out of conference for somewhat of a statement game, looking to take down Notre Dame. The Panthers move to 9-1 with a win more than 70% of the time and by a 10-point average advantage. And South Florida and Rutgers face off in a game where the loser can forget about the conference race. The Bulls take care of the Scarlet Knights on the road 61.7% of the time and by just two points.
Oregon suffered a setback against Stanford last weekend, but still sits in the Pac-10 driver's seat. That said, the race is still a bit of a mess. The Ducks stay in the top spot 78.6% of the time this week, taking care of Arizona State by two touchdowns. Stanford, looking to spring its second consecutive upset, comes up just short as USC takes care of the Cardinal 61.2% of the time and by an average score of 33-29. And Arizona, which has flown under the radar but could take the league by storm against Oregon next week, moves to 5-1 in conference by winning 82.1% of the time with an 11-point average victory over Cal.
And as we hit the final month of the season, we remain on undefeated watch, but with one less team to keep an eye on after Iowa's loss. Perhaps the biggest game of the entire week in terms of the BCS picture will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, where Utah may have the best remaining shot of ending TCU's undefeated run. The Horned Frogs remain the top BCS buster candidate by winning 76.1% of the time and by a score of 35-24. In the SEC, Florida's run continues 86.1% of the time with a two-touchdown victory against South Carolina and Alabama remains unbeaten 95.0% of the time at Mississippi State. Boise State goes to 10-0 94.0% of the time against a bowl-eligible Idaho team. And Texas wins at Baylor 94.5% of the time. This means that there is a 46.7% chance that all six remaining FBS unbeatens win this week.
Last week, we hit our "Lock of the Week" to improve our ATS record to 7-2 on the year in both the NFL and college football. 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 11
|Florida State Seminoles||43.3||25|
|@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons||56.7||29|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes||68.2||21|
|@ North Carolina Tar Heels||31.8||16|
|Boston College Eagles||77.6||20|
|@ Virginia Cavaliers||22.4||12|
|@ North Carolina State Wolfpack||10.4||14|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||90.0||31|
|@ Maryland Terrapins||10.0||14|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||95.0||39|
|@ Duke Blue Devils||5.0||17|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||26.9||24|
|@ Cincinnati Bearcats||73.1||33|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||29.4||27|
|@ Pittsburgh Panthers||70.6||37|
|@ Louisville Cardinals||61.7||21|
|South Florida Bulls||61.7||27|
|@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights||38.3||25|
|South Dakota State Jackrabbits||5.0||7|
|@ Minnesota Golden Gophers||95.0||29|
|@ Penn State Nittany Lions||82.1||32|
|@ Wisconsin Badgers||75.1||34|
|@ Ohio State Buckeyes||66.7||21|
|@ Illinois Fighting Illini||60.2||23|
|Michigan State Spartans||64.7||24|
|@ Purdue Boilermakers||35.3||21|
|Ball State Cardinals||5.0||10|
|@ Northern Illinois Huskies||95.0||35|
|@ Central Michigan Chippewas||73.1||30|
|@ Buffalo Bulls||37.3||20|
|Bowling Green Falcons||69.7||18|
|@ Miami (OH) RedHawks||30.3||13|
|@ Akron Zips||9.5||13|
|Western Michigan Broncos||91.5||32|
|@ Eastern Michigan Eagles||8.5||15|
|@ Oregon State Beavers||84.1||34|
|Arizona State Sun Devils||21.4||14|
|@ Oregon Ducks||78.6||27|
|@ USC Trojans||61.2||33|
|@ California Golden Bears||17.9||21|
|@ Washington State Cougars||11.4||14|
|Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||5.0||9|
|@ LSU Tigers||95.0||33|
|@ Arkansas Razorbacks||76.1||37|
|@ Mississippi Rebels||39.8||21|
|@ Georgia Bulldogs||39.3||27|
|@ Vanderbilt Commodores||26.9||14|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||13.9||14|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||95.0||36|
|@ Mississippi State Bulldogs||5.0||10|
|@ Boise State Broncos||94.0||44|
|New Mexico State Aggies||9.5||14|
|@ Hawaii Warriors||90.5||38|
|San Jose State Spartans||20.9||18|
|@ Utah State Aggies||79.1||31|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||33.8||34|
|@ Nevada Wolf Pack||66.2||42|
|Delaware Blue Hens||5.0||9|
|@ Navy Midshipmen||95.0||38|
|Virginia Military Keydets||20.4||9|
|@ Army Black Knights||79.6||20|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||30.8||21|
|@ Oklahoma State Cowboys||69.2||28|
|Texas A&M Aggies||31.3||16|
|@ Oklahoma Sooners||68.7||23|
|@ Kansas State Wildcats||66.2||26|
|@ Iowa State Cyclones||39.3||22|
|@ Kansas Jayhawks||30.8||17|
|@ Baylor Bears||5.5||15|
|@ Southern Methodist Mustangs||69.2||26|
|East Carolina Pirates||33.8||22|
|@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane||66.2||28|
|Tulane Green Wave||73.1||32|
|@ Rice Owls||26.9||26|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||89.6||31|
|@ Marshall Thundering Herd||10.4||15|
|@ Memphis Tigers||10.0||19|
|@ UCF Knights||5.5||20|
|@ Air Force Falcons||92.5||31|
|@ TCU Horned Frogs||76.1||35|
|@ San Diego State Aztecs||30.8||17|
|Brigham Young Cougars||95.0||39|
|@ New Mexico Lobos||5.0||13|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||18.4||15|
|@ Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks||81.6||33|
|Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns||33.3||15|
|@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||66.7||23|
|Arkansas State Red Wolves||75.6||27|
|@ Florida Atlantic Owls||24.4||20|
|North Texas Mean Green||80.6||25|
|@ Florida International Golden Panthers||19.4||15|
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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!