Week 3 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 3 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
September 14th, 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: #25 Texas Tech 21 @ #2 Texas 39
It may not erase what happened last season when Texas Tech needed a last-minute, amazing touchdown grab by Michael Crabtree to defeat the Longhorns 39-33 in Lubbock, but Texas should get some revenge in Austin this weekend. Now a senior, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is not going to let the Mike Leach and the Red Raiders destroy his bid for a national championship again this year. In its first two games, McCoy has led Texas to wins over non-BCS teams (automatic qualifiers) by a combined margin of 100-30. Despite throwing an interception in each game, and while not running as much as in the past, McCoy looks to be on his way to another monstrous year. He has already hooked up with roommate Jordan Shipley on 15 passes for 241 yards and one 72-yard touchdown. Expect more of the same against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders' defense is not as bad as many might assume, but Texas should be able to score on anyone (including the 28 points we give the Longhorns in the BCS National Championship against Florida).

For Texas Tech, gone are Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. They have been replaced by Taylor Potts and Lyle Leong. Potts is a 6'5", 218-pound quarterback, who was a Scout.com four-star recruit coming out of Abilene High School in 2007. He is one of the top recruits of Mike Leach's tenure in Lubbock. Leong is the 6'1", 165-pound "Z receiver" (Crabtree's old position), who is also Potts' former high school teammate and the son of former Philadelphia Eagle Lyle Sr. The duo has already connected on three touchdowns, while Potts has thrown for nine total TDs in two games. They have talent and a great scheme, but having only played North Dakota and Rice, the Red Raiders have yet to see a defense as fast and as athletic as they will with the Longhorns this weekend.

In the end, experience, depth, homefield advantage and revenge win out as Texas rolls to victory 89.6% of the 10,000 simulations and by an average score of 39-21.

Other Notable Games in Week 3
Texas Tech @ Texas opens the Big 12 season and has plenty of drama, but there are some other great conference matchups with interesting back stories this weekend as well. Hosting Lane Kiffin and Tennessee, Florida keeps its foot on the gas the whole game to win 95.0% of the time and by an average score of 44-8. Georgia travels to Arkansas and wins a surprise shootout 70.7% of the time and by an average score of 28-23. In its second of four consecutive games in different time zones, Fresno State hosts Boise State in a WAC showdown. The Bulldogs should play all four games close, yet probably will not win any of them. On Friday against the Broncos, Fresno State loses 76.8% of the time and by an average score of 26-18. On Thursday night, Georgia Tech plays another close ACC game. This time, the Yellow Jackets narrowly escape Miami with a win 64.7% of the time by an average score of 21-17.

The non-conference schedule still has some intriguing matchups as well. After impressive offensive displays from both teams to date, Virginia Tech and Nebraska find ways to put up some points in a very close game. At home, the Hokies win just 58.1% of the time and by an average score of 27-22. The Cincinnati Bearcats travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on their toughest opponent yet in Oregon State. They may not score 70 points like they did against Southeast Missouri State, but Cincinnati should still emerge victorious. The Bearcats win 65.1% and by an average score of 27-23. Fellow Big East contender, West Virginia, scores a significant victory by going to Auburn and winning 84.8% of the time and by an average score of 30-18. Florida State has a tough time putting up points against an impressive BYU defense. The Cougars win at home 76.8% of the time and by an average score of 30-19. The game may not be as critical as once thought, yet Utah stays unbeaten by defeating Oregon 71.3% of the time at Autzen Stadium and by an average score of 27-23. And, in a game that we originally predicted as a Louisville victory, Kentucky squeaks by the Cardinals at home 59.1% of the time and by an average score of 20-16.

And SMU goes to Pullman, Washington (it is in Pullman this week, right?) and wins 86.8% of the time and by an average score of 26-13.

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 3 Scores for Every FBS Game

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Elon @ Wake Forest95.0 7.0-33.4
Gardner-Webb @ North Carolina State95.0 8.7-31.2
Duke @ Kansas95.014.6-39.3
Furman @ Missouri95.0 8.8-43.5
Rice @ Oklahoma State95.012.5-50.3
Charleston Southern @ South Florida95.0 7.8-35.1
Eastern Michigan @ Michigan95.0 8.4-36.8
Temple @ Penn State95.0 7.7-36.8
Wofford @ Wisconsin95.0 7.1-37.2
Alcorn State @ Central Michigan95.0 6.3-34.9
Miami (OH) @ Western Michigan95.0 6.0-31.5
Texas State @ TCU95.0 5.9-39.1
Louisiana-Lafayette @ LSU95.010.4-37.4
North Texas @ Alabama95.0 7.2-40.7
Southeastern Louisiana @ Mississippi95.0 6.7-50.3
Tennessee @ Florida95.0 8.3-43.9
Nicholls State @ Louisiana Tech94.4 7.3-30.2
Louisiana-Monroe @ Arizona State93.8 7.1-30.2
Florida Atlantic @ South Carolina91.010.3-29.0
Kansas State @ UCLA90.2 8.3-27.1
Texas Tech @ Texas89.620.6-39.1
Virginia @ Southern Miss89.610.3-28.7
Cal Poly @ Ohio89.0 8.2-26.4
Tennessee-Martin @ Memphis85.410.3-27.1
Tulsa @ Oklahoma84.419.4-35.5
Florida International @ Rutgers84.213.3-28.5
Hawaii @ UNLV82.617.6-31.8
San Jose State @ Stanford82.212.5-26.3
Connecticut @ Baylor80.412.3-26.3
Mississippi State @ Vanderbilt78.810.7-23.0
Florida State @ Brigham Young76.818.9-30.1
Michigan State @ Notre Dame76.614.3-26.6
Ball State @ Army75.611.0-21.3
Navy @ Pittsburgh74.118.5-29.2
Utah State @ Texas A&M69.521.1-29.1
Northern Illinois @ Purdue69.117.9-26.5
East Carolina @ North Carolina66.312.2-19.5
Iowa State @ Kent State65.718.5-26.7
Middle Tennessee @ Maryland62.318.9-24.8
Louisville @ Kentucky59.115.6-20.0
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech58.122.3-27.3
Boston College @ Clemson55.516.3-19.0
Arizona @ Iowa55.316.0-20.3
UAB @ Troy53.323.7-26.6
Central Arkansas @ Western Kentucky51.512.2-14.4
Buffalo @ UCF38.517.3-15.4
San Diego State @ Idaho37.921.2-18.5
Wyoming @ Colorado36.718.6-16.3
Georgia Tech @ Miami (FL)35.320.6-16.9
Cincinnati @ Oregon State34.927.0-22.9
Northwestern @ Syracuse32.921.1-16.8
Indiana @ Akron31.925.0-20.9
Nevada @ Colorado State31.127.0-22.6
Georgia @ Arkansas29.327.7-22.8
UTEP @ New Mexico State29.122.9-17.4
Utah @ Oregon28.726.8-22.5
Boise State @ Fresno State23.226.0-18.3
West Virginia @ Auburn15.229.6-17.8
Bowling Green @ Marshall13.231.4-17.3
Southern Methodist @ Washington State13.226.4-13.4
Air Force @ New Mexico 8.829.2-12.7
California @ Minnesota 8.630.1-11.6
Ohio State @ Toledo 6.832.7-14.7
USC @ Washington 5.034.8-12.6

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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 can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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