Week 1 predictions for every D-I/FBS college football game
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Each Monday morning, Whatifsports.com's NCAA college football simulation engine will provide you with game predictions for every D-1 FBS game that upcoming week. The college football simulation engine generates detailed information for each game including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win%) and the average points scored for both teams. Make sure to share the college football information you gained here with your friends by either checking out our NCAA football widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or clicking on the social networking share bar at the top and bottom of this article.
The statistical inputs to the thousands of college football simulations are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth charts and statistically based player rankings. Roster modifications are made in cases of injury or suspension and those player's are removed from their team's game simulation for that week.
UPDATE: NORTH CAROLINA SUSPENSIONS AFFECT GAME AGAINST LSU
Twelve members of North Carolina's football team have been declared ineligble for Saturday's game against LSU. Whatifsports.com has made the necessary adjustments to the Tar Heels' depth chart and re-simulated the game against the Tigers. The new game prediction can be found in the table below.
Game of the Week: Boise State vs Virginia Tech
The national championship obviously won't be won this week.
It could be lost.
For teams from non-Bowl Championship Series conferences, a loss in Week One generally means that team no longer has a chance to win a national title.
When that team is actually considered a contender, the drama is just that much greater.
And that scenario is exactly what we'll see in the first week of the college football season as Boise State - a top-five team entering the season - plays almost undoubtedly its toughest game of the season against Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.
A win this week for the Broncos and they'll likely be the talk of college football for the next three months, or at least as long as they continue winning. The big question, of course, will be whether an undefeated Boise State team would be worthy of a championship shot despite playing in the Western Athletic Conference.
A first-week loss, however, and championship thoughts are completely out the window.
So what'll it be?
For Boise State, it's more of the same. The Broncos return almost all of their starting unit from a Fiesta Bowl appearance in January and a team that some thought deserved consideration for the national championship as they finished the season undefeated. Quarterback Kellen Moore garnered national attention for a monster year, throwing for more than 3,500 yards with 39 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. And defensively, the key to staying unbeaten seemed to be stifling their toughest opponents. They allowed just 18 points combined against Oregon and TCU a year ago.
For the defense to match its lockdown "D" against Virginia Tech next Monday, they'll have to slow down a team that seems to be on the rise offensively. Veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor returns with a stable of wide receivers and running backs, including Ryan Williams, who broke the program's single-season rushing record as a freshman. Virginia Tech returns far less experience on the defensive side of the ball, but the program has been one of the most consistent defensively since the turn of the century and particularly in the last half-dozen years.
Neither team is a stranger to playing a monumental game in the first week of the season as both did just that a year ago. Boise State toppled Oregon in a game remembered more for a post-game punch than the outcome, while Virginia Tech couldn't get by Alabama, a game that had the Crimson Tide as some voters' No. 1 team in the country for the rest of the year.
Might Boise State follow the same pattern in 2010?
It doesn't look like it.
According to 55 simulations of the first-week matchup, we can shelve any thoughts of the Boise State Broncos winning it all - but it's close.
In fact, the box score couldn't be much closer.
Both the Hokies and the Broncos rack up 26 first downs. They rush the ball exactly the same amount of times (29) for almost the exact same results (156 yards for Boise State, 147 for Virginia Tech). And each team completes almost two-thirds of nearly identical passing attempts.
Moore and Taylor each air it out for nearly 350 passing yards, but that stat means that the Broncos aren't able to keep their high-caliber opponent out of the end zone.
This time around, the victory belongs to the team from a BCS conference.
The Hokies win the matchup nearly 58% of the time, but by an average margin of just four points.
And either way, the game will surely have the whole college football world talking.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
The Boise State Broncos aren't the only team from a non-automatic qualifying conference simply hoping to keep national championship dreams alive at the start of the year.
The Mountain West Conference's "Big Three" have similar ideas and all three - TCU, Utah and BYU - start their years off with difficult opponents.
The computers think the Horned Frogs, also undefeated in the regular season last year, will start this campaign by beating Oregon 73.7% of the time by an average of nearly two touchdowns.
The Utes, expected to be TCU's top challenger in college football's top non-AQ conference, lose a tight one to Pitt, the Panthers winning more than 61% of the time but by an average of just a single point.
And the Cougars, still in the news amidst rumors of wanting to go independent, open up with a victory against Washington 82.5% of the time.
Elsewhere, it's a big week for team's with new head coaches.
Notre Dame's Brian Kelly starts off on the right foot as the Irish take care of Purdue 70.2% of the time by nearly a 10-point margin. And Cincinnati, with Butch Jones replacing Kelly, follows suit with a nice win at Fresno State nearly 72% of the time.
The USC Trojans won't be able to win a national championship this year, but new coach Lane Kiffin wins his debut at Hawaii more than 70% of the time. And his successor at Tennessee, Derek Dooley, cruises to an easy win over Tennessee-Martin.
College Football Week 1
|Presbyterian Blue Hose||5.0||9|
|@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons||95.0||43|
|@ Florida State Seminoles||95.0||66|
|Weber State Wildcats||5.0||6|
|@ Boston College Eagles||95.0||47|
|South Carolina State Bulldogs||5.0||7|
|@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||95.0||66|
|North Texas Mean Green||5.0||8|
|@ Clemson Tigers||95.0||45|
|Western Carolina Catamounts||5.0||7|
|@ North Carolina State Wolfpack||95.0||46|
|@ Virginia Cavaliers||95.0||43|
|@ Duke Blue Devils||95.0||44|
|Florida A&M Rattlers||5.0||6|
|@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes||95.0||62|
|Boise State Broncos||42.1||38|
|@ Virginia Tech Hokies||57.9||42|
|@ Maryland Terrapins||43.9||28|
|@ North Carolina Tar Heels||17.8||16|
|Stony Brook Seawolves||5.0||6|
|@ South Florida Bulls||95.0||49|
|Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||5.0||7|
|@ West Virginia Mountaineers||95.0||61|
|Norfolk State Spartans||5.0||7|
|@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights||95.0||47|
|@ Louisville Cardinals||49.1||28|
|@ Indiana Hoosiers||95.0||41|
|Eastern Illinois Panthers||5.0||4|
|@ Iowa Hawkeyes||95.0||56|
|Western Michigan Broncos||5.0||17|
|@ Michigan State Spartans||95.0||45|
|Youngstown State Penguins||5.0||5|
|@ Penn State Nittany Lions||95.0||61|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||7.0||10|
|@ Ohio State Buckeyes||93.0||40|
|@ Illinois Fighting Illini||21.1||25|
|@ Michigan Wolverines||12.3||23|
|@ Ohio Bobcats||95.0||47|
|@ Temple Owls||95.0||54|
|Southeast Missouri State Redhawks||5.0||9|
|@ Ball State Cardinals||95.0||33|
|Rhode Island Rams||5.0||6|
|@ Buffalo Bulls||95.0||39|
|@ Central Michigan Chippewas||95.0||43|
|Murray State Racers||5.0||8|
|@ Kent State Golden Flashes||95.0||37|
|Army Black Knights||87.7||28|
|@ Eastern Michigan Eagles||12.3||14|
|@ Akron Zips||10.5||17|
|@ Toledo Rockets||5.0||16|
|Sacramento State Hornets||5.0||8|
|@ Stanford Cardinal||95.0||62|
|Portland State Vikings||5.0||7|
|@ Arizona State Sun Devils||95.0||42|
|@ California Golden Bears||95.0||65|
|New Mexico Lobos||5.0||9|
|@ Oregon Ducks||95.0||43|
|Miami (OH) RedHawks||5.0||6|
|@ Florida Gators||95.0||53|
|Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns||5.0||10|
|@ Georgia Bulldogs||95.0||43|
|San Jose State Spartans||5.0||7|
|@ Alabama Crimson Tide||95.0||54|
|Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles||5.0||9|
|@ Arkansas Razorbacks||95.0||65|
|Arkansas State Red Wolves||5.0||8|
|@ Auburn Tigers||95.0||47|
|@ Tennessee Volunteers||95.0||51|
|Jacksonville State Gamecocks||5.0||6|
|@ Mississippi Rebels||95.0||53|
|@ Mississippi State Bulldogs||94.7||37|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||15.8||26|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||84.2||38|
|@ Vanderbilt Commodores||10.5||16|
|North Dakota Fighting Sioux||5.0||7|
|@ Idaho Vandals||95.0||59|
|Grambling State Tigers||5.0||6|
|@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||95.0||44|
|Eastern Washington Eagles||5.0||7|
|@ Nevada Wolf Pack||95.0||61|
|@ Hawaii Warriors||29.8||29|
|@ Fresno State Bulldogs||28.1||35|
|@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish||70.2||36|
|Sam Houston State Bearkats||5.0||6|
|@ Baylor Bears||95.0||45|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||5.0||8|
|@ Nebraska Cornhuskers||95.0||48|
|Utah State Aggies||5.0||17|
|@ Oklahoma Sooners||95.0||44|
|North Dakota State Bison||5.0||8|
|@ Kansas Jayhawks||95.0||43|
|Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks||5.0||8|
|@ Texas A&M Aggies||95.0||58|
|Washington State Cougars||10.5||15|
|@ Oklahoma State Cowboys||89.5||33|
|Southern Methodist Mustangs||22.8||26|
|@ Texas Tech Red Raiders||77.2||39|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||68.4||27|
|@ Iowa State Cyclones||31.6||24|
|@ Kansas State Wildcats||28.1||22|
|South Dakota Coyotes||5.0||7|
|@ UCF Knights||95.0||46|
|Southeastern Louisiana Lions||5.0||9|
|@ Tulane Green Wave||95.0||38|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions||5.0||9|
|@ UTEP Miners||95.0||42|
|Texas State Bobcats||5.0||6|
|@ Houston Cougars||95.0||61|
|Tulsa Golden Hurricane||21.1||23|
|@ East Carolina Pirates||78.9||34|
|Florida Atlantic Owls||45.6||34|
|@ UAB Blazers||54.4||39|
|@ Rice Owls||5.0||9|
|Southern Utah Thunderbirds||5.0||8|
|@ Wyoming Cowboys||95.0||46|
|Nicholls State Colonels||5.0||9|
|@ San Diego State Aztecs||95.0||37|
|Northwestern State Demons||5.0||6|
|@ Air Force Falcons||95.0||53|
|@ Brigham Young Cougars||82.5||35|
|Oregon State Beavers||26.3||26|
|@ TCU Horned Frogs||73.7||39|
|@ Utah Utes||38.6||32|
|@ Colorado State Rams||14.0||15|
|@ UNLV Rebels||5.0||17|
|Bowling Green Falcons||12.3||16|
|@ Troy Trojans||87.7||35|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||35.1||19|
|@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||64.9||30|
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.