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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: #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
|Wake Forest Demon Deacons||18.9||24|
|@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||81.1||37|
|@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes||73.6||23|
|Florida State Seminoles||29.4||19|
|@ Clemson Tigers||70.6||28|
|Duke Blue Devils||29.9||12|
|@ North Carolina Tar Heels||70.1||20|
|@ North Carolina State Wolfpack||65.2||21|
|@ Pittsburgh Panthers||95.0||35|
|@ West Virginia Mountaineers||82.6||31|
|@ Cincinnati Bearcats||75.1||31|
|Western Michigan Broncos||17.4||13|
|@ Michigan State Spartans||82.6||27|
|@ Iowa Hawkeyes||78.6||26|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||43.3||17|
|@ Penn State Nittany Lions||56.7||23|
|@ Michigan Wolverines||52.2||24|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||55.7||27|
|@ Minnesota Golden Gophers||44.3||26|
|@ Indiana Hoosiers||11.9||15|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles||10.4||12|
|@ Northern Illinois Huskies||89.6||32|
|Miami (OH) RedHawks||13.4||10|
|@ Temple Owls||86.6||26|
|Bowling Green Falcons||21.9||14|
|@ Buffalo Bulls||78.1||27|
|Kent State Golden Flashes||80.1||26|
|@ Akron Zips||19.9||17|
|Washington State Cougars||5.0||8|
|@ Arizona Wildcats||95.0||43|
|Oregon State Beavers||40.3||26|
|@ California Golden Bears||59.7||31|
|@ UCLA Bruins||59.2||22|
|@ Arizona State Sun Devils||14.4||15|
|@ Stanford Cardinal||10.0||18|
|@ Florida Gators||95.0||48|
|Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles||5.0||7|
|@ Georgia Bulldogs||95.0||35|
|Eastern Kentucky Colonels||5.0||9|
|@ Kentucky Wildcats||95.0||31|
|Northern Arizona Lumberjacks||5.0||8|
|@ Mississippi Rebels||95.0||41|
|@ Auburn Tigers||95.0||45|
|@ Tennessee Volunteers||95.0||30|
|@ Alabama Crimson Tide||66.2||22|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||50.2||28|
|@ Arkansas Razorbacks||49.8||26|
|Utah State Aggies||43.3||26|
|@ Hawaii Warriors||56.7||31|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||63.2||36|
|@ Idaho Vandals||36.8||33|
|Nevada Wolf Pack||95.0||45|
|@ San Jose State Spartans||5.0||13|
|Boise State Broncos||95.0||42|
|@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||5.0||14|
|@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish||77.1||35|
|@ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||5.0||12|
|@ Texas Longhorns||95.0||37|
|@ Missouri Tigers||83.6||28|
|@ Kansas State Wildcats||26.9||19|
|Texas A&M Aggies||78.1||27|
|@ Colorado Buffaloes||21.9||18|
|Oklahoma State Cowboys||80.6||34|
|@ Iowa State Cyclones||19.4||23|
|@ Nebraska Cornhuskers||13.9||14|
|@ Southern Methodist Mustangs||69.7||35|
|Florida Atlantic Owls||36.3||25|
|@ UAB Blazers||63.7||32|
|@ Tulane Green Wave||24.4||18|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||80.1||30|
|@ East Carolina Pirates||19.9||19|
|@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane||9.0||30|
|New Mexico Lobos||5.0||8|
|@ Utah Utes||95.0||36|
|Army Black Knights||32.3||14|
|@ Air Force Falcons||67.7||22|
|Colorado State Rams||70.1||23|
|@ UNLV Rebels||29.9||17|
|Brigham Young Cougars||88.1||31|
|@ Wyoming Cowboys||11.9||16|
|TCU Horned Frogs||95.0||43|
|@ San Diego State Aztecs||5.0||6|
|Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns||29.4||15|
|@ Arkansas State Red Wolves||70.6||25|
|Florida International Golden Panthers||44.8||20|
|@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||55.2||24|
|@ North Texas Mean Green||16.9||18|
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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!