NCAA College Football Week 1 Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

College Football Week 1 Picks and Predictions

Week 1 predictions for every D-I/FBS college football game

By Ryan Fowler and Eric Schmoldt - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: September 3rd, 2010

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?

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=33caa3ea-ff91-46e8-b998-323c831bd6da" target="_new" title="">WhatifSports: Boise St - VaTech</a>

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.

Real 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
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Presbyterian Blue Hose 5.09
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons95.043
Samford Bulldogs 5.08
@ Florida State Seminoles95.066
Weber State Wildcats 5.06
@ Boston College Eagles95.047
South Carolina State Bulldogs 5.07
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets95.066
North Texas Mean Green 5.08
@ Clemson Tigers95.045
Western Carolina Catamounts 5.07
@ North Carolina State Wolfpack95.046
Richmond Spiders 5.07
@ Virginia Cavaliers95.043
Elon Phoenix 5.08
@ Duke Blue Devils95.044
Florida A&M Rattlers 5.06
@ Miami (FL) Hurricanes95.062
Boise State Broncos42.138
@ Virginia Tech Hokies57.942
Navy Midshipmen56.127
@ Maryland Terrapins43.928
LSU Tigers82.223
@ North Carolina Tar Heels17.816
Stony Brook Seawolves 5.06
@ South Florida Bulls95.049
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 5.07
@ West Virginia Mountaineers95.061
Norfolk State Spartans 5.07
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights95.047
Kentucky Wildcats50.926
@ Louisville Cardinals49.128
Towson Tigers 5.09
@ Indiana Hoosiers95.041
Eastern Illinois Panthers 5.04
@ Iowa Hawkeyes95.056
Western Michigan Broncos 5.017
@ Michigan State Spartans95.045
Youngstown State Penguins 5.05
@ Penn State Nittany Lions95.061
Marshall Thundering Herd 7.010
@ Ohio State Buckeyes93.040
Missouri Tigers78.932
@ Illinois Fighting Illini21.125
Connecticut Huskies87.738
@ Michigan Wolverines12.323
Wofford Terriers 5.07
@ Ohio Bobcats95.047
Villanova Wildcats 5.07
@ Temple Owls95.054
Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 5.09
@ Ball State Cardinals95.033
Rhode Island Rams 5.06
@ Buffalo Bulls95.039
Hampton Pirates 5.07
@ Central Michigan Chippewas95.043
Murray State Racers 5.08
@ Kent State Golden Flashes95.037
Army Black Knights87.728
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles12.314
Syracuse Orange89.532
@ Akron Zips10.517
Arizona Wildcats95.039
@ Toledo Rockets 5.016
Sacramento State Hornets 5.08
@ Stanford Cardinal95.062
Portland State Vikings 5.07
@ Arizona State Sun Devils95.042
California-Davis Aggies 5.06
@ California Golden Bears95.065
New Mexico Lobos 5.09
@ Oregon Ducks95.043
Miami (OH) RedHawks 5.06
@ Florida Gators95.053
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 5.010
@ Georgia Bulldogs95.043
San Jose State Spartans 5.07
@ Alabama Crimson Tide95.054
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 5.09
@ Arkansas Razorbacks95.065
Arkansas State Red Wolves 5.08
@ Auburn Tigers95.047
Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 5.07
@ Tennessee Volunteers95.051
Jacksonville State Gamecocks 5.06
@ Mississippi Rebels95.053
Memphis Tigers 5.314
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs94.737
Southern Miss Golden Eagles15.826
@ South Carolina Gamecocks84.238
Northwestern Wildcats89.531
@ Vanderbilt Commodores10.516
North Dakota Fighting Sioux 5.07
@ Idaho Vandals95.059
Grambling State Tigers 5.06
@ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs95.044
Eastern Washington Eagles 5.07
@ Nevada Wolf Pack95.061
USC Trojans70.236
@ Hawaii Warriors29.829
Cincinnati Bearcats71.941
@ Fresno State Bulldogs28.135
Purdue Boilermakers29.827
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish70.236
Sam Houston State Bearkats 5.06
@ Baylor Bears95.045
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 5.08
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers95.048
Utah State Aggies 5.017
@ Oklahoma Sooners95.044
North Dakota State Bison 5.08
@ Kansas Jayhawks95.043
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 5.08
@ Texas A&M Aggies95.058
Washington State Cougars10.515
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys89.533
Southern Methodist Mustangs22.826
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders77.239
Northern Illinois Huskies68.427
@ Iowa State Cyclones31.624
UCLA Bruins71.929
@ Kansas State Wildcats28.122
South Dakota Coyotes 5.07
@ UCF Knights95.046
Southeastern Louisiana Lions 5.09
@ Tulane Green Wave95.038
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 5.09
@ UTEP Miners95.042
Texas State Bobcats 5.06
@ Houston Cougars95.061
Tulsa Golden Hurricane21.123
@ East Carolina Pirates78.934
Florida Atlantic Owls45.634
@ UAB Blazers54.439
Texas Longhorns95.045
@ Rice Owls 5.09
Southern Utah Thunderbirds 5.08
@ Wyoming Cowboys95.046
Nicholls State Colonels 5.09
@ San Diego State Aztecs95.037
Northwestern State Demons 5.06
@ Air Force Falcons95.053
Washington Huskies17.521
@ Brigham Young Cougars82.535
Oregon State Beavers26.326
@ TCU Horned Frogs73.739
Pittsburgh Panthers61.433
@ Utah Utes38.632
Colorado Buffaloes86.028
@ Colorado State Rams14.015
Wisconsin Badgers95.044
@ UNLV Rebels 5.017
Bowling Green Falcons12.316
@ Troy Trojans87.735
Minnesota Golden Gophers35.119
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders64.930

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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