Predicting the winner of every Week 7 college football game, from TCU-KSU to WKU-Charlotte – SB Nation

There are two ways to look at this week’s college football matchups.

On one hand, it looks like a dud. There are no matchups of two ranked teams, and most of the Saturday evening’s prime time matchups are, per S&P+, projected blowouts: Alabama over Arkansas by 25, Ohio State over Nebraska by 22, Georgia over Missouri by 27, etc. There will be some exciting games because this is college football, but on paper … yuck.

On the other hand, cock your head at this:

  • Nebraska is a 24-point underdog … at home.
  • New Mexico State is a 6.5-point road favorite over a conference opponent.
  • Virginia is a four-point road favorite over a conference opponent.
  • Iowa State is a three-touchdown favorite over a conference opponent.
  • Kansas State is a home underdog (against TCU). That usually doesn’t work out well for the visitor.
  • Auburn is a touchdown favorite in Baton Rouge.
  • A Tom Herman team is a touchdown underdog. That usually doesn’t work out well for the favorite.
  • Plus, South Alabama just upset LSU conqueror Troy last night. That’s a pretty good place to start.

These are warning signs that this could be a really, really weird week in college football. Fingers crossed.

Below are picks and projections using the S&P+ projections you can find in full in the Football Study Hall stat profiles. See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. When S&P+ predicts a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I’m listing the pick on the side that S&P+ would’ve picked, if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory.


NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&MNCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M

Alabama’s Jalen Hurts
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 1 Alabama 40, Arkansas (+30) 15 (Saturday, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 2 Clemson 34, Syracuse (+22.5) 18 (Friday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 4 Georgia 42, Missouri (+30) 15 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • No. 5 Washington (-18) 42, Arizona State 19 (Saturday, 10:45 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 6 TCU 33, Kansas State (+6) 28 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 7 Wisconsin (-17.5) 36, Purdue 18 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, BTN)
  • No. 8 Washington State (-14.5) 37, California 18 (Friday, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 9 Ohio State 38, Nebraska (+24) 16 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 10 Auburn 27, LSU (+7) 22 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
  • No. 11 Miami (-6) 33, Georgia Tech 24 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 12 Oklahoma (-7.5) 39, Texas 27 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 13 USC 33, Utah (+12.5) 23 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 14 Oklahoma State 43, Baylor (+25.5) 23 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 17 Michigan 26, Indiana (+7.5) 19 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 18 South Florida 40, Cincinnati (+24.5) 17 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • No. 19 San Diego State 27, Boise State (+7) 26 (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • No. 20 NC State 36, Pittsburgh (+11) 26 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ACCN)
  • No. 21 Michigan State (-4) 25, Minnesota 20 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • No. 22 Central Florida 49, East Carolina (+35) 17 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • No. 23 Stanford 34, Oregon (+10.5) 29 (Saturday, 11:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • West Virginia 37, No. 24 Texas Tech (+3.5) 35 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Memphis 36, No. 25 Navy (+3.5) 35 (Saturday, 3:45 PM ET, ESPNU)

The last thing you want to do is face Alabama the week after a disappointing Crimson Tide performance. Good luck with that, Bret Bielema.


NCAA Football: Indiana at VirginiaNCAA Football: Indiana at Virginia

Virginia’s Bronco Mendenhall
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

  • Arizona (+1) 35, UCLA 33 (Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Colorado (-11.5) 37, Oregon State 24 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Florida (-2.5) 29, Texas A&M 26 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Florida State (-7) 33, Duke 20 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Illinois 24, Rutgers (+2.5) 23 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Iowa State 43, Kansas (+21.5) 23 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, FSN affiliates)
  • Louisville (-21.5) 39, Boston College 15 (Saturday, 12:20 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Maryland (+3.5) 28, Northwestern 27 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Ole Miss (-3.5) 31, Vanderbilt 26 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • Tennessee (-3.5) 28, South Carolina 24 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Virginia (-4) 30, North Carolina 25 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ACCN)

Virginia has a really good shot at moving to 5-1. 2017 is odd.


NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at HoustonNCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Houston

Houston’s Ed Oliver
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

  • Air Force 36, UNLV (+7.5) 31 (Saturday, 2:00 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • Appalachian State 33, Idaho (+12.5) 21 (Saturday, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Arkansas State 36, Coastal Carolina (+19) 25 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Army 29, Eastern Michigan (+6) 26 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Colorado State (-24.5) 43, Nevada 18 (Saturday, 10:15 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Hawaii 35, San Jose State (+17) 26 (Saturday, 11:59 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • Houston (-13.5) 40, Tulsa 23 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, ESPN News)
  • Marshall 31, Old Dominion (+16.5) 19 (Saturday, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Miami (Ohio) (-9.5) 33, Kent State 17 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Middle Tennessee 30, UAB (+6) 25 (Saturday, 6:30 PM ET, beIN)
  • Mississippi State 34, BYU (+23.5) 14 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • New Mexico (+2.5) 31, Fresno State 29 (Saturday, 10:00 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • New Mexico State (-6.5) 34, Georgia Southern 23 (Saturday, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Northern Illinois (-4.5) 28, Buffalo 21 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Ohio (-9.5) 35, Bowling Green 24 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Southern Miss (-22.5) 42, UTEP 15 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, Stadium)
  • Temple 33, Connecticut (+9.5) 24 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN News)
  • Toledo (-8) 36, Central Michigan 26 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Troy 32, South Alabama (+18) 20 (Wednesday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN2) — S&P+ is 1-0 already!
  • Tulane 34, Florida International (+13.5) 26 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, $CUSATV)
  • UL-Lafayette 33, Texas State (+13.5) 25 (Thursday, 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • UL-Monroe (-7) 33, Georgia State 25 (Saturday, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Utah State 25, Wyoming (+3) 25 (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, Facebook)
  • UTSA 31, North Texas (+2) 29 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Western Kentucky (-16) 36, Charlotte 17 (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, $FloTV)
  • Western Michigan (-14) 36, Akron 21 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBSSN)

The AAC East race is pretty straight-forward at this point — barring insanity, it’s UCF vs. USF for the crown. But if Memphis indeed beats Navy, and Houston indeed takes down Tulsa, the West race is going to get messy and interesting.


Each year at Football Study Hall, I have posted weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own. And beyond picks, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles as proof.)

This year, I will be posting the weekly S&P+ picks at SB Nation instead of FSH.

Because I like to experiment, however, I won’t just be posting the official S&P+ picks. Go to this Google doc, and you will find three sets of picks: S&P+, F/+ (combined ratings from S&P+ and Brian Fremeau’s FEI), and what I’m calling an adjusted S&P+ pick, in which I attempt to account for two additional factors: week of play and type of game.

  • Week of play: I’m finding that there are cycles to scoring averages throughout a given season. Week 1 typically falls below the season scoring average, while the final weeks of the season tend to perk up in the scoring department. This adjusted projection will take this into account.
  • Game type: It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the standard deviation of possible results in a game against FCS competition, for instance, is different than that of a conference game. This projection will also adjust for different types of games. This will mean some pretty extreme projections, but we’ll see how it performs.

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