Before I get into our game of the week, I must touch on my Week 8 write-up where I poked fun at a Kansas State team that crept into the national conversation without much fanfare. I thought a trip to Morgantown would for sure expose the weaknesses in the Wildcats' offense and defense, but as it turned out, the script was flipped and it was West Virginia and Geno Smith that were exposed on Saturday night.
So, as is accustomed in many of the features on WhatIfSports.com, I quote one Happy Gilmore as part of my apology:
"I'm stupid. You're smart. I was wrong. You were right. You're the best. I'm the worst. You're very good-looking. I'm not attractive."
Hopefully that allows us to bury the hatchet and move on with the rest of the college football season. Kansas State is not to be underestimated and overlooked in 2012.
All right, on to the SEC West Showdown and annual 90-mile Drive: Mississippi State at Alabama.
The Crimson Tide has won the last four meetings by a combined score of 117-27. Turns out, Alabama's football identity remains its lockdown defense. Through the first seven games, Nick Saban's defense has allowed 58 points or 8.3 points per game (that includes two shutouts).
On offense, A.J. McCarron continues to manage the passing offense—a la Alex Smith or Christian Ponder in the NFL—with 16 passing touchdowns and no picks (passing offense is ranked 75th in the country). Meanwhile, the rush attack (20th in country, 219.4 yards per game) adopted a next-man-up mentality after an injury knocked Jalston Fowler to the sidelines. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have combined for over 1,100 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
Bulldogs' head coach Dan Mullen will be forced to answer plenty of questions regarding his team's 7-0 start and if it defines how good his squad really is this season.
Why? Well, their 3-0 SEC record has come against squads that are a combined 0-14 in the conference (Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee). Three of their non-conference wins came against opponents out of the Sun Belt. It would truly be difficult to gauge what their most quality win has been to this point.
What does Mississippi State have going for them?
McCarron will face Mississippi State's 21st-ranked passing defense. The defense is 48th against the rush (allow over 139 rush yards per game), but have only allowed five touchdowns via the ground.
On offense, junior quarterback Tyler Russell has thrown 15 touchdowns with only one pick this season. LaDarius Perkins is the featured back with 724 yards and eight touchdowns on 125 carries.
We simulated the Tide and Bulldogs 101 times and it's Alabama rolling over 76 percent of the time by an average score of 28-18.
|College Football Week 9|
|Duke Blue Devils||29.2||23||Boxscore|
|@ Florida State Seminoles||70.8||29|
|North Carolina State Wolfpack||49.5||24||Boxscore|
|@ North Carolina Tar Heels||50.5||25|
|Brigham Young Cougars||50.5||26||Boxscore|
|@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||49.5||25|
|@ Boston College Eagles||39.6||22|
|@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons||36.6||22|
|Kent State Golden Flashes||22.8||15||Boxscore|
|@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights||77.2||25|
|@ Pittsburgh Panthers||55.4||25|
|@ South Florida Bulls||55.9||27|
|@ Louisville Cardinals||53.0||23|
|@ Northwestern Wildcats||63.4||27|
|Michigan State Spartans||49.5||23||Boxscore|
|@ Wisconsin Badgers||50.5||24|
|@ Illinois Fighting Illini||45.0||21|
|@ Nebraska Cornhuskers||41.6||24|
|@ Minnesota Golden Gophers||40.6||20|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||63.4||24||Boxscore|
|@ Penn State Nittany Lions||36.6||19|
|@ Central Michigan Chippewas||70.3||28|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles||35.1||19||Boxscore|
|@ Bowling Green Falcons||64.9||23|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||56.4||26||Boxscore|
|@ Western Michigan Broncos||43.6||25|
|@ Miami (OH) RedHawks||33.2||21|
|@ Buffalo Bulls||23.8||19|
|@ Oregon Ducks||92.1||33|
|Washington State Cougars||42.1||22||Boxscore|
|@ Stanford Cardinal||57.9||26|
|@ Arizona State Sun Devils||52.5||24|
|California Golden Bears||59.4||24||Boxscore|
|@ Utah Utes||40.6||20|
|Oregon State Beavers||70.3||26||Boxscore|
|@ Washington Huskies||29.7||20|
|@ Arizona Wildcats||16.8||24|
|@ Vanderbilt Commodores||87.1||29|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||23.8||18||Boxscore|
|@ Alabama Crimson Tide||76.2||28|
|@ Missouri Tigers||69.8||20|
|@ South Carolina Gamecocks||54.5||21|
|@ Arkansas Razorbacks||53.5||25|
|vs. Georgia Bulldogs||48.5||19|
|Texas A&M Aggies||72.8||26||Boxscore|
|@ Auburn Tigers||27.2||17|
|Texas State Bobcats||18.8||22||Boxscore|
|@ San Jose State Spartans||81.2||30|
|Utah State Aggies||81.2||33||Boxscore|
|@ Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners||18.8||21|
|Louisiana Tech Bulldogs||84.2||37||Boxscore|
|@ New Mexico State Aggies||15.8||21|
|Ball State Cardinals||66.3||29||Boxscore|
|@ Army Black Knights||33.7||23|
|TCU Horned Frogs||28.7||22||Boxscore|
|@ Oklahoma State Cowboys||71.3||28|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders||35.1||24||Boxscore|
|@ Kansas State Wildcats||64.9||28|
|@ Iowa State Cyclones||56.4||24|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||44.1||25||Boxscore|
|@ Oklahoma Sooners||55.9||27|
|@ Kansas Jayhawks||12.9||19|
|@ Southern Methodist Mustangs||74.3||31|
|@ Houston Cougars||60.4||28|
|@ East Carolina Pirates||57.4||25|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||47.5||23||Boxscore|
|@ Rice Owls||52.5||24|
|@ Marshall Thundering Herd||49.5||26|
|@ Tulane Green Wave||47.0||24|
|@ San Diego State Aztecs||74.3||30|
|@ Colorado State Rams||64.9||22|
|Nevada Wolf Pack||64.4||28||Boxscore|
|@ Air Force Falcons||35.6||23|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||79.2||31||Boxscore|
|@ New Mexico Lobos||20.8||20|
|Boise State Broncos||79.2||30||Boxscore|
|@ Wyoming Cowboys||20.8||19|
|South Alabama Jaguars||22.8||18||Boxscore|
|@ Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks||77.2||28|
|Arkansas State Red Wolves||42.1||26||Boxscore|
|@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns||57.9||28|
|North Texas Mean Green||44.1||25||Boxscore|
|@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||55.9||28|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||61.9||26||Boxscore|
|@ FIU Golden Panthers||38.1||24|
|@ Florida Atlantic Owls||26.7||21|
Each Monday, 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 each team's chances of winning (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.
Check out our 2012 College Football Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy and for Upsets of the Week.
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 players are removed from their team's game simulation for that week.