NCAA Football Week 2 Picks and Predictions From WhatIfSports

Jake WestrichSenior Writer ISeptember 7, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 27:  Quarterback Terrell Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 27, 2008 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Each Monday morning,'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 percentage) 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 2010 College Football Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-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.

Game of the Week: Miami (FL) vs Ohio State

The 2003 Fiesta Bowl is still considered one of the greatest college football games of all time.

Miami, on a 34-game winning streak, was surely the favorite in what was also the 2002 Bowl Championship Series national championship game. The Hurricanes matched up with Ohio State, a team that matched the Hurricanes' undefeated season and were looking to put Jim Tressel on the map.

The game featured two overtimes, a controversial call, and one upset as the Buckeyes topped the Canes 31-24 to win the championship.

This week, they'll square off again for the first time since that memorable outing. And while it may not have the streaks, the hype, or the championship on the line, it's certainly an intriguing game featuring two quarterbacks with Heisman Trophy potential early on in the college football season.

Both teams opened their seasons last Thursday with unsurprising routs featuring nearly identical scores. For No. 2 Ohio State, it was a 45-7 drubbing of Marshall, while Miami throttled Florida A&M 45-0.

Miami didn't need to leave Jacory Harris in very long for him to put the Hurricanes in cruise control or for him to remind national pundits why he's a candidate for college football's most prestigious award. Harris completed 12 of 15 passes for 210 yards and three quick touchdowns before giving way to his reserves.

Miami racked up more than 400 yards of offense and averaged nearly 10 yards per pass attempt, but less than five yards per carry, somewhat troubling considering the opponent.

Meanwhile, Ohio State signal-caller Terrelle Pryor was busy matching Harris. Pryor needed a few more attempts to get there, but threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns of his own.

The Buckeyes amassed more than 500 yards of total offense and looked much better running the ball, going for more than six yards per carry.

It's that running game that helps Ohio State prevail once again in the 2002 title game rematch.

In this week's simulations, the Buckeyes don't quite get to five yards per carry, but they stifle the Hurricanes to just over 100 yards on the ground and an average of just 3.8 yards per touch.

As for the Heisman hopefuls, they just about put up matching numbers, but chalk one up for Pryor for being on the winning side.

His Buckeyes win the matchup more than 70 percent of the time by an average of eight points.

Game of the Week: Penn State vs Alabama

The nation's top-ranked team didn't need its Heisman Trophy-winning running back in the season opener.

Whether the Alabama Crimson Tide will have Mark Ingram this time around hasn't yet been announced. But even if he is cleared to play, should Alabama use him against Penn State? Or can they beat the Nittany Lions without him?

If there is one thing that Week 1 proved, and it surely wasn't a shock, it's that Trent Richardson doesn't present a significant dropoff from Ingram at running back.

Richardson ran the ball 10 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama cruised to a 48-3 victory over San Jose State in the opener.

That said, it's certainly hard to gauge the prolific numbers that Bama put up. The Tide amassed nearly 600 total yards, ran for 6.3 yards per carry, and averaged more than 11 yards per pass attempt. Similarly, they held San Jose State to just 175 yards of offense, less than five yards per pass attempt, and just 3.1 yards per carry.

Clearly, the competition level wasn't there in what was basically a tune-up. A date with Penn State will be anything but—though the Nittany Lions' numbers from the first week hardly painted a clearer picture.

The Nittany Lions rolled to a 44-14 victory over Youngstown State, in which the Penguins tacked on a late touchdown and Penn State seemingly needed a first-half wake-up call.

It got it from true freshman quarterback Rob Bolden as he threw for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was the first time Joe Paterno had ever started a true freshman quarterback, and Bolden answered the call, though the numbers were far from as outlandish as those put up by Alabama.

Now, the rookie will likely make his second career start against the nation's top team. Can he spring the upset?

Not likely.

And Alabama could probably considering resting Ingram instead of risking bringing him back too soon.

The rushing numbers for the two teams—Bama without Ingram since they haven't confirmed he will play—are nearly identical.

And in all actuality, the Crimson Tide's passing game appears to give them the advantage. Alabama throws for an average of nearly 50 more yards per game, but more importantly needs fewer passing attempts to do it.

In this week's simulations, the nation's top-ranked team stays atop its perch easily. The Crimson Tide win more than 82 percent of the time by an average margin of more than two touchdowns.

College Football Week 2
Matchup Win %
Avg Score
James Madison Dukes5.06
@ Virginia Tech Hokies95.066
Presbyterian Blue Hose5.05
@ Clemson Tigers95.061
Morgan State Bears5.08
@ Maryland Terrapins95.044
Kent State Golden Flashes14.011
@ Boston College Eagles86.028
Duke Blue Devils57.926
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons42.125
New Hampshire Wildcats5.06
@ Pittsburgh Panthers95.064
Indiana State Sycamores5.07
@ Cincinnati Bearcats95.063
Texas Southern Tigers5.07
@ Connecticut Huskies95.058
Eastern Kentucky Colonels5.08
@ Louisville Cardinals95.047
Iowa State Cyclones5.010
@ Iowa Hawkeyes95.038
Southern Illinois Salukis5.09
@ Illinois Fighting Illini95.047
South Dakota Coyotes5.06
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers95.041
Illinois State Redbirds5.08
@ Northwestern Wildcats95.052
Western Illinois Leathernecks5.08
@ Purdue Boilermakers95.049
San Jose State Spartans5.012
@ Wisconsin Badgers95.048
Florida Atlantic Owls12.331
@ Michigan State Spartans87.746
Miami (FL) Hurricanes29.826
@ Ohio State Buckeyes70.234
North Dakota Fighting Sioux5.09
@ Northern Illinois Huskies95.046
Nicholls State Colonels5.010
@ Western Michigan Broncos95.032
Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs5.08
@ Akron Zips95.034
Liberty Flames8.89
@ Ball State Cardinals91.231
Central Michigan Chippewas12.315
@ Temple Owls87.734
Toledo Rockets19.320
@ Ohio Bobcats80.734
Eastern Michigan Eagles45.617
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks54.420
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks5.07
@ Arizona State Sun Devils95.044
Citadel Bulldogs5.06
@ Arizona Wildcats95.065
Montana State Bobcats5.010
@ Washington State Cougars95.035
Colorado Buffaloes8.821
@ California Golden Bears91.238
Virginia Cavaliers19.319
@ USC Trojans80.735
Stanford Cardinal56.134
@ UCLA Bruins43.933
Syracuse Orange86.033
@ Washington Huskies14.024
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers5.08
@ Kentucky Wildcats95.038
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks7.026
@ Arkansas Razorbacks93.045
South Florida Bulls7.021
@ Florida Gators93.039
Penn State Nittany Lions17.514
@ Alabama Crimson Tide82.530
Georgia Bulldogs63.230
@ South Carolina Gamecocks36.828
Oregon Ducks86.033
@ Tennessee Volunteers14.019
Auburn Tigers91.236
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs8.819
LSU Tigers95.032
@ Vanderbilt Commodores5.09
Idaho State Bengals5.06
@ Utah State Aggies95.047
Colorado State Rams5.318
@ Nevada Wolf Pack94.746
San Diego State Aztecs93.031
@ New Mexico State Aggies7.013
Georgia Southern Eagles5.07
@ Navy Midshipmen95.048
Michigan Wolverines33.328
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish66.736
Hawaii Warriors75.432
@ Army Black Knights24.623
McNeese State Cowboys5.09
@ Missouri Tigers95.051
Wyoming Cowboys5.07
@ Texas Longhorns95.037
Missouri State Bears5.08
@ Kansas State Wildcats95.050
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs19.322
@ Texas A&M Aggies80.737
Buffalo Bulls24.622
@ Baylor Bears75.432
Idaho Vandals31.629
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers68.436
Troy Trojans36.823
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys63.230
Florida State Seminoles61.439
@ Oklahoma Sooners38.638
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets95.048
@ Kansas Jayhawks5.021
UTEP Miners5.026
@ Houston Cougars95.051
Prairie View A&M Panthers5.08
@ Southern Miss Golden Eagles95.053
Memphis Tigers17.519
@ East Carolina Pirates82.536
UAB Blazers26.329
@ Southern Methodist Mustangs73.740
Bowling Green Falcons40.425
@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane59.628
North Carolina State Wolfpack49.130
@ UCF Knights50.934
West Virginia Mountaineers86.033
@ Marshall Thundering Herd14.022
Mississippi Rebels87.738
@ Tulane Green Wave12.321
UNLV Rebels5.012
@ Utah Utes95.041
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles5.05
@ TCU Horned Frogs95.069
Brigham Young Cougars40.422
@ Air Force Falcons59.626
Texas Tech Red Raiders95.039
@ New Mexico Lobos5.011
Austin Peay Governors5.09
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders95.046
Rice Owls42.126
@ North Texas Mean Green57.930
Arkansas State Red Wolves64.923
@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns35.120
Rutgers Scarlet Knights95.036
@ Florida International Golden Panthers5.09


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