Some conferences have started their league slate, but there is still some nice non-conference action this weekend in college football. Zach and Jonathan from AccuScore lay out their plays for Week 4.
Zach Rosenfield’s Picks
Oklahoma –13.5 vs. Cincinnati
AccuScore is 2-1 this season against the spread the season with Oklahoma, but 0-2 against the number with Cincinnati. I usually don’t like to pick games involving teams that are not playing to the simulations, but the Bearcats are an exception. In each of its first two games, we over projected for Cincinnati under the assumption that the new players would perform better. The eight quarters of underachieving has given us (AccuScore) volumes of data on just who the 2010 Bearcats are and what we can expect from them. Despite being at home, this is also a bad stylistic match up for Cincinnati. Oklahoma has had no trouble scoring in its first three games, and the Bearcats cannot defend the pass well. Also, OU has already seen a version of Zach Collaros when they contained Christian Ponder and the Sooners defense should be the third team this year to frustrate the young quarterback.
Stanford –4.5 vs. Notre Dame
It is a little early to overwhelm you with statistical data around this game, but AccuScore’s game forecast has Stanford covering the number in 57 percent of simulations. I lean the same way towards Stanford, and the efficiency of Andrew Luck. Luck is projected to throw for fewer yards then Dayne Crist, but he does a better job protecting the ball. Stanford is projected to win the turnover battle which means more possessions for an offense that is has shown no trouble racking up points. When Stanford wins the turnover battle it wins 76 percent of simulations. While I think this game will be competitive I am fine laying the 4.5 points and think Stanford will cover easily if it wins.
USC –22 vs. Washington State
I am having a hard time staying off USC this season, and it has resulted in two losses so far. The Hawaii game was frustrating because the Warriors scored on the USC defense. Last week against Minnesota was annoying because of Lane Kiffin insisting on going for two while up 18 points with 4 minutes left. The one constant is USC’s offense, and the Trojans can also score on special teams. I am laying the 22 points because Washington State continues to be among the worst teams in the FBS, and does not have the offensive weapons to exploit USC’s defensive weaknesses. The game forecast has USC covering the number in 54 percent of simulations, and AccuScore is 3-0-2 against the spread in games involving these teams.
Jonathan Lee’s Picks
Alabama -7 vs. Arkansas
I look at this game like this: Alabama’s defense is and has been nothing short of fantastic ever since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. That hasn’t changed this season with the Tide ranking 9th in total defense and 2nd in scoring defense. Arkansas may have a prolific passing game spearheaded by Ryan Mallett, but the Razorbacks can’t run the ball. Alabama might have a young secondary, but I trust the Tide to be able to defend just fine when it knows Arkansas will pass, pass, pass without a true threat of a run. Another red flag for me is that Arkansas turned the ball over a total of five times against Louisiana-Monroe and Tennessee Tech. Losing possessions to Alabama will undoubtedly spell doom. AccuScore projects Bama to have a positive turnover margin in this game 27 percent of the time. AccuScore projects Arkansas to cover the seven point spread only 39.8 percent of simulations. It is also 4-1 ATS (3-0 for Alabama) in games involving these two squads.
Air Force -13.5 vs. Wyoming
Air Force is projected to cover 58.1 percent of the time. Wyoming is 106th in rushing defense allowing 211 yards per game while facing three teams (S.Utah, Texas, Boise) that would be characterized as passing teams. The Cowboys also don’t run the ball at all ranking dead last in the FBS with 73 rushing yards. Air Force’s strengths line up exactly with Wyoming’s weaknesses. The Falcons are the best running team in the country to the tune of nearly 400 yards a contest. Their pass efficiency defense is also very good ranking 35th overall despite having faced both Oklahoma and BYU. AccuScore is 3-1 ATS so far this season in games involving these two teams.
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