College Football Picks and Predictions: Week 5

Jake WestrichSenior Writer ISeptember 27, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal passes the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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 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 and for Locks and Upsets of the Week available on Wednesdays.

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: Stanford (12) vs Oregon (7)

If you have the chance to procure a ticket to this Saturday's showdown in the Pac-10, you are one Lucky Duck.

Thanks, try the veal.

That may be a tired one-liner, but the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks are ready for the first of the month to wake up themselves and the rest of the country. With the SEC "down" this year, the Cardinal versus Ducks on national television hands the left coast a platform to prove that they do belong in the power-conference discussion, and that all of this is attainable without USC assistance.

Sometimes fresh blood can be good for the game.

As I pointed out in last week's Heisman Trophy piece with Whatifsports.com's college football insider Chris Rix, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck may be the best college football player you don't know much about. Trying to stay up for the 11:15pm EST kickoffs are part of the reason he flies below the radar.

Luck did throw his first two interceptions of the season last Saturday at Notre Dame, but these two aerial errors pale in comparison to his full body of work.

Through four games this year, he has tallied 11 touchdowns and thrown for 912 yards with a 62.7 completion percentage. Whatifsports.com staff writer Joel Beall had the privilege of watching Luck in person against the Irish, and says he's the real deal—and this analysis is coming from a Notre Dame fan.

Stanford, ranked ninth in the AP, is starting the season 4-0 for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in office, and is averaging the fourth-most points per game in the country (48.0 ppg) while holding opponents to just 13.8 points per game (12th/country).

Oregon proved it could handle the heat and stayed in Arizona State's kitchen, scoring a big road win with a 100-degree game-time temperature announced in Tempe Saturday night.

The ball-hawking Ducks defense, ranked third in the country in points allowed (11.0/gm), forced the Sun Devils to turn the ball over seven times.

ASU's Steven Threet threw four interceptions and the team lost three fumbles. Two of the turnovers were returned for six points.

The unusual part of the Ducks' offensive attack, first in points scored (57.8/gm), was they went to the air instead of the ground against Arizona State. Oregon ranks third in the country in rushing yards (321.8/gm), yet in this contest, Darron Thomas (Jeremiah who?) threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, with the air game outgaining the ground by over 100 yards.

The main question in Saturday's game will be whether or not these two teams break the scoreboard as the first-ranked offense hosts the fourth-ranked offense. It could also become a defensive battle, with the third-ranked defense taking on the 12th, although this is less likely.

The Whatifsports.com college simulation engine "played" this game 101 times, and the computer likes the Oregon Ducks 62.4 percent of the time by an average score of 37-28.

NOTABLE GAMES

Saturday's football buffet includes two other premiere matchups that are worth highlighting: the Texas Longhorns versus the Oklahoma Sooners and the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Florida Gators.

The Red River Rivalry takes a back seat this season, as Texas and Oklahoma did not help their hype with underachieving performances against UCLA (Longhorns loss) and Cincinnati (Sooners gave up 305 passing yards) on Saturday. Still, this game always invokes a lot of interest, and Mack Brown's team will have the chance to save face only one week after being exposed.

In 101 simulations, the college football simulation engine likes Texas upsetting Oklahoma at home 69.3 percent of the time.

Alabama survived their own scare by rallying back to beat Arkansas in their toughest test this season. Mark Ingram showcased his skills as he pursues a second Heisman Trophy, while the Tide washed away Ryan Mallett's chances of winning the trophy by picking off the QB three times.

Some thought the Florida Gators were ripe for the picking at Kentucky, but Urban Meyer begged to differ. Freshman quarterback/running back Trey Burton accounted for six of Florida's seven touchdowns against the Wildcats.

In 101 simulations, the college football simulation engine likes the Crimson Tide over the Florida Gators 76.2 percent of the time.

 

College Football Week 5
MatchupWin%Avg Score 
East Carolina Pirates6.911Boxscore
@ North Carolina Tar Heels93.134 
Miami (FL) Hurricanes49.525Boxscore
@ Clemson Tigers50.526 
Duke Blue Devils57.429Boxscore
@ Maryland Terrapins42.628 
Notre Dame Fighting Irish64.427Boxscore
@ Boston College Eagles35.624 
Virginia Tech Hokies73.336Boxscore
@ North Carolina State Wolfpack26.731 
Florida State Seminoles75.231Boxscore
@ Virginia Cavaliers24.824 
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets84.236Boxscore
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons15.820 
Vanderbilt Commodores5.012Boxscore
@ Connecticut Huskies95.037 
Florida International Golden Panthers5.06Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Panthers95.050 
Tulane Green Wave9.916Boxscore
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights90.134 
Florida Atlantic Owls13.924Boxscore
@ South Florida Bulls86.139 
Penn State Nittany Lions49.520Boxscore
@ Iowa Hawkeyes50.522 
Wisconsin Badgers62.438Boxscore
@ Michigan State Spartans37.637 
Michigan Wolverines70.333Boxscore
@ Indiana Hoosiers29.727 
Northwestern Wildcats92.131Boxscore
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers7.916 
Ohio State Buckeyes95.039Boxscore
@ Illinois Fighting Illini5.012 
Ball State Cardinals5.010Boxscore
@ Central Michigan Chippewas95.034 
Wyoming Cowboys60.426Boxscore
@ Toledo Rockets39.625 
Buffalo Bulls71.324Boxscore
@ Bowling Green Falcons28.719 
Kent State Golden Flashes78.223Boxscore
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks21.813 
Northern Illinois Huskies82.227Boxscore
@ Akron Zips17.817 
Idaho Vandals92.140Boxscore
@ Western Michigan Broncos7.922 
Ohio Bobcats95.035Boxscore
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles5.010 
Washington State Cougars5.08Boxscore
@ UCLA Bruins95.041 
Washington Huskies13.922Boxscore
@ USC Trojans86.138 
Arizona State Sun Devils14.919Boxscore
@ Oregon State Beavers85.133 
Stanford Cardinal37.628Boxscore
@ Oregon Ducks62.437 
Alcorn State Braves5.09Boxscore
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs95.054 
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks5.015Boxscore
@ Auburn Tigers95.043 
Tennessee Volunteers13.914Boxscore
@ LSU Tigers86.129 
Florida Gators23.819Boxscore
@ Alabama Crimson Tide76.229 
Kentucky Wildcats35.622Boxscore
@ Mississippi Rebels64.430 
Cal Poly Mustangs5.07Boxscore
@ Fresno State Bulldogs95.057 
California-Davis Aggies5.06Boxscore
@ San Jose State Spartans95.033 
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs41.627Boxscore
@ Hawaii Warriors58.434 
Brigham Young Cougars64.428Boxscore
@ Utah State Aggies35.627 
Boise State Broncos95.060Boxscore
@ New Mexico State Aggies5.08 
Temple Owls88.131Boxscore
@ Army Black Knights11.916 
Kansas Jayhawks33.725Boxscore
@ Baylor Bears66.335 
Texas A&M Aggies52.532Boxscore
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys47.531 
Texas Longhorns69.328Boxscore
@ Oklahoma Sooners30.722 
Georgia Bulldogs77.232Boxscore
@ Colorado Buffaloes22.824 
Texas Tech Red Raiders85.134Boxscore
@ Iowa State Cyclones14.921 
Marshall Thundering Herd25.726Boxscore
@ Southern Miss Golden Eagles74.335 
Tulsa Golden Hurricane58.429Boxscore
@ Memphis Tigers41.627 
Southern Methodist Mustangs95.037Boxscore
@ Rice Owls5.022 
Navy Midshipmen23.818Boxscore
@ Air Force Falcons76.231 
UTEP Miners58.426Boxscore
@ New Mexico Lobos41.624 
Nevada Wolf Pack92.143Boxscore
@ UNLV Rebels7.925 
TCU Horned Frogs95.047Boxscore
@ Colorado State Rams5.011 
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns34.717Boxscore
@ North Texas Mean Green65.326 
Louisville Cardinals68.329Boxscore
@ Arkansas State Red Wolves31.725