2011 College Football Week 14 Picks and Predictions: Conference Championships

Jake WestrichSenior Writer INovember 29, 2011

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 26: Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for a second half touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Camp Randall Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Penn State 45-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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 2011 College Football Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy and for 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.

Big Ten Championship: Wisconsin vs Michigan State

The Badgers finished the regular season with only eight turnovers in 12 games. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw three of the team's four interceptions. Two of his picks were thrown in the Michigan State game.

Even with a pair of extra possessions (on which zero points were scored), it took a Kirk Cousins' Hail Mary tipped pass for the Spartans to win the first meeting in East Lansing.

The final score on that late October day was 37-31; far from the defensive affair the stats would suggest.

As it stands then and now, the Badgers and Spartans possess two of the top scoring defenses in the country. Wisconsin finished the regular season fourth in the country at 15.2 points allowed per game and MSU finished sixth at 15.4 points allowed.

The key for the Spartans in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis will be to contain Montee Ball. The Badgers running back has scored 34 touchdowns (29 rushing, five receiving) and rushed for over 1,600 yards.

He's scored multiple touchdowns in every game this season.

The Badgers must put some pressure on Kirk Cousins, who finished 22-of-31 for 290 yards with three touchdowns in their first meeting. If Wisconsin can force a few turnovers and Wilson can lead the offense a few early scores, the Badgers should roll.

Remember, Wisconsin blew a 14-0 lead the first time around, something coach Brett Bielema can't let happen again if he wants to smell the roses.

Using our college football simulation engine, we simulated the Big Ten Championship 101 times and it's the Badgers winning 67.3 percent of the time by an average score of 33-27.

Pac-12 Championship: Oregon vs UCLA

UCLA should send USC a nice fruit basket this holiday season.

Thanks to NCAA sanctions, the 10-2 Trojans are ineligible for postseason play this year, including the conference title game. This has allowed the 6-6 Bruins—fresh off a 50-0 beatdown at the hands of their rival—to back their way into the inaugural Pac-12 Championship against the Ducks.

Statistically speaking, this matchup is so one-sided it's hard to make a case for the Bruins. Their offense finished the regular season 88th (out of 120) in scoring and 87th in scoring defense. Their rush defense allows 5.0 yards per carry, while Oregon averages 6.5 yards per carry—tops in the country.

UCLA's best shot at competing in this game is to engineer loooooong drives to milk the clock and hand the Ducks as few possessions as possible. If they fail to control the clock, Oregon will run their way into the BCS.

Fun fact: A loss by the Bruins would drop them to 6-7 and ineligible for a bowl bid because of their losing record.

We simulated the Bruins and Ducks 101 times and it's Oregon winning 80.2 percent of the time by an average score of 36-22.

College Football Week 14
Matchup Win% Avg Score  
Virginia Tech Hokies 57.4 27 Boxscore
Clemson Tigers 42.6 25  
Syracuse Orange 28.7 19 Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Panthers 71.3 25  
Connecticut Huskies 49.5 24 Boxscore
@ Cincinnati Bearcats 50.5 25  
West Virginia Mountaineers 75.2 32 Boxscore
@ South Florida Bulls 24.8 23  
Wisconsin Badgers 67.3 33 Boxscore
Michigan State Spartans 32.7 27  
Ohio Bobcats 37.6 27 Boxscore
Northern Illinois Huskies 62.4 32  
UCLA Bruins 19.8 22 Boxscore
@ Oregon Ducks 80.2 36  
Georgia Bulldogs 32.2 22 Boxscore
LSU Tigers 67.8 29  
Idaho Vandals 16.8 20 Boxscore
@ Nevada Wolf Pack 83.2 30  
Utah State Aggies 70.3 30 Boxscore
@ New Mexico State Aggies 29.7 23  
Brigham Young Cougars 76.2 33 Boxscore
@ Hawaii Warriors 23.8 21  
Iowa State Cyclones 30.7 24 Boxscore
@ Kansas State Wildcats 69.3 32  
Texas Longhorns 41.6 28 Boxscore
@ Baylor Bears 58.4 29  
Oklahoma Sooners 55.9 34 Boxscore
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys 44.1 30  
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 35.6 37 Boxscore
@ Houston Cougars 64.4 42  
UNLV Rebels 5.0 11 Boxscore
@ TCU Horned Frogs 95.0 46  
New Mexico Lobos 5.0 9 Boxscore
@ Boise State Broncos 95.0 50  
Fresno State Bulldogs 29.7 24 Boxscore
@ San Diego State Aztecs 70.3 30  
Wyoming Cowboys 63.4 26 Boxscore
@ Colorado State Rams 36.6 22  
Troy Trojans 44.6 25 Boxscore
@ Arkansas State Red Wolves 55.4 28  
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 54.5 26 Boxscore
@ North Texas Mean Green 45.5 25  
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 80.2 29 Boxscore
@ Florida Atlantic Owls 19.8 19  


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