Preview of Week 8 of the CFB season – plus a quick look at Week 7

Here’s the standings and results update (by clicking this link) in the Following Football page.

 

Our overall results in Week 7 really were pretty good – we won 43, lost 34 against the spread. Sounds great! 

Unfortunately, when it comes to the twelve games where I published the predictions we thought were most probable? Yeah… three out of twelve. Bleh.

There were probably more surprises last week than during the rest of the season combined – not just outright upsets, but so many games were down to the wire! 

Sure, you know about Oregon and Michigan State and UCLA and LSU and Kansas State and Tennessee. But don’t miss Liberty over Troy, EMU over Toledo, Valparaiso over Butler, Florida A&M over AC A&T, Abilene Christian over Nicholls State, Delaware over Elon, Furman over Wofford.

And the TONS of games that were solved in the last eighth of the game – I have a two page list in my notebook that simply became too many to include here. But some were absurd: Idaho came back to score a TD with three minutes to go against Montana State but missed the XP and lost 24-23…Presbyterian lost to Hampton the exact same way by the exact same score!…Dayton lost to Pioneer fave San Diego after missing a 2XP with two minutes to go… Toledo’s loss to EMU was exactly the same way!…Southeast MO won with a TD over Following Football favorite Austin Peay 31-27 with a TD with fifteen seconds to go after five Q4 lead changes… Missouri State beat Indiana State on a last second FG, 29-26; Ball State beat CMU the same way; Colorado St beat New Mexico 20-18 the same way; Harvard beat Holy Cross 33-31 on their own last-second FG Friday night…Virginia Tech survived against UNC 22-19 when UNC drove to the one, fumbled, and then the VaTech offense went 99 yards for the winning score… Notre Dame survived against Pitt, Florida survived against Vandy; UCF barely made it past Memphis.

And Alabama was Alabama. They can literally win a national championship with their back-up quarterback, and may again this year. As a reminder, we had the Tide winning it all before the season; there’s been nothing but a preponderance of evidence to support that conclusion through seven games so far.

So, here are the eight (yes, just eight this week) games we’re going to stick our neck out over this week:

Maryland at IOWA (-10) – Unless Maryland’s going to put up one of their three really good games they do each year, Iowa’s going to win big.

OKLAHOMA (-7.5) at TCU. – Oklahoma’s still good; TCU just isn’t at their level. Even if they play the way they managed against Ohio State? They still lost by 12.

Oregon at WASHINGTON STATE (-2.5) – With ESPN in town, the Cougars will want to put on a show, and they can. Oregon had their big game last week; they won’t be emotionally up for this pirate ambush.

Vanderbilt at KENTUCKY (- 11) – a loss to A&M in overtime on the road is nothing to be ashamed of. The Wildcats will demolish Vanderbilt, especially after a bye week and at home.

SMU (+ 7) at Tulane – This one’s not a huge difference in our numbers compared to the spread (we only see it as eight or nine points) but the Mustangs are underrated.

EASTERN MICHIGAN (- 3) at Ball State – It’s really hard for us to see how this spread is so low. EMU dominated Toledo last week; Ball State’s still living off their good showing against Notre Dame before the Irish switched QBs. 

FRESNO STATE (- 14) at New Mexico – With the national attention given to Boise and San Diego States, and the domination of Utah State in their recent games, the Bulldogs have been neglected in publicity. But we have them as the second ranked Group of Five team (behind UCF, but not by much) and winning this by nineteen.

TONIGHT! GEORGIA STATE (+14.5) at Arkansas State – Arkansas State is not as good this year as their reputation; GaSt is better than their usual rep. Add those together and you get an over-spread that the Red Wolves won’t cover. 

 

NOW, for the record, we’ll share ALL of our FBS predictions with you. We’ve been above 50% over the whole spread (the FCS spreads only show up on game day, in most cases), so let’s see if we can put our posting where our mouths are…Underlines are our choices against the spread

North Carolina State (+17) at Clemson

Wake Forest (+9) at Florida State

North Carolina at Syracuse (- 9.5)

Virginia at Duke (-7.5)

Michigan at Michigan State (+ 7) – solely because of the rivalry factor

Ohio State (- 13.5) at Purdue

Penn State (- 14.5) at Indiana

Illinois (+ 25.5) at Wisconsin

Minnesota (+3.5) at Nebraska – we actually think Minnesota will win, but it’s hard to think of Neb going 0-7…

Northwestern at Rutgers (-20.5) – though our heart expects a total Scarlet Knight collapse…

Kansas (+20.5) at Texas Tech – we think it’s closer to twelve, but Tech could blow them up…

California at Oregon State (+6.5)

Stanford at Arizona State (+2.5)

Arizona (+3) at UCLA – but the Wildcats looked terrible last week.

Colorado at Washington (- 15.5)

USC at Utah (no spread, but we have Utah by ten)

Memphis at Missouri (no spread, but we have Mizzou by seven)

Tulsa at Arkansas (no spread, but we have Ark by four)

Alabama at Tennessee (+29.5)only because Saban will play everyone in the second half

Auburn at Ole Miss (+ 4)

Mississippi State at LSU (- 6.5)

Connecticut (+32.5) at USF

Houston at Navy (+13)

Cincinnati at Temple (no spread, but we have Temple by one)

UCF at ECU (no spread, but we have UCF by 25)

Charlotte at MTSU (-17.5)

FAU at Marshall (+ 3)

Old Dominion at Western Kentucky (- 5)

North Texas (+ 1.5) at UAB

Rice (+23.5) at FIU

UTEP (+24) at LaTech

UTSA (+17) at So Miss – we have it at eleven, but we don’t trust UTSA right now.

Army at Miami-OH (+8) – we also have +8. Same with Akron (-4) at Kent State: no pick.

No bet on Bowling Green at Ohio (-17); with a new (interim) coach, BGSU could go either way.

Western Michigan (-4) at Central Michigan

Nevada (+3) at Hawaii.

Air Force at UNLV (+ 12.5)

Colorado State (+24) at Boise State. Boise’s usually overpriced. When in doubt, bet against…

Utah State at Wyoming (+16) – but if USU covers, they’ll cover BIG.

Georgia Southern (-11.5) at New Mexico State

UL-Lafayette at Appalachian State (-26.5)

Texas State (+11.5) at UL-Monroe.

PS – I want to add one highly unimportant game prediction from the ranks of the bottom of the FCS – the two worst teams in not only the SWAC, but according to both the Sagarin ratings and our own ELO-Following Football ratings, the two very worst teams in Division I, We are betting on Mississippi Valley State to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff by three, coincidentally the home field advantage for this game. (Sagarin also chooses MVSU by 3.8 points.) In our rating system, only the Davidson Wildcats of the Pioneer League natch their rating of 87. (By comparison, the lowest in the FBS is Rice at 57, the highest there in a long time. North Dakota State is the highest ranked FCS team, at 20, which means they’d be favored over either of these teams by 67 points on a neutral field right now.) Be honest – you paid attention to Kansas/Rutgers for the same reason, didn’t you? Trainwrecks can be exciting!

 

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