College Football Game Predictions and Results - 2008 Season - Week 8 (week and weekend of Saturday, October 18, 2008)
The odds used below are those posted at the College Football Prediction Tracker on Monday, October 13, 2008. The unique system used for game prognostications is SPRS [name changed to YPPSYS - see above] which uses primarily our own derived NAYPPA system (based on yards per play stats from cfbstats.com) plus the Massey Ratings strength of schedule (SoS) for making college football predictions, although we handle SoS differently here than for a full season. We use the Massey SchP, which is the strength of schedule thus far this year, not that for the whole year. In addition, thus far this year, for Division I-A FBS football, the median (of 120 teams) net yards per play gained on offense is 5.4 whereas the median net yards per play allowed on defense is 5.2. In the year 2007 those medians were 5.4 and 5.3 respectively for the full season. Unless otherwise noted, the stats in parentheses give the net average yards per play gained on offense and net average yards per play allowed on defense thus far this football season. Each point of YPPSYS rating advantage = 9 points on the scoreboard (see the 2007 final rankings). We do this all in good fun and disclaim any and all liability for any reliance of any kind on our prognostications. May the best team win.
New Update: Up to now we have calculated the home field advantage as being about 3 points on average. Scott Albrecht at College Football by the Numbers confirms that the average home field advantage is "about 3 to 3.5 points" - but that is the average! Scott has calculated the home field advantage (HFA) for Division I-A (FBS) teams over the last ten years (1997-2007) for each team and has found great differences, giving much larger specific HFA for teams like Hawaii (12.62 points) - Aloha!, Boise State (10.79 points) - Blue Turf - or Oregon State (10.42 points) - and HFA will be a major factor as to why USC has lost their last two games to the Beavers at Reser Stadium. As a result, for this set of predictions, we are going to use Scott Albrecht's HFA calculations (here abbreviated as "SAHFA") as a newly adjusted variable in our prognostications, applying the points that his calculations provide, rather than using our standard 3-point home field advantage variable.
The ranks of the unbeatens in Division I-A (FBS) football have thinned out considerably by this now 8th upcoming week of college football, with only Texas (6-0), Penn State (7-0), Alabama (6-0), Boise State (5-0), Oklahoma State (6-0), Texas Tech (6-0), Utah (7-0), BYU (6-0), Ball State (7-0), and Tulsa (6-0) remaining.
After seven weeks and after last Saturday's win over Oklahoma, Texas is now ranked #1 in both the AP and USA Today coaches' polls. Here is what we wrote at SportPundit about Texas to start out this 2008 college football season:
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 15 Texas
SPRS [name changed to YPPSYS] ranked Texas 14th at the end of last season but there is no way in our thinking to rank them behind Texas Tech to start this season. New defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Will Muschamp has been brought from Auburn by Mack Brown and signed for a salary making him the highest paid assistant coach in the Big 12. We think he will make a difference for Texas, who we expect to be in the Top 10 in the nation by the time the season is over. Indeed, they may even have a good crack at the national championship. Don't mess with Texas."
OK. Here are our Week 8 predictions, based on our YPPSYS (Yards Per Play System) (tm), using the odds as posted at The Prediction Tracker (or, in the case of games not posted there, at Yahoo Odds) on Monday, October 13, 2008.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Florida State (6.1, 3.7, SoS=95) is favored on the road by 11 1/2 points at North Carolina State (4.4, 6.1, SoS=19). SAHFA for North Carolina State = 0.94 points.
The only team that is going to beat the strong defense of the Seminoles is a team that plays better defense in their particular game matchup, as Wake Forest did earlier in the year in handing Florida State its only loss of this season. North Carolina State has one of the worst defenses in the nation, combined with a weak offense, and in our opinion thus has little chance to win this game.
Our call this week is: 31-3 for Florida State.
Brigham Young (6.4, 4.5, SoS=113) is favored on the road by 1 1/2 points at TCU (5.0, 3.7, SoS=81). SAHFA for TCU = 2.58 points.
Including the home field advantage, our YPPSYS stats show this game as dead even. This well be a good test for the actual strength of both teams. BYU is riding the nation's longest winning streak at 16 games and has been playing superb defensive football this year. The Cougars have not allowed a TD in 3 of their 6 games. But it is TCU which leads the nation in defensive stats and even Oklahoma only gained 25 yards rushing against the Horned Frogs in the Sooners 35-10 win. As the Oklahoma game showed, TCU is weaker against a strong passing attack, which BYU has, although that passing attack is weaker than Oklahoma's by about two TDs, which also makes this game look even, for which reason we go with the home team, by a point.
Our call this week is: 17-16 for TCU.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Hawaii (5.3, 5.3, SoS=12) is a 26-point underdog at Boise State (6.5, 4.4, SoS=103).
Hawaii is a balanced team offensively and defensively and the Warriors have played a much tougher schedule than the Broncos, so that a 26-point spread seems like a lot to us in this game. The SAHFA for Boise State is 10.79 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Boise State
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Texas Tech (7.6, 5.0, SoS=94) is favored on the road by 21 points at Texas A&M (5.5, 5.7, SoS=69). The SAHFA for Texas A&M is 5.14 points.
Our call this week is: 38-21 for Texas Tech.
Vanderbilt (4.4, 4.6, SoS=66) is an underdog by 15 points at Georgia (6.5, 4.6, SoS=21). The SAHFA for Georgia is a minus -0.25 points.
The low HFA is probably because Georgia seldom plays much beyond 300 miles from its home stadium.
Our call this week is: 37-14 for Georgia.
LSU (6.2, 4.9, SoS=80) is favored on the road by 3 1/2 points at South Carolina (5.1, 4.1, SoS=41). South Carolina has an SAHFA of 3.20 points.
Our stats would make South Carolina a 4 point favorite.
Our call this week is: 24-20 for South Carolina
Syracuse (4.9, 6.2, SoS=13) is an underdog by 24 points at South Florida (5.9, 4.2, SoS=60). South Flordia has an SAHFA of 3.83 points.
Our stats favor South Florida by 26 points.
Our call this week is: 33-7 for South Florida.
Wake Forest (4.4, 4.4, SoS=8) at Maryland (5.9, 5.4, SoS=78) had an opening line of 1 1/2 points favoring Wake Forest but is currently at 0 points. Maryland enjoys an SAHFA of 6.57 points.
Our call this week is: 20-17 for Maryland
Purdue (5.1, 5.3, SoS=14) is an underdog by 4 points at Northwestern (5.1, 4.6, SoS=46). Northwestern enjoys a 3.41 point SAHFA.
Our call this week is: 24-20 for Northwestern
East Carolina (5.1, 5.5, SoS=44) is favored at home by 8 1/2 points over Memphis (5.9, 6.2, SoS=117). East Carolina has a SAHFA of 0.96 points. Our stats come out as favoring East Carolina by 9 points.
Our call this week is: 33-24 for East Carolina
Rutgers (5.0, 5.3, SoS=55) at Connecticut (5.4, 5.1, SoS=42) started out with Rutgers as a 3.5 point favorite but the line is currently 0 points. Connecticut has a minus -0.53 points home advantage.
Our call this week is: 27-21 for Connecticut
Bowling Green (5.1, 5.2, SoS=40) is favored at home by 9 1/2 points over Miami of Ohio (4.5, 5.4, SoS=99). Bowling Green enjoys a SAHFA of 6.72 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Bowling Green
Clemson (5.8, 4.7, SoS=47) is favored by 2 points at home over Georgia Tech (6.2, 3.8, SoS=61). Clemson has a SAHFA of 1.50 points.
Coach Tommy Bowden of Clemson has been fired in midseason, which certainly gives the psychological edge to Georgia Tech.
Our call this week is: 27-17 for Georgia Tech
Central Michigan (5.2, 6.0, SoS=96) is favored at home by 3 points over Western Michigan (6.2, 5.1, SoS=119). Central Michigan has a SAHFA of 5.91 points.
Our call this week is: 30-21 for Western Michigan
Iowa (5.9, 4.4, SoS=22) is favored at home by 3 1/2 points over Wisconsin (5.5, 5.0, SoS=37). Iowa has a SAHFA of 4.07 points.
Our call this week is: 28-14 for Iowa
Nebraska (6.4, 5.9, SoS=2) is favored on the road by 6 points at Iowa State (5.1, 6.0, SoS=84). SAHFA for Iowa State = 2.80 points.After opening with five home games, the Huskers are on the road for the second straight week, visiting against the Cyclones, whose defense is just as bad as that of the Cornhuskers. The Huskers rank tied for 100th with Minnesota and Iowa State is 102nd. If the Nebraska coaching staff allows QB Joe Ganz to play HIS game and fill the air with footballs, which is what he is really good at, the Huskers will win handily. If offensive coordinator Watson continues his course of futility - to try to run the ball without having the personnel for it, which has cost Nebraska two of the last three games - then we hope this is Watson's last season at Nebraska - and this could be a lost game as well. Mitch Sherman has quoted Watson as follows: ""Honestly, we want to hammer people in big running groups," Watson said, "but that's probably not our personality. I've been down this road before. You find out your identity, and then you start evolving from there. We've found out a lot about ourselves in the past two weeks. I'd like our (identity) to be rushing the football, but you've got to play to your personnel."" That identity crisis should all have been taken care of already before the season started, not now in mid-season. Of course you play with the personnel you have - that is what coaching is all about. Good coaches can do it, mediocre coaches can not. That the Huskers had no running game to speak of was clear from the very beginning. Also clear was that the Huskers had a terrific passing QB ins Ganz, so why are they not using him for that to the hilt? Right now the Husker stats are worse than last year:
2008 140.2 yards rushing 270.4 yards passing 410.6 yards total offense
2007 144.4 yards rushing 323.8 yards passing 468.2 yards total offense
That is NOT the change that the fans expected from Pelini as head coach.
If Nebraskans want a strong running attack for their team, they FIRST have to recruit the players for it, not vice versa. Right now the Huskers have a great passing QB who they are not unleashing. That is stupidity. Our stats show the Huskers as an 18-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 38-20 for Nebraska.
Oklahoma (6.7, 4.2, SoS=36) is favored at home by 18 points over Kansas (6.0, 4.7, SoS=67). Oklahoma has a SAHFA of 1.19 points.
Our call this week is: 39-24 for Oklahoma
Akron (5.3, 5.6, SoS=91) is favored on the road by 3 points at Eastern Michigan (5.4, 5.8, SoS=110). Eastern Michigan has a SAHFA of 1.78 points.
This game is a toss-up, as our stats give Akron a bare 1-point advantage, but Akron has been strong on the road.
Our call this week is: 24-23 for Akron
Colorado State (5.3, 5.6, SoS=38) is the underdog by 23 points at Utah (5.4, 4.3, SoS=70). Utah has a SAHFA of 2.20 points.
Our call this week is: 27-14 for Utah
Oklahoma State (7.2, 5.1, SoS=92) is favored at home by 16.5 points over Baylor (6.1, 4.7, SoS=31). The opening line was 18.5. The Cowboys enjoy an SAHFA of 5.12 points.
Baylor is not the doormat that it was in past seasons and the Cowboys have to be very careful not to get ambushed, since the Baylor stats in terms of their strength of schedule, are nearly as good as those of the Cowboys. Our stats show the Cowboys as 5-point favorites, which is their home field advantage.
Our call this week is: 35-30 for Oklahoma State.
Southern Miss (5.5, 5.7, SoS=77) is a 3 1/2 point underdog on the road at Rice (5.8, 6.7, SoS=58). Rice has a SAHFA of 4.24 points. Our stats make Rice a 2-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 38-36 for Rice.
Alabama (5.9, 4.2, SoS=43) is favored at home by 13.5 points over Mississippi (6.2, 4.9, SoS=18). The SAHFA of the Crimson Tide is a minus figure of -0.87 points.
Both teams have had a two-week layoff, which probably helps the Rebels, who have a thinner talent pool, so the rest should do them good. By our YPPSYS stats, the Alabama NAYPPA advantage is only .4 x 9 which is 3.6 points minus the Alabama home field advantage of minus 0.87 points = 2.7 points . Subtract 2.5 points (4.3-2.8) for the fact that Mississippi has faced the tougher overall schedule thus far this year and we have a dead even game, according to the stats. In such cases, we go with the home team by 1 point, but a Rebel upset win is easily possible.
Our call this week is: 24-23 for Alabama.
USC (6.6, 3.6, SoS=4) is favored on the road by 42 points at Washington State (4.0, 6.6, SoS=25). The Cougars have a SAHFA of 3.54 points.
In terms of yards per play allowed on defense, USC leads the nation. As for this game, we would normally say get our your calculator, but USC is so good that they need not run up the score on this injury-plagued team, so you have to be careful about calling gigantic spreads. Coach Pete Carroll will probably play a lot of reserves most of the game to give his top players a rest. Our stats give USC a 50-point edge and that could be the score after 2 or 3 quarters.
Our call this week is: 56-6 for USC.
Ohio State (5.1, 4.3, SoS=57) is favored on the road by 3 1/2 points at Michigan State (5.3, 5.3, SoS=34). The Spartans have a hefty SAHFA of 5.95 points.
NAYPPA gives Ohio State an advantage of 7.2 points (.8 x 9). Michigan State gets 5.95 points through the home field advantage and their tougher schedule is worth 2.3 points (5.7-3.4). Our stats thus give the edge to Michigan State by one point. We don't really believe it, but we will go with the stats.
Our call this week is: 21-20 for Michigan State.
North Carolina (5.7, 5.0, SoS=16) is favored by 5 1/2 points at Virginia (4.6, 5.2, SoS=5). Virginia holds a 3.12 point SAHFA advantage.
Our stats thus make North Carolina favored by 9 points. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers have been playing superbly recently, so this is a tough game to call in terms of the actual trend, though we stick with the stats.
Our call this week is: 30-21 for North Carolina.
Pittsburgh (4.9, 4.8, SoS=45) is favored by 3 1/2 points at Navy (6.3, 5.7, SoS=26).
Navy has the worst home field advantage record of any team, a minus SAHFA of -5.49 points, making them a 1-point favorite by the stats.
Our call this week is: 27-26 for Navy
Middle Tennessee State (4.6, 5.3, SoS=72) is the underdog by 14.5 points at Louisville (5.7, 4.6, SoS=82). Louisville has a SAHFA of 0.59.
Our stats make Louisville the favorite by 14.6 points.
Our call this week is: 31-16 for Louisville.
Miami of Florida (4.6, 4.3, SoS=54) is favored on the road by 5 points at Duke (4.5, 5.4, SoS=1). Duke has a SAHFA of 0.29 points.
Our stats make Miami of Florida the favorite by 4 points.
Our call this week is: 21-17 for Miami of Florida
Army (4.5, 5.5, SoS=120) is an underdog by 10 1/2 points at Buffalo (5.3, 5.8, SoS=20). Buffalo has a SAHFA of 4.87 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Buffalo
Marshall (5.1, 5.6, SoS=98) is favored on the road by 3 points at UAB (5.8, 7.1, SoS=114). UAB has a SAHFA of 6.15 points.
Our stats favor Marshall by 2.65 points, so we go with 2 points
Our call this week is: 30-28 for Marshall
UCLA (4.5, 5.3, SoS=62) is favored at home by 2.5 points over Stanford (5.3, 5.4, SoS=17). UCLA has a SAHFA of 3.34 points.
Our call this week is: 27-20 for Stanford
Northern Illinois (5.6, 4.6, SoS=129) is favored at home 7 1/2 points over Toledo (5.0, 5.4, SoS=74). Northern Illinois has a SAHFA of 6.56 points.
Our call this week is: 24-22 for Northern Illinois
Nevada (6.7, 6.0, SoS=73) is favored at home by 19 1/2 points over Utah State (4.7, 5.8, SoS=27). Nevada has a SAHFA of 6.90 points. Our stats favor Nevada by 18.5 points.
Our call this week is: 39-20 for Nevada
Penn State (6.9, 4.0, SoS=93) is favored at home by 23 1/2 points over Michigan (4.5, 4.8, SoS=49). The Nittany Lions have a SAHFA of 4.20 points.
On paper, the Wolverines have no chance to win this game and by our stats rank as nearly 29-point underdogs.
Our call this week is: 36-7 for Penn State
New Mexico (4.6, 5.4, SoS=32) is favored at home by 14 1/2 points over San Diego State (4.7, 5.6, SoS=51). New Mexico has a SAHFA of 2.62 points.
Our call this week is: 26-20 for New Mexico
Colorado (4.4, 5.2, SoS=10) is favored at home by 2 1/2 points over Kansas State (6.1, 5.8, SoS=101). Colorado has a SAHFA of only 2.89 points, which surprises us, since the thin air of the mountains has always been thought to be a greater Buff advantage. Our stats favor the Buffaloes by 2 points.
Our call this week is: 28-26 for Colorado
Kentucky (4.6, 4.4, SoS=68) is favored at home by 10 1/2 points over Arkansas (5.4, 5.5, SoS=11). Kentucky has a SAHFA of 2.64 points.
Kentucky was a great disappointment to us in its loss to South Carolina and the Arkansas win over Auburn shows that the Razorbacks are a match for good defensive teams, which the Wildcats are. Our stats make Arkansas the favorite by less than half a point.
Our call this week is: 17-16 for Arkansas
Western Kentucky (4.5, 5.4, SoS=39) is favored at home by 1 point over Florida Atlantic (5.3, 5.6, SoS=23).
Our call this week is: 21-20 for Florida Atlantic
Oregon State (5.9, 4.8, SoS=3) is favored on the road by 14 points at Washington (4.4, 7.2, SoS=6). Washington has a SAHFA of 2.19 points.
Our call this week is: 50-17 for Oregon State
Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) (7.6, 6.3, SoS=136) is favored at home by 4.5 points over Arkansas State (7.0, 5.0, SoS=150). ULL has a SAHFA of 3.66 points. Our stats favor Arkansas State by a little more than a point.
Our call this week is: 41-40 for Arkansas State
Louisiana Tech (4.7, 6.0, SoS=29) is favored at home by 20 points over Idaho (4.9, 6.9, SoS=118). Louisiana Tech has a SAHFA of 6.33, so our stats favor the Bulldogs by 22.
Our call this week is: 45-23 for Louisiana Tech
Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) (5.2, 7.0, SoS=132) is favored at home by 18 1/2 points over North Texas (5.1, 7.1, SoS=48). ULM has a SAHFA of 0.15 points.
Our call this week is: 30-24 for North Texas
Tennessee (5.0, 4.2, SoS=75) is favored at home by 8 1/2 points over Mississippi State (4.4, 4.9, SoS=28). Tennessee has a SAHFA of 2.03 points. Our stats give Tennessee a 9-point edge.
Our call this week is: 23-14 for Tennessee
Troy State (5.5, 4.7, SoS=88) is favored at home by 7 points over Florida International (4.1, 4.8, SoS=64). Troy has a SAHFA of 4.03 points.
Our call this week is: 28-13 for Troy
Texas (6.5, 4.8, SoS=35) is favored at home by 7 points over Missouri (7.9, 4.9, SoS=56). Texas has a SAHFA of 2.47 points.
Texas has a slight edge on defense and Missouri an edge on offense. Our stats give Mizzou the prediction edge by 7.
Our call this week is: 41-34 for Missouri.
Boston College (5.5, 4.2, SoS=115) is favored at home by 2 1/2 points over Virginia Tech (5.5, 4.6, SoS=9). Boston College has a SAHFA of 2.65.
Our call this week is: 21-17 for Virginia Tech
San Jose State (4.8, 4.5, SoS=83) is favored on the road by 2 points at New Mexico State (6.5, 5.6, SoS=97). New Mexico State has a SAHFA of 4.21.
Our call this week is: 28-20 for New Mexico State
Tulsa (8.2, 6.0, SoS=124) is favored at home by 17 1/2 points over UTEP (5.4, 6.3, SoS=76). Tulsa has a SAHFA of 3.64. Our stats give Tulsa the edge by 27 points.
How do you NOT rank unbeaten Tulsa, as the AP poll does not?
- 9th-ranked BYU (AP poll) beat New Mexico 21-3, but the Golden Hurricane beat the Lobos 56-14. By the Massey Ratings strength of schedule, the BYU and Tulsa schedules thus far this season are ranked about the same, 116th and 120th.
- 22nd-ranked and once beaten Vanderbilt beat Rice 38-21, whereas No. 1 ranked Texas beat the Owls 52-10. Tulsa beat the Owls 63-28.
- Central Arkansas is ranked 14th in the FCS coaches poll and has only one loss this season, 62-34 to the Golden Hurricane.
- Tulsa beat UAB 45-22, whereas South Carolina beat the Blazers only 26-13.
- On the other hand, Tulsa just barely beat SMU 37-31 last weekend, but the team of June Jones is improving, so this may not be as bad a win as it now looks.
UTEP does well against teams with rugged defenses, but this will not help them against Tulsa. UTEP itself has one of the worst defenses in Division I football and should be picked apart by Tulsa's high-powered offense. We predict that the Golden Hurricane will outdo the Texas 42-13 victory over the Miners.
Our call this week is: 47-20 for Tulsa
Illinois (6.4, 5.4, SoS=52) is favored at home by 16 1/2 points over Indiana (5.9, 5.2, SoS=33). Illinois has a SAHFA of 0.06. By our stats, Illinois is only a 1-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 31-30 for Illinois
Houston (6.8, 5.6, SoS=85) is favored on the road by 12 points at Southern Methodist (SMU) (5.8, 6.7, SoS=63). SMU has a SAHFA of 4.11.
The opening line here was 14 points, but SMU's close game against Tulsa has perhaps made people cautious. Our stats make Houston a favorite by 12.6 points.
Our call this week is: 44-31 for Houston
California (6.2, 4.0, SoS=24) at Arizona (6.0, 4.4, SoS=107) is currently seen as 0 points. Arizona has a minus SAHFA of -0.15 points.
Our call this week is: 28-14 for Cal
Crossposted to LawPundit.