College Football Week 3 Wrap-Up

We had our first big upset of a playoff contender this week as Wisconsin lost at home to BYU. The Badgers, my preseason #2 team behind Alabama, tumbled all the way to #18 in the AP poll- they don't fall as far here though. LSU also went into Auburn and pulled off a big win on a last second field goal, Ohio State won a shootout with TCU and Oklahoma State got a nice win against Boise State.

Top 25

1. Alabama
2. Oklahoma
3. Georgia
4. Ohio State (+1)
5. Penn State (+1)
As strange as it is to say, I don't think this Alabama team is getting enough credit. They absolutely destroyed Ole Miss this week- 49 points in the first half before they pulled their starters and they're even better than I thought. I would have them as at least a touchdown favorite against any other team in the country on a neutral field.

6. Clemson (+1)
7. Washington (+1)
8. Wisconsin (-4)
9. Mississippi State (+3)
10. Auburn (-1)
Wisconsin should not be falling 12 spots in the AP poll, they under-preformed by 27 points against BYU (I had them as 24 point favorites, they lost by 3). That's not great, but it's still a big overreaction- Vegas agrees with me by still keeping Wisconsin as 3.5 point favorites at Iowa.

11. UCF
12. Boston College (+1)
13. Stanford (-3)
14. Oklahoma State (+3)
15. Virginia Tech (-1)
I was driving the Boston College bandwagon in the preseason, ranking the Eagles #15 in my preseason poll. It appears as if the national media is beginning to join me, as they cracked the AP poll this week after a nice win at Wake Forest. They do have a deceptively tough road trip this week at Purdue, who is very unlucky to be 0-3.

16. Texas (+6)
17. Duke (-2)
18. LSU (+11)
19. Miami (FL) (+9)
20. Texas A&M (+4)
LSU is probably lower here than you'll see them anywhere else. This boils down to the fundamental difference between my model and how a lot of people approach college football- a probabilistic versus a deterministic approach. If LSU missed the field goal to beat Auburn, there's no way they'd be in the top 10 or even particularly close- but is LSU really a worse football team if that kick goes slightly wide? My model sees a team that was even in yardage with Miami and needed a last second field goal to beat Auburn and puts them down here accordingly.

21. Missouri (+6)
22. Iowa (-6)
23. Michigan (-3)
24. NC State (-3)
25. Memphis (+5)
With Wisconsin now looking a bit more vulnerable and Northwestern and Purdue falling off, Iowa could be the team that comes out of the Big Ten West. They have a big game at home with Wisconsin this week, and they'll be in the division driver's seat if they win.

Next Ten: TCU, Notre Dame, Fresno State, Iowa State, Wake Forest, Michigan State, Boise State, Utah, Syracuse, Oregon

Picks Recap 

2018 Season: 12-10, +1 unit

After two mediocre weeks to start the season, I turned it around this past week, going 5-2. I picked 3 underdogs that won straight up (North Texas, Troy and Duke). I also was on Georgia Southern who barely covered at Clemson and Kansas who demolished Rutgers. I lost picking against Virginia for the second week in a row, and I also lost on Tulsa.

Moving Up/Moving Down

Moving Up

1. Akron
Akron pulled off a win on Saturday against one of my model's preseason darlings, Northwestern. It was the Zips' first win over the Big Ten since 1894, and it's a really good win for a team that's looking to prove that last year's MAC East title wasn't a fluke. My model now projects Akron for 6.4 wins, so they've got a very decent shot at a bowl.

2. BYU
BYU pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend at Wisconsin, knocking off the Badgers 24-21. It's a pretty phenomenal win for a team that had an absolute nightmare season last year. The Cougars cracked the AP top 25 this week, although I don't have them quite as high as they check in at #43 in my rankings this week. A pretty light schedule the rest of the way, highlighted by a game at Washington leads to me projecting them at 8 wins now.

3. Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers are one of the worst teams in the FBS, as we saw in week 2 when they managed to blow a 21-0 lead against a Maine team that will struggle to make the FCS playoffs this year. I had WKU as 25 point underdogs against Louisville this past weekend, but they managed to keep it close and only lose by 3.

4. Temple
Temple had a rough start to the season, losing to FCS rival Villanova and then losing to a resurgent Buffalo team. They played their first road game of the season this week at Maryland, and demolished the Terps by 21. The slow start hurts their chances at a bowl, but I still have them projected for 5.5 wins so they could pull it off.

5. Virginia
It looks like Virginia might be the team that I'm most wrong about this season. I thought under 5 wins was a slam dunk in the preseason, but I now project them for 5.5 wins after a nice win over a solid Ohio team. Two weeks in a row I've bet against Virginia and both times they've covered.

Moving Down

1. Mississippi
No competitive Power Five team should be allowing 49 points in a half, even against Alabama. The Rebels tumbled all the way from #46 to #73 in my rankings for the loss. The likely path to 6 wins is beating Kent State, ULM, Arkansas and South Carolina, which is difficult but possible.

2. Massachusetts
UMass is the opposite of Virginia- this is a team that I was very high on in the preseason who are falling apart. They haven't won since the season opener at UMass and got demolished by FIU this past week. They have enough winnable games left on the schedule (Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Liberty, UConn) that they'll scrape out 3 or 4 wins.

3. Rutgers
I have been saying for weeks that Rutgers is the worst team in the P5, with Illinois and Oregon State being the only teams that are close. This is coming to fruition after the Scarlet Knights got blown out by perennial bottom-feeder Kansas. It is very possible that they don't win another game this year- they'll be at least touchdown underdogs in every game but Illinois.

4. Kent State
Kent State was projected as the worst team in the MAC, but looked solid in the first two weeks, hanging around with Illinois and then beating a decent Howard team. However, the wheels fell off this week as Trace McSorley and company ripped their defense to shreds. They'll be underdogs in every remaining game, although they have an OK shot of reaching their Vegas win projection of 2.5.

5. Arkansas
I said that North Texas should be favored by a point at Arkansas, but even I wasn't prepared for the demolition that the Razorbacks took on Saturday. Bret Bielema really left the cupboard bare for Chad Morris and I now project Arkansas for 2.7 wins. If North Texas can drop 44 points on Arkansas, just imagine what Tua Tagovailoa and company will do in a few weeks.

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