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Predicting the winner of every Week 6 college football game, from Miami-FSU to WMU-Buffalo

How does FSU keep its winning streak against Miami alive this time?

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Below are picks and projections using the S&P+ projections you can find in full in the Football Study Hall stat profiles. See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. When S&P+ predicts a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I’m listing the pick on the side that S&P+ would’ve picked, if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory. It’s been a season of extremes for the picks so far. S&P+ has been either above 60 percent or below 50 percent against the spread each week. Here’s to hoping a few more formers and fewer latters.

Ranked vs. ranked

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at West Virginia
Dana Holgorsen has a chance to wreck Gary Patterson’s plans in Fort Worth.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 8 TCU 39, No. 23 West Virginia (+13.5) 26 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • No. 17 Louisville (-3.5) 33, No. 24 NC State 28 (Thursday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)

A bye week after a big win is a scary prospect. TCU has now bathed in praise for two weeks since knocking off Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Can the Frogs avoid a letdown? And can NC State pull off another nice win? The Wolfpack got a monkey off of their backs with the victory over Florida State two weeks ago but are still just 1-9 against ranked teams under Dave Doeren. This would be a big one.

Other ranked teams in action

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Stanford
Bryce Love after dark on Saturday night? Sounds great.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
  • No. 1 Alabama 38, Texas A&M (+26.5) 18 (Saturday, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 2 Clemson 31, Wake Forest (+22.5) 17 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • No. 3 Oklahoma 45, Iowa State (+28) 24 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • No. 4 Penn State 35, Northwestern (+14.5) 22 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 5 Georgia 30, Vanderbilt (+17.5) 15 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 6 Washington 42, California (+27.5) 18 (Saturday, 10:45 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 7 Michigan (-10.5) 30, Michigan State 16 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 9 Wisconsin 31, Nebraska (+12) 19 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • No. 10 Ohio State 42, Maryland (+30.5) 16 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • Oregon (+0) 33, No. 11 Washington State 30 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • No. 12 Auburn 35, Ole Miss (+22) 21 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • Florida State (+3) 29, No. 13 Miami 25 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 14 USC 45, Oregon State (+34) 17 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • No. 16 Virginia Tech 30, Boston College (+16.5) 15 (Saturday, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • No. 19 San Diego State 34, UNLV (+10.5) 28 (Saturday, 10:45 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Stanford 31, No. 20 Utah (+5.5) 27 (Saturday, 10:15 PM ET, FS1)
  • LSU (+3) 26, No. 21 Florida 24 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
  • No. 21 Notre Dame 36, North Carolina (+14) 24 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 25 Central Florida 31, Cincinnati (+17) 22 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPNU)

Toward the end of this week’s PAPN, I made the case that Stanford-Utah might be the most sneaky-fun game of Week 6. Stanford has Bryce Love, maybe the most exciting player west of the Mississippi, and Utah is playing efficient, interesting offense for the first time since about 2008. Sounds like prime Pac-12 After Dark material.

Power 5 vs. Power 5

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Texas
Poona Ford and the Texas defense has been great of late.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arkansas (-2) 31, South Carolina 27 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • Colorado 31, Arizona (+6.5) 27 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Iowa 32, Illinois (+18) 17 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)
  • Kentucky 33, Missouri (+10) 28 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • Minnesota (+4) 28, Purdue 25 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Syracuse (-3.5) 34, Pittsburgh 26 (Saturday, 12:30 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Texas 30, Kansas State (+4) 28 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • Texas Tech 41, Kansas (+17.5) 29 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • Virginia (-2) 29, Duke 27 (Saturday, 12:20 PM ET, ACCN)

Kansas State has won seven of its last nine games against Texas, and that narrative gives UT-KSU a little bit of extra oomph ... but I highly doubt the teams combine for 58 points. Feels like 38 is more likely.

FBS vs. FBS

NCAA Football: SMU at Texas Christian
Ben Hicks and the SMU offense will get a severe test at Houston.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
  • Appalachian State (-10.5) 37, New Mexico State 23 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Arkansas State (-7.5) 32, Georgia Southern 21 (Wednesday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN2) — the picks are already 1-0 this week!
  • Army (-13.5) 36, Rice 21 (Saturday, 6:30 PM ET, beIN)
  • Ball State (+7) 31, Akron 27 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Boise State (-9) 30, BYU 20 (Friday, 10:15 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Coastal Carolina (+1) 30, Georgia State 25 (Saturday, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Colorado State 33, Utah State (+7.5) 27 (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, MWC Video)
  • Florida Atlantic (-4.5) 34, Old Dominion 26 (Saturday, 6:00 PM ET, Stadium)
  • Fresno State 31, San Jose State (+16.5) 24 (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Hawaii 33, Nevada (+3.5) 30 (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Houston (-6) 33, SMU 27 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Idaho 34, UL-Lafayette (+7) 27 (Saturday, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Louisiana Tech 35, UAB (+11.5) 25 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, $CUSATV)
  • Marshall 33, Charlotte (+15.5) 22 (Saturday, 6:00 PM ET, $CUSATV)
  • Memphis 40, Connecticut (+14) 26 (Friday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Miami (Ohio) 35, Bowling Green (+14.5) 21 (Saturday, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Middle Tennessee 32, Florida International (+10) 27 (Saturday, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Navy (-7.5) 39, Air Force 28 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Northern Illinois 36, Kent State (+23.5) 15 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Ohio 33, Central Michigan (+12) 22 (Saturday, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Temple (-2.5) 32, East Carolina 27 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Toledo 37, Eastern Michigan (+13.5) 27 (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Tulane (-4.5) 34, Tulsa 28 (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • UL-Monroe 31, Texas State (+6) 27 (Saturday, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • UTSA 29, Southern Miss (+13.5) 26 (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, Facebook)
  • Western Kentucky (-19) 39, UTEP 20 (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, $CUSATV)
  • Western Michigan (-7) 32, Buffalo 23 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)

The Houston-SMU rivalry got a nice spark last year, with the combination of Tom Herman’s smack talk and SMU’s upset win. Can Chad Morris’ Mustangs pull off a second upset?

FBS vs. FCS

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Indiana
Simmie Cobbs and the Hoosiers get a tune-up this week.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Indiana 43, Charleston Southern 14 (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, BTN)

Thanks to hurricanes and scrambled scheduling, Indiana gets a potential breather on Saturday.


Each year at Football Study Hall, I have posted weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own. And beyond picks, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles as proof.)

This year, I will be posting the weekly S&P+ picks at SB Nation instead of FSH.

Because I like to experiment, however, I won’t just be posting the official S&P+ picks. Go to this Google doc, and you will find three sets of picks: S&P+, F/+ (combined ratings from S&P+ and Brian Fremeau’s FEI), and what I’m calling an adjusted S&P+ pick, in which I attempt to account for two additional factors: week of play and type of game.

  • Week of play: I’m finding that there are cycles to scoring averages throughout a given season. Week 1 typically falls below the season scoring average, while the final weeks of the season tend to perk up in the scoring department. This adjusted projection will take this into account.
  • Game type: It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the standard deviation of possible results in a game against FCS competition, for instance, is different than that of a conference game. This projection will also adjust for different types of games. This will mean some pretty extreme projections, but we’ll see how it performs.