Week 6 NCAA Football: Picks and Predictions by Dr. Senkbeil

Last Week in Review By Dr. Senkbeil

The range of randomness provided by coin flipping should be between 9-6 and 6-9 ( 60 – 40 %).  Last week I was 8-7, and Sagarin was 7-8.  I chose a different set of 15 games for comparison and the results were the same.  The statistical approach is not working as well as it has in years past. Odds say that will eventually smooth out and we should get a positive outlier.  In fact, look at some of the Sagarin predictions compared to the Vegas lines this week.  I will also include coin flips this week.  Heads is the home team



Weekend of 10/7/17 game lines as of Wednesday 10/4 1pm EDT:

14 favorites and only 1 dog this week  

Picks against the spread are in bold.
  • Boise -8.5 at BYUPrediction: Boise 31 BYU 14

    Sagarin: Boise by 22

    Coin:  BYU

    This might be the worst BYU team ever.  Utah State beat them by 16 last week to drop the Cougars to 1-4.  Boise has a win over Troy and an OT loss to Washington State but they got thumped by Virginia at home.  They have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game and with BYU reeling it seems that Boise should be able to handle this.   

  • Georgia – 17.5 at VandyPrediction: Georgia 34 Vandy 10

    Sagarin: Georgia by 25

    Coin: Georgia

    Vandy is fading fast after getting crushed by Bama and then another physical game with Florida.  UGA (42,3) is another physical team with an imposing defense.  Vandy just cannot generate enough offense to beat these guys and probably not enough to stay within 17.5 unless UGA is half asleep.

  • Ole Miss at Auburn -21
    Prediction: Auburn 48 Ole Miss 14Sagarin: Auburn by 25

    Coin: Ole Miss

    Teams that play Bama tend to get knocked out of sorts for a week or 2 following that game.  Bruce Feldman has called it the “Body Blow” theory.  Ole Miss is reeling and now has to play another top 5 defense.  The difference is that Auburn’s offense is starting to function too instead of the clown car it resembled against Clemson.  

  • Notre Dame – 14.5 at North Carolina
    Prediction: Notre Dame 38 UNC 20Sagarin: Notre Dame by 33

    Coin: UNC

    Notre Dame (17,18) is a good team this year only losing to Georgia.  North Carolina is decimated by injuries and it showed last week as they lost by 26 to Georgia Tech.  Notre Dame’s QB Wimbush is probably questionable.  If he was healthy, then this is a no-brainer but with the uncertainty there is hesitation here.  I still like Notre Dame, and the Sagarin computer really does.     

  • Minnesota at Purdue -4Prediction: Purdue 34 Minnesota 27

    Sagarin: Minnesota by 3

    Coin: Purdue

    Purdue had a bye week to rest after the physical Michigan game.  They struggled against a top 5 Michigan defense losing by 18.  The Minnesota defense is ranked 17th, but the Gophers cannot move the ball (93rd).  In this battle of first year star coaches, I like the Boilers off a bye week at home to win by a TD.       

  • West Virginia at TCU -13.5Prediction: TCU 56 WVU 38

    Sagarin: TCU by 24

    Coin:  TCU

    Both teams have had a bye.  TCU has 2 nice road wins over Arkansas and Oklahoma State.  WVU narrowly lost to Virginia Tech and has cruised in other games.  WVU’s statistical profile is very similar to SMU, and TCU handled SMU by 20.  I don’t think the Mountaineers can win this game but can they stay within 13.5 on the road?  TCU is playing with a purpose this season and they will get this done.

  • LSU at Florida -3Prediction: Florida 24 LSU 14

    Sagarin: Florida by 9

    Coin:  LSU  

    Florida is starting to play better after getting those suspended players back, but they lost qb Luke Del Rio last week.  Their defense is really good and LSU could not score more than 21 on Troy’s 44th ranked defense.  The under is 45.5 which seems like the way to go here, but Sagarin has 55 and Florida by 9.  Florida and Vandy went over last week.  LSU is a mess right now.   

  • IoMiami -3 at Florida StatePrediction: Miami 31 FSU 24

    Sagarin: Miami by 4

    Coin: Miami

    The Hurricanes are ranked 11th overall with balance (16,13) with an impressive 31-6 road stomping of a decent Duke team that was undefeated.  FSU is still going through growing pains adjusting to their backup qb, but they have lots of talent and they are at home.  They beat a tough Wake team that was undefeated last week.  This is a pivotal game for both teams, but Miami has more momentum.  

  • Louisiana Tech -12 at UABPrediction: Louisiana Tech 48 UAB 31

    Sagarin: Louisiana Tech by 8

    Coin:  UAB

    UAB (122,112) is in their first year of FBS football after dissolving their program a few years ago.  Louisiana Tech is a decent team that should be able to cover 12 on the road if they play to their potential.

  • Bama -26.5 at Texas A&MPrediction: Bama 52 A&M 14

    Sagarin: Bama by 38

    Coin:  Texas A&M

    Bama and Clemson look so much better than every other team at this point.  Bama has destroyed their last 2 opponents.  Kyle field is a difficult place to play, but A&M cannot match the athleticism of Bama even though A&M has looked much improved from weeks 1 and 2.  A&M has not played a team even close to the talent that Bama has.  2 scenarios here:  Bama gets up early and eases up making the backdoor A&M cover a possibility, or Bama slowly pulls away and wins by 24 – 35 points.  Bama’s past 2 games have been getting up early and not easing up.  OUCH

  • Fresno State -17 at San Jose State
    Prediction:  Fresno State 38 SJSU 10Sagarin: Fresno State by 35

    Coin:  SJSU

    San Jose State has been awful in its last 2 games getting blown out by Utah State and UNLV 61-10 and 41-13.  Both games were essentially over at halftime.  Fresno is about the same as UNLV so why not make it 3 blowouts weeks in a row?

  • UCF -17.5 at CincinnatiPrediction:  UCF 44 Cincinnati 16

    Sagarin: UCF by 30

    Coin:  Cincinnati

    UCF (50,40) is surging with 2 impressive wins in a row.  This is a good team that is still undervalued.  Cincy is headed in the opposite direction losing to Marshall by 17 last week.

  • Marshall -15 at Charlotte Prediction:  Marshall 42 Charlotte 17

    Sagarin: Marshall by 36

    Coin:  Charlotte

    Charlotte (127th overall)  is one of my favorite teams in my weekly list.  They almost won last week against FIU.  This week they get a Marshall team that is better than them so they should not have a chance to win, BUT do they have a chance to lose by less than 15?  Probably not  

  • Western Kentucky at UTEP +19Prediction:  WKU 44 UTEP 34

    Sagarin: WKU by 10

    Coin: UTEP

    UTEP (129th overall) is 0-5 coming off their closest loss of the year to Army 21-35.  Mike Price steps in as interim head coach but how much of a difference can he make in 1 week?  WKU is not as good as they were last year and they have not blownout anybody, including number 102 Ball State last week by 12.  Maybe this is a bit of a reach, but a new coach and the fact that WKU wins by 15 or less against inferior competition seems like UTEP might stay in this game.  

  • Texas Tech – 17.5 at KansasPrediction:  Texas Tech 59 Kansas 35

    Sagarin: Texas Tech by 41

    Coin:  Texas Tech

    Texas Tech (6,115) is all offense going up against the 122nd ranked defense.  On the flip side Kansas, 87th on offense, will score against Tech’s porous D, but 17.5 seems like a tough spread for the Jayhawks to maintain given Tech’s penchant for points.

    Be sure to keep your eye out for our weekly blog with Dr. Senkbeil’s picks every Thursday. Challenge your college buddies and coworkers on your Alma Mater’s game and raise money for charity in the process! Don’t have the GoodBookey app? Download it below. Talk some smack and give back!