College football week 1 picks and projections, complete with experimental and old-reliable models

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

What's better than one set of mediocre picks? TWO sets of mediocre picks!

Long story short: If you want F/+ picks as they were delivered last year, skip to the bottom table. But since I view these picks less as a chance to make money and more as a chance to tinker (I've said many times before that if you try to make money off of these picks, that's not my fault -- I'm not trying to), I'm including two sets of picks.

The top set of picks here is something new I'm trying. It's more statistically sound than the other method, but I fear it's not going to be incredibly useful until the projections fade out and the real numbers fade in. Projections are, by nature, pretty conservative. Alabama finished last season with an F/+ rating of plus-50.6% and starts this season, still No. 1, at plus-37.8%; on the other side, NMSU finished second-to-last at minus-35.6% last year and starts this year at minus-24.4 percent. And while the top picks below are based quite soundly on the F/+ ratings, they're based on the range from the end-of-season ratings.

In other words, I think these picks kind of stink. Because of the range issue, you see that almost every FCS team below is picked to beat the spread, often quite handily. And while that will almost certainly end up being true for a lot of teams (say, half, maybe, since we're dealing with the spread here?), it's too skewed to trust. I'm including them here, if nothing else, just to see if they shift toward being more and more correct, and at some point overtake the original method of picks below. As you see, I'm attempting a lot of cool things this year -- FCS games, % chance of winning, predicted offense and defense, etc. -- but I don't think they're going to be valid just yet. Give it a few weeks.

That's about as big a disclaimer as I can possibly give.

Day Time TV Type Game Spread Prediction Chance of winning
(Straight up)
Pick
Thu 6:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Liberty at Kent St. -18.5 Kent St. by 10.5 (33.7 - 23.2) 77.1% Liberty
Thu 6:00 PM ESPN Non-Con UNC at S. Carolina -11.5 S.C. by 11.8 (34.7 - 22.8) 79.6% S. Carolina
Thu 6:30 PM ESPN3 1-AA Presbyterian at Wake Forest -37.5 Wake by 25.0 (34.3 - 9.4) 97.8% Presbyterian
Thu 7:00 PM ESPN3 Non-Con Akron at UCF -23 UCF by 21.9 (41.5 - 19.6) 94.4% Akron
Thu 7:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Illinois St. at Ball St. -11.5 Ball St. by 5.7 (33.5 - 27.8) 67.5% Illinois St.
Thu 7:00 PM BTN 1-AA Indiana St. at Indiana -24.5 Indiana by 8.7 (37.6 - 29.0) 73.6% Indiana St.
Thu 7:00 PM ESPNU Non-Con Tulsa at Bowling Green -3.5 BGSU by 1.2 (27.2 - 26.0) 57.2% Tulsa
Thu 7:00 PM BTN Non-Con UNLV at Minnesota -14 Minnesota by 10.0 (31.0 - 21.0) 76.2% UNLV
Thu 7:30 PM ESPN3 1-AA S. Utah at S. Alabama -17.5 S. Utah by 0.0 (24.6 - 24.6) 54.3% S. Utah
Thu 7:30 PM ESPN3 1-AA Towson at UConn -16.5 UConn by 10.0 (28.6 - 18.5) 76.3% Towson
Thu 7:30 PM $Ulive 1-AA W. Carolina at MTSU -32.5 MTSU by 11.6 (34.1 - 22.5) 79.2% WCU
Thu 8:00 PM $Ulive 1-AA Jackson St. at Tulane -25 Tulane by 12.0 (29.9 - 17.9) 79.8% Jackson St.
Thu 8:00 PM FS1 Non-Con Utah St. at Utah -3 Utah by 2.3 (24.4 - 22.1) 59.8% Utah St.
Thu 9:15 PM ESPN Conf Ole Miss at Vandy 3 Ole Miss by 0.9 (27.2 - 26.3) 56.5% Vandy
Thu 10:00 PM MWC Video 1-AA Sacramento St. at SJSU -18.5 SJSU by 14.9 (34.2 - 19.3) 84.7% Sacramento St.
Thu 10:30 PM ESPNU Non-Con Rutgers at Fresno St. -10 Fresno St. by 3.3 (23.3 - 19.9) 62.3% Rutgers
Thu 11:00 PM CBSSN Non-Con USC at Hawaii 24 USC by 17.5 (32.9 - 15.5) 88.6% Hawaii
Day Time TV Type Game Spread Prediction Chance of winning Pick
Fri 7:00 PM CBSSN 1-AA Morgan St. at Army -32 Army by 20.8 (38.8 - 18.0) 93.0% Morgan St.
Fri 7:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Samford at Georgia St. 6 Samford by 8.3 (30.3 - 22.0) 72.8% Samford
Fri 8:00 PM ESPNU Non-Con FAU at Miami -32 Miami by 19.5 (37.6 - 18.0) 91.5% FAU
Fri 8:00 PM ESPN Non-Con Texas Tech at SMU 4.5 Tech by 2.3 (29.4 - 27.1) 59.8% SMU
Fri 8:00 PM BTN Non-Con WMU at Michigan St. -28 State by 23.5 (37.5 - 14.0) 96.3% WMU
Fri 8:30 PM FS1 1-AA N. Dakota St. at Kansas St. -13 KSU by 13.8 (32.6 - 18.8) 82.9% KSU
Fri 8:30 PM ESPN3 1-AA Southern U. at Houston -40 Houston by 31.9 (41.2 - 9.3) 100.0% Southern
Fri 10:00 PM Pac-12 1-AA NAU at Arizona -33.5 Arizona by 19.4 (40.0 - 20.5) 91.3% NAU
Day Time TV Type Game Spread Prediction Chance of winning Pick
Sat 12:00 PM ESPN2 Non-Con Buffalo at Ohio St. -35 Ohio St. by 25.8 (40.0 - 14.2) 98.6% Buffalo
Sat 12:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Elon at Georgia Tech -46.5 Tech by 20.9 (41.1 - 20.2) 93.2% Elon
Sat 12:00 PM BTN Non-Con UMass at Wisconsin -44.5 Wisconsin by 35.3 (41.1 - 5.8) 100.0% UMass
Sat 12:00 PM ESPNU Non-Con Purdue at Cincinnati -10.5 Cincinnati by 13.4 (32.5 - 19.1) 82.3% Cincinnati
Sat 12:00 PM BTN 1-AA SIU at Illinois -17.5 Illinois by 1.8 (26.3 - 24.6) 58.6% SIU
Sat 12:00 PM ESPN News 1-AA Villanova at BC -17.5 BC by 7.5 (29.1 - 21.5) 71.4% Villanova
Sat 12:00 PM FS1 1-AA William & Mary at West Virginia -33 WVU by 20.0 (40.3 - 20.3) 92.1% W&M
Sat 12:21 PM SEC Network Non-Con Toledo at Florida -24 Florida by 20.1 (34.0 - 13.9) 92.2% Toledo
Sat 12:30 PM FSN Non-Con FIU at Maryland -23 Maryland by 7.2 (27.1 - 19.9) 70.7% FIU
Sat 12:30 PM ACC Network Non-Con La. Tech at NC St. -14 NC St. by 4.9 (38.8 - 33.8) 65.8% La. Tech
Sat 1:00 PM ESPN Non-Con Rice at Texas A&M -27 A&M by 23.5 (43.3 - 19.9) 96.2% Rice
Sat 3:00 PM RSRM 1-AA Colgate at Air Force -27.5 Air Force by 8.1 (34.0 - 25.9) 72.4% Colgate
Sat 3:30 PM ESPNU Non-Con BYU at Virginia 1 BYU by 5.7 (29.3 - 23.6) 67.4% BYU
Sat 3:30 PM BTN Non-Con CMU at Michigan -31.5 Michigan by 18.1 (35.1 - 17.0) 89.5% CMU
Sat 3:30 PM BTN Non-Con N. Illinois at Iowa -3 Iowa by 2.6 (27.7 - 25.1) 60.5% NIU
Sat 3:30 PM BTN 1-AA N. Iowa at Iowa St. -9.5 Iowa St. by 7.3 (29.1 - 21.8) 70.8% UNI
Sat 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2 Non-Con Oklahoma St. vs Mississippi St. 13 OSU by 12.6 (36.7 - 24.0) 81.0% MSU
Sat 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2 Non-Con Syracuse vs Penn St. -8.5 PSU by 9.0 (34.8 - 25.8) 74.3% PSU
Sat 3:30 PM NBC Non-Con Temple at Notre Dame -29.5 Notre Dame by 20.6 (37.0 - 16.4) 92.8% Temple
Sat 4:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA NC Central at Duke -32.5 Duke by 14.5 (38.1 - 23.6) 84.1% NC Central
Sat 4:00 PM FS1 1-AA Nicholls St. at Oregon -58.5 Oregon by 51.7 (51.7 - 0.0) 100.0% Nicholls St.
Sat 4:00 PM FS S. Non-Con UL-Lafayette at Arkansas -10.5 Arkansas by 8.7 (33.5 - 24.8) 73.6% Louisiana
Sat 5:30 PM ESPN Non-Con Virginia Tech vs Alabama -21 Alabama by 19.2 (32.7 - 13.5) 91.0% Va. Tech
Sat 6:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Austin Peay at Tennessee -51 Tennessee by 29.1 (42.7 - 13.7) 100.0% Austin Peay
Sat 6:00 PM Pac-12 1-AA EWU at Oregon St. -27 Oregon St. by 21.0 (37.3 - 16.3) 93.3% EWU
Sat 6:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA Howard at EMU -16.5 EMU by 11.4 (30.5 - 19.1) 78.8% Howard
Sat 7:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA UAPB at Arkansas St. -25.5 ASU by 19.0 (39.7 - 20.7) 90.8% UAPB
Sat 7:00 PM $Ulive Non-Con Idaho at N. Texas -15 UNT by 11.9 (32.3 - 20.4) 79.6% Idaho
Sat 7:00 PM ESPN3 1-AA McNeese St. at USF -20.5 USF by 9.7 (31.8 - 22.1) 75.6% McNeese
Sat 7:00 PM CBSSN Non-Con Miami (Ohio) at Marshall -19.5 Marshall by 12.3 (44.7 - 32.4) 80.3% Miami-OH
Sat 7:00 PM PPV/ESPN3 1-AA Murray St. at Missouri -38 Missouri by 18.8 (34.2 - 15.4) 90.5% Murray St.
Sat 7:00 PM FCSA Non-Con ODU at ECU -15 ECU by 7.2 (31.0 - 23.7) 70.8% ODU
Sat 7:00 PM $Ulive Non-Con Texas St. at Southern Miss -9 S. Miss by 5.6 (30.4 - 24.7) 67.4% Texas St.
Sat 7:00 PM ESPN3 Non-Con UAB at Troy -3.5 Troy by 6.7 (39.7 - 33.0) 69.6% Troy
Sat 7:00 PM PPV Non-Con ULM at Oklahoma -21 OU by 21.3 (44.4 - 23.1) 93.7% OU
Sat 7:00 PM ESPNU Non-Con Washington St. at Auburn -16 Auburn by 12.7 (29.9 - 17.2) 81.0% Wazzu
Sat 7:00 PM ESPN News Non-Con WKU vs Kentucky -4.5 Kentucky by 0.4 (26.1 - 25.7) 55.2% WKU
Sat 7:30 PM FCSC 1-AA Wofford at Baylor -29.5 Baylor by 17.0 (42.1 - 25.0) 88.0% Wofford
Sat 8:00 PM MWC Video 1-AA EIU at SDSU -14 SDSU by 12.0 (32.5 - 20.5) 79.8% EIU
Sat 8:00 PM ABC Non-Con Georgia at Clemson 1.5 Georgia by 0.2 (35.6 - 35.5) 54.7% Clemson
Sat 8:00 PM LHN Non-Con NMSU at Texas -42 Texas by 33.6 (43.8 - 10.1) 100.0% NMSU
Sat 8:00 PM KASY Non-Con UTSA at New Mexico -3.5 UTSA by 1.9 (32.8 - 30.9) 58.8% UTSA
Sat 8:00 PM BTN Non-Con Wyoming at Nebraska -31 Nebraska by 23.3 (43.5 - 20.1) 96.1% Wyoming
Sat 9:00 PM ESPN Non-Con TCU vs LSU -4.5 LSU by 3.6 (22.3 - 18.7) 62.8% TCU
Sat 10:00 PM FS1 Non-Con Boise St. at Washington -3.5 Boise St. by 4.9 (27.0 - 22.0) 65.8% Boise St.
Sat 10:00 PM Pac-12 Non-Con Nevada at UCLA -21 UCLA by 10.6 (43.6 - 33.0) 77.3% Nevada
Sat 10:30 PM ESPN2 Non-Con Northwestern at California 6 NU by 3.7 (31.1 - 27.4) 63.1% California
Day Time TV Type Game Spread Prediction Chance of winning Pick
Sun 3:30 PM ESPN Non-Con Ohio at Louisville -21 Louisville by 16.6 (38.3 - 21.8) 87.3% Ohio
Sun 6:00 PM CBSSN Non-Con Colorado St. vs Colorado 3 Colorado St. by 1.4 (25.8 - 24.4) 57.7% Colorado
Day Time TV Type Game Spread Prediction Chance of winning Pick
Mon 8:00 PM ESPN Conf Florida St. at Pittsburgh 10.5 FSU by 7.4 (28.4 - 21.0) 71.1% Pitt

And now for the real picks, the ones that seem to get 52 percent right every year, the ones I'll continue to use for Seventh Day Adventure for the time being. The games with differences between the above picks and the below picks are marked with "XXX."

Day Time Game Spread OLD Prediction OLD Pick Different?
Thu 6:00 PM UNC at S.C. -11.5 S.C. by 14.9 S.C.
Thu 7:00 PM Akron at UCF -23 UCF by 27.8 UCF XXX
Thu 7:00 PM Tulsa at Bowling Green -3.5 BGSU by 0.3 Tulsa
Thu 7:00 PM UNLV at Minnesota -14 Minnesota by 12.8 UNLV
Thu 8:00 PM Utah State at Utah -3 Utah by 2.0 Utah State
Thu 9:15 PM Ole Miss at Vanderbilt 3 Ole Miss by 2.4 Vanderbilt
Thu 10:30 PM Rutgers at Fresno State -10 FSU by 3.4 Rutgers
Thu 11:00 PM USC at Hawaii 24 USC by 26.1 USC XXX
Day Time Game Spread OLD Prediction OLD Pick Different?
Fri 8:00 PM FAU at Miami -32 Miami by 26.4 FAU
Fri 8:00 PM Texas Tech at SMU 4.5 Tech by 4.3 SMU
Fri 8:00 PM WMU at Michigan State -28 State by 29.1 MSU XXX
Day Time Game Spread OLD Prediction OLD Pick Different?
Sat 12:00 PM Buffalo at Ohio State -35 Ohio State by 33.2 Buffalo
Sat 12:00 PM UMass at Wisconsin -44.5 Wisconsin by 47.6 Wisconsin XXX
Sat 12:00 PM Purdue at Cincinnati -10.5 Cincinnati by 17.1 Cincinnati
Sat 12:21 PM Toledo at Florida -24 Florida by 26.5 Florida XXX
Sat 12:30 PM FIU at Maryland -23 Maryland by 8.9 FIU
Sat 12:30 PM La. Tech at NC State -14 NC State by 4.5 La. Tech
Sat 1:00 PM Rice at Texas A&M -27 Texas A&M by 28.0 Texas A&M XXX
Sat 3:30 PM BYU at Virginia 1 BYU by 8.4 BYU
Sat 3:30 PM CMU at Michigan -31.5 Michigan by 26.0 CMU
Sat 3:30 PM NIU at Iowa -3 Iowa by 2.4 NIU
Sat 3:30 PM Oklahoma St. vs Miss. St. 13 OSU by 16.9 OSU XXX
Sat 3:30 PM Syracuse vs Penn State -8.5 PSU by 11.0 PSU
Sat 3:30 PM Temple at Notre Dame -29.5 Irish by 28.2 Temple
Sat 4:00 PM UL-Lafayette at Arkansas -10.5 Arkansas by 11.1 Arkansas XXX
Sat 5:30 PM Virginia Tech vs Alabama -21 Alabama by 26.5 Alabama XXX
Sat 7:00 PM Idaho at North Texas -15 North Texas by 15.4 North Texas XXX
Sat 7:00 PM Miami-OH at Marshall -19.5 Marshall by 13.8 Miami-OH
Sat 7:00 PM ODU at ECU -15 ECU by 8.5 ODU
Sat 7:00 PM Texas State at So. Miss -9 So. Miss by 7.0 TSU
Sat 7:00 PM UAB at Troy -3.5 Troy by 7.2 Troy
Sat 7:00 PM ULM at Oklahoma -21 Oklahoma by 27.0 Oklahoma
Sat 7:00 PM Wazzu at Auburn -16 Auburn by 17.8 Auburn XXX
Sat 7:00 PM WKU vs Kentucky -4.5 Kentucky by 0.5 WKU
Sat 8:00 PM Georgia at Clemson 1.5 Georgia by 1.4 Clemson
Sat 8:00 PM NMSU at Texas -42 Texas by 46.8 Texas XXX
Sat 8:00 PM UTSA at New Mexico -3.5 UTSA by 3.8 UTSA
Sat 8:00 PM Wyoming at Nebraska -31 Nebraska by 29.3 Wyoming
Sat 9:00 PM TCU vs LSU -4.5 LSU by 4.9 LSU XXX
Sat 10:00 PM Boise State at Washington -3.5 Boise State by 8.1 Boise State
Sat 10:00 PM Nevada at UCLA -21 UCLA by 11.3 Nevada
Sat 10:30 PM Northwestern at California 6 NU by 6.1 NU XXX
Day Time Game Spread OLD Prediction OLD Pick Different?
Sun 3:30 PM Ohio at Louisville -21 Louisville by 20.3 Ohio
Sun 6:00 PM Colorado St. vs Colorado 3 CSU by 2.0 Colorado
Day Time Game Spread OLD Prediction OLD Pick Different?
Mon 8:00 PM Florida St. at Pittsburgh 10.5 FSU by 11.7 FSU XXX

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