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College football, Week 9: Schedule, TV listings, S&P+ and F/+ picks

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Oregon v Michigan State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Once again, it was a good news, bad news week, in the same way all the others have been.

Bad news first: Another damn unlucky week. S&P+ went 1-7-2 in games decided within three points of the spread. The breaks just haven’t gone S&P+’s way in 2016, as this has happened almost every week since Week 3.

Good news: S&P+ still went 28-24-2 (54%) because it is still dialed the hell in. Absolute error crept just above 12, but I’m usually very happy with anything under 12.5, and it was under that. Even with bad luck, S&P+ is now 88-67-3 (57%) over the last three weeks after a destructively unlucky stretch from Week 3-5.

S&P+ is apparently getting cocky, though, because it is really, really confident about a couple of rivalry games this week ... games that tend not to follow general rules of order. I cannot tell you how nervous that makes me.


Alright! So! Remember the volatility idea I’ve been tinkering with? (Catch up here and here and here.) I’ve been using teams’ standard deviations to slowly come up with a way to determine which picks are more solid than others. The early results have been strong. I took to calling the top five ‘most likely’ picks the Fournette-Nkemdiche Locks. I gave them a title, and then they went 2-2-1.

Season to date: 11-2-2 (80%) — 5-0 in Week 6, 4-0-1 in Week 7, 2-2-1 in Week 8

Alabama-A&M ended up tying the 19-point spread, and Troy (-8 against South Alabama) won by seven. So I was basically three points from 4-1. Oh well. I’m still onto something here ... at least, until this week.

This week’s F-N PICKS

  1. Michigan (-23.5) at Michigan State
  2. UL-Monroe (+20) at Arkansas State
  3. Rice (+29) at Louisiana Tech
  4. Penn State (-11) at Purdue
  5. Florida (-7.5) vs. Georgia

Ah yes, pick a) a rivalry game that produced the most unlikely outcome of the 2015 season and b) a rivalry game that never, ever produces the outcome it’s supposed to. That totally makes me feel confident.


Season to date: 11-3-1 (77%) — 4-0 in Week 6, 5-2-1 in Week 7, 2-1 in Week 8

  • Old Dominion (-4) at UTEP
  • Kansas (+40.5) at Oklahoma
  • Washington (-10) at Utah
  • South Florida (-7.5) vs. Navy
  • Virginia (+32.5) vs. Louisville

The USF pick surprises me. The others make some sense — Washington’s awesome, Kansas and Virginia are facing enormous spreads, and Old Dominion is one of the most volatile teams in the country and isn’t giving that many points really bad UTEP team.


One note: I’m playing with all of this on the fly, which is resulting in me changing some of the rules as I go. Previously, I was putting games with odds of covering between 56-59% in this YCWWTIYAGDOT PICKS pool (and no, I don’t think those 56-59% figures are correct enough to list). Now I’ve shrunk the sample to 57-59%. So that changes the Season to Date numbers ... in favor of the picks, naturally.

Season to date: 22-10 (69%) — 9-0 in Week 6, 4-6 in Week 7, 9-4 in Week 8

  • Cal (+16.5) at USC
  • San Diego State (-5.5) at Utah State
  • FAU (+21) vs. WKU
  • Ole Miss (+4.5) vs. Auburn
  • Buffalo (+17.5) vs. Akron
  • Oregon State (+13.5) vs. Washington State
  • Baylor (-3) at Texas
  • Eastern Michigan (-7) vs. Miami-OH
  • Miami (-2) at Notre Dame
  • Houston (-9) vs. UCF

In the spreadsheet below, which is based solely off of full-season ratings, it says Auburn covers. But Ole Miss’ volatility evidently makes this one crazy and says Ole Miss covers 58% of the time. First time I’ve noticed that in this going-on-4-week experiment.

Anyway, until next week, when I’m inevitably reacting to a Michigan State upset win...

Here’s the updated Google doc with all picks. (Once more: the FOURNETTE LOCKS and whatnot are not yet included, as it’s still a pretty loose idea.) And, as always, here’s a completely useless embed, just for fun:

(We’re due an upset in the 95-99% Win Probability category. I’m telling you, this Michigan State thing is so going to happen.)