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College football, Week 11: Schedule, TV listings, S&P+ and F/+ picks

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NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing like getting unlucky and getting your ass kicked.

Once again, S&P+ was crippled in games decided within 3 points of the spread, going 0-7-1 for the week. That makes S&P+ an incredible 19-46-2 against the spread (29.9%) in such games since Week 4. Over time, that’s supposed to shift toward 50%. I ... am still waiting.

A little bit of good luck can turn a bad week into a mediocre one. Bad luck, meanwhile, can turn a bad week into a hilariously awful one.

Let’s review how S&P+ has done to date:

  • Weeks 1-2: 45-41-1 (52%)
  • Weeks 3-5: 69-95-2 (42%)
  • Weeks 6-9: 115-92-3 (55%)
  • Week 10: 19-38-1 (34%)

S&P+ was 0-7-1 in those unlucky games ... and 19-32-1 in the others, too.

Seems like there’s a week like this each year. Using my new projections method (which includes special teams), S&P+ went 189-134-5 in week 3-8 (58%), then went 21-30-1 (41%) in week 9. This year was worse, both because of bad luck and simply bad performance — absolute error for S&P+ projections was between 11.9 and 13.4 each week from weeks 4-9 but leaped to 16.5, by far the worst all year, in week 10. Still ... going 7-0-1 in those tossup games would’ve been lovely for mitigating damages.

I think the time of year has something to do with this random land mine — since S&P+ is a full-year measure, by Week 9 or 10 you aren’t the same team you were in Week 1-2.

I tinkered with a weighted S&P+ measure last year, but I didn’t like it very much, and it didn’t actually make the predictions any better, so I dropped it for now. That said ... a Weighted S&P+ that simply removed Week 1-2 performances from the equation would have gone an infinitely better 26-31-1 last week.

So included in the Google Doc below are now three sets of picks for the week: S&P+ and F/+, as always, plus a Weighted S&P+ with weeks 1-3 removed. This is, as always, an ongoing experiment.

Despite the poor week, however, I want you to note something from the Totals tab of the Google Doc: Win projections themselves are doing spectacularly well.

  • Teams projected to have a 95-99% chance of winning are 47-0 (100%) with an average scoring margin of +39.
  • Teams projected to have a 90-94% chance of winning are 62-3 (95%) with an average scoring margin of +24.
  • Teams projected to have an 85-89% chance of winning are 49-6 (89%) with an average scoring margin of +21.
  • Teams projected to have an 80-84% chance of winning are 58-13 (82%) with an average scoring margin of +19.
  • Teams projected to have a 75-79% chance of winning are 54-18 (75%) with an average scoring margin of +13.
  • Teams projected to have a 70-74% chance of winning are 49-15 (77%) with an average scoring margin of +14.
  • Teams projected to have a 65-69% chance of winning are 47-16 (75%) with an average scoring margin of +11.
  • Teams projected to have a 60-64% chance of winning are 46-21 (69%) with an average scoring margin of +6.
  • Teams projected to have a 55-59% chance of winning are 42-28 (60%) with an average scoring margin of +3.
  • Teams projected to have a 50-54% chance of winning are 28-30 (48%) with an average scoring margin of +2.

I’ll take it. (And yes, this was basically me reassuring myself. I hate it when the picks do poorly even when I kind of see why and know part is bad luck.)


As your weekly refresher, I’ve been playing with standard deviations and volatility to see if I can come up with a way to determine which picks are most likely to succeed in a given week. Returns have diminished quickly, though luck, of course has played a role.

Season to date: 13-9-3 (58%) — 5-0 in Week 6, 4-0-1 in Week 7, 2-2-1 in Week 8, 2-3 in Week 9, 0-4-1 in Week 10

Troy-UMass was a push, South Carolina covered by 3 over Missouri with Mizzou missing two field goals in the fourth quarter, and Georgia covered over Kentucky with a last-second field goal. This year has just been mean.

Only Vandy-Auburn missed by a decent amount, and at least some of that had to do with AU’s Sean White not playing in the first half (though Auburn probably wouldn’t have covered regardless).

So! Feel free to ignore these picks! But since I run the volatility data regardless each week, I’m going to continue sharing this. (And just to be clear, these picks are based on the overall S&P+ picks, not the weighted ones.)


  1. Auburn (-10.5) at Georgia
  2. Florida (-11) vs. South Carolina
  3. Rice (+10.5) at Charlotte
  4. LSU (-7) at Arkansas
  5. Idaho (-7.5) at Texas State

Oh sure, yeah, put a lot of money on Auburn, Florida, and LSU in important games. That sounds like a great plan. Sheesh, who programs these damn F-N picks, anyway...


Season to date: 16-9-1 (63%) — 4-0 in Week 6, 5-2-1 in Week 7, 2-1 in Week 8, 2-3 in Week 9, 3-3 in Week 10

This week’s All-Conference picks:

  • California (+15) at Washington State
  • Baylor (+15.5) at Oklahoma
  • Missouri (-3.5) vs. Vanderbilt
  • Colorado State (+5.5) at Air Force
  • Cincinnati (+12) at UCF


Season to date: 31-20 (61%) — 9-0 in Week 6, 4-6 in Week 7, 9-4 in Week 8, 4-6 in Week 9, 5-4 in Week 10

This week’s YCWWTIYAGDOTP picks:

  • North Texas (+28.5) at WKU
  • Alabama (-30) vs. Mississippi State!
  • San Diego State (-23.5) at Nevada
  • Ole Miss (+10.5) at Texas A&M
  • MTSU (-8.5) at Marshall
  • UL-Lafayette (+7.5) at Georgia Southern

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: