First I’ll take a look at last week’s simulations. While at first it looks like NCAA was way off here, it really wasn’t that far off. Weeden’s predicted 25/38 was nearly dead on his 24/36 performance, and his three touchdowns were correctly call despite him throwing for 100 yards less than predicted, and Blackmon’s day was in the ballpark. Also, Griffin III’s one touchdown was also called, despite lowballing his passing performance by 200 yards. The difference in this game was Randle’s 152 yard, four touchdown performance (to go along with Sim’s 104 and a score) that NCAA (and likely most everyone else) didn’t see coming. Those five rushing touchdowns turned this from a decent Cowboy win into an absolute blowout.
The Oklahoma game however was not so close to the simulation’s prediction. Hubert’s day running the ball was only three carries and two yards off, but that and the brief Wildcat lead were as close as it got. Klein’s paltry prediction of 180 yards through the air was somehow over three times too high, and Jones’s numbers were nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns higher than NCAA thought. I was a little skeptical of only a 14 point Sooner win, and my intuition proved to be correct.
The simulation predicted USC in a close win, and although Stanford did pull it out, the prediction of a close game was right on. The score at the end of regulation wasn’t that far off (31-24 instead of 34-34), so I can’t fault NCAA on the raw score since the teams combined for 36 more points over three overtimes. Barkley’s was only four yards off the prediction, and his three touchdowns were called. Luck’s numbers were also pretty close, as well as Taylor rushing the ball.
NCAA predicted Nebraska would hold MSU to single digits, but it at least spotted the Spartans a touchdown. It was way off on Cousins numbers, and quite amazingly the predicted leading receiver for State, Cunningham, didn’t get a single reception. Martinez’s passing day was also slightly overestimated, but it was more than made up for by the rushing performance of Burkhead as Nebraska put up much more than expected on the MSU defense. The predictions for the leading Spartan rusher and Husker receiver were both within 10 yards.
Unfortunately the sim was just off on the Cocktail Party. It was Florida early, but instead of fourteen to secure the win they could only manage a field goal in the second half as Georgia came back to win it. Pretty much everyone’s performance was overestimated, none more so than Rainey, who was completely shut down. This likely turned out to be the difference in the game for the Gators, who only managed 226 total yards on the Bulldogs.
The simulation in the Clemson game was closer than I gave it credit for. Clemson’s score was nearly dead on, and the performances of Boyd and the leading Tigers rusher and receiver weren’t that far off. Where it went wrong was with Georgia Tech, as Washington’s monster, unexpected rushing day made up for his underwhelming day through the air, and Georgia tech put up more than double the 14 points predicted.
Finally, NCAA was very accurate with regards to Purdue. Terbush’s day through the air, and the leading Boilermaker receiver, were right in the ballpark. Bolden’s day on the ground was a little overestimated, although it was countered by Marve’s mostly garbage time numbers spotting Terbush in the passing game. For the Wolverines, Robinson’s day passing was a fair amount lower than simulated (although the leading receiver was only eight yards off). However, NCAA was nowhere near predicting Michigan’s day on the ground, as Toussaint went off along with Shaw and Robinson.
Now on to this week, one relatively devoid of many good games, I’ve simulated five of the top matchups talking place on Saturday, using NCAA 12 and the Super Sim function. Although certainly not gospel, this gives an alternative, seemingly neutral insight into how each game might go, simulating the game play for play. The following are the results of the simulations, along with some thoughts on the outcomes.
Texas A&M @ #6 Oklahoma
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Final
TAM 13 0 0 8 10 31
OU 0 14 0 7 3 24
TAM: R. Tannehill 22/40, 304 yds, 4 td, 1 int; 7 car, 13 yds
C Michael 22 car, 85 yds, 1 td
R. Swope 6 rec, 132 yds, 2 td
OU: L. Jones 24/41, 281 yds, 3 td, 2 int
D. Whaley 19 car, 78 yds, 1 td; 3 rec, 21 yds
R. Broyles 10 rec, 131 yds
Texas A&M jumped out to a 13-0 first quarter lead, but a missed extra point hurt as the Sooners came back and led 14-13 at halftime. The Aggies scored again in the fourth and the two point conversion made it a seven point game, but an A&M fumble as they tried to run out the clock gave Oklahoma life, and they tied it up with 25 seconds left. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime, with the Aggies coming out and getting a touchdown to open the second. Oklahoma was unable to muster a third rally, as A&M pulled the upset on the road. I definitely think that Oklahoma will win this game-especially at home-but the Aggies have a ton of talent, and an upset, especially a close one, wouldn’t be out of the question.
#14 Kansas State @ #3 Oklahoma State
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
KSU 0 14 0 0 14
OSU 7 7 14 7 35
KSU: C. Klein 14/29, 138 yds, 2 td, 1 int
J. Hubert 24 car, 121 yds; 5 rec, 46 yards
B. Smith 4 rec, 41 yds
OSU: B. Weeden 21/31, 339 yds, 4 td
J. Randle 14 car, 51 yds
J. Blackmon 6 rec, 137 yds, 1 td
It was Oklahoma State early and often in a rout of the Wildcats. Weeden had a monster day, especially with favored target Blackmon, and 14 second half points were all Kansas State could muster. While Klein struggled passing and rushing, Hubert was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats. After Kansas State got exposed last week, at home no less, I definitely agree that a drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys is on its way.
#9 South Carolina @ #8 Arkansas
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
SCAR 7 0 7 0 14
ARK 0 3 0 6 9
SCAR: C. Shaw 23/37, 320 yds, 1 td, 3 int
B. Wilds 26 car, 85 yds
N. Jones 6 rec, 114 yds, 1 td
ARK: T. Wilson 22/40, 278 yds, 1 td, 1 int
R. Wingo 10 car, 49 yds; 5 rec, 37 yds
J. Wright 8 rec, 117 yds
South Carolina took an early lead that it never relinquished, holding Wilson and the Razerback passing game in check and pulling the surprise upset in Fayetteville. Shaw had a massive day for the Gamecocks (except for the three interception part), and Wilds did pretty well himself, taking over for the injured Lattimore. I’m not incredibly surprised about South Carolina having a good passing day on a suspect Arkansas defense, but I don’t see aSouth Carolina upset on the road. However, given the losses the Gamecocks have sustained on offense, the only way they might be able to win is a close, defensive slugfest.
#1 LSU @ #2 Alabama
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
LSU 0 14 0 14 28
ALA 6 15 7 3 31
LSU: J. Lee 22/34, 314 yds, 2 td, 2 int
S. Ware 21 car, 77 yds, 2 td; 2 rec, 24 yds
K. Boone 7 rec, 145 yds, 2 td
ALA: A. McCarron 16/23, 219 yds, 3 td
T. Richardson 27 car, 84 yds
M. Maze 8 rec, 131 yds, 2 td
In easily the game of the year, LSU invades Tuscaloosa with both teams eying the national championship. Alabama took the early lead, which it only briefly gave up in the second quarter, before again pulling ahead. A third quarter Tide score pushed the lead to 14 going into the fourth, and a field goal made it a three score game. That field goal proved to be decisive, as a late LSU rally fell just short. First, as I’ve said multiple times, I’m skeptical of any Lee (or Lee/Jefferson two headed monster) prediction anywhere near 300 yards passing. That goes double on the road against this Tide defense. I’m also a little skeptical of the score, as it seems a little high given just how good these defenses are. Nonetheless, I feel like this will be a close game, and still up for grabs late in the fourth. If nothing else it should be fun to watch.
#15 Michigan @ Iowa
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
MICH 7 14 7 7 35
IOWA 0 7 7 7 21
MICH: D. Robinson 21/29, 227 yds, 2 td
F. Toussaint 15 car, 153 yds, 2 td
J. Hemingway 6 rec, 96 yds, 1 td
IOWA: J. Vandenberg 16/34, 271 yds, 1 td, 3 int
M. Coker 23 car, 78 yds, 1 td
K. Martin Manley 7 rec, 123 yds, 1 td
Michigan jumped out to an early 7-0, although Iowa did manage to tie it in the second quarter. That’s as close as the Hawkeyes would come, however, as a burst in the second and early third quarters made it 28-7 at one point. The teams traded scores to close the game, but after Iowa fell behind and never really got back into contention. Robinson had an efficient day passing to compliment another disappointing outing in the rushing department, but that was made up for by another huge game from Toussaint. On the other side, Vandenberg was held in check, throwing three interceptions, and McNutt was contained, although Martin Manley put together a big game operating outside of the spotlight. Maybe the most encouraging performance was holding Coker well below the century mark for the first time in a month. I think this might be the most accurate prediction of the week. Iowa will probably score some points, but I think that Michigan takes advantage of a suspect Hawkeye defense and wins-by a comfortable margin, but by no means a blowout-on the road.