S&P+ spread picks for every game in college football's Week 10 – SB Nation


Week 10 is by far the biggest of the 2018 college football season, and I’m not sure it’s close. Every conference has vital games, from Georgia Southern-ULM in the Sun Belt (both teams lead their divisions) to WVU-Texas in the Big 12 to the pair of headliner games in the SEC (Alabama-LSU and Georgia-Kentucky), and while MACtion has already gotten the show rolling, the action really picks up on Thursday with Temple-UCF.

There are two headliners, though. Both of this week’s top-10 vs. top-10 matchups take place in the SEC, where both the East and West will have primary national title contenders by Sunday morning.

Georgia-Kentucky will feature a brilliant atmosphere in Lexington and a top-10 offense (UGA’s, per S&P+) vs. a top-5 defense (Kentucky’s).

But the biggest matchup is in Baton Rouge. LSU-Bama has done more to define the title race than any other rivalry this decade, and this year it features two teams in the top three of the initial CFP rankings.

More importantly, though, it will answer a lot of questions about Alabama’s offense. To be sure, the Bama offense is brilliant — the best outside of Oklahoma’s — and Tua Tagovailoa is a clear Heisman favorite heading into November. Even with a nagging injury and a slight October drop-off, his stats are still unlike anything we’ve ever seen. But while the “ain’t played nobody!!” arguments are tiresome, there’s no question LSU’s defense is a test.

The Tigers are eighth in Def. S&P+. They rank a decent 21st in Rushing S&P+ and 16th in Standard Downs S&P+ and a brilliant third in both Passing and Passing Downs S&P+. They’re fine in base situations, but coordinator Dave Aranda has dialed up exotic third-down calls as well as anyone.

No one has been able to bait Tagovailoa into mistakes this year (his current TD-to-INT ratio is infinity — 25 to 0 — and it’s November), and if he torches this defense, just call the Heisman race. Against this defense, in this environment (Death Valley at night), he will almost certainly face far more adversity than he has this season, but how much? And can an extremely inefficient LSU offense do enough to keep the Tigers close? Can’t wait to find out.

The college football season has officially begun, y’all.

Below are FBS picks and projections using the S&P+ projections, listed in full for all 130 FBS teams here.

See the bottom of the post for more detail about these.

The spread (listed in parentheses) is shown next to S&P+’s pick for each game. The team in bold is projected to beat the spread. (At most books, there is no listed spread for FCS games.) When S&P+ predicts a tie or a push (a tie with Vegas, basically), I list the pick on the side S&P+ would pick if teams could score in decimals.

This document breaks games (and S&P+’s season performance to date) out into their decimal glory. This year, I am including and monitoring total (over/under) picks as well.


NCAA Football: Oregon State at Colorado

Colorado’s Steven Montez

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 12 UCF 31, Temple (+11) 21 (Nov. 01, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 25 Virginia (-7) 33, Pittsburgh 24 (Nov. 02, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Arizona 28, Colorado (+3) 28 (Nov. 02, 10:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • Buffalo 29, Miami (Ohio) (+7) 22 (actual projected score: Buffalo 28.9, Miami 22.0) — Buffalo won by 9
  • Kent State (+1.5) 36, Bowling Green 35 — Kent State won by 7
  • Middle Tennessee 32, Western Kentucky (+13.5) 21 (Nov. 02, 8:00 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Northern Illinois (-6) 22, Akron 16 (Nov. 01, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN) (actual projected score: NIU 22.24, Akron 16.18)
  • Ohio 37, Western Michigan (+2.5) 37 (Nov. 01, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Toledo 41, Ball State (+19) 25 — Toledo won by 32

Colorado was one of FBS’ last unbeaten teams but has now lost three in a row after Saturday’s strange (and statistically unlikely) collapse and loss to Oregon State. The Buffaloes are now projected underdogs in each remaining game; bowl eligibility is not a given.


NCAA Football: Florida at Georgia

Georgia’s Isaac Nauta

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 1 Alabama 34, No. 3 LSU (+14.5) 23 (Nov. 03, 8:00 PM ET, CBS)
  • No. 6 Georgia 29, No. 9 Kentucky (+9) 20 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, CBS) (actual projected score: UGA 28.8, UK 19.9)
  • No. 5 Michigan 30, No. 14 Penn State (+10.5) 21 (Nov. 03, 3:45 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 13 West Virginia (+2) 33, No. 17 Texas 29 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, Fox)

Kentucky hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game all season, but LSU’s the only team to hold Georgia under 35. Aside from some questionable goal line play-calling, the Dawgs’ offense was excellent against Florida, especially through the air. This is a true “irresistible force vs. immovable object” type of matchup.


NCAA Football: Navy vs Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

  • No. 2 Clemson 45, Louisville (+39) 11 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 4 Notre Dame (-9.5) 30, Northwestern 17 (Nov. 03, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 7 Oklahoma 42, Texas Tech (+13.5) 30 (Nov. 03, 8:00 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 8 Washington State 32, California (+10) 22 (Nov. 03, 10:45 PM ET, ESPN) (actual projected score: Wazzu 31.7, Cal 22.3)
  • No. 10 Ohio State 39, Nebraska (+17.5) 24 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, Fox)
  • No. 11 Florida 32, Missouri (+6) 27 (Nov. 03, 4:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • No. 15 Utah (-7) 33, Arizona State 24 (Nov. 03, 4:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Purdue 27, No. 16 Iowa (+3) 26 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • No. 18 Mississippi State 34, Louisiana Tech (+23.5) 17 (Nov. 03, 7:30 PM ET, SECN)
  • No. 19 Syracuse 34, Wake Forest (+6) 29 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Auburn (-4) 27, No. 20 Texas A&M 21 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • No. 21 NC State 30, Florida State (+9) 22 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
  • No. 22 Boston College 30, Virginia Tech (+2.5) 29 (Nov. 03, 3:45 PM ET, ACCN)
  • No. 23 Fresno State 43, UNLV (+25) 19 (Nov. 03, 10:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • No. 24 Iowa State (-14.5) 34, Kansas 19 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, FSN)

Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams was suspended for four games and is still on pace for a 1,000-yard season. Northwestern’s defense is excellent on passing downs and could do some damage against the Irish and quarterback Ian Book if he’s forced off-schedule. But Williams is making it very difficult to force the Irish off-schedule.


NCAA Football: Washington at California

Washington’s Jake Browning

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

  • Georgia Tech 34, North Carolina (+6) 30 (Nov. 03, 12:15 PM ET, ACCN)
  • Miami 30, Duke (+9.5) 22 (Nov. 03, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Michigan State 24, Maryland (+2.5) 23 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
  • Minnesota (-9.5) 35, Illinois 24 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, BTN)
  • Oklahoma State (-7.5) 38, Baylor 29 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • Ole Miss (+1) 36, South Carolina 32 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, SECN)
  • Oregon (-10.5) 36, UCLA 25 (Nov. 03, 7:30 PM ET, Fox)
  • TCU (-8) 34, Kansas State 21 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, FS1)
  • USC 40, Oregon State (+16.5) 25 (Nov. 03, 10:00 PM ET, FS1)
  • Washington (-10) 33, Stanford 20 (Nov. 03, 9:00 PM ET, Pac-12)
  • Wisconsin (-28) 42, Rutgers 13 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, BTN)

Washington-Stanford, a battle of unranked teams. Not sure too many people saw that coming in the preseason.


NCAA Football: South Florida at Houston

Houston’s D‘Eriq King

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

  • Appalachian State (-14.5) 41, Coastal Carolina 24 (Nov. 03, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Arkansas State 37, South Alabama (+16) 25 (Nov. 03, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Army 34, Air Force (+7) 27 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, CBSSN) (actual projected score: Army 33.6, AFA 27.2)
  • Boise State 35, BYU (+13) 22 (Nov. 03, 10:15 PM ET, ESPN2) (actual projected score: BSU 34.7, BYU 22.0)
  • Cincinnati (-17.5) 38, Navy 20 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Eastern Michigan (-13.5) 33, Central Michigan 17 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • FAU (+3) 31, FIU 28 (Nov. 03, 7:30 PM ET, Stadium)
  • Georgia Southern (-7.5) 36, UL-Monroe 26 (Nov. 03, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Georgia State 28, Texas State (+5.5) 28 (Nov. 03, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Houston 37, SMU (+14) 25 (Nov. 03, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Marshall 22, Southern Miss (+3) 21 (Nov. 03, 3:00 PM ET, Facebook)
  • Massachusetts (-2.5) 37, Liberty 33 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ELVN)
  • Memphis (-13) 36, East Carolina 22 (Nov. 03, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • San Diego State 31, New Mexico (+10.5) 21 (Nov. 03, 10:15 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Tennessee 35, Charlotte (+21) 22 (Nov. 03, 4:00 PM ET, SECN+)
  • Troy 40, UL-Lafayette (+10.5) 30 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN+)
  • Tulsa 40, UConn (+18) 22 (Nov. 03, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN) (actual projected score: Tulsa 39.7, UConn 22.2)
  • UAB (-22) 35, UTSA 11 (Nov. 03, 7:30 PM ET, beIN)
  • USF (-7) 36, Tulane 22 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
  • Utah State 41, Hawaii (+18) 24 (Nov. 03, 11:59 PM ET, Stadium)
  • UTEP (+1) 27, Rice 25 (Nov. 03, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3)
  • Wyoming 32, San Jose State (+14) 18 (Nov. 03, 2:00 PM ET, MWC Video) (actual projected score: UW 31.7, SJSU 18.2)

While the AAC East race could remain fascinating, Houston could pretty much lock up the AAC West with a win and a Tulane loss (as projected). Not bad for three days into November.


New Mexico State v Minnesota

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

  • New Mexico State 24, Alcorn State 5 (Nov. 03, 4:00 PM ET, AggieVision)

The dream of back-to-back bowls for NMSU was dead by October. The Aggies are 2-7.


Each year, I post weekly S&P+ picks as a way of affirming the ratings’ validity. I use my S&P+ system as a complement to most of my analysis, and the picks are a way of showing it generally knows what it’s talking about.

S&P+ tends to hit between 50 (meh) and 54 percent (great) against the spread from year to year. It isn’t always the single best performer, but it holds its own.

Beyond picks, though, it goes deeper than any other set of college football analytics on the market. You can go into granular detail regarding team strengths and weaknesses in a way that no other set of ratings allows. (See the annual team statistical profiles as proof.)


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