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8/30/12-9/3/12


FEATURE PICKS ARCHIVES
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Each week, Mike Mitchell examines the computer's picks and selects those which he believes have the best chance of being correct. Lines in parenthesis are the opening lines as reported at docsports.com. Later lines are used in the event of a "pick 'em" opening. The Congrove Computer Rankings' pick is shown outside the parenthesis. The HOME TEAM is in CAPS. You can research the computer's performance with each team and conference with the Team-By-Team Picks Tracking data. An explanation of how the computer's SU and ATS wins and losses are scored can be found at Weekly Picks Help.


EASY PICKINS:
The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2011 Regular Season: 90-26 SU (.776), 63-53 ATS (.543)
2012 Regular Season: 7-0 SU (1.000), 4-3 ATS (.571)
This Week: 7-0 SU (1.000), 4-3 ATS (.571)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, August 30
Ucf (-16.5) by 26.64 over AKRON - The Zips are ranked last out of 124 FBS teams and are more than 3.5 power points behind the next-closest team in Terry Bowden's debut season as head coach. The Golden Knights are expected to contend for the CUSA East title.
UCF won 56-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

BYU (-12.5) by 24.17 over Washington State - It's a cat fight between the BYU Cougars and Washington State Cougars. BYU is forecasted to go 10-2 while Washington State is picked to go 3-9. It's the debut of Mike Leach as head coach for Wazzu.
BYU won 30-6. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Friday, August 31
MICHIGAN STATE (-7.5) by 11.37 over Boise State - QB Kellen Moore, leading rusher Doug Martin and leading receiver Tyler Shoemaker are all gone and redshirt junior Joe Southwick will get his first start for the Broncos. The Spartans lose QB Kirk Cousins and basically every pass top catcher from a year ago, but RB Le'Veon Bell returns to a team that is still considered a serious threat to win the national title. This is also a true road visit for Boise State into a hostile environment.
Michigan State won 17-13. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

STANFORD (-24.5) by 28.11 over San Jose State - A top 13 team from a major conference vs. a bottom 25 team from the weakest conference. Yes, Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener are gone from the Cardinal, but the Spartans have lost 8 of the last 9 meetings overall and 6 of those by at least 25 points.
Stanford won 20-17, The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Sunday, September 2
BAYLOR (-11) by 15.88 over Smu - No more RG3 or K-Dub for Baylor, but SMU's breaking in a new QB, too. The Bears have won the last 9 in a series that hasn't been played since 2005.
Baylor won 59-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

LOUISVILLE (-14) by 18.15 over Kentucky - This should be the strongest Louisville club since 2006 when the Cards went 12-1 in a season that began with a 59-28 thumping of Kentucky at home. The 'Ville is predicted to go 10-2 while the 'Cast are saddled with a 1-11 forecast.
Louisville won 32-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Monday, September 3
Virginia Tech (-7.5) by 13.06 over Georgia Tech - Virginia Tech is the only team the computer picked to go unbeaten and the Hokies only need to win to keep that goal in front of them. However, it wouldn't hurt to send a message to the voters by exceeding expectations if they want to be taken seriously as a BCS title candidate. The Hokies will have to stop the run and hope they find a runner of their own to replace the loss of early draftee David Wilson. The Hokies won last year's contest by 11 in Atlanta and are 6-3 all-time vs. the Jackets. 4 of those wins were by margins that exceeded this year's spread.
Virginia Tech won 20-17 in OT. The computer won SU, lost ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2011 Regular Season: 67-19 SU (.779), 40-46 ATS (.465)
2012 Regular Season: 5-0 SU (1.000), 3-2 ATS (.600)
This Week: 5-0 SU (1.000), 3-2 ATS (.600)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, August 30
Texas A&M (-11) by 4.37 over Louisiana Tech (-4.37) (at Shreveport) - Kevin Sumlin debuts as the head coach of the Aggies. The Bulldogs won the WAC title last year is Sonny Dykes 2nd season as head coach and are forecasted to repeat as champs of a weakened WAC this year. The game will feature two returning 1,200-yard pass catchers from last season in A&M's Ryan Swope and Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton. It will be Texas A&M's first game as a member of the SEC and the debut of freshman QB Johnny Manziel.
This game was moved to October 13 due to Hurricane Isaac

Minnesota (-12) by 4.37 over UNLV - The 107th-ranked Golden Gophers visit the 115th-rated Rebels. It's the first meeting ever between the two schools.
Minnesota won 30-27 in 3 OT's. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Ucla (-14) by 9.15 over RICE - UCLA debuts head coach Jim Mora. The Bruins are 1-11 in their last 12 games away from their own friendly confines of the Rose Bowl. The Owls are 7-1 in their last 8 home games.
UCLA won 49-24. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Friday, August 31
Tennessee (-7) by 0.46 over N.C. State (at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta) - The Vols have yet to crack the .500 mark in a season under Derek Dooley and are forecasted to go 5-7 in 2012. They face a Wolfpack squad that went 8-5 a year ago and is picked to go 9-3 this season. Tyler Bray (Tennessee) and Mike Glennon (N.C. State) are the QB's.
Tennessee won 35-21. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, September 1
ARIZONA (-10.5) by 0.03 over Toledo - The head coaching debut for Rich Rodriguez who lost his 2001 debut with West Virginia by 24 points at Boston College and his 2008 debut with Michigan by 2 points to Utah at home. Matt Campbell debuted as the head coach of Toledo in the Rockets' heart-stopping 42-41 Military Bowl victory over Air Force.
Arizona won 24-17 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS.

LSU (-43) by 21.58 over North Texas - The Mean Green lost at Alabama by 41 last year and I expect a Bayou Bengal rout this time around, but the disparity of a 43-point spread and a 21.58-point projection is too large to pass up.
LSU won 41-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.


UPSETS:
The computer likes the underdog as the outright winner. I don't select the games in this category. Instead, we list every upset projected by the computer.
2011 Regular Season: 24-37 SU (.393), 29-32 ATS (.475)
2012 Regular Season: 2-6 SU (.250), 3-5 ATS (.375)
This Week: 2-3 SU (.400), 3-2 ATS (.600)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, August 30
Eastern Michigan by 2.94 over BALL STATE (-6) - We'll discover immediately if EMU is going to have the type of season the computer expects. It says the Eagles will go 7-5 while the Cardinals are expected to struggle mightily.
Ball State won 38-27. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, September 1
Michigan by 4.47 over Alabama (-12) (at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington) - The computer isn't in love with Alabama, but the computer doesn't have any emotional thoughts toward any team. Apparently, winning two national titles in three years and being the epicenter of the college football universe means nothing mathematically about this year's squad. I must say that I'm not as surprised by the computer's pick as I am by the 12-point odds. 'Bama lost a slew of starters while the Wolverines return virtually every offensive threat from a year ago. A lot is riding on Eddie Lacy to replace Trent Richardson while 'Bama also lost its top four receivers and four of its top five tacklers.
Alabama won 41-14. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Auburn by 0.97 over Clemson (-3.5) (at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta) - Another cat fight (See Washington State at BYU for Cougars vs. Cougars). Auburn's last game of the 2011 season produced a 42-23 win over ACC member Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and it is now out avenge last season's 38-24 loss at Clemson. Both teams have gone 6-4 since that game was played, but the last time we saw Clemson was when it was getting dismantled 70-33 by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. In my mind, this game is a true toss-up.
Clemson won 26-19. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

BOSTON COLLEGE by 7.38 over Miami, Fla. (-2.5) - Everyone also laughed when the computer picked Miami to lose at Maryland on opening week of the 2011 season and the Terps won 32-24 for what would prove to be their only victory of the year over an FBS team. Distractions and suspensions played a role in that defeat, but no one is saying that this will be the year that Miami is back.
Miami won 41-32. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Colorado State by 6.80 over Colorado (-3.5) (at Sports Authority Field in Denver) - The computer picks the Rams to go 6-6 in Jim McElwain's debut season as had coach and the Buffs to be a terrible 1-11. Hard to gauge a season on one game, but this one could tell a lot.
Colorado State won 22-17. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Fiu by 6.82 over DUKE (-4) - The computer has some lofty plans for FIU, picking it to go 11-1 and climbing to 18th in the nation by the end of the regular season, all without explosive star T.Y. Hilton who is trying to make the roster of the Indianapolis Colts. This week, the Golden Panthers are ranked 40th and the Blue Devils are 83rd.
Duke won 46-26. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Northern Illinois by 1.87 over Iowa (-6) (at Soldier Field in Chicago) - I remember scoffing at Kirk Herbstreit's prediction that Iowa would win its division last year. The computer had them at 5-7. While the Hawkeyes weren't that bad, they did manage to lose to Iowa State and Minnesota on the way to a 7-6 final record. The computer puts Iowa on the .500 mark again while forecasting Northern Illinois to go 10-2.
Iowa won 18-17. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Ohio by 7.82 over PENN STATE (-6) - The Nittany Lions have spent months getting their reputation shredded and their image tarnished. They finally get to take the field under new head coach Bill O'Brien. Meanwhile, Ohio U. fans have high expectations that Frank Solich can lead their Bobcats to a repeat appearance in the MAC title game and come away with the championship trophy for the first time since 1968. Last year, Ohio blew a 20-0 lead and lost 23-20 to Northern Illinois in the title game on a 33-yard field goal as time expired. But the season ended on a high note as Tyler Tettleton completed an Ohio comeback with a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown with 13 seconds left, providing a 24-23 win over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for its first-ever bowl victory (1-5).
Ohio won 24-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.



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