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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.
2013 Regular Season: 111-18 SU (.860), 78-51 ATS (.605)
2014 Regular Season: 12-6 SU (.667), 4-14 ATS (.222)
This Week: 4-3 SU (.571), 3-4 ATS (.429)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, September 13
Air Force (-9.5) by 14.32 over GEORGIA STATE - The AFA was a 13.07-point preseason favorite so the computer line has trended slightly up. The Panthers have never beaten a FBS school since moving up from the FCS at the start of last season.
Air Force won 48-38. The computer won SU, won ATS.

MIAMI, FLA. (-18) by 23.67 over Arkansas State - Miami's line has trended down since the preseason when the 'Canes were listed as a 26.14-point computer pick. The only other meeting between these schools took place in 1997 when a Miami squad that went 5-6 beat a 2-9 Arkansas State team 42-10.
Miami (Fla.) won 41-20. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Boise State (-14) by 17.53 over CONNECTICUT - The computer line is slightly up from 16.72 in the preseason. UConn hasn't defeated a nonconference FBS team since 9/29/12 (Buffalo) and hasn't beaten a team from a Power 5 conference since 9/15/12. The Huskies only beat FCS member Stony Brook by 3 at home this past Saturday. UConn QB Casey Cochran announced Monday he was ending his career after suffering multiple concussions with the latest in the opening game loss to BYU.
Boise State won 38-21. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Tulsa (-1) by 3.10 over FAU - Just banking on the haplessness of FAU which was only a 0.75-point underdog in the preseason. FAU ranks 126th in total offense and 127th in total defense out of 127 teams (it would be a 128-team list, but Cincinnati hasn't played yet). Tulsa only ranks 119th on defense, but 52nd on offense. The computer already expected FAU would be bad (a 3-9 season projection), but the Owls have been outscored by 55 points more than they were supposed to in their first two games.
FAU won 50-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Louisville (-9.5) by 10.75 over VIRGINIA - UVa has 7 wins in its last 28 games - 3 versus FCS schools, 2 vs. ACC and two mild upsets (BYU at the start of last season, and Penn State early in 2012).
Virginia won 23-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

MARYLAND (-4.5) by 11.66 over West Virginia - The computer line is down from 14.88 in the preseason, but it is still comfortably above the spread.
West Virginia won 40-37. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Ucla (-6) by 9.77 over Texas (at Arlington) - UCLA has some question marks after beating Virginia and Memphis by much closer margins than should've ever occurred, but Texas was a total disaster in last week's 41-7 home loss to BYU. QB David Ash is out indefinitely due to repeated concussions, leaving Tyrone Swoopes as the starter. Texas ranks 115th in total offense, but UCLA ranks 97th in total defense.
UCLA won 20-17. The computer won SU, lost ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2013 Regular Season: 70-12 SU (.854), 41-41 ATS (.500)
2014 Regular Season: 14-2 SU (.875), 6-10 ATS (.375)
This Week: 7-1 SU (.875), 2-6 ATS (.250)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, September 13
STANFORD (-27.5) by 26.53 over Army - The Cardinal only won this meeting by 14 last year at West Point. This year, the Black Knights return 16 starters and have a different attitude under new head coach Jeff Monken, or at least it appeared so in their win over Buffalo. Army actually enters this game with the better record (1-0) and was impressive in their 47-39 win over the Bulls until they gave up 22 garbage points in the last 9 minutes.
Stanford won 35-0. The computer wonSU, lost ATS.

Syracuse (-9) by 3.16 over CENTRAL MICHIGAN - Away games like this are just never wise to schedule and CMU is coming off a 38-17 win at Purdue. The 'Cuse was idle last week after barely surviving FCS member Villanova, 27-26 in double-overtime, in the opener.
Syracuse won 40-3. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

VIRGINIA TECH (-11.5) by 5.77 over East Carolina - The Hokies have won 10 of the last 11 meetings and the last 4 straight, but only 5 times in the 18-game series history have they won this game by more than 12 points. The last two were decided by a touchdown or less. Even after an impressive win at Ohio State, I can't declare VT all the way back until they dismiss an opponent of ECU's calibre with relative ease.
East Carolina won 28-21. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

FLORIDA (-17) by 12.09 over Kentucky - Kentucky has looked strong in its first two games vs. UT-Martin and Ohio (cumulative 79-17 score). Florida opened with a 65-0 rout of hapless Eastern Michigan this week after having its opener versus Idaho postponed by weather. I'm not looking for Kentucky to win as the Wildcats haven't done that since 1986, and they haven't won at Florida Field since 1979.
Florida won 36-30 in 3 OT's. The computer won SU, won ATS.

WASHINGTON (-15) by 12.44 over Illinois - The computer spread has dropped from 16.10 to 12.44 since the preseason. Illinois comes in with a circumspect 2-0 record with wins by 11 and 8 over Youngstown State and Western Kentucky, while Washington is also 2-0 with similarly bad wins over Hawaii by 1 and Eastern Washington by 7. The Huskies have allowed 977 total yards in their first two games while the Illini have surrendered 780. Washington took last year's game 34-24 at Soldier's Field in Chicago as the teams met for the first time since 1972, but Steve Sarkisian was the coach at UW and he's since moved on to USC.
Washington won 44-19. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

MARSHALL (-19) by 14.93 over Ohio - Ohio has won each of the last two meetings (2012 and 2013) by 3 points and has taken the last 3 straight.
Marshall won 44-14. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Navy (-13) by 10.09 over TEXAS STATE - The only game on the Bobcats' resume is a 65-0 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff so it's hard to get a feel for what they'll bring into a game against Navy. They only return 4 defensive starters from a Dennis Franchione-coached team that preaches defense, but they were 6-6 last year and ranked 41st against the run. The game is in San Marcos and Texas State has had an extra week to prepare for the option offense of the Midshipmen.
Navy won 35-21. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

OKLAHOMA STATE (-16) by 3.05 over Utsa - The computer is 2-0 ATS with UTSA this year. OSU had a strong opening game against FSU but only managed a 40-23 win over Missouri State in week 2. UTSA has a 20-point upset win at Houston and a near-defeat of Arizona (26-23 loss at San Antonio). As Dave Congrove points out in his weekly preview, "Larry Coker's Roadrunners are enjoying their first senior class since he signed on to start the UTSA football program in 2009. As such, his squad lists 37 seniors and returns 21 starters (including kicker and punter) from a year ago.
Oklahoma State won 43-13. The computer won SU, lost 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.
2013 Regular Season: 47-48 SU (.495), 59-36 ATS (.694)
2014 Regular Season: 9-17 SU (.346), 11-15 ATS (.423)
This Week: 1-5 SU (.200), 2-4 ATS (.333)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, September 13
FRESNO STATE by 1.22 over Nebraska (-10) - Fresno State was a 6.65-point preseason computer favorite so their stock as certainly dropped. But Nebraska hasn't done much to raise expectations for its' fans either as they needed a dramatic touchdown with 20 seconds left to fend off FCS member McNeese State last week, 31-24. The Bulldogs are way underperforming the computer's expectations with a 52-13 loss at USC and a 59-27 loss at Utah. The computer had Fresno State as just a.9.07-point dog at the Trojans and a 6.94-point favorite at the Utes.

SOUTH CAROLINA by 7.35 over Georgia (-2.5) - Just like the Fresno State computer pick above, this one is hard to fathom if only because of the results of South Carolina's first two games. First, the computer's pick to win the SEC title goes out and gets clobbered 52-28 at home by Texas A&M, and they followed that up with an unimpressive 33-23 victory over East Carolina. Georgia comes in with an extra week of preparation after dispatching Clemson 45-21 in its opener.
South Carolina won 38-25. The computer woN SU, won ATS.

Minnesota by 4.57 over TCU (-8) - The remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Ten are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers and Minnesota - and the case can be made that Minnesota has looked better than any of them. The Golden Gophers were the computer's projected representative for the West in the conference championship and, while a loss wouldn't quell those chances, it would be another shot in the gut for the conference. That TCU opened as an 8-point favorite is a bit surprising, given that the Horned Frogs were only 4-8 a year ago. The line quickly shot to 14 making an ATS play look pretty solid, even if the outright upset doesn't pan out.
TCU won 30-7. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Ucf by 2.42 over MISSOURI (-9) - UCF was a 4.47-point preseason pick so the trend essentially puts this game in the "pick 'em" category. The Golden Knights must win if they hope to be the "Group Of 5" rep in the major postseason bowl games. UCF didn't play this past week after losing 26-24 to Penn State in the final seconds of the opener at Dublin, Ireland. The Golden Knights only managed 246 total yards in that game and just 24 on the ground, while surrendering 511 yards. Missouri is 2-0 after a 49-24 win at Toledo followed an opening 38-18 home win over South Dakota State, but ranks 60th on offense and 71st on defense.
Missouri won 38-10. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

USF by 1.87 over N.C. State (-1.5) - USF's 24-17 loss to Maryland this past weekend was closer than expected, but the Terrapins turned the ball over 6 times. Both USF and N.C. State had trouble with FCS teams in their respective openers and the Wolfpack only managed a 46-34 win this past Saturday at home versus FBS newcomer Old Dominion.
N.C. State won 49-17. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

RUTGERS by 4.07 over Penn State (-3) - Penn State players should be feeling better about their season after being informed on Monday that the NCAA had shortened their probation penalties stemming from the atrocious Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The Nittany Lions learned they are postseason-eligible which might provide a needed emotional lift for this northeast rivalry game that Penn State has won 22 of the 24 times it's been staged. Rutgers' only wins came in 1918 and 1988.
Penn State won 13-10. The computer lost SU, won ATS.



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