Week 0 Picks, Feature Picks, and Season Preview Sneak Peek

August 20, 2021 by Staff

FBS Picks and Feature Picks, as well as FCS Picks have all been posted for opening day, August 28. Opening day sees a total of 7 games taking place, with 4 head-to-head FBS match-ups, two FCS games, and one FBS-FCS affair.

The unveiling of the 2021 college football rankings, and our season preview will begin soon, and we can assure you that this year's Congrove Computer Rankings have produced some jaw-dropping FBS projections. The season appears to be poised for more parity, primarily due to the fact that a ton of teams have far more returning experience than in any normal year as the 2020 season essentially didn't count against a player's eligibility.

Last season, the 130 FBS schools returned an average of 60.4% of their starters and 68.6% of their lettermen. This year, they began practice with 74.8% of starters, and 76.4% of letter winners back in the fold. Fifty-three teams have welcomed back at least 80% of their starters and seventeen of those are returning upwards of 90%.

Interestingly, last season's Final Four teams in the FBS playoff don't have that luxury.

- Alabama, the defending national champion, ranks 124th in Phil Steele's chart of returning production with only 50% of its starters back. Only 3 of Nick Saban's returnees are on offense.

- Clemson fares a little better with 64% of the starters back on campus, but the Tigers rank just 115th nationally and next-to-last in the ACC, for returning production.

- Ohio State also checks in at next-to-last in its conference (Big Ten), and 129th nationally.

- Notre Dame is 128th nationally with the 3rd-fewest returning starters.

Nonetheless, the preseason pollsters have put all four of those teams in the top 6 of their preseason rankings. Another team ranked in their top 6, Oklahoma, is 74th on Steele's chart.

Last season's Congrove Computer Rankings performed remarkably well as the preseason picks came within one win or loss of predicting the exact record of 68 teams. They were right on the money with 21 teams and, even more amazing, picked the EXACT over-all AND conference record of 19 teams - including 4 of the 6 teams in the MAC East, and 3 of 6 in the MWC West.

The preseason forecast correctly tabbed two of the College Football Playoff's Final four teams.

The rankings, which began in 1993 and have historically outpaced all others predictors, have an all-time straight-up record of 15,938-5,321 for a win pct. of .750, and an ATS mark (against the spread) of 9,716-8,632 for a win pct. of .529.

In 2020, the computer hit an all-time with its bowl season confidence points, collecting 72% of a possible 325 points. It was 13-1 with teams it forecast to win by at least 7.98 points.