This week’s best values are Texas A&M at home (500), South Carolina (425) at home, Pitt (347) at home, Arizona State at home (399), and Stanford at home (153).
Clemson is better than A&M, but maybe the Kyle Field 12th man will cause chaos and propel A&M to an upset. South Carolina played UGA tough at UGA last year, so logic says that this game should be decent. Penn State looked pretty bad last week and Pitt is not terrible at home. Michigan State looked bad last week and Arizona State looked better. Stanford was beaten twice by USC last year but has generally been successful running on USC in the past five years.
Now, lets talk strategy: What is the best way to get a high score in the College Football Challenge? Do you want to win the week, or are you more concerned about your cumulative season total? Here are a few strategies:
Bama 100, Ohio State 100, Wisconsin 100, Oklahoma 100, Notre Dame 100
Pick all heavy favorites so you have a greater chance of getting points for each of your five matchups. With each winner being between 100 and 140 points, your weekly total will most likely be between 400 and 600 assuming at least 4/5 choices win. This probably will not translate into you being a weekly winner but is safer for your seasonal results. You should be close to +/-300 points of 5,000 through 10 weeks.
Rutgers 9600, Ball State 8100, UCLA 3600, UCONN 4600, Western Michigan 3100
Pick all heavy underdogs. If even one of those wins, then you will beat somebody using strategy A for that week. This is risky if you are interested in preserving your cumulative season results. If we assume that each of your five matchups has a favorite that has a 90% chance of winning, that means that there is a 59% chance that all five favorites win. So with this strategy, you will eventually hit a 1500 or greater weekly point value, which is almost 3x the weekly value you can expect from Strategy A, but you could get a zero in some weeks. If you score an upset in 3/10 weeks then you are approximately equal to Strategy A.
Texas A&M 500, South Carolina 430, Pitt 347, Arizona State 399, Stanford 153
Go with five home teams that are even lines or mild to moderate home underdogs. Home advantage is huge in college football. These games should be in the 200-400point range for each matchup. Taking an optimistic outlook that you win at least 3/5 of these tossup games equals a weekly total of around 600-1200. This should also beat Strategy A in most weeks, while not completely torpedoing your season results. You should come out ahead of 5,000 points through 10 weeks.
Clemson 120, Georgia 125, Penn State 130, Michigan State 130, Mississippi State 129
Opposite of C. Road heavyweights. Ranked road favorites are a slightly higher point value than Strategy A, but a little riskier.
Bama 100, Ohio State 100, Wisconsin 100, Oklahoma 100, Arizona State 399
Strategy A with one upset pick per week. Your strategy A weekly baseline should be at least 400 per week and you can swing for the fences on one upset pick. If you pick one gamer per week that has only a 10% chance of winning, then after seven weeks you have only a 48% chance that it has not yet occurred. So, a hypothetical weekly score might be 400, 500, 550, 400, 2400, 500, 400, if you hit your upset in week five. 400 per week for nine weeks with one large point value upset puts you ahead of 5,000 points through 10 weeks.
Bama 100, Ohio State 100, Arizona State 399, Pitt 347, Western Michigan 3100
Strategy A + B combo, with two locks per week. If your two locks score at least 200 points per week that leaves three games per week that are huge gambles of only 10% success. You have a 73% chance each week of not getting a score for your upset picks. Let’s assume you get two 2,000 point upsets through 10 weeks and you have one unexpected lock bust. That would put you at 5,900 points through 10 weeks.