NCAA Football Simulation: Cinderella stories starting to form in Big Ten, Big 12

We are simulating the entire 2013 season using NCAA Football 14 from EA Sports. While we may bicker about the role computers play in determining a college football champion, we could not resist using this year's version of the game to see how the season might play out. Using an updated community roster from Operation Sports, we will simulate each game of the season using a PlayStation 3 copy of the game all week long. Here is how the first four weeks of the season played out in part one. Now we move on to weeks five through eight? Are you ready? Here we go!

WEEK 5

Alabama 41, Ole Miss 20: In our simulation he Ole Miss Rebels get off to a great start by winning their first three games, but reality comes in the dose of a blowout loss at Alabama. The Tide build a 21-0 lead in the first half with AJ McCarron back to full strength after suffering a shoulder injury in week one. McCarron passes for three touchdowns and 274 yards and T.J. Yeldon rushes for 96 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Alabama is now 4-0 and looking strong.

Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 22: In a key SEC West rivalry match-up, Johnny Manziel helps get Texas A&M off to a quick lead with two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Arkansas puts together a strong second half though, outscoring the Aggies 13-7 but do not have enough to put together a winning drive in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M improves to 4-1 and crack the top five in the polls while Arkansas loses their first game of the year.

Notre Dame 49, Oklahoma 35: The Irish have been scuffling along in the early going of our simulation but the offense finally finds a winning formula against the visiting Sooners in a wild shootout. Notre Dame puts together double-digit scores in each quarter as they send Oklahoma home with their first loss of the year. Irish quarterback passes for four touchdowns and runs for another in the win.

Ohio State 33, Wisconsin 7: The second-ranked Buckeyes have had some shaky moments so far in our simulation but against Wisconsin there would never be a doubt. Braxton Miller passes and runs for a touchdown in the first quarter as Ohio State builds a 19-0 lead going in to halftime, which is more than enough for the Big Ten Leaders Division victory. Wisconsin drops to 0-2 in Big Ten play while the Buckeyes move to 5-0 and 1-0 in Big Ten play.

Other notable scores

Stanford 24, Washington State 19: Third-ranked Stanford gets a scare from Mike Leach and Washington State but the Cardinal improve to 4-0 and 2-0 in Pac 12 play.

South Carolina 27, Central Florida 20: The Gamecocks hold off a strong upset bid from American contender and undefeated Central Florida. As a result, South Carolina moves to 3-1.

Florida 28, Kentucky 23: The Gators are given a scare from upset-minded Kentucky but are able to sneak out of Lexington with the SEC East victory. A 70-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Driskel to Burton proves to be the game-winner in the fourth quarter.

Boston College 31, Florida State 24: The Eagles score a major upset in ACC play by topping favored Florida State. With the win the Eagles improve to 2-0 in ACC play and 3-1 overall.

Georgia 28, LSU 17: LSU takes their third loss of the season already and drops to 0-2 in SEC play despite obtaining Georgia by nearly 100 yards of offense.

 


WEEK 6

Oklahoma 27, TCU 20: TCU is off to a rough start in our simulation but they give Oklahoma a battle in Big 12 play. The Sooners are down at the half, 17-10, but outscore the visiting Horned Frogs 17-3 in the second half to pick up the win and improve to 2-0 in Big 12 play, 4-1 over all, heading in to the big game against Texas.

Illinois 23, Nebraska 17: In the Big Ten opener for both teams, Illinois picks up a shocking upset at Nebraska. The Huskers outgain the Illini but two costly turnovers give Illinois enough to hold on for a win to improve to 3-2 overall. This is the first loss of the season for Nebraska.

Northwestern 24, Ohio State 17: The big upset of the day takes place in Evanston, Illinois. Second-ranked Ohio State is shutdown in the second half by the pesky Wildcats and Northwestern's Venric Mark caps the second-half rally with a 48 yard touchdown reception from Siemian early in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes as a result lose all first place votes in the polls, which are distributed between Stanford and Louisville to prevent Alabama from being the unanimous number one.

Other notable scores

Louisville 24, Temple 17: The Owls come close to picking up their second major upset of the season (Notre Dame, Week 1) but Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals start off well and are able to hold off the Owls to improve to 5-0 and maintain a top three ranking. Keep an eye on Temple though, as the Owls are now a surprising 4-1 overall.

Georgia Tech 19, Miami 6: The Hurricanes are shut down by Georgia Tech's defense and Yellow Jackets improve to 5-0.

N.C. State 23, Wake Forest 3: NC State also improves to 5-0 overall, already having a win against Clemson behind them.

Tennessee 35, Georgia 28: The Vols pick up a huge win at home against Georgia, dropping the Bulldogs to 1-2 in SEC play. Tennessee now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Clemson 62, Syracuse 0: Welcome to the ACC Syracuse.


WEEK 7

Rutgers 27, Louisville 23: The BCS dreams of Louisville appear to come to a crashing halt as Rutgers picks up a huge road victory in American play. A tough defensive battle enters the fourth quarter with the teams tied at 13-13, when Louisville scores on the first play of the fourth quarter and Rutgers returns the favor on the ensuing possession with a touchdown of their own. Louisville takes the lead with under three minutes to play but Rutgers comes up with a rare interception of Teddy Bridgewater as the Cardinals needed to pick up a first down. The interception is returned by Snyder 16 yards for a touchdown with 18 seconds to play to cap a thrilling upset. Rutgers also moves to 2-0 in American play and becomes the team to beat in the eyes of many.

Texas 29, Oklahoma 27: It was a long time coming for Mack Brown and the Longhorns, but they finally got back in the win column against rival Oklahoma. Anthony Fera boots a game-winning field goal with 1:20 to play as the Longhorns overcome a sloppy performance that included four turnovers, including three interceptions thrown (two by McCoy and one by Ash). Longhorns are now 4-2 (2-1) while Oklahoma drops to an identical record.

Wisconsin 41, Northwestern 10: The Wildcats got off to a 5-0 start and were feeling confident following an upset of the Buckeyes, but Wisconsin brings the Northwestern squad down to earth with a thud in the form of a 31-point blowout in Madison. Northwestern's offense is held to just 251 yards by the Badgers, who rack up 492 on the Northwestern defense as well.

Other notable scores

Boston College 30, Clemson 3: Steve Addazio has something cooking in New England, where the Eagles are now 3-0 in ACC play with victories over Clemson and Florida State already behind them. Clemson drops to 2-2 in ACC play while Boston College improves to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in ACC play.

Florida 23, LSU 0: The disappointing season for LSU continues. This time the Gators run all over the Tigers in a shutout victory. Gators now 4-0 in SEC play.

Penn State 34, Michigan 31: Penn State scores 21 third quarter points but Michigan scores 18 points in final six minutes in fourth to force overtime. Penn State gets the win with a field goal in the first overtime to drop sloppy Wolverines.

Georgia Tech 35, BYU 14: Georgia Tech improves to 6-0. Should we be paying more attention to these guys?

Washington 45, Oregon 24: The Ducks drop to a shocking 3-3 record while the Huskies move in to the top ten. Only loss for Washington at this point is to No. 2 Stanford (6-0 with win over Utah in this week as well).


WEEK 8

Michigan State 31, Purdue 17: We haven't been paying close enough to the Michigan State Spartans. With this win though the Spartans improve to 7-0 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten. In fact, Michigan State is now ranked third in the country and thinking about a BCS championship out of nowhere. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell passes for four touchdowns in the Spartans victory.

Kansas 21, Oklahoma 18: Another team we have not paid enough attention to is Kansas, who is also off to a surprising 6-0 start following a win against the Sooners. Oklahoma drops to 2-2 in Big 12 play while the Jayhawks hold off a late rally. Could we be seeing a Michigan State vs. Kansas BCS championship match-up?

Alabama 47, Arkansas 17: Arkansas started the season off so well but after getting drubbed by Alabama the Razorbacks are now 4-4, and 0-4 in SEC play. Meanwhile the Crimson Tide remain on top of the college football world, undefeated and ranked number one.

Other notable scores

Louisville 37, Central Florida: The Cardinals got back in the winning column with a big win to bounce back to 6-1 overall.

South Carolina 27, Tennessee 24 (OT): The Gamecocks keep their BCS hopes in view with an overtime victory at Tennessee. The Vols drop to 1-2 in SEC play while Gamecocks move to 4-1 in the conference.

Northwestern 34: Minnesota 16: Wildcats improve to 6-1 overall and remain in hunt for Big Ten championship berth. Minnesota is still 5-2 and in good shape for a bowl bid.

Florida 21, Missouri 14: The Gators continue to roll in SEC play, improving to 5-0 (6-1 overall).

Georgia Tech 38, Syracuse 23: Georgia Tech is now 7-0.

Stanford 35, UCLA 26: The Stanford Cardinal continue to hold down the second best ranking after a win against UCLA. The Cardinal have not been dominant but manage to win on a weekly basis.

Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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