2020 GRT picks: Week 1

As we said in the 2020 college football TV schedule post Wednesday, beginning slowly means there’s only a handful of games this week. Our picks this year come with a major caveat, especially this week, namely that there’s a new villain in town. The Unknowable threatens to wreak havoc over all attempts to predict anything in this crazy season.

Why do we do this?

Even though we’re using Vegas spreads and other gamblingy words, our primary purpose in discussing such things and making predictions isn’t to help you lose less of your hard-earned money by making smarter wagers, it’s to hopefully enhance the entertainment value of the season by making us all better-informed fans. As it turns out, the folks in Vegas have a proven track record of knowing their stuff when it comes to these things, which makes sense for folks actually putting real money where their collective mouths are.

So like it or not, Vegas is the standard, and whether we know what we’re talking about is best measured by comparing our predictions to theirs and others who are also trying to outsmart them. If you can do so more than half the time, you’re doing pretty well.

Bottom line, we’re just hoping to help you sound smart when talking with your friends Friday afternoons before Gamedays. And if you also win your office pool, well, gravy’s good.

Final GRT SPM results for 2019

So, how’d the old GRT Statsy Preview Machine do last year? You may recall that last year we tracked three sets of data: (1) all FBS-vs-FBS games (“FBS games”), (2) those games that were also above a certain confidence level; and (3) those FBS games that were also within a certain confidence range. How do we determine confidence? The SPM spits out a projected spread for each game, and the further this number is from the Vegas opening spread, the higher the level of confidence. To be in category 2, the confidence level must be over 9, and to be in category 3, the confidence level must be between 9 and 14.

For all FBS games last season, the SPM was 382-373 (50.60%). For the ones in category 2, it was 147-119 (55.26%), and in the sweet spot that is category 3, it was 87-54 (61.70%).


  • Category 1: Strong opinions about these games too often taste like crow.
  • Category 2: Opinions about these are a little safer, but it is not advised to get too cocky about them.
  • Category 3: If you’re going to beat your chest about any of the week’s games, do it about these. This is especially true if another predictive system like Bill Connelly’s SP+ likes any of the same games. Just remember, that even on the best days, you’re likely to be wrong four out of 10 times.

GRT SPM 2020 Week 1 Picks

With another word of warning about The Unknowable, here are the Statsy Preview Machine’s picks for Week 1 of the 2020 college football season:

Of those, BYU-Navy is the only Category 3 game.

How are y’all feeling about those?

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