College Football Predictions 2020: Big Ten, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12 Updates

College Football Conference Predictions

Michigan will try to be victors of the West (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire)

Back in August, we posted our 2020 college football preseason predictions for conferences beginning play in the fall. At that point, several conferences had announced plans not to play a fall season in 2020.

Now that the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American (MAC), and Mountain West conferences all will begin 2020 season action in the coming weeks, we are adding our “preseason” predictions for the final conferences to start play, which are listed in this post.

As the season goes on, for the latest college football season predictions by conference, always check our college football projected standings page.

Updates College Football Preseason Predictions Menu

Quick Links to 2020 Predictions By Conference:
Big Ten | Mid-American | Mountain WestPac-12

To learn more about how we make college football predictions, please see the original 2020 college football predictions post.

Note: The win-loss record predictions below are based on current team schedules. As we have seen over the first part of the 2020 college football season, it’s possible that teams cancel games or shift opponents, and those changes would likely impact projections of wins and losses. Still, we always want to preserve a record of how our numbers looked before play began.

Big Ten Football Preseason Predictions 2020

EastConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
Ohio State7.30.77.30.753.8%53.2%
Penn State5.82.25.82.212.8%11.5%
Michigan4.63.44.63.44.0%2.4%
Indiana3.74.33.74.31.1%0.5%
Michigan St2.95.12.95.10.2%0.1%
Maryland2.15.92.15.90.1%0.0%
Rutgers1.86.21.86.20.0%0.0%
WestConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
Wisconsin6.21.86.21.818.2%22.7%
Minnesota5.12.95.12.95.0%6.4%
Iowa3.94.13.94.11.7%1.6%
Nebraska3.54.53.54.51.7%0.6%
Northwestern3.34.73.34.70.7%1.0%
Purdue3.14.93.14.90.5%0.4%
Illinois2.65.42.65.40.3%0.1%

Each Big Ten team will play a 9-game schedule, including Championship Weekend. For eight weeks in a row, teams will play every team in their own division, plus two teams from the other division.

The teams in first place in each division will then meet in the conference title game on December 19th, while that same weekend, the other conference teams will play a ninth game between East and West teams, ideally based on finish, but with some shuffling possible to avoid repeat matchups.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin is our most likely title game matchup. At the other end, Rutgers is expected to bring up the bottom of the Eastern division, while Illinois, coming off a bowl appearance in 2019, is our projected last place finisher in the West.

Most Likely Conference Champion:
Ohio State (53.8% odds)


Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Predictions 2020

EastConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
Buffalo4.51.54.51.523.4%23.0%
Ohio4.31.74.31.720.2%18.4%
Miami (OH)3.82.23.82.210.7%9.8%
Kent State3.03.03.03.02.9%2.8%
Akron1.24.81.24.80.1%0.1%
Bowling Grn1.05.01.05.00.1%0.0%
WestConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
W Michigan3.82.23.82.210.5%11.7%
Toledo3.82.23.82.210.7%11.4%
Ball State3.32.73.32.78.7%7.3%
Central Mich3.03.03.03.07.0%5.7%
N Illinois2.53.52.53.53.9%2.6%
E Michigan1.94.11.94.11.6%1.1%

The Mid-American Conference will begin on November 4th, with teams playing six conference games. The teams will play each of the other five teams in their own division, plus one cross-over matchup. The title game will be played on December 18th.

With the shortened schedule, our projections have the MAC more wide open, with no team projected with at least a 25% chance of winning the conference.

Most Likely Conference Champion:
Buffalo (23.4% odds)


Mountain West Football Preseason Predictions 2020

TeamConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
Boise State6.01.06.51.551.3%24.9%
San Diego St5.02.05.02.012.8%18.5%
Air Force4.21.85.82.215.8%11.1%
Wyoming4.33.74.33.75.4%2.6%
Fresno St4.23.84.23.83.1%3.5%
Colorado St4.04.04.04.04.7%1.5%
Hawaii3.34.73.34.71.3%0.6%
Utah State3.34.73.34.72.2%0.6%
Nevada3.34.73.34.71.3%1.4%
New Mexico3.05.03.05.00.8%0.6%
San Jose St2.85.22.85.20.7%0.2%
UNLV2.55.52.55.50.6%0.2%

The Mountain West will not use a division format this year. Further, some teams are playing fewer than 8 conference games.

Air Force, for example, had already scheduled the Army and Navy games before the rest of the conference decided to return, and so will play only six conference games. Boise State, meanwhile, has a game against BYU out-of-conference.

The top two teams by winning percentage in conference games (regardless of number of games played) will meet in the Mountain West title game. Boise State is the heavy favorite to win the conference, while the other two teams (San Diego State and Air Force) playing less than eight games in conference are projected next.

Most Likely Conference Champion:
Boise State (51.3% odds)


Pac-12 Football Preseason Predictions 2020

NorthConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
Oregon4.71.34.71.331.8%33.4%
Washington3.72.33.72.39.4%9.3%
California3.22.83.22.87.3%6.2%
Stanford3.12.93.12.93.5%3.6%
Wash State2.04.02.04.01.8%0.8%
Oregon St1.54.51.54.50.5%0.4%
SouthConf WConf LOverall WOverall LWin ConfUndef
USC4.81.24.81.228.3%34.6%
Utah3.62.43.62.47.6%9.2%
Arizona St3.22.83.22.85.4%5.4%
UCLA2.63.42.63.43.1%2.0%
Arizona1.84.21.84.20.8%0.6%
Colorado1.74.31.74.30.5%0.4%

The Pac-12 begins play on November 7th and will play a 7-game format. The first six games will be played against the other division opponents, plus one cross-over game against the other division.

The conference championship game will take place on December 18th, and the rest of the conference will also matchup in a 7th game between teams paired up from the North and South divisions.

Oregon and USC are the favorites to meet in the Pac-12 title game, and are seen as roughly co-favorites to win the conference, with Oregon given only slightly higher chances of winning.

Most Likely Conference Champion:
Oregon (31.8% odds)