Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week 13: Saturday Predictions

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday we won't have a detailed breakdown of the interesting games, just a set of predictions. Eddie and I disagree about many of these games: 9 out of 38. In short, this should (continue to) be a crazy week for college football.

I expect to get 26.5 out of 38, Eddie expects to get 26.8 right.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(15)Arkansas33 (8)LSU34 61.8 (14)Arkansas28 (13)LSU27 60.5
(70)Fresno St.37 (85)Idaho35 59.4 (76)Fresno St.38 (94)Idaho24 65.4
(42)California33 (68)Washington29 65.4 (40)California31 (41)Washington24 59.2
(25)Clemson27 (14)South Carolina31 58.7 (26)Clemson25 (16)South Carolina24 51.9
(57)Connecticut32 (43)Cincinnati34 56.5 (51)Connecticut31 (52)Cincinnati24 50.0
(91)Duke26 (34)North Carolina36 83.1 (83)Duke17 (23)North Carolina38 92.2
(92)FIU32 (88)Arkansas St.33 52.5 (92)FIU31 (93)Arkansas St.24 51.0
(21)Florida St.31 (10)Florida35 64.5 (17)Florida St.28 (10)Florida27 75.2
(23)Georgia37 (48)Georgia Tech32 66.2 (20)Georgia35 (43)Georgia Tech21 78.7
(95)Kansas25 (19)Missouri38 89.8 (85)Kansas17 (22)Missouri35 86.9
(90)Marshall34 (109)Tulane28 67.0 (97)Marshall35 (106)Tulane24 57.1
(64)Maryland29 (29)North Carolina St.34 70.4 (55)Maryland24 (24)North Carolina St.28 70.8
(117)Memphis23 (41)UCF41 94.0 (113)Memphis14 (62)UCF48 93.1
(17)Miami-FL31 (56)South Florida25 72.4 (21)Miami-FL31 (57)South Florida17 69.9
(97)Middle Tenn.32 (105)FL-Atlantic29 58.0 (100)Middle Tenn.28 (108)FL-Atlantic20 57.3
(78)Minnesota23 (9)Iowa35 89.6 (79)Minnesota17 (9)Iowa35 89.5
(59)Mississippi30 (39)Mississippi St.32 59.5 (60)Mississippi27 (32)Mississippi St.31 69.6
(120)New Mexico St.23 (51)Hawaii41 94.9 (118)New Mexico St.13 (63)Hawaii45 95.5
(116)New Mexico16 (1)TCU47 99.5 (116)New Mexico10 (1)TCU49 99.2
(108)North Texas29 (52)Kansas St.41 86.0 (109)North Texas10 (37)Kansas St.41 93.4
(112)LA-Monroe34 (110)LA-Lafayette35 50.9 (105)LA-Monroe34 (114)LA-Lafayette24 50.9
(4)Ohio St.39 (46)Michigan27 88.4 (7)Ohio St.41 (50)Michigan20 86.7
(20)Oklahoma St.32 (7)Oklahoma36 67.1 (18)Oklahoma St.27 (8)Oklahoma28 73.9
(30)Penn State31 (36)Michigan St.29 54.6 (44)Penn State28 (38)Michigan St.24 51.5
(80)Purdue32 (87)Indiana29 57.8 (81)Purdue34 (87)Indiana24 54.3
(100)Rice35 (89)UAB39 59.8 (101)Rice32 (90)UAB31 57.3
(66)SDSU39 (102)UNLV30 77.8 (68)SDSU38 (99)UNLV21 76.1
(118)SJSU25 (73)LA Tech37 88.6 (115)SJSU21 (82)LA Tech35 83.5
(27)USC31 (28)Notre Dame30 50.3 (30)USC31 (35)Notre Dame24 54.0
(11)Stanford38 (33)Oregon St.32 67.8 (5)Stanford38 (58)Oregon St.24 86.1
(79)Syracuse24 (63)Boston College27 62.2 (66)Syracuse24 (59)Boston College20 51.2
(49)Tennessee33 (50)Kentucky32 50.3 (39)Tennessee31 (42)Kentucky27 53.2
(55)Texas Tech37 (62)Houston36 54.3 (48)Texas Tech41 (67)Houston27 62.7
(83)Troy41 (111)Western Kentucky33 74.8 (91)Troy35 (112)Western Kentucky21 69.7
(18)Utah33 (47)BYU28 67.6 (36)Utah34 (56)BYU21 66.0
(99)Vanderbilt28 (94)Wake Forest29 54.0 (64)Vanderbilt34 (74)Wake Forest20 63.5
(5)Virginia Tech40 (84)Virginia24 92.5 (6)Virginia Tech38 (73)Virginia10 89.8
(16)Wisconsin38 (67)Northwestern28 78.9 (15)Wisconsin41 (72)Northwestern21 79.9

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week 13: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: Western Michigan (+10, 84 to 74); Wyoming (+8, 112 to 104); UCF (+7, 48 to 41); Rice (+7, 107 to 100).

Biggest drops: Kansas State (-9, 43 to 52); USC (-8, 19 to 27); Syracuse (-8, 71 to 79); Colorado State (-8, 105 to 113).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 13: Top 25 -- TFG

The top 4 continue to maintain a clear separation between the rest of the top 10, the BCS and TFG continue to disagree, and only 3 of the 4 currently undefeated teams are likely to make it to the end of the year with an unblemished record. Also: Clemson.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- TCU 0.9512 0.4553 28.3 8.1 80.7
002-- Boise St. 0.9443 0.3980 30.4 9.1 82.5
003+1 Alabama 0.9210 0.6316 26.8 9.4 78.1
004-1 Ohio St. 0.9182 0.5176 26.8 9.6 79.9
005+2 Virginia Tech 0.8695 0.5672 27.7 12.3 79.6
006-- Oregon 0.8680 0.5542 25.1 11.4 93.0
007+1 Oklahoma 0.8551 0.5815 22.9 10.8 91.0
008-3 LSU 0.8509 0.6181 24.8 11.8 78.3
009-- Iowa 0.8460 0.5827 21.2 10.2 81.3
010-- Florida 0.8365 0.6478 25.1 12.7 81.1
011+2 Stanford 0.8116 0.5652 28.2 15.2 81.7
012-1 Nebraska 0.8053 0.5007 23.2 12.8 79.6
013-1 Auburn 0.7991 0.6234 27.1 15.2 83.7
014+1 South Carolina 0.7836 0.6571 25.0 14.5 79.2
015-1 Arkansas 0.7792 0.6058 27.3 16.0 83.0
016+2 Wisconsin 0.7614 0.5266 27.3 16.7 79.9
017-1 Miami-FL 0.7542 0.6391 20.5 12.8 85.1
018-1 Utah 0.7502 0.4205 23.7 15.0 81.0
019+1 Missouri 0.7502 0.5554 20.0 12.4 85.5
020+1 Oklahoma St. 0.7435 0.4993 23.6 15.2 89.3
021+1 Florida St. 0.7387 0.6012 23.9 15.5 82.3
022+1 Arizona 0.7313 0.5919 19.3 12.7 85.2
023+2 Georgia 0.7282 0.6267 26.2 17.3 76.7
024-- West Virginia 0.7248 0.5205 18.2 12.1 82.6
025NA Clemson 0.7188 0.5775 17.8 11.9 81.5

New arrivals: Clemson.

Dropped out: USC.

TCU remains the clear number 1, although Boise State gains ground after pummeling a hapless Fresno State team. Since we only consider games again I-A opponents, Alabama effectively had a bye week here, while Ohio State snuck by a good Iowa team. From there we see a huge drop-off (around 500 points) to (5) Virginia Tech. The Hokies continue to perform well, even after flubbing a home game against JMU early in the season. (6) Oregon had a bye week and remains in a virtual tie with Virginia Tech for the title of "best of the rest".

For the second year in a row TFG continues to give love to (7) Oklahoma, even as the human pollsters rate the Sooners out of the top 10. (8) LSU survived a scare against Mississippi, but drops a full 1.1 PPH on the defensive efficiency side. (9) Iowa gave the Buckeyes all they could handle but couldn't pull off the win, even with home field advantage. The Hawkeyes will end up being the 7-4 team that no one wants to play in a bowl game. Florida continues to hang around the top 10 because no one else is really stepping up to bridge the gap, although (11) Stanford is certainly trying.

Clemson re-appears in the top 25 yet again. I can only assume they plan to lose this week.

The big game of the week, National-Championship-wise is clearly going to be the Auburn-Alabama game. TFG isn't big on (12) Auburn's chances again the (3) Crimson Tide, due in large part of Alabama's defense. Auburn has played some good defenses so far this year -- namely (8) LSU and (25) Clemson -- and been held below 30 points in both games. Alabama's defense is even better, and the Tigers don't have home field advantage in this one. Auburn's defense is somewhat suspect at this point (tied for 19th in the top 25) and Alabama's offense is nearly as efficient as Auburn's. Even assuming that Auburn manages to win at Alabama -- roughly a 1-in-4 prospect -- they still have to play (14) South Carolina in the SEC title game. The Tigers will be the favorites, but just barely. Expect that game to be a coin toss. TFG pegs Auburn as having a 1-in-7 shot in escaping both games with a win, but a 1-in-3 shot of coming out with two losses.

(6) Oregon has a slightly easier road against (22) Arizona and (33) Oregon State, but should Auburn lose -- and TFG expects they will -- that opens the door to a multitude of scenarios.  Will the door open for a 1-loss Wisconsin team? The current BCS rankings have TCU third and Boise State fourth; will either of these teams get a shot?

With nearly 84% probability, TFG says we'll be answering these questions in the next two weeks. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 13: Mid-Week Predictions

The theme for this week will be "disagreement". All-in-all, Eddie and I disagree on the outcome of 11 out of 54 games. Most of these are ones where the outcome is expected to be close -- neither of us is more than 56% certain about Pitt/WVU or Tulsa/Southern Miss., and the Vegas line on each game is about a field goal. There are even two games we agree on (Texas/Texas A&M and ECU/SMU) where neither of us is particularly sure. Friday is notable as being Boise State's last real challenge on the way to an undefeated season. Neither system thinks too much of Nevada's odds against the Broncos, even at home. TCU has all be wrapped up their undefeated season, so we'll know by Friday night if we'll have one or two non-AQ teams left undefeated.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(103)Miami-OH24 (53)Temple34 82.6 (104)Miami-OH20 (69)Temple34 83.8
(31)Texas32 (32)Texas A&M31 50.5 (33)Texas27 (29)Texas A&M24 52.1
(119)Akron27 (114)Buffalo33 67.5 (120)Akron24 (117)Buffalo25 66.3
(3)Alabama35 (13)Auburn31 74.5 (2)Alabama31 (11)Auburn21 78.0
(44)Arizona St.29 (75)UCLA25 68.0 (28)Arizona St.31 (54)UCLA17 74.2
(96)Bowling Green30 (74)Western Michigan35 68.3 (102)Bowling Green27 (89)Western Michigan31 52.0
(69)East Carolina36 (71)SMU34 50.8 (75)East Carolina35 (NA)SMU31 50.6
(115)Eastern Michigan27 (37)Northern Ill.48 94.1 (119)Eastern Michigan21 (65)Northern Ill.52 92.4
(107)Kent St.28 (72)Ohio34 77.1 (107)Kent St.21 (80)Ohio28 76.7
(12)Nebraska37 (77)Colorado25 86.2 (12)Nebraska38 (61)Colorado17 82.4
(35)Nevada30 (2)Boise St.43 90.3 (31)Nevada28 (4)Boise St.38 83.7
(6)Oregon35 (22)Arizona29 70.7 (3)Oregon38 (19)Arizona21 68.0
(26)Pittsburgh29 (24)West Virginia30 51.3 (27)Pittsburgh21 (25)West Virginia20 54.6
(65)Rutgers29 (54)Louisville31 56.6 (78)Rutgers24 (47)Louisville31 77.1
(82)Toledo31 (76)Central Michigan32 54.3 (96)Toledo28 (84)Central Michigan29 64.4
(58)Tulsa35 (60)Southern Miss.34 51.4 (70)Tulsa31 (53)Southern Miss.32 55.7

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Week 12: Saturday Predictions

As the season progresses there will be fewer expected blowouts, and more and more close games. I expect to get 34.4 of the 47 games correct, while Eddie expects to get 33.6 of the 47 correct. Hopefully this week we can do better than last week's poor showing.

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

Week 12: Saturday Matchups

Game of the Week
North Carolina State Wolfpack at North Carolina Tar Heels.
GUGS Score: 64.4

Justin: Yet another ACC game in the "no one has any clue who's going to win this one" game of the week. We should really start capping how often a team can show up here. Regardless, the (30) Tar Heels host the (29) Wolfpack in a showdown that not many people outside of North Carolina will care about. The Wolfpack are about 1.0 PPH on the good side offensively, but 0.5 PPH off in defensive efficiency. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, home field advantage doesn't matter as much in November as it did in September, so they won't get the boost they're looking for playing in Chapel Hill. Not that this is much of a road game, as the Wolfpack only have a 30 minute bus ride down I-40 to get there. TFG says this one is a coin toss, with the coin favoring the faster-paced Wolfpack, 32-30, but only with 51.1% confidence.
Eddie: Another ACC game that I'm going to get incorrect.  We've talked about both these teams in this space multiple times, so let's get to the numbers.  Neither is pretty offensively, where UNC has a +0.7 PPH advantage.  However, the Tarheels have a decided advantage defensively, sporting a +2.9 PPH advantage.  The game is in Chapel Hill, so add another three points.  Overall, this shapes up to be a Tarheel 31-21 victory at 67.2% confidence.

BCS Game of the Week
West Virginia Mountaineers at Louisville Cardinals
GUGS Score: 57.5

Eddie: Louisville has made tremendous strides under coach Charlie Strong (formerly of Batesville, AR -- my wife's hometown, but I digress).  However, the Cardinals have an extremely high offensive variance of 32.0 PPH.  This doesn't bode well for them because the Mountaineers are a respectable team.  The Louisville offense should expect only 9.7 PPH.  Luckily for them, West Virginia shouldn't be much better at 12.7 PPH.  Home field makes this one closer than it probably should be, but West Virginia should win 24-21.  RBA gives Bill Stewart a 55.6% chance of not screwing this one up.
Justin: TFG has a little bit more faith in the (24) Moutaineers than RBA, and even less faith in the (53) Cardinals. Both teams play a relatively conservative pace -- expect about 163 plays in this game -- and have reasonably good offenses -- 18.8 PPH for WVU, 17.9 PPH for Louisville -- but this game will come down to defense. Mainly it will come down to Louisville's mediocre defense and West Virginia's strong defense. The Mountaineers sport a better defensive efficiency than (11) Nebraska, whereas Louisville is just a shade better than (83) Purdue. In this case, defense will lead West Virginia to a 30-26 victory, with 68.6% confidence.

BCS Upset Watch of the Week
Army Black Knights at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
GUGS Score: 36.8

Justin: Near the end of the season we're scraping the bottom of the barrel for these AQ-versus-non-AQ games, and it shows. (32) Notre Dame hosts (79) Army in a game where the loser will have the better offense; yes, Army has put up better adjusted offensive numbers than the Fighting Irish. Unfortunately Army is also allowing about 9.0 PPH more on defense than Notre Dame; throw in Notre Dame's relatively quick pace, and this one should get out of hand quickly. TFG says the Irish coast to victory by at least a touchdown, with 76.2% confidence.
Eddie: I'm worried about this one.  Don't get me wrong; everything on paper says the Irish roll.  They have a +7.1 PPH offensive advantage and an insane +11.1 PPH defensive advantage.  However, Notre Dame always seems to burn me, especially when they should win big.  RBA says 38-20 with 77.0% confidence.

Kids' Table Game of the Week
Houston Cougars at Southern Miss Golden Eagles
GUGS Score: 58.0

Eddie: This game is a virtual coin flip at 50.2%.  Southern Miss sports a slight +2.1 PPH defensive advantage, while Houston has a +1.1 PPH offensive edge.  They're playing in Hattiesburg, so the Golden Eagles get a three point bump.  In the end, RBA takes the family pick -- Southern Miss over Houston 34-28.
Justin: This game will be fast. Fast, fast, fast. Don't be surprised if these two teams combine for over 180 plays. This game will also feature little to no defense, as both allow in the neighborhood of 19.5 PPH.  Houston has an ever-so-slight edge on offense, though, and that should be enough to return home as victors. TFG says the Cougars take this one, 36-35, but only with 53% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Wolverines.
GUGS Score: 55.0

Michigan drags the average team quality down.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
GUGS Score: 54.7

Great teams, close game (RBA and TFG actually disagree vehemently about this one; RBA says Iowa, TFG says Ohio State), but ultimately a low-scoring affair.

Stanford Cardinal at California Golden Bears
GUGS Score: 51.5

Stanford is going to blow out Cal. Book it. Done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week 12: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: South Carolina (+13, 28 to 15); Tennessee (+13, 63 to 50); Notre Dame (+11, 43 to 32).

Biggest drops: Oregon State (-11, 26 to 37); Mississippi (-10, 53 to 63); Iowa State (-10, 68 to 78).

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 12: Top 25 -- TFG

With just three weeks left in the regular season we're seeing the last chances for teams to make a big impression on the 2010 Tempo-Free Gridiron rankings.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- TCU 0.9483 0.4409 28.1 8.2 80.9
002-- Boise St. 0.9289 0.3820 29.5 9.9 82.6
003-- Ohio St. 0.9232 0.4888 27.3 9.5 79.9
004-- Alabama 0.9189 0.6335 27.1 9.6 78.3
005+4 LSU 0.8734 0.6287 24.4 10.7 78.4
006-- Oregon 0.8684 0.5574 25.0 11.3 92.9
007-- Virginia Tech 0.8679 0.5556 27.3 12.3 79.5
008+2 Oklahoma 0.8476 0.5869 21.8 10.6 91.1
009-4 Iowa 0.8462 0.5497 21.6 10.4 81.2
010-2 Florida 0.8337 0.6442 25.2 12.9 81.2
011+1 Nebraska 0.8101 0.4836 24.1 13.1 79.9
012+1 Auburn 0.8004 0.6225 27.6 15.5 83.8
013+1 Stanford 0.7940 0.5632 27.4 15.5 81.4
014+1 Arkansas 0.7829 0.6009 27.7 16.1 81.9
015NA South Carolina 0.7682 0.6774 22.9 13.8 80.0
016+1 Miami-FL 0.7668 0.6134 20.8 12.5 85.0
017-6 Utah 0.7662 0.4143 23.5 14.4 80.6
018+6 Wisconsin 0.7594 0.5252 27.1 16.7 80.0
019-- USC 0.7467 0.5865 23.5 14.9 85.0
020-- Missouri 0.7379 0.5694 21.0 13.4 85.8
021+2 Oklahoma St. 0.7355 0.5241 23.8 15.6 89.1
022NA Florida St. 0.7310 0.6111 23.8 15.7 82.5
023-7 Arizona 0.7282 0.5896 19.0 12.6 85.2
024NA West Virginia 0.7266 0.5202 18.8 12.4 82.8
025-7 Georgia 0.7225 0.6237 26.1 17.5 76.8

New entries: South Carolina, Florida State, West Virginia.

Dropped out: Clemson, Pittsburgh, Penn State.

Another week, another Clemson Top 25 flip-flop. Penn State found some offense -- and some hope -- against Ohio State for a half, but forgot that the game is a full 60 minutes. Pittsburgh lost a close one to UConn because the Panthers forgot that turning over the ball is a bad idea.

At the top we continue to have four teams that are clearly head-and-shoulders above everyone else. TCU falls a bit closer to the rest, but the Horned Frogs and Boise State continue to be the class of Division I-A football. Ohio State thumped a good Penn State team, and really has a chance to prove that they belong when they visit Iowa on Saturday. A good showing could catapult the Buckeyes into the second-place spot. Alabama is still a solid team, and TFG is seeing their loss at (5) LSU in a much more positive light. The gap between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers is still massive in the eyes of TFG, though; the gap between (4) Alabama and (5) LSU is larger than the gap from (5) LSU to (10) Florida. (6) Oregon didn't do themselves any favors by eeking out a 2-point win over not-top-25 Cal, and got lucky with a 64-yard punt return for a TD.

(7) Virginia Tech inches closer to the Ducks, as TFG's love affair with (8) Oklahoma continues for another year. We round out the top 10 with a pair of teams on the way down: (9) Iowa -- suffering from an embarrassing loss to Northwestern -- and (10) Florida -- still off the mark, offense-wise.

In another interesting development, (15) South Carolina vaulted into the top 25 by improving about 1.0 PPH on both sides of the ball in a single game. Right now we're on track for an Auburn/South Carolina SEC title game, and unlike last year's showdown between then-(1) Florida and then-(3) Alabama, neither team will be in the TFG top 25. It's not entirely unrealistic for Auburn to drop their last two games of the year, leaving us without a representative from the SEC in the National Title game. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 12: Full Rankings -- RBA

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 12: Top 25 -- RBA

There aren't many significant changes this week, so this announcement will be short.

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
004+4Virginia Tech0.95280.530624.29.379.2
006+1Boise St.0.94420.457027.09.984.7
007+3Ohio St.0.93970.529326.08.479.7
019--Oklahoma St.0.84420.548324.213.685.7
020-2Florida St.0.83980.551918.411.483.4
022-2North Carolina0.82400.548421.08.281.8
024-1South Carolina0.80630.545417.911.378.9

New additions:  Missouri, Clemson
Dropped out:  Pittsburgh, Nevada

The TCU, Oregon, Alabama triumvirate continue to outpace the rest of the field, in spite of their recent troubles.  TCU played a relatively ugly game against San Diego State, but one game doesn't make or break a ranking (unless you lose to Washington State -- more on this later).  TCU has been dominant defensively all, and the SDSU game doesn't make a huge impact.  Likewise, Oregon's slow day at Cal doesn't do a lot to hurt their reputation as an offensive machine.  Alabama continues to play efficiently on both sides of the ball and holds their #3 ranking in spite of their two losses.

I don't normally talk about action outside of the Top 25 in this space, but I can't help commenting on the Washington State-Oregon State upset.  By virtue of pounding the Beavers, the Cougars jumped an amazing 31 places in this week's poll.  On then flip side, Oregon State fell off a cliff, tumbling 41 spots.  This marks the single largest jump in the polls that I remember.

Week 12: Mid-Week Predictions

We're running a bit late this week since I moved and had all my computers in boxes, but we're back and are getting up to speed. There are two potentially close games in the middle part of this week: Bowling Green at Toledo and UCLA at Washington. Last week was a bit of an off week for both systems, so we're hoping to recover and look a little less wrong.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(49)Temple33 (77)Ohio28 68.6 (62)Temple34 (88)Ohio17 69.8
(120)Akron27 (101)Miami-OH35 78.0 (120)Akron21 (103)Miami-OH31 80.0
(85)Toledo35 (92)Bowling Green33 55.9 (92)Toledo31 (102)Bowling Green24 52.8
(106)UNLV25 (39)Air Force38 87.5 (99)UNLV21 (46)Air Force38 85.6
(73)Washington29 (69)UCLA31 54.5 (51)Washington31 (52)UCLA24 54.1
(2)Boise St.45 (67)Fresno St.28 93.4 (6)Boise St.49 (72)Fresno St.24 90.1

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week 11: Saturday Predictions

This is a contentious week, as Eddie and I disagree on 7 of the 50 games. I expect to get 36.1 of these right (i.e., most likely 36) and Eddie expects to get 34.9 correct.

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

Week 11: Saturday Matchups

Game of the Week
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Texas Longhorns.
GUGS Score: 73.2

Eddie: On one hand, we have (19) Oklahoma State with an explosive offense.  On the other, we have (28) Texas, who lost to Iowa State and Baylor.  The Longhorns have two things going for them:  a decent defense that should hold Oklahoma State to 14.6 PPH and home field advantage.  Oklahoma State lost to the only respectable defense they faced -- Nebraska.  RBA says this one is a coin flip at 50.5% confidence but settles on Texas, 28-27.
Justin: The (29) Longhorns have fallen off significantly on the offensive side since last year; this is a problem since the (23) Cowboys have a relatively explosive offense at 23.8 PPH, a good 2.9 PPH better than Texas. What Texas lacks in offense they make up for in defense, with a 1.0 PPH better than Oklahoma State. On a neutral field this would tip towards Oklahoma State, but this is being played in Austin, which tips the balance in Texas' favor but just barely. TFG says this will be the closest game of the week as Texas wins 35-33, but only with 50.7% confidence.

BCS Game of the Week
Southern California Trojans at Arizona Wildcats.
GUGS Score: 70.7

Justin: This top-20 Pac-10 showdown is effectively a battle over 3rd place in the conference. The top two spots are locked down by (6) Oregon and (14) Stanford, but the (19) Trojans and (16) Wildcats are competing with (26) Oregon State and (41) Cal for the "best of the rest" title. USC -- which depended so much on their defense last year -- have slipped on that side of the ball to the point where they're aspiring to be as good defensively as (43) Notre Dame. The Wildcats, however, are currently tied for the 11th-best defense in I-A, which is good because their offense needs help. At 19.6 PPH the Wildcats sport the 3rd-worst offense in the top 25, which is nearly 4.0 PPH behind USC. The game is in Tucson, though, which should give Arizona just enough of a bump to pull out a narrow victory, 32-30, but only with 55.0% confidence.
Eddie: (15) Southern Cal isn't very good on the defensive side of the ball at 17.0 PPH, but their offense is pretty good.  The Trojan offense should put up 18.9 PPH against (17) Arizona's 14.9 PPH defense.  The Wildcats should have plenty of opportunities themselves with a decent 15.3 PPH offense.  In the end, we have nice close game with plenty of scoring.  RBA says Arizona over Southern Cal, 31-27, with 58.3% confidence.

BCS Upset Watch of the Week
Utah Utes at Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
GUGS Score: 48.3

Eddie: RBA has never taken to (31) Utah and has always seemed a bit enamored with (49) Notre Dame, but this prediction seems a little squirrelly.  Notre Dame has played several close games this year and isn't quite as bad as their record indicates.  Utah isn't as good as their record indicates because they really haven't beaten anybody of note and got destroyed by TCU last week.  However, the Utes have a pretty explosive offense at 19.4 PPH facing off against a fairly weak Irish defense at 18.0 PPH.  In the end, home field advantage makes this one closer than expected, but Utah should walk away with a 28-27 win at 71.0% confidence.  (Remember: confidence is likelihood a team wins, irrespective of the expected score.)
Justin: TFG, on the other hand, is rather fond of (11) Utah and doesn't expect (43) Notre Dame to have a great chance of pulling off the upset. The Fighting Irish have a respectable defense that's only 1.0 PPH adrift of Utah, but the Utes sport a 7.7 PPH advantage on offense. Even though this one's being played in South Bend, TFG says Notre Dame can't stop Utah's offense and loses by a touchdown, 35-28.

Kids' Table Game of the Week
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at Houston Cougars.
GUGS Score: 57.2

Justin: Once again this game ends up looking more interesting than the BCS Upset Watch game. The (58) Cougars are on a slide after losing their quarterback, so TFG may still be too optimistic about their odds. (61) Tulsa is on a bit of an upswing with no bad losses since a thumping at Oklahoma State. Both teams are extremely close to the definition of average, with around 20 PPH on both the offensive and defensive ends (plus or minus 0.8 PPH). This game, however, is going to be high-scoring. Both teams average over 175 plays per game, and both have lax defenses. TFG says this shootout goes to Houston, 38-36, but only with 56.0% confidence.
Eddie: (62) Houston and (69) Tulsa are going to score some points.  The Cougars and Golden Hurricane offenses come in at 19.2 PPH and 17.5 PPH, respectively.  Their defenses aren't particularly good at 18.8 PPH and 20.0 PPH.  The only question is how many plays they're going to fit into this game.  Thanks to a marginal efficiency advantage and home field, Houston should win this one by a touchdown, 38-31, at 52.3% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Georgia Bulldogs at Auburn Tigers.
GUGS Score: 62.3

This game will be much closer than the conventional wisdom expects, as both systems give the Bulldogs better than 1-in-3 odds of pulling off the upset.

South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators.
GUGS Score: 41.7

Outside of a bad loss to Alabama, Florida has two losses by a total of 6 points. South Carolina just got thumped by Arkansas, and both systems expect this to be about as close.

Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio State Buckeyes.
GUGS Score: 34.9

Neither system gives Penn State better than a 1-in-5 shot of winning this one.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week 10: Wrap-Up

Eddie's long slow slide continues through Week 10, dropping another game to Justin.  Week 11 promises great volatility with many differing picks.

Record: 35-17 (67.3%)
The Good:  Nothing went well last week for RBA.  Not a single upset was correct, and the expected number of games was off by two, implying that the picks were too conservative.
The Bad:  Florida State choking away another game against North Carolina.  This marks the second time in as many weeks that the Seminoles have added a -1 to RBA's performance.
The Ugly:  Logic says that Navy-East Carolina should occupy this spot.  However, finishing two games from the bottom of the Prediction Tracker is ugly.  This was a bad week for RBA, and there's no sugarcoating it, even though it only predicted 33.3 correct for the week.

Record: 36-16 (69.2%)
The Good: About the only good thing for this week was that I still managed to pull another game ahead of Eddie. Which brings us to ...
The Bad: This was a bit of a mixed week. There were 20 games that were expected to be close -- the favorite was less than 70% likely to win -- and in those I went 7-13. There were several unlucky bounces, I just didn't suffer as many of them as Eddie.
The Ugly: Oklahoma is letting me down again. Dammit.

Justin: 381-119  (76.2%)
Eddie: 379-121  (75.8%)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week 11: Full Rankings -- RBA

Full rankings after the jump.

Week 11: Top 25 -- RBA

Few significant changes in a week that featured so many upsets (LSU-Alabama, Texas A&M-Oklahoma, Texas-Kansas State) and near upsets (Nebraska-Iowa State, Iowa-Indiana).

Rank+/-TeamWinPctSoSOff PtsDef PtsPace
007+2Boise St.0.94040.458627.29.884.7
008-1Virginia Tech0.92700.531324.19.079.2
010+1Ohio St.0.92610.529225.38.579.8
018--Florida St.0.84230.552318.611.683.5
019+9Oklahoma St.0.83480.546524.114.085.7
020+1North Carolina0.82760.546819.77.481.9
023-4South Carolina0.80000.544318.310.978.9

New entries:  Oklahoma State, Nevada, Wisconsin

Dropped out:  Missouri, Texas, Utah

Not all losses are created equal.  (3) Alabama loses 0.0044 for losing a close one to (12) LSU, but (9) Nebraska loses 0.0172 EWP for narrowly beating (63) Iowa State.  Meanwhile, (31) Utah tumbles down 0.0804 EWP for getting annihilated at home by (1) TCU.  These games illustrate a few key points about RBA and its ranking mechanism.

First, Alabama performed about as well as expected.  RBA expected a 24-21 Alabama victory, but LSU won 24-17.  In other words, Alabama underperformed by four points and LSU outperformed by three points.  This isn't a world-changing loss.  Efficiencies are adjusted, as you would expect.  Alabama's offense goes from 35.3 +/- 20.2 PPH to 35.8 +/- 21.4 PPH.  Their defense goes from 3.5 +/- 7.4 PPH to 2.8 +/- 9.1 PPH.  Their offense and defense become slightly less consistent, but they are still extremely good.  Therefore, Alabama stays about where they are.

Second, Nebraska played an unnecessarily tight game against Iowa State.  RBA expected a 38-20 Nebraska victory but got a 31-30 overtime settled by a perfect fake with an atrocious throw.  By allowing more points than expected to a terrible team, Nebraska's defense downgraded from 5.5 +/- 9.0 PPH to 6.3 +/- 8.7 PPH.  Against top competition, consistently sound defense is important, so Nebraska drops despite winning.

Finally, Utah got throttled by TCU at home.  RBA didn't expect a win, but it certainly didn't expect 41-7.  Utah's defense took a huge hit, jumping from 0.7 +/- 20.9 PPH to 0 +/- 27.3 PPH.  This means that a 160 play game against 0.900 EWP competition (top 12) can expect to score 9.1 more points than last week.  Likewise, their offense takes a dive from 37.1 +/- 24.1 PPH to 38.9 +/- 28.9 PPH.  All this adds up to a severe drop in EWP

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 11: Mid-Week Predictions

A relatively boring start to the week. Only six games, and with the exception of Ball State at Buffalo there shouldn't be too much drama.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(49)Northern Ill.36 (86)Toledo29 75.5 (68)Northern Ill.41 (92)Toledo17 76.7
(92)Bowling Green34 (101)Miami-OH31 63.8 (100)Bowling Green28 (103)Miami-OH21 64.6
(90)UAB33 (62)East Carolina38 66.1 (96)UAB28 (71)East Carolina34 67.7
(64)Connecticut28 (21)Pittsburgh34 71.3 (57)Connecticut20 (25)Pittsburgh28 75.9
(112)Buffalo34 (111)Ball St.30 54.1 (110)Buffalo28 (114)Ball St.24 66.8
(89)Idaho24 (2)Boise St.46 96.5 (95)Idaho17 (7)Boise St.55 96.3

Week 11: Full Rankings -- TFG

Biggest jumps: Navy (+8, 46 to 38); Kansas State (+8, 52 to 44); BYU (+8, 67 to 59).

Biggest drops: Texas (-9, 20 to 29); California (-8, 33 to 41); Middle Tennessee State (-8, 86 to 94); UNLV (-8, 105 to 113).

Week 11: Top 25 -- TFG

With four weeks left in the season before conference championships start, we're down to four undefeated teams. One top team passed a challenge with flying colors, while another hopeful dropped a must-win game.

Rank +/- Team WinPct SoS Off Pts Def Pts Pace
001-- TCU 0.9653 0.4606 28.9 7.0 80.4
002-- Boise St. 0.9327 0.4010 30.4 10.0 82.0
003+1 Ohio St. 0.9173 0.4644 26.6 9.6 80.1
004-1 Alabama 0.9112 0.6274 27.0 10.0 78.1
005-- Iowa 0.8715 0.5576 22.6 10.0 80.6
006+1 Oregon 0.8695 0.5433 26.0 11.7 93.1
007-1 Virginia Tech 0.8597 0.5489 27.5 12.8 79.2
008+1 Florida 0.8576 0.6234 26.0 12.3 81.2
009+3 LSU 0.8442 0.6733 23.7 11.6 79.1
010-2 Oklahoma 0.8277 0.5987 21.2 11.0 91.8
011-1 Utah 0.8173 0.4095 25.7 13.8 81.5
012-1 Nebraska 0.8035 0.5111 24.9 13.8 80.6
013-- Auburn 0.7912 0.6098 26.7 15.3 84.0
014+2 Stanford 0.7886 0.5580 28.1 16.1 81.5
015+4 Arkansas 0.7746 0.6313 26.8 15.9 82.5
016-2 Arizona 0.7456 0.5814 19.6 12.5 84.9
017+1 Miami-FL 0.7439 0.6175 20.4 13.0 85.1
018+7 Georgia 0.7410 0.5922 25.8 16.6 77.1
019-2 USC 0.7406 0.5704 23.5 15.1 84.6
020-5 Missouri 0.7387 0.5650 20.6 13.1 85.6
021+2 Pittsburgh 0.7330 0.5595 23.0 15.1 80.1
022+2 Penn State 0.7306 0.5992 19.1 12.5 80.5
023NA Oklahoma St. 0.7239 0.5198 23.8 15.9 89.4
024NA Wisconsin 0.7198 0.5403 25.2 16.9 80.2
025NA Clemson 0.7176 0.5937 18.4 12.3 81.8

New entries: Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Clemson.

Dropped out: Oregon State, South Carolina, Texas.

For the fourth time in five weeks, Clemson makes an appearance in our "New entries"/"Dropped out" list. The Tigers continue to hover around the (25) spot and vault Florida State as the third-best team in a continually crazy ACC.

At the top, however, TCU continues to do everything they can to impress both the computers and the humans of the BCS. In this case they visited the (11) Utah Utes and stomped their hosts by 40. TCU's defensive efficiency continues to plummet to simply unreal levels, this time hitting 7.0 PPH. (3) Ohio State posts the second-best defense in I-A, but is a full 2.6 PPH behind TCU. To put TCU's defensive effort into perspective, the last time a Utah team was held to single digits was a 27-0 loss to UNLV in September of 2007.

(2) Boise State solidifies its hold on the second spot, as (3) Ohio State's off week allowed them to leapfrog a (4) Alabama team that lost a close game to (9) LSU. (5) Iowa held on for a close win, thanks once again to defense.

(6) Oregon is still moving in the right direction in the rankings, but is still held back by the new feature introduced into the rankings this year: adjusted yardage efficiency. The Ducks score in spades -- they have the 8th most-efficient offense this year -- but don't get many yards per play. In fact, Oregon ranks 37th in adjusted yardage efficiency, with just 363 yards per 100 plays (YPH). Compare this to Auburn (415 YPH), Boise State (429 YPH) or TCU (438 YPH). Oregon's style on offense includes a lot of quick, short hits, and the occasional long strike that gets opened by having worn down the defense. Taking out the yardage efficiency wouldn't move Oregon above 6th, but it would put the Ducks much closer to the top tier.

Later this week we'll take one last look at the four remaining undefeated teams, as well as a handful of the one-loss teams that could shake things up.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 10: Saturday Predictions

Full predictions after the jump. Justin's picks are in blue, Eddie's are in yellow.

There are 46 games today. Justin expects to get 33.4 correct; Eddie expects to get 33.3 correct.

Week 10: Saturday Matchups

You'll have to forgive Eddie for being brief in his descriptions because he is on vacation in Seattle.

This week sees two of the 20 best games all year, according to GUGS, and expect the quality to improve from here on out. Each of the next two weeks sports three of the top 20 games. But first, we examine

Game of the Week
Arizona Wildcats at Stanford Cardinal
GUGS Score: 77.9

Justin: The (14) Wildcats play a defense just as efficient as the Oregon D that shut down Stanford in the second half in Palo Alto. The (16) Stanford offense, however, has moved on since the Oregon loss to establish themselves as the third-most-efficient offense in I-A, behind only (2) Boise State and (7) Virginia Tech. Stopping Stanford at home will be difficult, and TFG suspects the Wildcats won't be able to pull it off. On a neutral field this one would go to Arizona, but home field advantage is just barely enough to give this one to the Cardinal, 35-31, but only with 53% confidence.
Eddie: They aren't particularly flashy, but (5) Stanford is beastly on offense, averaging 22.4 PPH even against (14) Arizona.  The Wildcats aren't bad on either side of the ball, with an expected 15.5 PPH and 14.6 PPH for offense and defense, respectively.  With the game in Palo Alto, RBA thinks that Arizona simply can't keep up offensively to take down the Cardinal.  RBA predicts a well-contested game where Stanford pulls away late, 34-24, with 51.9% confidence.

BCS Game of the Week
Arkansas Razorbacks at South Carolina Gamecocks
GUGS Score: 70.6

Eddie: (18) South Carolina had issues on defense last week against Tennessee but has generally played pretty well defensively.  First quarter against Vanderbilt aside, (17) Arkansas has been unstoppable offensively since the Alabama game.  Although Arkansas has a +3.6 PPH offensive advantage, South Carolina compensates with a +3.1 PPH defensive advantage.  In a game this close, home field advantage makes the difference.  RBA says South Carolina over Arkansas, 31-27, with 59.9% confidence.  Stupid computer.
Justin: I arranged this one so Eddie would get first say about his beloved (19) Razorbacks. Having said that, my computer pretty much agrees with his. The (21) Gamecocks would lose on a neutral field, but once again home field advantage comes into play. Arkansas continues to have issues on defense, whereas South Carolina struggles on offense. For a low-possession game -- expect about 162 plays -- this will be a relatively high-scoring affair. Expect to see South Carolina eek out some points at the end in a 34-32 victory, but only with 53.6% confidence.

BCS Upset Watch of the Week:
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at Mississippi Rebels.
GUGS Score: 21.0

Justin: It was either this or (63) Tennessee at (115) Memphis, so (107) Louisiana-Lafayette at (51) Mississippi it is. GUGS calls this the 578th-most interesting (or 101st least interesting) game in I-A ball this year. Ole Miss sports a +6.0 PPH advantage on defense and a 9.3 PPH advantage on defense. Expect the Rebels to cruise by at least two touchdowns, 42-28.
Eddie:  While Houston Nutt losing to both Jacksonville State and (113) Louisiana-Lafayette in the same season would be hilarious (and my cousins would never live it down), it's simply not going to happen.  (51) Ole Miss sports a +15.5 PPH offensive advantage and a +14.2 PPH defensive advantage.  This one screams blowout, 42-17, with 87.8% confidence.

Kids' Table Game of the Week
Navy Midshipmen at East Carolina Pirates.
GUGS Score: 60.9

Eddie: We see a lot of (65) East Carolina in this space.  This week, they match up against (45) Navy and their 16.4 PPH offense and 13.6 PPH defense.  The Pirates are in trouble defensively at 19.7 PPH but have a modest +1.2 PPH offensive advantage.  Navy plays slow, so we can expect the overall effect of efficiencies to be muted.  Home field makes this one a dandy with an East Carolina upset, 29-28, at 55.5%.
Justin: The reason we see a lot of the (57) Pirates here is that they play a lot of decent Big Six conference schools. In this case they play another team that fits that description, the (46) Midshipmen. This game will be a contrast in styles; ECU will speed things up, while Navy will play the deliberate pace often seen in teams from military academies. Both teams are good but not great; Navy has a 0.8 PPH advantage on offense and a 0.5 PPH advantage on defense. Both of those are on a neutral field, though, but this one is being played in Carolina. Home field advantage tips this coin toss to ECU, but by the slimmest of margins; look for this one to come down to the absolute last drive, with a field goal and the game on the line. TFG says the Pirates survive to take home the victory, 34-33, but only with 50.7% confidence.

Games you probably wanted us to preview:

Alabama Crimson Tide at LSU Tigers.

Despite their freak loss to South Carolina, Alabama remains one of the elite teams in college football. LSU is good, but not that good. The Crimson Tide are better than 2-to-1 favorites to win what will likely be a low-scoring affair.

TCU Horned Frogs at Utah Utes.

Both TFG and RBA have TCU as the top team in the land; Utah is a top-20 team (or top-10, depending on which ranking system you prefer), but that's not going to be enough here. Both systems agree TCU wins by about a touchdown with 78% confidence.

Week 9: Wrap-Up

What goes up must come down, as evidenced by Eddie's week 9 collapse. We disagreed on four games, and Eddie missed every one.

Record: 36-17 (67.9%)
The Good: I took a bit grief for suggesting that Penn State could beat Michigan without the majority of their defense. Scoreboard: Penn State 41 - Michigan 31.
The Bad: I knew they would screw it up the moment Notre Dame got the ball in field goal position. Notre Dame blew it by throwing a late with under a minute, falling to Tulsa 29-28 at home.
The Ugly: Several picks could fill this position in a week with 17 misses, so let's pick five in particular. I went 0-fer the ACC, including an epic WTF for Maryland 62 - Wake Forest 14.

Record: 40-13 (75.5%)
The Good:  Making good strides catching up to Eddie, and even against the rest of the contestants on the Prediction Tracker. I continue to be on-target with my expected win percentage, all of which are reassuring.
The Bad: Texas continues to disappoint and slide down the rankings, and Miami blew one against Virginia, despite UVa's best efforts to hand the game back to them later.
The Ugly: Navy/Duke ... what happened? Some digging through the history books shows that only six times in the last ten years have both Duke and UVa won on the same day ... and week 9 made it seven times.

Justin: 345-103 (77.0%)
Eddie: 344-104 (76.8%)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 10: Mid-Week Predictions

We actually have six mid-week games this week, two of which Eddie and I disagree over.  I went 4-0 in these disagreements last week, but I don't expect my luck to hold up, especially not when both of these games are effective coin tosses. Houston is managing to hold up in spite of losing their starting QB, but haven't played anyone as good as UCF all season. This one will be a real test of their offense.

Home Visitors Odds Home Visitors Odds
(91)Arkansas St.30 (86)Middle Tenn.31 50.1 (95)Arkansas St.27 (92)Middle Tenn.24 54.8
(54)South Florida29 (58)Rutgers27 57.0 (57)South Florida28 (74)Rutgers21 59.6
(79)Ohio34 (112)Buffalo28 78.6 (85)Ohio35 (109)Buffalo14 83.8
(6)Virginia Tech39 (38)Georgia Tech30 81.7 (7)Virginia Tech35 (34)Georgia Tech20 78.5
(80)Central Michigan32 (88)Western Michigan29 58.7 (86)Central Michigan31 (91)Western Michigan24 60.5
(60)Houston34 (42)UCF35 54.0 (63)Houston34 (60)UCF28 51.8