Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Week 4 College Football Conference Breakdown; Pac-10 #1, SEC #2, Big-12 #3

With most conferences playing the bulk of their non-conference schedule early in the year, we now have enough data to take a look at how the various conferences compare.  See the table at the bottom of this entry for the details where the average, high, and low ratings for each conference according to the computer are tallied.

In what may be a surprise, the Pac-10 has the highest average ahead of the SEC.  The Big-12, Big-Televen, and ACC fall in behind and what isn't a surprise is that the Big-East trails all other BCS conferences.

Why is the Pac-10 ahead of the SEC right now?  Simply put, it comes down to schedule strength to this point.  The average schedule strength for Pac-10 teams is 69.014 right now compared to 66.950 for the SEC.  That over 2 point gap is actually slightly greater than the gap between average team ratings so if the SEC had played a similar schedule to this point they'd likely be #1.  Also, the one direct connection between the conferences had Oregon thumping Tennessee.

Why is the schedule strength that much lower?  It is primarily because the Pac-10 has played against teams like Nevada (#4), TCU (#6), Iowa (#10), Boise St (#12), Nebraska (#15), Oklahoma St (#26), and Texas (#30) while the SEC has only played Oregon (#5), Clemson (#21), Penn St (#24), and Northwestern (#29).

The  Pac-10 certainly has highs and lows in their ratings though with WSU being the worst at #103 while the SEC worst is only #79 Tennessee.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Week 4 College Football Projections; Nevada, TCU, and Stanford Undefeated

Now things get interesting!  With the shake-up in the rankings, the regular season projected records are a bit of a surprise.  Here is what my computer projects and below are the 1-loss and undefeated teams.

And there are 3 projected to finish undefeated and Alabama and Ohio State aren't any of them.  Rather it is BCS busters Nevada and TCU, and what appears to be a hot Stanford team.

Stanford will be tested right away visiting Oregon next week and has a pretty good chance of finishing with one loss (40%) so them finishing unblemished is certainly not a given.

Nevada on the other hand, like Boise State, is now entering the easy part of their schedule.  The only game on their schedule that should be a test is Boise State and that game is in Reno.  With convincing wins hosting Cal and at BYU, if they beat BSU they can make a decent case for getting into the BCS.

TCU's only real opponent on the schedule is at Utah so they too are looking good.

There are a host of teams projected to have 1 loss that have a decent chance at an undefeated season, those being tOSU (44% up from 36%), Alabama (35%), NC State (30%), Boise State (21%), and Florida (8%).

It is a bit of a surprise to see NC State with such a good chance, but after next week's game hosting VaTech (#20), their only game against a team ranked higher than #45 is at Clemson (#21) so they have a chance.

Team Record % chance % +1 % -1
Team Record % chance % +1 % -1
Nevada 13-0 62.9 0.0 32.9
TCU 12-0 69.1 0.0 28.7
Stanford 12-0 50.0 0.0 39.9
Temple 11-1 63.0 0.0 31.1
Boise St 11-1 56.1 18.1 22.1
Ohio State 11-1 45.9 43.5 9.9
Alabama 11-1 45.8 34.9 16.8
North Carolina St 11-1 45.0 30.1 20.4
Florida 11-1 42.3 8.3 36.1

2010 Week 4 College Football Rankings and Review; Stanford #1, Ohio State #2, Alabama #3

Week 4 brought some surprises on the field and a bunch in the resulting rankings.  The full rankings are on the web-site, but the top-30 is below for quick reference.

Alabama's stay at #1 ends, replaced by a Stanford team that has looked impressive, and Ohio State passes them too at #2 dropping Alabama to #3.  Why is this?  It is a combination of several factors including:

  • Alabama won by less than expected against Arkansas (4 vs 10)
  • Alabama past opponent Duke lost to Army when the computer expected them to win
  • Alabama past opponent San Jose State was thumped by Utah 56-3
  • Alabama's pre-season rating (far and away #1) is less than 10% of their current rating, it was around 25% last week
  • Stanford thumped Notre Dame by more than expected
  • Stanford past opponent UCLA thumped Texas on the road when expected to lose
  • Stanford's pre-season rating (#23) is no longer holding them down as much
  • Ohio State prior opponent Miami won big at Pittsburgh
It can be useful to look at performance charts as well, here are the top-3:

You can see how important Stanford's win over UCLA and Ohio State's win over Miami are at this point of the season.  As more meaningful games are added and as those team rise or fall, things could change.  You can also see that Alabama is rated where they were after week 1, the other teams have just passed them by primarily due to their week 2 opponents improving.

Performance charts for all teams are available as part of a newsletter subscription.

Behind the top 3 is Nevada (helped by Cal losing by only 1) and Oregon was #2 last week but fell a few spots after a closer than expected win.

The BCS buster watch begins at #6 where TCU stays and Boise State actually falls from #9 to #12 after a less than stellar win.  BSU is helped by Nevada being highly rated at this point so a win over them (if they stay highly rated) will count nicely, but they have some ground to make up to just catch TCU.

Picking games, the computer stunk (as is often the case one of the first four weeks and this was that week) going 24-34 against the spread and 46-12 picking winners while Vegas went 51-7 picking winners.  The computer is still 103-90-1 against the spread for the year though.  Full prediction performance here.

Look for season projections and preview of the upcoming week here and on the web-site.

1Stanford95.2024-066.961+2, +7.848
2Ohio State88.0794-063.221+8, +5.241
3Alabama87.8164-067.184-2, -5.370
4Nevada85.8044-062.773+11, +5.356
5Oregon85.6164-058.432-3, -2.984
6TCU85.3304-065.782+0, +0.810
7Arizona84.4744-067.844+4, +1.856
8Florida83.9144-064.240-3, -1.900
9LSU83.7374-072.167-2, -0.183
10Iowa83.6403-161.839+3, +3.117
11Miami FL83.4992-167.545+15, +8.372
12Boise St82.6203-070.586-3, -0.309
13UCLA81.1762-280.542+28, +8.974
14North Carolina St80.9614-064.397+11, +5.747
15Nebraska80.6324-057.988-11, -5.827
16California80.5172-271.923+21, +7.198
17Auburn79.0504-069.656+3, +2.692
18Kansas St79.0484-069.427+15, +5.371
19Arkansas78.5763-164.552-3, -1.799
20Virginia Tech78.3932-272.276-2, -0.015
21Clemson77.5452-153.678+7, +2.770
22Oklahoma76.8714-066.453-10, -4.494
23South Carolina76.8113-166.697-6, -3.187
24Penn State76.4963-167.870-5, -1.533
25Michigan76.4724-064.472+17, +4.496
26Oklahoma St76.3813-060.022-5, +0.056
27Missouri75.9644-059.847+28, +5.607
28Air Force75.6303-158.969-14, -4.876
29Northwestern75.5464-065.533+7, +2.209
30Texas75.4153-167.378-22, -7.574

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010 Week 4 College Football Preview; Stanford/Notre Dame, South Carolina/Auburn, Cal/Arizona, Boise State/Oregon State, Alabama/Arkansas

There are a few interesting games this weekend, so here is a preview.

First, Stanford visits Notre Dame favored by 2.5.  Stanford's offense has been rolling leading to a #3 ranking by the computer while Notre Dame's heart breaking losses have them at #59 resulting in a Stanford pick by 14.8 so the clear pick is Stanford giving the points.

In a game between two top-20 teams (in the polls and computer), computer #17 South Carolina visits #20 Auburn.  The game line is Auburn by 3 and being at home does help them in the computers pick but not enough as South Carolina is the pick by 0.6 so take the points.

California visits Arizona licking their wounds after losing to Nevada last week.  Arizona is a 6.5 point pick by Vegas after their big win and the computer says that isn't enough setting it at 12.3.  Unless Cal bounces back and Arizona has a let down from last week the pick is clear.

In what will likely be Boise State's next to last opportunity to impress the voters (they play at Nevada late in the year), Oregon State visits as a 17 point underdog.  That is a lot as the computer has the margin at 13.4 so take the visitors plus the points.

And in a top-10 showdown (well the computer has Arkansas #16), #1 Alabama visits Arkansas favored by 6 and the computer says it isn't enough setting the margin at 9.8.

None of the above games is well connected since so few games have been played, but South Carolina vs Auburn have just 4 degrees of separation which is the fewest.  The rest are either not connected or have 8 degrees or more.

Enjoy the games.

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 NFL Week 2 Projected Records; Shakeup in the NFC

With two weeks worth of games in the books, my computer can make updated projections for the regular season records and who will make the playoffs, and things are a bit clearer, ... perhaps.

See the full list for week 2, but here is some commentary.

The AFC is pretty clear with 6 teams at 10-6 or better, Pittsburgh and Houston leading the way at 12-4, Miami and Kansas City at 11-5, and San Diego and Indianapolis the wildcards at 10-6.  Baltimore, New England, and the Jets are all projected to be at 9-7 and so would have a good shot at improving and making the playoffs.

The NFC is where there are surprises.  Green Bay and New Orleans at 12-4 and 11-5 is as you might expect, but Atlanta at 10-6 may be, and Tampa Bay at 9-7 certainly is.  After that, there are 7 teams at 8-8 and remarkably the West and East division winners have to come from the group and would narrowly be Arizona and the Giants.

Stay tuned for more updates.

2010 NFL Week 2 Ratings and Rankings; Green Bay #1, Houston #2, Pittsburgh #3

As is often the case in week 2, there are more surprises and a few perhaps unexpected results in the new rankings.

While New Orleans won it was a lot closer than expected and against a team that had lost to a team that lost big this week.  This allowed Green Bay to take over #1 and a surprising Houston team is up to #2.  And perhaps Pittsburgh doesn't miss Big Ben at all as they move to #3 this week.

Baltimore and New England drop after losses but stay in the top-10 but Dallas has the largest drop of the week down 11 spots to #24.

Given how much teams change from last year and how varied performances can be early in the year, the predictions were not very good going 6-10 against the spread and 8-8 picking winners vs Vegas going 9-7.

See another post in a few minutes on projected records after week 2.

1Green Bay89.3692-078.888+2, +2.264
2Houston87.7762-083.134+4, +2.462
3Pittsburgh87.1722-083.419+6, +3.616
4New Orleans85.9712-078.163-3, -2.781
5NY Jets85.7781-182.057+2, +1.816
6Miami85.5752-083.052+5, +2.711
7Indianapolis85.4051-184.120+3, +2.331
8Atlanta85.2461-182.323+6, +2.765
9Baltimore85.1601-186.311-5, -0.953
10New England84.9541-183.311-8, -2.161
11San Diego83.7031-181.336+5, +2.411
12Minnesota83.0850-285.773-7, -2.844
13Kansas City82.4762-080.393+10, +3.381
14Tennessee81.5921-175.851-2, -1.257
15Washington80.8631-179.838+5, +0.556
16Cincinnati80.8451-185.057+6, +1.198
17Philadelphia80.7571-181.270-2, -1.079
18Tampa Bay80.4802-075.844+7, +2.883
19NY Giants80.4631-180.005-11, -3.269
20Jacksonville80.1951-180.842-3, -0.873
21Chicago79.9552-075.535+5, +2.985
22Seattle78.0231-175.611-1, -1.945
23Denver77.9811-179.109+5, +1.722
24Dallas77.9000-280.409-11, -4.821
25Arizona77.4751-180.983-7, -3.352
26Cleveland77.0830-281.478+1, +0.795
27Buffalo77.0180-287.472-3, -1.374
28Carolina74.6050-280.471-9, -6.006
29San Francisco73.2410-281.997+0, -2.452
30Detroit73.1710-280.356+2, +2.145
31St Louis70.7200-274.002+0, -0.507
32Oakland70.5301-176.156-2, -1.638

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 Week 3 College Football Projections; TCU and Alabama Undefeated

With three games played by most teams, we can get a clearer set of regular season projected records, but it is still early and a lot of teams still hold out hope for an undefeated season.  Here is what my computer projects and here it is.

Last week, Alabama and Boise State were the teams projected to be undefeated but this week, swap out Boise State and swap in TCU.  This change is due primarily to BSU future opponent Nevada moving way up and TCU future opponent Air Force dropping a bit.  TCU actually has the best shot at 44% with Alabama at 42%.  Both teams have a nearly as good a shot at 1 loss though at 41% and 40% respectively.

There are a host of teams projected to have 1 loss that have a decent chance at an undefeated season, those being Nebraska (38%), tOSU (36% up from 22% last week), Nevada (21%), Boise State (21%), and Stanford (14%).

For those interested in more details on the BCS busters, here is what the computer says Boise State's and TCU's chances are various wins.  Boise State:
  •   6 -  0.01%
  •   7 -  0.12%
  •   8 -  1.38%
  •   9 -  8.61%
  •  10 - 27.78%
  •  11 - 41.51%
  •  12 - 20.60%
    •   8 -  0.12%
    •   9 -  1.76%
    •  10 - 13.07%
    •  11 - 41.45%
    •  12 - 43.60%
    Stay tuned for updates.

    2010 Week 3 College Football Rankings and Review; Alabama #1, Oregon #2, Stanford #3

    With most teams now having played three games, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of where the teams stand.  The pre-season (end of last year) rating is now less than 25% of the rating and goes to almost zero after 4 games, so we now see what a teams performance from this year results in.

    The full rankings are on the web-site, but the top-30 is below for quick reference.

    Alabama stays #1 and again recovers some of the points they lost from playing a weak opponent week 1 and has a sizable lead over new #2 Oregon and #3 Stanford.  Stanford and #4 Nebraska made big moves  after their dominating wins against BCS non-conference foes.

    Arizona also makes a strong move after their statement win over Iowa, but the big move of the week is Nevada leaping to #15 after easily taking care of California.  Oklahoma State also makes a big move to #21.

    Air Force, the surprise mover up of last week played better than Vegas thought, but still lost, and drops 9 spots.  Texas A&M drops 12 spots as does Oregon State after winning by less than expected at home against a not so great opponents.  But Cal is the big loser dropping 24 spots all the way to #37 after their loss to Nevada.

    The BCS buster watch has TCU falling to #6 and Boise State to #9 after good wins, but they were just passed by teams having more dominating wins over stronger opponents.  Boise State is definitely helped by Nevada's win as that likely gives them another quality opponent late in the year and it will be on the road.  But Oregon State may not be as strong as they hoped.  Interestingly, Oregon State will be a common opponent for Boise State, TCU, Stanford, and Oregon, all teams presently in the top-9!

    Picking games, the computer went 30-24 against the spread and 44-10 picking winners while Vegas went 42-12 picking winners.  Not bad considering the computer is just getting going.  Full prediction performance here.

    Look for predictions and preview of the upcoming week here and on the web-site.

    1Alabama93.1853-066.898+0, +0.990
    2Oregon88.6003-057.658+1, +2.542
    3Stanford87.3543-065.772+7, +6.117
    4Nebraska86.4593-061.628+10, +6.951
    5Florida85.8143-065.709-3, -2.377
    6TCU84.5223-063.381-2, +0.313
    7LSU83.9203-071.123+2, +2.423
    8Texas82.9893-064.904+4, +2.790
    9Boise St82.9302-071.606-1, +1.240
    10Ohio State82.8383-062.960-4, -0.391
    11Arizona82.6183-064.799+5, +3.409
    12Oklahoma81.3643-069.804-1, +1.062
    13Iowa80.5232-161.643-6, -2.358
    14Air Force80.5062-160.086-9, -3.564
    15Nevada80.4433-057.886+27, +7.972
    16Arkansas80.3753-060.565+2, +2.021
    17South Carolina79.9983-064.737-2, +0.547
    18Virginia Tech78.4081-273.945+4, +1.236
    19Penn State78.0282-169.879+5, +1.203
    20Auburn76.3583-067.095+1, -0.835
    21Oklahoma St76.3253-060.131+22, +4.449
    22Pittsburgh76.2431-166.564-5, -2.319
    23Utah76.0753-060.834-3, -1.559
    24Fresno St75.4152-066.319+8, +1.518
    25North Carolina St75.2253-061.236+11, +1.846
    26Miami FL75.1271-165.108+1, -0.092
    27Southern Cal75.0283-065.982+1, -0.138
    28Clemson74.7752-154.693+11, +1.891
    29Florida St74.1322-164.260+27, +4.404
    30Texas Tech74.1202-167.484-7, -2.817

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    2010 NFL Week 1 Projected Records; Saints, Packers, Cardinals, Giants and Ravens, Patriots, Texans, Chiefs win divisions

    With one weeks worth of games in the books, my computer can make updated projections for the regular season records and who will make the playoffs.

    With only one game played I can't say these will be the most accurate, but after week 1 last year the computer had 4 of the 6 AFC teams picked and 4 of the 6 NFC teams, so it may not be that far off.

    See the full list for week 1, but here is some commentary.

    In the NFC, it is no surprise to see New Orleans and Green Bay projected to win their conferences at 12-4 and 11-5, but Minnesota is close behind the Packers at 10-6.  After that, the NFC is not impressive with division winners Arizona and the Giants at 9-7 and Seattle slipping in as the last team also at 9-7.  Arizona gets the nod over Seattle by having a slightly greater chance of finishing at 9-7 as well as 10-6.

    Teams you might expect to vie for an NFC playoff spot like Dallas, Philadelphia, Carolina, and Atlanta, are all projected to be 8-8 right now so certainly have a shot at getting in if they play a bit better than they did in week 1.

    In the AFC, it is a bit tighter with 4 teams all at 11-5 or 10-6 with Baltimore, New England, and Houston winning divisions and Pittsburgh picking up a wildcard.  Kansas City gets the division winner nod over San Diego based on a better chance at 9-7 as well as 10-6 and Miami gets the last wildcard over San Diego, the Jets, and Tennessee, all also at 9-7.  Jacksonville and Indianapolis are at 8-8 so close to getting into the 9-7 mix.

    Stay tuned for more updates.

    2010 NFL Week 1 Ratings and Rankings; New Orleans #1, New England #2, Green Bay #3

    Week 1 of the NFL season brought a few surprises and with them some interesting changes in my computer's rankings.  The rankings are below but see the site for more details.

    The Saints stay #1 which is no surprise, but there is quite a bit of shakeup behind them.  The Patriots, Packers, and Ravens all made strong moves to get ahead of Minnesota, even though Minnesota's rating didn't drop much at all.  Houston also made a strong move up as did the Giants.

    Indianapolis and Dallas were big losers as was San Diego.  They certainly hope week 1 is not what we can expect to see the rest of the year.

    Given how much teams change from last year and how varied performances can be early in the year, the predictions were not very good going 7-9 against the spread and 8-8 picking winners vs Vegas going 11-5.

    See another post in a few minutes on projected records after week 1.

    1New Orleans88.7521-082.929+0, +0.088
    2New England87.1151-076.647+3, +1.568
    3Green Bay87.1051-084.836+5, +2.367
    4Baltimore86.1131-086.962+5, +1.425
    5Minnesota85.9290-191.752-3, -0.088
    6Houston85.3141-080.074+7, +2.683
    7NY Jets83.9620-183.113-1, -1.425
    8NY Giants83.7321-077.611+13, +3.443
    9Pittsburgh83.5561-079.481+5, +1.464
    10Indianapolis83.0740-188.314-6, -2.683
    11Miami82.8641-081.392+7, +1.966
    12Tennessee82.8491-069.168+7, +2.361
    13Dallas82.7210-183.307-10, -3.209
    14Atlanta82.4810-186.556-2, -1.464
    15Philadelphia81.8360-184.105-5, -2.367
    16San Diego81.2920-182.095-9, -3.601
    17Jacksonville81.0681-073.259+8, +3.798
    18Arizona80.8271-074.227-3, -1.001
    19Carolina80.6110-186.732-8, -3.443
    20Washington80.3071-079.721+6, +3.209
    21Seattle79.9681-072.693+9, +5.567
    22Cincinnati79.6470-190.115-5, -1.568
    23Kansas City79.0951-078.292+5, +3.601
    24Buffalo78.3920-179.864-4, -1.966
    25Tampa Bay77.5971-073.288-1, -0.154
    26Chicago76.9701-068.026-3, -1.473
    27Cleveland76.2880-180.597+0, +0.154
    28Denver76.2590-184.068-6, -3.798
    29San Francisco75.6930-182.968-13, -5.567
    30Oakland72.1680-185.849-1, -2.361
    31St Louis71.2270-177.827+0, +1.001
    32Detroit71.0260-179.970+0, +1.473

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    2010 Week 1 NFL Thoughts and Analysis

    Most of the games have been played in week 1, so it is time for some thoughts about how the week shaped up.  The computer isn't expected to be predicting that well at this point, after all teams have changed, but comparing how the games went to the predicted can tell us which teams are better or worse than last year.

    Minnesota and New Orleans played to right about what the computer expected (5.6 points vs 5) so in this game at least, the teams played pretty much to last seasons performance.  One might have expected the Saints to do a bit better considering the turmoil and missing players for Minnesota.

    Miami winning at Buffalo was not expected by the computer so there is likely some combination of Miami improving and Buffalo declining.  Perhaps TO did help the Bills last year.

    The computer picked Tennessee to cover and they sure did over Oakland.  The Titans certainly benefited from having Vince Young to start this season where he didn't start last season, but it is probably also taking a little time for the new pieces to gel in Oakland.

    It also appears Cincinnati may take a little time for the new pieces to come together, losing by more than expected to New England.  They did play better in the second half so perhaps that is already happening, but the Patriots could just be better too.

    The computer liked Carolina but the Giants came out strong.  The Panthers are likely weaker at QB than last year and perhaps there was some extra oomph in the Giants game in the new stadium opener.

    The computer liked Pittsburgh and they came through in OT.  Perhaps things won't be as bad as thought the first few weeks.

    This game went about as expected (Bucs by 4.6, won by 3), but does anyone outside the respective cities care?

    Denver does not appear primed to repeat their fast start of last year after an unexpected drubbing by Jacksonville.  Did the Jags improve or are there larger issues in Denver?

    Houston appears for real after pulling the upset and winning by more than Vegas picked them by.  They could give the Colts a run.

    Chicago pulled out the win but by less than the computer expected.  Is Detroit on the rise or is a Cutler led team still a bit volatile?

    The Pete Carroll era in Seattle started with a bang and the touted 49ers played well below expectations.  First game adrenaline for the Seahawks or does this continue all season?

    The computer liked Philly but without McNabb and subsequently Kolb, they didn't perform up to last years rating while Green Bay got the win.

    Arizona won, but by less than expected over the Rams.  That could be an indication the Cardinals aren't as good without Wariner and that Bradford has promise.

    Dallas didn't look good, losing by 6 when picked to win by 5.8.  They'll need to recover quickly, and are the Redskins for real?

    Tonight, the Jets are a 3.7 point pick and The Chargers 6.4.  Lets see what those games tell us about what we might expect from them this year.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    2010 Week 2 College Football Projections; Alabama now and Boise St still undefeated

    With two games played, there is a little more data to base regular season projected records on, but it is still very early.  However, that doesn't stop me from seeing what my computer projects and here it is.

    Last week, Boise State and TCU were projected to be undefeated, but that has changed to just Alabama and Boise State and Alabama at an astounding 60% chance.  BSU was at 59% and has now dropped to 44% after Virginia Tech's bad loss making that win less impressive.

    TCU still has a good shot at going undefeated at 30% but with Air Force's impressive start, there is now a decent chance they lose a game to them or someone else.  Other teams projected to have 1 loss and thus a good chance at going undefeated are Oregon (24%), Ohio State (22%), Air Force (16% undefeated), Iowa (14%), and Florida (14%).  All of those teams have a better chance of having 2 losses than zero though.

    For those interested in more details, here is what the computer says Alabama's chances are of 8 thru 12 wins:
    • 8 -  0.02%
    • 9 -  0.55%
    • 10 -  6.35%
    • 11 - 32.93%
    • 12 - 60.15%
      By comparison here is Florida:
      • 7 -  0.01%
      • 8 -  0.30%
      • 9 -  3.53%
      • 10 - 22.26%
      • 11 - 60.08%
      • 12 - 13.81%
      And Ohio State:
      • 7 -  0.01%
      • 8 -  0.38%
      • 9 -  4.68%
      • 10 - 24.62%
      • 11 - 48.66%
      • 12 - 21.65%
      Stay tuned for updates.

      Updated to fix clerical error causing slightly incorrect ratings

      2010 Week 2 College Football Rankings and Recap; Alabama #1, Florida #2, Oregon #3, Boise State drops to #11

      It is still very early, and some bizarre changes can (and did) occur in the ratings and rankings, but here is where things stand after week 2 of the college football season.

      The full rankings are on the web-site, but the top-30 is below for quick reference.

      Alabama stays #1 and recovers some of the points they lost from playing a weak opponent last week and has a sizable lead over new #2 Florida and #3 Oregon.  Oregon's pounding of Tennessee on the road gave them a healthy boost and Florida got a boost too leap frogging TCU, Boise State, and Ohio State.

      But bizarre surprise of the week is Air Force jumping to #5.  But they soundly beat a good BYU team who had beat a Washington team that soundly beat a Syracuse team.  Air Force gets their chance to justify a high ranking when they visit #11 Oklahoma this weekend.  Iowa, Stanford, and Cal also make big jumps up into the top-13 after convincing wins.

      Virginia Tech, and by extension Boise State, was the big loser of the week after an embarrassing loss to James Madison.  They drop 18 spots and are saved from justifiably dropping farther by the computer still using last years end of season rating a bit.  As a result Boise State drops to #8 and their strong non-conference opponent just dropped the ball for them.  Georgia Tech and Florida State actually fell further after their poor losses, but Virginia Tech's loss has more meaning overall.

      Picking games, the computer went 25-19 against the spread and 37-7 picking winners while Vegas went 38-6 picking winners.  Not bad considering the computer is just getting going.  Full prediction performance here.

      1 Alabama 92.195 2-0 65.550 +0, +4.215
      2 Florida 88.192 2-0 58.745 +4, +5.862
      3 Oregon 86.058 2-0 62.024 +5, +5.562
      4 TCU 84.209 2-0 62.669 -2, -0.756
      5 Air Force 84.070 2-0 53.487 +49,+13.550
      6 Ohio State 83.229 2-0 66.802 -1, +0.724
      7 Iowa 82.881 2-0 52.466 +15, +6.964
      8 Boise St 81.690 1-0 77.172 -5, -2.689
      9 LSU 81.497 2-0 70.851 -2, +0.574
      10 Stanford 81.237 2-0 61.156 +21, +5.865
      11 Oklahoma 80.302 2-0 65.661 +19, +4.875
      12 Texas 80.199 2-0 59.411 -3, +0.246
      13 California 79.567 2-0 51.849 +22, +5.727
      14 Nebraska 79.508 2-0 54.740 +13, +3.869
      15 South Carolina 79.451 2-0 66.662 -4, +1.954
      16 Arizona 79.209 2-0 57.198 +3, +2.831
      17 Pittsburgh 78.562 1-1 71.192 -4, +1.317
      18 Arkansas 78.354 2-0 54.320 -6, +0.915
      19 Texas A&M 78.146 2-0 59.449 +22, +4.924
      20 Utah 77.634 2-0 66.018 -5, +0.952
      21 Auburn 77.193 2-0 63.761 +5, +1.510
      22 Virginia Tech 77.172 0-2 77.622 -18, -5.378
      23 Southern Cal 77.092 2-0 66.527 -5, +0.704
      24 Texas Tech 76.937 2-0 62.562 -3, +0.814
      25 Penn State 76.825 1-1 73.665 -9, +0.187
      26 North Carolina 75.602 0-1 81.497 +7, +0.287
      27 Oregon St 75.392 0-1 84.209 -3, -0.377
      28 Miami FL 75.219 1-1 64.268 -3, -0.475
      29 Brigham Young 74.570 1-1 78.790 -9, -1.783
      30 Georgia 74.557 1-1 67.743 -13, -2.060

      Updated 9/12 to correct ratings error

      2010 Week 1 NFL Football Preview; Panthers/Giants, Eagles/Packers, Pats/Bengals, Jets/Ravens, Colts/Texans

      The computer is using last years end of season ratings so this is really just for entertainment purposes, but here is a preview of some key games in week 1.  Although, the computer did pick the Saints by 5.6 and they won by 5, so maybe these aren't such a bad starting point!

      Full picks are here and a newsletter is available to subscribers giving much more details and specific picks against the spread.

      Carolina visits the Giants in the regular season opener for the new stadium.  The Giants are favored by 8 but the computer (from last year remember) actually picks the upset and Carolina by 0.8.  If both teams are anything like last years teams, Carolina seems the pretty good pick.

      The Kevin Kolb era begins as Philly hosts Green Bay with the visitor favored by 3.  Being at home though, the computer likes Philly by 2.5.  The result of this game will tell us a lot about Kolb being a drop in replacement for McNabb or not.

      New England hosts Cincinnati picked by 4 but the computer likes them by 7.3.  How big a difference does Cincy having both Ocho and T.O.?

      The Jets get their chance to open the new stadium hosting Baltimore and are favored by 1.5 and the computer says that isn't enough, picking them by 3.7.  Will the Jets live up to all the pre-season hype?

      And in a game that could go a long way to determining the division champ, Indy visits Houston favored by 3 and while the computer picks them to win, it is very narrowly by only 0.1.  Look for a close competitive game.

      Enjoy the games!

      Friday, September 10, 2010

      2010 Week 2 College Football Preview; Alabama/PSU, tOSU/Miami, Oregon/Tennessee, FSU/OU, Georgia/South Carolina

      There are several interesting games tomorrow, and while the computer has little data to work on, it is still interesting to see what it predicts, so here goes.  The full list of picks here.

      Alabama hosts Penn State favored by around 10 and the computer says that isn't enough pegging it 14+ point win for Alabama.  And this after Alabama lost ratings points in their first game.  But playing a quality opponent will go a long way to determining if Alabama stays ranked #1 by the computer.

      Ohio State hosts Miami favored by 8 and similar to the above game, the computer likes them by more at nearly 10 points.  This is due in part to Ohio State gaining some ratings points while Miami lost some in their first games.  The computer does not have Ohio State #2 like the polls do (they are #5), but again playing a good Miami team will be a result that is a big factor in where they ultimately get ranked.

      Oregon visits Tennessee favored by nearly 2 touchdowns and unlike the games above, the computer says that is way too much having it at just under 4 points.  Tennessee's changes in coaching staff is certainly not factored in, but 2 touchdowns still seems like an awful lot.

      In what should be the most competitive game on paper perhaps, FSU visits OU with both teams in the top-20.  Vegas doesn't think it will be that close though favoring OU by 10, but the computer likes them by less than 3.

      Also in a game of ranked teams, Georgia visits South Carolina, the home team favored by just 2.5.  For this one, the computer likes them by just under 4 so give the points.

      Enjoy the games!

      Thursday, September 9, 2010

      And the 2011 Super Bowl Winner Is?

      I posted the projected records for the 2010/2011 NFL season earlier, so the next natural step is to use those selected playoff teams to pick the playoff games and determine the chances of each team winning the Super Bowl.  So I went about doing so using my computer's end of last season ratings.

      As projected, the seeds in the AFC would be San Diego, Indy, the Jets, Baltimore, New England, and Houston.  In the NFC they would be New Orleans, Minnesota, Dallas, Arizona, Green Bay, and Carolina. These are picked based on each teams most likely record given their upcoming schedule.

      Plugging those teams in to a playoff bracket, the chances of each team getting to and winning the Super Bowl are then:

      New Orleans0.4760.287
      San Diego0.3480.153
      NY Jets0.1360.062
      New England0.0850.039
      Green Bay0.0630.031

      As one might expect, using last years ratings where the Saints won it all, they are predicted to do so again even having to navigate a tougher schedule.  What is perhaps a surprise is that San Diego is listed as having the better chance to be their opponent than Indianapolis.

      As always this early in the season, the ratings will change, the teams will not perform the same as last year, so the above is almost assured of being incorrect.  But it is still interesting to see and I'll post updates regularly.

      Monday, September 6, 2010

      2010 Week 1 College Football Recap; Boise St and TCU projected to be undefeated

      What a great way to finish the first week of college football season.  Boise St. let the game slip away then snatched it back at the last minute.  Entertaining stuff.

      And with the win, Boise St. moves up to #3 in the computers rankings and they are right behind TCU and not that far behind Alabama.  As noted earlier, trying to have accurate ratings after a single game is difficult at best but Boise St. certainly didn't hurt their chances with the win.  They now need Virginia Tech to play well the rest of the season.

      As far as picking games, the computer went 24-13-1 against the spread and 31-7 picking winners versus Vegas going 33-4.  Considering the computer simply used last years end of season ratings, that isn't all bad.

      With one game done, we can no update the regular season projections and see that both TCU and Boise St. are projected to finish undefeated.  That shouldn't be a big surprise given their schedules, particularly Boise St's.  They do have a 34% and 36% chance of one loss though so it isn't a done deal by any stretch.  Two teams, Alabama and Ohio State are projected to have a single loss and each has a decent chance at going undefeated at 38% and 24% respectively.

      Stay tuned for preview of this weekends games and perhaps the first newsletter if I get enough subscribers.

      Sunday, September 5, 2010

      Preliminary 2010 College Football Week 1 Prediction Performance; 23-11-1 against the spread!

      I often times don't really pay attention to it since it is a bit of a game of luck early in the season, but this year I did check the computer's predictions against the spread in week 1 and was pleasantly surprised to see that it went 23-11-1 through yesterday's games.

      These picks are done using last years end of season ratings as while not perfect, it is a much better starting point than treating all the teams the same.  So going 23-11-1 simply means that those ratings aren't all bad as a starting point.

      Full week by week results from last year can be seen here.  The computer was at 57% against the spread and a stellar 78% on locks last year.

      Stay tuned to this blog and the web-site for upcoming picks, and consider signing up for the newsletter if you want more info including best picks and locks.

      Preliminary 2010 College Football Week 1 Ratings; Alabama staying #1, TCU up to #2

      There are still a few more games that will be included in the week 1 ratings so these are not final, but I hate waiting for the last couple games so will discuss what we've seen thus far.  Of course, with just a single game played the ratings, and thus rankings, are very volatile and you are going to see teams winning and dropping or losing and rising.  At this point, a teams rating is 50% from their single game and 50% from last years rating.

      See the full list of ratings on the web-site, but the top-25 are below.

      Alabama stays #1 but drops a bunch of ratings points due to playing a very weak opponent.  It is also due to them having such a dominating margin over #2 Florida at the end of last year and Florida also dropping.  These drops are not uncommon and before fans of those schools panic, these games will carry very little weight in each teams rating as soon as they play a meaningful game so don't worry.  However Florida really didn't play well and probably deserves the drop.

      TCU takes advantage of Florida dropping to move to #2 and Va Tech and Boise St. are close behind and will decide a lot tomorrow night.  Texas drops for similar reasons to Alabama and Florida leaving room for Ohio State, LSU, and Oregon to move up.

      The big movers for the week are Michigan getting into the top-40 at #39, Virginia also doing the same at #40, South Carolina getting to #12, and Fresno State jumping to #32.

      On the other side, UConn drops all the way to #72, Ole Miss to #57, Cincinnati to #45, and Richmond to #94.

      Stay tuned for more!

      Rank Team Rating Record Schedule Change
      Rank Team Rating Record Schedule Change
      1 Alabama 87.980 1-0 55.082 +0, -5.267
      2 TCU 84.965 1-0 75.769 +1, -0.195
      3 Virginia Tech 83.722 0-0 0.000 +2, +0.000
      4 Boise St 83.207 0-0 0.000 +2, +0.000
      5 Ohio State 82.505 1-0 60.031 +3, +1.701
      6 Florida 82.331 1-0 56.284 -4, -6.188
      7 LSU 80.923 1-0 75.315 +2, +0.392
      8 Oregon 80.496 1-0 50.214 +2, +0.202
      9 Texas 79.953 1-0 60.759 -5, -4.908
      10 Georgia Tech 78.546 1-0 55.041 +4, -0.401
      11 Texas Tech 78.405 0-0 0.000 +6, -0.000
      12 South Carolina 77.496 1-0 59.615 +28, +3.830
      13 Arkansas 77.439 1-0 47.983 -6, -3.408
      14 Pittsburgh 77.245 0-1 79.682 +7, -0.563
      15 Wisconsin 76.727 1-0 63.933 +18, +2.280
      16 Utah 76.682 1-0 74.245 +11, +0.563
      17 Penn State 76.638 1-0 51.530 -2, -2.046
      18 Georgia 76.617 1-0 51.507 +11, +0.898
      19 Southern Cal 76.388 1-0 64.499 +7, +0.266
      20 Arizona 76.378 1-0 58.592 +12, +1.551
      21 Brigham Young 76.354 1-0 69.162 +1, -1.192
      22 Iowa 75.917 1-0 50.730 -2, -2.115
      23 Clemson 75.818 1-0 52.352 -5, -2.423
      24 Oregon St 75.769 0-1 84.965 +7, +0.195
      25 Miami FL 75.694 1-0 46.542 -6, -2.525

      Saturday, September 4, 2010

      2010 Week 1 College Football Thoughts; Big games for Utah, USC, LSU, TCU, Boise State, Virginia Tech

      With a few games played but some interesting one still to be played, here are a few observations and thoughts.  While I mention rankings from my computer below, keep in mind that they are from last year and so how teams do will tell us a bit about how they compare to that ranking and where they should be this year.  Stay tuned for the updated rankings after Monday nights game.

      See the weekly predictions for more info and subscribe to the newsletter for detailed pick information.

      First, from Thursday, there were a few meaningful games.

      The big one was Utah beating Pitt in overtime 27-24.  They were rated fairly close to end last season (Pitt #21 and Utah #27) so the computer had Utah winning by 1.3 being at home, so it got that right, but it was big for Utah's hopes of somehow sneaking into BCS consideration.  They have TCU, Notre Dame, and BYU on their schedule so should they win out they'd certainly be justified of being considered.

      USC answered some questions about their offense, but their defense didn't look so good and they were unable to cover the 21 points winning by 13, but that is about what the computer predicted having them by 11.4.  So they'll likely stay about where they were which was #26.

      Today so far, there haven't been any too terribly interesting games but Florida and Texas perhaps didn't win as convincingly as one would have thought.  The computer had Florida winning by 38 so their 22 point win will likely drop them a bit.  And the computer had Texas by 29 so 17 will likely drop them some too.

      The late games today see LSU and UNC playing, the computer picking LSU by 4.8.  With LSU #9 coming in from last year, this could say a lot about their potential to contend this year.

      Also playing tonight is Oregon State and TCU.  This is TCU's big non-conference game so there is pressure on them to perform as this could determine whether or not they vie for BCS consideration.  The computer likes TCU by about 10 so look for them to try to top that to impress voters.

      And the big game of the week is Boise State traveling back east to take on Virginia Tech.  With both teams in the top-10 of the polls this year and #6 and #5 respectively from last years final computer ratings, this is a biggie.  The computer likes Virginia Tech by a smidge, but that is based on last years ratings of course and this will certainly determine the fate of both teams BCS hopes.

      Friday, September 3, 2010

      And the 2010 College Football Season Begins

      The division I-A, ok FBS, season began last night with several games and gets into full swing this weekend.  My computer simply uses last years end of season ratings to start the year which isn't perfect, but it is better than treating all teams the same to start the year.  That means that Alabama starts the year a clear #1 over Florida.

      Because I use last years ratings to start, I generally don't expect the computer to pick games very well the first few weeks and thus don't count those, but I've still posted predictions for this weekends games.

      But what is perhaps more interesting is seeing what the computer projects for end of season records.  This is basically saying what record each team should end up with if they play to last years performance against this years schedule.  The full list can be found here, but two teams are projected to finish undefeated, TCU and Alabama, with Boise State, Texas, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and Florida are projected to finish with 1 loss.  However, the winner of the Boise State / Va Tech game this weekend could be projected to be undefeated too.

      For comparison, after 1 week last year, the projections for the regular season were:

      • Boise State 13-0 (finished 13-0)
      • Florida 12-0 (12-0)
      • Penn State 11-1 (10-2)
      • Alabama 11-1 (12-0)
      • Cincinnati 11-1 (12-0)
      • USC 11-1 (8-3)
      Other than USC, nearly spot on.

      In any case, stay tuned for more here and updates on the web-site.