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Compu-Picks 2011 Preview: MAC

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Jul 24, 2011


2011 Compu-Picks Previews Each 1-A League: the MAC

Below is the preview for the MAC, consisting of three tables.

The first table outlines the projected rankings for each MAC team, sorted in each division from best to worst, and then presents the following selected key stats:
Rank - Projected 2011 ranking, from 1 to 120
2010 Rank - 2010 ranking using the current compu-picks model
Prev 4 yr - ranking of the average rating from 2006-2009
Recruit Rank - ranking of past 4 years of recruiting (each year equally weighted), from scout.com
Recruit Trend - the difference between the past 3 years of recruiting and the previous 3, ranked from best to worst
Injuries - starts lost to injury during the 2010 season (from Phil Steele)
Turnovers - turnover margin during the 2010 season, from cfbstats.com
Draft Losses - based on the 2011 draft
Ch - new head coach, per collegefootballpoll.com (1 indicates a new coach, . indicates no new coach)
Starters - returning offensive / defensive starters, per Phil Steele magazine (* if the QB returns), with some edits due to subsequent news

The second table shows the expected number of total wins for each team, as well as the odds for each potential number of wins, based on 2500 season simulation runs (note: a . indicates zero odds, while 0% indicates a non-zero probability that just rounds to 0%).

The third table shows the odds of winning the league, the expected number of league wins for each team, as well as the odds for each potential number of league wins, based on 2500 season simulation runs (note: a . indicates zero odds, while 0% indicates a non-zero probability that just rounds to 0%).

Projected ranking and key statistics

Team Rank 2010 Rank Prev 4 yr Recruit Rank Recruit Trend Injuries Turnovers Draft Losses Ch Starters
Ohio 85 87 86 108 79 35 -7 0 . 7/4
Temple 104 70 100 81 100 4 -6 21 1 7*/5
Bowling Green 106 112 85 89 64 23 -2 0 . 7*/7
Miami (Ohio) 112 89 113 106 110 22 11 0 1 8*/9
Kent 115 107 109 117 109 26 0 0 1 9*/5
Buffalo 118 119 95 116 80 15 -8 3 . 8*/3
Akron 120 120 108 93 98 5 -6 0 . 6*/8
Central Michigan 81 96 59 79 50 20 -11 0 . 8*/6
Western Michigan 86 83 84 97 68 12 3 0 . 7*/8
Northern Illinois 87 47 88 113 63 8 11 0 1 8*/2
Toledo 94 69 110 85 92 7 11 0 . 9*/9
Ball State 103 109 77 103 93 28 -5 0 1 10*/7
Eastern Michigan 119 118 118 119 108 16 -11 0 . 6*/7

Projected Results - All Games

Team Rank SOS E(wins) 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Ohio 85 120 8.40 . 8% 12% 17% 17% 15% 10% 8% 4% 3% 2% 1% 1% 0%
Temple 104 117 5.81 . 1% 2% 5% 7% 11% 14% 16% 14% 11% 8% 6% 3% 2%
Bowling Green 106 112 5.43 . 1% 2% 4% 6% 11% 12% 13% 13% 12% 10% 8% 5% 3%
Miami (Ohio) 112 106 4.07 . 0% 0% 1% 2% 4% 7% 10% 15% 17% 16% 15% 8% 4%
Kent 115 110 4.26 . . 1% 1% 4% 5% 9% 11% 14% 16% 15% 13% 8% 5%
Buffalo 118 111 3.32 . 0% 0% 1% 1% 3% 4% 9% 11% 13% 16% 17% 15% 10%
Akron 120 109 2.99 . . 0% 1% 1% 2% 4% 5% 10% 14% 17% 18% 17% 13%
Central Michigan 81 108 6.64 . 1% 2% 6% 12% 16% 17% 16% 12% 7% 5% 3% 2% 0%
Western Michigan 86 119 7.15 . 2% 5% 9% 14% 16% 16% 13% 10% 7% 3% 2% 1% 1%
Northern Illinois 87 115 7.26 . 2% 6% 11% 15% 16% 14% 13% 9% 6% 3% 2% 1% 1%
Toledo 94 97 5.54 . 0% 1% 3% 6% 11% 14% 17% 14% 12% 9% 6% 4% 1%
Ball State 103 101 4.67 . . 1% 2% 4% 7% 9% 13% 14% 16% 14% 10% 7% 3%
Eastern Michigan 119 118 3.23 . 0% 0% 0% 1% 2% 5% 7% 11% 14% 17% 18% 16% 9%

Projected Results - League Games

Team Rank Division Odds E(wins) 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Ohio 85 45.6% 5.70 . 15% 22% 24% 17% 11% 6% 4% 2% 1%
Temple 104 17.9% 4.45 . 5% 10% 16% 19% 19% 15% 9% 5% 2%
Bowling Green 106 14.5% 3.83 . 4% 7% 12% 16% 16% 16% 15% 9% 5%
Miami (Ohio) 112 7.4% 3.39 . 1% 4% 8% 14% 19% 20% 18% 11% 5%
Kent 115 6.8% 3.10 . 1% 4% 6% 12% 16% 19% 20% 15% 7%
Buffalo 118 4.5% 2.63 . 1% 2% 4% 9% 14% 17% 21% 19% 12%
Akron 120 3.3% 2.28 . 1% 1% 3% 6% 11% 18% 22% 22% 16%
Central Michigan 81 26.3% 5.32 . 12% 18% 21% 18% 14% 8% 5% 3% 1%
Western Michigan 86 25.6% 5.42 . 12% 19% 23% 18% 14% 9% 3% 2% 1%
Northern Illinois 87 24.7% 5.33 . 11% 19% 20% 20% 14% 8% 5% 2% 1%
Toledo 94 14.8% 4.44 . 6% 11% 16% 19% 17% 13% 10% 6% 2%
Ball State 103 7.3% 3.74 . 2% 6% 11% 15% 19% 20% 14% 9% 4%
Eastern Michigan 119 1.4% 2.37 . 0% 1% 3% 6% 13% 19% 24% 21% 13%

Some commentary about the projections:

1) There is a VERY realistic chance that Temple will collapse and not only fail to make a bowl, but fail to even be bowl-eligible. They've got a new coach, they had extremely good injury luck in 2010, and their recruiting has been slipping lately. But perhaps worst of all, they lost a first and a second round draft pick to the NFL. That kind of talent just doesn't come through Temple very often; 21 draft points lost in 2011 was greater than the TOTAL sum of draft points lost from 2001 through 2010.
Looking at it another way, here are some high-profile programs who lost LESS to the 2011 draft than Temple: South Carolina; Tennessee; Arkansas; Oregon; Stanford; Virginia Tech; Oklahoma; Texas A&M; Oklahoma St; Penn St; Michigan St; Michigan; West Virginia; Notre Dame; and BYU. That's a hell of a lot of high-profile programs who took lesser (some much lesser) hits from the draft than Temple. In other words, don't expect this program to be any kind of sleeper. An 8-4 repeat would be a major achievement.

2) Say hello to your next potential 10+ win team from the MAC: Ohio. No, they're not particuarly good, but when you have a schedule that soft (combination of a soft OOC, being in the weaker MAC division, and missing most of the better teams from the West), you always have a chance to make a run. If they're even the 60th best team in the country, this should be a 10 or 11 win team. But that may be a big if, given how much they have to replace (and the fact that even 60th best would be a new level for this program).

There are a few important notes and caveats I need to make about this model:

1) Compu-Picks does not endorse implicitly or explicitly any form of illegal gambling. Compu-Picks is intended to be used for entertainment purposes only.

2) No guarantee or warranty is offered or implied by Compu-Picks for any information provided and/or predictions made.

3) This preseason model is primarily based on the main compu-picks model. Essentially, it attempts to predict how well a team will rate given its rating history, as well as a number of other data points, such as returning starters, draft talent lost, turnovers, recruiting, etc. This means, among other things, that the rankings are power rankings based on how good a team projects to be, as opposed to a more cynical (though accurate) model that attempts to project how the BCS will rank a team by making adjustments to favor those with easy schedules and punish those with tough schedules.

4) For three teams (Auburn, Oregon, UNC), you can see that they're projected to half a new coach. This was a manual adjustment I made to the data based on the off-field issues that each program is dealing with. A new coach is a negative predictive factor, so estimating a 50% chance of having a new coach makes an impact. For UNC, it's more that there's a pretty reasonable chance that they'll replace Butch Davis (or be forced to) before the season. For the other two, it's more a reflection of the possibility that the ongoing investigations will unearth more trouble, possibly leading to a coach replacement and/or current players being declared ineligible. For those two, estimating a 50% chance of a new coach is mainly a proxy for that possibility. It's admittedly arbitrary, but I believe that it's reasonable given the current climate.
I have also provided adjusted division (or league) odds in a number of instances. For the Pac-12 South, it shows the odds of each team winning adjusting for the fact that USC will be ineligible (the original calculation does not account for this). For various other instances, it would only be relevant if the team in question does in fact become ineligible for the division/league title. Should that not happen, you can ignore the adjusted odds.

5) There is a substantial amount of noise in these projections, which is to be expected given the large number of unknowns (who will have good and bad luck with injuries, which young players will improve and which won't, how specific matchups will come into play, etc.). Right now the standard error is a bit over 0.2 on a scale of about -1 to +1. It's important to look at the projections with this in mind to get a sense of how material the projected differences are. Given a standard error around 0.2, it is safe to project Alabama to be a much better team than Mississippi St, but it is not safe to project Arkansas to be any better than LSU, much less a lot better.

6) At this point, there are a number of model features that need to be investigated further. Chief among these is the distribution of extreme events. It appears that the model may be overstating the probabilities of extreme events, such as 12-0 or 0-12 records, or major underdogs winning their division/league. Please keep this in mind when looking at the distribution of win probabilities.

2011 Compu-Picks Blog

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