Compu-Picks: 2012 Spring Preview

Mr Pac Ten
Posted May 16, 2012

2012 Compu-Picks Spring Preview - Oklahoma: Why 2012 should be better than 2011

As you can see in the posted Compu-Picks 2012 spring top 25 list, the system projects Oklahoma as #1 over the heavy consensus top three of LSU, USC and Alabama. This comes one season after the Sooners failed to justify their consensus #1 ranking. So why does the system like them this year, when they so clearly disapointed most peoples' expectations last year?

For starters, Oklahoma didn't really disappoint Compu-Picks' projections, as the system had them ranked #5 in the preseason and then ranked them the same at the end of the year (without going too much into the nitty gritty, it largely boiled down to an extremely nasty schedule and dominance that went beyond their W-L record (most notably, one of their losses was by 7 points in overtime and a second was by three points in regulation; meanwhile, their closest wins were a pair of 10-pointers).

More than that, though, the Sooners appear to be better suited to make a run this year than they were last year on a wide number of fronts. Let's look at a summary of key data points going into 2011 vs going into 2012:

2011 2012
Rank: Prev Year 10 5
Rank: Recruiting 6 6
Rank: Recruiting Trend 2 5
Prev Year Injury Starts Lost 4 ???
Prev Year Turnovers 14 -2
Prev Year Fumble Luck * 4.5 -2.5
Draft Points Lost 11 30
Starters Returning 8*/8 9*/7
*note: fumble luck is a new input variable and was not a predictive factor in the 2011 projections

As you can see, a solid majority of known data points points to a greater projection for 2012 than there was for 2011. 2011 was a better season than 2010 (and this is the single most important piece of data), even though both turnovers and fumble luck were substantially worse for the Sooners than the year before. Starters are a wash, as is overall recruiting level. I don't have data for injury starts lost in 2011, but it's very likely that the Sooners weren't as lucky with injuries last year as they were the year before, when they only lost 4 starts to injuries, one of the lowest numbers nationwide. Recruiting trend and draft points lost are both worse (as is the average for the few years before the most recent [not listed in the table]), but in aggregate, there is a solid majority of positives when comparing the two. So it should not be at all surprising to see the model look more favorably upon the Sooners than it did a year ago.

Of course, that does not fully explain why the model jumped Oklahoma over Alabama and USC, but that is an explanation for another day. For now, I thought it would be interesting to see why the model liked them better now than it did this time last year, considering almost every other voter has moved in the opposite direction.

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.

2012 Compu-Picks Blog

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