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Compu-Picks 2012 Preview: Independents

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Aug 25, 2012


2012 Compu-Picks Previews Each 1-A League: Independents

Below is the preview for the Independents, consisting of five tables. The first shows projections for each Independent team, with the others showing key statistics and/or details behind the projections.

Projected ranking and expected results

Expected Wins
Team 2012 Rank 2011 Rank All Games SOS
Brigham Young 18 41 9.61 79
Notre Dame 26 25 6.62 1
Navy 64 66 7.48 109
Army 71 105 6.14 71

Some notes and comments about the Independents:

1) Notre Dame is projected to be pretty decent, right around as good as last year, which makes sense, given varying positive and negative indicators (turnover margin likely to improve, return a good amount of proudction, but have been slipping in recruiting, had material draft losses, and 2011 was already a bit of a positive outlier). Unfortunately for them, the schedule looks like a nightmare, which means they're likely to hover around .500, maybe a bit better.

2) BYU is likely to improve quite a bit from last season's struggles. They're picking up recruiting, they return a lot of production, and they didn't lose anyone talented enough that the NFL wanted to draft them.

3) Army-Navy looks a bit more interesting than usual. Navy still looks like the better team, but it's pretty close.

The next two tables show key statistics and details underlying the projections, from prior history and performance to luck-related statistics to key indicators of incoming and outgoing talent. Below is a brief explanation of some of these items:


Rank - Projected 2012 ranking, from 1 to 124
2011 Rank - 2011 ranking using the current compu-picks model, from 1 to 120 (does NOT include the four 1-A newcomers)
Prev 4 yr - ranking of the average rating from 2007-2010, from 1 to 120 (does NOT include the four 1-A newcomers)
Injuries - starts lost to injury during the 2011 season, from Phil Steele
Fumble Luck - the number of net turnovers in 2011 due to fumble luck
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 4, ranked from best to worst
Starters - returning offensive / defensive / special teams (kicker and punter) starters, per Phil Steele magazine (* if the QB returns), with some edits due to subsequent news
Returning Yards, Tackles, Int, Sacks, Lettermen - returning production and roster depth; lettermen taken from philsteele.com, with the other stats calculated from cfbstats.com.
Draft Losses - based on the 2012 draft

Key Statistics - Performance, Luck and Coaching

Team 2012 Rank 2011 Rank Prev 4 yr Injuries Turnovers Fumble Luck New Coach
Brigham Young 18 41 38 24 -2 0.5 .
Notre Dame 26 25 36 20 -15 -1 .
Navy 64 66 42 25 9 2.5 .
Army 71 105 100 51 -9 -1.5 .

Talent Inflows and Outflows

Team Recruit Rank Recruit Trend Starters Ret. Yards Ret. Tackles Ret. Int Ret. Sacks Ret. Lettermen Draft Losses
Brigham Young 41 32 7*/7/2 61% 65% 77% 57% 73% 0
Notre Dame 12 78 8*/6/1 75% 58% 25% 60% 57% 32
Navy 88 45 6/7/1 40% 55% 50% 33% 51% 0
Army 113 87 7*/8/1 88% 59% 75% 72% 71% 0

The next table shows probability distributions for the projections, based on 5,001 season simulation runs. Please note that a . indicates zero odds, while 0% indicates a non-zero probability that just rounds to 0%. The first table breaks down results across all games, while the second breaks down results across league games only.

Projected Results - All Games

Team E(wins) Stdev (wins) 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Brigham Young 9.61 1.65 . 12% 20% 25% 21% 13% 5% 2% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Notre Dame 6.62 2.37 . 1% 3% 7% 11% 15% 16% 15% 13% 8% 5% 3% 1% 1%
Navy 7.48 2.37 . 3% 6% 11% 16% 17% 14% 13% 8% 5% 3% 1% 1% 0%
Army 6.14 2.64 . 2% 3% 6% 8% 12% 14% 15% 13% 11% 8% 5% 3% 2%

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) I have provided adjusted division (or league) odds in a couple of instances. For the Big Ten Leaders, it shows the odds of each team winning adjusting for the fact that Ohio St and Penn St will both be ineligible. The same is true for the ACC Coastal and North Carolina.

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 Mississippi St to be any better than Arkansas, 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. This overstatement has been reduced compared to last year's projections, but still likely exists to some degree. Please keep this in mind when looking at the distribution of win probabilities.

7) Since there is much less data available for the four 1-A newcomers, the power rating methodology has been more manual and arbitrary. As a consequence, I am somewhat less confident of the projections for those four teams than I am for the other 120 1-A members. Please keep this in mind when looking at the newcomers' projections.

2012 Compu-Picks Blog

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email me at cfn_ms@hotmail.com

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