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Compu-Picks 2012 Preview: Week One Games

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Aug 28, 2012


2012 Compu-Picks Preview: Looking at the impact of key week one games

One new piece of analysis I'm doing this year is looking at some of key matchups and what Compu-Picks thinks the results of these matchups will say about the rest of the season. For week one, I'm going to take a look at Alabama-Michigan, Auburn-Clemson, Boise St - Michigan St, Georgia Tech - Virginia Tech, and an interesting game a bit off the radar, Texas A&M - Louisiana Tech.

I'll start with the marquee game of the weekend, Alabama-Michigan. Let's look at Alabama first, splitting out the season simulations where they beat Michigan from the ones where they didn't:

Alabama 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Michigan
Michigan Result W L Any
Win % vs
Michigan 100% 0% 72%
W. Kentucky 98% 95% 98%
Arkansas 85% 67% 80%
Fla. Atlantic 100% 100% 100%
Mississippi 99% 95% 98%
Missouri 84% 70% 80%
Tennessee 91% 79% 88%
Mississippi St. 88% 72% 83%
LSU 65% 46% 60%
Texas A&M 96% 89% 94%
Auburn 81% 67% 77%
AA 100% 100% 100%
Total E(Wins) - except for Michigan 9.86 8.79 9.56
Total E(Wins) - including Michigan 10.86 8.79 10.28

As you can see, beating Michigan is a pretty big deal in terms of predicting the rest of the year (over a full win difference - 9.86 vs 8.79 - in the rest of the year's games). Or, perhaps more accurately, NOT beating Michigan is a pretty big deal, since they're projected to have about a 72% chance of winning the game.

This means that a loss tells us something surprising about Alabama (and has a relatively large impact on the future game predictions), while a win merely helps confirm the assessment of the teams' abilities going into the game (and thus has a smaller impact on the future game predictions).

Now let's take a look at the other side of the game and what impact it's projected to have on Michigan's season:

Michigan 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Alabama
Alabama Result W L Any
Win % vs
Alabama 100% 0% 28%
Air Force 98% 94% 95%
Massachusetts 100% 100% 100%
Notre Dame 74% 61% 64%
Purdue 90% 79% 82%
Illinois 98% 96% 96%
Michigan St. 87% 76% 79%
Nebraska 64% 45% 51%
Minnesota 97% 89% 91%
Northwestern 98% 91% 93%
Iowa 90% 79% 82%
Ohio St. 50% 31% 36%
Total E(Wins) - except for Alabama 9.45 8.41 8.70
Total E(Wins) - including Alabama 10.45 8.41 8.98

Just like Alabama, the difference between winning this game and losing it amounts to a full game the rest of the way. That's a full two win swing for Michigan, one for the week one game itself, and one for the cumulative impact over the rest of the season. As with Alabama, we can potentially learn a lot from an upset here, or we can learn less from an expected result. Either way, the difference is material.

It's a similar story for Auburn and Clemson, with the difference between winning and losing worth about two wins for each team - one for the game itself and one for the cumulative predictive impact on the rest of the season.

Auburn 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Clemson
Clemson Result W L Any
Win % vs
Clemson 100% 0% 60%
Mississippi St. 59% 42% 52%
La.-Monroe 99% 96% 97%
LSU 63% 47% 56%
Arkansas 83% 70% 78%
Mississippi 94% 87% 91%
Vanderbilt 71% 54% 64%
Texas A&M 88% 75% 83%
New Mexico St. 100% 100% 100%
Georgia 71% 53% 64%
Alabama 29% 15% 23%
AA 100% 100% 100%
Total E(Wins) - except for Clemson 8.56 7.37 8.09
Total E(Wins) - including Clemson 9.56 7.37 8.69

Clemson 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Auburn
Auburn Result W L Any
Win % vs
Auburn 100% 0% 40%
Ball St. 98% 93% 95%
Florida St. 30% 17% 22%
Boston College 68% 53% 59%
Georgia Tech 83% 69% 75%
Virginia Tech 84% 69% 75%
Wake Forest 92% 83% 86%
Duke 89% 80% 84%
Maryland 98% 96% 97%
N. Carolina St. 95% 89% 92%
South Carolina 69% 50% 58%
AA 100% 100% 100%
Total E(Wins) - except for Auburn 9.08 7.98 8.41
Total E(Wins) - including Auburn 10.08 7.98 8.81

Boise St - Michigan St is a bit different. While the impact on Boise is about the same as for the teams above, it's actually a much larger impact on Michigan St. This is because the Spartans have many more tossup or near-tossup games, and fewer that are either very likely wins or very likely losses. The predominance of swing games on the Spartans' slate means that a win here could be a stepping stone to a big season, while a loss here could spell a disastrous 2012.

Boise St. 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Michigan St.
Michigan St. Result W L Any
Win % vs
Michigan St. 100% 0% 39%
Miami (Ohio) 90% 80% 84%
BYU 53% 36% 43%
New Mexico 99% 97% 98%
Southern Miss 68% 54% 59%
Fresno St. 93% 85% 89%
UNLV 99% 98% 98%
Wyoming 86% 74% 78%
San Diego St. 92% 86% 88%
Hawaii 87% 75% 80%
Colorado St. 99% 95% 96%
Nevada 93% 84% 88%
Total E(Wins) - except for Michigan St. 9.59 8.64 9.01
Total E(Wins) - including Michigan St. 10.59 8.64 9.40

Michigan St. 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Boise St.
Boise St. Result W L Any
Win % vs
Boise St. 100% 0% 61%
C. Michigan 82% 69% 77%
Notre Dame 60% 44% 54%
E. Michigan 95% 89% 93%
Ohio St. 38% 24% 32%
Indiana 85% 74% 81%
Iowa 67% 50% 60%
Michigan 26% 14% 21%
Wisconsin 57% 39% 50%
Nebraska 55% 39% 49%
Northwestern 88% 75% 83%
Minnesota 84% 72% 80%
Total E(Wins) - except for Boise St. 7.38 5.88 6.80
Total E(Wins) - including Boise St. 8.38 5.88 7.41

Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, like Michigan St above, have records relatively more sensitive to this result than teams like Michigan, Alabama or Boise, as the impact on future games is worth about 1.25 wins for each. Not quite at the level of the Spartans, but more than the others so far.

Georgia Tech 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Result W L Any
Win % vs
Virginia Tech 100% 0% 38%
Virginia 93% 85% 88%
Miami (Fla.) 86% 70% 76%
M. Tenn. St. 99% 97% 98%
Clemson 35% 19% 25%
Boston College 68% 50% 57%
BYU 59% 42% 48%
Maryland 89% 80% 83%
North Carolina 87% 76% 80%
Duke 85% 73% 78%
Georgia 26% 15% 19%
AA 100% 98% 99%
Total E(Wins) - except for Virginia Tech 8.28 7.05 7.51
Total E(Wins) - including Virginia Tech 9.28 7.05 7.89

Virginia Tech 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech Result W L Any
Win % vs
Georgia Tech 100% 0% 62%
Pittsburgh 70% 53% 63%
Bowling Green 94% 88% 92%
Cincinnati 58% 41% 51%
North Carolina 86% 75% 82%
Duke 88% 76% 83%
Clemson 29% 18% 25%
Miami (Fla.) 72% 56% 66%
Florida St. 32% 17% 26%
Boston College 50% 34% 44%
Virginia 93% 85% 90%
AA 100% 99% 100%
Total E(Wins) - except for Georgia Tech 7.72 6.40 7.22
Total E(Wins) - including Georgia Tech 8.72 6.40 7.85

Texas A&M - Louisiana Tech, the final game I'm looking at in detail, is actually a bit more interesting and telling than you might think. Texas A&M falls around the level of the two ACC teams above, more sensitive to the result here than most, but not to the extreme. However, given their schedule the rest of the way, if they're not good enough to win this game, they're not good enough to come anywhere close to seven wins (which they need for bowl eligibility, since they play two AA teams).

Meanwhile, for Louisiana Tech, this game could potentially be the beginning of an exceptional season. A&M is rated as their toughest test, with only three other games rated below 80% win likelihood. If they're good enough to win in week one, their win odds in their remaining games increase dramatically. If they can win in week one and then avoid a stumble against Houston the next week, they could be off to the races for a double-digit win season at the very least.

Texas A&M 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech Result W L Any
Win % vs
Louisiana Tech 100% 0% 56%
Florida 29% 15% 23%
SMU 77% 64% 71%
Arkansas 56% 39% 48%
Mississippi 72% 58% 66%
LSU 34% 19% 28%
Auburn 23% 11% 17%
Mississippi St. 27% 16% 22%
Alabama 8% 4% 6%
Missouri 51% 35% 44%
AA 100% 98% 99%
AA 99% 98% 99%
Total E(Wins) - except for Louisiana Tech 5.75 4.55 5.22
Total E(Wins) - including Louisiana Tech 6.75 4.55 5.79

Louisiana Tech 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Texas A&M
Texas A&M Result W L Any
Win % vs
Texas A&M 100% 0% 44%
Houston 67% 51% 58%
Rice 89% 77% 82%
Illinois 65% 49% 56%
Virginia 69% 53% 60%
UNLV 97% 94% 95%
Idaho 97% 93% 95%
New Mexico St. 98% 95% 96%
Texas-San Antonio 99% 96% 97%
Tex St-San Mar 95% 89% 91%
Utah St. 86% 73% 79%
San Jose St. 87% 78% 82%
Total E(Wins) - except for Texas A&M 9.49 8.48 8.92
Total E(Wins) - including Texas A&M 10.49 8.48 9.36
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.

2012 Compu-Picks Blog

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