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Compu-Picks 2012 Analysis: Week One Upsets

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Sep 6, 2012


2012 Compu-Picks Analysis: Looking at the impact of key week one upsets

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. Before week one, I took a look at Alabama-Michigan, Auburn-Clemson, Boise St - Michigan St, Georgia Tech - Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M - Louisiana Tech. Now that week one is in the books, I'm going to take a similar look at some key week one upsets. Please note that this is entirely based on the preseason simulations; the actual scores, stats, levels of dominance etc. have NOT been considered for this analysis.

I'll start with the most extreme upset of the weekend, Texas St knocking off (actually, blowing out) Houston as a five-touchdown underdog. Let's look at Texas St, splitting out the season simulations where they beat Houston from the ones where they didn't:

Tex St-San Mar 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Houston
Houston Result W L Any
Win % vs
Houston 100% 0% 8%
Texas Tech 15% 5% 6%
Nevada 54% 33% 34%
New Mexico 69% 47% 49%
Idaho 61% 45% 47%
San Jose St. 46% 25% 27%
Utah St. 24% 11% 12%
Louisiana Tech 20% 8% 9%
Navy 16% 6% 7%
Texas-San Antonio 67% 42% 44%
New Mexico St. 94% 77% 78%
AA 74% 35% 38%
Total E(Wins) - except for Houston 5.40 3.35 3.51
Total E(Wins) - including Houston 6.40 3.35 3.59

As you can see, this size of upset had a MAJOR effect on the season projections for Texas St. While there are certainly season simulations where they pulled off this upset but still had a poor year, in aggregate this game raised their expectation to a bit over 6 wins, meaning that they have a very solid shot at bowl eligibility. That's a far cry from preseason #6 in the WAC.

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

Houston 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Tex St-San Mar
Tex St-San Mar Result W L Any
Win % vs
Tex St-San Mar 100% 0% 92%
Louisiana Tech 44% 21% 42%
UCLA 12% 3% 11%
Rice 61% 35% 59%
North Texas 82% 61% 80%
UAB 89% 73% 88%
SMU 47% 23% 45%
UTEP 78% 54% 76%
East Carolina 50% 23% 48%
Tulsa 33% 15% 32%
Marshall 56% 33% 54%
Tulane 78% 60% 76%
Total E(Wins) - except for Tex St-San Mar 6.30 3.99 6.11
Total E(Wins) - including Tex St-San Mar 7.30 3.99 7.04

Just like Texas St, this upset result had a major impact on Houston's 2012 projection, dropping their win expectation over three full wins. Looking at their schedule, Compu-Picks only favors them in three games given a loss against Texas St, and none of those are heavy favorites. Meanwhile, a number of games now look extremely difficult to downright unwinnable. A bowl game isn't yet out of the picture, but it's going to be tough sledding to get there.

Next up is Ohio knocking off Penn St. Can Ohio turn their week one win into an undefeated run? There's a lot of football left to be played, but it's certainly on the table. If they can follow up this win with another key road win at Marshall in two weeks (definitely not a gimme), their odds will go up even further and the expectation should turn into double digits, which is very good at this stage of the season.

Ohio 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Penn St.
Penn St. Result W L Any
Win % vs
Penn St. 100% 0% 45%
New Mexico St. 98% 94% 96%
Marshall 61% 43% 51%
Massachusetts 90% 78% 83%
Buffalo 92% 82% 87%
Akron 97% 94% 95%
Miami (Ohio) 45% 29% 36%
E. Michigan 84% 69% 76%
Bowling Green 66% 50% 57%
Ball St. 60% 41% 49%
Kent St. 61% 45% 52%
AA 97% 90% 93%
Total E(Wins) - except for Penn St. 8.51 7.14 7.75
Total E(Wins) - including Penn St. 9.51 7.14 8.20

On the flip side, Penn St was already not rated as being particularly good, but this loss is pretty much a disaster. If they were going to have any realistic shot at a respectable season, they needed this game. As it is, it's hard to see these guys hitting six wins, and they may not even come close.

Penn St. 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Ohio
Ohio Result W L Any
Win % vs
Ohio 100% 0% 55%
Virginia 52% 36% 45%
Navy 57% 40% 49%
Temple 50% 33% 42%
Illinois 45% 29% 38%
Northwestern 52% 36% 45%
Iowa 18% 9% 14%
Ohio St. 11% 5% 8%
Purdue 32% 19% 26%
Nebraska 10% 5% 8%
Indiana 70% 57% 65%
Wisconsin 33% 22% 28%
Total E(Wins) - except for Ohio 4.30 2.91 3.68
Total E(Wins) - including Ohio 5.30 2.91 4.24

Next up is Nevada, who scored an important upset win at Cal. Unfortunately for the Pack, Compu-Picks wasn't particularly high on either of these teams, so while this win definitely bumped up the expected record, there's a long way to go to hit double digits. That said, Nevada has a chance to prove Compu-Picks wrong in their next two 1-A games; if they can sweep USF and Hawaii, things will be looking much more up than they are at this point.

Nevada 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs California
California Result W L Any
Win % vs
California 100% 0% 19%
South Florida 26% 12% 15%
Hawaii 39% 23% 26%
Tex St-San Mar 81% 62% 66%
Wyoming 59% 39% 43%
UNLV 79% 63% 66%
San Diego St. 58% 39% 42%
Air Force 30% 15% 18%
Fresno St. 62% 44% 48%
New Mexico 88% 76% 78%
Boise St. 22% 10% 12%
AA 93% 78% 81%
Total E(Wins) - except for California 6.36 4.63 4.96
Total E(Wins) - including California 7.36 4.63 5.15

On the flip side, Compu-Picks already wasn't high on Cal, and losing to a Nevada team projected as pretty bad makes 2012 look like a potential disaster. Personally, I think that 2.5 wins is far too low of a win projection, but at the same time it's hard to see this as a bowl team. If they wanted to hit 6+ wins, they desperately needed this game. With very likely losses still to come against Ohio St, USC, Utah and Oregon, there's almost no margin for error. Fortunately for the Bears, teams like Stanford and Wazzu have been very disapointing, but Nevada was rated as Cal's single most likely 1-A win... and they couldn't do it. If they can't beat Nevada at home, it's tough to see a winning record against ASU, UCLA, Wazzu, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon St, much less 5-1 or better, which is probably what they'll need.

California 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs Nevada
Nevada Result W L Any
Win % vs
Nevada 100% 0% 81%
Ohio St. 6% 2% 5%
USC 11% 4% 10%
Arizona St. 82% 64% 78%
UCLA 32% 16% 29%
Washington St. 57% 37% 53%
Stanford 15% 6% 14%
Utah 11% 4% 10%
Washington 33% 19% 30%
Oregon 4% 1% 3%
Oregon St. 27% 14% 25%
AA 97% 87% 95%
Total E(Wins) - except for Nevada 3.75 2.55 3.52
Total E(Wins) - including Nevada 4.75 2.55 4.33

Even with just one result, Pitt looks to be in major trouble (and their struggles tonight against Cincy only reinforce this conclusion). Their AA game was rated as a near-lock of a win, and they still blew it. With a loss there, even Buffalo and their other AA opponent are far from sure things, and everyone else looks like a very tough test. Making a bowl looks like a reach at this point.

Pittsburgh 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs AA
AA Result W L Any
Win % vs
AA 100% 0% 98%
Cincinnati 41% 10% 40%
Virginia Tech 37% 7% 37%
Syracuse 70% 25% 69%
Louisville 54% 22% 53%
Buffalo 88% 59% 87%
Temple 66% 0% 65%
Notre Dame 27% 8% 26%
Connecticut 60% 15% 59%
Rutgers 46% 13% 45%
South Florida 30% 4% 30%
AA 98% 71% 98%
Total E(Wins) - except for AA 6.17 2.34 6.09
Total E(Wins) - including AA 7.17 2.34 7.07

The same thing is true for Middle Tennessee St and Idaho. Bowl games for either of these teams look like major reaches after they couldn't hold off AA opponents.

M. Tenn. St. 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs AA
AA Result W L Any
Win % vs
AA 100% 0% 54%
Fla. Atlantic 62% 40% 52%
Memphis 66% 41% 54%
Georgia Tech 4% 1% 2%
La.-Monroe 38% 18% 29%
FIU 14% 5% 10%
Mississippi St. 1% 0% 1%
North Texas 43% 23% 34%
W. Kentucky 11% 2% 7%
South Alabama 63% 39% 52%
Troy 40% 20% 31%
Arkansas St. 7% 1% 4%
Total E(Wins) - except for AA 3.49 1.91 2.76
Total E(Wins) - including AA 4.49 1.91 3.30

Idaho 2012 Season Projections based on W/L vs AA
AA Result W L Any
Win % vs
AA 100% 0% 61%
Bowling Green 18% 7% 13%
LSU 1% 0% 0%
Wyoming 39% 18% 31%
North Carolina 23% 8% 17%
New Mexico St. 90% 74% 84%
Tex St-San Mar 63% 39% 53%
Louisiana Tech 8% 2% 5%
San Jose St. 64% 39% 54%
BYU 2% 0% 1%
Texas-San Antonio 83% 61% 74%
Utah St. 21% 7% 15%
Total E(Wins) - except for AA 4.10 2.54 3.49
Total E(Wins) - including AA 5.10 2.54 4.09
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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