2008 Elite Selection Playoff: Week Fifteen and BCS Championship Predictions
Disclaimer: The following is not intended for betting purposes.
While the AV Ranking was able to successfully predict Oklahoma beating the 17 point spread in the Big 12 championship, it failed to predict Florida beating the spread in the SEC championship game. Additionally, the AV Ranking predicted the Boston College, Virginia Tech ACC championship game to be a toss-up and it ended up turning into a route.
With the BCS and national championship slate set, we’ll take another shot. All arguing about whether or not the Longhorns deserve their title shot aside (the ESP would have put Texas over Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship), the BCS matchups are as follows:
Rose Bowl presented by Citi: Penn State vs. Southern California
FedEx Orange: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Allstate Sugar: Utah vs. Alabama
Tostitos Fiesta: Ohio State vs. Texas
FedEx BCS National Championship: Florida vs. Oklahoma
The AV Ranking (see below) predicts the winners to be USC (0.766 over Penn State at 0.764), Cincinnati (0.704 over Virginia Tech at 0.649), Utah (0.782 over Alabama at 0.765), Texas (0.896 over Ohio State at 0.767), and Oklahoma (0.919 over Florida at 0.840).
The Rose and Sugar bowls are particularly close calls while the Orange, Fiesta, and BCS National Championship games are characterized by surprisingly wide AV Ranking point margins.
Similar to the conference championships last week, the AV Ranking will be used to predict the probability of covering the spread for each game listed above. Shortly before this was posted the Vegas lines on the games were:
Southern California (-10)
Using the correlation described here the probability of each team covering the spread was determined.
In the case of the Rose Bowl, for the given AV Ranking point delta, previous data indicates that the lower ranked team will cover a 10 point spread about 65 percent of the time so taking Penn State (+10) is a decent bet.
The Orange Bowl has a very small spread, and is virtually a 50/50 split over whether or not the spread will be covered. The line on this game is appropriately set and betting one way or the other isn’t advantageous.
The Sugar Bowl AV Ranking point delta (0.017) is relatively small. Based on the AV Ranking data this season, the 10 point spread on this game is covered by the underdog about 70 percent of the time. This game seems to be the best bet as the probability of Utah losing by more than 10 points is low.
The Fiesta Bowl AV Ranking point delta (0.129) is relatively large. However, the AV Ranking data this season indicates that 65 percent of the time the lower ranked team (Ohio State) covers a 10 point spread. Similar to the Rose Bowl, it’s a decent bet to take Ohio State (+10).
The BCS National Championship has a 0.079 AV Ranking point. The AV Ranking predicts Oklahoma to win and that 65 percent of the time this season a team with this delta will cover the spread noted above, i.e. taking Oklahoma (+3) is a good bet.
The spreads always change as the games draw closer but at these lines the historically predicted probabilities on most of the BCS games are greater than 65 percent for the Vegas underdog.
Elite Selection Playoff
The ESP predicts the same national championship as the BCS. However, last week’s ESP rankings would have put Texas against Missouri in the Big 12 conference championship, likely giving the Longhorns the nod to Miami.
The rest of the top 10 looks identical with the exception of Boise State and Ohio State at numbers nine and 10. Here the ESP gives the Buckeyes the edge over the Broncos.
Elite Selection Playoff
Strength of Schedule
Washington overtook the top strength of schedule spot again, holding it for the second straight year. As it has been for most of the year, only one team in the top 10 of the ESP has played one of the top 10 toughest schedules. Seeing how this is the Longhorns, their gripe for a shot at the national championship appears even more deserving. In fairness to Oklahoma, they played the 11th ranked strength of schedule.
The Fighting Irish finished out the season with the 73rd ranked strength of schedule, a considerably more facile proposition than the 6th ranked strength of schedule from 2007 and easily worth a few wins of improvement.
Strength of Schedule
If it were left up to the computers the national title would be decided by a rematch between Oklahoma and Texas as the Sooners and Longhorns come in at numbers one and two in the AV Ranking. Florida continues to hold onto the third spot after their win over the Crimson Tide.
The Irish finish the season 65th in the AV Ranking, up from number 90 last year.