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2008 Elite Selection Playoff: Week Fifteen and BCS Championship Predictions

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2008 Elite Selection Playoff: Week Fifteen and BCS Championship Predictions

Disclaimer: The following is not intended for betting purposes.

The AV Ranking was two for three in conference championship picks from last week. It was much less accurate, however, predicting the odds of beating the spreads.

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)

Cincinnati (-1)

Alabama (-10)

Texas (-10)

Florida (-3)

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
RankTeamAPCoachs'AVPoints
1Oklahoma2111
2Florida1230.972
3Texas3320.945
4Alabama4480.837
4Southern Cal5470.837
6Utah7750.797
7Texas Tech8840.783
8Penn State6690.77
9Ohio State101060.702
10Boise St99100.675
11TCU1111140.567
12Cincinnati1212130.554
13Oklahoma St1314160.472
14Georgia1617120.445
15Georgia Tech1415180.418
16Pittsburgh1821110.378
17Michigan St1918150.351
18Oregon1513260.324
19Brigham Young1716290.256
20Virginia Tech2119200.243
21Oregon St2425170.162
22Northwestern2220400.135
23Ball St2322240.121
23Mississippi2024250.121
25Boston CollegeNRNR190.094

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
RankTeamPoints
1Washington1
2Utah St0.988
3Syracuse0.977
4Michigan0.973
5Virginia0.962
6Texas0.955
7Arkansas0.948
8Purdue0.944
9Pittsburgh0.902
10Illinois0.895

AV Ranking

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.

AV Ranking
AVTeamPointsSOSQWLAWPMOV
1Oklahoma0.91811132
2Texas0.89662106
3Florida0.839221151
4Texas Tech0.785783811
5Utah0.782100918
6Ohio State0.76723191216
7Southern Cal0.76682873
8Alabama0.765741459
9Penn State0.76397484
10Boise St0.7471058015
11Pittsburgh0.7289641539
12Georgia0.72115431537
13Cincinnati0.70381141129
14TCU0.6857849127
15Michigan St0.68527572048
16Oklahoma St0.67646182017
17Oregon St0.6712173128
18Georgia Tech0.6637152031
19Boston College0.66229242630
20Nebraska0.64919283734
21Virginia Tech0.64834172944
22Florida St0.64828213123
23Ball St0.64611880310
24Missouri0.64536332714
25Mississippi0.644763121

Furthermore

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