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2008 Elite Selection Playoff: Week Fourteen and Conference Championship Predictions

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2008 Elite Selection Playoff: Week Fourteen and Conference Championship Predictions

Disclaimer: the following is not intended for betting purposes.

As promised here and here, this week the AV ranking will be used to predict the Big 12, ACC, and SEC conference championship games. Forgetting for the moment that the AV Ranking would have put Texas in the Big 12 championship over Oklahoma, these conference championship games feature the following opponents:

Big 12: Missouri vs. Oklahoma

ACC: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech

SEC: Alabama vs. Florida

The AV Ranking (see below) predicts the winners to be Oklahoma (0.903 over Missouri at 0.656), Boston College (0.681 over Virginia Tech at 0.627), and Florida (0.811 over Alabama at 0.805). However, Alabama and Florida are ranked so closely the game is really a toss-up and Boston College doesn’t have a sizeable lead over the Hokies. In the past the AV Ranking has been better than 70 percent accurate in picking the winners of the BCS and BCS National Championship games.

This is all well and good, but predicting the winner is hardly as exciting as trying to determine if a team will cover the spread. Shortly before this article was posted the Vegas lines on the games were:

Oklahoma (-17)

Florida (-10)

Boston College (-1)

Normally it would be difficult to be confident beating the spread in games like the SEC and ACC championships were the AV Ranking point differential is very small and in a game like the Big 12 championship where the line is very large. However, the Big 12 and SEC championship games present unique situations.

Over the course of the season a correlation was established between the AV Ranking of week χ and the outcome of the games in week χ+1. This correlation was used to develop a relationship between the AV Ranking point differential in week χ and margin of victory in week χ+1. The result is a relationship that can be used to determine a percent confidence that two teams with a particular AV Ranking delta will be separated by a specific margin of victory.

Using a small subset of data points (approximately 20) surrounding the AV Ranking point delta between two teams this was done for each game listed above.

In the case of the Big 12 championship, for the given AV Ranking point delta, the previous data indicates that the lower ranked team will cover a 17 point spread about 65 percent of the time, i.e. taking Missouri +17 should be a decent, albeit not great, bet.

Using similar methodology, the ACC championship game is about a 50/50 shot on which team will win. Thus, the line on the game is appropriately set and picking one way or the other isn’t advantageous.

Finally, the AV Ranking would predict that Alabama would cover the 10 point spread on Florida nearly 80 percent of the time. Given the likelihood that Percy Harvin will likely not be 100 percent (if he plays at all), there is a high probability that Alabama will lose by fewer than 10 points.

Of course spreads change as the game approaches. But based on these spreads taking Alabama seems like a good thing.

Elite Selection Playoff

Week fourteen of the ESP looks very similar to the BCS with two notable exceptions. First, Texas and Oklahoma are reversed in the ESP. Since Texas holds the top spot in the AV Ranking they edge out Oklahoma in the ESP (the average poll ranking is the same for both teams) and likely should have played for the Big 12 championship.

Second, Penn State and Texas Tech are tied for the 7th spot due to the edge in AV Ranking (five vs. nine) of the Red Raiders. The rest of the BCS top ten look identical to that of the ESP.

Elite Selection Playoff
RankTeamAPCoachs'AVPoints
1Alabama1141
2Texas3310.986
3Oklahoma4220.972
4Florida2430.958
5Southern Cal5570.847
6Utah7760.805
7Penn State6690.791
7Texas Tech8850.791
9Boise St9980.722
10Ohio State1010100.666
11TCU1111150.569
11Cincinnati1312120.569
13Ball St1213140.541
14Oklahoma St1415160.458
15Georgia1719110.43
16Georgia Tech1516200.375
17Oregon1614240.333
18Boston College1820180.305
19Missouri1917220.277
20Pittsburgh2323130.263
20Michigan St2121170.263
22Brigham Young2018280.194
23Oregon St2524190.138
23Mississippi2225210.138
25Northwestern2423350.069

Strength of Schedule

Utah State takes over the top strength of schedule spot followed closely by Arkansas and Syracuse. Washington, Texas, and Michigan round out the top five. Once again, Texas and Georgia are the only teams in the top 25 of the ESP that also have a top 10 ranked strength of schedule.

The Irish come in with a strength of schedule ranked 70th in the country. That number could rise or fall based on the performance of Boston College against Virginia Tech and USC against cross-town rival UCLA.

Strength of Schedule
RankTeamPoints
1Utah St1
2Arkansas0.995
3Syracuse0.99
4Washington0.98
5Texas0.974
6Michigan0.974
7Virginia0.962
8Purdue0.948
9Baylor0.91
10Georgia0.909

AV Ranking

For the ninth straight week the Longhorns sit atop the AV Ranking followed by Oklahoma who is only one-thousandth of a point behind at the two spot. The decline to the third spot is sharper after the top two spots.

The Irish end their season at number 65 in the AV Ranking. Again, this number could slightly rise or fall based on the outcome of the games this weekend.

AV Ranking
AVTeamPointsSOSQWLAWPMOV
1Texas0.90352106
2Oklahoma0.90318152
3Florida0.811421261
4Alabama0.80599949
5Texas Tech0.799783612
6Utah0.79710211111
7Southern Cal0.779691093
8Boise St0.7721046215
9Penn State0.77195464
10Ohio State0.76726201115
11Georgia0.73310411636
12Cincinnati0.70975171129
13Pittsburgh0.70714572647
14Ball St0.71187918
15TCU0.6997849117
16Oklahoma St0.68947142016
17Michigan St0.68930552048
18Boston College0.6839651725
19Oregon St0.682273027
20Georgia Tech0.6776562029
21Mississippi0.6574253020
22Missouri0.65665402010
23Nebraska0.65518303433
24Oregon0.65183231719
25Florida St0.64929313021

Furthermore

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