Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fluctuations in UNC's Bowl Chances Throughout the Season

Since I keep a weekly archive of my NCAAF ratings, I was able to retroactively determine how likely UNC was to make a bowl after each of their games. Obviously each win and loss greatly impacts the total probability, since a concrete "W" increases whatever pregame win probability to a 1 in the books (and conversely an "L" brings that down to a 0).

The following chart is based on simulating the rest of the season 10,000 times after each of UNC's games, using each week's archived ratings. Besides the explicit influence of each win and loss as described above, two notable changes occurred as follows:
  • The 70-41 loss to ECU had a HUGE negative impact. One reason was the lopsided score itself (and only having 3 games of data at that point), and another was that this week was when I transitioned fully from my pregame rankings to using the Composite ratings that factored in only this year's data (after Week 4)
  • The 50-43 loss to Notre Dame greatly improved the likelihood of 6 wins (from 13.46% to 32.03%) because it was a close loss to a good team (we performed better than expected). However, another coincident factor was that this was also the week I transitioned to fully using the Pyth ratings to predict games

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is FSU In the Top 4, Much Less #1?

Some controversy has developed in the past few weeks when the playoff selection committee ranked Oregon and Alabama (both with one loss) ahead of Florida State, the only Power 5 team without a loss.

However, the only thing that matters is that FSU makes it into the top 4 for a spot in the playoff. FSU is #1 in the AP poll, #1 in the Coach's poll, but #3 in the CFP rankings. I checked where the Seminoles ranked in more objective rating systems to see if they're underrated at #3, or whether they're overrated and should even be in the top 4 at all.

In my MDS Composite model (which aggregates wins/losses, strength of schedule, and margin of victory to estimate a complete picture of each team), FSU checks in at #11. PredictionMachine, which simulates every team against one another 50,000 times to generate rankings, ranks Florida State at #12. Kenneth Massey maintains composite rankings of a multitude of different statistical/computer models (114 to be exact), and FSU still doesn't crack the top 4: they're ranked #6. Of those 114 models, Florida State is ranked #4 or better in 51: less than half (44.74%). They're also ranked #1 in only 18: less than 1 in every 6 (15.79%).

The only model in which they rank #1 (of my MDS components) is the Matrix model, which only takes into account wins and losses and the strength of opponents (it was designed to be analogous to the BCS computers (and the implementation of the playoff selection committee was supposed to eliminate these flawed BCS systems)). Ultimately, Seminole fans should consider their team lucky to still be included in the playoff at all. The committee has left Marshall completely out of the Top 25 due to their weak schedule; Florida State's isn't all that impressive either (FSU's SOS ranks #66 in FBS per my metric, while Marshall ranks #118. For comparison, Alabama's is #17 and Oregon's is #53).

Finally, should Florida State (perhaps unfairly) make the playoff, don't expect them to win it all. Simulations of the current playoff matchups give the following results, with FSU repeating as champions about 1/10th of the time:

 Win % National Champion
 #1 Alabama66.23%46.19%
 #4 Miss St33.77%18.32%
 #2 Oregon62.56%24.82%
 #3 Florida St37.44%10.66%

Monday, November 10, 2014

Downfall of Parsing in Google Sheets

With the start of college basketball rapidly approaching, I went through to set up my model for the new season. In doing so I checked for errors (probably the most intensive and frustrating part of writing code), and found that ESPN's schedules had changed the names of certain colleges, slightly. Every "State" is changed to "St", with the exception of a few, including Ohio State, NC State, and Iowa State. Those alterations and the rest are as follows:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

UNC's Chances of Going to a Bowl

Bowl odds:
6-6 or better: 44.48%
Win out: 8.62%; Lose out: 14.17%
Expected record: 5.39-6.61
UNC's rank: #58

Our remaining opponents:
vs Pitt (#46): 50.36%, +0.12
at Duke (#40): 28.49%, -7.67
vs NC State (#57): 60.08%, +3.45