Race for the Roses 2013: Week 4

Harry How

A 4OT "classic" shakes up the West hierarchy, while the East remains Ohio State's to lose.

Last week, Ohio State was king of the East Division, while Michigan's unbeaten record had them atop the no-margin projections in the West and margin-aware predicted an MSU-Nebraska race. How did last week's results affect the numbers? As always, ratings are here and division percentages are based on 100,000 simulated seasons.

West Division

Basic Method
Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Michigan State (#27)
5.76 N/A N/A 0.11% 1.90% 10.67% 27.12% 34.33% 20.98% 4.90% 99.89% 38.08% 63.05%
Nebraska (#30)
5.32 N/A N/A 0.60% 5.26% 18.19% 31.53% 28.84% 13.21% 2.37% 99.40% 23.45% 45.81%
Michigan (#28)
4.20 N/A 0.74% 6.31% 20.33% 32.24% 27.00% 11.44% 1.93% N/A 99.26% 5.27% 16.37%
Iowa (#51)
3.92 N/A 1.21% 8.85% 25.05% 34.33% 23.10% 6.81% 0.66% N/A 89.94% 2.27% 9.57%
Northwestern (#54)
2.75 2.16% 12.29% 27.63% 31.62% 19.45% 6.09% 0.76% N/A N/A 85.55% 0.37% 2.46%
Minnesota (#61)
2.67 2.53% 13.54% 28.88% 31.25% 18.00% 5.21% 0.59% N/A N/A 83.93% 0.26% 1.86%

Michigan drops precipitously after the loss in Happy Valley. While nearly indistinguishable in the ratings from Nebraska and Michigan State, already having one loss and facing the prospect of an Ohio State game in the final week drops them down to a fairly distant third. Expect these standings to look pretty similar for the next two weeks as the contenders play cross-division games; none of the top three play each other (or Northwestern) until November. Northwestern has a bit of a hole to dig their way out of thanks to a nasty start to the schedule, and no-margin doesn't think highly enough of Wisconsin for that loss not to hurt. While MSU has the best chance to win outright, the trip to Lincoln gives Nebraska the advantage in a game that could easily decide the tiebreaker, so factoring the tiebreaker in, Nebraska and MSU are probably co-favorites.

Margin-Aware Method
Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Michigan State (#23)
6.26 N/A N/A 1 in 67,400 0.22% 3.42% 17.68% 36.94% 32.17% 9.56% >99.99% 52.31% 76.59%
Nebraska (#33)
5.39 N/A N/A 0.36% 4.04% 16.76% 32.23% 30.56% 13.74% 2.32% 99.64% 18.88% 40.42%
Iowa (#42)
4.11 N/A 0.28% 4.54% 21.13% 38.80% 28.33% 6.59% 0.34% N/A 95.18% 1.16% 6.61%
Michigan (#38)
3.75 N/A 1.38% 10.90% 29.27% 33.95% 19.00% 5.01% 0.49% N/A 98.62% 1.43% 6.20%
Northwestern (#51)
2.69 1.74% 12.14% 29.71% 33.24% 18.15% 4.60% 0.43% N/A N/A 86.12% 0.13% 1.15%
Minnesota (#64)
2.11 5.63% 23.66% 35.89% 25.02% 8.43% 1.30% 0.07% N/A N/A 70.71% 0.03% 0.31%

Here, MSU's consistent two-score wins and narrow loss elevate them a bit over Nebraska (20-point loss, albeit to a good UCLA team, and a very narrow escape against Wyoming) and Michigan (barely surviving UConn and Akron). The game in Lincoln could still be key for tiebreaker purposes, but MSU is favored to win the division outright just over half the time.

East Division

Basic Method
Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Ohio State (#7)
6.70 N/A N/A 1 in 19,400 0.14% 1.63% 9.24% 27.58% 40.05% 21.35% Yes 77.92% (82.37%) 92.92% (94.82%)
Wisconsin (#50)
4.54 N/A N/A 2.42% 14.39% 31.75% 32.67% 15.84% 2.93% N/A 91.89% 2.68% (2.99%) 11.17% (11.84%)
Penn State (#43)
4.13 N/A 0.48% 5.74% 21.82% 35.40% 26.70% 8.90% 0.96% N/A (93.78%) 2.13% (N/A) 8.04% (N/A)
Indiana (#72)
3.72 N/A 1.21% 10.62% 30.13% 35.83% 18.11% 3.82% 0.27% N/A 58.04% 0.87% (1.12%) 4.14% (4.67%)
Illinois (#74)
3.05 1.52% 9.20% 22.98% 30.50% 23.18% 10.08% 2.32% 0.22% N/A 66.30% 0.57% (0.69%) 2.81% (3.11%)
Purdue (#111)
1.24 23.38% 40.48% 26.38% 8.30% 1.35% 0.11% 1 in 28,900 N/A N/A 0.11% <0.01% (<0.01%) 0.04% (0.05%)

Wisconsin takes over the second spot, but this is still Ohio State's division to lose. Wisconsin's rating really suffers from the last-minute chaos that potentially cost them a win at Arizona State, but even with a win there, their odds of catching Ohio State would be poor. The Badgers' bowl chances jumped (they still have a non-conference game with BYU), while Indiana-Illinois on November 9 might end up deciding both teams' bowl eligibility.

Margin-Aware Method
Team Avg wins 0-8 1-7 2-6 3-5 4-4 5-3 6-2 7-1 8-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Ohio State (#8)
7.28 N/A N/A 1 in 4.64M 1 in 41,300 0.09% 1.56% 12.51% 42.04% 43.80% Yes 84.52% (85.11%) 96.85% (97.02%)
Wisconsin (#21)
5.49 N/A N/A 0.12% 2.07% 12.86% 33.18% 37.07% 14.71% N/A 99.29% 2.64% (2.71%) 13.92% (14.00%)
Indiana (#50)
3.95 N/A 0.06% 3.31% 23.67% 50.10% 20.18% 2.59% 0.09% N/A 72.96% 0.13% (0.14%) 1.00% (1.04%)
Penn State (#49)
3.92 N/A 0.08% 4.63% 26.86% 43.18% 21.92% 3.21% 0.12% N/A (95.29%) 0.18% (N/A) 1.16% (N/A)
Illinois (#72)
2.71 1.47% 12.27% 30.26% 32.46% 17.67% 5.09% 0.74% 0.04% N/A 56.00% 0.04% (0.05%) 0.41% (0.43%)
Purdue (#117)
0.32 71.14% 25.84% 2.90% 0.12% 1 in 40,700 1 in 4.50M 1 in 1.38B N/A N/A 1 in 4.49M <0.01% (<0.01%) <0.01% (<0.01%)

Wisconsin jumps significantly here; somehow, every year they seem to have the most variance between the two systems, although not consistently in one direction (last year, margin-aware hated them early; two years ago, it loved them). Unfortunately, Ohio State's chances against everyone left on their schedule (in particular, their toughest game at Michigan) improve greatly as well and so the Badgers are still a long shot to reach Indianapolis.

This Week's Games

Game of the Week: Indiana at Michigan

Very slim pickings for this week, clearly. Indiana is a known quantity at this point; they're going to score a lot and give up a lot of points. Michigan is a bit more of a question mark, largely thanks to the Devin Gardner Random Event Generator. Both systems like Michigan: 78% by the basic method, 79% (8.5 points) by margin-aware.

Mismatch of the Week: Purdue at Michigan State

Look, I don't want to put it here and potentially jinx us, but I can't not do it. Not when it ties the highest predicted margin since I started doing this and breaks the win probability record (at least for football). Basic method says MSU at 91%, which isn't a record. Margin-aware favors MSU by 31 points (matching last year's OSU-Illinois game for the biggest margin), but with different model parameters from season to season that translates to a 99.3% chance of winning, or 133-to-1 odds (OSU was only a 90-to-1 favorite). Purdue could make a run at 2012 Colorado's record for futility by a BCS team (they currently sit at -16.2 points vs. average; Colorado was -21.6).

Non-Purdue Mismatch of the Week: Iowa at Ohio State

The Buckeyes are trying to extend their winning streak to 19 games and hope for some help nationally to eliminate some of the other unbeatens to clear a path to the BCS title game. Meanwhile, Iowa is apparently seriously considering never returning a punt again after Mike Sadler burned them two weeks ago. I can't think of a more Ferentzian response. Ohio State's chances: 84% no-margin, 93% (17 points) margin-aware.

West Basement Battle: Minnesota at Northwestern

Northwestern potentially has the talent to contend, but with Venric Mark and Kain Colter both listed as day-to-day and a hole to climb out of due to an unfavorable schedule, they're probably stuck in the spoiler role this year. Best wishes to Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, currently on leave due to ongoing seizure issues, but his team will be an underdog at Evanston: the no-margin system puts Northwestern's chances at 65%, margin-aware says 77% (7.5 points).

Can't Think of a Witty Headline for This One: Wisconsin at Illinois

Wisconsin would have an outside shot at a BCS game by running the table and finishing 10-2 behind Ohio State, although their schedule will do them no favors in terms of opportunities to climb the rankings. Illinois could definitely use this one en route to bowl eligibility; they have an odd schedule with four tough home games (Wisconsin, MSU, OSU, Northwestern) and three relatively easy road trips (the rest of the East), so almost every game is going to skew toward a coin flip. Thanks to Wisconsin's low no-margin rating, the Illini are 54% favorites in that system; margin-aware likes Wisconsin at 65% (4 points).

Gone Fishin'

Nebraska and Penn State are off this week.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker