Saturday, December 11, 2010

Big Ten Bowl Matchups (second edition)

Last year, I wrote a post to compare the Big Ten Teams and theirr bowl opponents to see what team should be expected to win, based on various indicators.  It was my attempt to head off the criticism of a bad bowl season for the conference, as I showed that based on the indicators a 2-5 would not be out of the question and 4-3 would be the best possible record.  Well, the conference ended up with 4-3.  Very impressive, really.

Well, this year, I decided to add some categories.  Here is a brief explanation of each:

-Conference Record:  Regular season conference record
-Position Conference Record:  This is the record each team would have if they lost to all teams above them in the standings and beat each team below them.  A tie would be 1/2 win and 1/2 loss.  In conferences with championship games, the winner of the championship game is 1st in the conference, the loser of the championship game is 2nd, and all other teams are listed based on conference record.
-Ranking:  This is the BCS ranking.  If neither team is ranked in the BCS, then it would be AP ranking, then USA Today ranking.  This would include receiving any votes.
-CFRC Ranking:  Self explanatory
-Head-to-Head / Common Opponents:  If the two teams played each other, what was the result?  If they didn't play each other, what was the result for any common opponents?  If the record against common opponents is the same, there are 'points' given based on point differential using this system (1-8 point difference = 1 point; 9-24 = 2 points; 25-48 = 3 points; 49+ = 4 points)
-Vegas Line: Self explanatory

So, here is what I found.

Conf Record           7-1     6-2 
 Position Conf Record9-1  8.5-2.5
 Ranking (BCS)
 Common Opponents

Conf Record         7-1    8-0
 Position Conf Record9-18-0
 Ranking (BCS)5     3
 Common Opponents1-0 (+2)1-0 (+3)

Conf Record           7-1     5-3 
 Position Conf Record9-1  7-4
 Ranking (BCS)16
 Common Opponents1-0 (+1) 1-0 (+2
Conf Record           4-4     6-2 
 Position Conf Record7-38-3
 Ranking (BCS)12
 Common Opponents1-0 (+2)1-0 (+2)
Conf Record          3-54-4
 Position Conf Record3.5-6.55.5-5.5
 Ranking (BCS)x21
 Common Opponents
Conf Record          4-44-4
 Position Conf Record6-4 5.5-5.5
 Common Opponents0-1 (-2)0-1 (-3)
Conf Record         4-4   4-4
 Position Conf Record6-46-5
 Ranking (BCS)xx
 Common Opponents
 Line -1.5
Conf Record         3-53-5
 Position Conf Record3.5-6.5 4-7
 Ranking (BCS)xx
 Common Opponents

Based on conference records, The Big Ten should go 2-3-3
Based on position conference records, The Big Ten should go 4-4
Based on rankings, The Big Ten should go 2-3-3
Based on CFRC rankings, The Big Ten should go 1-7
Based on Head-to-Head/Common Opponent, The Big Ten should go 1-2-5
Based on the line, The Big Ten should go 1-7
The average of the above is 2.75 wins, making a 3-5 record a good one.  

I think the most important category is the position conference records.  This minimizes the effects of a tie on the top of the conference (is MSU's 9-1 equivalent to 9-1 in another conference, for instance?) and accounts for the difference in conference sizes (4th place in a 12 team conference is not the same as 4th place in an 8 team conference, for instance).  In this category, 4-4 will be expected.  And that is certainly something to hope for, but the other categories are all below that, and some of them are probaby actually better predictors of what is going to happen.  And the Big Ten will be criticzed for being bad.  And the criticism appears to be somewhat valid if it doesn't pull out at least 3 wins. 

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