Friday, August 15, 2008

Opponents' Predicted Wins

I stumbled across a new (or new to me) Iowa blog out there called Meet Me at Kinnick, via the usually reliable Black Heart Gold Pants. They had found a Vegas odds site listing each team's expected number of wins for the season. You can think of it as an unofficial ranking system (Ohio State will have more wins than Minnesota, etc.)

I of course was interested in the foes of my top two teams, and listed them here in table format:

Opponents' Expected Wins
Notre Dame 7.0WeekIowa 7.5
bye1 Maine N/A
San Diego State 4.52Fla Int'l N/A
Michigan 8.03Iowa State 3.0
Michigan State 7.04 Pittsburgh 6.5
Purdue 6.55 Northwestern 6.5
Stanford 4.0 6 Michigan State 7.0
North Carolina 6.57 Indiana 5.0
bye8 Wisconsin 8.5
Washington 4.59bye
Pittsburgh 6.510 Illinois 8.0
Boston College 7.011Penn State 8.5
Navy N/A12Purdue 6.5
Syracuse 2.5 13Minnesota 4.5
Southern Cal. 10.5 14bye

A couple of observations, because I am a little suspicious how Vegas got to these numbers. Logically speaking, a team should be expected to beat another team with fewer overall wins. We can assume that Vegas knows what it's doing (a safe bet--hah!!) and that win totals should jibe with opponents (e.g., Florida and Georgia can't both have 12 wins if they play each other). Ignoring that upsets happen in college football (cause they do), you get the following:

ND beats: San Diego St., Purdue, Stanford, UNC, Washington, Pitt, Syracuse, Navy (my assumption).

ND loses to: Michigan, USC.

Tossups: Michigan State, BC.

8-2 with two tossups makes a 9-3 season. Mirror opposite of 2007. I think just about every Irish fan would take that. Certainly a better season that the 7.0 wins predicted.

Iowa beats: Maine (not I-A thus not rated by Vegas), Fla Int'l (my assumption), ISU (we pray this happens), Pitt, Northwestern, MSU, Indiana, Purdue, Minny.

Iowa loses to: Wisky, Illinois, Penn St.

That's another 9-3 season. January in Florida, here we come. But then where is the 7.5 derived from?

On another note: Iowa has only two schools within a half-point of their expected win total (MSU and Ill.), whereas ND has five. Does that mean more close games for the Irish? I don't know if my heart and fingernails can take it. The Iowa sked does look pretty clear cut, with several potential blowouts on the good side and no real obvious ass-whupping (being the ass of Eric Foreman vs. the foot of Red). There are hard games, like Wisky and Penn St., but they are later in the year, when Iowa and Jake C. have had a chance to settle in and jell.

There are three common opponents: Michigan State, Purdue and Pitt (how odd), all bunched in that 6.5-7.0 range. (How odd also to not see Meech as a common foe, due to the Big Ten scheduling rotation.)

Finally: You heard it here first: Illinois, way too high at 8.0 wins. No, I haven't looked at their schedule. But I have looked at their depth chart: no Mendenhall, no RB to replace him, a shaky Juice Williams still at QB, and most importantly, none of this. If you're smart enough to be reading this, and you're offered 8 wins for Illinois: Take The Under!

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