Michigan again is the top team in the B1G according to the Sagarin poll PREDICTOR ratings--which are the best in actually predicting game outcomes. Here are the ratings and overall national rank:
1. Michigan (#23 overall, rating 82.42)
2. Ohio (#24 overall, rating 82.40) INELIGIBLE for postseason
3. Neb (#25, rating 82.01)
4. PSU (#28, 79.44) INELIGIBLE for postseason
5. Wisconsin (#32, rating 78.73)
6. NU (#39. 77.2)
UNRANKED IN TOP 39 ( MSU, IL, IND, IA and MIN).
So, what are the chances UM will get to the championship game in INDY? Based on the Sagarin ratings (and a few heroic assumptions given below), NEB has a better than 50-50 chance of losing at least one more game. The chances of UM actually getting to INDY are about one in five.
UM’s chances are not higher than this largely because we play at Ohio. But, if Ohio were not ineligible and Michigan played them in INDY, UM would be a narrow favorite. Likewise, on a neutral field, UM would be favored over NEB (-0.5 points).
In any case, if we get a bit lucky and do get to INDY, we would be nearly a 2-1 favorite over WISC (or -3.5 points which translates into a greater than 60% chance of winning).
One predicts the outcome of future games by subtracting the two Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings (with +3 for home field advantage) That gives us the estimated point spread for each matchup. We can convert the point spreads into odds based on a conversion chart (see bovada). Then, we can convert the odds (O) into win probabilities (p) as p=O/(1+O). For example,
PtSprdOdds win prob
-2 1.2 0.54
-3 1.45 0.59
-4 1.85 0.65
5 2.15 0.68
-6 2.4 0.71
-7 2.9 0.74
-8 3.2 0.76
-9 3.35 0.77
-10 3.875 0.79
SO FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON
NEB would be a
-5.5 favorite vs PSU (win probability of .68)
- 14.5 vs MIN which has a 67.75 rating (win probability of .9)
-8.5 at IA which has a 70.71 rating (win probability of .76).
Assuming independence of game outcomes (discussed below), the chances of NEB winning out would be
= .68*.9*.76 = .46. The chance of not winning out would be 1-.46 =.54.
In Ann Arbor, UM would be
-8 pts vs NU (5+3 for home field, equivalent to a win probability of .76),
-15 Pts vs IA (or win probability of about .90)
In Columbus, UM would be not quite +3 underdogs (equivalent to a win probability of .4).
So, the chances of UM winning out would be = .76*.9*.4 = .27.
Thus, the chances of UM winning out and NEB not would be = .54*.27 = .15. I would guess that the chances might be as high as 0.20, since other outcomes could also lead to UM winning one more game than NEB (eg one loss by UM and two by NEB or two losses by UM and three for NEB),
One factor that might increase UM’s chances a bit further is that game outcomes are not likely to be independent but positively correlated (due to injuries and other factors that would make runs of wins or losses more likely). Since UM’s chances of winning all games will depend more heavily on Denard’s injury situation, the chances of a run of wins (with a healthy Denard) would seem to increase the chances of UM winning out over NEB’s chances (for which game outcomes would be more nearly independent).
On the other hand, if Denard is not healthy the chances of UM winning out would be lower than the Sagarin ratings predict. But given the usual course of recovery from his condition and the encouraging performance of DG, I think that 20% is still a reasonable estimate for UM’s chances of getting to INDY.