B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 6 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 6 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 13th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

- Pip     
  (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Spin Up

At six weeks into the season now, the midpoint is upon us. The time for the true nature of the combatants to emerge is nigh. The quality of competition continues to ratchet up, and the schedule grants no quarter to those who may seek pause to collect themselves, to make … improvements. Such opportunities have come to pass, ignominiously. Suddenly, this Team 138 finds itself at a crossroads. All of its goals still remain ahead, yet the prospects for achieving them have taken an alarming hit, with the margin for error now approaching zero, with a new dependence on the the failure of the one who shall not be named. Now is the time when this Team 138 finds its character … and goddamit, it’d better be one with some serious Steel in the Spine!

Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

So, with that, it’s on to the analysis here, which now focusses on the all-important in-conference slate, so as to make a closer examination of the prospects for the teams to make it to the B1GCG in Indy the first Saturday of December.

B1G East Schedule Rundown

The tables of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the ratings following week 6. The last table in each set simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+ Results

The confidence with which the Buckeyes expect to reclaim the B1GE title continues to grow week-by-week. For the first in over a month, its expected conference win total exceeds 8 wins. Although, the Buckeyes’ lead over the Nits has narrowed to 0.8 wins. Such are the spoils of the Wolverines’ loss to MSU, who have relinquished its 3rd placed position to Sparty. Sparty now stands at close to 6.0 B1G wins (up from 4.7 last week), while the Wolverines have dropped to 5.2 B1G wins. In the aggregate, OSU remains favored in all of its remaining games, the smallest margin being 9.3 points when they visit Ann Arbor. The other contenders (and the definition of the term is being stretched here) – PSU, MSU and UM – remain underdogs, respectively, in one, two and three games apiece. PSU is a double-digit dog to OSU, whereas all of M’s deficit margins are by less than double-digits score, so there’s that.

Looking ahead, S&P+ shows Michigan favored by just over 6.5 points in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 67%, or about 1:2 odds.

Two others – Indiana and Maryland – are maintaining the bubble of bowl eligibility and claim the middle ground of the B1GE. The Hoosiers, who added a late season OOC game to make up for the one that got cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, vanquished Charleston Southern and raised its expectations 3.6 B1G wins.The Terps lag Sparty by another 2.0 B1G wins, and are on the outside trying to get back in after being pummeled by the Buckeyes.   It could not be much worse for LOLRutgerz, who are underdogs in all of its remaining games.

 

FPI Results

The disparity between the S&P+ and FPI results appears to have narrowed this time around. FPI also has Ohio State favored by more than one score in all its remaining games, and leads the B1GE with 8.3 expected conference wins, and a similar margin of 0.8 expected wins over next-best PSU. The FPI results still show Michigan hanging in there at third-best, but lagging PSU by a whopping 2.8 margin at 4.8 expected wins. Penn State has only one game with deficit margin: at OSU by just over 9 points. The Wolverines, meanwhile, have a deficit margin in 3 games (PSU, Wisconsin & OSU), all in 10 to 12 point range.

Looking ahead, FP has Michigan favored by 6.5 points (nearly identical to the S&P+ margin) in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 67%, or about 1:2 odds.

Suffice it to say at this point, UM is firmly ensconced among the other teams in the middle tier, many of whom are on the verge of bowl-eligibility. MSU, Maryland and Indiana are all within a margin 1.2 expected wins. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz can be left for dead.

 

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank has taken a tack that mixes things up a good bit, coming out with Penn State on top of the B1G East at 7.6 expected conference wins, yet PSU remains an underdog in one game, at OSU, by about 1 point. The Buckeyes still trail the Nits by about 0.4 expected wins, but OSU is still favored to win out, albeit by the thinnest of margins (including by only 1.4 points at Kinnick Stadium, and 3 points at the Big House). Things could get interesting. PR puts the Buckeyes at only 7.2 expected B1G wins, with Sparty lagging another 1.4 expected wins behind. UM, now in the four-spot, is riding bitch in the B1GE at about 5.0 expected conference wins. So, the three-maybe-four contenders are within 2.6 expected wins of each other, with half the season remaining, more or less.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just under 5 points in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 63%, or about 3:5 odds.

A narrower range of 2.3 wins extends from UM to next-to-last place Indiana. The Hoosiers, at 3.5 expected B1G wins, are sitting on the bubble boundary for bowl eligibility. If it can manage to steal one of its next four games in which its less than a double-digit dog and close with a win over the Boilers, the Hoosiers will likely be bowl-bound.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total conference wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last multiline plot (bottom right) is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.

S&P+ Results

The S&P+ distributions for conference wins now shows a growing separation not only among the three or four contenders at the top, but for the entire division all the way down to lowly LOLRutgerz. OSU maintains its position 8-win mode, however, PSU has also popped up for a share of it. The difference is that OSU leans strongly toward winning out, while PSU still has a significant lean toward a 7-win mode. Now third-best, MSU has grabbed sole possession of the 6-win mode, leaving Michigan behind in a balanced, 5-win mode. As of now, the likelihood of the Buckeyes going undefeated in the B1G has increased to over 40.0%. The likelihood of PSU running the table stands at just of 9%.

As for the others, the Hoosiers have also popped up to grab the 4-win mode, separating themselves from the Terps who still occupy the 3-win mode. Meanwhile, S&P+ woe begotten LOLRutgerz is peaking at the 2-win mode leaning toward the worse.

FPI Results

As expected, the FPI results show a broader separation at the top. OSU, the #2 team in all the land, has pressed its lead to the limit, and its distribution now exhibits an 9-win mode, but still with a lean toward 8 wins. Right behind OSU is PSU occupying the 8-win mode. From that point, a 3-game separation follows before picking up Michigan and Sparty, who both exhibit 5-win modes. OSU registers a better than 44% chance of winning out. PSU’s chance of going undefeated ticked up slightly to nearly 14%. From there, the next closest teams (Indiana and Maryland) have nearly identical distributions with 4-win modes with strong leans toward 3 wins.

Power Rank Results

As noted above, the Power Rank continues to predict the tightest race of the three ratings in the B1GE. The difference is that here PSU claims the highest mode of 8 expected B1G wins. Close on the Nits’ heels are the Buckeyes with a 7-win mode leaning strongly toward 8 wins. Back one notch from there is Sparty, balanced on a 6-win mode, and likewise Michigan is balanced on a 5-win mode. PR show PSU with a slightly better than 17% chance of winning out, followed by OSU at just over 10%. Maryland has sole occupancy of the 4-win mode, followed closely by the Hoosiers nearly split between the 3-win and 4-win modes.

B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.

S&P+ Results

No big news in the B1G West. The S&P+ results still show the Badgers’ more than 3 expected wins ahead of next-best … Purdue? That’s what passes for excitement in the B1GW these days. The Badgers are in a sense in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. The Badgers are the only team in the West – in the entire Big Ten, even - expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup still expected to be when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. Michigan remains the only Wisconsin opponent that is less than a one-score underdog. At that point, of course, the Badgers should have already locked up its bid to Indy. Anyway, the only notable change is an expansion of the Badgers margin by a half win to 3.3 expected wins over the Boilers. An invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion for Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota are all within 1.6 expected B1G wins of each other. Purdue as mentioned has percolated to the top of the bubble after Nebraska getting pummeled by the Badgers. Further coalescence in the middle of the B1GW can be anticipated.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by S&P+:

2017w06_SP_Expected_Standings

FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers with and even wider lead than does S&P+, now at cool 8.0 expected B1G wins. With a margin now in excess of 3.6 wins over next-best Northwestern (who it has already beaten) at 4.4 expected wins, the Badgers only risk may be stooping getting down on its hands-and-knees prostrating itself to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by nearly 10 points. As for the second tier, less than 1.2 expected wins separate the middle five teams in the B1GW.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by FPI:

2017w06_FPI_Expected_Standings

Power Rank Results

Like in the B1G East, the Power Rank results for the B1G West show a much tighter and more competitive race to Indy. PR shows the Badgers at the top, with 7.2 expected B1G wins. Wisconsin’s lead over next-best Iowa has expanded to a margin of 2.2 expected wins. Contrary to the other ratings, PR expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts division rival Iowa, with a margin of just over a field goal. The Boilers and Huskers both lag the Hawkeyes by about 1.1 wins at 3.8 expected B1G wins, with the ‘Cats just another 0.2 further back. PR’s love for the Boilers continues to grow.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by the Power Rank:

2017w06_PR_Expected_Standings

B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions

S&P+ Results

The S&P+ chart shows the expanding void between the Badgers and the morass that is the remainder of the B1G West. The Badgers are firmly ensconced in a balanced 8-win mode. As such, Wisconsin is the only team in the B1GW with any prospect for going undefeated, which now stands at just over 28%.

Purdue is now next-best, and claims sole possession of the 5-win mode, but leaning heavily back toward 4 wins. The next four teams are clustered between the 4-win and 3-win modes, not the least of whom is Nebraska – but that may change this week after OSU hangs another half-a-hundred on the Huskers. Dropping out of the bottom is of course, Illinois, standing alone the 1-win mode.

FPI Results

FPI tells a similar story as S&P+ as to the Badgers’ separation from the rest of the B1GW. The Badgers are holding steady in an 8-win mode, with a strong lean toward going undefeated. It has the best and only prospect for going undefeated in the B1GW, at just over 33% (about 11 points less than OSU). The next-best is Northwestern, who shares a 4-win mode with Purdue, Nebraska and Iowa, but leans strongly toward 5 wins. On the lower side of that jumble in the middle is Minnesota, popping out in a 3-win mode. FPI shows the Illini sinking toward rock bottom with a 1-win mode, worse than even LOLRutgerz.

Power Rank Results

Trying to make things at least a little interesting as noted earlier, the Power Rank predicts a slightly more competitive B1GW race. PR has the Badgers in a 7-win mode, but now leaning strongly toward 8 wins. The door is beginning to close for next-best Iowa, who stands alone as the closest competitor with a balanced 5-win mode. The next three – Purdue, Nebraska and Northwestern – all share the 4-win mode trying to at least keep pace and hoping for some calamity. Meanwhile, the Gophers had dropped down into a balanced at a 3-win mode, but managing to stay ahead of the Illini, who have regressed into the 1-win mode. Wisconsin still has the best and only prospect in the B1GW for going undefeated at about 11%, about equal to OSU’s chances, and 6 points less than PSU’s chances.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Power Rank Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

P.S. As a bonus for scrolling this far, here’s a link to the complete volume of 2017 week 6 charts, which includes a few bonus nuggets not presented in the diary.

Advanced Stats Matchup: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Advanced Stats Matchup: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 5th, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis
- 2017 Michigan vs. Michigan State

Introduction

Behold, another installment of the new and improved Advanced Stats (S&P+) Matchup, this time featuring Michigan vs. Michigan State.

This matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. As you may recall from last season, this matchup analysis was presented in the form a somewhat lengthy table listing the 26 metrics (this season it’s only 20), with a column of metrics for the offense and defense for each team. Derived from these two pairs of metrics were two more columns of matchup metrics, which when compared would indicate which team held a net advantage in that metric. It was a lot to digest, and in the end, it failed to really provide a qualitative characteristic of how great (or negligible) an advantage was that a team held in any metric relative to the other metrics. To that end, this new approach seeks to display the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

This section describes the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the format for the charts. None of this is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Technical Approach

The analysis evaluates metrics that are applicable to both offensive and defensive units of two competing teams, such that a set for a given metric consists of five values: Team A Offense, Team A Defense, Team B Offense and Team B Defense, and the National Average. From this set, two matchup values are derived. The first matchup value is “Team A Offense vs. Team B Defense,"  which as it states gauges the competitive performance of the Team A offense against the Team B defense. The resulting matchup value is then normalized to a matchup between two average teams, so a relative comparison can be made with the opposing team’s result, as well as with matchups for other metrics.

Formulations

The first matchup value is determined by simply taking the product of the Team A offense and Team B defense metrics, divided by the national average for the given metric. The second matchup value is in turn computed in the same way for the Team B Offense versus the Team A Defense. Once the two matchup metrics are determined, the team with the higher value when on offense will have a net advantage for that metric, with the exception of three categories: "Stuff Rate", "Standard Down Sack Rate" and "Passing Down Sack Rate". These are termed contra-metrics for the purposes of this diary. A contra-metric gauges the offense's ability to avoid the given categorical description. Akin to a contra-asset in the accounting vernacular, with these metrics, a lower value is better.

The one factor or metric that does not conform to this principle of geometric scalability described above - because it is predominantly a random variable with a zero mean - is Turnover Luck. The principle of Regression to the Mean would suggest that a team that accrues a negative TO Luck metric coming into a game would likely have better luck than in past games, and likewise the converse holds true for a team with a positive TO Luck metric. Thus, the team with a lower TO Luck metric could be expected to benefit the most in the ensuing game, and the relative benefit would amount to the difference in the TO Luck metrics between the two teams.

 

Data Visualization

The charts are arranged according to the groupings in the table above. All of the base metric numerical data, as well as matchup values, are embedded in the individual metric charts in the small table at the bottom. Metrics for each team’s Offense, Defense, and its Offense versus the opponent’s Defense are read across the designated row in the table. The same data is also depicted visually in chart graphic. Along each side is a vertical line plotted between two color-coded and shape-coded markers. The vertical line on the left side is for “Team A Off. vs. Team B Def.”, where the circle (or “O”) marker designates the value for the offense. Likewise, the diamond marker designates the value for the defense. The markers are in turn color coded according to the particular team’s colors. So you will notice that the color-coding is consistently reversed between the left and right sides across the charts. A third, horizontal dash marker designates the value for the composite matchup between the given offensive and defensive values, as determined by the formulation noted above.

Next is the block in the center of the graphic. The block simply gives emphasis to the vertical difference between the matchup values (the horizontal dash markers) on the left and right vertical lines. The blocks are in turn color coded according to the team whose offense corresponding to the greater matchup value.

Also included in each chart is a horizontal dashed line showing the FBS National Average value for each metric. This is the value to which the matchup values have been normalized.

Last - and this is where the rubber meets the road in setting up this visualization approach – is the Y-axis scaling across the charts (ignoring Turnover Luck, for which this does not apply). You may notice that a logarithmic scale has been applied, and this is because its better suited to reflect the geometric normalization that’s in play here (e.g. 2 times the average will have the same vertical offset as 1/2 of the average, just in the opposite direction). So what’s going on here is that the bounds of the vertical scale for each chart are set to the same multiple of the FBS National Average of each particular metric. For example, the maximum values for the first four charts are set to 6 times the FBS Average values. Likewise, the minimum values are pegged to 1/6 of the FBS Average values, so in the end, the plus or minus percentage range is the same for each chart relative to the FBS average for that chart.

From there, you can just eyeball the blocks, and easily observe which team has the advantage in which matchups, and evaluate whether the matchups are relatively close, as well as where there is potential for a mismatch.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands in favor of Michigan, to the tune of –14.7 points. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the predicted scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, UM has an advantage in three, so there’s that, with a little Turnover Luck gravy ladled on top.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is below average, while the MSU Defense is well above average, which pulls down the UM Offense. On the other side, the MSU Offense is slightly above average, however, the UM Defense is elite. In fact, it is Ranked #1 in this category! The net matchup gives a considerable edge to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, but the MSU Defense is also better than average, which pulls the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, both the MSU Offense and UM Defense are below average, resulting in a slight improvement for the MSU Offense, but leaving it still below average. The net matchup gives just a slight edge for Michigan in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is slightly below average, while the MSU Defense is well above average, pulling the UM Offense down to well below average. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is above average, which pushes the MSU Offense downward. The net matchup, however, is a sizeable Field Position edge for MSU.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, both offenses are below average, and both defenses are above average. The key difference is UM’s Defense, however, which is well above average. The net matchup is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Luck

Both teams have a recent history of having poor Turnover Luck. The story of the season at this point is that both MSU and Michigan’s TO Luck has lagged expectation based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended). As much as MSU likes to complain about its lack of ability to create turnovers, the opportunities it’s had for effecting turnovers pales in comparison to Michigan’s. In the end, Michigan’s TO Luck has been significantly worse than MSU’s, to the tune of about 5.2 PPG. The net matchup is a significant advantage for Michigan in TO Luck.

Rushing Matchups

Not to belabor each matchup as much as above, but here Sparty appears to have a net advantage in all 5 of the Rushing matchups, and most by a sizeable amount. The issues that the Wolverines are having with its Offensive Line become apparent when looking at these characteristics. From the looks of it, the Michigan rushing attack is heading for some bloody tough sledging, as they say on the other side of the pond.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, both offenses are below average, while both defenses are above average. The difference is that UM’s Offense is well below average (#103), while Sparty’s Defense is elite (#4). The net matchup balance is a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Sparty.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, but the MSU Defense is also above average, pulling the UM Offense down close to average. On the other side, the MSU Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is perfectly average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Sparty by the thinnest of margins.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, and the MSU Defense is above average, pushing the UM Offense down to a woeful level. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Defense is above average. The net is a considerable advantage for Sparty in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, both defenses are well above average: Michigan is ranked #7, while MSU is elite, ranked #2. The UM Offense is above average, while the MSU Defense is below average. However, the MSU Defense is so good in this category, the matchup balance is a sizeable advantage for MSU in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, once again, both offenses are below average, while the defenses are both above average. In the end, the matchup result is a sizeable advantage for MSU in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

The Passing matchups are split.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is below average, and when matched against the well above average MSU Defense, it pulls the UM Offense even further down. On the other side, the well above average MSU Offense is obliterated by the elite UM Defense (ranked #1 in this category). The net is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the above average UM Offense is negated by the MSU Defense. On the other side, the well below average MSU Offense is also similarly negated by the well below average UM Defense. The matchup result is a negligible advantage for MSU in Passing IsoPPP.

Standard Down Matchups

Michigan State captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups with Michigan, but UM’s advantage in SD Line Yards nearly offsets MSU’s only significant advantage in SD IsoPPP. It’s worth noting that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is usually weak in the Explosiveness metric. However, it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which means that although the explosive plays given up may tend to be large, they are a very infrequent.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, both defensive units are elite: MSU is #4 and UM is #2. Meanwhile, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Offense is extremely below average (#120). The net matchup result is a marginal advantage for MSU in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the MSU Defense is elite (#3), which pushes the UM Offense far downward. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is about equally below average, making the MSU Offense look about average. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for MSU in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense is significantly below average, and the MSU Defense is significantly above average, pulling the UM Offense even further downward. However, the MSU Offense is below average, while the UM Defense is elite (ranked #4) and pushes the MSU Offense down to an even lower level. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is significantly below average, while the MSU Defense is above average, which pushes the UM Offense up. On the other side, the MSU Offense is similarly above average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #1), which pulls the MSU Offense up as well. In the end, the net matchup result is a slight advantage for MSU in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, which show three out of four metrics tilting toward Michigan’s advantage. The bottom line is, an opponent like Michigan State does not want to be in a passing situation against Michigan. Also, the Michigan offense may have a much better day in passing situations against this Michigan State defense, as long as it can manage to avoid the pass rush by sticking to shorter passes to the slot or one of multiple TE’s, and working the play action regimen thoroughly.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense is above average while the MSU Defense and its sorry safeties are below average, which tweaks the UM Offense up slightly. On the other side, the top 10 MSU Offense is still obliterated by the elite UM Defense (ranked #2). The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), here again the UM Offense is well above average, while the MSU Defense is actually above average and pulls the UM Offense down a bit. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Defense is about average, which tweaks the MSU Offense up a little. The net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is above average and the MSU Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense up a smidge. On the other side, the MSU Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is also above average, which takes the MSU Offense down a notch. The net matchup result is a slight advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, while the MSU Defense is equally above average, which boosts the UM Offense even higher. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average and the UM Defense is well above average, which also kicks the MSU Offense up a good bit. Yet, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for MSU in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

So at this point you may have some mixed feelings about this mixed back of metrics matchups. Your gut is all a-flutter, and visions of Blake O-Neill muffing a long snap are corrupting your visions of grandeur and the magic that is Under the Lights. You're looking for the Tums. It's time to take a long, deep breath. Inhale. Now count to 10 while you exhale. Now do that 10 times. You better now? Good.

Dennis Hopper - Blue Velvet

Now first, just remember that the core Five Factors are significantly to Michigan's advantage here. Michigan has an 83% likelihood to win this game. That's 1:5 odds. That means you need to bet $5 to win $1 from you Sparty friend. What's not included in that margin is Turnover Luck, which of course is random. But if you believe in the principle of Regression to the Mean, Michigan has been consistently absorbing nearly 7 points per game of bad Turnover Luck. Which means, if Michigan turns it over, it has the ability to make up for it by creating opportunities to get the ball back, or just playing that much better otherwise. We've seen that, and that's what the stats tell us so far this year. If Sparty turns the ball over, they're dead meat.

This game will be much like the Purdue game. If Michigan can just get a lead, it's over. This defense is not going give it up. Now the question is then, how can Michigan get - or take - the lead? The key is going to be a balanced attack, which means Michigan is going to need to actually throw the ball more than it ever has this season. About 25% more, in fact.

Thus far this season, M is running the ball on over 60% of all its plays. Once M gets ahead by more than a TD, the rush attempt rate goes up to 70%, and 85% when ahead by more than 14. OK, that's fine, but...when M is leading by less than a score, tied or trailing, it's still running on 55-60% of downs, but it's only making 35% of its yardage then as YPC drops from 6.1 (when ahead by 14) to 3.5 (when behind by 7). Now imagine how things might go against the Sparty front seven given the metrics above. Yet, on the passing side, YPA is consistently in the 7.0 to 10.0 range whether ahead or behind, which is not terrible, actually.

So what's needed is somewhere around 35 pass attempts, using quick passes to the slot or one of the mutiple TE's on slants or a mesh. Sprinkle in an occasional play action to get O'Korn free of the rush on a waggle, say. O'Korn is Michigan's X-factor here. That's the key: O'Korn needs to be kept clean, and it can't be assumed a pocket is going to exist for very long. No seven- or even five-step drops. He's highly mobile, steps quickly through his progressions and can throw well on run. Avoiding the rush and getting the passes off will compel MSU to back out of the box. Once that happens, it's time to eat the MSU safeties alive with McKeon and Gentry running skinny posts until the cows come home.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 4 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 4 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on September 29th, 2017 at 9:30 PM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

“I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

- Estella Havisham (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Spin Up

Another week’s worth of sample size growth, and with a smattering of in-conference matchups included, the linkages among teams become meshed to higher degrees. The influence of the preseason conjectures continues to wane, although somewhat prolonged due to acts of God such as hurricanes. Still, what remains consists of the best of all possible stats. These are the stats that reveal the true nature of teams and their comparative prospects for success. These are the stats that offer a glimmer of hope and a rumble of impending doom. These are the stats that are suitable for use in flying off a handle, jumping to a conclusion, or even goading a rival.


Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

With the non-conference portion of the schedule behind us, the analysis here can turn its focus upon the all-important in-conference slate and make a closer examination of the prospects for the teams to make it to the B1GCG in Indy the first Saturday of December.


B1G East Schedule Rundown

The tables of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the ratings following week 4. The last table in each set simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.


S&P+ Results

So with the obfuscation of the non-conference segment removed, the true balance of power in the B1GE is revealed. For the S&P+, that balance tilts toward the Buckeyes, who lead the B1GE with 7.6 expected conference wins. The Nits trail by 0.7 wins, and the Wolverines another 0.7 wins behind the Nits at 6.2 expected wins. Also carrying over from last week is the the fact that OSU remains favored in all of its remaining games, including by almost a field goal when they visit Ann Arbor. The other two contenders - Penn State and Michigan – remain underdogs, respectively, in one and three games apiece.

Two others - Michigan State and Indiana - persist in the bubble of bowl eligibility and claim the middle ground of the B1GE. At not quite 4 expected conference wins, Sparty may have a losing record in conference, but could make it to an early-December, cold-weather, empty-stadium toilet bowl. The Hoosiers lag Sparty by another 0.3 B1G wins, but could get screwed bowl-wise since their game at FIU was cancelled and could only get to 2-0 OOC. Meanwhile, the Terps are in world of hurt, being reduced to playing their 4th string QB after such a bright beginning. It could not be much worse, but worse it is for LOLRutgerz, who like the Terps are underdogs in all but one of its remaining games.

Looking ahead, S&P+ shows Michigan favored by just over 15 points in its next game vs. Sparty, for a win likelihood of about 84%, or about 1:5 odds.


FPI Results

The FPI results still differ considerably from those of S&P+, the most notable difference being that Ohio State is favored by more than one score - and nearly double-digits - in all its remaining games. OSU leads the B1GE with just over 8 expected conference wins, nearly a full win better than next-best PSU. The FPI results show U-M lagging by another 1.8 wins behind PSU at 5.3 expected B1G wins. Penn State has a single deficit margin, to OSU, by greater than one-score to OSU. The Wolverines, meanwhile, has a deficit margin in 3 games (PSU, Wisconsin & OSU), all by double-digits. What’s more, FPI also shows U-M favored over the Terps by just over 4 points, and over the Hoosier by just over a single score.

FPI has the same teams on the verge of bowl-eligibility, just in a different order: Maryland, Indiana and Michigan State. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz can be left for dead.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just over two touchdowns in its next game vs. Purdue, for a win likelihood of 83%, or about 1:5 odds.


Power Rank Results

Now here is where the fancy stats get a little interesting. The Power Rank concurs with S&P+ & FPI in putting OSU at the top, but only with about 6.6 expected B1G wins. U-M is next best with about 6 expected wins, putting Penn State in the three-spot with about 5.8 expected B1G wins. PR projects a much tighter race, with a good number more losses in the mix. Those potential losses would be to … the Terps? PR appears to like the Terps a lot, to the extent that they’re underdogs by only a PAT to PSU and UM when each visits College Park. Moreover, PR has no team favored in all of its remaining games. Indeed, PR has OSU as an underdog to your ever-lovin’ Maize’n’Blue. PSU is an underdog to OSU, and UM is an underdog to PSU, (and Wisconsin).

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just under 15 points in its next game vs. Sparty, for a win likelihood of 83%, or about 1:5 odds.


B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total conference wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last multiline plot (bottom right) is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.


S&P+ Results

Contrary to the logjam that the S&P+ distributions looked like for overall wins last week, the distributions for conference wins show a clear separation among the three contenders at the top. The Buckeyes’ loss to the Sooners is of course irrelevant for this analysis. OSU, PSU and Michigan each have sole possession of the 8-win, 7-win and 6-win modes, respectively. OSU shows a slight lean toward 7 wins, and Michigan shows a strong lean up toward 7 wins. Both have about the same likelihood of 7 wins. As of now, the likelihood of the Buckeyes winning out in the B1G is 19.0%. The likelihoods of Michigan and PSU winning out stands at at about 2.0% and 6.5%, respectively.

As for the others, Sparty and the Hoosiers share the 4-win mode, with the Hoosiers leaning slightly toward 3 wins. Meanwhile, S&P+ woebegotten Maryland now has a distribution that is nearly indistinguishable from LOLRutgers, peaking at the 2-win mode.


FPI Results

The FPI results show a broader separation at the top. OSU still leads at the 8-win mode, with a strong lean toward winning out. PSU is at the 7-win mode with a strong lean toward 8 wins. Meanwhile, Michigan down at the 5-win mode, but nearly even with the 6-win mode. The OSU distribution shows a very tight variance, which means its loss components are smaller and concentrated in fewer games than most other teams. The result is OSU having a 35% chance of winning out. Yet, PSU’s chance of winning out holds at about 8%, but Michigan’s chances of doing the same are negligibly small.

From there, the next closest team, Maryland, has sole possession of the 4-win mode, followed by the Hoosiers and Sparty sharing the 3-win mode.


Power Rank Results

Meanwhile, the Power Rank continues to predict the tightest race of the three ratings in the B1GE. OSU shows an edge occupying the 7-win mode with a 5% chance of winning out. UM and PSU share the 6-win mode with nearly indistinguishable, balanced distributions. Both have just under a 2% chance of winning out, while OSU’s likelihood of winning out is just over 5%. Maryland has sole occupancy of the 5-win mode, the best look of the ratings for the Terps. Sparty and Indiana lag behind at the 3-win mode, both nearly even with the 4-win mode.


B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.


S&P+ Results

Watching the B1GW feels like watching paint dry grass grow. Next rotation, same groove (BTW, has anyone reading this ever actually heard a broken record?). In the B1G West, the S&P+ results show the Badgers’ death grip on the top position. The Badgers are in a sense in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. The Badgers are the only team in the West expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup expected when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. Someday M fans will feel confident in going on the road and winning a big game. Maybe after the satisfyingly salty win at Ross-Ade Stadium, that will be someday soon-ish? Michigan remains the only Wisconsin opponent that is less than a one-score underdog, so there’s that. At that point, of course, the Badgers may well have already locked up its bid to Indy, so maybe UM sneak out with a win over the Badgers’ 2nd string? Anyway, with a margin in excess of 3 expected wins over the next closest competitors, now Northwestern and Minnesota, an invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion. And so it goes, the Wisconsin cake walk shimmies on:


cake·walk
ˈkākˌwôk/
noun

informal. An absurdly or surprisingly easy task, such as the Wisconsin Badgers 2017 NCAA football schedule. "winning the B1GW title should be a cakewalk"

Meanwhile, Northwestern, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa within one expected B1G win of each other. Purdue continues to bubble up from the bottom despite dropping a game to Michigan. Purdue is now a full expected win ahead of the Illini and is less than a game back of Iowa, who also has one conference loss thus far.


FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers with and even wider lead than does S&P+, with better than 7.7 expected B1G wins. With a margin excess of 3.1 wins over next-best Minnesota, the Badgers only risk may be stooping to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by double-digits.

As for second tier, less than a tenth of an expected win separate the ‘Cats from the Gophers. Another 0.3 wins back are the Hawkeyes, and FPI has puts the Boilermakers next with 3.8 expected B1G wins, putting them close to bowl-eligibility. Poor-damn-Huskers continue their decline, but still hold a 1.2 expected win edge over bottom feeding Illinois.

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank results for the B1G West also show the Badgers at the top, but with only about 6.7 expected B1G wins. Wisconsin’s lead over next-best Iowa is by a much more competitive margin of 1.6 expected wins. Like the other ratings, PR expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan favored by just under 4 points. The Gophers lag the Hawkeyes by just 0.4 at 4.7 expected B1G wins, with Northwestern just another 0.3 behind Iowa. PR doesn’t have the same love for Purdue as the the other ratings, placing the Boilers only 0.5 wins better than the Illini.


B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions


S&P+ Results

The S&P+ chart graphically illustrates the enormous separation between the Badgers and the B1GW peleton, apparently drafting behind one another waiting for one of the other teams break away. The Badgers are firmly in the 8-win mode, with a slight lean back toward the 7-win mode. As such, Wisconsin has the best prospects for winning out and having an undefeated season in the entire B1G at a cool 20%. No other team in the B1GW has anything close to a chance.

Northwestern and Minnesota come in at technically the 5-win mode, but both are nearly evenly split onto the 4-win mode. Nebraska edges Iowa with a slight lean toward the 5-win mode from the 4-win mode they both occupy. A game back from there is Purdue at the 3-win mode, while Illinois stands alone at the bottom in the 2-win mode.


FPI Results

FPI concurs with S&P+ regarding the Badgers’ separation from the rest of the B1GW competition, placing them in the 8-win mode with the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at greater than 25%. No other team in the B1GW has a chance. The next-bests are Northwestern and Minnesota with 5-win modes that are nearly even splits with the 4-win mode. From there, the Hawkeyes and Boilers share the 4-win mode, with the former leaning toward 5 wins, and the latter toward 3 wins. The Huskers are clinging to their “it could be worse” mentality in the 3-win mode, as it looks over its shoulder at the Illini in their 2-win mode.


Power Rank Results

Trying to make things at least a little interesting, the Power Rank predicts a slightly more competitive B1GW race. PR has the Badgers balanced in the 7-win mode, leaving the door open for next-best Iowa and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes and Gophers have nearly identical distributions with balanced 5-win modes. From there, the Wildcats are at a 4-win mode, but pushing hard toward 5 wins. Also in the 4-win mode are the Huskers, but with a slight lean toward 3 wins. Meanwhile, the Boilers are firmly balanced at a 3-win mode, managing to stay ahead of the Illini in the 2-win mode. Wisconsin still has the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at about 7%, just edging out OSU’s chances. No other team in the B1GW has a chance.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Power Rank Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

P.S. As a bonus for scrolling this far, here’s a link to the complete volume of 2017 week 4 charts, which includes a few bonus nuggets not presented in the diary.

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 3 Total Overall Win Probabilities

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 3 Total Overall Win Probabilities

Submitted by Ecky Pting on September 22nd, 2017 at 11:00 PM

   Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

“To my thinking, there was something in him that made it hopeless to attempt to disguise him.”

- Abel Magwitch (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Spin Up

Another week’s worth of data has gone into the hopper from which the algorithms draw upon to churn out the metrics known in these parts as fancy stats – and as stats go, fancy stats are all above average! As the sample size continues to grow, and as the linkages among teams becomes completely meshed, the influence of the preseason conjectures continues its inexorable decline into nothingness. The essence that remains consists of the best of all possible stats. These are the stats that reveal the true nature of teams and their comparative prospects for success. These are the stats that offer a glimmer of hope and a rumble of impending doom. These are the stats that are suitable for use in flying off a handle, jumping to a conclusion, or even goading a rival.

Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

Since for the most part we’ve just wrapped up the glorious non-conference segment of the season, the analysis here will take one last look at the overall schedules including OOC games - the breakdowns for in-conference schedules will kick in next week after most OOC games have been played.

Also note that in the following table of schedules, the applied Red-Green color-map accentuates the forecast point spreads and win probability of each game. A color-shift toward the red corresponds to a more likely loss, and a green shift indicates a more likely win. Also, the colors for both columns are mapped to the win probability number. The sequence of individual win probabilities over the course of a team’s schedule are then used to compute the distribution of total expected wins for the entire season.

B1G East Schedule Rundown

The table of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ week 2 ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+ Results

Our fickle fancy stats friend, the S&P+, continues to be torn between two suitors: the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes. The Nits lead the B1GE with 10.1 expected wins overall, expanding its margin ahead of the Nutjobs to a solid half win. Yet,carrying over from last week is the the fact that OSU remains favored in all of its remaining games, albeit by a razor thin margin when they visit Ann Arbor. The other two contenders - Penn State and Michigan - are underdogs, respectively, in one and three games apiece.

Three others - Michigan State, Maryland and Indiana - persist on the bubble of bowl eligibility. At 6.4 expected wins, Sparty meets the threshold, yet is still a underdog in 6 more games. The Terps, at 5.3 expected wins, are now underdogs in 7 of their remaining games. The Hoosiers are underdogs in only 5 more games, but with a loss already, their down to 5.3 expected wins. Last and least, of course, is LOLRutgerz – underdogs in all of its remaining games - maintains its rigor mortis-like grip on the bottom slot, yet the loss likelihood lumpiness principle has the Knights mustering 3.2 wins, including the win over FCS Morgan State.

Looking ahead, S&P+ shows Michigan favored by just over 17 points in its next game vs. Purdue, for a win likelihood of about 87%, or about 3:20 odds.

FPI Results

The FPI results still differ considerably from those of S&P+, the most notable difference being that Ohio State is favored by more than one score - and nearly double-digits - in all its remaining games. Yet, OSU drops into a virtual tie with PSU for the B1GE lead with 10 expected wins. FPI results still show U-M pulling up a bit short of 8.6 expected wins. Penn State and Michigan are underdogs in one and three games, respectively, and all by greater than one-score margins. FPI has the same teams on the bowl-eligibility bubble as S&P+, just in a different order: Maryland, Michigan State and Indiana. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz can be left for dead.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just over two touchdowns in its next game vs. Purdue, for a win likelihood of 82%, or about 2:9 odds.

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank concurs with S&P+, putting Penn State in the lead with 9.6 expected wins. OSU lags about 0.5 wins behind, with Michigan lagging about 0.9 expected wins behind the Nits. PR has gone back to favoring OSU in all of its remaining games, with its toughest matchup being The Game, in which its favored by less than a PAT. Unfortunately, UM remains an underdog to PSU and Wisconsin, as well as OSU. PSU is an underdog only to OSU in Columbus by about a field goal.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just over 11 points in its next game vs. Purdue, for a win likelihood of 76%, or about 1:3 odds.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last multiline plot (bottom right) is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.


S&P+ Results

Here S&P+ shows a veritable logjam at the top among the three contenders. Two of them, OSU and PSU, occupy the 10-win mode, with OUS leaning slightly toward 9 wins while PSU leans slightly toward 11 wins. Michigan has slid back to the 9-win mode, but with a strong lean toward 10 wins. The key caveat is that one of OSU’s losses is already known to be OOC, which works to their advantage for now. The next opportunity for Michigan to effect any significant shift in its mode will be in its matchup with Indiana, the week before it goes head-to-head with Penn State in Happy Valley. As of now, the likelihoods of Michigan and PSU winning out stands at at about 2.5% and 9.3%, respectively. Of course, the likelihood of OSU having an undefeated season is still 0%.

Sparty manages to hold onto the lead among the bubble teams at the 6-win mode with a strong lead toward 7 wins. Meanwhile, Indiana and Maryland have very similar S&P+ distributions occupying the 5-win mode leaning toward 6 wins.


FPI Results

The FPI results the leaders OSU and PSU sharing the 10-win mode, both leaning toward 11 wins. Michigan lags behind at the 9-win mode, with a strong leand toward 8 wins. The OSU distribution also shows a very tight variance, which means its loss components are smaller and concentrated in fewer games than most other teams. Yet, PSU’s chance of winning out holds at about 7%, whereas Michigan’s chances of doing the same are negligibly small.

From there, a 2 win gap separates the next closest team, Maryland, at the 7-win mode. Sparty lags one behind at the 6-win mode, and the Hoosiers are in the 5-win mode. Despite the variations three have nearly the same 3:1 odds of 6 wins on the season, for what that’s worth.


Power Rank Results

Meanwhile, the Power Rank continues to predict the tightest race of the three ratings in the B1GE. PSU shows a slight edge occupying the 10-win mode with a 5% chance of winning out. UM and OSU share the 9-win mode, with OSU leaning toward 10 wins, UM toward 8 wins. The Wolverines have about a 1% chance of winning out. Meanwhile, Maryland and Indiana share the 6-win mode while Sparty slides back to 5 wins. Yet, all three bubble teams are crowded into the 6-win mode at about 3:1 odds.


B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.


S&P+ Results

Watching the B1GW is beginning to feel like watching paint dry. So, sorry if this is getting to sound like a broken record (BTW, has anyone reading this ever actually heard a broken record?). In the B1G West, the S&P+ results show the Badgers’ continued strangle-hold on the top position and in sense are in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. The Badgers are the only team in the West expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup being when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. Someday M fans will feel confident in going on the road and winning a big game. Someday soon-ish? Michigan is the only Wisconsin opponent that is less than a one-score underdog, so there’s that. At that point, of course, the Badgers may well have already locked up its bid to Indy, so maybe UM could mop up against the Badgers 2nd string? Anyway, with a margin in excess of 3 expected wins over the next closest competitors, now Minnesota and Iowa, an invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion. When considering the Badger’s schedule, term “cake walk” comes to mind. In fact, if one looks up the term “cake walk” in the dictionary:


cake·walk
ˈkākˌwôk/
noun

informal. An absurdly or surprisingly easy task, such as the Wisconsin Badgers 2017 NCAA football schedule. "winning the B1GW title should be a cakewalk"

Meanwhile, Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern remain within one expected win of each other. What was once a very full bubble of teams vying for bowl eligibility has been deflated by one with Nebraska screwing the NIU pooch. Worth noting are a couple of teams that appear to be percolating up from the bottom - Illinois and of course, Purdue - suggesting that recent coaching changes may precipitate a change in the status quo. Just not too much change. Until next week, at least. Please.


FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers maintaining an even tighter strangle-hold on the top position than does S&P+, with better than 10.4 expected wins. With a margin excess of 3.0 wins over next-best Iowa, the Badgers only risk may be stooping to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by a margin of more than a touchdown.

As for bubble teams, the Hawkeyes look like a solid bowl-bid team, it’s just a question of how late in the season their slot might be. Hot on the Hawks’ heels, however are the Gophers, only 0.2 expected wins behind. Northwestern and Nebraska Purdue(!) lag another win and 2 wins behind, respectively. Nebraska, meanwhile, is settling toward the bottom. Holding down sole possession of the bottom is Illinois.

Looking up the standings, as many expected wins separate Illinois from the Hawkeyes as separate the Hawkeyes from the Badgers.

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank results for the B1G West also show the Badgers at the top with an expanding 9.8 expected wins, but their lead is by a much more competitive margin of 1.5 expected wins over next-best Iowa Minnesota. Unlike the other ratings, PR expects the Badgers toughest match will not be when it hosts Michigan, but when it closes the season at Minnesota! Nonetheless, it both games the Badgers are favored by less than one score. The Hawkeyes lag the Gophers by just 0.1 at 8.2 expected wins, with Northwestern and Nebraska Purdue closing out the bubble teams.


B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions


S&P+ Results

The S&P+ chart graphically illustrates the ever expanding separation between the Badgers and the next tier of teams, who would appear to be contending more for a quality bowl invitation than for the B1GW title. The Badgers have pushed up to the 11-win mode, with a lean back toward the 10-win mode. Wisconsin has the best prospects for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at nearly 16%. No other team in the B1GW has anything close to a chance.

Iowa and Minnesota come in at the 7-win mode, with the Gophers leaning slight toward 8 wins. A game back from there is Northwestern at the 6-win mode pressing strongly toward 7 wins.

What is remarkable at this point is that Purdue and Nebraska now have nearly indistinguishable distributions that are balanced at the 5-win mode. Illinois stands alone at the bottom in the 4-win mode.


FPI Results

FPI concurs with S&P+ regarding the Badgers’ separation from the rest of the B1GW competition. FPI once again has the Badgers in an 11-win mode.  Wisconsin has the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at 15%. No other team in the B1GW has a chance. The next-bests are Iowa and Minnesota with 7-win modes, both leaning strongly toward 8 wins. From there, the Wildcats have sole occupancy of the 6-win mode. Purdue has managed to creep up and assume a distribution that is nearly indistinguishable from Nebraska that occupies the 5-win mode. Illinois brings up the rear at the 4-win mode.


Power Rank Results

Trying to make things at least a little interesting, the Power Rank predicts a slightly more competitive B1GW race. PR has the Badgers balanced in the 10-win mode, leaving the door open for next-best being Iowa and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes and Gophers have nearly identical distributions with 8-win modes leaning strongly toward 9 wins. From there, the Wildcats managed to creep up to the 7-win mode now, leaning back toward 6 wins. PR seems to be equally bullish on the Boilers, placing them in the 5-win mode with the Huskers. However, the Boilers show a strong lean toward 6 wins and bowl-eligibility, while the Huskers lean back toward 4 wins. Wisconsin still has the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at about 7%, just edging out PSU’s chances. No other team in the B1GW has a chance.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Power Rank Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

P.S. As a bonus for scrolling this far, here’s a link to the complete volume of 2017 week 3 charts, which includes a few bonus nuggets not presented in the diary.

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 1 Total Overall Win Probabilities

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 1 Total Overall Win Probabilities

Submitted by Ecky Pting on September 10th, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

"I am ashamed to say it ... and yet it's no worse to say it than to think it. You call me a lucky fellow. Of course, I am. I was a blacksmith's boy but yesterday; I am - what shall I say I am - today?"

- Pip, (Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations)

Preamble

The foreshortened interval between weeks (due to the Labor Day holiday) conspired with the so-called work-life see-saw to see to it that this posting is at least a day later than hoped, and also includes only FPI and S&P+ results (i.e. no Power Rank data). So, keep that in mind should you care to read on, particularly in regard to Ohio State numbers. Otherwise, I’m just posting this for the record and to provide a point of reference for the week 2 update.

Overall Wins Spin Up

With one week now concluded (and week two updates pending), the fancy-stats algorithms can now spit out slightly more meaningful analyses based on the objective (if not deterministic) statistics generated from actual game play. The rub at this juncture of course is that the statistics are not of the greatest quality for the purposes of predicting future performance for various reasons, not the least of which is the small sample size. The exercise of coming up with more reasons for ignoring these early season statistics are left as an exercise for the reader in the comments below. That said, it doesn’t stop the publication of the statistics such as they are. Nor does it preclude the further rumination on said statistics into still more statistics as a means to enable further discussion, jumping to conclusions, flying off of the handle or goading your rival.

Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

Since we’re still in the midst of the glorious non-conference segment of the season, it’s a good time to jump back and review the overall schedules, but now with the updated albeit arguably flawed statistics applied.

Note that in the following table of schedules, the applied Red-Green color-map accentuates the forecast point spreads and win probability of each game. A color-shift toward the red corresponds to a more likely loss, and a green shift indicates a more likely win. Also, the colors for both columns are mapped to the win probability number.  The sequence of individual win probabilities over the course of a team’s schedule are then used to compute the distribution of total expected wins for the entire season.

B1G East Schedule Rundown

The following two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+ Results

Oh, what a fickle friend is fancy stats. It appears with this new season is that the love affair that had previously existed between S&P+ and our beloved Wolverines appears to have shifted to the Buckeyes. OSU is the only team that is favored in all of its games. The other two contenders - Penn State and Michigan - are underdogs, respectively, in one and three games apiece. Three others - Indiana, Michigan State and Maryland - are on the bubble of bowl eligibility. Last and least, LOLRutgerz resumes its position as the eternal bottom-feeder.

In the aggregate, Ohio State leads the B1GE with about 10.4 expected wins, about 0.8 better than Michigan and Penn State, who show in near identical expected win totals. The Buckeyes are the only team with a double-digit expected win total. PSU maintains a better position in terms of the lumpiness of its distribution, in that most of its loss likelihood is lumped into a single game: at Ohio State. edging Ohio State for the top spot by just over 1.4 wins. Nearly 2 full games separate Ohio State from the next 2 teams, PSU and MSU.

FPI Results

The FPI results differs considerable from those of S&P+, the most notable difference that Penn State has a solitary hold on the #2 spot. OSU still tops all teams in the B1GE with just over 11 expected wins, now ahead of PSU by a cool 1.1 expected wins. FPI results show U-M pulling up a bit short of 9 expected wins. Similar to S&P+, OSU is the only team that is favored in all of its games. The other two contenders - Penn State and Michigan - are underdogs, respectively, in one and three games apiece. FPI has the same teams on the bowl-eligibility bubble, just in a different order: Maryland, Indiana and Michigan State. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz belongs at the bottom.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.

S&P+ Results

This opening round of S&P+ distributions show a bit of logjam among the three teams at the top. In fact, the Michigan and PSU distributions are nearly indistinguishable, which is of course a shift from the pre-season chart before Michigan dismantled Florida and erased a good chunk of its expected loss component. Likewise, Indiana and Michigan have very similar S&P+ distributions, with modes of 6 wins, compared to a 5-win mode for Maryland. The next opportunity for Michigan to effect a significant shift in its mode will be in its matchup with Indiana, the week before it goes head-to-head with Penn State in Happy Valley. Should OSU drop its upcoming matchup with Oklahoma (which it has done as of this posting), then OSU would drop in to a similar mode as Michigan and PSU heading into conference play. As of now, the likelihood of OSU having an undefeated season stands at 15% 0%, followed by Michigan and PSU at about 4%.

FPI Results

The FPI results show a more clear separation among the contenders, with OSU have a solitary hold on the 11-win mode with a strong lean toward an undefeated season. The OSU distribution also shows a very tight variance, which means its loss components are concentrated in fewer games than most other teams. As for PSU, it has a strong 10 win likelihood, with a slight lean toward 11 wins. Meanwhile, Michigan is holding onto the 9-win mode, but still with a strong lean toward 8 wins.

From there, a 3 win gap separates the next closest teams, Maryland and Indiana, both with modes of 6 wins, and Sparty lagging one behind at 5 wins. Remarkably, MSU is only one win ahead of LOLRutgerz. MSU at LOLRutgerz to close the the season - the Slobber-Knocker of Self-Loathing - is shaping up to be another instant BTN Classic.

B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.

S&P+ Results

In the B1G West, the S&P+ results show the Badgers maintaining a strangle-hold on the top position and in sense are in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. Indeed, the Badgers are the only team in the West expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup being when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. At that point, the Badgers may well have already locked up its bid to Indy. With a margin in excess of 3 expected wins over the next closest competitors, Nebraska and Northwestern, an invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, Iowa and Minnesota are both within a game of Nebraska and Northwestern, which makes for a very full bubble of teams vying for bowl eligibility. Sunk on the bottom are the dregs of the West, Illinois and Purdue, who can only hope that recent coaching changes may precipitate a change in the status quo.

FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers maintaining an even tighter strangle-hold on the top position than does S&P+, at nearly 10.8 expected wins. With an expanded margin excess of 3.2 wins over next-best Northwestern, the Badgers only risk may be stooping to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by a margin of 9 points. Iowa lags the ‘Cats by another 1.2 at 6.7 expected wins, with Nebraska and Minny closing out the bubble teams. Remaining anchored on the bottom are Purdue and Illinois.

B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions

S&P+ Results

This opening round of S&P+ distributions graphically illustrates the separation between the Badgers and the next tier of teams, who would appear to be contending more for a quality bowl invitation than for the B1GW title. The Badgers come in at the 10-win mode, but that is practically even with the 11-win mode. Nebraska and Northwestern have nearly indistinguishable distributions with with a 7-win modes that lean toward 8 wins. A game back from there are Iowa and Minnesota.

Wisconsin has one of the best prospects for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at nearly 13%. No other team in the B1GW has a chance.

FPI Results

The story from FPI is much the same as that from S&P+, particularly in regard to the Badgers, just with a bit more emphasis. FPI has a similar separation between the Badgers 11-win mode and the next-best ‘Cats’ 8-win mode. FPI does distinguish between the ‘Cats and the third best Hawkeyes at the 7-win mode. From there, the Huskers and Gophers each occupy the next lower modes (6 wins and 5 wins, respectively).

Likewise per FPI, Wisconsin has one of the best prospects for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at more than 26%. No other team in the B1GW has a chance.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Using returning production to analyze Michigan 2017

Using returning production to analyze Michigan 2017

Submitted by MichFan1997 on January 31st, 2017 at 6:15 PM

Bill Connelly recently came out with an article analying the returning production of 2017's college football teams. Rather than just using returning starts to analyze a teams upcoming season, he looks at all returning production as a percentage. One main takeaway is that some of the most telling stats are returning receiving yardage and passing yardage on offense and overall passes defended/overall tackles on defense. To get a more complete persepective, read the article here: 

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/1/31/14451014/2017-ncaa-f…

After reading this, I had a thought. Bill provided an expected increase or decrease in points above average for both offense and defenses for the 2017 season. I thought I would take his expected production changes and compare it to the 2016 numbers to see where Michigan and its 2017 opponents would fall in the 2017 rankings. NOTE: This is not an all inclusive analysis. Other factors such as coaching changes and recruiting classes are not considered. So lets get started.

MICHIGAN: Michigan's offense is expected to regress by 1.8 points per game and the defense should fall by about 7.9 ppg for an overall total of a 9.7 ppg regression. This is larger than any fall of all Big Ten teams from 2016 to 2017. That's really bad right? However, Michigan is falling from a height of 26.8 ppg, still having the maize and blue fall in at a projected 17.1 ppg above average. Based on where this would fall in the 2016 rankings, this would place Michigan at: VERDICT: 13th ranked team in 2017

Now onto the 2017 schedule plus a few notables.

FLORIDA:  Projected offense increase of 2.7. Defense projected to drop by 2 ppg. The total increase of 0.7 would place the Gators at 15th (14.8 ppg above average) in the country, setting Michigan up for a potentially very evenly matched opening bout, especially when considering the neutral field. 

CINCINNATTI: The Bearcats were not good in 2016 at -5.2 ppg. With an overall expected increase of only 1.6 ppg, UC will likely be bad again in 2017. That projection would only move them up to just inside the top 80 teams. 

AIR FORCE: The Falcons were pretty solid in 2016, finishing 10-3 and 1.2 ppg above average. However, they're losing more production than every FBS team in the country. Expected the lose 4.7 ppg on offense and 8.6 ppg on defense, Air Force is expecting a drop of 13.3 points which would drop them to 113th overall in the 2016 rankings. 

PURDUE: They were horrendous in 2016. They're gonna be really bad again. At -9.4 ppg already and expecting a small increase of only 1.7 ppg, the Boilers are still gonna be outside the top 100 teams. 

MICHIGAN STATE: One of the classic Sparty narritives so far this offseason has been Michigan losing a lot. News flash to Sparty fans. Your team was terrible in 2016 and it looks like it's going to be again in 2017. MSU can expect to lose 4.2 points on offense and 2.2 on defense. All said, that would make the green giants the 78th best team. Good thing they have a big recruiting class comi....oh wait. /troll over

INDIANA: IU is an interesting case to look at. The Hoosiers can expect a small uptick at 0.8 ppg offensively, but an already solid defense could be looking at an increase of 5.4 ppg. All in all, this would put Indiana at 26th in the nation. However, the Hoosiers just fired Kevin Wilson for uh...things that happened. So it's hard to actually project they'll reach these heights. It could be a tricky road game for our Wolverines though. 

PENN STATE: The Nits came on strong to finish the 2016 season, winning the Big Ten and narrowly losing to a tough USC team in the Rose Bowl. 2017 looks promising in Happy Valley with projected increases placing PSU 6th in the nation for 2017. 

RUTGERS: Can the Scarlet Knights get any worse than they were? With a projected increase of 2.4 ppg, Rutgers is still going to be amongst the worst 20 teams in the nation.

MINNESOTA: The Gophers are projected to fall back a bit offensively and get a bit better defensively. Overall, they're expected to fall down about 1.4 ppg and would place right about the top 50. However, they'll also be in Year 1 of one of the hottest upcoming coaches in the country in PJ Fleck. 

MARYLAND: DJ Durkin had a big rebuild to undertake when he took over the Terps in 2016 and they finished at -5.4 ppg. Bill expects them to step back by 3.5 ppg on offense and offset that with a 2.1 ppg improvement on defense. Overall, they might step back a bit before moving forward. They would fall just inside the top 100 teams.

WISCONSIN: This is going to be the Wolverines first trip to Madison in nearly a decade. The Badgers were very good in 2016. They're expected to improve to about 20 ppg above average overall in 2017. This has the making of a possible top 10 team. 

OHIO STATE: It would have been nice to have them at home in 2016 instead of 2017, but being at home might be the Wolverines best chance to finally beat the Buckeyes. OSU is expected to improve by 1.5 ppg on offense but fall by 1.3 on defense. They should be about the same level of team again this coming season. That would make them a top 5 outfit. Once again, it's going to be extremely difficult to topple the Bucks.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Iowa looks to experience a strong drop in offense that would move the Hawks to somewhere right around the top 60 teams. Nebraska is expecting a similar offensive dropoff as Iowa. Would it be a big stunner to see the Huskers fall to the top 70ish range? Improvements for Northwestern might see them rise to the top 30. Could the Wildcats be a serious Big Ten West contender?

Also, Alabama should rightfully be the #1 team entering 2017. They finished as the #1 team to S&P+, finished 2nd in the national title race, recruit in a way that we've never seen recently, and are expected to be at basically the exact same level in 2017. 

 

 

S&P+ Ratings Update, Wk. 13

S&P+ Ratings Update, Wk. 13

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 28th, 2016 at 3:32 PM

I just finished poking around the S&P+ ratings, and here's a quick rundown similar to what I've been consolidating for the FPI Efficiency posts over the last several weeks. As with the FPI efficiency ratings, M is still ranked above OSU. No surprise there I type as I gnash my teeth.

The main reason I decided to regurgitate this is because one number jumped out to me. It's the 2nd-order wins differential number for OSU, which is -2.0. What this means is that based solely on the Buckeyes' accrued statistics, they would be expected to win 2 fewer games that their record indicates. This is in large part a measure of the luck that has accrued to a team, and to it's benefit OSU has the largest negative 2nd-order wins differential of the top 50 teams in the ratings. Just for comparison, note that MSU's 2ndO Win Diff for this year is +2.0 (and last year MSU was -2.2).

M has the 2nd largest positive 2ndO Win Diff in the top ten at 0.6, which is the same number as last year.

As you may also aware be aware, OSU has been the beneficiary of an exhorbitant amount of Turnover Luck. This happens to be the only one of  Bill Connelly's Five Factors that has a predominantly random element embedded in it. OSU is ranked #3 in that category, to the tune of an added benefit of 5.2 points per game. Poking further into OSU's Advanced Stats Profile, another couple of numbers jump out. They are 17% and 17%. These are the win expectancies based on OSU's statistical performance in its last two games, both of which would expected to be losses by at least a touchdown. By inference of course, you know what that means regarding M's last game...

So, I'll just end this now.

Team
Rec.
2ndO W
(Diff)
S&P+
(%)
S&P+
(Pts)
Rk
Off.
S&P+
Rk
Def.
S&P+
Rk
ST
S&P+
Rk
Alabama 12-0 11.4 (-0.6) 99.8% 34.3 1 39.9 7 5.8 2 0.3 56
Michigan 10-2 10.6 (0.6) 99.5% 31.3 2 36.1 28 5.1 1 0.3 55
Ohio State 11-1 9.0 (-2.0) 98.0% 25.3 3 38.0 20 14.2 5 1.5 6
Clemson 11-1 10.5 (-0.5) 97.9% 25.0 4 39.7 8 14.3 6 -0.4 77
LSU 7-4 8.2 (1.2) 97.3% 23.8 5 37.2 24 13.8 4 0.4 51
Washington 11-1 10.5 (-0.5) 96.4% 22.3 6 40.7 4 18.6 12 0.1 61
Louisville 9-3 9.6 (0.6) 95.8% 21.4 7 42.0 3 20.0 15 -0.6 88
USC 9-3 9.0 (0.0) 94.4% 19.8 8 38.3 19 19.9 14 1.4 16
Florida State 9-3 9.2 (0.2) 94.2% 19.5 9 40.4 6 21.0 18 0.1 60
Wisconsin 10-2 9.5 (-0.5) 93.9% 19.2 10 31.0 54 12.6 3 0.8 34
Penn State 10-2 9.2 (-0.8) 93.5% 18.9 11 35.7 30 18.3 11 1.5 10
Colorado 10-2 9.2 (-0.8) 89.4% 15.7 15 34.8 34 18.1 10 -1.0 100
Iowa 8-4 8.0 (0.0) 80.8% 11.2 22 29.6 67 19.0 13 0.6 40
Western Michigan 12-0 10.6 (-1.4) 78.3% 10.1 29 39.7 9 29.0 59 -0.5 83
Indiana 6-6 7.3 (1.3) 56.1% 2.6 55 28.5 72 24.9 37 -1.0 101
Michigan State 3-9 5.0 (2.0) 48.8% 0.4 63 27.8 75 27.8 48 0.4 43
Central Florida 6-6 6.0 (0.0) 47.8% 0.1 65 22.1 109 23.3 26 1.4 15
Eastern Michigan 7-5 6.1 (-0.9) 36.8% -3.2 80 31.0 55 34.5 98 0.3 52
Central Michigan 6-6 5.2 (-0.8) 28.1% -6.1 89 27.1 79 31.6 81 -1.6 127
Maryland 6-6 5.3 (-0.7) 22.9% -8.0 97 25.5 87 32.3 85 -1.2 109
Hawaii 6-7 5.9 (-0.1) 21.9% -8.5 100 26.4 85 36.3 110 1.4 13
Illinois 3-9 3.3 (0.3) 17.9% -10.1 105 19.9 119 30.3 72 0.2 58
Rutgers 2-10 2.0 (0.0) 6.5% -17.2 124 14.7 127 30.4 73 -1.5 122

 

B1G Expectations: 2016 Week 11 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2016 Week 11 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 18th, 2016 at 11:47 PM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

Week 11 Conference Wins Update

Preamble

“Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”
    - Miss Havisham (Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations)

Week 11 means there are two games remaining, and the computations are now in the realm of solution using your favorite handheld device. The resulting charts will either be single or dual-moded in nature, with not much beyond. I’d previously considered making last week’s post the last installment of this diary, but then M fell victim to the trap game of all trap games, and failed to exorcise its demons in Kinnick Stadium. As a result, the charts have become moderately interesting. That said, this diary will be brief in that it skips over the B1GW results and the Win Differential Distributions from past diaries. However, in light of re-energized three-way race for the B1GE title, a new section has been added to analyze the probabilities and scenarios by which each of the three contenders can punch their tickets to the B1GCG.

Nonetheless, with all of its goals yet ahead, Team 137 continues its ascent toward the pinnacle of college football, the Rose Bowl College Football Playoff. As part of Harbaugh’s diabolical master plan, he has played the ultimate troll upon rival OSU by dropping the Iowa game, which has all but blocked the Buckeyes from getting to the B1GCG even if they win out. Speight being knocked out of the last two games also plays into that plan by incorporating a shift in the offensive threat matrix known as Harbaughffense just two weeks before the biggest collision to be seen since Football Armageddon. The threat posed by John O’Korn of running the ball - combined with the relative dearth of film-based documentation of JOK doing just that - adds yet another element to the ruthlessly efficient schemes that Harbaugh will have at the ready. Between now and Columbus, the challenge is that the Wolverines must avoid an untimely demise in yet another impending trap game with ChaosTeam 2.0.

Schedules, Margins, Probabilities & Distributions

B1G East Schedules & Margins Rundown

The table of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals, it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+

Michigan, by virtue of its loss to Iowa, slips from #1 to the #2 ranked team in all the land as per S&P+, with OSU right behind at #3. Penn State also slips in the the S&P+ ranks and now stands at #12 - two behind #10 Wisconsin.

Looking at the S&P+ probabilities, the Nittany Lions now lead the B1GE with nearly 7.9 expected B1G wins, ahead of the 2nd place Wolverines at 7.5 wins, with the Buckeyes less than 0.1 wins behind. This is all by virtue of PSU being strongly favored in its remaining games, and The Game looking to be a toss-up, with OSU only a ½-point underdog.

Indiana, despite losing to PSU, remains in the fourth spot. The Hoosiers, now with just under 4.0 expected wins and being favored in the last of their remaining games against Purdue, are marginally on track for bowl eligibility. Meanwhile, Maryland is also on the bowl-eligibility bubble looking for its sixth win. With LOLRutgerz still on the schedule, the Terps have an ace in the hole.

FPI

The FPI results differ ever so slightly. Here as well, Michigan comes in with the #2 ranking with OSU in the #3 spot. PSU tops all teams in the B1GE with just over 7.7 expected wins and is on track for a 10-2 season and have a fairly good chance of making it to Indy. The Nits lead second place OSU, who is a shade under 7.5 expected wins. U-M slips to #3 and is no longer favored in The Game. The margin now has the Buckeyes favored by 2.8 points. Indiana holds the #4 B1GE spot firmly at about 3.8 expected wins, and remains in the edge of bowl-eligibility. Likewise, Maryland is on the bowl-eligibility bubble, now at 3.0 expected wins and being a favorite in only one more game. Sparty closed on the last remaining game in which is was favored, capturing the Situation Trophy from arch-nemesis LOLRutgerz.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings. The numbers here look similarly pessimistic.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.

S&P+

So here in final week probability distributions, a sea change has taken place. The once proud Michigan spike at the top end of the overlay has been supplanted by … Penn State? Yes indeed, it is the Nittany Lions who have the greatest likelihood to win out at 87.4%, and a mode of 8 wins. Yet, Michigan also has a mode of 8 wins, but with only a 50.1% likelihood, it’s nearly perfectly balanced against 7 wins. This is of course primarily because of The Game, which is a near toss-up as, noted above. Thus, OSU has a mode of 7 wins, with a strong lean toward 8 wins.

Still, the cluster at the 8-win mode has grown larger by virtue of M’s loss to Iowa, however, the only way a 3-way tie can occur now is if all 3 teams lose one and only one more game - the likelihood of which is vanishingly small due to the covariance between M & OSU. That said, PSU can now easily advance if M drops one more game than PSU from here on out. Yet at this point, it still remains that the B1GE title is Michigan’s to lose. It’s just that the likelihood of not winning out has registered a significant uptick this past week, which as noted above is about 50/50. Meanwhile, the only way that OSU can claim the B1GE title is to beat Michigan and have PSU drop one more game than OSU from here on out.
Indiana and Maryland now sit firmly at 4 wins and 3 wins, respectively. MSU and LOLRutgerz are looking like locks for single-win and winless B1G seasons, respectively.

FPI

The FPI results show a similar profile, but with a slightly different clustering at the top. Here PSU and OSU show 8-win modes, with PSU’s mode being the strongest, while OSU shows a bias toward the 7-win mode. Conversely, M registers a 7-win mode with a bias toward 8 wins. As such, PSU has the highest probability to win out at 74.8%. OSU has a 52.2% chance, and  UM stands at a 42.0% chance to win out.  As in the S&P+ results, the remaining four teams occupy distinct modes with weak probabilities to break out of them.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.

B1GE FTW

With the various point spreads and win probabilities in mind, and with only two games remaining in the season, it becomes straightforward to run through the various scenarios by which the remaining contenders - Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State - can become the B1GE divisional champ. What is evident is that all three teams have paths to Indianapolis not only by winning out along with a little help, but that all three teams have paths to Indianapolis even if they should lose one game. That said, the only team that has the freedom to lose either of its last two games is Penn State. However, it’s not necessarily true that PSU is the most likely B1GE champ. So without further ado, here are the possible scenarios:

B1GE champ
Description
Michigan M wins out
Michigan [M loses to IU] &
[M beats OSU] &
[PSU loses 1 or more]
PSU [PSU wins out] &
[M loses 1 or more]
PSU [PSU loses 1] &
[M loses 2] &
[OSU loses to MSU]
OSU [OSU wins out] &
[PSU loses 1 or more]
OSU [OSU loses to MSU] &
[OSU beats M] &
[PSU loses 1 or more]

 

Following are pie charts depicting the likelihoods of each of the three teams based on the individual win probabilities derived from S&P+, FPI and the Power Rank.

So as you can see, Ohio State is not nearly out of it, however, the Buckeyes do have the lowest probability of advancing in all three ratings. Michigan has the greatest probabilities in S&P+ and the Power Rank, while Penn State has the best probability based on FPI. Michigan receives the only probability greater than 50% in the S&P+ breakdown. PSU’s probabilities have the tightest spread of only 8.6 points with an average of 40.7%. Michigan has the highest average of 44.7%, with a spread of 8.8 points. Ohio State has a spread of 17.4 points with an average of 14.7%.

Wrap-up

So there you have it. As you can see, the distributions are looking much more deterministic than earlier in the season. That said, Michigan remains in the catbird seat looking ahead to Columbus the last Saturday of the month. Regardless of what happens this week, both teams will still have a chance to advance by winning The Game. In the meantime nonetheless, Michigan will need to remain focused on the intervening game while breaking in a new Quarterback.

It’s undeniable that the prospects for Michigan football to play in the Big Ten Championship Game have definitely taken a hit with the loss to Iowa. Most if not all great teams have lapses over the course attaining a championship. Most if not all great teams have the benefit of luck on their side as well. To that end, Team 137 is fortunate to still be in mix after the gaffe that occurred last week, and if it has the character and leadership of a championship team, it will come together and set things right again. OSU is always a tough out when facing Michigan, and that’s why so many look forward to The Game with such great anticipation each year regardless of the stakes. In all, Team 137 has exhibited all the qualities one expects to see in a team that has both great expectations as well as a great capacity to realize those expectations.

Yours in football, and Go Blue!
 

B1G Expectations: 2016 Week 10 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2016 Week 10 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 12th, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

Week 10 Conference Wins Update

Preamble

“Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”
    - Miss Havisham (Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations)

With only three games remaining at the ten week mark, the distributions are look much less … distributed. By next week, the computations will be in the realm of solution using your favorite handheld device, and the resulting charts will begin to look monolithic. That said, I’m thinking this may be the last installment of this diary.

Now at ten weeks into the season, Michigan continues its ascent toward the pinnacle of college football, the Rose Bowl College Football Playoff. The air at these heights - heights this team has not seen since the Lloyd Carr era - becomes rarified, and each swing of the pick axe demands even more focus and concentration. At the same time, the Buckeyes have regained their footing in vanquishing the Huskers, and appear to be on track for a collision not seen since Football Armageddon.

So, the challenge now is that the Wolverines must avoid an untimely demise in what might be the true trap game of this season. But with a renewed commitment evidenced in its ruthless disposal of the Terrapins, Team 137 can turn toward the exorcism of another albeit lesser of its demons, Kinnick Stadium. M has not won there since Carr’s 2005 team escaped with a win in overtime. Yea verily, the Hawkeyes are pulling out all the stops to make it a contest. The locker room has received a fresh coat of pink paint. In addition to the game being scheduled at night, it will be a blackout. What’s more, having had all day to become appropriately lubricated, the crowd promises be a particularly unsavory corn-fed lot.

Background

The impetus of this diary is the desire to characterize the competitive landscape of the Big Ten Conference through the synthesis of total win probability distributions for each of the teams. The distributions are derived from the relative expected points ratings from Bill Connelly (S&P+), ESPN (FPI), and occasionally Ed Feng (The Power Rank). The key is that the ratings are based on expected points, which are in turn translated into win probabilities. Each of these three ratings are generated from their respective advanced statistical analyses and metrics. In doing so, they achieve varied results ... some more pleasing than others depending on your point-of-view.

Anyway, here you will find further ruminations on said statistics into still more statistics as a means for enabling further discussion, jumping to conclusions, flying off of the handle or goading your rival. Also included is a fresh look at the all-important head-to-head win-differential probability distribution for the matchup between a select pair of contenders in the B1G East.

Schedules, Margins, Probabilities & Distributions

B1G East Schedules & Margins Rundown

The table of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals, it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+

Michigan, by virtue of a complete dismantling of Maryland, continues as the #1 ranked team in all the land as per S&P+. However, the lead enjoyed by U-M has contracted to three spots over of OSU. Penn State, meanwhile, continues its climb up the S&P+ ranks now stands at #9 - one ahead of Wisconsin - to grab the 3rd highest rank in the B1G.
Looking at the S&P+ probabilities, the Wolverines lead the B1GE with about 8.6 expected B1G wins, ahead of the 2nd place Nittany Lions by just under 1 expected win. The Buckeyes now trail the Nits by about 0.4 wins. Michigan is the only team in the B1G at this point expected to exceed 8 wins; OSU and PSU the only teams expected to exceed 7 conference wins. U-M and PSU are both still favored in all of their remaining games. As such, OSU remains a 5½ point underdog in The Game.

Indiana, after dispatching Rutgers, remains in the fourth spot. The Hoosiers, with nearly 4.2 expected wins and being favored in the last of their remaining games against Purdue, are on track for bowl eligibility. Meanwhile, Maryland is also on the bowl-eligibility bubble looking for its sixth win, but with slightly more than 3 expected wins and LOLRutgerz still on the schedule, the Terps have an ace in the hole.

FPI

As is typical, the FPI results differ slightly. Here Michigan retains the #2 ranking, while OSU moved back up one spot to #4. In turn, M tops all teams in the B1GE with nearly 8.4 expected wins, expanding it lead over OSU slightly to 1.4 wins. As was the case last week, FPI results show U-M to be favored in all of its remaining games; the only game in which OSU is not favored is The Game. The margin, however, now stands at a razor-thin 0.6 points. Meanwhile Penn State continues to roll, and stands about 0.2 wins ahead of OSU to claim the #2 spot at just over 7.5 wins. The bowl-eligible Nits are favored in all of their remaining games, and is on track for a 10-2 season.

After squeaking by Rutgers, Indiana holds the #4 B1GE spot firmly at 4 wins, and remains in the edge of bowl-eligibility. Likewise, Maryland is on the bowl-eligibility bubble, now at 3.1 expected wins and being a favorite in only one more game. MSU, after dropping another game in which they were favored to Illinois, is now favored in only one more game this season: LOLRutgerz. Sparty will take on the Scarlet Knights in what should be a tremendous battle for the Situation Trophy.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings. The numbers here look slightly less optimistic.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.

S&P+

Once again Michigan stands apart from all other with the highest mode of all possible modes - an undefeated 9 wins! PSU remains in sole occupation of next highest mode at 8 wins. Following the Nits are the Buckeyes with a mode of 7 wins, with a tilt toward 8 wins. Of course this suggests that the most likely outcome is that OSU will lose one more game. The complementary nature of OSU losing one more and Michigan winning out still holds, which gives statistically-minded folks a warm-fuzzy when pondering the covariance of the M and OSU distributions.

Still, a bit of a cluster remains at the 8-win mode. A quick computation shows that the much ballyhooed three-way tie among Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State now has a probability of about 29%, largely because it’s almost twice as likely that OSU or PSU lose at least more game. That said, PSU could only advance if M drops two more games than PSU from here on out, whereas the B1GE divisional championship at this point is Michigan’s to lose. The likelihood of UM having an undefeated season at stands at 60.5% or about 3:2 odds in favor.
Indiana still sits at 4 wins, leaning toward 5 wins, while Maryland is balanced at 3 wins. MSU is still looking like a lock for a 1-win B1G season, but still has a strong lean toward winless-ness. LOLRutgerz is still looking like a solid winless record in the B1G.

FPI

With only three games remaining in the season, some distributions begin to indicate more strongly what the final win totals will be. Those that do not are the teams that have competitive games left on the slate. In the B1GE, those teams are M and OSU. These FPI results show an even tighter cluster at the top than S&P+, so the likelihood of the pseudo-threeway tie is a bit greater. Nonetheless each team occupies a unique mode, except M and PSU. Both show the same 8-win mode, but M leans strongly toward the undefeated mode with PSU leaning toward 7 wins. UM registers a 45.2% chance to win out.

From the 3 contenders at the high end, a 3 win gap separates the remaining teams in the B1GE. In order, they are Indiana, Maryland, MSU and LOLRutgerz at 4, 3, 1 and 0-win modes, respectively.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.

B1G West Schedules & Margins Rundown

The next table of schedules shows the overall schedules for the B1G West based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. Again, the last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.

S&P+

The B1GW S&P+ results have the principal contenders, Wisconsin and Nebraska, at 6.7 and 6.0 expected wins. For Wisconsin, the defeat of Nebraska has put them in control of their destiny by virtue of the tie-breaker rule. Wisconsin’s path to Indy is relatively assured as the Badgers are favored by no less than 14 points from here on out. Nebraska, meanwhile, have still to face Iowa at Kinnick, a game in which the Huskers are favored by less than half a point.
Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa remain congealed in the second tier of bowl-eligibles and likelies. At 7-2, Minnesota is already bowl-eligible with two of its toughest games remaining. The Gophers are favored in only one remaining game. Northwestern, now expecting nearly 5.2 B1G wins, is favored in 2 more games which it needs to close on in order to become bowl eligible. Poor-damn-Iowa lags at 4.2 expected wins and is favored in only the Illinois game, and has the toss-up with the Huskers.

FPI

FPI results now have Wisconsin leading the B1GW now with over 6.6 expected wins, while Nebraska trails at just under 5.9 wins. Like S&P+, FPI has the Badgers favored in all its remaining games by two-score margins, and the Huskers an underdog in the season-ender in Iowa City. Minnesota and Northwestern follow in the 5.0-5.1 win range. FPI has Northwestern favored in two more games, which it needs to capture to become bowl eligible. Wrapping up the likely bowl invitees is Iowa at about 4.7 expected wins, who FPI has favored to win its last two to close out 7-5 and make a bowl game.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.

B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected overall win distributions for the B1G West teams, in alphabetical order.

S&P+

With 3 games remaining, the story in the B1GW has pretty well shaken out. Five teams still have modes in the 4 to 7 win range, but Wisconsin is the only team with a mode of 7 wins, and it’s a very strong mode indeed. Nebraska now sits at the 6 win mode, leaning toward 7 wins, but would need to win out and have the Badgers lose again to advance. The likelihood of that combination is less than 7%. Northwestern and Minnesota remain balanced and nearly indistinguishable at the 5 win mode, while Iowa remains at the 4 win mode, skewed toward 5 wins.

FPI

The FPI now tells a similar story as S&P+, showing 5 teams in the 4 to 7 win range, with very similar distribution shapes and order.

Here’s a link to a chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.

Michigan vs. Ohio State Big Ten Wins Differential

Background

The win-differential distribution simply shows the likelihood of one team (say, Michigan) finishing with a conference record that is some number of games better or worse than another team (say, Ohio State). Keeping in mind that in the event of a tie, the winner of the head-to-head match up determines the tiebreaker … the probability of the teams having identical conference records (i.e. a win differential of zero) heading into the final head-to-head meeting is then pro-rated in proportion to the win probability of the head-to-head game. The same principle also applies to the probabilities of either team having a one-game lead going into (our outside of) the head-to-head (i.e. win differentials of +1 and -1). This is because a team trailing by one game would still clinch the tie-breaker by winning the final head-to-head game. Thus, the total likelihood of Michigan finishing ahead of Ohio State is the sum of all the maize-and-blue shaded bars (i.e. U-M wins two or more games than OSU), plus a proportional split of the -1, 0 and +1-differential bars. It’s worth noting that this total likelihood does not indicate the likelihood of making it to the B1G Championship, as it says nothing about how other teams in the B1G East do, or even how Michigan or Ohio State do in the absolute sense. For example, if both teams were to finish tied in the B1G at 7-2, which means that UM and OSU would be losing 2 games each, at that point another team (Penn State) may have the lead.

S&P+ Results

Beginning as usual with the results of the S&P+ analysis, this week’s chart still shows that the most likely outcome (now at 87.1% likelihood) is that U-M is one game up heading into Columbus. No news here really - The Game will in all likelihood decide who will play for the B1G Championship. Looking at the head-to-head matchup, the win probability for Michigan has contracted to 63.9% after OSU’s obliteration of Nebraska, with the margin shrinking from 7.7 to 5.5 points. So UM collects a 55.7 point share of the 87.1 points for the likelihood of winning when coming in up one (and finishing ahead two games). OSU collects the remaining 31.5 points.

The second most likely scenario, now with only a 7.9% likelihood, is that UM comes into Columbus two games ahead of OSU. Of this possible outcome, UM collects the entire 7.9 points, of course, because UM would still be assured of finishing one game ahead of OSU regardless of the outcome.

The third most likely scenarios that UM comes with the same record as OSU. This scenario has a 4.8% likelihood, of which UM collects a 3.0 point share for its likelihood of winning and finishing one game ahead. OSU collects the remaining 1.7 points.

In total according to the S&P+ ratings, Michigan now has a 66.8% likelihood (down slightly from 76.4%) of finishing the season ahead of OSU, or 2:1 in favor.

FPI Results

Painting a slightly more rosy picture, here is the same chart based on the FPI ratings following the week 10 results. As with S&P+, the most likely outcome is that UM heads into Columbus up one game on the Buckeyes. In the head-to-head matchup, UM is rated high enough to overcome OSU’s home-field advantage, giving Michigan a 51.6% likelihood (only a 0.6 point margin) to win the game. However, because the FPI margins in OSU’s intervening games are a good bit less than those of S&P+, the likelihood of OSU dropping one is greater, as is the likelihood of M coming into Columbus up two games. That stands at a 25.5% chance. To sum it all up, UM has a 67.6% likelihood of beating out OSU at season’s end, or a shade better than 2:1 chance. Very much the same as S&P+, but with a slightly different distribution of outcomes.

Here’s a link to the chart showing the results from the Power Rank-ings.

Wrap-up

So there you have it. As you can see, the distributions are looking much more deterministic than earlier in the season. That said, Michigan remains in a favorable position rolling into Columbus the last Saturday of the month, but will still need to play and win the game to advance, as is the case with the Buckeyes. In the meantime, Michigan will need to remain focused on the intervening games, the next of which is tomorrow night’s game at Kinnick Stadium. This game still looms large as the most significant risk between now and Columbus.

The prospects for Michigan football to play in the Big Ten Championship Game may have receded slightly from the plateau reached last week. This is largely due to the Buckeyes regaining their composure and competitive edge after exhibiting various foibles in the preceding weeks. No surprises there, to be honest. OSU will always be tough out when facing Michigan, and that’s why so many look forward to The Game with such great anticipation each year. In all, Team 137 has exhibited all the qualities one expects to see in a team that has both great expectations as well as a great capacity to realize those expectations.

Yours in football, and Go Blue!