# Reason for hope: an important goal is still in sight

This is a message the players should get. My first reaction to UM’s predicament was to give up on the team this year. When you are expected to lose both of the next 2 games by significant margins, it’s easy to get discouraged. But then I wondered, what’s the chance that UM could still get to a bowl game this year and end up with a decent record. Given turnovers, missed extra points, injuries, illnesses, unexplained fluctuations in motivation, etc.—how likely is it that UM could steal one of the games Just think: Purdue beat OSU. Navy beat ND. NW beat Iowa…Washington(?state) beat USC….I could go on. The point is that there’s a lot that can happen that is not predictable with certainty even if one team is a big favorite. So what’s the chance that UM might finally catch a break after an otherwise heartbreaking season?

I first calculated the predicted point spreads based on UM OSU AND WI’s Sagarin Predictor ratings to get an idea about the possible point spreads in our next 2 games, as calculated below (the sagarin ratings are actually used by vegas to help set the betting lines, and the rating method chosen actually predicts the outcome of games).

I took a random game on the net that had posted both a 12-14 pt spread and odds roughly comparable to spreads I calculated for UM vs WI (-11 ) and OSU (-15).

I found that UM has a 31% chance of getting to a bowl game and the second most likely final record is 7-6.

Conclusion: A nearly 1/3 chance of a bowl is not a reason for hopelessness…in fact, it’s a far better chance than was the team's early season goal of winning the B10.

So, now is not a time for the team to get discouraged..but rather to redouble their efforts… One of their important goals is still in sight.

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Methods

In the random game selected, the line for the Favorite = -550 in percent form or -5.5 for Odds/probabilities, as used below)

Similarly, the line for the Underdog was +461 or 4.61`)

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/odds/pointspread and http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/odds/moneyline

HOW TO TRANSLATE ODDS TO WINNING PERCENTAGES

Here's how we translate the odds. If you need to risk 4.6 to win 1 on underdog, this to mean that for ever 4.6 losses, Vegas expects the Underdog to win 1 time. So their unadjusted winning percentage is 1 / (1+4.6) or .18 or 18%. If you have to bet 5.5 to win 1 on the Favorite that means that for every 1 loss, the Favorite will win 5.5 times. Their unadjusted winning percentage is 5.5 / (1+5.5) = .85 or 85%

Here, 18% + 85% is greater than 100% (103%), because of the house advantage. So, we divide each team’s unadjusted Winning % by the total of the two teams 1.01 or 103%.

When we adjust these numbers to correct for the house’s take, we get:

Adjusted Pr favorite wins= .85/1.03=.83

Adjusted Pr underdog wins =.18/1.03=.17

Since this is based on a 12-14 point spread and OSU spread is 15, WI is 11, I based on the Sagarin ratings (see below), I will adust the above probabilities of favorite winning by +.02 for OSU and -.02 for WI.

So Pr OSU wins=.85

Pr WI wins = .81

Thus Pr (both OSU and WI win)=.85*.81= .69.

That means UM has a 1-.69=.31 or 31% chance of beating either OSU or WI and going to a bowl game.

We have a (1-.85)(1-.81)=.094 or 9.4%

Assuming a 50% chance of wiining a bowl game the (getting in is assumed automatic if we are 6-6), we then have

15.5% chance of going 7-6 or 8-5 (10.8% chance of 7-6 and, in the unlikely even we beat OSU and WI, which has a 4.7% chance, going 8-5)

15.5% chance of 6-7 or 7-6 (10.8% chance of 6-7 and, in the unlikely even we beat OSU and WI, which has 4.7% chance, going 7-6)

Summary of record probabilities:

8-5 4.7 % approx 5%

7-6 15.5% (=10.8+4.7) Approx 15%

6-7 10.8% approx 11%

69% chance of going 5-7

Method of computing point spreads based on Sagarin predictor ratings at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt09.htm

UM=69.89

OSU=88.02

Home field adjustment for Power ratings

MI 69.89+1.5 = 71.39,

OSU 88.02-1.5 =86.52

Difference= 15.13 = approx 15 point spread favoring OSU

Wisc=77.57

UM=69.89

Adjustment for home field

Wisc-77.57+1.5= 79.07

UM 69.89-1.5= 68.39

Difference = 79.07 -68.39= 10.68 = approx 11 point spread favoring WI

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