Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bowl Game Predictions and Confidence Rankings 2016

With the bowl games set to start this Saturday, it's time to use the Random Walker Rankings to predict the winners. Additionally, following the ESPN Capital One Bowl Mania format, we have a confidence rank/score for each game, where 1 is least confident and 42 is most confident. Our predicted winners are the higher ranked teams and the confidence rank is based on the difference in percentage of walkers between the two teams.

As the games proceed, I will update this post with the results and tally the final score and how the Random Walkers entry does in the ESPN competition.

WinnerLoserConfidence Score
Appalachian StToledo1
North Carolina CentralGrambling St3
Western MichiganWisconsin4
MemphisWestern Kentucky5
Eastern MichiganOld Dominion6
Colorado StIdaho8
VanderbiltNorth Carolina St9
Louisiana-LafayetteSouthern Miss10
WyomingBrigham Young11
Arkansas StCentral Florida13
MarylandBoston College14
Middle Tennessee StHawaii15
Washington StMinnesota16
North CarolinaStanford17
ColoradoOklahoma St18
TroyOhio U.19
Georgia TechKentucky21
Ohio StateClemson22
ArmyNorth Texas23
West VirginiaMiami FL24
Mississippi StMiami OH25
HoustonSan Diego St27
Virginia TechArkansas28
New MexicoTexas-San Antonio30
Texas A&MKansas St31
TempleWake Forest32
TulsaCentral Michigan33
MichiganFlorida St34
NavyLouisiana Tech35
South FloridaSouth Carolina36
Air ForceSouth Alabama37
Alabama/Washington winnerOhio State/Clemson winner38
Penn StateSouthern Cal40
Boise StBaylor41

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Final Regular Season Rankings of 2016

Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Washington, Western Michigan, and Oklahoma capped off their impressive seasons with conference championships this weekend. This presents the most challenging scenario for the College Football Playoff committee. Alabama and Clemson seem to have the strongest cases for the playoff, but Ohio State, Penn State, and Washington each have a very strong case for the final two spots. Michigan, Western Michigan, and Oklahoma also had great seasons that many could use as justification for an 8-team playoff.

The random walkers, who don't care about explicitly about conference championships or preseason favorites or school reputation, have Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Penn State as the top 4 teams for almost all parameter values. The only exceptions are that at low "p" values (where strength of schedule is most important), Washington moves into number 4 and Penn State falls to 5, and at high "p" values (where win-loss record is most important) undefeated Western Michigan moves into the top 4 while again Penn State falls out.

It will be interesting to see if the CFP committee agrees. I can see three possible outcomes, ranked below in order of likelihood:
1) "Eye test" wins out: Ohio State and Washington get in.
2) Conference championships and head-to-head win out: Penn State and Washington get in.
3) "Eye test" and stronger weighting towards late season results win out: Ohio State and Penn State (9 game win streak after starting 2-2) get in. This is how the random walkers would vote.