Before the bowl games commenced for this past college football season, I made some predictions. Here, for your reading enjoyment, is the tally of those predictions. Note that the results are not in haiku form, in contrast to the predictions.
The numbers in parentheses are the CBS Sportsline 120 rankings, which is supposed to show where a team ranks in all of Division 1 (formerly known as FBS). In theory, a team with a higher ranking (lower number) should beat a team with a lower ranking. These rankings were gathered before the bowl games started; they are slightly different now. I decided to check CBS’ accuracy also, so those numbers are included.
I also wanted to check a couple of methods mentioned by TMQ: Home Team Wins (HTW) and Isaacson-Tarbell Postulate (ITP – the team with the better record wins; if records are equal, home team wins). So an ‘H’ is listed after the team that was the official home team for the game. However, the official home team was not always the real home team, as the bowl game was sometimes closer to the visitor. For example, Oklahoma was the official home team for the BCS championship game, but the game was held in Florida, so the Gators were the home team by location.
Here is the list (Some Blog Site’s prediction first – actual result second):
Navy (56)H over Wake Forest (51) – WF beat Navy
BYU (16) over Arizona (48)H – AZ beat BYU
South Florida (50)H over Memphis (79) – USF beat Memphis
Fresno State (58)H over Colorado State (68) – CSU beat FSU
Troy (59)H over Southern Miss (72) – So Miss beat Troy
Boise State (9) over Texas Christian (11)H – TCU beat Boise
Hawaii (67) over Notre Dame (65)H – ND beat Hawaii
Central Michigan (53)H over Florida Atlantic (85) – FAU beat CMU
California (30)H over Miami (49) – Cal beat Miami
Florida State (28)H over Wisconsin (41) – FSU beat Wisc
West Virginia (31) over North Carolina (32)H – WVU beat UNC
Northern Illinois (82) over Louisiana Tech (57)H – LTU beat NIU
Northwestern (22)H over Missouri (25) – Missouri beat NW
Rutgers (40)H over NC State (52) – Rutgers beat NC State
Oklahoma State (14) over Oregon (15)H – Oregon beat OK State
Western Michigan (35)H over Rice (34) – Rice beat WMU
Maryland (37) over Nevada (46)H – Maryland beat Nevada
Georgia Tech (13)H over LSU (54) – LSU beat GT
Kansas (44) over Minnesota (55)H – Kansas beat Minn
Boston College (24) over Vanderbilt (60)H – Vandy beat BC
Oregon State (27) over Pittsburgh (18)H – OS beat Pitt
Air Force (42)H over Houston (47) – Houston beat AF
Nebraska (29)H over Clemson (38) – Nebraska beat Clemson
Georgia (17) over Michigan State (20)H – UGA beat MSU
Iowa (26)H over South Carolina (39) – Iowa beat USC
Virginia Tech (19) over Cincinnati (12)H – VT beat Cincy
Penn State (7) over USC (5)H – USC beat PSU
East Carolina (33)H over Kentucky (62) – Kentucky beat ECU
Texas Tech (6)H over Mississippi (23) – Miss beat TT
Utah (8) over Alabama (4)H – Utah beat Bama
Buffalo (43) over Connecticut (45)H – UConn beat Buffalo
Texas (3)H over Ohio State (10) – UT beat OSU
Ball State (21)H over Tulsa (36) – Tulsa beat Ball State
Florida (1) over Oklahoma (2)H – UF beat OU
And here are the results:
- Some Blog Site picks were 14-20
- CBS picks were 16-18
- HTW was 13-21 for the official home team
- HTW was 19-15 for the actual distance home team
- ITP was 11-23 if using the official home team
- ITP was 15-19 if using the actual distance home team
What does this mean to you? It means that you should pick bowl game winners based on whose campus is closer to the bowl’s stadium. That was the only method that had a winning record. That is, if you don’t want to research much.
Why don’t the other methods work? Well, anything based on the official, listed home team is going to be off because the home team advantage has to do with the fans at the game, familiarity with the area, and travel fatigue. So Oklahoma had no advantage being listed as the home team, and Florida had all the advantages.
Why was ITP worse than the straight-up rankings? Because ITP was designed for the NFL, where conferences don’t mean as much and there are more cross-division games. Yes, the NFL has some conferences that are tougher than others. But they won’t be totally insulated from the other conferences as can happen in college. So a team with a better record (the heart of ITP) in a weaker college conference can be much worse than another team with a worse record. The difference is still there in the NFL, but the severity is much less.
Plus, the bowl selection committees want good games, in general. So they pick teams that will match well with each other. The bowls are, in effect, handling the parity for you. So you know that an 8-5 Troy isn’t that much better than a 6-6 So. Miss.
Since the strength of the conference has something to do with the results, I thought I would tally each conference’s bowl game record for the 2008 (and the first bit of 2009) season.
- ACC: 4-6
- Big 10: 1-6
- Big 12: 4-3
- Big East: 4-2
- Independent: 1-1
- MAC: 0-5
- MW: 3-2
- PAC10: 5-0
- SEC: 6-2
- Sun Belt: 1-1
- USA: 4-2
- WAC: 1-4
So the best conference was the PAC-10 and the worst was the MAC. Perhaps you could say that the ACC was the best because they had ten teams go to bowls. Or you could say the SEC was the best because they won the most bowls.
My two cents: have the best teams from the best conferences play each other in a +1 playoff. That would mean having the PAC-10 winner (USC) face the Big East winner (Cincinnati) and the SEC winner (Florida) face the Conference USA winner (East Carolina), and then the winners of those two games would play for the championship. Of course, that is based on after-the-fact bowl results to know which conferences were the strongest. Plus it doesn’t get Utah in there, which they should be somehow. How do you know which conferences are the strongest before the bowl games? Good question.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part;”
- 1 Corinthians 13:9