## The 2013 College Football Season: A Ridiculously Early Season Forecast

Kevin C. Cox

Deep within his secret lair of Doom and Runzas, @HuskerMath prepares the Prognosticationator Machine for another season.

@HuskerMath's Ridiculously Early 2013 Season Predictions - Part Deux

The first version of this had a glaring error that merited starting from scratch. The first version used 2012's conference alignments instead of 2013's. Because there is a conference component of the model, that changed some of the results (most insignificantly, some drastically) as well made me look pretty stupid for predicting conference standings for a conference that won't play football in 2013.

I've already detailed many of the issues with trying to forecast the season before teams have played a single down in this post, so I won't rehash them now. I'll just skip to the results. The only change to the model algorithm was to separate home and away scoring offense and defense.

For all charts the "Exp. Wins" is the average number of wins over 1000 model runs. P(#) is the cumulative probability that the team reaches that number of wins.

The overall Top-25 in Expected Wins

 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 1 Alabama SEC West 10.94 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.98 0.84 0.47 0.13 2 Northern Illinois MAC West 10.59 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.72 0.35 0.09 3 Oregon Pac-12 North 10.59 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.71 0.35 0.09 4 Florida State ACC Atlantic 10.27 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.98 0.87 0.59 0.26 0.06 5 Texas A&M SEC West 9.90 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.96 0.80 0.46 0.15 0.03 6 Cincinnati AAC 9.83 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.75 0.45 0.17 0.04 7 BYU Ind 9.70 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.72 0.40 0.14 0.03 8 Georgia SEC East 9.54 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.66 0.36 0.13 0.03 9 Ohio MAC East 9.40 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.87 0.62 0.32 0.10 0.02 10 Arkansas State Sun Belt 9.32 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.86 0.60 0.29 0.08 0.01 11 Fresno State MWC West 9.17 1.00 0.99 0.95 0.81 0.55 0.27 0.09 0.02 12 Boise State MWC Mountain 9.13 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.79 0.54 0.26 0.09 0.02 13 Stanford Pac-12 North 9.08 1.00 0.99 0.95 0.81 0.53 0.23 0.06 0.01 14 UCF AAC 9.07 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.79 0.52 0.24 0.07 0.01 15 Louisiana Tech C-USA West 8.91 1.00 0.98 0.92 0.74 0.47 0.22 0.07 0.01 16 Vanderbilt SEC East 8.82 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.75 0.44 0.17 0.04 0.00 17 North Carolina ACC Coastal 8.82 1.00 0.98 0.90 0.72 0.45 0.20 0.06 0.01 18 Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 8.81 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.74 0.44 0.17 0.04 0.01 19 Clemson ACC Atlantic 8.75 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.72 0.42 0.16 0.04 0.00 20 Kansas State Big 12 8.70 1.00 0.98 0.90 0.70 0.41 0.17 0.04 0.01 21 Navy Ind 8.68 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.69 0.41 0.17 0.05 0.01 22 Utah State MWC Mountain 8.67 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.68 0.41 0.17 0.05 0.01 23 Tulsa C-USA West 8.63 0.99 0.97 0.87 0.67 0.40 0.17 0.05 0.01 24 Bowling Green MAC East 8.59 1.00 0.98 0.89 0.67 0.38 0.14 0.03 0.00 25 South Carolina SEC East 8.58 0.99 0.96 0.87 0.66 0.38 0.16 0.05 0.01

It should come as no shock that Alabama is your season front runner. Northern Illinois, who made a splash last year with a BCS bowl game appearance, looks strong again. What surprises me is that no team in the Big Ten is in the Top 25 for regular season expected wins.

The American Athletic Conference (formerly known as the Big East)

 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 6 Cincinnati AAC 9.83 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.75 0.45 0.17 0.04 14 UCF AAC 9.07 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.79 0.52 0.24 0.07 0.01 27 Rutgers AAC 8.51 0.99 0.96 0.85 0.64 0.37 0.15 0.04 0.01 40 Louisville AAC 7.79 0.97 0.88 0.70 0.45 0.22 0.07 0.02 0.00 64 Connecticut AAC 6.30 0.80 0.58 0.33 0.14 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 75 SMU AAC 5.75 0.69 0.43 0.20 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 82 Memphis AAC 5.41 0.61 0.35 0.15 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 90 Temple AAC 5.05 0.51 0.26 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 92 Houston AAC 4.98 0.49 0.24 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 93 South Florida AAC 4.94 0.49 0.25 0.10 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Cincinnati and UCF are the teams to beat in the AAC. Louisville, which finished 2012 at 11-2, does not impress the computer and is projected to finish 4th behind Big Ten-bound Rutgers.

The Atlantic Coast Conference
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 4 Florida State ACC Atlantic 10.27 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.98 0.87 0.59 0.26 0.06 19 Clemson ACC Atlantic 8.75 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.72 0.42 0.16 0.04 0.00 52 Syracuse ACC Atlantic 6.91 0.90 0.73 0.47 0.23 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 53 North Carolina State ACC Atlantic 6.87 0.90 0.72 0.46 0.22 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 94 Maryland ACC Atlantic 4.85 0.46 0.22 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 97 Boston College ACC Atlantic 4.64 0.40 0.16 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 112 Wake Forest ACC Atlantic 3.59 0.15 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 17 North Carolina ACC Coastal 8.82 1.00 0.98 0.90 0.72 0.45 0.20 0.06 0.01 49 Virginia Tech ACC Coastal 7.17 0.93 0.79 0.54 0.29 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 54 Pittsburgh ACC Coastal 6.81 0.88 0.70 0.45 0.22 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 63 Miami (Florida) ACC Coastal 6.32 0.82 0.59 0.32 0.12 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.00 67 Georgia Tech ACC Coastal 6.08 0.77 0.52 0.26 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 98 Duke ACC Coastal 4.35 0.34 0.14 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 105 Virginia ACC Coastal 4.01 0.23 0.07 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Florida State and Clemson are the Atlantic Division favorites to play in the conference championship game. North Carolina and Virginia Tech look to be the favorites in the Coastal Division.

The Big 12 Conference
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 20 Kansas State Big 12 8.70 1.00 0.98 0.90 0.70 0.41 0.17 0.04 0.01 29 Oklahoma State Big 12 8.46 0.99 0.96 0.85 0.63 0.35 0.13 0.03 0.01 44 Oklahoma Big 12 7.34 0.94 0.81 0.59 0.33 0.14 0.04 0.01 0.00 46 TCU Big 12 7.21 0.93 0.78 0.55 0.30 0.12 0.03 0.01 0.00 55 Texas Big 12 6.73 0.87 0.68 0.43 0.21 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 59 Texas Tech Big 12 6.64 0.86 0.66 0.41 0.18 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 60 Baylor Big 12 6.50 0.84 0.63 0.37 0.16 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 61 Iowa State Big 12 6.47 0.81 0.61 0.37 0.18 0.06 0.02 0.00 0.00 85 West Virginia Big 12 5.26 0.57 0.30 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 121 Kansas Big 12 2.98 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

The predicted wins for the Big 12 show a virtual tie for first place, with Kansas State's and Oklahoma State's predicted win totals only .36 games apart. Kansas, to one one's surprise, will struggle to reach three wins.

The Big Ten Conference
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 31 Ohio State Big Ten Leaders 8.30 0.99 0.95 0.82 0.59 0.31 0.11 0.03 0.00 34 Wisconsin Big Ten Leaders 8.16 0.99 0.94 0.80 0.55 0.28 0.10 0.02 0.00 35 Penn State Big Ten Leaders 8.06 0.98 0.92 0.77 0.52 0.26 0.09 0.02 0.00 83 Purdue Big Ten Leaders 5.40 0.61 0.34 0.13 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 109 Indiana Big Ten Leaders 3.85 0.21 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 116 Illinois Big Ten Leaders 3.27 0.08 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 33 Michigan Big Ten Legends 8.21 0.99 0.94 0.80 0.56 0.29 0.10 0.02 0.00 41 Nebraska Big Ten Legends 7.60 0.97 0.88 0.67 0.39 0.16 0.04 0.01 0.00 42 Northwestern Big Ten Legends 7.59 0.96 0.86 0.65 0.39 0.17 0.05 0.01 0.00 43 Michigan State Big Ten Legends 7.47 0.95 0.84 0.62 0.36 0.16 0.05 0.01 0.00 65 Minnesota Big Ten Legends 6.25 0.81 0.57 0.30 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 88 Iowa Big Ten Legends 5.14 0.54 0.28 0.11 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00

The top of the Big Ten Leaders Division is crowded, with .14 expected wins separating Ohio State and Wisconsin. Penn State, which is not post-season ineligible, may have another good season but scholarship sanctions may begin to show this season. Michigan has the inside track in the Legends Division.

The Pac-12 Conference
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 3 Oregon Pac-12 North 10.59 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.71 0.35 0.09 13 Stanford Pac-12 North 9.08 1.00 0.99 0.95 0.81 0.53 0.23 0.06 0.01 32 Oregon State Pac-12 North 8.27 0.99 0.96 0.84 0.58 0.28 0.09 0.02 0.00 71 Washington Pac-12 North 5.84 0.75 0.45 0.17 0.04 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 104 California Pac-12 North 4.04 0.23 0.07 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 106 Washington State Pac-12 North 3.88 0.20 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 28 USC Pac-12 South 8.50 1.00 0.97 0.87 0.64 0.35 0.13 0.03 0.00 30 Arizona State Pac-12 South 8.45 1.00 0.97 0.86 0.63 0.34 0.12 0.03 0.00 62 UCLA Pac-12 South 6.39 0.83 0.61 0.34 0.14 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 81 Utah Pac-12 South 5.43 0.62 0.34 0.13 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 84 Arizona Pac-12 South 5.37 0.61 0.31 0.10 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 124 Colorado Pac-12 South 1.48 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Pac-12 North foes Oregon and Stanford are the class of the Pac-12. Oregon is your favorite to play USC or Arizona State in the conference championship game.

The Southeastern Conference
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 8 Georgia SEC East 9.54 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.66 0.36 0.13 0.03 16 Vanderbilt SEC East 8.82 1.00 0.99 0.93 0.75 0.44 0.17 0.04 0.00 25 South Carolina SEC East 8.58 0.99 0.96 0.87 0.66 0.38 0.16 0.05 0.01 26 Florida SEC East 8.54 0.99 0.96 0.86 0.65 0.38 0.16 0.04 0.01 78 Tennessee SEC East 5.60 0.69 0.37 0.12 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 89 Missouri SEC East 5.12 0.54 0.26 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 101 Kentucky SEC East 4.10 0.20 0.04 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1 Alabama SEC West 10.94 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.98 0.84 0.47 0.13 5 Texas A&M SEC West 9.90 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.96 0.80 0.46 0.15 0.03 38 LSU SEC West 7.84 0.99 0.93 0.75 0.45 0.18 0.04 0.01 0.00 51 Mississippi State SEC West 7.06 0.95 0.80 0.52 0.23 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 70 Mississippi SEC West 5.93 0.74 0.48 0.23 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 99 Arkansas SEC West 4.34 0.31 0.11 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 100 Auburn SEC West 4.27 0.30 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Could the 14 Sep Alabama-Texas A&M game be any bigger? For one year at least the normal Alabama/LSU winner-take-all game is moving to College Station. In addition to having the inside track to play Georgia in the SEC Conference Championship Game, the winner is almost certain to sit at #1 in the polls. The middle of the SEC East is pretty crowded, with Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Florida all within .28 wins of each other and less than one predicted win behind Georgia.

The Independents
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 7 BYU Ind 9.70 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.72 0.40 0.14 0.03 21 Navy Ind 8.68 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.69 0.41 0.17 0.05 0.01 47 Notre Dame Ind 7.20 0.94 0.80 0.56 0.28 0.10 0.02 0.00 0.00 91 Army Ind 4.98 0.50 0.25 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 115 New Mexico State Ind 3.29 0.10 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 119 Idaho Ind 3.11 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Notre Dame may have played in the BCS Championship Game last year, but their statistics didn't underwrite their win totals. Look for the numbers to catch up with the Irish this year.

Non-AQ Conferences
 Rank Team Conference Exp. Wins p(5) p(6) p(7) p(8) p(9) p(10) p(11) p(12) 45 East Carolina C-USA East 7.23 0.93 0.79 0.56 0.31 0.12 0.03 0.01 0.00 66 Marshall C-USA East 6.17 0.78 0.54 0.29 0.11 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.00 73 Middle Tennessee C-USA East 5.80 0.70 0.45 0.22 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 77 Florida International C-USA East 5.65 0.68 0.40 0.17 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 80 Florida Atlantic C-USA East 5.43 0.61 0.36 0.16 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 86 UAB C-USA East 5.18 0.55 0.27 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 113 Southern Mississippi C-USA East 3.38 0.11 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 15 Louisiana Tech C-USA West 8.91 1.00 0.98 0.92 0.74 0.47 0.22 0.07 0.01 23 Tulsa C-USA West 8.63 0.99 0.97 0.87 0.67 0.40 0.17 0.05 0.01 57 Rice C-USA West 6.68 0.87 0.68 0.42 0.19 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 69 North Texas C-USA West 6.05 0.77 0.51 0.25 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 87 UTEP C-USA West 5.14 0.54 0.28 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 103 Tulane C-USA West 4.06 0.25 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 126 UTSA C-USA West 0.88 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 9 Ohio MAC East 9.40 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.87 0.62 0.32 0.10 0.02 24 Bowling Green MAC East 8.59 1.00 0.98 0.89 0.67 0.38 0.14 0.03 0.00 96 Buffalo MAC East 4.76 0.43 0.19 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 107 Akron MAC East 3.88 0.17 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 108 Miami (Ohio) MAC East 3.86 0.21 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 110 Kent State MAC East 3.84 0.16 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 125 Massachusetts MAC East 1.22 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2 Northern Illinois MAC West 10.59 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.72 0.35 0.09 37 Ball State MAC West 7.96 0.98 0.92 0.75 0.49 0.23 0.07 0.02 0.00 56 Western Michigan MAC West 6.70 0.88 0.69 0.42 0.18 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 58 Toledo MAC West 6.66 0.87 0.68 0.41 0.18 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 74 Central Michigan MAC West 5.77 0.70 0.44 0.20 0.07 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 120 Eastern Michigan MAC West 3.04 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 12 Boise State MWC Mountain 9.13 1.00 0.99 0.94 0.79 0.54 0.26 0.09 0.02 22 Utah State MWC Mountain 8.67 1.00 0.97 0.88 0.68 0.41 0.17 0.05 0.01 68 New Mexico MWC Mountain 6.07 0.78 0.52 0.25 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 72 Air Force MWC Mountain 5.83 0.71 0.46 0.22 0.07 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 79 Wyoming MWC Mountain 5.58 0.66 0.38 0.15 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 95 Colorado State MWC Mountain 4.83 0.45 0.20 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 11 Fresno State MWC West 9.17 1.00 0.99 0.95 0.81 0.55 0.27 0.09 0.02 39 San Jose State MWC West 7.81 0.98 0.91 0.72 0.44 0.19 0.05 0.01 0.00 48 San Diego State MWC West 7.19 0.93 0.79 0.55 0.29 0.11 0.03 0.00 0.00 76 Nevada MWC West 5.66 0.68 0.41 0.18 0.05 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 102 UNLV MWC West 4.10 0.24 0.06 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 118 Hawaii MWC West 3.15 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 10 Arkansas State Sun Belt 9.32 1.00 1.00 0.97 0.86 0.60 0.29 0.08 0.01 18 Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 8.81 1.00 0.99 0.92 0.74 0.44 0.17 0.04 0.01 36 Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt 8.02 0.99 0.95 0.80 0.51 0.21 0.05 0.01 0.00 50 Troy Sun Belt 7.15 0.95 0.80 0.55 0.26 0.08 0.02 0.00 0.00 114 Georgia State Sun Belt 3.32 0.10 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 117 South Alabama Sun Belt 3.23 0.09 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 122 Texas State Sun Belt 2.58 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 123 Western Kentucky Sun Belt 2.44 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

The non-AQ schools are the most difficult to model as they tend to exhibit more volatility from year to year than schools from AQ conferences. Nevertheless, Fresno State or Boise Statein the MWC, Tulsa or LA Tech in C-USA, Northern Illinois in the MAC, and Arkansas State in the Sun Belt appear to be safe bets as conference champions. If pressed to identify this year's BCS-buster team I would choose Northern Illinois as the strongest candidate.

As we get closer to the season I'll publish my picks for the first week. I'm also hosting a weekly and a season contest. If you think my picks are all wet then enter each week and we'll see who is better at this. If you beat me you'll get the press. If I win, well, I won't gloat. Too much.

A .pdf of all the result is here.
Have a good summer, and GBR!
@HuskerMath

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