Now comes the crapshoot that is bowl season. S&P+ has hit 60+% against the spread in bowl season before, and it’s hit 40%. Coaching changes, suspensions, players who have already mentally moved on to next season ... it’s a volatile atmosphere. But we soldier on regardless. And we’re looking to finish the postseason as we finished the regular season: strong.
- Weeks 1-2: 45-41-1 (52%)
- Weeks 3-5: 69-95-2 (42%)
- Weeks 6-9: 115-92-3 (55%)
- Week 10: 19-38-1 (34%)
- Week 11-14: 104-77-5 (57%)
S&P+’s absolute error rose late in the year, but Vegas’ does too. Things get weirder when season-ending injuries get involved (and some teams pack it in). Regardless, I’ll take a strong, volatile finish to a miserable, unlucky start anytime.
As your weekly refresher, I’ve been playing with standard deviations and volatility to see if I can come up with a way to determine which picks are most likely to succeed in a given week. The results have been mixed, but on we go. I take a team’s standard deviation (derived basically from single-game S&P+ scores) and simulate each game 10,000 times to see if certain teams are projected to cover more than others.
- Fournette-Nkemdiche Picks (the most likely covers of the week) — Week 14: 3-0 | Season to date: 27-13-3 (66%)
- All-Conference Picks (picks that meet a certain baseline but aren’t F-N Picks) — Week 14: 0-0 | Season to date: 19-13-1 (59%)
- YOU-CAN-WIN-WITH-THEM-IF-YOU’RE-A-GOOD-DEVELOPER-OF-TALENT PICKS (more likely than others, but with a lower bar) — Week 13: 7-3 | Season to date: 46-30 (61%)
The picks in these categories started 19-1, then fell into a funk, then finished strong over the last couple of weeks. We’ll see what the bowl break does to kill that momentum.
- Boise State (-7.5) vs. Baylor
- NC State (-4.5) vs. Vanderbilt
- Miami-OH (+13) vs. Mississippi State
- Miami (-3) vs. West Virginia
- TCU (+1) vs. Georgia
Surprisingly, only one of the 10 teams involved in these five games are undergoing a coaching change. I expected this list to be littered with those teams.
None qualified this week.
- Washington (+17) vs. Alabama
- Iowa (+2.5) vs. Florida
- Indiana (+7.5) vs. Utah
- Minnesota (+7.5) vs. Washington State
- Colorado State (-13.5) vs. Idaho
- South Alabama (+13.5) vs. Air Force
- Western Kentucky (-4.5) vs. Memphis
Let’s see ... Indiana and WKU lost their head coach ... Florida is losing its defensive coordinator ... Alabama is losing its offensive coordinator ... Minnesota just suspended half its defense (give or take). Granted, Bama and Florida aren’t expected to cover here, but here’s the change I expected to see above.
Here’s the updated Google doc with all picks. Once again, there are three sets listed: S&P+, Weighted S&P+, and F/+. And, as always, here’s a completely useless embed, just for fun: