The regular season is over and rivalry weekend was a doozy! Between the turkey and the exciting football I racked up record amounts of couch time this week, but you’re not here to read about my slow metamorphosis into a sentient pile of stuffing. Let’s dig into the weekend’s upsets and then try to make sense of what they mean for the playoff (good luck).

  • (NR) Ole Miss - 31 at (14) Mississippi State - 28
    • Rivalry weekend started with the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, and it really set the tone for the whole weekend. Between the extra shoves and trash talk the teams managed to play a full game with the Rebels coming out on top. The cold, heartless computer doesn’t factor Hate into its predictions and did not call this one right, a recurring theme this week. Forward Progress expected State to win by 12 points, a sizeable miss.
  • (NR) Pittsburgh - 24 at (2) Miami - 14
    • Any other weekend this game would have had the biggest playoff implications, but just you wait. The ‘Canes got surprised by Pitt, as did the computer who predicted a 15 point victory for Miami.
  • (1) Alabama - 14 at (6) Auburn - 26
    • Auburn spoiled the unblemished season of Alabama in a struggle of titans, putting everyone’s assumptions about the playoffs into question. Forward Progress thought it was going to be close, giving the Tide a 2 point advantage, but ultimately did not call this one correctly.
  • (8) Notre Dame - 20 at (21) Stanford - 38
    • Notre Dame’s end of season slump continues as they fell to the Cardinal, putting them fully out of playoff contention. The computer felt the Irish had a great chance, spotting them 9 points before the game was played.
  • (23) Boise State - 17 at (NR) Fresno State - 28
    • Finally, the blue Broncos fell to unranked Fresno State. I missed this one too.

Overall the computer hit its season average of 70% accuracy but did not manage to call any of the notable upsets over the weekend. I would be disppointed, but being able to predict every high profile game would really dampen the watching experience! With the end of the regular season next Friday will mark the beginning of the conference championships. Since these are high profile games I want to call my shots now and see how my predictions fare.

  • (21) Stanford vs. (11) USC
    • These teams seem to be very evenly matched with the predicted winner being the team with home field advantage in both cases. Since they will be playing at a neutral field I’ve averaged the predictions for both potential matchups which yields a USC win by the slimmest of margins. Expect a tight game regardless!
    • Prediction: USC by less than 1 point.
  • (20) Memphis vs. (15) UCF
    • The predictions are clearer on this matchup with UCF expected to take the championship.
    • Prediction: UCF by 4 points
  • (12) TCU vs. (4) Oklahoma
    • If TCU were at home this would be a push but at a neutral field OU has the advantage.
    • Prediction: Oklahoma by 1.5 points
  • (7) Georgia vs. (6) Auburn
    • Once again, home field would have determined this prediction, but at a neutral field Auburn gets the go ahead.
    • Prediction: Auburn by 1 point
  • (NR) Fresno State vs. (23) Boise State
    • These two will be rematching next week after Boise lost to Fresno over the weekend. Forward Progress doubts Fresno’s ability to repeat, however, giving Boise the predicted win.
    • Prediction: Boise State by 4 points.
  • (2) Miami vs. (3) Clemson
    • Miami is reeling after a suprising loss to Pittsburgh and the computer expects that to continue, predicting a relative blowout in the championship game.
    • Prediction: Clemson by 7.5 points.
  • (9) Ohio State vs. (5) Wisconsin
    • Forward Progress has been hot on Ohio State for the entire season despite their two losses. Wisconsin is on their way to being undefeated but the computer expects them to stumble at the championship.
    • Prediction: Ohio State by 4 points.

That concludes my bold championship predictions! Unfortunately my algorithm suffers greatly from regression to the mean, which means that the predicted scores for matchups generally cluster around the average score by an average team, regardless of the actual teams involved. They still give good answers when compared against one another but don’t do great when actually predicting the scores. For the purposes of the championship predictions the given score line indicates the confidence in the prediction, not necessarily the true outcome.

With that done, lets charge into the rankings!

  Team Predicted Wins Ranking Date Rank Movement
1 Ohio State 247 2017-11-26 1
2 Alabama 241 2017-11-26 -1
3 Auburn 239 2017-11-26 2
4 Clemson 239 2017-11-26 -1
5 Georgia 239 2017-11-26 -1
6 Penn State 239 2017-11-26 2
7 Washington 237 2017-11-26 7
8 Wisconsin 237 2017-11-26 -1
9 Oklahoma 232 2017-11-26 -3
10 Texas Christian 228 2017-11-26 1
11 Notre Dame 225 2017-11-26 -2
12 Oklahoma State 225 2017-11-26 1
13 Northwestern 223 2017-11-26 9
14 Virginia Tech 223 2017-11-26 -2
15 Miami (FL) 215 2017-11-26 -5
16 Michigan 207 2017-11-26 2
17 Stanford 207 2017-11-26 20
18 USC 207 2017-11-26 11
19 Iowa 206 2017-11-26 11
20 Louisville 206 2017-11-26 -3
21 North Carolina State 206 2017-11-26 -2
22 Iowa State 201 2017-11-26 1
23 Michigan State 200 2017-11-26 2
24 Boston College 199 2017-11-26 8
25 Mississippi State 199 2017-11-26 -10

With Alabama’s loss Ohio State moves into the front seat with a big gap in predicted wins between the two teams. Auburn’s win over Bama was also taken to heart, putting them on equal footing with Clemson, Georgia, and Penn State. Washington and Wisconsin are next up, followed by Oklahoma. Ohio State has an opportunity to solidify their position this weekend with a game against Wisconsin, but a loss will likely penalize them hard and leave the Badgers in roughly the same spot. Bama won’t have a chance to move around but Auburn could also make a statement with a strong win over Georgia. Clemson could also have a big weekend with a strong showing against Miami.

In any case, be sure to watch the games and be sure to come back next week to see how I fared and the computer’s predictions for the Bowl season!