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Bracketology 12/10/18

After Tennessee's win over Gonzaga, Kansas moves up to the #1 overall seed. The Jayhawks struggled with New Mexico State, but have a trifecta of fantastic wins against Michigan State, Marquette and Tennessee. No other team has two wins over protected seeds. Elsewhere on the top line, I've moved Michigan up from the two line as their wins are simply just more impressive than Tennessee's or Virginia's, even if they've mostly been at home.

Oklahoma, Houston, and St. John's have all jumped out to fast starts and have gone from not considered in my preseason bracket to bordering on the protected seeds. I'll be watching the Cougars particularly closely- with Wichita State having a down year they're really looking like the team to beat in the American now. If they can turn on the jets in February like they did last year they're a second weekend team in March.

At the bubble, San Francisco is in my bracket for the first time in my 9 years of doing bracketolo…

Bracketology 12/3/18

Conference play kicked off this past week in the Big Ten and SoCon, and combined with the Big Ten/ACC challenge it produced a lot of shuffling up and down the bracket. At the top, I strongly considered putting Michigan on the 1-line after their dominating wins over North Carolina and Purdue. Virginia has a similarly impressive win against Wisconsin, so I decided to keep the Cavs in the last 1 seed.

Oregon has fallen from a 4 seed in my preseason bracket all the way down to the First Four now. The Ducks took an absolutely brutal loss at home to Texas Southern and then followed it up by a road loss at Houston. The Cougars look quite good, and are the class of the American, but it's a win Dana Altman's team could've used.

There's no headliner this week like there was last week with the Big Ten/ACC challenge, but there's a lot of fun OOC rivalry games like Iowa State/Iowa, Creighton/Nebraska and Wisconsin/Marquette.

1: Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke, Virginia
2: Michigan, Nevad…

Final Bowl Projections

There's relatively few changes in the final bowl projections of the season. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma remain in the playoff, and the NY6 bowls are unchanged. If I am wrong about the playoff (Georgia or Ohio State getting in over Oklahoma) it would have ripple effects all the way down the bowls.

Most of the interesting decisions came in the non-NY6 bowls. I had some tough choices about who to leave out of a bowl game- I chose to exclude Southern Miss, Miami (OH), Wyoming and ULM. I feel pretty confident that the latter 3 won't be bowling- Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Southern Miss are fighting for the last two bowl bids.

Cotton (Playoff Semifinal): #2 Clemson vs. #3 Notre Dame
Orange (Playoff Semifinal): #1 Alabama vs. #4 Oklahoma
Peach: Michigan vs. LSU
Fiesta: UCF vs. Florida
Rose: Ohio State vs. Washington
Sugar: West Virginia vs. Georgia
Citrus: Penn State vs. Kentucky
Outback: Iowa vs. Mississippi State
Sun: Boston College vs. Utah
TaxSlayer: Miam…

College Football Week 14 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
Week 9: 4-1-1, +2.94 units
Week 10: 2-5, -3.18 units
Week 11: 1-4, -3.26 units
Week 12: 2-4, -2.32 units
Week 13: 3-1, +2.94 units
2018 Season: 39-43-2, -5.88 units

Pittsburgh @ Clemson:

A lot of the buzz about Pitt winning the ACC title was killed last week when they got whacked by Miami. Pitt obviously has a history of big upsets in the last few years, over Miami last year and Clemson the year before. I don't think the Panthers have a serious chance of winning this game, but they'll bring their A-game and Pitt will keep it from getting too out of hand. My line is Clemson -20.5.

Pick: Pittsburgh +27.5 -106

Memphis @ UCF

The complexion of this game has completely changed in light of McKenzie Milton's injury last week. I would have a healthy UCF team as a 1…

Week 14 Bowl Projections

The penultimate bowl projections of the season has quite a few changes across the board. At the top, Oklahoma is now projected in the playoff instead of Michigan, and I've moved Alabama from the Cotton Bowl to the Orange Bowl. Presumably, if there is an Alabama/Oklahoma matchup the committee will send them to Miami given Oklahoma's proximity to the Cotton Bowl.

Elsewhere in the New Year's Six, Michigan and Washington State's losses shook things up. The Wolverines will almost certainly still make a New Year's Six bowl, but I'm less sure about the Cougars. They've dropped below Florida in the AP poll, and if the committee puts them behind both Florida and LSU tonight then I'll have to put LSU in the NY6 over Washington State. Clemson or Ohio State losing this weekend would put Pitt or Northwestern in the NY6, respectively. That would take away a spot from Michigan or Florida or Wazzu.

We've made it to 81 bowl eligible teams, and it'll be 82 if Vir…

Bracketology 11/26/18

After a busy feast week, there's a lot of changes in this week's seed list. The headlining change is Gonzaga moving up to the #1 overall seed after going 3-0 in Maui, including a win over Duke. I debated a lot between Gonzaga and Kansas for the #1 overall spot but ultimately went with the Zags. With games against Tennessee and North Carolina coming up, plus a significantly improved WCC, they'll have plenty of opportunities to prove they deserve the top overall seed.

The other big storyline I've been following is the demise of the mid-tier conferences. The Missouri Valley and Atlantic 10 have had horrible starts to the season- in the Valley, Loyola and Southern Illinois were supposed to carry the flag for the league and neither have looked like at-large teams. A-10 teams have been losing buy games left and right, including some really bad losses to the likes of Hampton and Longwood. The highest rated A-10 team in Kenpom is Davidson at 79- that would've been pretty u…

College Football Week 13 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
Week 9: 4-1-1, +2.94 units
Week 10: 2-5, -3.18 units
Week 11: 1-4, -3.26 units
Week 12: 2-4, -2.32 units
2018 Season: 36-42-2, -8.82 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit
 Kentucky @ Louisville

Louisville might be the biggest disappointment in the FBS this year. In the preseason, I had the Cardinals ranked #34 and had them as 13 point favorites in this game. The wheels have since completely fallen off and they've only had one ACC game within a possession. Kentucky is a 24 point favorite in my model so I've got the Cats here.

Pick: Kentucky -17

Illinois @ Northwestern

Illinois was looking respectable earlier in the season and they even led Penn State in the second half but they were shellacked by Iowa last week. The Illini have nothing to play for while Northwestern…

Bracketology 11/19/18

It's been an eventful first two weeks of the college hoops season, and that's reflected with lots of changes in this seed list. Teams that have made big moves since my preseason projections include Michigan, Iowa, Buffalo and Furman. The Wolverines and Hawkeyes are part of a larger theme of Big Ten teams looking strong. After sending just 4 teams to the tournament last year, I have 10 Big Ten teams in right now. It's unlikely that all 10 will make the tournament, but the middle of the conference looks as strong as ever. Other teams, such as Villanova, West  Virginia and Providence are sliding. The Big East has had a particularly bad two weeks and right now there's no Big East team even sniffing the protected seeds.

I'm aiming to have my next seed list on Monday after the Thanksgiving tournaments. There will be a lot of movement this week, as we've got a great lineup of tournaments- the Maui lineup looks particularly juicy.

1: Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonza…

Week 13 Bowl Projections

At the top, my projections stay the same as I have the projected playoff everyone else does. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan control their own destiny, as does Georgia. There's a bit of a shakeup in the rest of the New Year's Six this week though- I now have Washington State favored  over Washington so I've slotted the Cougars into the Rose Bowl. I also dropped West Virginia out of the NY6, as I project they'll lose to Oklahoma and finish 8-3. This opened up a spot for Florida in the Peach Bowl and Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl- putting 4 SEC teams in the NY6 and sliding every Big Ten and SEC team up a spot.

I currently project 80 bowl eligible teams for 78 spots. The two eligible teams I left out are FAU and ULM. At this point I'd be quite surprised if we didn't end up with 78 bowl eligible teams, and it's certainly possible that we see some more upsets and end up with 82 or 83 eligible teams. I think there will be enough 6-6 G5 teams that all 6-…

College Football Week 12 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
Week 9: 4-1-1, +2.94 units
Week 10: 2-5, -3.18 units
Week 11: 1-4, -3.26 units
2018 Season: 34-38-2, -6.5 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit

Boston College @ Florida State

Even with AJ Dillon and Anthony Brown's status in doubt, BC should still be a significant favorite here. FSU is now the worst FBS team in Florida according to S&P+. I have FIU and USF behind them, but still FSU is at 83 behind Arkansas State and Tulane, among others. Even without Dillon and Brown, I have this line at BC -5.5.

Pick: Boston College PK -106

Utah @ Colorado

Just like the Boston College game, I think this is an overreaction to an injury. With Tyler Huntley, I would have this line at Utah -14, and he is not worth anything near 7 points. There's also a solid quit factor for Colora…

Week 12 Bowl Projections

Now that we're getting down to the end of the regular season, I decided to roll out my first bowl projections of the season. I've used my ratings to project every remaining regular season game, assuming that the favorite wins every remaining game. That's obviously not going to happen, but in lieu of simulating the rest of the season many times it seems like the best solution to me.

I have Washington as a 50.5% favorite against Washington State so I've projected the Huskies as Pac-12 champions and in the Rose Bowl. This puts Washington State at 10-2 and in the Fiesta Bowl. However, if Washington State were to win the Pac-12 at 12-1, it would give the last NY6 spot to a team like Penn State, Florida or Texas. Whichever team it is, it would cause a chain reaction through the rest of the bowls where every team from that conference moves up a spot.

10 years ago, most conferences had a pretty defined ranking of their bowl tie-ins, which made bowl projections much cleaner. Ho…

College Football Week 11 Wrap-Up

I've got a few posts planned this week- bowl projections, playoff probabilities, national champion probabilities and so forth. It was overall a pretty quiet week with all of the committee's top 10 teams winning, but there's a decent amount of movement in my top 25.

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Georgia
4. Michigan
5. Oklahoma

Georgia and Oklahoma swap places as the Bulldogs had a convincing win over Auburn while Oklahoma struggled with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are a solid team but not one Oklahoma should be going toe to toe with at home.

6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
8. West Virginia
9. Mississippi State
10. LSU

West Virginia vaults into my top 10 for the first time all year. With them rising and Oklahoma falling this week, the Mountaineers' chances of winning the Big 12 have increased quite a bit. However, they'd still have to win 3 tough games (at Oklahoma State, vs. Oklahoma, Big 12 title game) in a row to win the conference, not withstanding various tiebreaker scen…

College Football Week 11 Playoff Probabilities

As we approach the end of the regular season, I decided to run some simulations on the rest of the season to determine the probabilities of each team making the playoff. I used my ratings to simulate the rest of the season 100,000 times, and I used a resume ranking system to determine which four teams made the playoff in each simulation. Here's the breakdown for each contender, in descending order of playoff probability:

Clemson: 92.8% Despite being rated lower than Alabama, Clemson's easier schedule down the stretch gives them a slightly higher probability of winning the playoff. The Tigers have a 69% chance of going 13-0, in which case they're a sure-fire lock for the playoff. In 9% of scenarios, the Tigers lose to Boston College but still win the ACC. They make the playoff in roughly 85% of these scenarios- a 12-1 ACC champ will be very hard to leave out. In most of the scenarios where Clemson misses the playoff, they go 12-0 but then lose the ACC championship to the Co…

College Football Week 11 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
Week 9: 4-1-1, +2.94 units
Week 10: 2-5, -3.18 units
2018 Season: 33-34-2, -3.24 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit

Clemson @ Boston College

I've been high on Boston College since the preseason and they're starting to get another round of national hype. Clemson is undoubtedly the number 2 team in the country but I think if there's any team in the ACC who can keep things close with Clemson, it's probably BC. I have this at Clemson -13.5 so the Golden Eagles are the pick.

Pick: Boston College +19.5 -106

Ohio State @ Michigan State

I'm struggling to understand why Ohio State is favored by more than a field goal here. They're consistently in the 6-10 range of most predictive rankings while Michigan State is in the low teens to high 20s. This line is …

College Football Week 10 Wrap-Up

Stay tuned for a post tomorrow breaking down playoff probabilities for every remaining playoff contender

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Oklahoma
4. Michigan
5. Georgia

Alabama's lead over the rest of the country continues to grow with their demolition of LSU. I'd have them as a 5 point favorite on a neutral field against Clemson, and a 10 point favorite against Oklahoma.

6. Notre Dame
7. UCF
8. Ohio State
9. LSU
10. Mississippi State

Mississippi State is back in the top 10 for the first time in a while after their demolition of Louisiana Tech. Their defense will be able to keep Tua relatively in check, but their offense has struggled against Florida, LSU and Kentucky.

11. Purdue
12. Washington
13. Iowa
14. Missouri
15. Fresno State

I've been high on Missouri all season and that was vindicated as they smacked Florida on the road last weekend. They came very close to winning both the South Carolina and Kentucky games- and if they had won both they'd be 7-2 with their only los…

2018-19 Preseason Bracketology

College hoops season starts on Tuesday, which means it's time for me to roll out my preseason bracketology. Doing this in the preseason is always a bit of a crapshoot- I spent a while digging through various computer rankings, conference media polls, recruiting rankings etc. Things obviously change massively throughout the season though- I would bet there's going to be at least one team who does not  appear in my bracket who earns a protected seed, probably multiple. Similarly, at least one of my protected seeds will miss the tournament entirely. That's part of the fun of this whole exercise though.

Overall, the seed list feels very power-conference heavy to me. Nevada and Gonzaga are the only teams from outside the Power Five+Big East in the top half of the bracket, and there's a lot of schools that I normally think of as mediocre Power Five programs in the bracket. The American, Atlantic 10, WCC and Mountain West feel particularly weak to me- this has been a trend fo…

College Football Week 10 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
Week 9: 4-1-1, +2.94 units
2018 Season: 31-29-2, -0.06 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit

Penn State @ Michigan

I am a bit lower on Michigan than most of the other computer models- I still have them at #6, but I don't think they're that much better than the host of playoff contenders in the 5-12 range of the rankings. Penn State is #8 in my rankings- they've had unlucky close games recently, and are still a top 10 team in my mind. I have this line at Michigan -5, they're a bit better than Penn State but not 7.5 points on a neutral field better.

Pick: Penn State +10.5 -106

Louisiana Tech @ Mississippi State

The Conference USA West is pretty strong this year- North Texas flirted with my top 25 a few weeks ago, UAB only has  one loss, and Louisiana Tech is a…

College Football Week 9 Wrap-Up

Top 25 Numbers in parenthesis are win out probabilities, not including the conference championship game.

1. Alabama (68.0%)
2. Clemson (73.2%)
3. Oklahoma (52.0%)
4. Georgia (48.4%)
5. LSU (13.3%)

Alabama faces their biggest test of the season at LSU this Saturday. I've got Alabama as 11 point favorites, a bit short of the line of 14.5. Even if the Crimson Tide lose, they'll probably still be #1 in my rankings, they still have a giant lead over every one else. However, Clemson is creeping up on them- I'd only have the Tide favored by 4 against Clemson on a neutral field, that number was more like 8 or 9 a few weeks ago.

6. Michigan (25.2%)
7. Ohio State (24.0%)
8. Penn State (23.2%)
9. Notre Dame (31.2%)
10. UCF (59.1%)

A lot of people are saying Michigan will make the playoff, and while it's certainly possible it's probably less than a 1 in 5 chance. I'm a bit lower on them than other models- I have them as 5 point favorites against Penn State, not 10.5 point…

College Football Week 9 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
Week 8: 2-3, -1.23 units
2018 Season: 27-28-1, -3.00 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit

Miami (FL) @ Boston College

Boston College has been one of the teams I've been high on all year. Their only losses on the year are to NC State and Purdue, both on the road. They're about even with Miami in my eyes- they're both about the 25th best team in the country. I have this line at Boston College -4, they're slightly better than Miami in my eyes.

Pick: Boston College +3.5

Baylor @ West Virginia

I remain perplexed by how high the public is on West Virginia. Their only real impressive win of the season is at Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas State are quite bad this year. Baylor is a decent team, they have the same Big 12 wins as West Virginia, and really should not be two touchdown underdogs h…

College Football Week 8 Wrap-Up

Top 25 1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Oklahoma
4. Georgia
5. LSU

Alabama remains far ahead of the rest of the pack, but Clemson and Oklahoma are separating from the teams below. Alabama would be about a 6 point favorite on a neutral field against Clemson, 9 points again Oklahoma and 12-14 points against Georgia down through Penn State. Alabama's national title odds have thus actually dropped a hair in the last two weeks in my mind as Clemson and Oklahoma look like more realistic challengers.

6. Michigan
7. Ohio State
8. Purdue
9. Penn State
10. Notre Dame

I have been high on Purdue all season- I had them at #19 last week when they were in no one's top 25, and I was all over them in the preseason as well. Purdue being so high here is largely a function of my ratings being margin of victory based- so the Boilermakers fell relatively little for their early losses and jumped a lot for their big win over Ohio State.

11. Washington
12. UCF
13. Texas
14. Wisconsin
15. Iowa

Washington'…

College Football Week 8 Betting Preview

Week 0: 1-0, +1 unit
Week 1: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 2: 3-4, -1.4 units
Week 3: 5-2, +2.8 units
Week 4: 4-2, +1.8 units
Week 5: 6-2, +4.08 units
Week 6: 0-7, -7.41 units
Week 7: 3-4-1, -1.24 units
2018 Season: 25-25-1, -1.77 units
Note: All picks are 1 unit

I am in a rush to make it to my tailgate for the MSU/Michigan game. Therefore, I'm just posting my picks and my model's projected spread with no write-up.

Memphis @ Missouri
Pick: Memphis +10 -108 (Model: Memphis +5)

Michigan @ Michigan State
Pick: Michigan State +7.5 -111 (Model: Michigan State +2.5)

UCF @ East Carolina
Pick: UCF -21.5 -106 (Model: UCF -31)

Miami (OH) @ Army
Pick: Army -7.5 -104 (Model: Army -14)

Georgia Southern @ New Mexico State
Pick: Georgia Southern -9.5 -106 (Model: Georgia Southern -19)

College Football Mid-Season Projections

I decided to do something a bit different this week and break down all the Power Five division races and try to assess each team's playoff probabilities. Using my individual game projections, as well as some guesses about what the committee will do in different scenarios, I calculated each Power Five team's (rough) chance at the playoff as well as winning their division and conference.