Tennessee in 2013: My official predictions, game by game

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — It’s football week, which means it’s also time for me to make my annual predictions.

If it’s any consolation, my predictions are almost always wrong.

I can’t actually find my prediction from last year, but I’m pretty sure I picked 7-5. So I was off by two games.

But if you want to see some really bad picks, go back to my days covering Auburn. I thought the 2012 team would be good. I even wrote at one point that they would rebound to national contention after a rebuilding year in 2011. The Tigers went 3-9. Oops.

I think predictions for this year’s Tennessee team are a bit easier. Why? The difference between the Vols’ likely floor and ceiling is very small.

Barring disaster, UT should win at least four games. Unless, there’s a huge upset, the Vols won’t win more than seven. That leaves only a little wiggle room in the middle. And it’s why the “consensus” expectation for the season is 5-7, 6-6 or 7-5.

I went with 6-6, and you’ll see why below.  Please note that I estimated both the line and the likelihood of winning. It’s purely speculative. I have not taken them from any source other than my own hastily determined opinion.

If you think any of the odds are out of whack, let me know.

If you’re a math, economics or statistics major, read the disclaimer at the bottom. And then send me an e-mail.

Aug. 31 vs. Austin Peay

Speculative line: UT by 45.

Speculative odds of winning: 99.5 percent

My prediction: UT 45-7.

Sept. 7 vs. Western Kentucky

Speculative line: UT by 21.

Speculative odds of winning: 92 percent.

My prediction: UT 31-14.

Sept. 14  at Oregon

Speculative line: Oregon by 20.

Speculative odds of winning: 12 percent.

My prediction: Oregon 45-14

Sept. 21   @ Florida   

Speculative line: UF by 17.

Speculative odds of winning: 16 percent.

My prediction: Florida 31-14.

Sept. 28   vs. South Alabama

Speculative line: UT by 23.

Speculative odds of winning: 95 percent.

My prediction: UT 38-17

Oct. 5  vs. Georgia

Speculative line: Georgia by 15

Speculative odds of winning: 22 percent.

My prediction: Georgia 35-28.

Oct. 19 vs. South Carolina

Speculative line: S. Carolina by 12

Speculative odds of winning: 33 percent.

My prediction: South Carolina 28-27.

Oct. 26 at Alabama

Speculative line: Alabama by 24.

Speculative odds of winning: 8 percent.

My prediction: Alabama 38-10

Nov. 2   at Missouri

Speculative line: Missouri by 2.

Speculative odds of winning: 49 percent.

My prediction: Missouri 24-23.

Nov. 9 vs. Auburn

Speculative line: UT by 3

Speculative odds of winning: 56 percent

My prediction: UT 41-27.

Nov. 23 vs. Vanderbilt

Speculative line: UT by 2

Speculative odds of winning: 52 percent.

My prediction: UT 30-17

Nov. 30  at Kentucky

Speculative line: UT by 8

Speculative odds of winning: 66 percent.

My prediction: UT 33-14

My final predicted record:  6-6 (3-5 SEC)

Playing the percentages. 6.009 wins.

Speculative likelihood of winning…

* final four games: 9.4 percent.

* final three games: 19.2 percent.

* final two games: 34.3 percent.

* going 0-for-3 in October: 48.1 percent

Disclaimer for math, statistics and economics majors: I calculated the odds for the categories listed above independently. I didn’t simulate the entire season, which I think would have given more exact percentages. I spent several hours trying to find a system that would allow me to run a Monte Carlo simulation so that I could figure the likelihood of an 8-4 season, a 9-3 season and so on. I even downloaded R and tried to write some simple codes. But even the most basic simulations were way over my head. Do you have any tips? Send me an e-mail. I’d appreciate the advice.