KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If all goes according to conventional wisdom, Tennessee’s chances of going to a bowl game after this season are about 57 percent.
How do we know that? Short answer: Math.
The long answer follows.
The one flaw in those predictions was my inability to run a true simulation that would “play” the season many times over and over.
I used the following odds of winning for Tennessee’s final six games. (The process of obtaining these odds wasn’t arbitrary, but the percentages aren’t meant to be infallible. They’re just good estimates for the purposes of this exercise).
South Carolina — 33 percent
Alabama — 8 percent
Missouri — 40 percent
Auburn — 45 percent
Vanderbilt — 66 percent
Kentucky — 79 percent
Then I fed these odds into my Monte Carlo gizmo, and here are the results it spat out….
Likelihood of Tennessee finishing the season…
6-0: 0.20 percent
5-1: 4.92 percent
4-2: 17.83 percent
3-3: 34.84 percent
2-4: 30.33 percent
1-5: 10.04 percent
0-6: 1.84 percent
Bowl eligible? 57.79 percent
Not bowl eligible? 42.21 percent
When you open the spreadsheet, those numbers may change. Why? The simulation generates 1,000 new random numbers each time, essentially “playing” these six games another 1,000 times and generating new results.
[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGZtNzJjVlRBb2lLWjllaF9QcFNrT1E&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”450″]
If any math majors out there have any ideas on how to improve this model or make it easier, drop me a line.