Tag Archives: preseason predictions

Here’s one not-so-optimistic projection for Vols in 2014

The Vols during a practice at Neyland Stadium this spring (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In 2013, most preseason predictions for Tennessee seemed to fall between 5-7 and 7-5. (I split the difference and picked 6-6).

With an equally tough schedule and plenty of roster turnover in 2014, I expect most picks this summer will fall in that same range.

However, there’s already an outlier, and it’s not a good one for fans trying to be optimistic in their outlook for 2014.

Football Outsiders post-spring projections have the Vols going 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the SEC. (The full post is available only for ESPN subscribers).

The complete formula for the projections is proprietary, but here’s how Football Outsiders describes it in the post: “Factors include¬†five-year program ratings, returning starters, recruiting success and quarterback reliance — statistical indicators of teams that may take a step forward or step back next season.”

The projection model expects solid seasons from South Carolina, Georgia and — perhaps surprisingly — Missouri in the SEC East. Less surprisingly, the model has Alabama, LSU and Auburn atop the West.

I’m much more optimistic about Florida having a bounce-back year than the Football Outsiders model seems to be. And I’m probably less convinced that Missouri will be a major factor in the SEC East.

Football Outsiders has some very cool metrics for both NFL and college football that are worth checking out.

Odds say Tennessee has about a 57 percent chance of going to a bowl game

The Music City Bowl in 2010 was the last time Tennessee was in the postseason (Photo by Michael Patrick, News Sentinel)

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.

Remember those annoying but frighteningly accurate blog posts I did in an attempt to predict the Vols’ season? (You can review the preseason and mid-season versions here and here.)

The one flaw in those predictions was my inability to run a true simulation that would “play” the season many times over and over.

Well, I developed a makeshift Monte Carlo simulation using this spreadsheet. I only ran the simulation 1,000 times — ideally, I’d do it about 10,000 times, but I might break Google.

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.

Over-under win total for Tennessee football? 5.5 is a popular starting point

Butch Jones, Tennessee football

Many fans would be satisfied with a 6-6 record and a bowl appearance in Butch Jones’ first season as coach. (News Sentinel photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Selecting an over-under win total is tricky, because the numbers put out by Las Vegas sometimes say as much about the relative strength (and optimism) of a team’s fan base than they do about the team itself.

Even so, perusing the over-under totals is a fun summer tradition.

An online casino wisely took advantage of the potential for free publicity by issuing over-under totals for all 66 BCS teams.
Continue reading