Undefeated Update (11/11/2013)

Paul Bessire, General Manager, PredictionMachine.com

Monday, November 11 at 4:00 PM ET

One more week, one more undefeated BCS automatic qualifying team down. With Oregon losing at Stanford last Thursday and Alabama, Baylor and Florida State cruising to easy victories (Ohio State was on a bye), we have an opportunity to update the likelihood of each team remaining unbeaten. New for this week, we will also review the possible national championship games involving the four remaining unbeaten BCS-AQ teams.

Note that all numbers change each week. For example, even though Ohio State had a bye week, the Buckeyes chances of remaining undefeated increased due to the fact that Michigan's offense looks far worse now than we have been expecting it would. With every game that a previous or future opponent plays, we learn more about the teams and the chances of winning over them.

Also, as it pertains specifically to Ohio State, it is important to clarify that I do not portend to be in the business of projecting the ignorance of voters. Those who specialize more in projecting that crapshoot seem to expect Baylor to jump over Ohio State if both teams win out. From my point of view, Baylor is already the better team between the Bears and the Buckeyes, but that does not mean that Baylor A) would be the more deserving team (which is what I believe the objective of the voters should be - vote in the most deserving teams, not the best teams) or B) would ultimately be picked by the BCS system to play in a national championship game over Ohio State. Which team is better, which is most deserving and what will happen in the BCS are three very different things. Given the subjective (aka flawed) nature of the BCS, I choose to concern myself with the first of those and let the other two play out through the process in place. 

To see how we do this and how the numbers have changed from last week, check out this season's original article on Undefeated Odds

College Football’s Undefeateds:

There are currently four undefeated teams in BCS-AQ – Alabama, Baylor, Florida State and Ohio State. Those four undefeated teams have 16 remaining regular season games combined (each team will play four more games before the bowls if it remains undefeated) and could play in three conference championship games. In all 16 of those games, the current undefeated team is favored to win in our projections at least 63% of the time (Baylor at Oklahoma State and Ohio State in B1G Championship are closest remaining games of those teams). Here are the chances that each current undefeated FBS team wins all of its remaining regular season (and conference championship) games:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Current Power Rank: 1
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 42
Undefeated Chances: 65.2%
Closest Remaining Game: @ Auburn (Nov 30)
Teams that would be favored over Alabama on a neutral field: None
Estimated Chances of Going 13-0 and Playing in BCS Title Game: 65.2% (if Alabama wins out, the Tide should be in)

Florida State Seminoles

Current Power Rank: 2
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 61
Undefeated Chances: 65.6%
Closest Remaining Game: @ Florida (Nov 30) ... One of the interesting developments for Alabama and FSU is that the conference championship game is no longer the toughest game remaining. 
Teams that would be favored over Florida State on a neutral field: Alabama 
Estimated Chances of Going 13-0 and Playing in BCS Title Game: 65.6% (if Florida State wins out, the Seminoles should be in)

Baylor Bears

Current Power Rank: 3
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 93
Undefeated Chances: 36.9%
Closest Remaining Game: at Oklahoma State (November 23)
Teams that would be favored over Baylor on a neutral field: Oregon, Alabama, Florida State
Estimated Chances of Going 12-0 and Playing in BCS Title Game: 22.7% (if Baylor wins out and either Alabama or Florida State loses, Baylor should be in) ... If Baylor needs two of Alabama, FSU and Ohio State to lose to get in, it only has a 14.9% chance

Ohio State Buckeyes 

Current Power Rank: 5
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 80
Undefeated Chances: 48.4%
Closest Remaining Game: B1G Championship Game
Teams that would be favored over Ohio State on a neutral field: Oregon, Alabama, Florida State, Texas A&M, Baylor 
Estimated Chances of Going 13-0 and Playing in BCS Title Game: 21.9% (if Ohio State wins out and two of Alabama, Florida State and Baylor lose, OSU should be in) ... If Ohio State just needs Alabama or Florida State to lose to get in, it has a 29.2% chance

Fresno State Bulldogs

Current Power Rank: 40
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 114
Games Remaining: 3 (with conference championship)
Undefeated Chances: 67.6%
Closest Remaining Game: MWC Championship

Northern Illinois

Current Power Rank: 57
Current Strength-of-Schedule Rank: 121
Games Remaining: 4 (with conference championship)
Undefeated Chances: 23.7%
Closest Remaining Game: at Toledo (November 20)

A few notes on the undefeated odds above:

  • Chances there are still six undefeated FBS teams on December 8 (after conference title games): 1.2% (or 1-in-82)
  • Chances Alabama, Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State are undefeated on December 8: 7.6% (or 1-in-13)
  • Chances that Alabama, Baylor, Ohio State and Florida State all have at least one loss on December 8: 3.9% (or 1-in-26)
  • Chances that there are no undefeated teams in FBS on December 8: 1.0% (or 1-in-100)
  • Estimated chances of a one-loss team in the BCS Championship Game: 24.7%
BCS Championship Games

Using the same simulation technology, we can simulate potential BCS National Championship games to project the likelihood of either team winning each possible game, including an average score outcome. Here are all possible games involving the four BCS-AQ undefeated teams (also, though Stanford is currently in the top four of the BCS Standings, all of these teams would be favored in our numbers over the Cardinal on a neutral field - though Ohio State would be just less than a one point favorite in the projection). Games listed in order of current likelihood (figures assume this scenario when both teams undefeated).

Alabama vs. Florida State
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 42.7%
Simulated Result: Alabama wins 53% of the time
Projected Score: Alabama 27 - Florida State 25

Baylor vs. Florida State
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 8.4%
Simulated Result: Florida State wins 58% of the time
Projected Score: Florida State 36 - Baylor 33

Alabama vs. Baylor
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 8.3%
Simulated Result: Alabama wins 64% of the time
Projected Score: Alabama 37 - Baylor 30

Ohio State vs. Florida State
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 7.0%
Simulated Result: Florida State wins 69% of the time
Projected Score: Florida State 33 - Ohio State 25

Alabama vs. Ohio State
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 6.8%
Simulated Result: Alabama wins 73% of the time
Projected Score: Alabama 34 - Ohio State 25

Baylor vs. Ohio State
Chances of this BCS Championship Game: 2.1%
Simulated Result: Baylor wins 59% of the time
Projected Score: Baylor 39 - Ohio State 35

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