A Numbers Game
Just a few days away from the first down of college football actually being played and all that is left is numbers. Preseason predictions have a way of enshrining some prognosticators and burying others. As all predictions are laid out on the table, just about everyone has Nebraska in the same category. Most consider the Huskers a good, and possibly great team. Most seem to believe that Bo Pelini will not be able to get this team to compete with the elite of the NCAA.
Individual media members often use various resources and statistics to come to their own conclusions about the landscape. Some even come up with elaborate metrics in which they just let the numbers speak for themselves. Every year in recent history, Stassen provides an aggregated view of the media predictions for the top 25 picks and conference rankings. This view is often a perception of a particular team heading into the season, and is a way to gauge the expectations for a team.
This season, the Huskers are tagged at 18th in the top 25 and barely have an edge for the number one spot over Michigan in the Big Ten Legends division ranking. Two of the selections from this aggregate list appear to rely most heavily on numbers crunching to determine their selections, Phil Steele and the Football Outsiders. Steele this year has the Huskers landing at 16th. Some of his metrics he uses, like his Power Rating, Close Wins, and Lost Starters do not initially favor them, but his combined numbers point to a solid season.
The Football Outsiders put together their F/+ formula to help them determine the predictions for the subsequent year. Review last season’s results here. The details for this year are not explicitly stated, but they have them at 21st of the top 25 and second in the Legends division. You can see the numbers in use here to enhance the Football Study Hall blog predictions for the Legends.
One of the more interesting models recently appears to be the Power Rank. Head to head match-ups of the margin of victory numbers for the Huskers against all opponents on the regular season schedule have the Huskers winning all their games. This particular tool appears to be accurate around 70% of the time.
All of these tell the same story, but all before a single kick off or snap occurs. It is true that the NCAA does not just hand out trophies to whoever is the highest predicted team, but the Huskers have an opportunity to meet and exceed the expectations placed upon them this year.