Friday, December 19, 2008

Trying to predict the bowl games

Last year, we tried our hand at picking the bowl games, with entries in the ESPN.com College Bowl Mania where you pick the outcomes along with rank ordering your confidence in the outcomes. We actually did fairly well for a fully automated system, placing just above the 75th percentile of all entries. So we are trying the same methodology again this year, with all the same caveats about how fabulously wrong some of the reasoning behind these picks are, only some of the errors of which are described along with the methodology in last year's bowl predictions. We definitely do not endorse using these "predictions" for anything other than fun.

The predictions are sorted in decreasing confidence, as quantified by the middle of the stated range of probabilities (one comes from the first-place-only votes and the other comes from the last-place-only votes, with the predicted winner always picked to be the higher-ranked team in the RWFL rankings). Note in particular as you get near the bottom of the list (least confident), the range of probabilities indicate the highly tossup nature of these games.

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MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
South Florida (7-5) over Memphis (6-6)
78-81%
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COTTON BOWL
Texas Tech (11-1) over Mississippi (8-4)
78-80%
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PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL
Brigham Young (10-2) over Arizona (7-5)
75-77%
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CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
Georgia Tech (9-3) over LSU (7-5)
66-80%
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TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL
Texas (11-1) over Ohio State (10-2)
72-74%
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GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL
Boston College (9-4) over Vanderbilt (6-6)
70-75%
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MOTOR CITY BOWL
Central Michigan (8-4) over Florida Atlantic (6-6)
65-71%
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BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL
Air Force (8-4) over Houston (7-5)
64-70%
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AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL
East Carolina (9-4) over Kentucky (6-6)
65-68%
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CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Florida St (8-4) over Wisconsin (7-5)
53-80%
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INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Louisiana Tech (7-5) over Northern Illinois (6-6)
66-67%
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ROADY'S HUMANITARIAN BOWL
Maryland (7-5) over Nevada (7-5)
57-72%
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INTERNATIONAL BOWL
Connecticut (7-5) over Buffalo (8-5)
63-67%
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INSIGHT BOWL
Kansas (7-5) over Minnesota (7-5)
62-66%
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GMAC BOWL
Ball St (12-1) over Tulsa (10-3)
57-69%
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EAGLEBANK BOWL
Wake Forest (7-5) over Navy (8-4)
60-65%
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ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Utah (12-0) over Alabama (12-1)
56-60%
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MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
North Carolina (8-4) over West Virginia (8-4)
50-66%
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CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Georgia (9-3) over Michigan St (9-3)
57-58%
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SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Boise St (12-0) over TCU (10-2)
51-62%
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PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL
North Carolina St (6-6) over Rutgers (7-5)
54-58%
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THE ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY CITI
Southern Cal (11-1) over Penn State (11-1)
54-57%
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TEXAS BOWL
Rice (9-3) over Western Michigan (9-3)
54-56%
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SUN BOWL
Pittsburgh (9-3) over Oregon St (8-4)
53-56%
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R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Troy (8-4) over Southern Miss (6-6)
50-55%
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VALERO ALAMO BOWL
Missouri (9-4) over Northwestern (9-3)
52-52%
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PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL
Oklahoma St (9-3) over Oregon (9-3)
50-54%
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OUTBACK BOWL
South Carolina (7-5) over Iowa (8-4)
49-51%
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EMERALD BOWL
Miami FL (7-5) over California (8-4)
45-54%
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SHERATON HAWAII BOWL
Hawai`i (7-6) over Notre Dame (6-6)
48-51%
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NEW MEXICO BOWL
Fresno St (7-5) over Colorado St (6-6)
44-51%
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FEDEX ORANGE BOWL
Virginia Tech (9-4) over Cincinnati (11-2)
43-52%
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FEDEX BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Oklahoma (12-1) over Florida (12-1)
43-52%
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GATOR BOWL
Clemson (7-5) over Nebraska (8-4)
38-53%
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