Ignore Some of These Bowl Picks

xHPI Pick XHPI Pick
Favorite Spread Underdog vs. Odds Straight Up Confidence
Tulane 3.5 Louisiana Louisiana Tulane 11
Utah State 7.5 North Texas Utah State Utah State 26
Fresno State 5 Arizona St. Fresno St. Fresno St. 37
Ga. Southern 3 E. Michigan Ga. Southern Ga. Southern 14
Appalachian St. 6.5 Middle Tenn. Appalachian St. Appalachian St. 35
UAB 2.5 Northern Ill. UAB UAB 18
Ohio 3 San Diego St. Ohio Ohio 20
Marshall 2.5 South Florida Marshall Marshall 30
Toledo 6 FIU FIU Toledo 10
BYU 13 W. Michigan W. Michigan BYU 31
Memphis 3.5 Wake Forest Memphis Memphis 23
Army 3.5 Houston Army Army 19
Buffalo 2 Troy Troy Troy 4
Hawaii 1.5 La. Tech Hawaii Hawaii 12
Boise St. 3 Boston Coll. Boise St. Boise St. 27
Georgia Tech 6 Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota 13
California Pick TCU TCU TCU 3
Temple 4 Duke Duke Temple 7
Miami, FL 4 Wisconsin Wisconsin Miami, FL 15
Vanderbilt 4 Baylor Vanderbilt Vanderbilt 33
Auburn 4 Purdue Auburn Auburn 29
W. Virginia 1.5 Syracuse W. Virginia W. Virginia 25
Wash. St. 3.5 Iowa St. Wash. St. Wash. St. 21
S. Carolina 4.5 Virginia S. Carolina S. Carolina 16
Michigan 7.5 Florida Michigan Michigan 28
Arkansas St. 1.5 Nevada Nevada Arkansas St. 9
Clemson 11.5 Notre Dame Notre Dame Clemson 34
Alabama 14 Oklahoma Alabama Alabama 38
Cincinnati 4.5 Virginia Tech Cincinnati Cincinnati 32
Stanford 6.5 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Stanford 17
Oregon 3 Michigan St. Michigan St. Michigan St. 6
Missouri 9.5 Okla. St. Missouri Missouri 36
Utah 7.5 Northwestern Northwestern Utah 22
Texas A&M 6.5 NC State Texas A&M Texas A&M 24
Miss. St. 7 Iowa Iowa Iowa 5
Penn St. 6.5 Kentucky Kentucky Penn St. 1
LSU 7.5 UCF UCF LSU 2
Ohio St. 6.5 Washington Washington Ohio St. 8
Georgia 12 Texas Georgia Georgia 39
Straight Up All Games Percent Best Bets
Last Week 12-2 85.71% 4-1
Season 307-114 72.92% 31-9
Vs. Spread
Last Week 7-7 50.00% 3-2
Season 192-219-10 46.79% 18-22

If you’ve followed this blog all season, you know that I’ve changed the name of my predictions to “Ignore These Picks” because xHPI has not performed well against the spread. However, for the bowl picks, I’m including straight-up picks, as well as listing a confidence level for each straight-up pick. xHPI has performed fairly well in picking the winners and losers, and in past years when I’ve used xHPI in confidence pools I’ve done pretty well. So while you should continue to ignore xHPI’s picks against the spread, if you do use the confidence picks, you might possibly end up doing well.

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Rankings through December 1, 2018

Rank Team Score LW Spread Points
1 Alabama 3689.76 1 107.74
2 Clemson 3646.14 2 106.47
3 Georgia 3466.43 3 101.22
4 Notre Dame 3257.92 4 95.13
5 Michigan 3189.70 5 93.14
6 Oklahoma 3111.60 6 90.86
7 Ohio State 3075.41 8 89.8
8 LSU 3031.29 9 88.51
9 Washington 3029.25 12 88.45
10 Central Florida 3023.81 7 88.3
11 Missouri 3021.83 10 88.24
12 Fresno State 3014.43 11 88.02
13 West Virginia 2981.68 13 87.06
14 Iowa 2950.00 14 86.14
15 Texas A&M 2942.29 15 85.92
16 Penn State 2930.23 16 85.56
17 Kentucky 2930.14 17 85.56
18 Mississippi State 2923.95 18 85.38
19 Florida 2909.69 19 84.96
20 Appalachian State 2891.82 20 84.44
21 Auburn 2874.34 24 83.93
22 Boise State 2858.22 23 83.46
23 Cincinnati 2854.56 22 83.35
24 Utah 2850.64 21 83.24
25 Texas 2831.91 25 82.69
26 Washington State 2830.14 26 82.64
27 Utah State 2803.74 27 81.87
28 South Carolina 2800.12 28 81.76
29 Army 2742.70 30 80.09
30 Syracuse 2730.35 31 79.73
31 Stanford 2721.43 32 79.47
32 North Carolina State 2708.50 35 79.09
33 Miami, FL 2697.39 29 78.76
34 Michigan St. 2662.96 36 77.76
35 Minnesota 2643.78 37 77.2
36 Vanderbilt 2642.44 38 77.16
37 Northwestern 2640.36 34 77.1
38 Oregon 2636.70 40 76.99
39 Troy 2633.06 41 76.89
40 Virginia 2630.00 44 76.8
41 Iowa State 2620.05 33 76.51
42 Ohio 2618.14 43 76.45
43 UAB 2610.50 46 76.23
44 Buffalo 2609.89 39 76.21
45 Temple 2605.00 42 76.07
46 Oklahoma State 2599.01 45 75.89
47 Purdue 2590.27 47 75.64
48 Boston College 2583.82 54 75.45
49 BYU 2582.39 48 75.41
50 Duke 2580.51 52 75.35
51 Georgia Southern 2576.02 51 75.22
52 Wisconsin 2573.57 49 75.15
53 Arizona State 2570.90 53 75.07
54 Memphis 2558.32 57 74.7
55 Georgia Tech 2553.91 58 74.57
56 Houston 2549.20 56 74.44
57 North Texas 2540.70 60 74.19
58 Pittsburgh 2540.62 55 74.19
59 Texas Tech 2535.16 59 74.03
60 Virginia Tech 2513.15 69 73.38
61 Texas Christian 2506.06 62 73.18
62 Marshall 2498.80 50 72.96
63 California 2492.87 61 72.79
64 Tennessee 2473.90 65 72.24
65 Middle Tennessee 2473.63 64 72.23
66 Eastern Michigan 2472.76 63 72.2
67 USC 2460.09 66 71.83
68 Toledo 2453.28 67 71.64
69 Indiana 2451.58 68 71.59
70 San Diego State 2416.43 71 70.56
71 Northern Illinois 2413.73 70 70.48
72 Nebraska 2406.09 74 70.26
73 Air Force 2404.57 73 70.21
74 Arkansas State 2401.87 75 70.13
75 Miami, OH 2395.79 72 69.96
76 Florida International 2388.28 76 69.74
77 Nevada 2351.53 78 68.66
78 Arizona 2345.67 77 68.49
79 Wake Forest 2342.91 80 68.41
80 Colorado 2341.57 79 68.37
81 Maryland 2340.47 81 68.34
82 UCLA 2330.72 83 68.06
83 Florida Atlantic 2329.67 82 68.03
84 Tulane 2313.40 84 67.55
85 Mississippi 2305.40 85 67.32
86 Southern Mississippi 2294.44 86 67
87 Baylor 2285.77 87 66.74
88 Kansas State 2277.68 88 66.51
89 Wyoming 2243.93 89 65.52
90 Louisiana 2239.58 91 65.4
91 Western Michigan 2238.58 90 65.37
92 SMU 2208.36 92 64.48
93 Louisiana Tech 2190.19 93 63.95
94 Hawaii 2182.69 94 63.73
95 Florida State 2174.51 97 63.5
96 North Carolina 2164.41 96 63.2
97 South Florida 2163.76 95 63.18
98 Louisiana-Monroe 2152.31 98 62.85
99 Charlotte 2110.88 99 61.64
100 Coastal Carolina 2082.35 101 60.8
101 Navy 2081.12 100 60.77
102 Kansas 2071.70 102 60.49
103 Massachusetts 2038.02 104 59.51
104 Liberty 2037.44 109 59.49
105 Arkansas 2020.98 105 59.01
106 Old Dominion 2011.17 106 58.73
107 Ball State 2002.48 107 58.47
108 Tulsa 2001.12 108 58.43
109 Akron 1996.73 103 58.3
110 UNLV 1982.60 110 57.89
111 Illinois 1958.18 111 57.18
112 Western Kentucky 1909.04 112 55.74
113 New Mexico 1880.54 114 54.91
114 Oregon State 1870.89 115 54.63
115 Georgia State 1858.09 118 54.26
116 South Alabama 1853.86 119 54.13
117 Bowling Green 1853.24 116 54.11
118 Kent State 1847.16 117 53.94
119 Colorado State 1833.11 120 53.53
120 Texas State 1831.65 121 53.48
121 East Carolina 1801.33 113 52.6
122 Central Michigan 1800.85 122 52.58
123 San Jose State 1786.56 123 52.17
124 Louisville 1782.96 124 52.06
125 Rutgers 1752.36 125 51.17
126 New Mexico State 1719.58 126 50.21
127 Rice 1657.78 127 48.41
128 Texas-San Antonio 1591.24 128 46.46
129 Connecticut 1560.98 129 45.58
130 UTEP 1544.17 130 45.09
Home Field Advantage 2.6001

After all that, nothing really changed. The top six teams remained the same. Ohio State moved up to #7, but still well out of the playoffs. Ohio State rose not because of the strength of its victory over Northwestern, but because Central Florida’s victory over Memphis was not impressive enough to hold their place in the rankings. Washington entered the top ten after beating Utah in the Pac-12 championship game.

xHPI’s playoff lineup would be Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Georgia. Alabama and Georgia would be the clear favorites, favored by 12.61 and 5.25 points, respectively.

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Ignore These Predictions for the Week of December 1, 2018

Favorite Spread Underdog xHPI Pick
Buffalo 3.5 N. Illinois Bufalo
Washington 5 Utah Utah
Oklahoma 7.5 Texas Texas
Virginia Tech 4.5 Marshall Marshall
NC State 24 East Carolina NC State
South Carolina 29 Akron Akron
Appalachian St. 17.5 Louisiana Appalachian St.
Middle Tenn. 2.5 UAB UAB
Stanford 2.5 California California
Central Florida 3.5 Memphis Central Florida
Alabama 13 Georgia Georgia
Boise St. 2.5 Fresno St. Fresno St.
Clemson 26.5 Pittsburgh Clemson
Ohio St. 14 Northwestern Northwestern
Straight Up All Games Percent Best Bets
Last Week 40-24 62.50% 5-0
Season 295-112 72.48% 27-8
Vs. Spread
Last Week 26-35-3 42.97% 3-2
Season 185-212-10 47.38% 15-20

After another week of less than spectacular performance against the spread, I’ve decided to permanently change the name of my predictions posts to “Ignore These Predictions.”

As I mentioned last week, I’ve always been frank about xHPI’s limitations as a tool for predictions. There are a number of reasons why, but one of the biggest is that xHPI, being based only on past performance, does not take into account coaching changes, injuries, or weather conditions. At least one of this week’s games highlights this limitation. Central Florida is favored over Memphis by 3.5 points, but xHPI has UCF favored by more than 17 points. Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton was injured in the last game and will not play this week, so UCF is essentially a different team from the one that has played every other game this season, The oddsmakers can take this fact into account, but xHPI does not.

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Rankings through November 24, 2018

Rank Team Score LW Spread Points
1 Alabama 3685.14 1 107.61
2 Clemson 3621.37 2 105.74
3 Georgia 3466.69 3 101.23
4 Notre Dame 3249.10 5 94.87
5 Michigan 3195.23 4 93.3
6 Oklahoma 3113.41 6 90.91
7 Central Florida 3065.78 7 89.52
8 Ohio State 3060.47 11 89.37
9 LSU 3031.37 8 88.52
10 Missouri 3018.76 14 88.15
11 Fresno State 2997.21 10 87.52
12 Washington 2992.00 13 87.37
13 West Virginia 2986.07 9 87.19
14 Iowa 2958.94 12 86.4
15 Texas A&M 2943.10 15 85.94
16 Penn State 2939.99 23 85.85
17 Kentucky 2930.06 17 85.56
18 Mississippi State 2918.72 22 85.23
19 Florida 2912.97 20 85.06
20 Appalachian State 2907.48 26 84.9
21 Utah 2894.27 18 84.51
22 Cincinnati 2882.53 24 84.17
23 Boise State 2875.25 25 83.96
24 Auburn 2867.21 16 83.72
25 Texas 2863.76 19 83.62
26 Washington State 2833.56 21 82.74
27 Utah State 2807.08 27 81.97
28 South Carolina 2776.37 28 81.07
29 Miami, FL 2750.72 40 80.32
30 Army 2738.52 31 79.96
31 Syracuse 2727.16 37 79.63
32 Stanford 2704.76 36 78.98
33 Iowa State 2694.78 33 78.69
34 Northwestern 2692.12 29 78.61
35 North Carolina State 2674.60 38 78.1
36 Michigan St. 2669.53 30 77.95
37 Minnesota 2643.67 51 77.2
38 Vanderbilt 2641.85 55 77.14
39 Buffalo 2639.95 43 77.09
40 Oregon 2637.02 49 77
41 Troy 2632.44 39 76.87
42 Temple 2627.12 46 76.71
43 Ohio 2624.95 53 76.65
44 Virginia 2621.41 35 76.55
45 Oklahoma State 2602.62 44 76
46 UAB 2599.21 34 75.9
47 Purdue 2587.79 56 75.56
48 BYU 2583.79 57 75.45
49 Wisconsin 2583.38 42 75.43
50 Marshall 2581.13 60 75.37
51 Georgia Southern 2580.31 59 75.34
52 Duke 2578.35 32 75.29
53 Arizona State 2575.58 54 75.21
54 Boston College 2571.21 48 75.08
55 Pittsburgh 2567.34 41 74.97
56 Houston 2564.08 45 74.87
57 Memphis 2556.74 61 74.66
58 Georgia Tech 2546.30 52 74.35
59 Texas Tech 2541.62 50 74.22
60 North Texas 2540.98 47 74.2
61 California 2531.97 62 73.93
62 Texas Christian 2510.84 67 73.32
63 Eastern Michigan 2481.43 64 72.46
64 Middle Tennessee 2479.64 83 72.41
65 Tennessee 2478.11 58 72.36
66 USC 2463.78 68 71.94
67 Toledo 2454.74 73 71.68
68 Indiana 2453.74 66 71.65
69 Virginia Tech 2425.45 71 70.82
70 Northern Illinois 2415.08 63 70.52
71 San Diego State 2414.65 65 70.51
72 Miami, OH 2411.53 77 70.42
73 Air Force 2410.22 70 70.38
74 Nebraska 2407.86 76 70.31
75 Arkansas State 2405.83 78 70.25
76 Florida International 2398.52 79 70.04
77 Arizona 2357.87 80 68.85
78 Nevada 2353.42 75 68.72
79 Colorado 2348.24 74 68.57
80 Wake Forest 2343.52 92 68.43
81 Maryland 2341.37 69 68.37
82 Florida Atlantic 2340.43 81 68.34
83 UCLA 2331.06 82 68.07
84 Tulane 2310.88 84 67.48
85 Mississippi 2309.62 72 67.44
86 Southern Mississippi 2303.68 85 67.27
87 Baylor 2291.39 90 66.91
88 Kansas State 2285.69 86 66.74
89 Wyoming 2244.64 95 65.54
90 Western Michigan 2242.58 91 65.48
91 Louisiana 2225.07 93 64.97
92 SMU 2212.39 88 64.6
93 Louisiana Tech 2195.88 87 64.12
94 Hawaii 2187.16 98 63.87
95 South Florida 2181.98 89 63.71
96 North Carolina 2163.06 96 63.16
97 Florida State 2161.92 97 63.13
98 Louisiana-Monroe 2153.02 94 62.87
99 Charlotte 2122.02 106 61.96
100 Navy 2084.64 103 60.87
101 Coastal Carolina 2080.90 100 60.76
102 Kansas 2076.91 102 60.65
103 Akron 2065.69 101 60.32
104 Massachusetts 2039.84 105 59.56
105 Arkansas 2025.31 99 59.14
106 Old Dominion 2013.96 104 58.81
107 Ball State 2007.34 107 58.61
108 Tulsa 2003.93 110 58.51
109 Liberty 1991.25 108 58.14
110 UNLV 1987.53 113 58.04
111 Illinois 1965.98 111 57.41
112 Western Kentucky 1918.61 120 56.02
113 East Carolina 1894.93 109 55.33
114 New Mexico 1877.84 112 54.83
115 Oregon State 1870.93 115 54.63
116 Bowling Green 1867.19 114 54.52
117 Kent State 1858.36 119 54.26
118 Georgia State 1853.27 117 54.12
119 South Alabama 1849.41 123 54
120 Colorado State 1835.47 121 53.6
121 Texas State 1833.26 118 53.53
122 Central Michigan 1805.21 116 52.71
123 San Jose State 1789.60 124 52.26
124 Louisville 1781.90 122 52.03
125 Rutgers 1755.17 126 51.25
126 New Mexico State 1711.79 125 49.98
127 Rice 1660.97 128 48.5
128 Texas-San Antonio 1595.45 130 46.59
129 Connecticut 1567.60 127 45.77
130 UTEP 1541.82 129 45.02
Home Field Advantage 2.5781

The playoff picture becomes clearer – With Michigan’s loss to Ohio State, Notre Dame moves into the final playoff spot, and opens up a gap between itself and the teams behind it. While Michigan is only 50 points behind, its score will not change much. While #6 Oklahoma, #7 Central Florida, and #8 Ohio State all could pick up points in conference championship games, those teams would need complete blowout victories to have any chance of reaching the top 4. Similarly, while we know that either Alabama or Georgia will lose in the SEC Championship game, both have scores so high that it is unlikely, if not impossible, for either to drop below #4.

Why didn’t Michigan drop further? – Michigan drops only to #5 in the rankings. And while they almost certainly cannot move into the top four, it may be troubling to some–especially fans of Oklahoma, Central Florida, and Ohio State–that they did not drop further. Big movements don’t happen much in xHPI rankings late in the season. Given that the scores are based on averages over several games, the large denominator makes all movements smaller late in the season. Further, while those of us who endured the torture that was the game saw how complete the Ohio State’s victory was, the high overall score actually helped Michigan in xHPI’s calculations, since it’s based on the percentage of total points scored by each time. Therefore, xHPI generally treats a 23-0 victory as more of a blowout than a 62-39 victory. So while xHPI punished Michigan for the loss, its was a relatively light punishment.

Ummm…Missouri? – xHPI has had the Tigers in its rankings for a few weeks now, and this week they have climbed all the way to #10. Mizzou remains unranked in the AP Top 25. Missouri’s season looks much like its 2017, when it started slowly and then went on a winning streak at the end of the season. With victories over Florida, Purdue, and Memphis, plus a narrow loss to Kentucky and relatively strong showings against Alabama and Georgia, Missouri’s performance deserves a ranking, according to xHPI.

Non-Power 5 watch – As noted above, UCF is in striking distance of the playoff. Fresno State experienced a pitfall of being in a non-Power 5 conference, dropping in the rankings despite winning, due largely to the quality of its opponent. Other teams in the rankings but not in a Power 5 conference are Appalachian State (#20), Cincinnati (#22), and Boise State (#23).

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Ignore These Predictions for the Week of November 24, 2018*

Favorite Spread Underdog xHPI Pick
Northern Illinois 6.5 W. Michigan Northern Illinois
Miami, OH 15 Ball State Ball State
Air Force 14.5 Colorado State Air Force
Mississippi St. 12.5 Mississippi Mississippi
Texas 15 Kansas Texas
Memphis 7.5 Houston Houston
Iowa 8.5 Nebraska Iowa
Toledo 19.5 C. Michigan C. Michigan
E. Michigan 13.5 Kent State E. Michigan
Ohio 24 Akron Akron
Buffalo 14.5 Bowling Green Buffalo
Missouri 23 Arkansas Missouri
South Alabama Pick Coastal Carolina Coastal Carolina
Virginia 4.5 Virginia Tech Virginia
Cincinnati 17.5 E. Carolina Cincinnati
Oregon 19 Oregon State Oregon State
C. Florida 14 S. Florida C. Florida
Oklahoma 3 W. Virginia W. Virginia
Washington St. 2.5 Washington Washington
La. Tech 11 W. Kentucky La. Tech
Texas Tech 5 Baylor Texas Tech
Tulane 7 Navy Tulane
Boston College 7 Syracuse Syracuse
Michigan 4.5 Ohio State Michigan
Marshall 3 FIU FIU
Purdue 4 Indiana Indiana
Florida 6.5 Florida State Florida
Georgia 17 Georgia Tech Georgia
NC State 7 N. Carolina NC State
Duke 11 Wake Forest Duke
Old Dominion 7.5 Rice Old Dominion
Ga. Southern 10.5 Georgia State Ga. Southern
Liberty 8 New Mexico St. Liberty
Wyoming 7 New Mexico New Mexico
Appalachian St. 10.5 Troy Troy
Southern Miss 13 UTEP Southern Miss
Stanford 7 UCLA Stanford
UAB 3 Middle Tenn. UAB
UL Monroe 2.5 Louisiana UL Monroe
Wisconsin 10.5 Minnesota Minnesota
SMU 2.5 Tulsa SMU
Arizona State 1.5 Arizona Arizona State
Northwestern 17 Illinois Northwestern
Penn State 13.5 Maryland Penn State
Alabama 24 Auburn Alabama
Temple 31 Connecticut Connecticut
Miami, FL 4.5 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Vanderbilt 3.5 Tennessee Tennessee
Arkansas St. 11 Texas State Arkansas St.
Michigan St. 27 Rutgers Michigan St.
FAU 17.5 Charlotte Charlotte
California 12.5 Colorado Colorado
Fresno State 32 San Jose St. Fresno State
North Texas 24.5 UTSA North Texas
Iowa State 13 Kansas State Iowa State
Kentucky 17 Louisville Kentucky
Clemson 26 South Carolina Clemson
Texas A&M 3 LSU LSU
Notre Dame 11 USC Notre Dame
Oklahoma St. 4.5 TCU TCU
Nevada 14 UNLV UNLV
Utah 11.5 BYU Utah
Boise State 3 Utah State Boise State
San Diego State 17.5 Hawaii Hawaii
Best Bets are in Bold
PERFORMANCE
Straight Up All Games Percent Best Bets
Last Week 46-13 77.97% 2-3
Season 255-88 74.34% 22-8
Vs. Spread
Last Week 20-38-1 34.75% 0-5
Season 159-177-7 47.38% 12-18

*I’ve always maintained that xHPI is not really the best predictor of games, for a number of reasons. Last week’s performance certainly proved that. While I didn’t check, I don’t recall a worse week of predictions. xHPI was correct against the spread only 34.75 percent of the time. That can’t be just due to chance.

xHPI tends to alternate weeks in its performance, finishing over .500 against the spread roughly every other week, and falling below .500 in the following week. Moreover, when xHPI is correct more often than incorrect, it is by just a handful of games, but when it underperforms, it is by several games.

Put the alternating weeks rule doesn’t always apply, and it’s already not looking good for this week. As I post this, xHPI is already 0-4 against the spread.

And don’t even get me started on the Best Bets.

xHPI remains strong in predicting games straight-up. In fact, last week was xHPI’s second-best week this season when the spread is not involved. For the season, xHPI is correct about three times out of every four games.

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Rankings through November 17, 2018

Rank Team Score LW Spread Points
1 Alabama 3710.35 1 106.49
2 Clemson 3668.31 2 105.28
3 Georgia 3452.05 3 99.07
4 Michigan 3320.27 4 95.29
5 Notre Dame 3283.85 6 94.25
6 Oklahoma 3119.60 5 89.53
7 Central Florida 3088.46 11 88.64
8 LSU 3075.78 8 88.27
9 West Virginia 3028.87 9 86.93
10 Fresno State 3010.25 10 86.39
11 Ohio State 3004.41 7 86.23
12 Iowa 2995.64 13 85.97
13 Washington 2985.45 12 85.68
14 Missouri 2982.27 18 85.59
15 Texas A&M 2952.44 25 84.74
16 Auburn 2935.52 21 84.25
17 Kentucky 2926.08 17 83.98
18 Utah 2910.98 20 83.55
19 Texas 2906.37 23 83.41
20 Florida 2906.24 19 83.41
21 Washington State 2896.24 27 83.12
22 Mississippi State 2895.12 30 83.09
23 Penn State 2890.45 14 82.96
24 Cincinnati 2876.66 15 82.56
25 Boise State 2873.20 22 82.46
26 Appalachian State 2856.79 28 81.99
27 Utah State 2833.66 16 81.33
28 South Carolina 2798.51 34 80.32
29 Northwestern 2759.86 37 79.21
30 Michigan St. 2759.15 31 79.19
31 Army 2753.95 29 79.04
32 Duke 2741.03 32 78.67
33 Iowa State 2739.18 24 78.61
34 UAB 2710.31 33 77.79
35 Virginia 2708.44 36 77.73
36 Stanford 2707.84 38 77.72
37 Syracuse 2683.72 26 77.02
38 North Carolina State 2675.23 44 76.78
39 Troy 2670.19 43 76.63
40 Miami, FL 2667.34 49 76.55
41 Pittsburgh 2661.31 48 76.38
42 Wisconsin 2659.73 41 76.33
43 Buffalo 2648.20 35 76
44 Oklahoma State 2640.71 50 75.79
45 Houston 2633.71 54 75.59
46 Temple 2633.10 47 75.57
47 North Texas 2631.28 42 75.52
48 Boston College 2626.85 40 75.39
49 Oregon 2616.92 55 75.11
50 Texas Tech 2611.19 39 74.94
51 Minnesota 2605.80 46 74.79
52 Georgia Tech 2604.41 53 74.75
53 Ohio 2599.75 68 74.61
54 Arizona State 2590.18 45 74.34
55 Vanderbilt 2570.21 56 73.77
56 Purdue 2551.04 52 73.21
57 BYU 2547.92 57 73.13
58 Tennessee 2547.73 51 73.12
59 Georgia Southern 2540.15 62 72.9
60 Marshall 2537.99 63 72.84
61 Memphis 2534.48 59 72.74
62 California 2498.64 60 71.71
63 Northern Illinois 2488.69 58 71.43
64 Eastern Michigan 2486.48 61 71.36
65 San Diego State 2473.54 65 70.99
66 Indiana 2473.08 71 70.98
67 Texas Christian 2467.92 69 70.83
68 USC 2451.94 66 70.37
69 Maryland 2436.70 74 69.93
70 Air Force 2419.31 64 69.43
71 Virginia Tech 2412.20 70 69.23
72 Mississippi 2409.64 73 69.16
73 Toledo 2399.57 78 68.87
74 Colorado 2396.74 72 68.79
75 Nevada 2394.48 75 68.72
76 Nebraska 2390.28 77 68.6
77 Miami, OH 2373.18 81 68.11
78 Arkansas State 2359.52 79 67.72
79 Florida International 2357.25 80 67.65
80 Arizona 2346.25 67 67.34
81 Florida Atlantic 2335.90 84 67.04
82 UCLA 2321.97 95 66.64
83 Middle Tennessee 2314.37 82 66.42
84 Tulane 2279.80 76 65.43
85 Southern Mississippi 2267.36 86 65.07
86 Kansas State 2259.57 101 64.85
87 Louisiana Tech 2256.09 85 64.75
88 SMU 2250.40 83 64.59
89 South Florida 2235.88 90 64.17
90 Baylor 2225.43 89 63.87
91 Western Michigan 2214.84 87 63.57
92 Wake Forest 2192.00 88 62.91
93 Louisiana 2190.27 94 62.86
94 Louisiana-Monroe 2182.93 91 62.65
95 Wyoming 2175.33 102 62.43
96 North Carolina 2175.20 97 62.43
97 Florida State 2172.63 100 62.35
98 Hawaii 2132.26 99 61.2
99 Arkansas 2129.83 92 61.13
100 Coastal Carolina 2110.84 96 60.58
101 Akron 2091.90 93 60.04
102 Kansas 2080.67 104 59.72
103 Navy 2072.81 107 59.49
104 Old Dominion 2054.15 110 58.95
105 Massachusetts 2051.40 105 58.88
106 Charlotte 2045.18 106 58.7
107 Ball State 2013.84 111 57.8
108 Liberty 1995.57 98 57.27
109 East Carolina 1986.20 114 57
110 Tulsa 1979.22 108 56.8
111 Illinois 1953.92 103 56.08
112 New Mexico 1941.30 109 55.72
113 UNLV 1929.66 112 55.38
114 Bowling Green 1916.14 120 54.99
115 Oregon State 1913.48 113 54.92
116 Central Michigan 1865.28 117 53.53
117 Georgia State 1859.10 116 53.36
118 Texas State 1855.40 118 53.25
119 Kent State 1841.85 119 52.86
120 Western Kentucky 1824.98 124 52.38
121 Colorado State 1816.41 122 52.13
122 Louisville 1809.83 115 51.94
123 South Alabama 1777.43 123 51.01
124 San Jose State 1745.99 125 50.11
125 New Mexico State 1717.45 121 49.29
126 Rutgers 1715.06 126 49.22
127 Connecticut 1606.56 127 46.11
128 Rice 1570.91 130 45.09
129 UTEP 1560.26 128 44.78
130 Texas-San Antonio 1533.13 129 44
Home Field Advantage 2.7361

This week–for most teams the penultimate week of the regular season–is almost always a strange week. The schedule tends to have relatively few high-profile match-ups, marked by the quirk in the SEC schedule when most teams play FCS teams or lesser FBS opponents. I’ve noted before the effect that this has on SEC teams’ rankings.

This weekend was no exception to that rule. A number of teams at or near the top of the rankings had lackluster performances in games in which they were highly favored, and those performances had interesting effects on the xHPI rankings:

Alabama started slowly against the Citadel. While the final margin of victory was comfortable, xHPI punished the Crimson Tide in two ways. Its point total was depressed due to the quality of the opponent, something that would have caused Alabama’s score to drop regardless of the margin of victory. Beyond that, however, since xHPI has a feature that limits the reward for “running up the score,” Alabama’s game score was further reduced. In the end, Alabama remains the #1 team, but the gap between Alabama and Clemson narrowed significantly, from approximately 209 points to 42 points.

Michigan lost about 120 points based on its narrower-than-expected victory over Indiana, but held on to the #4 spot in the rankings. Its lead over #5 Notre Dame is only 37 points; last week, it led #5 Oklahoma by more than 220 points. Oklahoma and Notre Dame switched places due to Oklahoma’s closer-than-expected victory over Kansas and Notre Dame’s trend-bucking impressive victory over Syracuse.

Ohio State’s overtime win over Maryland continued the trend of top 10 teams underperforming, and as a result, the Buckeyes fell out of the xHPI top 10. Their spot in the top 10 was taken by Central Florida, with a strong victory over previously #14 Cincinnati.

UCF’s rise to #7 is a good segue into one of the other story lines I’ve been following in these posts: where the teams outside the Power 5 conferences stand in the xHPI rankings. Fresno State remains at #10, but is no longer the highest ranked Group of 5 team due to UCF’s big win over Cincinnati. The Bearcats remain in the top 25 at #24, followed by Boise State, which dropped three places despite beating New Mexico by 31.

Missouri is following the same path that it took last year. After starting out unimpressively, the Tigers have now risen to #14.

Finally, in the Turner Gill watch, Kansas has passed Liberty. The Jayhawks’ score improved by nine points after their relatively strong performance against Oklahoma, resulting in a two spot improvement in their ranking. Liberty lost 150 points after being shut out by Auburn, dropping 10 spaces to #108. With reports that Kansas has hired Les Miles, I haven’t considered starting a Les Miles watch, comparing KU’s ranking to LSU’s.

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Predictions for Week of November 17, 2018

Favorite Spread Underdog xHPI Pick
W. Michigan 10 Ball State Ball State
Ohio 2.5 Buffalo Buffalo
N. Illinois 6.5 Miami, OH N. Illinois
Toledo 11.5 Kent State Toledo
Houston 7.5 Tulane Houston
North Texas 4.5 Florida Atlantic North Texas
Memphis 7.5 SMU SMU
Baylor 2 TCU TCU
Minnesota 2 Northwestern Northwestern
Mississippi State 21.5 Arkansas Arkansas
Michigan State 1.5 Nebraska Michigan State
Kentucky 16 Middle Tennessee Kentucky
Pittsburgh 6.5 Wake Forest Pittsburgh
Ohio State 14.5 Maryland Ohio State
Penn State 28 Rutgers Penn State
Temple 13.5 South Florida Temple
NC State 16.5 Louisville NC State
Utah 7 Colorado Utah
FIU 6 Charlotte Charlotte
Utah State 28 Colorado State Utah State
Notre Dame 10.5 Syracuse Notre Dame
Appalachian St. 28 Georgia State Appalachian St.
Marshall 27.5 UTSA Marshall
Arkansas State 8 UL Monroe UL Monroe
Texas Tech 6 Kansas State Texas Tech
Miami, FL 6 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
West Virginia 5 Oklahoma St. West Virginia
La. Tech 1 Southern Miss Southern Miss
Troy 23.5 Texas State Troy
USC 3.5 UCLA USC
Iowa 14.5 Illinois Iowa
Akron 7 Bowling Green Akron
Missouri 6 Tennessee Tennessee
Boston College 1.5 Florida State Boston College
Georgia Tech 5 Virginia Virginia
Purdue 4.5 Wisconsin Wisconsin
Navy 6 Tulsa Tulsa
Wyoming 2.5 Air Force Air Force
Auburn 28.5 Liberty Liberty
Michigan 28.5 Indiana Indiana
Washington 33.5 Oregon State Oregon State
Nevada 14.5 San Jose State Nevada
Georgia Southern 7 Coastal Carolina Coastal Carolina
Louisiana 17.5 South Alabama South Alabama
Texas A&M 17 UAB UAB
Clemson 28 Duke Duke
East Carolina 17 Connecticut Connecticut
Western Kentucky 7 UTEP UTEP
Vanderbilt 3 Mississippi Mississippi
Stanford 2 California Stanford
LSU 42 Rice LSU
Oklahoma 36 Kansas Kansas
Texas 3 Iowa State Iowa State
Central Florida 7 Cincinnati Cincinnati
BYU 24 New Mexico St. BYU
Fresno State 13 San Diego State Fresno State
Arizona State 3.5 Oregon Oregon
Washington State 10.5 Arizona Washington State
Georgia 41 Massachusetts Georgia
Boise State 19.5 New Mexico Boise State
Hawaii 6.5 UNLV Hawaii
Straight Up All Games Percent Best Bets
Last Week 45-16 73.77% 4-1
Two Weeks Ago 46-15 75.41% 4-1
Season 209-75 73.59% 20-5
Vs. Spread
Last Week 32-29 52.46% 3-2
Two Weeks Ago 23-35-3 40.16% 2-3
Season 139-139-6 50.00% 12-13

Best bets are in Bold Type. 

I did not post predictions last week, but I did calculate and track predictions, so I’m showing my performance. xHPI went 32-29, getting slightly more than half of the games correct. For the season, xHPI has been correct half the time–no better than a coin flip. While the predictions were not posted, you can review my rankings from the prior week, and by using spread points and the posted home field advantage, you can replicate xHPI’s predictions (Really, If I were going to lie about my performance, I wouldn’t post that I was correct only 52% of the time).

Because I didn’t post predictions, I also didn’t post xHPI’s performance from the prior week. xHPI followed its best week of predictions with its worst (a historical pattern for xHPI which I’ve discussed previously). xHPI was correct against the spread in only 40% of the games (and also 40% of the best bets).

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