Compu-Picks 2012 Preview - Big East

Originally posted on CFN.

Projected ranking and expected results

Expected Wins Projected League Results
Team 2012 Rank 2011 Rank All Games League Games SOS League Finish League Odds
Rutgers 31 32 8.68 4.71 67 1 26.1%
South Florida 38 50 7.72 4.33 55 2 18.0%
Louisville 41 56 7.93 4.08 60 3 15.3%
Cincinnati 43 30 7.89 4.03 59 4 16.8%
Pittsburgh 45 57 7.07 3.62 65 5 11.9%
Temple 53 43 6.10 3.21 64 6 7.5%
Connecticut 67 75 5.59 2.18 69 7 2.8%
Syracuse 86 84 3.76 1.83 41 8 1.5%

Some notes and comments about the Big East and its teams:

1) This isn't Sun Belt level of balance, but it's still a pretty wide open race compared to most leagues in 1-A. Fully five of the eight teams are given over a 10% shot at the league, suggesting that it's very much anybody's race (well, almost anybody).

2) Rutgers is Compu-Picks' pegged winner, largely becuase they were rated as the second best of the lot last season (largely because Louisville had such an atrocious non-conference run), and Rutgers returns a lot more than Cincy. It's worth noting that the Knights had pretty favorable injury and turnover luck, and are breaking in a new head coach, so there's plenty of room for them to disapoint.

3) Pitt is an interesting mix of positive and negative indicators. On the one hand, they suffered the worst injury luck (and tied for worst turnover margin) of all eight teams listed here, they return a solid amount of potential, they recruit better than anyone else here, and they didn't lose anyone to the NFL draft. On the other hand, they're breaking in a new coach (AGAIN!), and their recruiting has drastically declined. So we'll have to see how things go for this team.

4) I originally expected Temple to rate out as being terrible (and my spring projections were pretty low on them), but they're actually rated decently above the cellar. There's a definite jump in competition, they're unlikely to have such good injury and turnover luck, they don't recruit well, and they lost a lot of starters, but they've been non-terrible for a while now as a program, the production lost isn't as much as the starter count would indicate, their recruiting is picking up, and overall they look more mediocre than awful.

Additional tables of data available in linked article.

There are a few important notes and caveats I need to make about this model:

1) Compu-Picks does not endorse implicitly or explicitly any form of illegal gambling. Compu-Picks is intended to be used for entertainment purposes only.

2) No guarantee or warranty is offered or implied by Compu-Picks for any information provided and/or predictions made.

3) This preseason model is primarily based on the main compu-picks model. Essentially, it attempts to predict how well a team will rate given its rating history, as well as a number of other data points, such as returning starters, draft talent lost, turnovers, recruiting, etc. This means, among other things, that the rankings are power rankings based on how good a team projects to be, as opposed to a more cynical (though accurate) model that attempts to project how the BCS will rank a team by making adjustments to favor those with easy schedules and punish those with tough schedules.

I have provided adjusted division (or league) odds in a couple of instances. For the Big Ten Leaders, it shows the odds of each team winning adjusting for the fact that Ohio St and Penn St will both be ineligible. The same is true for the ACC Coastal and North Carolina.

5) There is a substantial amount of noise in these projections, which is to be expected given the large number of unknowns (who will have good and bad luck with injuries, which young players will improve and which won't, how specific matchups will come into play, etc.). Right now the standard error is a bit over 0.2 on a scale of about -1 to +1. It's important to look at the projections with this in mind to get a sense of how material the projected differences are. Given a standard error around 0.2, it is safe to project Alabama to be a much better team than Mississippi St, but it is not safe to project Mississippi St to be any better than Arkansas, much less a lot better.

6) At this point, there are a number of model features that need to be investigated further. Chief among these is the distribution of extreme events. It appears that the model may be overstating the probabilities of extreme events, such as 12-0 or 0-12 records, or major underdogs winning their division/league. This overstatement has been reduced compared to last year's projections, but still likely exists to some degree. Please keep this in mind when looking at the distribution of win probabilities.

7) Since there is much less data available for the four 1-A newcomers, the power rating methodology has been more manual and arbitrary. As a consequence, I am somewhat less confident of the projections for those four teams than I am for the other 120 1-A members. Please keep this in mind when looking at the newcomers' projections.