After a big week of upsets, several of the projections have jumped considerably. With the announcement of Miami voluntarily stepping out of the ACC championship game and Bowl season, several bowls have shifted as well. This is the second week of using a prior distribution to impute poll results, and it looks robust so far. Northern Illinois is finally ranked in both polls and remains a strong outside contender for a BCS Bowl, and with an easy win next week and a win over Kent State in the MAC Championships, I would be very surprised if they didn't end up in the top 16.
With four teams now ineligible for bowls, there are 62 teams already qualified, and a total of 80 that could potentially be eligible if you allow 6-7 and 5-6 teams. In a handful of scenarios, there will not be 70 bowl eligible teams, and the New Orleans Bowl and Beef O'Brady's Bowl will likely draw a good team that does not quite meet the qualifications.
A note on Florida State: I was a bit surprised to see them so high, but with a home game against a highly ranked Florida, a big win over them could help propel them upwards in the rankings. The entire ACC has been doing much better in the polls (FSU currently 5 and 6) than in computer rankings (currently 17) in general, which helps their final ranking. As a limitation, polls might bump them up from 17 to 5, but might not get them up into the top 2 even if they win out.
This was designed by Jack Cackler, a doctoral student in Biostatistics at Harvard University.
To make winter travel plans with better information, this site graphically illustrates of all of the bowls a team might play in, how likely they are, and where and when each bowl will be.
Click the radio buttons to switch between viewing by team or by bowl, and mouseover any bar to see the chance of that event occurring.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These predictions were generated largely based on the pure points predictor ratings created by Jeff Sagarin, and will be updated weekly.
For each game remaining in the schedule a probability of winning was determined based on the rating of each team and home field advantage.
Based on these predictions, each game was sampled 10,000 times and for each sample, conference championship games and subsequently bowl games were computed.
Overall ratings were given by an Elo rating system used by the computer rankings in the BCS standings. For each team, the number of times it ended up in each bowl was counted and is given as a percentage. The maximum standard deviation of any estimate is .5%. Bowls that occurs .1% of the time or less are grouped as "Other", and are theoretically possible, but highly unlikely
There is also a prior distribution for each conference's poll ranking versus computer ranking, essentially adjusting each team's rating up and down by a number of points depending on two factors. The first was the overall strength of the conference, derived from the Central mean of their Sagarin Pure Points rating. The second was, looking back at the end results since 2005, how teams poll rankings were compared to their computer rankings. These were averaged by conference, and conferences were maximally adjusted up or down half a game against a neutral team.
In other words, an ACC team that went 10-2 would be comparable with an MAC team that went 11-1 against the same teams, as the ACC is an average conference that does very well in polls compared to computer rankings, and the MAC is a mediocre conference that does not do well in polls.
The precision of the end result will be lower, and so you can uncheck the "Use Poll Data" box to view results purely by computer predictions, but the results are probably much closer to what will actually happen.
Each team that plays this week is also displayed with their imputed likelihood of winning this week's game.
The predictions are robust, but have several limitations that could impact accuracy. The prior I used has been trained on 8 years of data, but may have limited accuracy..
As such, these predictions will over-rank teams with good numerical rankings but poor poll standings.
While most bowl seats have contracts with conferences, in some cases a bowl may choose any available team if no team they are contracted to is eligible.
These predictions simply assign the highest rated team not yet in a bowl, but there may be instances in which a bowl might pick a lower-ranked team that they believe has a larger fan base.
Analysis coded in R, graphs constructed with the D3 Library.