What Happens if the 2011 SEC Season Is Played 50,000 Times?

What Happens if the 2011 SEC Season Is Played 50,000 Times?

Published Sep. 1, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

OKTC is thrilled to have the best game pickers in the nation, Prediction Machine, as our partner for the 2011 season. Last season the Prediction Machine went 11-0 against the spread in the NFL playoffs and put up a nearly 70% winning percentage in college football lock games.

How do the guys do this? With a computer model that runs games 50,000 times to figure out the probability of success or failure. The results are fascinating. If you want to see their weekly picks, click here.

I think y'all are going to love these articles. Without further ado, here are Paul Bessire's predictions for the 2011 SEC season. 

By Paul Bessire


Happy football… The Predictalator at PredictionMachine.com has already played the 2011 college football regular and bowl seasons 50,000 times before the games are actually played.

SEC Predictions:

While Alabama and South Carolina are clear division favorites – especially since they would not play each other until the SEC Championship - the SEC is still the best overall conference in college football. Ten SEC teams finish with average records above .500 and make bowls (seven of those teams are favored in their projected bowls). Five SEC teams rank in the preseason top-15 nationally, including Alabama and South Carolina who meet in the most likely SEC Championship game – a game that Alabama wins 72.7% of the time and by an average score of 24-14.

Below, we explain How This Works and break down every SEC team. In each team's preview, the "Most Important Offensive Players" and "Most Important Defensive Players" are those that are most critical to their team's success. The “Most Important Game” includes our projection for a close regular season game that is mean the most to the team’s final record and conference standing.   

Alabama Crimson Tide

Power Rank: 1

Offensive Rank: 5

Defensive Rank: 1

Projected Regular Season Record: 11.5 - 0.5

Projected Bowl: BCS Championship

Biggest Strength: Everything Except

Greatest Weakness: Inexperience In Pass Offense

Most Important Offensive Player: A.J. McCarron, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: Josh Chapman, DT

Most Important Game: November 12: Alabama 33 @ Mississippi State 18 – Alabama wins 77.5% (only regular season game under 80% favorites for Alabama)

South Carolina Gamecocks

Power Rank: 7

Offensive Rank: 14

Defensive Rank: 13

Projected Regular Season Record: 9.9 - 2.1

Projected Bowl: Sugar

Biggest Strength: Playmakers

Greatest Weakness: Special Teams

Most Important Offensive Player: Alshon Jeffery, WR

Most Important Defensive Player: Shaq Wilson, LB

Most Important Game: September 10: South Carolina 28 @ Georgia 26 – South Carolina wins 53.6%

LSU Tigers

Power Rank: 5

Offensive Rank: 17

Defensive Rank: 2

Projected Regular Season Record: 9.3 - 2.7

Projected Bowl: Cotton

Biggest Strength: Elite Talent

Greatest Weakness: Quarterback Play

Most Important Offensive Player: Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: Tyran Mathieu, CB/PR

Most Important Game: September 3: Oregon 32 vs. LSU 29 – Oregon wins 54.3%

Arkansas Razorbacks

Power Rank: 13

Offensive Rank: 11

Defensive Rank: 26

Projected Regular Season Record: 8.2 - 3.8

Projected Bowl: Outback

Biggest Strength: Offensive Playmakers

Greatest Weakness: Pass Defense

Most Important Offensive Player: Grant Freeman, OT

Most Important Defensive Player: Tramain Thomas, S

Most Important Game: October 1: Texas A&M 34 vs. Arkansas 28 – Texas A&M wins 60.9%

Mississippi State Bulldogs 


Power Rank: 14

Offensive Rank: 20

Defensive Rank: 20

Projected Regular Season Record: 7.9 - 4.1

Projected Bowl: Capital One

Biggest Strength: Experience/Balance

Greatest Weakness: Linebackers

Most Important Offensive Player: James Carmon, OT

Most Important Defensive Player: Brandon Maye, LB

Most Important Game: September 10: Mississippi State 31 @ Auburn 30 – Mississippi State wins 50.9%

Georgia Bulldogs

Power Rank: 29

Offensive Rank: 44

Defensive Rank: 19

Projected Regular Season Record: 7.8 - 4.2

Projected Bowl: Chick-fil-A

Biggest Strength: Special Teams

Greatest Weakness: Health/Depth/Off-field

Most Important Offensive Player: Isaiah Crowell, RB

Most Important Defensive Player: Brandon Boykin, CB

Most Important Game: September 3: Boise State 30 vs. Georgia 25 – Boise State wins 59.3%

Kentucky Wildcats

Power Rank: 45

Offensive Rank: 51

Defensive Rank: 30

Projected Regular Season Record: 6.8 - 5.2

Projected Bowl: Gator

Biggest Strength: Defensive Experience

Greatest Weakness: (Lack Of) Offensive Playmakers

Most Important Offensive Player: Morgan Newtown, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: Mister Cobble, DT

Most Important Game: November 26: Kentucky 26 vs. Tennessee 21 – Kentucky wins 58.7%

Auburn Tigers

Power Rank: 27

Offensive Rank: 24

Defensive Rank: 59

Projected Regular Season Record: 6.5 - 5.5

Projected Bowl: Liberty

Biggest Strength: Rush Offense

Greatest Weakness: Inexperience

Most Important Offensive Player: Barrett Trotter, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: T'Sharvan Bell, CB

Most Important Game: October 15: Auburn 27 vs. Florida 21  – Auburn wins 62.4%

Florida Gators

Power Rank: 37

Offensive Rank: 63

Defensive Rank: 22

Projected Regular Season Record: 6.1 - 5.9

Projected Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger

Biggest Strength: Elite Talent

Greatest Weakness: Inexperience

Most Important Offensive Player: Charlie Weis, OC

Most Important Defensive Player: Ronald Powell, Buck

Most Important Game: November 26: Florida State 23 vs. Florida 15 – Florida State wins 66.3%

Tennessee Volunteers

Power Rank: 47

Offensive Rank: 54

Defensive Rank: 42

Projected Regular Season Record: 6.1 - 5.9

Projected Bowl: Music City

Biggest Strength: Secondary

Greatest Weakness: Defensive Front 7

Most Important Offensive Player: Tyler Bray, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: Maurice Crouch, DT

Most Important Game: September 17: Florida 23 vs. Tennessee 17 – Florida wins 62.1%

Vanderbilt Commodores

Power Rank: 69

Offensive Rank: 80

Defensive Rank: 69

Projected Regular Season Record: 4.7 - 7.3

Projected Bowl:

Biggest Strength: Experience (Especially on O)

Greatest Weakness: Mediocre Talent Level

Most Important Offensive Player: Warren Norman, RB

Most Important Defensive Player: Casey Hayward, CB

Most Important Game: November 19: Kentucky 26 @ Vanderbilt 23 – Kentucky wins 55.7%

Mississippi Rebels

Power Rank: 76

Offensive Rank: 50

Defensive Rank: 86

Projected Regular Season Record: 3.8 - 8.2

Projected Bowl:

Biggest Strength: Rush Offense

Greatest Weakness: Allowing Points

Most Important Offensive Player: Randall Mackey, QB

Most Important Defensive Player: Damien Jackson, S

Most Important Game: September 17: Vanderbilt 29 vs. Mississippi 26 – Vanderbilt wins 55.4%


Explaining the Prediction Machine methodology:

How This Works

Just as the Predictalator plays any individual game 50,000 times before it's actually played, it can also play entire seasons 50,000 times before they're actually played. That's what we have done for the 2011 college football (FBS) season. The actual regular season and bowl schedules have been played 50,000 times, allowing us to compute likely records, expected bowl matchups and power rankings. Using the Predictalator is not as much of a concern to us as making sure that we have the best possible inputs for players' statistics, progression over time and age, roles, health and playing time as well as teams' coaching styles and weather. In general, we apply strength-of-schedule-adjusted, relevant statistics from the player's most recent 24 collegiate games (approximately 2 seasons of data, weighted more heavily on the last 12 games) to a fairly traditional player development curve that considers class and previous playing time. Not only does this curve help to set average inputs, it combines health history to dictate the variance ("boom or bust" potential) of a player's inputs. Playing time is more art than a science. We have done our best to estimate playing time for all players who are expected to see significant starting time in 2011. That being said, some playing time gaps have been filled in by our best approximations of average bench and role players on teams. After all of the math and analysis is conducted, we import each team's schedule and play the EVERY game 50,000 times.

Again, I'm using these guys advice this season and I think y'all should check it out this fall as well. Just fascinating stuff.