2009 College Football Projections: Week 14 From WhatIfSports.com image

2009 College Football Projections

NCAA Football Predictions for Week 14 and Conference Championships
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
August 30th, 2009

WhatIfSports.com will preview a week of the college football season each day for 15 days, including projected scores from 10,000 simulations for all FBS games and updated standings as of that week. Once we have reached the end of the season, we will present our projected bowl match-ups with results.

Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of August 1, 2009. A schedule of our 2009 College Football Preview, including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

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Each regular season FBS game is simulated 10,000 times. The Absolute Record is simply the total number of games in which a team is favored. The Expected Record, the more accurate approach, is the sum of the team's win probabilities from each game. The Expected Record accounts for the fact that some wins are less certain than others (a 50.1% win is different than a 99% win). Since the favored team does not win every game (otherwise, why would we watch?), the likelihood of an upset is important to take into account. We may ultimately say that six teams are favored to win all of their games, but we don't expect any to do so.

Also, since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points than the opponent on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage. We are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.

The inputs to the simulations are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings from 2008. Once this step is complete, we make our modifications for 2009 based on returning starters (who, where and how many), expected progression of returning players in new roles, depth at each position and incoming recruits and transfers.

Games for each week are ordered by the conference of the home team and then winning percentage of the home team, with the score reading the visitors first followed by the home team. If a team is listed as having a 95% chance of winning, that means that it won at 95% or more of the 10,000 simulations. Every underdog has a chance to win. Along those lines, this may be relatively obvious for some examples (i.e. James Madison vs. Maryland), but non-FBS rosters and ratings are not maintained individually due to lack of data. In other words, right or wrong, all non-FBS teams are treated equally.

Today we preview Week 14 and Conference Championships.

Game of the Week: SEC Championship #5 Alabama 8 vs. #1 Florida 35
This entire season we have yet to focus on our top ranked team, the Florida Gators, and with good reasons. They have been huge favorites in every game; and we will be focusing on them now and with our bowl preview tomorrow. The "1" in the loss column for Florida is a bit of a misnomer. We cap all winning percentages at 95% to allow for the assumption that just about every team could beat another team one out of 20 times. Florida is a 95% favorite in all 13 games it plays, including the SEC Championship. The 5% chance that Florida's opponent wins each game multiplied by 13 games gives Florida 0.65 losses on the year, which rounds to 1. That's also the fewest possible losses that we could predict for a team that plays 13 games. The Gators are good. Given that, there is a realistic chance that Alabama and Florida both come into this game undefeated. The Crimson Tide is favored in all 12 of its regular season games, including by 95% in nine of those (as well as 79.4% vs. Virginia Tech, 62.5% vs. LSU and 57.8% at Ole Miss). A 12-0 vs. 12-0 SEC Championship should come with great excitement. Unfortunately for neutral college football fans, the game should not live up to the hype. Florida is too good - particularly on defense where the eleven returning Gators' starters only allow 7.1 points per game. Florida wins the SEC Championship to advance to the BCS National Championship 95% of the time and by an average score of 35-8.


MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
Florida State @ Virginia Tech60.115-21
Kansas @ Texas95.015-46
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh73.717-27
South Florida @ Connecticut24.220-13
West Virginia @ Rutgers22.427-17
Fresno State @ Illinois94.612-36
Southern Miss @ Houston66.727-35
Army @ Navy94.47-29
Arkansas State @ Western Kentucky5.033-7
Ohio @ Western Michigan77.616-28
Arizona @ USC95.08-45
Oregon State @ Oregon62.720-28
California @ Washington5.040-7
Alabama @ Florida95.08-35
Florida Atlantic @ Florida International68.716-24
New Mexico State @ Boise State95.08-42
San Jose State @ Louisiana Tech79.411-23
Wisconsin @ Hawaii5.037-16

Final Regular Season Standings

ConferenceTeamAbs RecordExp Record
Atlantic CoastVirginia Tech12 - 110 - 3
Atlantic CoastGeorgia Tech10 - 29 - 3
Atlantic CoastFlorida State11 - 29 - 4
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina9 - 38 - 4
Atlantic CoastClemson8 - 48 - 4
Atlantic CoastMiami (FL)6 - 67 - 5
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina State7 - 56 - 6
Atlantic CoastMaryland6 - 66 - 6
Atlantic CoastWake Forest3 - 95 - 7
Atlantic CoastDuke4 - 84 - 8
Atlantic CoastBoston College3 - 94 - 8
Atlantic CoastVirginia2 - 103 - 9
Big 12Texas13 - 012 - 1
Big 12Oklahoma11 - 111 - 1
Big 12Oklahoma State10 - 210 - 2
Big 12Nebraska6 - 68 - 4
Big 12Kansas9 - 48 - 5
Big 12Baylor9 - 37 - 5
Big 12Texas Tech7 - 57 - 5
Big 12Missouri6 - 67 - 5
Big 12Colorado5 - 74 - 8
Big 12Kansas State4 - 84 - 8
Big 12Iowa State2 - 103 - 9
Big 12Texas A&M1 - 113 - 9
Big EastWest Virginia12 - 011 - 1
Big EastRutgers11 - 19 - 3
Big EastPittsburgh9 - 38 - 4
Big EastSouth Florida8 - 48 - 4
Big EastCincinnati6 - 67 - 5
Big EastConnecticut4 - 85 - 7
Big EastLouisville3 - 94 - 8
Big EastSyracuse1 - 112 - 10
Big TenOhio State11 - 110 - 2
Big TenPenn State11 - 110 - 2
Big TenIllinois10 - 210 - 2
Big TenIowa10 - 210 - 2
Big TenWisconsin10 - 29 - 3
Big TenMichigan State7 - 57 - 5
Big TenNorthwestern6 - 66 - 6
Big TenMichigan4 - 85 - 7
Big TenMinnesota4 - 85 - 7
Big TenPurdue3 - 93 - 9
Big TenIndiana1 - 113 - 9
Conference USAHouston12 - 110 - 3
Conference USASouthern Miss10 - 310 - 3
Conference USAEast Carolina8 - 48 - 4
Conference USATulsa7 - 57 - 5
Conference USAUTEP7 - 56 - 6
Conference USAMarshall6 - 65 - 7
Conference USARice5 - 75 - 7
Conference USAUAB5 - 75 - 7
Conference USAMemphis2 - 104 - 8
Conference USASouthern Methodist3 - 93 - 9
Conference USATulane1 - 113 - 9
Conference USAUCF2 - 103 - 9
Independents (FBS)Notre Dame11 - 19 - 3
Independents (FBS)Navy9 - 48 - 5
Independents (FBS)Army4 - 84 - 8
Independents (FBS)Western Kentucky0 - 121 - 11
Mid-AmericanWestern Michigan12 - 110 - 3
Mid-AmericanCentral Michigan9 - 38 - 4
Mid-AmericanBall State8 - 47 - 5
Mid-AmericanOhio9 - 47 - 6
Mid-AmericanBowling Green8 - 46 - 6
Mid-AmericanAkron7 - 56 - 6
Mid-AmericanKent State5 - 76 - 6
Mid-AmericanNorthern Illinois5 - 76 - 6
Mid-AmericanTemple4 - 86 - 6
Mid-AmericanBuffalo5 - 75 - 7
Mid-AmericanToledo4 - 85 - 7
Mid-AmericanEastern Michigan0 - 122 - 10
Mid-AmericanMiami (OH)0 - 121 - 11
Mountain WestTCU12 - 010 - 2
Mountain WestUtah9 - 310 - 2
Mountain WestBrigham Young9 - 39 - 3
Mountain WestAir Force9 - 38 - 4
Mountain WestColorado State6 - 66 - 6
Mountain WestUNLV6 - 65 - 7
Mountain WestSan Diego State3 - 94 - 8
Mountain WestNew Mexico3 - 93 - 9
Mountain WestWyoming3 - 93 - 9
Pacific-10USC12 - 011 - 1
Pacific-10California11 - 110 - 2
Pacific-10Oregon10 - 28 - 4
Pacific-10Oregon State9 - 38 - 4
Pacific-10Arizona7 - 57 - 5
Pacific-10Stanford6 - 66 - 6
Pacific-10Arizona State5 - 76 - 6
Pacific-10UCLA4 - 84 - 8
Pacific-10Washington2 - 103 - 9
Pacific-10Washington State0 - 121 - 11
SoutheasternFlorida13 - 012 - 1
SoutheasternAlabama12 - 111 - 2
SoutheasternMississippi11 - 110 - 2
SoutheasternLSU9 - 39 - 3
SoutheasternGeorgia8 - 48 - 4
SoutheasternTennessee8 - 48 - 4
SoutheasternArkansas7 - 56 - 6
SoutheasternVanderbilt6 - 65 - 7
SoutheasternKentucky3 - 94 - 8
SoutheasternSouth Carolina3 - 94 - 8
SoutheasternAuburn3 - 93 - 9
SoutheasternMississippi State2 - 103 - 9
Sun BeltArkansas State10 - 28 - 4
Sun BeltTroy9 - 38 - 4
Sun BeltMiddle Tennessee8 - 57 - 6
Sun BeltFlorida International7 - 56 - 6
Sun BeltLouisiana-Lafayette6 - 66 - 6
Sun BeltFlorida Atlantic4 - 85 - 7
Sun BeltLouisiana-Monroe3 - 94 - 8
Sun BeltNorth Texas1 - 123 - 10
Western AthleticBoise State12 - 111 - 2
Western AthleticNevada10 - 29 - 3
Western AthleticLouisiana Tech8 - 48 - 4
Western AthleticFresno State6 - 66 - 6
Western AthleticUtah State6 - 65 - 7
Western AthleticHawaii4 - 95 - 8
Western AthleticSan Jose State4 - 84 - 8
Western AthleticNew Mexico State2 - 114 - 9
Western AthleticIdaho0 - 121 - 11

A schedule of our 2009 College Football Preview, including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

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Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in NCAA Matchup analysis and college football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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