Simming the NCAA: Week 9

First I’ll take a look at last week’s simulations. NCAA couldn’t have been farther off with the Clemson prediction, as instead of UNC in a tight game it was Clemson in a shootout/blowout. Although the rushing predictions weren’t too far out, both quarterbacks were greatly underestimated, and that accounted for losing team UNC scoring more points that simulation had for both teams combined.

I was skeptical that Auburn would make it a close game, and rightly so. The sim was only a touchdown off of LSU’s score, but seemed to really like the Auburn offense, or, probably more likely, simply underrates the LSU defense. Both Moseley and the Lee/Jefferson conglomerate’s passing stats were overrated, although the predictions were close for the rushing game and especially for Randle receiving.

The simulation had Stanford with a big win; it turned out to be Stanford with a (much) bigger win. NCAA was actually very accurate with the performances of Price and Polk, and even overestimated Luck’s passing day. The difference turned out to be rushing, as Stanford just missed having three players with over 100 yards each, and churned out nearly 450 yards total on the ground.

Finally, NCAA was again off with the Wisconsin game prediction. Wisconsin was mostly overestimated (Wilson and Toon), while Cousins and the Spartan’s leading rusher were underestimated (though the sim was pretty close in predicting that Baker himself would be bottled up). The lone bright spot in the game was that Ball’s simulated performance was very close to the actual performance of the Ball/White two headed monster.

Now on to this week, I’ve simulated seven of the top matchups talking place on Saturday, using NCAA 12 and the Super Sim function. Although certainly not gospel, this gives an alternative, seemingly neutral insight into how each game might go, simulating the game play for play. The following are the results of the simulations, along with some thoughts on the outcomes.

Baylor @ #3 Oklahoma State

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
BAY        3          7          0         7          17
OSU        7          0         10       14          31


BAY:     R. Griffin III 20/38, 227 yds, 1 td; 7 car, 16 yds
T. Ganaway 12 car, 37 yds, 1 td
T. Williams 6 rec, 61 yds

OSU:     B. Weeden 25/38, 373 yds, 3 td, 1 int; 9 car, 29 yds, 1 td
J. Randle 11 car, 20 yds
J. Blackmon 6 rec, 146 yds, 1 td

Baylor jumped out to the early three point lead, and also led 10-7 at the half. Oklahoma State, however, was too much to keep down. A 24 point second half, spearheaded by monster days from Weeden and Blackmon, put the Cowboys ahead for good and prevented Griffin III from pulling the upset in Stillwater. Although I think Baylor has a chance in this game, I wouldn’t be surprised at all by this outcome.

#9 Oklahoma @ #8 Kansas State

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
OU         7          0         10         7          24
KSU       7          3          0         10         10


OU:      L. Jones 21/29, 220 yds, 2 td
D. Whaley 29 car, 123 yds, 1 td; 4 rec, 56 yds
R. Broyles 7 rec, 54 yds, 1 td

KSU:    C. Klein 14/27, 180 yds, 1 td, 1 int
J. Hubert 15 car, 69 yds
B. Smith 8 rec, 115 yds, 1 td

Oklahoma takes on the surprisingly higher ranked Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan. Similar to Baylor, Kansas State jumped out to the early lead, and also lead 10-7 at the half. Also similar to Baylor, the Wildcats fizzled in the second half, allowing the Oklahoma team to come back and get the win. It was a nice run for Kansas State, but unfortunately the simulation says it ends here, and I can’t help but agree (although I’ve seemingly been calling for the Wildcats to lose for the last three weeks). Although Kansas State does have a pretty good defense, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oklahoma puts up more than 24 points.

#6 Stanford @ USC

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
STAN     3           7         7          7          24
USC       7          14        7          3          31


STAN:   A. Luck 22/39, 304 yds, 2 td
S. Taylor 25 car, 109 yds, 1 td; 4 rec, 29 yds
C. Fleener 6 rec, 98 yds

USC:    M. Barkley 18/24, 288 yds, 3 td
M. Tyler 25 car, 87 yds, 1 td
R. Woods 4 rec, 72 yds, 1 td

USC used a big second quarter to jump out to a 21-1o halftime lead, and was able to do just enough to hold off the late Stanford rally and pull the upset at home. Both quarterbacks played very well, as well as both leading rushers; even total yardage was close, with Stanford the slight 411-388 edge. In the end, the third Barkley touchdown proved decisive. Although I do think Stanford will win this game, USC has been playing well lately. Given that, and how they shut down Notre Dame last week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised by a close game, in which case either team could pull it out.

#11 Michigan State @ #14 Nebraska

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
MSU      0          0          7           0           7
NEB       0          7          0           3          10


MSU:     K. Cousins 15/27, 216 yds, 1 td
E. Baker 20 car, 50 yds; 3 rec 49 yds
B. Cunningham 2 rec, 51 yds

NEB:    T. Martinez 12/29, 117 yds, 1 int; 12 car, 39 yds
R. Burkhead 24 car, 89 yds; 5 rec, 40 yds
J. Turner 2 rec, 24 yds

Michigan State goes into Lincoln and loses in a defensive slugfest. Cousins had the better passing day although the Cornhuskers were better on the ground, and neither team could manage over 300 total yards. It was a fourth quarter field goal that broke the tie and gave Nebraska the win, and no miracle pass could save Sparty this time. While I do think Nebraska will win, I’d predict more than 17 total points. Still, I think the defenses will shine in this game, and wouldn’t be surprised with an outcome in this ballpark.

#22 Georgia @ Florida

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
UGA       7          10        0          0          17
FLA        7          10        7          7          31


UGA:     A. Murray 15/26, 208 yds, 1 td, 1 int
I. Crowell 28 car, 118 yds, 1 td
M. Bennett 3 rec, 58 yds

FLA:      J. Brantley 14/33, 155 yds, 1 td, 1 int
C. Rainey 30 car, 166 yds, 1 td
J. Reed 5 rec, 44 yds

The (formerly?) Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party sees surging Georgia take on a slumping Florida team playing their fourth ranked team in a row, although the Gators do get starting quarterback Brantley back. Brantley played ok, though not spectacular; it was the huge day of Rainey that carried the game for the Gators. Things were all tied 17 a piece at halftime, but Georgia couldn’t muster any further points and Florida put away the game with a score in each of the remaining quarters. Georgia is the hot team and favorite here, but Florida gets their best quarterback back, and you have to wonder how long the Gators can be kept down. I’ve been suspicious of Georgia, and wouldn’t be surprised by a Florida win in Jacksonville.

#5 Clemson @ Georgia Tech

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
CLEM    3           0          3        12          18
GT         0           7         0          7           14


CLEM:   T. Boyd 14/34, 222 yds, 1 td, 1 int; 10 car, 24 yds
A. Ellington 15 car, 72 yds
J. Brown 6 rec, 105 yds, 1 td

GT:       T. Washington 10/18, 191 yds, 1 td, 1 int; 8 car, 19 yds, 1 td
D. Sims 18 car, 52 yds; 1 rec, 15 yds, 1 td
T. Melton 4 rec, 87 yds

Two straight upset losses for Georgia Tech sully what might have been a huge matchup, but this game is still intriguing. NCAA has this as a rather low scoring affair, with Clemson leading 3-0 after one quarter, and Georgia Tech up 7-3 at the half. The Tigers cut it to 7-6 by the fourth, and finally retook the lead on a safety. Another field goal made it 11-7 before the fireworks started. Georgia Tech scored with just over a minute to take a 14-11 lead, but a four yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left gave Clemson the win. I agree with the Clemson pick, but again I feel like NCAA isn’t giving their offense the credit they deserve. I could see a Clemson shootout victory well before a defensive struggle where the winning team has as many safeties as touchdowns.

Purdue @ #18 Michigan

Team    1st        2nd      3rd       4th       Final
PUR       0           7         7           0        14
MICH     10          0         7           7        24


PUR:     C. TerBush 13/29, 172 yds; 7 car, 20 yds
R. Bolden 15 car, 61 yds, 1 td
O. Ross 4 rec, 51 yds

MICH:    D. Robinson 18/28, 244 yds, 2 td
V. Smith 24 car, 113 yds, 1 td
J. Hemingway 5 rec, 71 yds

Michigan jumped out to an early 10-0 lead that it never relinquished, despite a few instances where Purdue made it close. The simulation predicts an efficient passing day from Robinson, although not a lot on the ground. I feel like the carries for Smith are exaggerated, and that Denard will get some of those yards. On defense, Purdue was held pretty much in check all the way through. Second and third quarter touchdowns by the Boilermakers twice cut the lead to three, but Michigan had answers, and Purdue was left to “toot toot boiler [down].” I think Michigan will get the win, and I do think they’ll hold Purdue to around 14 points. I don’t think Michigan will itself be held to only 24, however, especially at home, and think that the margin of victory will be greater than NCAA predicts.


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  1. Pingback: Before Visiting The Sportsbook - New Content Added: Week of October 23rd

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