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Minnesota Football: Models and Bottles! - Nebraska

Golden Gopher Gridiron

Greetings from the other side of the Job A bunker! Is it safe to emerge yet? Did we do something good last Saturday? We did?!?



Gopher FBS Win Simulations (1,000,000 trials)
Mean FBS Wins Remaining 1.01
Frequency of 1+ FBS Wins Remaining 70.8%
Freq. of 3+ FBS Wins Remaining 3.9%
Freq. of 0 FBS Wins Remaining 29.2%

Since we last left our modeling, artificial heroes, a few band shifts from the underlying predictor variables that feed the model have ever so slightly pushed the resulting probabilities in a positive direction. Recall that, after the Iowa loss, the mean projected win total for the Gophers sat at just 0.84. Inherent in that simulation was an expectation that the Gophers would, in fact, lose to Northwestern. That the Gophers didn't actually fall to the Wildcats is confirmation that football prognosticatin' should examine (or randomly simulate) all potential outcomes of a game over a set of trials rather than an acid test, which is my goal with M&B.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you beat a team better than you, at least statistically better, your underlying figures will improve and the outlook of your season will be rosier. In the Gophers' case, the upset road win over the Cats has pushed them back into the bowl discussion. Now versus a week or two ago, it doesn't look so unlikely that Minnesota will go bowling for the second consecutive year, since it doesn't matter whom they beat and how improbable that victory would be.

As luck would have it, the schedule now opens up to a point where the next 3 games hold better than a puncher's chance at nabbing that 6th victory. After that? Well, hope and pray.

Gopher Win Probability 18.5%
Predicted Points Scored 16.4
Predicted Points Allowed 33.1
Predicted Margin of Victory -16.7
Current Vegas Spread Gophers +10.5
Current Vegas Over/Under 51.5

Again, margin of victory and projected points aren't jiving with probability model, though we've already established that I don't like that points model as it is. Still, even if you look at associated probabilities of winning versus a Vegas spread, there's a 25-30% chance of a Gopher victory if you follow that methodology. That's much different than the 24.5 point spread the bookies laid on Minnesota the last time Nebraska came to town.

Does that mean the Gophers are likely to upset the Huskers, clench bowl eligibility and net the staff that "signature victory" they talked about so much over the offseason? No, probably not. In context, however, a win over the Huskers at home would appear more likely than a road victory over Northwestern according to projections two weeks ago. Keep in mind that the model cares not about injuries, though critical players missing does tend to eventually manifest itself statistically. Just saying.


    Hey, did you know Southern Tier used to make a red ale named Big Red? Well, you do now!

    That would be too easy though. And nothing about the last 50 decades of Minnesota vs. Nebraska football has been easy for the Gophers. Despite all that misery, playing Nebraska every year just feels right. The Huskers have squared off against Minnesota more than any other Big Ten foe and had quite the rivalry back in the day.

    That's why I'm going with a seasonal special from Indeed Brewing to highlight this latest bout with evil Lil Red: Old Friend Winter Warmer.

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