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Minnesota Football: Models and Bottles! - Indiana

Woohoo! Math was right! We were going to win another game! Suck it, math haters.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Man, a lot of what I wrote in last week's M&B was ironically prophetic in the most awesome way possible.

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.

Go on...

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.

Just saying, indeed.

I don't know how much of TMart's general lameness and/or rust would have contributed to a model if I even accounted for injuries, since factoring that in would be difficult (to say the least) and it's not as if his replacement at QB1 was chopped liver. Still, Nebraska does have other offensive weapons, yet it was those same offensive weapons who were largely kept quiet last Saturday... especially in the most critical of statistical categories: touchdowns.

In the end, however, the M&B math did suggest this wouldn't exactly be a slaughter from a pure win probability perspective. Sometimes math is pretty cool.


I also made this assertion last week, which raised somewhat of an eyebrow in the comments:

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.

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.


Gopher FBS Win Simulations (1,000,000 trials)
Mean FBS Wins Remaining 1.32
Frequency of 1+ FBS Wins Remaining 87.7%
Freq. of 2+ FBS Wins Remaining 42.6%
Freq. of 3+ FBS Wins Remaining 2.0%

This is good news. Very, very good.

I'll spell out explicitly what the simulations are suggesting: if you played the season 10 times, Minnesota would beat Indiana and Penn State in 4 of those seasons. I know this because the projected probabilities against Wisconsin and Michigan State are, um, let's not go there in the name of #TEAMSUNSHINE.

Gopher Win Probability 58.9%
Predicted Points Scored 31.7
Predicted Points Allowed 37.5
Predicted Margin of Victory -5.8
Current Vegas Spread Gophers +10
Current Vegas Over/Under

Points model and logit model are in a slap fight again. Logit model looks at Indiana's horrendous defense (made worse when adjusting for opponents) and laughs, even when pitted against a less than stellar Gopher offense. Points model sees IU played Missouri, who happens to be good this year, plus Michigan and Michigan State and genuinely thumped Penn State by 3 scores. A conundrum.

If we were to look at this game from a matchup perspective, it would come down to who will exploit the two glaring mismatches readily apparent: Minnesota's pass D vs. IU's passing offense, and Minnesota's run game against IU's bad run D. Depending on which Gopher pass defense shows up -- the group that's held 4/7 opponents, including the last two, to under 4.5 yards per passing dropback or the SJSU/Iowa/Michigan tilt where the secondary got bombed on -- this game could get really interesting. That the Gopher pass D has vastly improved in the last 2 games could be an aberration, though it's certainly aiding the season outlook from a modeling POV.


    Indiana has one brewery that stands above the rest: Three Floyds Brewing. I know this, despite never tasting the nectar myself, from the string of super high ratings on Untappd for virtually every one of their beers and a 98 on Beer Advocate for their Dreadnaught IPA. To put that in perspective, since we can't get 3F up here in Minnesota, Surly Wet is a 97 and Surly Abrasive is rated a perfect 100. So yeah, they're good at IPAs and stuff.

    I could just go ahead and say the Dreadnaught is the bottle of the week, though I'm not tryin' to be greedy and all. Wait, yes I am. GoAUpher, please pick me up ALL OF THE THREE FLOYDS when you roll down to Bloomington. Pretty, pretty please.

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