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Minnesota Football Game Predictions: 2014 Big Ten Season Simulation

Some Big Ten schedule projects for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as they head into their bye week. Happy Oktoberfest!

Leon Halip

Nothing like a little bye week action after winning back the oldest trophy in college football to kick up one's feet, enjoy some of the finest offerings of the fall and watch some sports without writhing in agony. What's everyone else gonna do in the absence of some pigskin this weekend?

M&B will keep on modelin' on.

Models and Bottles Refreshers!


The M&B Top 25, for your viewing pleasure. These ratings are through last week, so pay no attention to where Oregon is right now WHY GOD WHY PINK FRO GUY?!? Note to self: if I'm ever caught in a situation where I need to mean mug a Heisman candidate, please let me have the most ridiculous get up possible.

Rank Team BayesianProb Delta
1 Baylor .913 0
2 Auburn .898 1
3 Oregon .890 1
4 Florida State .890 -2
5 LSU .880 0
6 Texas A&M .873 0
7 Oklahoma .861 0
8 Stanford .857 0
9 Mississippi .856 2
10 Mississippi State .854 0
11 USC .852 -2
12 Notre Dame .842 1
13 Georgia .840 -1
14 UCLA .834 0
15 BYU .832 0
16 Michigan State .828 0
17 Florida .827 0
18 Wisconsin .822 0
19 TCU .808 6
20 Ohio State .808 2
21 Alabama .806 0
22 Louisville .804 -2
23 Oklahoma State .803 -4
24 Arizona .796 0
25 Missouri .784 -2
42 Minnesota .703 2

The Gophers are starting to move up and will continue to do so, provided they continue to perform at the level seen in every single game sans TCU. That might seem like a logical tautology, but in this case I swear to you it's purely mathematical. Yeeeeaaahhhh, talk nerdy to me!

Plenty of hot hot football action this weekend. M&B #6 Texas A&M at #10 Mississippi State. M&B #7 Oklahoma at #19 TCU. M&B #9 Ole Miss vs. #21(!) Alabama. #8 Stanford at #12 Notre Dame. And, a top 5 M&B throw down: #5 LSU at #2 Auburn. Should be a blast!

What say you about the bye week, M&B?

Gopher Win Probability 100%
Predicted Margin of Victory
Current Vegas Spread OFF DA BOARD
Current Vegas Over/Under NULL

LOL oh yeah, right. On to more important things, like simulating the remainder of the B1G season.

It's happening folks. Bill Connelly is calling us legit contenders for the Big Ten West division crown, which means we should all rush out to purchase matching sneakers and await the arrival of the Hale-Bopp comet. I've added the F/+ projections alongside the M&B simulations for reference.

Gopher B1G Win Simulations
M&B F/+
Mean B1G Wins 4.97 4.88
Frequency of 3+ B1G Wins 98.0% 97.8%
Freq. of 5+ B1G Wins 65.0% 62.5%
Freq. of 7+ B1G Wins 10.0% 8.7%

Very closely aligned, which is crazy when you consider we have two completely differently methodologies for evaluating relative team strength. The only discrepancies arise from how each model estimates the winning percentage probability for the remaining games:

Team M&B Prob F/+ Prob
Wisconsin 33.9% 27.6%
Ohio State 36.0% 40.2%
Nebraska 44.9% 31.1%
Iowa 65.2% 69.6%
Illinois 68.9% 66.6%
Northwestern 73.0% 69.2%
Purdue 75.2% 84.4%

The tails of the F/+ distribution are longer, though much of the projections are similar -- save the Nebraska game. Remember, the math behind my projections inherently values consistency of week-to-week performances; the Huskers are still now starting to rise again after the near disaster against McNeese State.


Allow me to digress a bit here, and recall what I wrote at the end of last season:

As unsure I am whether the players realized it, I'm equally certain the coaches understood the gravity of the moment well, considering they've done exactly this time and time again. Things have changed in Dinkytown. Expectations for the Gopher football program have been reset, and elevated.


More intangibly, enthusiasm from the fanbase and positivity from the local media peaked in 2013 far beyond anything seen in the State for years. Those fans, long guarded with a foot towards ambivalence out of self-preservation, will want more. After years of waiting, they'll want to see a contender in Dinkytown. They'll expect a win against Iowa and the bottom tier programs in the newly formed Big Ten West division. They'll want to see a team more prepared than any of the previous 10 to break the Badgers' streak. Competing better against Michigan and Ohio State are musts.

All of this is required, mind you, to capitalize on the momentum of this season. Brick By Brick melds with carpe diem.

Seize the opportunities as they're presented. The opportunity for the 2014 Gophers is to do something Minnesota hasn't done in generations, but are in the best position to achieve now more than any time in the previous decade. The Big Ten West is rife with programs that have their fair share of warts. It won't be easy, however, but that's why it'll require an uncommon Gopher team. Uncommon.

Here we are, not five games into the 2014 season, and strange things are a'brewing in Dinkytown. The Wolverine beast has been slain and properly antiqued by the finest of taxidermists for a place above the mantle. The next few games look, manageable. Momentum is on our side, for once indeed.

In lieu of all that, this is looking like an October to thoroughly enjoy as the Gophers march toward a final month of sub, end, final end and God-mode level bosses. A season of glory could be derailed at that point, and certainly before if the team rests on its laurels. I don't expect that, since Kill and the staff know they haven't accomplished anything yet. So, for the purposes of drinking it all in, the bottle de jour is the Indeed Derailed Series Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest, because yes. Indeed Brewing because local. Derailed, because that's what happened to Michigan.