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Minnesota Football Game Predictions: Ohio State Buckeyes

Computer based predictions for the last home game of the year. How good is Ohio State? Pretty damn good. Also, beer.

Oh nothing, just a Tecate in a sombrero
Oh nothing, just a Tecate in a sombrero
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports



TCU and Ole Miss remain top of the ranks after beating opponents of, ahem, varying quality; classic SEC to schedule an FCS team in between tough conference match-ups! Mississippi State tumbles a bit for not crushing an FCS team by the expected margin. Algorithms are cruel and exacting, as I wouldn't fault the Bulldogs for only winning by 29 with a daunting visit to Tuscaloosa upcoming, but this isn't a feelingsball post.

M&B continues to troll #FSUtwitter. Luckily only one member of #FSUtwitter will read this.

Rank Team Bayesian Prob Last Week Delta
1 TCU .941 0
2 Mississippi .928 0
3 Baylor .921 1
4 Alabama .907 2
5 Oregon .901 2
6 Ohio State .896 4
7 Mississippi State .893 -4
8 LSU .868 4
9 Michigan State .862 -1
10 Auburn .859 -1
11 Georgia .859 12
12 Nebraska .856 1
13 Marshall .855 5
14 Florida State .853 0
15 Arkansas .846 1
16 Kansas State .841 -5
17 USC .834 0
18 Oklahoma .825 -13
19 Wisconsin .820 1
20 Louisville .813 8
21 Texas A&M .813 16
22 Arizona State .811 3
23 Arizona .804 6
24 Memphis .802 -3
25 Georgia Tech .798 1
36 Minnesota .737 28

Models and Bottles Refreshers!

First, there's nothing like drubbing a rival by 37 when you're the underdog! The Gophers made a huge leap in the ranks and sit upon their highest rating all year, making up for all the lost ground after Illinois and then some.

That said, Minnesota will play their first (at the time) top 25 M&B team. The Buckeyes are 6th in the rankings, consistently climbing all the way up from 45th after the Virginia Tech game. Based upon current ratings, this is the second most difficult opponent to date behind #1 TCU, because FROOOOOOOOOGGGSSS.

Senior Day/Snow Bowl projections:

Flex Model
Gopher Win Probability 24.7%
Predicted Margin of Victory -11.17
Current Vegas Spread +14
Current Vegas Over/Under 56.5

So the Buckeyes are really quite good, and on a roll. The crazy thing about Ohio State is they've played consistently like a Top 10 squad for most of the season, and yet they only now seem to be reaching the apex of media love after beating the Spartans (understandably). There's significant risk of folks overanalyzing both teams in the match-up based upon the last week, and that really doesn't favor either team in particular.

Meanwhile, last week in M&B thought leadership:

In English, I think the TCF Bank Stadium HFA to Minnesota may be different in November, in 35 degree weather, against a primary rival than it would in late August against a scrub. That may bring the expected margin and probability closer to a PICK'EM or a 1 point Gopher win, as the F/+ projections suggest*.

Update: I built an inferential model before the Iowa game using F/+ ratings, temperature and wind speed at kickoff, and several factors such as a rivalry and/or night game from all 34 contests against FBS opponents played at TCF Bank Stadium. I'm not comfortable drawing detailed conclusions based upon sample size (generally want a sample of 50+ observations at a minimum) but I am confident in a few things. Namely, kickoff temperature and wind speed inside the stadium are non-negligble factors on the eventual margin of victory/loss, controlling for other factors like strength of the opponent and Minnesota's F/+ rating.

The Bank's cold weather HFA is real, in other words. How that plays out on Saturday and over time remains to be seen. Also important: this isn't a rivalry game. Believe it or not, Minnesota plays much better than expected against Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan at home compared to the rest of their opponents.

Sims? Nah, let's wait until after this week (again).

Visit Team Home Team Home WP% Expected Margin
Nevada Air Force 43.7% -2.53
Mississippi St. Alabama 53.8% 1.53
Washington Arizona 69.8% 8.36
LSU Arkansas 45.5% -1.81
Appalachian St. Arkansas St. 61% 4.48
UNLV BYU 88.7% 20.63
San Diego St. Boise St. 61.2% 4.58
Kent St. Bowling Green 66% 6.62
Akron Buffalo 40.1% -4.02
Miami (OH) Central Mich. 78.3% 12.83
East Carolina Cincinnati 60.5% 4.25
Virginia Tech Duke 65.2% 6.29
Middle Tenn. FIU 40.7% -3.77
South Carolina Florida 66% 6.62
Auburn Georgia 50% 0
Clemson Georgia Tech 51.8% 0.72
Troy Idaho 28.6% -9.17
Iowa Illinois 30.2% -8.39
TCU Kansas 7.5% -25.05
La.-Lafayette La.-Monroe 34% -6.61
Rice Marshall 71.2% 9.04
Michigan St. Maryland 29.5% -8.72
Ball St. Massachusetts 53.4% 1.37
Florida St. Miami (FL) 35.6% -5.94
Ohio St. Minnesota 24.7% -11.17
Ga. Southern Navy 38.1% -4.83
Pittsburgh North Carolina 35.6% -5.92
Wake Forest North Carolina St. 51.1% 0.46
Toledo Northern Ill. 51.4% 0.55
Northwestern Notre Dame 68.2% 7.64
Texas Oklahoma St. 26.6% -10.17
Arizona St. Oregon St. 18.3% -14.97
Temple Penn St. 44.8% -2.1
Indiana Rutgers 49% -0.4
South Fla. SMU 26.4% -10.26
Hawaii San Jose St. 50.1% 0.02
Texas St. South Ala. 38.2% -4.82
California Southern California 67.6% 7.37
Utah Stanford 51.9% 0.77
Kentucky Tennessee 66% 6.65
Missouri Texas A&M 59.9% 4.01
Oklahoma Texas Tech 11.8% -20.08
Memphis Tulane 21.5% -12.93
Tulsa UCF 75% 10.98
North Texas UTEP 42.3% -3.12
New Mexico Utah St. 77.4% 12.31
Army Western Ky. 60.9% 4.42
Eastern Mich. Western Mich. 90.8% 22.86
Nebraska Wisconsin 43.2% -2.72


Cleveland based Great Lakes Brewery is a favorite of M&B, producing a number of worthy selections regardless if the opponent had any ties to Ohio. Black Out Stout. Nosferatu. Erie Monster. Commodore Perry. Edmund Fitzgerald. Eliot Ness. The list of quality offerings goes on.

But nope, not going to pick an Ohio beer today.

Sitting at 6-0 at home, 25th in the CFP Rankings and about to play the first legitimate Top 25, nationally promoted ABC time slot game in quite awhile, I'm feeling naturally proud of the home state. I'm obliged to go with a homer selection here, one fitting the expected conditions of Saturday's contest.

That's why the bottle de jour is Schell's Snowstorm, a favorite of mine each and every year. This iteration of Snowstorm is a Grand Cru, which translates from French to read "great growth." If that's not a double entendre metaphor for the season and last week, I can't help you.