2012 Conference Predictions

Last year, I applied the accuracy scoring metric utilized by the Stassen Preseason Poll (preseason.stassen.com) to my own conference predictions. My projections had the same point total as the first place finisher, the Compughter Ratings, putting me ahead of all the preseason magazine publishers for the 2011 season, including Phil Steele, Athlon, Lindy’s, etc.

So what did I do after having such a good year? I went to work revamping all my prediction techniques and developed some innovative, unique modeling methods along the way. I logged countless hours, collected new types of data, simulated historical seasons, and significantly improved my procedures.

My 2012 conference predictions are presented below.  Estimated probabilities of winning the conference or reaching the conference championship game (where applicable) are included, which I believe is a fairly unique feature, certainly not available in the preseason magazines. It allows you to see which conference and divisional races figure to be tight (e.g. SEC East, SBC) or where one team has a huge advantage (e.g. ACC Atlantic, Big 12).

Note: I’ve projected divisional finishes for Ohio State and North Carolina, but both are ineligible from their respective conference championship games, so I noted that in the corresponding tables. The projections for the Indepedents are based on expected final record, since they don’t have a conference affiliation.

2012 AP Poll Predictions

I’ve been away for a while, but I haven’t been idle.  I’ve been working on 2012 predictions since early spring. 

Last year, I posted a predicted AP Top 30, in which I correctly picked 21 of the top 30 teams in the final AP Poll.  This year, I’m extending it to 40 teams.  These are, essentially, the teams I give the best chances of either finishing ranked or among the top teams in the “others receiving votes” category.  (If you’re so inclined, you can compare my top 30 results from this year to last year simply by ignoring the teams ranked #31 through #40.)

Predicting rankings is difficult, as there are many biases that affect voting, such as preseason rank, conference affiliation, historical success, expected success, favoritism, etc.  The cumulative effects of these biases are not clear and, unlike conference results, which are determined only by record, they have a non-negligible impact on final rankings.  I try to account for those biases with some minor, non-scientific adjustments. 

That’s not the important stuff to most people, so on with the rankings.  I hope to see most of the teams ranked in the final AP Top 30 somewhere in this preseason list.

And yes, that is Army listed there, despite a 3-9 record last year.  And yes, Michigan is not listed, despite a terrific season under first-year coach Brady Hoke.  I rate those two teams as the unluckiest and luckiest of 2011, respectively.