Week 15 NCAA Projections

Scores and final regular season standings for every FBS team
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
August 25th, 2008

WhatIfSports.com will preview a college football week each day for 15 days, including scores and updated standings for each week. At the conclusion of those previews, we will present our bowl match-ups with results and final updated pre-season Power Rankings (see original rankings below).

Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of August 1, 2008. A schedule of upcoming college football preview content including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.

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Each regular season FBS game is simulated 1,000 times, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our Expected and Absolute Records as of the conclusion of that week. The Absolute Record is simply the total number of games in which a team is favored. The Expected Record, the more accurate approach, is the sum of the team's win probabilities from each game. The Expected Record accounts for the fact that some wins are less certain than others (a 50.1% win is different than a 99% win). Since the favored team does not win every game (otherwise, why would we watch?), the likelihood of an upset is important to take into account. We may ultimately say that six teams are favored to win all of their games, but we only expect one team to do so (stick around to August 26th to find out who).

Also, especially since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points than the opponent on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage and are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.

The inputs to the simulations are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that first considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings from 2007 and then makes modifications for 2008 based on returning starters (who, where and how many), expected progression of returning players in new roles, depth at each position and incoming recruits and transfers.

Games for each week are ordered by winning percentage of the home team descending, with the score reading the visitors first and then the home team. If a team is listed as having a 95% chance of winning, that means that it won at 95% or more of the 1,000 simulations. Every underdog has a chance to win. Along those lines, this may be relatively obvious for some examples (i.e. LSU vs. Appalachian State), but non-FBS rosters and ratings are not maintained individually due to lack of data. In other words, right or wrong, all non-FBS teams are treated equally.

Today we preview Week 15 and conference championship games. Please note the final regular season standings below.

Game of the Week: #17 VTech 24 (10-3) vs #7 Clemson 27 (12-1)
Ohio State is in the BCS Championship game, but its opponent is still definitely up for grabs entering conference championship week. Clemson, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia and Georgia have all been favored in each of their games up to this point. Each of those teams, except Virginia Tech, can also expect to have one-loss by Week 15. Based on its schedule, being #2 in the power rankings and having the lowest expected loss value, Georgia controls its own destiny. If the Bulldogs beat LSU, they are in. We say they do for the second time this year, but it's very close. What if they don't win? Oklahoma, Missouri and Clemson have the most to gain because they face teams in the conference championship of equally elite stature. The ACC Championship is our game of the week because of what it means. They do not play during the regular season, so, like Oklahoma and Missouri, Clemson and Virginia Tech could both be undefeated before the game. If it wins, Clemson could have a real shot at the BCS title. But if they lose, the Tigers could be bumped out of the BCS picture completely. 1,000 simulations say that Clemson squeaks by the Hokies 65.3% of the time and by an average score of 27-24. All of our bowl results will be posted tomorrow.

MatchupHome Win%Avg Score
LSU vs. Georgia75.521-25
Missouri vs Oklahoma66.132-37
Virginia Tech vs Clemson65.324-27
Miami (OH) vs Ball State57.926-27
Houston vs UCF52.130-31
South Florida @ W. Virginia83.623-40
Washington @ California67.226-37
Mid Tenn @ LA-Laf49.227-28
Pittsburgh @ Connecticut47.524-23
Louisville @ Rutgers39.335-36
Arkansas St. @ Troy37.723-19
Arizona St. @ Arizona32.831-28
Western Kentucky @ Fla. Int.16.424-16
Cincinnati @ Hawaii16.429-20
Navy @ Army531-14
USC @ UCLA534-11

Final FBS Regular Season Standings

ConferenceTeamAbs RecordExp Record
Atlantic CoastClemson13 - 012 - 1
Atlantic CoastVirginia Tech12 - 110 - 3
Atlantic CoastWF11 - 110 - 2
Atlantic CoastMaryland6 - 68 - 4
Atlantic CoastNorth Carolina10 - 28 - 4
Atlantic CoastFlorida State8 - 47 - 5
Atlantic CoastBoston College4 - 85 - 7
Atlantic CoastDuke3 - 95 - 7
Atlantic CoastGA Tech5 - 75 - 7
Atlantic CoastMiami (FL)6 - 65 - 7
Atlantic CoastVirginia2 - 103 - 9
Atlantic CoastNC St.1 - 112 - 10
Big EastW. Virginia12 - 011 - 1
Big EastSouth Florida10 - 28 - 4
Big EastCincinnati9 - 48 - 5
Big EastConnecticut7 - 57 - 5
Big EastLouisville7 - 57 - 5
Big EastPittsburgh10 - 27 - 5
Big EastRutgers4 - 87 - 5
Big EastSyracuse2 - 102 - 10
Big TenOhio State12 - 012 - 0
Big TenIllinois9 - 39 - 3
Big TenWisconsin11 - 19 - 3
Big TenIndiana8 - 47 - 5
Big TenMichigan8 - 47 - 5
Big TenPenn State7 - 57 - 5
Big TenPurdue11 - 17 - 5
Big TenIowa5 - 76 - 6
Big TenMichigan State4 - 86 - 6
Big TenNorthwestern5 - 75 - 7
Big TenMinn.3 - 94 - 8
Big TwelveOklahoma13 - 012 - 1
Big TwelveMissouri12 - 110 - 3
Big TwelveTexas Tech9 - 39 - 3
Big TwelveTexas10 - 29 - 3
Big TwelveKansas9 - 38 - 3
Big TwelveOklahoma State8 - 48 - 4
Big TwelveKansas State7 - 57 - 5
Big TwelveNebraska5 - 76 - 6
Big TwelveColorado5 - 75 - 7
Big TwelveTexas A&M4 - 85 - 7
Big TwelveBaylor2 - 103 - 9
Big TwelveIowa State1 - 112 - 10
Conference USAHouston11 - 29 - 4
Conference USAUCF11 - 210 - 3
Conference USAEast Carolina9 - 38 - 4
Conference USATulsa8 - 48 - 4
Conference USARice8 - 47 - 5
Conference USAS. Miss7 - 56 - 6
Conference USAMemphis3 - 95 - 7
Conference USASMU5 - 75 - 7
Conference USAUTEP3 - 94 - 8
Conference USAMarshall3 - 93 - 9
Conference USATulane2 - 103 - 9
Conference USAUAB1 - 112 - 10
Independents (FBS)Notre Dame7 - 57 - 5
Independents (FBS)Navy6 - 66 - 6
Independents (FBS)Western Kentucky4 - 85 - 7
Independents (FBS)Army1 - 112 - 10
Mid-AmericanBall State11 - 29 - 4
Mid-AmericanC. Michigan9 - 38 - 4
Mid-AmericanMiami (OH)9 - 47 - 6
Mid-AmericanTemple6 - 67 - 5
Mid-AmericanW. Michigan8 - 47 - 5
Mid-AmericanBowling Green6 - 66 - 6
Mid-AmericanKent St.6 - 66 - 6
Mid-AmericanOhio5 - 76 - 6
Mid-AmericanBuffalo3 - 95 - 7
Mid-AmericanE. Michigan2 - 104 - 8
Mid-AmericanNorthern Illinois3 - 94 - 8
Mid-AmericanToledo3 - 94 - 8
Mid-AmericanAkron2 - 103 - 9
Mountain WestBrigham Young11 - 110 - 2
Mountain WestTCU10 - 29 - 3
Mountain WestUtah10 - 29 - 3
Mountain WestAir Force7 - 57 - 5
Mountain WestNew Mexico8 - 47 - 5
Mountain WestWyoming6 - 67 - 5
Mountain WestColorado St.3 - 94 - 8
Mountain WestUNLV3 - 94 - 8
Mountain WestSan Diego State1 - 112 - 10
Pacific-10USC11 - 111 - 1
Pacific-10Arizona St.10 - 28 - 4
Pacific-10Arizona7 - 57 - 5
Pacific-10California10 - 27 - 5
Pacific-10Oregon8 - 47 - 5
Pacific-10UCLA5 - 76 - 6
Pacific-10Oregon State3 - 94 - 8
Pacific-10Washington3 - 94 - 8
Pacific-10Washington St.3 - 104 - 9
Pacific-10Stanford1 - 112 - 10
SoutheasternGeorgia13 - 012 - 1
SoutheasternLSU11 - 211 - 2
SoutheasternFlorida10 - 210 - 2
SoutheasternAlabama9 - 38 - 4
SoutheasternAuburn8 - 48 - 4
SoutheasternTennessee8 - 47 - 5
SoutheasternKentucky7 - 56 - 6
SoutheasternMississippi State5 - 76 - 6
SoutheasternS. Carolina6 - 66 - 6
SoutheasternArkansas5 - 75 - 7
SoutheasternMississippi4 - 85 - 7
SoutheasternVanderbilt0 - 122 - 10
Sun BeltFlorida Atlantic10 - 29 - 3
Sun BeltLA-Monroe8 - 47 - 5
Sun BeltArkansas St.7 - 56 - 6
Sun BeltLA-Laf3 - 95 - 7
Sun BeltMid Tenn5 - 74 - 8
Sun BeltNorth Texas2 - 104 - 8
Sun BeltTroy3 - 94 - 8
Sun BeltFla. Int.0 - 121 - 11
Western AthleticBoise State9 - 39 - 3
Western AthleticFresno State11 - 19 - 3
Western AthleticNevada9 - 38 - 4
Western AthleticHawaii7 - 67 - 6
Western AthleticIdaho5 - 75 - 7
Western AthleticNew Mexico State5 - 75 - 7
Western AthleticLouisiana Tech4 - 84 - 8
Western AthleticSan Jose State3 - 94 - 8
Western AthleticUtah State0 - 121 - 11

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