So, because I was bored at work today and I enjoy statistical analysis, I decided to run the numbers using ESPN’s FPI winning percentage.
If we use the FPI percentage odds of winning each Pac 12 game, we can deduce what each team’s percentage of winning a certain number of games is as well as their odds to win the Pac 12 South.
Here’s what I found:
CU has the following percentage chances of achieving the following Pac-12 records:
This gives the Buffs a 94% chance of ending up with an 8-4 record or better. Wow. I didn’t think I’d ever type that.
The most probable final Pac12 records for the other teams are included below too:
Utah: 6-3 40.5% chance of happening
USC: 6-3 40.4% chance of happening
ASU: 3-6 40.3% chance of happening
UCLA: 3-6 42.1% chance of happening
Ariz.: 2-7 36.9% chance of happening
Using all of these probabilities, you can create scenarios by which each team can clinch the Pac 12 South and see the likelihood of such a scenario playing out. Here are the % chances of each team winning the Pac 12 South:
Arizona St, UCLA, or Arizona winning the South: 0.01% combined
The reason this doesn’t add up to 100% exactly is that there exists a couple scenarios where a 3-way tiebreaker would be used. In the 3.29% chance that a 3-team tie atop the division exists, the first tiebreaker would be head-to-head record amongst the 3 teams. The second tiebreaker would be Pac12 South record, and the third would be record against the highest remaining team in the division (4th place) and then the next (5th) and then last place (6th). Further tiebreakers would be record against common opponents in the North, which the only one being Oregon. Finally, the 5th tiebreaker is CFP ranking. This all means that if CU loses to Utah, Utah would have the tiebreaker amongst CU, USC and Utah. But, if CU beats Utah, then all hell breaks loose in the event of a tie.
I’ll summarize all that nerd stuffs with the following hypothetical.
Let’s say I’m thinking of a specific day of the week and I give you 5 chances to guess what day I’m thinking of. You’re probably pretty confident that you can guess the day correctly, right? The Buffs have a better chance of making the Pac 12 Championship game than you do of guessing the day correctly.