For the fifth year now, I have applied a score projection formula to the bowl season.
In 2010, it went 23-12 straight up and 19-14-2 against the spread. In 2011, it went 22-13 straight up and 20-14-1 against the spread. In 2012, it went 24-11 straight up and 19-14-2 against the spread. Last year it took a dive, going 16-19 straight up and 15-19-1 against the spread. In total, that's 85-55 (.607) straight up and 73-61-6 against the spread (.542).
You can see how it works by following the link in the first paragraph up there, but it's basically a way to predict games based on points score and points allowed with a fairly crude adjustment for opponent. I've attempted to fancy it up to make it less crude over the years, but I've found that the simpler method always wins. Go figure.
As with last year, I am making these projections my entry into the Yahoo! bowl pick 'em group (don't delay, join today!). The contest doesn't use point spreads, but it does use confidence points. To deal with that, I lined the games up by margin of victory and gave the most confidence points to the largest projected MOV and went on down. See if your judgment is better than that of a systems administrator's dodgy math work.
The way to read this table is that the "Projection" column covers the games straight up and the "Pick" column covers the games against the spread. In the latter, I like to put "Team + points" to emphasize when the system picks an underdog. There is no special meaning beyond that. The colors, as they appear, will be self explanatory. The spreads are the consensus lines as reported here, and they reflect the lines as of the afternoon of December 19 when I finished the projections and got to doing this writeup.
|New Orleans||Nevada vs. UL-Lafayette||Nevada -1||UL-L 33-29||UL-L + points|
|New Mexico||Utah State vs. UTEP||USU -10||USU 26-19||UTEP + points|
|Las Vegas||Utah vs. Colorado State||Utah -3||CSU 32-24||CSU + points|
|Potato||Western Michigan vs. Air Force||WMU -1||AFA 28.06-27.86||AFA + points|
|Camellia||South Alabama vs. Bowling Green||USA -2.5||USA 29-25||USA|
|Miami Beach||BYU vs. Memphis||Memphis -2||Memphis 32-27||Memphis|
|Boca Raton||Marshall vs. Northern Illinois||MAR -10||MAR 42-23||Marshall|
|Poinsettia||Navy vs. San Diego State||SDSU -2.5||Navy 25-23||Navy + points|
|Bahamas||Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky||WKU -3||WKU 40-35||WKU|
|Hawaii||Fresno State vs. Rice||Rice -2||Rice 33-28||Rice|
|Heart of Dallas||Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech||LA Tech -6||LA Tech 43-23||LA Tech|
|Quick Lane||Rutgers vs. North Carolina||UNC -3||UNC 37-36||Rutgers + points|
|St. Petersburg||North Carolina State vs. UCF||UCF -2||UCF 29-23||UCF|
|Military||Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech||UC -3||UC 28-23||Cincinnati|
|Sun||Arizona State vs. Duke||ASU -7.5||ASU 31-30||Duke + points|
|Independence||Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina||UM -4||UM 35-30||Miami (FL)|
|Pinstripe||Boston College vs. Penn State||BC -2.5||BC 17-11||BC|
|Holiday||Nebraska vs. USC||USC -6.5||NU 32-31||NU + points|
|Liberty||Texas A&M vs. West Virginia||WVU -3.5||WVU 33-31||TAMU + points|
|Russell Athletic||Oklahoma vs. Clemson||OU -3||OU 28-21||OU|
|Texas||Arkansas vs. Texas||ARK -6||ARK 23-13||Arkansas|
|Music City||Notre Dame vs. LSU||LSU -7||LSU 28-22||ND + points|
|Belk||Georgia vs. Louisville||UGA -6.5||UGA 36-23||UGA|
|Foster Farms||Maryland vs. Stanford||STAN -14||STAN 26-16||UMD + points|
|Peach||Ole Miss vs. TCU||TCU -3||TCU 31-23||TCU|
|Fiesta||Boise State vs. Arizona||UA -3||BSU 37-33||BSU + points|
|Orange||Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech||MSU -7||MSU 34-30||GT + points|
|Outback||Auburn vs. Wisconsin||AU -6.5||UW 33-32||UW + points|
|Cotton||Michigan State vs. Baylor||BAY -2.5||MSU 41-38||MSU + points|
|Citrus||Missouri vs. Minnesota||MIZ -5||MIZ 26-17||Missouri|
|Rose||Florida State vs. Oregon||ORE -9||ORE 41-30||Oregon|
|Sugar||Ohio State vs. Alabama||BAMA -9.5||OSU 35-31||OSU + points|
|Armed Forces||Houston vs. Pittsburgh||PITT -3||HOU 28-26||HOU + points|
|TaxSlayer||Iowa vs. Tennessee||UT -3.5||UT 24-23||Iowa + points|
|Alamo||Kansas State vs. UCLA||UCLA -2||KSU 31-26||KSU + points|
|Cactus||Washington vs. Oklahoma State||UW -5.5||UW 30-10||UW|
|Birmingham||East Carolina vs. Florida||UF -7||UF 31-30||ECU + points|
|GoDaddy||Toledo vs. Arkansas State||TOL -3.5||ASU 38-34||ASU + points|
|National Championship||Ohio State vs. Oregon||ORE -7||OSU 39.53-39.46||OSU + points|
The projections see the 12 SEC teams in the bowls going 7-5 collectively. The biggest upset among them is Ohio State beating Alabama outright, though I will add a caveat there. I know this formula doesn't account very well for teams that run up the score regularly, and the Buckeyes did that whenever they could. Also, Auburn's loss to Wisconsin is basically a dead heat with a .23 difference in the projected scores. We'll see how it goes. Last year, the formula picked a 5-5 record for the conference, and it ended up going 7-3.