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Next level analysis of 2010 season predictions

Aug 20, 2010, 3:57 PM EDT

I will admit that statistics (and apparently proof-reading) aren’t my strong suit. Back in college, I remember sitting in those large lecture halls in DeBartolo Hall, struggling to work through the thick accent my stats professor had, and between the slide show presentation, the accent, and the 10:40 a.m. start time, I spent more time reading The Observer than trying to absorb everything my TI-83 graphing calculator could do.

But good thing the guys at are here. Because not only did they do a 2010 season prediction poll, they took next level analysis to the next level.

Since they lost me somewhere between standard deviation and Monte Carlo simulation, I’ll let them explain what it is they did:

The primary goal of this exercise is to move beyond simply estimating
a win-loss record. Selecting the percent confidence in a win on a
game-by-game basis is not only much more accurate, it also allows for
some interesting follow-on analyses.

Examining the schedule on a game-by-game basis also illustrates the
difficulty in going undefeated in a 12-game regular season. Even if the
Irish had a 90 percent chance of winning every game, they would still
only have a 28 percent chance of running the table. A 75 percent chance
of winning each game–close to the mean win confidence of the
voters–translates into only a 3.2 percent chance of going undefeated.

The results below aren’t intended to be an exact 2010 season predictor, the guys at Football Outsiders have the corner on that market. Rather, they are intended to represent the expectations of the Irish fan base.

After polling nearly 1,500 people, Anthony Pilcher found that fans ranked USC, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Boston College, and Stanford as the five most difficult game on the schedule. Surprising, considering Utah will most likely be the highest-ranked team the Irish face this year.

More interestingly, while the Irish don’t find themselves ranked in the Top 25 of any major preseason polls like they did last year, the fanbase polled has nearly the exact same high expectations for this season as they did last year. 

Do yourself a favor and take a look at the interesting statistical work done, as I’m sure I’m doing it a disservice. But if I picked up anything from the research, one thing is evident: While the mainstream media may not expect much out of the Irish, it’s clear that the ND Nation hasn’t lowered its expectations.

  1. piratey - Aug 20, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    While Bob Greise said we’d lose every single meaningful game this year, SI basically said the same thing and Herbstreet thought we’d go 3-3 to start, we actually get some love from unexpected places.
    Joining Mark May on the “may win 10 win” bandwagon is Robert Smith. He’s a guy that always came off as smug with ND. Kinda like Ryen Russillo. I think it means more to me when guys I perceived as “haters” during the last 5 years, take to the Irish.
    I think a lot of people are wearing thin on the Notre Dame revival story. They played it with the SI cover in ’02 and the summer of ’06, remember we were ranked #2 before getting smoked by scUM week 2?
    I expect great things and it makes me feel better about that when historical doubters are buying in. Remember May shredding Clausen last year? It boggles the mind to think that if the Irish DO win 10 games this year, Mark May will have been right with everything he said about the Irish in the last 5 years.(Minus why we fired Tyrone of course…)

  2. Art Vandelay - Aug 21, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    The poll is predicting 8.5 wins which is very realistic in my opinion, I was wrestling with 8 or 9. I see 3 losses between the following opponents: Mich, MSU, Stanford, Utah, Pitt and U$C. That would be splitting our toughest 6 games which I think is doable. I just don’t want a letdown to the likes of a Navy or God forbid Army, Western Mich or Tulsa. The problem with ND running the table is that each of our opponents treats their meeting with the Irish like their own Superbowl. The Middies get way up emotionally to play us, that’s why you see some 5’9″ linebacker hurdling our O line to sack Clausen in one of those miserable defeats. They never say die. We, hopefully have some of that attitude creeping back into the program. I do like our chances this year especially since last years team seemed to run out of gas in November. Piratey I agree with you on Mark May…..usually I hate it when he’s right but this year I hope he knows what he’s talking about in predicting 10 wins.

  3. jimbasil - Aug 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Great post Keith. I love this clashmore mike stuff. It really puts fan logic up against facts.

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