Next level analysis of 2010 season predictions


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.