Before you say anything, yes, I realize that computer simulations, no matter how many times they are run (50,000 in this particular case), are almost worthless as actual predictive tools. Simulations can only operate on the information they are given, so they suffer the same biases and faults as the people that makes them. I get that. I'm not saying that they are anything more than interesting. I got an email about PredictionMachine.com about their 2012 college football projections and thought you might want to see them.
I happen to find their Big 12 standings, which I'll put below the jump, very interesting indeed. Before we get to that, though, I noticed that it has our old friends at Texas A&M finishing an even 6-6 (this projection does not include bowl games), behind the Missouri Tigers, who are projected to win 6.9 games in their first year in the SEC.
In their projection of the national championship, pundit favorite USC beats Alabama, an eventuality I could easily see actually happening. West Virginia somehow makes the Sugar Bowl after finishing second to Oklahoma in the Big 12, where they lose to SEC runner-up LSU. OU "destroys" Wisconsin in the Fiesta Bowl to (probably) finish second in the polls behind USC. I could see that happening, too, although OU lost a lot of media love lately when they started hemorrhaging offensive linemen.
Check out the Big 12 standings and Baylor's record below the jump:
|Standings||Team||Avg. Wins||Avg. Losses|
|2||West Virginia Mountaineers||9.0||3.0|
|4||Oklahoma State Cowboys||7.7||4.3|
|5||Kansas State Wildcats||7.1||4.9|
|6||Texas Tech Red Raiders||6.7||5.3|
|8||TCU Horned Frogs||5.9||6.1|
|9||Iowa State Cyclones||4.4||7.6|
Four things really jumped out at me here.
- First, there is absolutely no way that Texas Tech finishes this season above Baylor and TCU. I'm not buying that. Texas Tech is going to be awful this season. That's the first disagreement I have with the projections.
- The second is about Texas. I know I'm relatively alone on this, but I don't see a 9-win team without tremendous improvement at QB. And from all accounts, they don't have that. The "SEC model" they are apparently following that stresses a strong running game and excellent defense still needs solid QB play. They have the ingredients for the first two, but nobody knows if David Ash or Case McCoy can work. They won't get to face our 2011 secondary every time out.
- Really surprised to see TCU projected to lose (if only slightly) more games than they win. I'm hardly a Frog homer-- we have a place for those-- but I think they'll probably win 7 games.
- Is it bad that we disagree about the first three things but absolutely agree about Kansas State? It probably is.
To find out a little more about their specific Baylor projection, I looked at what they had for us on their team-by-team preview page:
Power Rank: 31
Offensive Rank: 9
Defensive Rank: 65
Projected Regular Season Record: 6.6 - 5.4
Conference Standing: 7
Projected Bowl: Meineke Car Care
Biggest Strength: Defensive Back Seven
Greatest Weakness: Offensive Turnover
Most Important Offensive Player: Nick Florence
Most Important Defensive Player: Kaeron Johnson
Breakout Candidate: Lache Seastrunk
As excited as I would be for the 65th-ranked defense in CFB, there's a little inconsistency here. The 31st team in the power rankings probably doesn't finish 7-5 (or 6.6-5.4), for one. Also, a team ranked 9th in offense and 65th in defense will win more than 6.6 games. Something else must be going on ... and there it is. They list our "greatest weakness" as offensive turnovers. Nick Florence won't be 2011 RGIII incarnated. But he also won't be Blake Szymanski, either. Unless they actually mean our running backs turn into Fumbalina Wilkerson, I'm not buying turnovers being our biggest issue. Not at all.*
*Just realized that they probably mean offensive turnover as in the departure and replacement of key players. That makes more sense, and in that case, I may agree. I still think our greatest weakness will be on defense, but offensive turnover will certainly be an issue.
I figured out their Texas Tech thing, too. They give them the 5th-ranked offense (no) and 50th-ranked defense (double no). I'm starting the doubt the wisdom of posting this at all now. Oh well.