Predict: College football champion 2013 season

2013-12-04   → Return to “Predict” page

Playing in and winning
the BCS title game for five teams

Note: After the odds table at the bottom was posted, Missouri has moved from as much as a 2.5-point underdog to pick-em or a 1-point favorite. Therefore, Missouri’s title game and national championship chances are a bit better than the original projections (which were mathematical calculations, based on the money lines) and Auburn’s are a bit worse.

Only five teams have a chance of winning the national championship for the 2013/2014 season: Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, and Missouri. Nobody else can “sneak in” this year. Here’s why.

Missouri plays Auburn Saturday for the SEC title. One team will have to win. Whichever it is will definitely remain above any sixth place or lower ranked team. Alabama is ranked fourth and doesn’t play. It can’t fall below any team ranked sixth or lower. So, no matter what, the national title game will be between two teams currently ranked in the top five.

There’s no such thing this year as all top five teams miraculously losing, because two play each other and one doesn’t play at all. Below is who plays whom and the chances of each of the teams winning its game.

The games

FLORIDA STATE (12-0 / #1 BCS) is a 29 point favorite against Duke (#20 BCS). Its chances of winning are 98.2 percent.

OHIO STATE (12-0 / #2 BCS) is a 5.5 point favorite against Michigan State (#10 BCS). Its chances of winning are 67 percent.

AUBURN (11-1 / #3 BCS) is a 2 or 2.5 point favorite against Missouri (#5 BCS). Its chances of winning are 54.5 percent.

ALABAMA (11-1 / #4 BCS) doesn’t play, having been upset last Saturday when a missed field goal by Alabama was returned from the end zone with no time remaining. It was among the most riveting endings to a game with major importance in college football history. But, I’m getting sidetracked.

MISSOURI (11-1 / #5 BCS) is a 2 or 2.5 point underdog against Auburn (#3 BCS). Its chances of winning are 45.5 percent.

Figuring it out

So there you have your five contenders. Now, let’s apply some logic.

Florida State will play in the national championship game if it wins. It has faint hopes if it loses.

Ohio State will probably play in the national championship game if it wins, but if it only wins on the scoreboard and Michigan State looks superior on the field, there’s a slim chance it could be unseated by Auburn — provided the Tigers look powerful in victory.

Auburn must beat Missouri to be in the championship game. Then they must hope that either Florida State or Ohio State loses or that Ohio State wins in pitiful fashion.

Alabama absolutely will go to the championship game if both Florida State and Ohio State lose. Otherwise, they almost certainly won’t, because whichever team that remains undefeated (Florida State or Ohio State) will play the winner of the Auburn vs. Missouri game.

Now I’ll apply some math and make some minor “Brain Trust” adjustments and give you the answers.

Team In title game Wins national
Florida State 98.7%
76 to 1 in favor
1.97 to 1 in favor
Ohio State 66.5%
2 to 1 in favor
4 to 1 against
Auburn 19.1%
4.2 to 1 against
10.9 to 1 against
Alabama 0.60%
166 to 1 against
262 to 1 against
Missouri 15.1%
5.5 to 1 against
19.3 to 1 against

For me, what’s most surprising about the table above is that Missouri still has about one chance in 20 of being national champions (and more than a 15 percent chance of being in the championship game).

— MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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