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Syracuse Football: Football Computers Predict One More Win

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Where's the booze at?

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

For those that are meteorologists in the Land of Smiles and Puppy Belly Rubs: You may want to reasses your partly gumdrops forecast -- FPI, S&P+, and the Massey Ratings give Syracuse about a 0% chance of going undefeated in its final six games of 2015. A miracle turnaround of epic proportions is basically impossible.

For those that are meteorologists in the Land of Everything Smells Like Urine: Your forecast of infinite days of having skin removed with nail clippers is probably a little aggressive -- FPI, S&P+, and the Massey Ratings give Syracuse about a 21% chance of going winless in its last half-dozen dates of the season. Those probabilities are unnerving, but a Monte Carlo simulation alleviates some worries about crashing through Thanksgiving.

This, however, doesn't mean that football computers are predicting some kind of .500 finish for the Orange. In fact, the three measures that have been cataloged each week from a projected win-loss standpoint are only expecting Syracuse to collar one more victory over the next two months. If anything, the projection outcome for Syracuse at this point in the year highlights just how important the losses to South Florida and Virginia were, the two defeats potentially foreclosing an avenue to a bowl game this winter.

As usual, accept, ignore, or process the following information as your brain sees fit. The usual disclaimers apply.

THE ROAD TO SIX WINS (ACCORDING TO FOOTBALL COMPUTERS)
DATE OPPONENT MASSEY W% MASSEY PROJ. S&P+ W% S&P+ PROJ. FPI W% SAGARIN SPREAD
Oct-24 Pittsburgh 25% 24-33 40% 25-29 29% +10.44
Oct-31 at Florida State 6% 17-41 11% 18-39 6% +24.35
Nov-7 at Louisville 16% 21-35 23% 21-33 16% +14.20
Nov-14 Clemson 8% 17-38 10% 15-38 11% +21.05
Nov-21 at N.C. State 26% 27-35 23% 21-34 15% +11.07
Nov-28 Boston College 46% 21-24 32% 16-24 49% +0.26

Some brief thoughts on this:

  • The 6.5-point spread for Pittsburgh seems fair. It'll be interesting to see where that line goes, if it goes anywhere. The Orange are a 'dog and are deservedly getting points in its building. The idea that Syracuse "should" win this Saturday is a stretch, although it's not ridiculous to believe that the Orange can keep it close and potentially bag an upset.
  • The Florida State-Louisville-Clemson stretch is still going to be brutal and will likely bring out the most insane and incensed. The Cards are the weakest of the trio, but every examined ratings measure reflects Syracuse looking up at Louisville. As far as stanches go, N.C. State looks like a stronger option (and even that looks ugly and crooked).
  • WE'RE COMING FOR YOU B.C. AND WE'RE ARMED WITH VERY DANGEROUS BRICKS THAT WE MAY OR MAY NOT TEST BY SLAMMING THEM INTO OUR OWN SKULLS FIRST!

Here's a win-loss projection table from three football computers:

PROJECTED RECORD (ACCORDING TO FOOTBALL COMPUTERS)
MASSEY S&P+ FPI
Projected Record 4.27-7.73 4.39-7.61 4.3-7.7

The Massey Ratings' Monte Carlo simulation tool -- it's neat! -- illustrates maximum odds between two and zero wins the rest of the way: 0 -- 23.48%; 1 -- 38.89%; and 2 -- 26.40%. So, the Orange have about the same probability of going winless to end the season as it does to find two wins somewhere in its last six. This is not maximum butt, but it is still butt.

As for how football computers changed their outlook on the Orange after whatever-the-hell-happened-on-Saturday, here are the changes from last week:

CHANGE FROM LAST WEEK
DATE OPPONENT MASSEY W% MASSEY MARG. S&P+ W% S&P+ MARG. FPI W% SAGARIN SPREAD
Oct-24 Pittsburgh -1% -1 -11% -4 -2% +2.17
Oct-31 at Florida State -1% -2 -2% -2 -1% +3.40
Nov-7 at Louisville +4% +4 +3% +3 +2% -1.72
Nov-14 Clemson -1% 0 -3% -3 +1% +1.22
Nov-21 at N.C. State +3% +2 -10% -6 +1% -1.50
Nov-28 Boston College +4% 0 -20% -9 -1% -0.15
MASSEY W MASSEY L S&P+ W S&P+ L FPI W FPI L
Projected Record -0.24 +0.24 -0.9 +0.9 -0.4 +0.4

Some brief thoughts on this:

  • Just a housekeeping note: Bill C's S&P+ projections from last week were off and some of the change from last week to this week -- in this particular table -- are reflective of that. So, don't totally freak out.
  • Louisville is tracking toward Syracuse, but the Orange need to up its output or have the Cards regress for the predicted outcome to start really swinging toward a position where Syracuse can feel better about its odds. That game, along with N.C. State, is something to keep an eye on, even if the Orange are looking up at Louisville at the moment.
  • If there's any hope for six wins based on the tracking from last week to this week, it likely lies in somehow dropping the Cardinals on the road and creating some internal momentum around Thanksgiving against the Wolfpack and Eagles. Those are the games of merit at the moment, assuming Pitts beats Syracuse for the 10th time in its last 11 tries.