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Updated BTBS Projections

Week 10 picks are coming up tomorrow, but keeping with the every-other-week timeline, it's time to check in on current BTBS projections for the rest of the season.  Preseason projections have finally completely phased out of the rankings, meaning there have been some pretty decent rises and falls since last time we put on our projecting hat.  And speaking of projections, we'll revisit the preseason projections to who we got exactly right and who we completely whiffed on in the preseason.

UPDATE: the original projections had Baylor beating Tech with home-field advantage.  I forgot the game was in Arlington.  Wiping out the home-field adjustment, Tech now wins.

Big 12

North Division Proj.
Nebraska 6-2 9-4 Cotton
Missouri 5-3 9-3 Sun
Iowa State 4-4 7-5 Texas
Kansas State
3-5 5-7
Kansas 2-6 6-6 Insight
Colorado 1-7 2-10
South Division Proj.
Texas 8-0 13-0 BCS Championship
Oklahoma 6-2 8-4 Holiday
Oklahoma State 5-3 8-4 Alamo
Texas A&M 4-4 7-5 Independence
Texas Tech 4-4 7-5 New Mexico
Baylor 0-8 3-9
  • Nailed It (or almost nailed it): Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska
  • Not so much: Iowa State, Oklahoma
  • I mentioned in the preview piece that "not having an 'All-Americans lost' qualifier instead of just 'starters lost' helps Missouri out quite a bit" and that Missouri probably wasn't going the projected 10-2, but right now, they're still coming close.  If Missouri wins out (and they're still projected to do so), the only game the projections will have missed on Mizzou was the Nebraska Monsoon, which still looks like it will make the difference in the division race.
  • The main thing the projections missed was Iowa State's overachieving, not that anybody else actually predicted that correctly.  Meanwhile, obviously the projections weren't able to predict "OU will get a total of 7 quarters out of Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham combined, and OSU will lose Kendall Hunter to injury and Dez Bryant to Deion Sanders"), so those are pretty excusable misses, I would think.
  • The North is still a complete question mark, but take these projections to mean that it still looks like the teams most likely to take the title are still Missouri and Nebraska; the numbers still have no idea what to do with K-State, who have looked great and terrible on offense, great and terrible on defense, and great and terrible on special teams.  They're absolutely better than they were a month ago, but overall the numbers still don't like them much.


Atlantic Division Proj.
Clemson 6-2 10-3 Orange
Boston College 5-3 8-4 Emerald
Wake Forest 4-4 6-6 Meineke Car Care
Florida State 3-5 5-7
N.C. State 1-7 4-8
Maryland 1-7 2-10
Coastal Division Proj.
Georgia Tech 7-1 11-2 Chick-Fil-A
Miami-FL 6-2 10-2 Gator
Virginia Tech 6-2 9-3 Champs Sports
North Carolina 3-5 7-5 Music City
Duke 3-5 5-7
Virginia 3-5 4-8
  • Nailed It: Clemson, BC, N.C. State, Virginia
  • Not So Much: Florida State, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami, Duke
  • The numbers have been on the Clemson bandwagon since the beginning of the year, and that hasn't changed since the projections have been phased out.  I still have them as the best overall team in the conference, beating Georgia Tech in a rematch in the ACC Championship game.
  • I'm telling you, never bet against BC.  They look horrendous half the year, and their style isn't fun to watch, but they win games, and they will probably continue to do so.  "No Mark Herzlich?  Okay, I guess we'll just have to send a true freshman out there to (maybe) win ACC Defensive Player of the Year, then."
  • So remember when I said "I also think Maryland could sneak into 8-9 wins if things bounce right, but we'll see"?  Remember that?  Neither do I.

Big East

Pittsburgh 6-1 10-2 Orange
Cincinnati 6-1 11-1 Fiesta
West Virginia 5-2 9-3 Meineke Car Care
South Florida 4-3 8-4 St. Petersburg
Connecticut 3-4 6-6 International
Louisville 2-5 5-7
Rutgers 1-6 6-6
Syracuse 1-6 4-8
  • The projections currently have Pittsburgh beating Cincinnati by 1.6 points on December 5 to win the conference title.  Really, that would be a best-case scenario for the conference, as it would probably result in them getting two BCS bids.  The rest of their bowl slate is so god-awful that that's pretty much the only way they can get a bit of the showcase spotlight.
  • Nailed It: West Virginia, South Florida
  • Not So Much: Rutgers, Cincinnati
  • I'm generally considering "Nailed it" to be within one win of what's projected now, while "Not So Much" is within three wins or more.  I was in the ballpark with a lot of these picks, but I nailed very few.  Not that anybody nailed Cincy...
  • Remember when I had Rutgers projected to win big?  Good times.

Big Ten

Iowa 7-1 11-1 Rose
Penn State 7-1 11-1 Sugar
Wisconsin 6-2 10-2 Capital One
Ohio State 6-2 9-3 Outback
Minnesota 4-4 7-5 Champs Sports
Purdue 4-4 5-7
Michigan State 3-5 5-7
Michigan 2-6 6-6 Alamo
Northwestern 2-6 5-7
Illinois 2-6 3-9
Indiana 1-7 4-8
  • Nailed It: Penn State, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana
  • Not So Much: Illinois
  • Pretty much nailed most of this conference.  Ironically, the only team I missed badly was Illinois...and I still had Illinois projected to be worse than most people thought.
  • Pretty interesting situation for the conference here--four teams are projected at either 5-7 or 6-6 now, meaning they could end up with anywhere between five and nine bowl-eligible teams.  The MAC is praying it's five, I'm sure.  As always, the MAC is projected to have about 23 6-6 teams, but that's neither here nor there.

Conference USA

East Division Proj.
East Carolina 6-2 7-6 St. Petersburg
Marshall 5-3 7-5 New Orleans
Central Florida 4-4 6-6 EagleBank
Southern Miss 4-4 6-6
UAB 4-4 4-8
Memphis 2-6 3-9
West Division Proj.
Houston 6-2 11-2 Liberty
SMU 6-2 7-5 Hawaii
Tulsa 5-3 7-5 Armed Forces
UTEP 4-4 5-7
Tulane 2-6 4-8
Rice 0-8 0-12
  • Nailed It: Marshall, UAB, Central Florida, Houston, SMU
  • Not So Much: Southern Miss, East Carolina, Tulsa, UTEP, Rice
  • I officially have no idea what to think of Tulsa anymore.  G.J. Kinne got a concussion, and apparently that's part of the reason for their baffling 14-point loss to SMU, but just seems they should be better than they are.  They're still looking at a bowl bid, but they're not looking like the C-USA favorite anymore, like I had them in August.
  • Nailed the sleeper-ness of Marshall and SMU!
  • Meanwhile, Southern Miss still looks like a decent team, but they haven't gotten the breaks, and East Carolina is shaping up to be one of those "defies what the stats think of them" teams.


Notre Dame
-- 9-3 Gator
Navy -- 8-5 Texas
Army -- 3-9
  • Here's what I said about Notre Dame in the preview: "A hair better than projected, and they shoot straight to 10-2 or 11-1.  A hair worse, and the Charlie Weis Era ends at 3-9 or 4-8."  Right now, they're looking a hair better than projected, but not much.  They still have two games (Pittsburgh and Stanford) projected within four points and all four remaining games within 11 points.  They could still be looking at either 7-5 or 10-2 when all is said and done.  Kudos to them for figuring out ways to win despite the loss of Michael Floyd.  And kudos to their fans for surviving SIX STRAIGHT GAMES DECIDED BY A TOUCHDOWN OR LESS.  If they were four points worse this season, they'd be 3-5 right now; four points better, and they'd be 7-1.


East Division Proj.
Temple 7-1 9-4 EagleBank
Ohio 6-2 8-4 GMAC
Bowling Green 5-3 6-6
Kent State 5-3 6-6
Buffalo 3-5 5-7
Akron 2-6 3-9
Miami-OH 2-6 2-10
West Division Proj.
Central Michigan 8-0 11-2 Pizza! Pizza!
Northern Illinois 5-3 7-5 International
Western Michigan 5-3 6-6
Toledo 3-5 5-7
Ball State 1-7 1-11
Eastern Michigan 0-8 1-11
  • Nailed It: Bowling Green, Ohio, Miami-OH, Northern Illinois, Toledo,
  • Not So Much: Akron, Temple, Buffalo, Ball State, Eastern Michigan
  • The talent level in this conference is so close that it's hard to avoid missing badly on some teams...and miss I did.  Granted, I got a lot right too, but still.  Buffalo's another "defies the stats" team, while Temple was really close to a high projection but didn't quite manage it.
  • No matter what, thank you to the MAC for always producing enough 6-6 teams that all of the bowls will be able to fill all of their slots.

Mountain West

TCU 8-0 12-0 Fiesta
BYU 7-1 10-2 Las Vegas
Utah 6-2 9-3 Poinsettia
Air Force 5-3 7-5 Humanitarian
Colorado State 3-5 6-6 Armed Forces
San Diego State 3-5 5-7
UNLV 2-6 4-8
Wyoming 2-6 4-8
New Mexico 0-8 0-12
  • Nailed It: TCU, BYU, Utah, Colorado State, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming
  • Not So Much: New Mexico
  • Overall, this was probably my best set of picks.  The top three teams are all looking at exactly the record projected for them in August, and the only real miss was "New Mexico is going to be worse than you could possibly imagine."
  • Right now, I have TCU sneaking past Boise State for the Fiesta Bowl bid.  Poor Boise is being forgotten, I think, and at least TCU still has Utah on the schedule for one more reasonably-sized game.


Oregon 9-0 11-1 Rose
USC 7-2 10-2 Holiday
Arizona 6-3 7-5 Sun
Oregon State 5-4 6-6 Poinsettia
Stanford 5-4 6-6 Emerald
California 4-5 7-5 Las Vegas
Washington 4-5 5-7
UCLA 3-6 6-6 Insight
Arizona State 2-7 4-8
Washington State 0-9 1-11
  • Nailed It: Oregon, USC, Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, Washington State
  • Not So Much: Oregon State, California, Washington
  • Another lovely set of picks.  Oregon State and Cal have both underachieved a bit but can still turn things around at least somewhat.  Meanwhile Washington has clearly achieved at a higher level than expected.  Still, though, you have to say this much: the projections CRUSHED it on the Oregon projection.  Am very happy with that one.


East Division Proj.
Florida 8-0 13-0 BCS Championship
Tennessee 5-3 8-4 Capital One
Georgia 5-3 7-5 Outback
South Carolina 3-5 6-6 Liberty
Kentucky 2-6 6-6
Vanderbilt 0-8 2-10
West Division Proj.
Alabama 8-0 12-1 Sugar
Arkansas 4-4 8-4 Chick-Fil-A
LSU 4-4 8-4 Cotton
Auburn 3-5 7-5 Music City
Ole Miss 3-5 7-5 Independence
Mississippi State 3-5 5-7
  • Nailed It: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss
  • Not So Much: Georgia, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • Allow me a little bit of a chest-pound here.  Nailing Florida and Alabama was relatively easy, but Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, and Ole Miss?  There was pretty high degree of difficulty there.  Looks like I overstated Georgia's and Vanderbilt's potential and didn't account for Mississippi State being as salty as they are, but otherwise I'm really happy with how this has turned out.

Sun Belt

Troy 8-0 9-3 New Orleans
Middle Tennessee 7-1 9-3 GMAC
Florida Atlantic 5-3 6-6
UL-Monroe 5-3 6-6
Arkansas State 3-5 4-8
Florida International 3-5 3-9
North Texas 2-6 4-8
UL-Lafayette 2-6 4-8
Western Kentucky 1-7 1-11
  • Nailed It: Troy, Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State, Florida International
  • Not So Much: North Texas
  • Another nice set of picks.  Todd Dodge's Mean Green are also saltier than expected, but otherwise this was pretty much dead on.  Hooray!


Boise State
8-0 13-0 Pizza! Pizza!
Fresno State 6-2 8-4 Hawaii
Nevada 6-2 7-5 New Mexico
Idaho 5-3 8-4 Humanitarian
Louisiana Tech 3-5 4-8
San Jose State 3-5 4-8
Hawaii 2-6 5-8
Utah State 2-6 3-9
New Mexico State 1-7 3-10
  • With Boise missing out on the BCS bowls, I looked for the most appealing spot for them to pull what they did last year in the Poinsettia Bowl--finding another big-time matchup through at-large bids.  There were really none coming about, unless they wanted to take on a 6-6 major conference team like Texas Tech or UCLA, so I paired them with the class of the MAC, Central Michigan, in Detroit.  Not as exciting as last year's Boise-TCU game, but fun nonetheless.
  • Nailed It: Boise State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, New Mexico State
  • Not So Much: Nevada, Hawaii, Idaho
  • Nevada struggled much more in the early going than expected, though they seem to be figuring things out now.  Meanwhile, Idaho was projected to be TERRIBLE, so power to them for proving me wrong by about eight games.

In all, I do have to be happy with the way things have turned out so far, especially considering that this was my first stab at projections.  I'm looking at a much broader base of data for next year (should have full play-by-play for 2004-2009), which in theory makes for more accurate projections.  Either way, though, color me satisfied.

Bowl Projections

I'm bolding the awesomely fantastic matchups, italicizing the awful ones.

Date Bowl Tie-ins Matchup
12/19 New Mexico MWC vs WAC Nevada (7-5) vs Texas Tech (6-6)
12/19 St. Petersburg Big East vs C-USA South Florida (8-4) vs East Carolina (7-6)
12/20 New Orleans C-USA vs Sun Belt #1 Troy (9-3) vs Marshall (7-5)
12/22 Las Vegas MWC #1 vs Pac-10 BYU (10-2) vs California (7-5)
12/23 Poinsettia MWC vs Pac-10 #6 Utah (9-3) vs Oregon State (6-6)
12/24 Hawaii C-USA vs WAC Fresno State (8-4) vs SMU (7-5)
12/26 Little Caesar's Pizza! Pizza!
Big Ten #7 vs MAC Boise State (13-0) vs Central Michigan (11-2)
12/26 Meineke Car Care ACC #5-7 vs Big East #3 West Virginia (9-3) vs Wake Forest (6-6)
12/26 Emerald ACC #5-7 vs Pac-10 Boston College (8-4) vs Stanford (6-6)
12/27 Music City ACC #5-7 vs SEC
Auburn (7-5) vs North Carolina (7-5)
12/28 Independence Big 12 vs SEC Ole Miss (7-5) vs Texas A&M (7-5)
12/29 EagleBank ACC #8 vs Army Temple (9-4) vs Central Florida (6-6)
12/29 Champs Sports ACC #4 vs Big Ten #4-5 Virginia Tech (9-3) vs Minnesota (7-5)
12/30 Humanitarian MWC vs WAC Idaho (8-4) vs Air Force (7-5)
12/30 Holiday Big 12 #3 vs Pac-10 #2 USC (10-2) vs Oklahoma (8-4)
12/30 Texas Big 12 #8 vs Navy Navy (8-5) vs Iowa State (7-5)
12/31 Armed Forces C-USA vs MWC Tulsa (7-5) vs Colorado State (6-6)
12/31 Sun Big 12 vs Pac-10 #3 Missouri (9-3) vs Arizona (7-5)
12/31 Insight Big Ten #6 vs Big 12 #6 Kansas (6-6) vs UCLA (6-6)
12/31 Chick-Fil-A ACC #2 vs SEC Georgia Tech (11-2) vs Arkansas (8-4)
1/1 Outback Big Ten #3 vs SEC Ohio State (9-3) vs Georgia (7-5)
1/1 Capital One Big Ten #2 vs SEC Wisconsin (10-2) vs Tennessee (8-4)
1/1 Gator ACC #3 vs Big East/ND Miami-FL (10-2) vs Notre Dame (9-3)
1/1 Rose BCS vs BCS Iowa (11-1) vs Oregon (11-1)
1/1 Sugar BCS vs BCS Alabama (12-1) vs Penn State (11-1)
1/2 International Big East vs MAC Northern Illinois (7-5) vs UConn (6-6)
1/2 Big East vs SEC Kentucky (6-6) vs Southern Miss (6-6)
1/2 Cotton Big 12 #2 vs SEC Nebraska (9-4) vs LSU (8-4)
1/2 Liberty C-USA #1 vs SEC Houston (11-2) vs South Carolina (6-6)
1/2 Alamo Big Ten #4-5 vs Big 12 #5 Oklahoma State (8-4) vs Michigan (6-6)
1/4 Fiesta BCS vs BCS TCU (12-0) vs Cincinnati (11-1)
1/5 Orange BCS vs BCS Pittsburgh (10-2) vs Clemson (10-3)
1/6 GMAC ACC #9 vs MAC Middle Tennessee (9-3) vs Ohio (8-4)
1/7 BCS Championship BCS #1 vs BCS #2
Florida (13-0) vs Texas (13-0)
  • Seriously, some FANTASTIC matchups here.

    -- Best New Mexico Bowl ever.
    -- Boise/CMU really could be fun, though I think Boise would end up winning by 21.
    -- Temple's going bowling!!!
    -- USC-Oklahoma!
    -- Missouri-Arizona could be underrated simply because I'm not sure people realize how well Arizona is playing.
    -- Georgia Tech-Arkansas would pit the S&P+'s two favorite offensive teams.
    -- Miami-Notre Dame!!
    -- Iowa-Oregon would be an interesting contrast, to say the least.
    -- Alabama-PSU might not be exciting football, but it would be awesome to see them on the same field, especially at the Sugar Bowl, where they played one of the best games of all-time 31 years ago.
    -- TCU-Cincy would be a fun matchup of good defensive teams with underrated offenses.

  • Minimal awful matchups, really, though you couldn't pay me to watch much of either Ohio State-Georgia or Wisconsin-Tennessee, especially if Miami-Notre Dame was on around the same time.
  • The Big East really needs a better set of bowl affiliations...guess they've already worked their way toward that for next year.