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Projecting Every SEC Game in 2017

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David Morrison’s guaranteed predictions for every SEC game in 2017.

Missouri v South Carolina
Does this look like the face of a man who’s ready to go 6-6 in 2017?
Photo by Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

It’s easy to predict the games on a week-by-week basis. You know, using things like what has happened so far that season, how one team is matching up with another, any particularly devastating injuries and the like.

But that method of prediction is, as the kids say, for the birds. [Editor’s note: The kids no longer say this.]

Real men — manly men, ones who use power tools, don’t ask for directions and only eat bleeding red meat at all times — get all this predicting business out of the way before the season starts.

I am one of those aforementioned manly men.

From 2013-15, whilst patrolling the Missouri football beat, I predicted every single SEC game in all three seasons before the seasons started.

In 2013, I was 83-29, 35-21 SEC. In 2014: 79-32, 30-26. In 2015: 80-31, 34-22.

Overall, that’s a 242-92 record, with a 99-69 mark in the SEC. Win percentages of .725 and .589. At Missouri, Gary Pinkel only had a line of .618 and .525, so COME AT ME BRO!!!

Sorry, don’t know what got into me there...

Anyway, after a one-year hiatus, I decided to do it again this year.

The methodology is kind of stupid. But I like it, and that’s all that matters. It’s explained at the bottom of this post.


Let’s get to the projections:

West

1. Alabama -- 12-0, 8-0
2. Auburn — 9-3, 6-2
3. LSU — 8-4, 4-4
4. Arkansas -- 7-5, 4-4
5. Ole Miss — 7-5, 3-5
6. Texas A&M — 7-5, 3-5
7. Mississippi State — 5-7, 2-6

East

1. Florida — 10-2, 7-1
2. Georgia — 8-4, 5-3
3. Kentucky — 7-5, 4-4
4. South Carolina — 5-7, 3-5
5. Tennessee — 7-5, 3-5
6. Vanderbilt — 4-8, 2-6
7. Missouri — 6-6, 2-6


So...good news and bad news.

The good news is the model likes Missouri to make a bowl. The bad news is, by virtue of an expected loss to Vanderbilt, the Tigers would also finish last in the SEC East.

The model has Missouri’s season playing out thusly:

Missouri (6-6, 2-6)

vs. Missouri State -- W
vs. South Carolina — W
vs. Purdue -- W
vs. Auburn — L
at Kentucky — L
at Georgia — L
vs. Idaho — W
at Connecticut — W
vs. Florida — L
vs. Tennessee — W
at Vanderbilt — L
at Arkansas — L

Full disclosure here, and this is going to jibe with the prediction I made on the season preview podcast as well. This is actually pretty close to how I think Missouri’s season is going to go. I see wins over South Carolina and Tennessee and I also see five of those losses happening. The only game in which I and the model differ is Arkansas. I see Missouri winning that and finishing 7-5, 3-5.

But here’s the good news, Missouri fans. If I’ve been right 72.5 percent of the time (and 58.9 percent in conference) using this method over three seasons, that also means I’ve been wrong 27.5 percent of the time and 41.1 percent in conference.

If we apply that average rate of wrongness on top of Missouri’s projections, it comes out to 7.65 wins overall and 2.82 wins in the SEC. Or 8-4, 3-5...which is impossible so let’s just fudge it and round up to 8-4, 4-4.

That also falls in with what I’ve been thinking: that the 2017 Missouri Tigers will end up between 6-6 and 8-4.

But, for officially official’s sake, since I’ve tethered my life to numbers, I’m predicting 6-6, 2-6. And you can make fun of me when they go 12-0, 8-0.


Speaking of making fun of me, let’s go through all of the SEC teams, game by game, so you can follow along during the season and see how wrong I am.

Or...how right?

West

Alabama (12-0, 8-0)

vs. Florida State (in Atlanta) — W
vs. Fresno State — W
vs. Colorado State — W
at Vanderbilt — W
vs. Ole Miss — W
at Texas A&M — W
vs. Arkansas -- W
vs. Tennessee — W
vs. LSU -- W
at Mississippi State — W
vs. Mercer — W
at Auburn -- W

Auburn (9-3, 6-2)

vs. Georgia Southern — W
at Clemson — L
vs. Mercer — W
at Missouri — W
vs. Mississippi State — W
vs. Ole Miss — W
at LSU — W
at Arkansas — W
at Texas A&M — W
vs. Georgia — L
vs. ULM -- W
vs. Alabama — L

LSU (8-4, 4-4)

vs. BYU (in Houston) — W
vs. Chattanooga — W
at Mississippi State — W
vs. Syracuse -- W
vs. Troy — W
at Florida — L
vs. Auburn -- L
at Ole Miss — W
at Alabama — L
vs. Arkansas — W
at Tennessee — L
vs. Texas A&M — W

Arkansas (7-5, 4-4)

vs. FAMU — W
vs. TCU — L
vs. Texas A&M (in Arlington, Tx.) — L
vs. New Mexico State — W
at South Carolina — W
at Alabama — L
vs. Auburn — L
at Ole Miss -- W
vs. Coastal Carolina — W
at LSU — L
vs. Mississippi State — W
vs. Missouri — W

Ole Miss (7-5, 3-5)

vs. South Alabama -- W
vs. UT Martin -- W
at California — W
at Alabama — L
at Auburn -- L
vs. Vanderbilt — W
vs. LSU -- L
vs. Arkansas — L
at Kentucky — W
vs. UL Lafayette — W
vs. Texas A&M — W
at Mississippi State — L

Texas A&M (7-5, 3-5)

at UCLA — W
vs. Nicholls State -- W
vs. UL Lafayette -- W
vs. Arkansas (in Arlington, Tx.) — W
vs. South Carolina — W
vs. Alabama — L
at Florida — L
vs. Mississippi State — W
vs. Auburn — L
vs. New Mexico — W
at Ole Miss -- L
at LSU — L

Mississippi State (5-7, 2-6)

vs. Charleston Southern — W
at Louisiana Tech — W
vs. LSU — L
at Georgia — L
at Auburn — L
vs. BYU — L
vs. Kentucky -- W
at Texas A&M — L
vs. Massachusetts — W
vs. Alabama — L
at Arkansas -- L
vs. Ole Miss -- W

—————

East

Florida (10-2, 7-1)

vs. Michigan (at Arlington, Tx.) — W
vs. Northern Colorado — W
vs. Tennessee — W
at Kentucky — L
vs. Vanderbilt — W
vs. LSU — W
vs. Texas A&M — W
vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville, Fla.) — W
at Missouri -- W
at South Carolina — W
vs. UAB — W
vs. Florida State — L

Georgia (8-4, 5-3)

vs. Appalachian State -- W
at Notre Dame — L
vs. Samford -- W
vs. Mississippi State — W
at Tennessee — W
at Vanderbilt — W
vs. Missouri -- W
vs. Florida (in Jacksonville, Fla.) — L
vs. South Carolina — L
at Auburn — W
vs. Kentucky — L
at Georgia Tech — W

Kentucky (7-5, 4-4)

at Southern Miss — W
vs. Eastern Kentucky — W
at South Carolina — W
vs. Florida — W
vs. Eastern Michigan — W
at Missouri — W
at Mississippi State — L
vs. Tennessee — L
vs. Ole Miss — L
at Vanderbilt — L
at Georgia -- W
vs. Louisville — L

South Carolina (5-7, 3-5)

vs. NC State (in Charlotte, N.C.) -- L
at Missouri -- L
vs. Kentucky — L
vs. Louisiana Tech — W
at Texas A&M — L
vs. Arkansas — L
at Tennessee — W
vs. Vanderbilt — W
at Georgia — W
vs. Florida — L
vs. Wofford — W
vs. Clemson — L

Tennessee (7-5, 3-5)

vs. Georgia Tech (in Atlanta) — W
vs. Indiana State -- W
at Florida -- L
vs. Massachusetts — W
vs. Georgia — L
vs. South Carolina — L
at Alabama — L
at Kentucky -- W
vs. Southern Miss — W
at Missouri — L
vs. LSU — W
vs. Vanderbilt — W

Vanderbilt (4-8, 2-6)

at Middle Tennessee — W
vs. Alabama A&M — W
vs. Kansas State — L
vs. Alabama — L
at Florida — L
vs. Georgia -- L
at Ole Miss — L
at South Carolina — L
vs. Western Kentucky — L
vs. Kentucky — W
vs. Missouri — W
at Tennessee — L


And now, if you’ve been with me this long and are a true glutton for punishment, here are the two models and their consensus laid out, both in messy and clean form:


METHODOLOGY:

I take the always dispensable Phil Steele guide. I project how many times each team will face each betting line condition during their conference and non-conference slates on the season (home favorite, home underdog, road favorite, road underdog, etc.).

Then I see each team’s success in all of those conditions over the past five years -- weighting for recency — and plot out how many expected wins the team will have for each condition.

For example, with Missouri in the SEC, I predict the Tigers will be home underdogs four times, road favorite once and road dogs three times. Based on weighted win percentages in each of those conditions over the past five years, I’d expect 1.6 wins in four home dog games, .333 of a win in the road favorite game and 1.05 wins in the three road dog games.

Or 2.983 SEC wins overall.

That was the first model.

For the second model, I took each team’s expected win percentage in non-conference and conference games over the past five years (games favored in divided by total games) weighted it for recency and saw how much the teams tended to over- or underperform its expected win percentage.

Then, I applied it to how many games I expected the teams to be favored in this year.

So for example, with Missouri, I expect them to be favored in one of eight SEC games this year, or 12.5 percent of the games. The Tigers weighted average over the past five years is overperforming by 9.26 percentage points, so that would mean winning 21.8 percent of its SEC games. Or 1.74 SEC wins.

Then I took the two models and mushed them together for a final projection. Then I started with the best projected conference record and worked all the way down the worst assigning the most likely losses given each team’s success rate in those more specialized fave/dog conditions I mentioned earlier.

Get it? No? I don’t blame you.