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Twiddling the thumbs, doing some math

Sorry for the hiatus...took a couple days to digest the Hog. (I'd insert a picture of the Golden Boot here, to gloat and all, but damned if there isn't a single picture of the thing floating around the 'Net. Google images pulls up a thumbnail that you can't connect to. Someone with access to the trophy room fix this while we own the series.)

So it seems fellow Tiger fans think Les deserves a B for this season. I won't argue with that; that was my vote as well. It was borderline D through 6 games, and the mark improved dramatically since then with wins at Tennessee and Arkansas.

Tiger fans have scooped up 32,000 Rose Bowl tickets, doubling overnight after a Baton Rouge television station reported that the Rose Bowl had already picked LSU (which they naturally denied). I can think of no better fate for the city of Los Angeles than 50,000 or so drunken cajuns (many without tickets) descending on the city. I guess it'll be net 49,999, seeing as the one year we might make it to the Rose Bowl, I'll be leaving L.A. and back in Louisiana for the Saints-Panthers New Year's Eve game. In any event, the Rose Bowl claims to be strongly considering Notre Dame as well. I'd take that at face value but frankly, sometimes it's ok to just let the powers that be blow smoke up our asses, and wait out the 4 days til Sunday. Bottom line is, while the presales may be jumping the gun a bit, when making their decision clearly the Rose officials won't have to worry about Tiger fans not making the trip.

I don't know what my co-writer would have to say about this, as he's way more on top of this than I, but if I had to handicap our odds of a bowl opponent and venue, I'd put it at:

  • 60% Michigan in the Rose

  • 10% USC in the Rose

  • 10% Wisconsin in the Cap One

  • 10% Notre Dame/Louisville in the Sugar

  • 10% Vs ACC Champ in the Orange

The Michigan matchup seems by far the most likely at this point. Should UCLA somehow sack up and beat USC, then the Gods have apparently determined that Michigan gets bumped up to the title game unless Florida absolutely obliterates Arkansas (which I give a 15% chance to, and I think would put us in the Sugar Bowl as they'd have the first choice of teams, having lost their conference champ). If you're still confused, let Scott Rabalais help you out.

But hell, let's give some math a shot here. It's not entirely thorough, but it's rough and it's the best I can do right here. Currently, the market is giving Ohio State 64% odds to win the national championship. That means everyone else has a 36% chance. Florida's at 2%, Michigan's at 4.7%, and USC's at roughly 30%. Clearly the market thinks USC is the overwhelming favorite to play Ohio State in the national title game (30%/36% = 83%, which is basically the odds of USC beating UCLA, as seen here).

The two games we're going to pay attention to here as they carry by far the most importance for us, are 1) USC-UCLA; and 2) Florida-Arkansas. There are thus four outcomes:

  1. USC (85%) and Florida (56%) both win - combined probability (85% * 56%) = 48%
  2. USC and Florida both lose - combined probability (15% * 44%) = 7%
  3. USC wins and Florida loses - combined probability (85% * 44%) = 37%
  4. Florida wins and USC loses - combined probability (15% * 56%) = 8%
Stick with me here: on the 85% chance USC wins, it is thus almost assured that they'll go to the national championship game. On top of THAT, layer on the 56% chance Florida wins the SEC title game. Now since I just showed you that USC's odds of getting to the national championship game are roughly equivalent in the market right now to their odds of beating UCLA (not 100% equal, but 83%/85% = 97.6% to be exact), if Florida wins the SEC in conjunction with the SC victory then they'll be in the Sugar Bowl. The market is putting 85% * 56% = 48% odds of these two events occurring together. If those two happen, discount that 48% result by the current 2% odds that Florida plays in the national championship game (their ONLY other option as an SEC Champ other than Sugar), and you get 47% odds that:

A) It's USC-Ohio State in the BCS title game
B) Florida's in the Sugar Bowl (where they have to go if they're not in the title game)
C) It's Michigan against SOMEONE in the Rose Bowl.

Be generous and give it 20% odds that the Rose takes the Notre Dame rematch, and we've got about 47% * 80% = 38% odds of playing Michigan in the Rose Bowl...with a couple more probabilities to add on top of this.

In the event that USC wins and Florida loses (a 37% proposition), things get a bit more complicated, but the odds are high (let's say 80%) that the BCS keeps us in the mix instead of Florida - which is overall a 30% chance (or 80% * 37%). USC would be in the title game, and Michigan would play us or Notre Dame in the Rose - we'll apply the same 20% discount as mentioned in the above scenario, and we've got 24% odds of playing in the Rose in this instance. So far, it's 38% + 24% = 62% odds that we're in the Rose Bowl against Michigan. (And note that since I gave an 80% chance of our staying in the BCS despite a Florida loss, that leaves a 20% chance Florida stays in and thus a (37% * 20%) = 7% chance that we're out of the BCS entirely (and that's most of our Cap One odds).

BUT - we haven't considered the 15% odds that USC actually loses to UCLA. The odds of that happening AND Florida beating Arkansas is 8% (15% * 56%). As explained earlier, the market is giving Michigan 4.7% odds of making it to the title game, and Florida 2% odds (so let's say NON-USC teams have a 6.7% chance). All else equal, IF Florida beats Arkansas (56% chance), Florida's odds would probably improve by (1/0.56), or 1.8x, which takes their odds to 3.6% (and moves Michigan to 3.1% out of that 6.7% total). Multiplying that proportion (i.e. 3.6/6.7) by the 8% odds of both USC losing and Florida winning, we get 4.5% odds that Florida goes to the national championship game (and leaves USC and Michigan in the Rose, and us in the Sugar or Orange). This also leaves (3.1/6.7 * 8%) = 4% odds that Michigan goes. This would leave Florida in the Sugar and USC in the Rose - almost certainly to play LSU.

The final scenario is the Florida loss AND USC loss, which is 7% odds (i.e. 15% * 44%) and bumps Michigan up to the national title game. This almost certainly results in a USC - LSU Rose Bowl matchup - barring what I surmised earlier is the 20% chance that Florida loses and stays in the BCS picture. So this 7% adjusted for the 20% takes it down to 5.6%, and when added to the 4% just described in the paragraph above results in roughly 10% odds of our playing in the Rose Bowl against USC.


In other news, the men's basketball team is back on track, with a 91-57 victory over McNeese tonight.