Over the last year, I’ve started aggregating many predictions to a single prediction. Research in diverse areas shows that this ensemble of predictions gives better predictions.
As the college football season continues, I’ve been working on ensemble game predictions for members of The Power Rank. These predictions aggregate not only my calculations but also other trusted sources. Some of these predictions use margin of victory while others use statistics such as yards per play and yards per pass attempt.
The predictions below also included totals (total points scored in the game). These calculations are a collaboration with Mike Craig, my partner in the college football prediction service.
Here are 3 interesting predictions on a terrific slate of games this Saturday.
Stanford at Notre Dame
Stanford will win by 4.1 points. Stanford and Notre Dame will score 43 points.
Stanford has struggled with mistakes in their two biggest games. They couldn’t punch the ball in the endzone against USC, losing by 3 on a 53 yard field goal. Washington returned a Stanford fumble for a touchdown last weekend, even though Stanford survived for the win in Seattle.
These mistakes have little affect yards per play statistics. Hence, Stanford looks better by these numbers. For example, yards per play predicts a 8 point road win over Notre Dame. This visual shows how Stanford matches up with Notre Dame by yards per play adjusted for schedule.
(In the visual, better defenses appear further to the right. This facilitates comparisons, as the unit further to the right is predicted to have an advantage.)
The ensemble likes Stanford to beat Notre Dame. No, there’s no personal bias in these numbers from this Stanford alum.
Nebraska at Michigan State
Michigan State will win by 4.1 points. Nebraska and Michigan State will score 57.5 points.
This Big Ten showdown features Nebraska’s 5th ranked offense against Michigan State’s usually strong defense.
The yards per play numbers in the visual use data from last season since rankings with only data from this season are volatile. For example, Michigan State had the 28th ranked defense yesterday, a low but potentially believable ranking for a defense that was elite last season.
Then Oregon’s offense has a terrible game against Arizona’s defense last night. Since Oregon played Michigan State earlier this season, Michigan State’s defense drops to 57th in rankings that only use this year’s data. With some input from last year’s games, a ranking of 26th seems more reasonable.
Ohio State at Maryland
Ohio State will win by 0.2 points (a 50-50 game). Ohio State and Maryland will score 59 points.
The predictions are all over the map for this game. Maryland looks the equal of Ohio State by yards per play. Both offenses have a slight edge, as shown in this visual.
Yards per play favors Maryland by 3 points. My model gives the home team 3 points, so this prediction says Ohio State and Maryland are equal teams.
However, the markets favor Ohio State by 8.5 points. Some of this advantage probably comes from the history and tradition of Ohio State. However, this spread also considers injuries. Maryland QB C.J. Brown is listed as questionable, and Maryland has suffered a rash of other injuries on both sides of the ball.
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