Sunday, December 21, 2008

Notre Dame-Hawaii By The Numbers

Vegas Odds

The line is starting to move on this one. Originally Hawaii was a 1.5 point favorite, but now they're anywhere between there and a 1.5 point underdog to the Irish. They're a saying that you automatically give the home team 3 points. Well, despite the fact that Notre Dame will be wearing the dark jerseys, the Warriors have the home field advantage in this one. Of course, I've also heard that Notre Dame automatically gets 3 points in their favor on the line due to their following. Those 3 points of course cancel out the three given to Hawaii for home field advantage.

Computer Rankings

Below are the six computer rankings used by the BCS, and Notre Dame and Hawaii's position in each. As you can see, it's very tight.
Notre DameHawaii
Anderson & Hester5763

But those aren't the only computer rankings out there. Jeff Sagarin also includes on his website (rather bitterly) another ranking, called his PREDICTOR, that relies heavily on margin of victory. In that, Notre Dame is 62nd and Hawaii 95th.

The Fremeau Efficiency Index, used by Football Outsiders and housed at BCS Toys, has Notre Dame at 47 and Hawaii at 101. In addition, BCF Toys is calling the game a lock, with an 88% degree of confidence that Notre Dame will win 30-10.

Stastical Trends

Finally, here's a quick-and-dirty regression analysis. For each game this season, I took Notre Dame's points for and against, and rushing, passing, and total yards for and against. Excel gave me the following coefficients:
Points For0.01
Points Against-0.03
Rushing For0.06
Rushing Against-0.07
Passing For0.06
Passing Against-0.07
Total For-0.06
Total Against0.07

Like I said, it's a very quick-and-dirty model. I'm not even sure if the variables I used are reliable predictors of wins and losses. Of course, the small sample size of 12 games is also an issue. But this is all something I can work on next year.

Anyways, plugging Hawaii's season averages into this model gives Notre Dame a 57% chance of winning.


If you're a fan of what the stat nerds have to say, this will be a close one, with a slight edge to Notre Dame. Still, there are many more factors to consider, and time permitting I'll cover those in my next preview. Go Irish!