Computer predicts Civil War winner under different scenarios

Computer predicts Civil War winner under different scenarios

The computers at KVAL.com partner AccuScore simulated the Oregon Civil War more than 10,000 time before rendering a prediction:

Ducks 35, Beavers 23.

What does a machine know? When it comes to the Ducks and Beavers, the computer has had it right 70% of the time this season. For the Pac-10 as a whole, AccuScore has a 74% track record.

Of course, what matters is what real human beings do on the field at Autzen Stadium on Dec. 3. For the sake of argument, however, AccuScore entertained a few different scenarios:

What if the game were played at Reser Stadium instead of Autzen? Or a neutral field? What if the weather is wet and windy? What if Oregon State holds LaMichael James to fewer yards? What if Jeremiah Masoli holds on to the ball -- and what if he coughs it up more than usual? What if Oregon State limits their penalties?

First, the baseline prediction:

Oregon is a clear-cut 79% favorite winning by an average of 11 points. 

OREGON STATE vs OREGON

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline Simulation

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

Offensively, Oregon has the edge in both the passing game and rushing game.

PASSING

CMP-ATT

YARDS

PASSTD

INT

Sean Canfield

21-33

169

1.4

0.7

Jeremiah Masoli

16-26

181

1.6

0.4

RUSHING

RUSH

YARDS

YPC

TD

Jacquizz Rodgers

25

101

4.0

0.83

LaMichael James

20

116

5.8

1.01

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

While home field advantage makes a big difference, AccuScore would still favor Oregon in all 3 scenarios.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline Simulation

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

If Oregon State Home Field

35%

65%

OR 32, ORST 27

If Neutral Field

29%

71%

OR 34, ORST 26

 

WEATHER

Both teams are used to playing in wet conditions, but if the weather is bad for this game (heavy precipitation, windy) we do not think either team would get the edge.  Both teams would show a significant drop in scoring.

OREGON STATE vs OREGON

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline Simulation

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

Wet, Windy Conditions

23%

77%

OR 27, ORST 17

 

LAMICHAEL JAMES EXPLOSIVE RUNS

In AccuScore simulations an explosive run is defined as any run of at least 8 yards.  This distance is meant to approximate a runner getting past the tackle box and/or getting substantial yards after contact.  An average running back may have an explosive run 15% of the time.  In simulations LaMichael James is averaging a sky-high 25% of carries being 8+ yards.  In these 25% of carries he actually averages over 16 yards per run.  If Oregon State can limit James and the entire Oregon team to half as many explosive runs then the Oregon average margin of victory goes from 12 to just 4 points.

OREGON STATE vs OREGON

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline Simulation

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

Oregon 50% Explosive Runs

38%

62%

OR 27, ORST 23

  

MASOLI TURNOVERS

In addition to limiting explosive plays, Oregon State needs to force turnovers.  Jeremiah Masoli is averaging just under 1 turnovers per game (interceptions + lost fumbles).  However, with each additional Masoli turnover the Ducks chances drop significantly.

If Oregon State forces 3 or more Ducks turnovers while turning the ball over no more than once themselves then Oregon State is favored 53%.

OREGON STATE vs OREGON

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline (Masoli 0.9 Turnovers)

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

Masoli Zero Turnovers

13%

87%

OR 37, ORST 21

Masoli 2+ Turnovers

33%

67%

OR 33, ORST 26

Masoli 3+ Turnovers

45%

55%

OR 30, ORST 28

 

OREGON STATE PENALTIES

Obviously, if Oregon State cuts their penalties in half their chances improve, but it is important to determine what the penalties are.  Many holding penalties on runs result in long runs that are brought back due to holding.  We will assume that Oregon State will not commit as many penalties, but in the process they will not receive the ‘benefit’ of the hold (i.e. they will not get more explosive running plays because they will not hold).  We will assume that they will commit fewer holds in pass protection (which could result in more sacks), fewer personal fouls, fewer off-sides, fewer pass interference, etc.

When you cut penalties in half, but also cut the "benefit" of the penalty as well the impact of Oregon State cutting penalties in half is significant, but not as large as you might think.

OREGON STATE vs OREGON

ORST

OR

SCORE

Baseline Simulation

21%

79%

OR 35, ORST 23

Oregon State 50% Penalties

26%

74%

OR 33, ORST 24