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Here are your college football team’s odds of going winless, bowling, or undefeated-ish

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Winless UCLA! 11-1 Kentucky?? Coastal Carolina bowling! S&P+ has a lot of opinions on how the rest of the season will play out.

Georgia Southern v Clemson Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Each year since 2015, I’ve been sharing team statistical profiles with as much data-dump goodness as possible. For three years, the profiles were at Football Study Hall, but I switched up the format this year, setting them up in a Google Doc for easier toggling. You can find goodies for all 130 FBS teams here.

This week, I began including two extra pieces of information: a team’s week-to-week S&P+ ranking progression and its odds of finishing with a given record. Let’s focus on the latter for a moment.

Win total odds, college football 2018 (through 4 weeks)

Team Games 0-2 wins 6+ wins 0-1 losses
Team Games 0-2 wins 6+ wins 0-1 losses
Air Force 12 14% 12% 0%
Akron 11 0% 53% 0%
Alabama 12 0% 100% 84%
Appalachian State 11 0% 100% 51%
Arizona 12 0% 66% 0%
Arizona State 12 1% 46% 0%
Arkansas 12 19% 4% 0%
Arkansas State 12 0% 98% 1%
Army 12 0% 83% 0%
Auburn 12 0% 98% 0%
Ball State 12 9% 16% 0%
Baylor 12 0% 72% 0%
Boise State 12 0% 100% 21%
Boston College 12 0% 90% 0%
Bowling Green 12 63% 0% 0%
Buffalo 12 0% 100% 57%
BYU 12 0% 96% 0%
California 12 0% 87% 1%
Central Florida 11 0% 100% 54%
Central Michigan 12 33% 1% 0%
Charlotte 12 21% 3% 0%
Cincinnati 12 0% 100% 10%
Clemson 12 0% 100% 82%
Coastal Carolina 12 0% 84% 0%
Colorado 12 0% 95% 2%
Colorado State 12 21% 3% 0%
Connecticut 12 78% 0% 0%
Duke 12 0% 100% 9%
East Carolina 11 20% 3% 0%
Eastern Michigan 12 0% 95% 0%
Florida 12 0% 96% 1%
Florida Atlantic 12 0% 94% 0%
Florida International 12 0% 91% 0%
Florida State 12 3% 19% 0%
Fresno State 12 0% 100% 6%
Georgia 12 0% 100% 58%
Georgia Southern 12 0% 89% 0%
Georgia State 12 33% 2% 0%
Georgia Tech 12 5% 16% 0%
Hawaii 13 0% 91% 0%
Houston 12 0% 100% 5%
Illinois 12 10% 7% 0%
Indiana 12 0% 84% 0%
Iowa 12 0% 97% 1%
Iowa State 12 0% 54% 0%
Kansas 12 18% 3% 0%
Kansas State 12 16% 3% 0%
Kent State 12 30% 3% 0%
Kentucky 12 0% 100% 18%
Liberty 12 0% 50% 0%
Louisiana Tech 12 0% 92% 0%
Louisville 12 7% 11% 0%
LSU 12 0% 99% 4%
Marshall 11 0% 96% 4%
Maryland 12 0% 58% 0%
Massachusetts 12 2% 23% 0%
Memphis 12 0% 100% 14%
Miami-FL 12 0% 100% 11%
Miami-OH 12 2% 42% 0%
Michigan 12 0% 100% 5%
Michigan State 12 0% 99% 1%
Middle Tennessee 12 6% 20% 0%
Minnesota 12 0% 69% 0%
Mississippi State 12 0% 99% 2%
Missouri 12 0% 88% 0%
Navy 13 0% 59% 0%
NC State 11 0% 98% 13%
Nebraska 11 52% 1% 0%
Nevada 12 0% 51% 0%
New Mexico 12 4% 23% 0%
New Mexico State 12 21% 3% 0%
North Carolina 11 15% 6% 0%
North Texas 12 0% 100% 62%
Northern Illinois 12 11% 13% 0%
Northwestern 12 3% 27% 0%
Notre Dame 12 0% 100% 49%
Ohio 12 1% 54% 0%
Ohio State 12 0% 100% 59%
Oklahoma 12 0% 100% 40%
Oklahoma State 12 0% 99% 3%
Old Dominion 12 2% 31% 0%
Ole Miss 12 0% 85% 0%
Oregon 12 0% 96% 1%
Oregon State 12 74% 0% 0%
Penn State 12 0% 100% 28%
Pittsburgh 12 7% 13% 0%
Purdue 12 4% 24% 0%
Rice 13 33% 1% 0%
Rutgers 12 82% 0% 0%
San Diego State 12 0% 99% 1%
San Jose State 12 87% 0% 0%
SMU 12 9% 4% 0%
South Alabama 12 2% 31% 0%
South Carolina 11 0% 80% 0%
South Florida 12 0% 100% 16%
Southern Miss 11 0% 90% 0%
Stanford 12 0% 100% 12%
Syracuse 12 0% 98% 2%
TCU 12 0% 78% 0%
Temple 12 0% 67% 0%
Tennessee 12 0% 46% 0%
Texas 12 0% 90% 0%
Texas A&M 12 0% 78% 0%
Texas State 12 31% 3% 0%
Texas Tech 12 0% 93% 0%
Toledo 12 0% 100% 5%
Troy 12 0% 95% 0%
Tulane 12 14% 7% 0%
Tulsa 12 6% 12% 0%
UAB 12 0% 94% 0%
UCLA 12 71% 0% 0%
UL-Lafayette 12 1% 42% 0%
UL-Monroe 12 2% 32% 0%
UNLV 12 0% 60% 0%
USC 12 0% 89% 0%
Utah 12 0% 88% 1%
Utah State 12 0% 100% 6%
UTEP 12 91% 0% 0%
UTSA 12 39% 1% 0%
Vanderbilt 12 0% 39% 0%
Virginia 12 0% 95% 1%
Virginia Tech 11 0% 58% 0%
Wake Forest 12 1% 22% 0%
Washington 12 0% 100% 28%
Washington State 12 0% 91% 0%
West Virginia 11 0% 99% 24%
Western Kentucky 12 2% 35% 0%
Western Michigan 12 0% 90% 0%
Wisconsin 12 0% 100% 4%
Wyoming 12 0% 68% 0%

No hope for the hopeless

Your 10 most likely teams to finish with between zero and two wins (if they are currently winless, their odds of finishing winless are in parentheses):

  1. UTEP: 91 percent (26 percent winless)
  2. San Jose State: 87 percent (22 percent)
  3. Rutgers: 82 percent
  4. UConn: 78 percent
  5. Oregon State: 74 percent
  6. UCLA: 71 percent (11 percent)
  7. Bowling Green: 63 percent
  8. Nebraska: 52 percent (three percent)
  9. UTSA: 39 percent
  10. Central Michigan: 39 percent

It was obvious from the start that there was a chance for a Year Zero situation for two members of the Chip Kelly tree: Nebraska’s Scott Frost, and, well, UCLA’s Chip Kelly. The two boasted a combined 65-14 college record heading into 2018. It’s now a combined 65-20. And odds are, it could get worse.

  • Nebraska’s three most winnable remaining games: vs. Illinois (76 percent win probability), vs. Minnesota (50 percent), vs. Purdue (38 percent)
  • UCLA’s three most winnable remaining games: vs. Arizona (33 percent win probability), vs. Utah (25 percent), vs. USC (24 percent)

Post-game win expectancy is a measure I created that looks at the most important, predictive stats from a game and says “You could have expected to win this game X percent of the time.” Nebraska probably should have beaten Colorado (post-game win expectancy: 94 percent!) and Troy (54 percent) and therefore only sits at 72nd in S&P+ despite last week’s humiliating loss to Michigan.

With Illinois currently ranked 102nd and three remaining foes ranked between 46th and 65th, the Huskers should be able to snag two or three wins.

UCLA, on the other hand, ranks a little bit lower — 81st — and doesn’t have dead weight on the slate. No remaining opponent ranks worse than 68th, and the two lowest-ranked (Arizona State and Cal) host the Bruins. Odds say they’ll find a win or two, but there’s about a one-in-nine chance they don’t. Only UTEP and SJSU have higher winless odds.

My goodness, UTEP.

Keep your December travel slate open

Last season, NMSU made a bowl for the first time in 57 seasons. In my belief that every fan base should be happy occasionally, I adopted the Aggies last season, keeping close tabs on their bowl progress. It became maybe my favorite plot of 2017.

Who is this year’s NMSU, or EMU (2016), or ULM (2012)? Here are some of the more interesting teams fighting for six wins:

  • Syracuse: 98 percent chance of finishing with six or more wins. The Orange haven’t bowled since 2013 and have topped out at 4-8 in each of Dino Babers’ first two seasons. They’re 4-0 now, and even if they lose steam like they did in 2016 and 2017, they should have six wins.
  • BYU: 96 percent. The Cougars are bouncing back from last season’s 4-9 collapse. They don’t have an automatic bowl tie, but they should finish with a 7-5 or 8-4 record, and with their fan base, they should have some decent bowl options.
  • EMU: 95 percent. Well done, head coach Chris Creighton.
  • Georgia Southern: 89 percent. Chad Lunsford’s Eagles are 2-1 and currently favored in six remaining games. A year ago, they were worried they were going to finish 0-12.
  • Coastal Carolina: 84 percent. Head coach Joe Moglia missed the Chanticleers’ first FBS season with health issues, but his own FBS debut has produced a 3-1 record with six remaining games against teams ranked 87th or worse in S&P+.
  • Baylor: 72 percent. Second-year head coach Matt Rhule’s squad is 3-1 and 47th in S&P+ following an easy win over Kansas. The Bears are only favored in one remaining game, but they’ve got a win probability between 39 and 47 percent in four other games.
  • Arizona: 66 percent. The Wildcats began projected 32nd, fell to 109th in just two weeks, and are back up to 55th. Totally normal.
  • UNLV: 60 percent. In his first three years, Tony Sanchez won three, then four, then five games. So, six in 2018? The Rebels are 2-2 and favored in four remaining games.
  • Liberty: 50 percent. The Flames are backup options for the Cure Bowl if they get to six wins. They’ve got a coin flip’s chance.
  • Old Dominion: 31 percent. 1-3 after Saturday’s crazy win over Virginia Tech.
  • Northwestern: 27 percent. Not a great season thus far.
  • Florida State: 19 percent. Hey, higher than it was a week ago.
  • Pitt: 13 percent. Wasn’t this supposed to be a year with breakout potential?
  • Louisville: 11 percent. Man, the ACC has been disappointing.
  • Kansas and ECU: 3 percent each. HOPE.

A month in, only seven teams have a 0 percent chance of six wins.

Enough of the mediocrity. Let’s talk heavyweights.

Here are the 14 power conference teams with at least a 9 percent chance of finishing with zero/one losses (not including conference title games). If they’re still unbeaten, their chances of finishing the regular season without a blemish are in parentheses.

  1. Alabama: 84 percent (44 percent chance of finishing unbeaten)
  2. Clemson: 82 percent (42 percent)
  3. Ohio State: 59 percent (20 percent)
  4. Georgia: 58 percent (20 percent)
  5. Notre Dame: 49 percent (15 percent)
  6. Oklahoma: 40 percent (10 percent)
  7. Penn State: 28 percent (6 percent)
  8. Washington: 28 percent
  9. West Virginia: 24 percent (5 percent)
  10. Kentucky: 18 percent (3 percent)
  11. NC State: 13 percent (1 percent)
  12. Stanford: 12 percent (1 percent)
  13. Miami: 11 percent
  14. Duke: 9 percent (1 percent)

The top of this list is extraordinarily predictable. But then things get weird.

Hello, Kentucky!

Following Saturday’s 28-7 win over Mississippi State, the Wildcats and their seventh-ranked defense (per Def. S&P+) are favored in all but one remaining game: their Nov. 3 battle with Georgia in Lexington.

There are plenty of tossups along the way, too — South Carolina (win probability: 62 percent), at Texas A&M (51 percent), at Missouri (57 percent) — so even if they were to upset the Dawgs, they probably wouldn’t reach 12-0. But they’ve basically got 50-50 odds of finishing 10-2 or better.

AND THEY’RE KENTUCKY. The Wildcats have won double-digit games just twice in their history: 1950 (11-1 under Bear Bryant) and 1977 (10-1 under Fran Curci, a season played under a bowl ban).

Who’s getting the mid-major New Year’s Six bowl bid?

Here are your eight Group of 5 teams with at least a 10 percent chance of finishing with zero to one losses (again, not including conference title games).

  1. North Texas: 62 percent (23 percent chance of finishing unbeaten)
  2. Buffalo: 57 percent (17 percent)
  3. UCF: 54 percent (16 percent)
  4. Appalachian State: 51 percent
  5. Boise State: 21 percent
  6. USF: 16 percent (two percent)
  7. Memphis: 14 percent
  8. Cincinnati: 10 percent (one percent)

A lot of old reliables mixed in with some new surprises.

First, it was easy to assume UNT would be pretty good this year, but this good? The Mean Green have won every game by at least 23 points and are up to 44th in S&P+ despite still being weighed down by preseason projections, and they are favored by at least 10 points in every remaining regular season game, including the Nov. 15 battle against FAU.

If UNT finishes 13-0, who would get your NY6 vote: the Mean Green or, say, an 11-1 UCF?

Another couple of teams we should give shouts out to at the moment: Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Lance Leipold came to UB having gone 109-6 at Division III’s UW-Whitewater. He then went 7-17 — nearly three times as many losses as UWW! — in his first two seasons in Buffalo.

Last year, the Bulls went 6-6, and they uncovered one of the nation’s better pass-catch combos in Tyree Jackson to Anthony Johnson. And so far in 2018, Johnson has one hell of a battery mate in K.J. Osborn: the two have combined for 37 catches, 636 yards, and eight touchdowns.

Buffalo is 4-0 with road wins over Temple (by a little) and Rutgers (by a lot), plus a key MAC win over EMU. The Bulls are slight underdogs at Toledo on Oct. 20 but otherwise projected to win every remaining game by at least 13.9 points. The Bulls could get Army’d this weekend, but this is shaping up to be the historic season UB fans had to hope for when Leipold came aboard.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, is a year ahead. Second-year head coach Luke Fickell has been kicking butt in recruiting, but I figured it wouldn’t be until 2019 when that really began paying off. It appears I was incorrect. Projected 89th in S&P+, the Bearcats are 4-0 and up to 63rd, and while there are tricky games left — at Temple, at UCF, USF at home, etc. — it’s clear that at worst they’ll be bowling for the first time in four seasons.

Rooting for chaos? Odds are your friend

That Alabama and Clemson each almost has a coin flip’s chance of finishing unbeaten, and it’s still September, is pretty nuts.

But remember how odds work. There’s only about an 18 percent chance that they both reach 12-0, and there’s only a 4 percent chance that Bama, Clemson, and Ohio State all finish unbeaten. Hell, there’s only a 41 percent chance they all finish with zero/one losses, 24 percent if you add Georgia to that mix.

With the dominance of this year’s top four or five teams, it’s easy to assume we know how everything is going to play out. But the dice have a mind of their own, and there’s a 76 percent chance that one of our obvious top four teams doesn’t finish 11-1 or better.