January 20, 2017

Win Probabilities – Clemson/Ohio State & Alabama/Washington

I am a man on an island. At least as far as the win probabilities below for the Fiesta Bowl, mine is the lone computer that spit out orange.  But it was close.

The reality is though that a 51% win probability is a pick’em game that can turn on any play.  My friend Chris Scully over at Character34.com doesn’t see it being quite as close and Bill C. at SB Nation is predicting a 29.4 to 24.5 (to be precise) Ohio State victory.

For what it’s worth, I’m 11-2 on the season on Clemson games, losing Louisville (49.5% win probability, another one play game) and Pittsburgh (everyone in the world was wrong on this one).  Also, as evidenced by my pick in the Louisville game, my computer doesn’t always spit out Clemson.

In the other semi it’s a clean sweep, again with my numbers closer to ESPNs, while SB Nation and Character34 are predicting an easier time for the Tide.

In general, my win probabilities are more conservative than any of the other 3, so I find it “interesting” that I ended up with Clemson while the others chose Ohio State, two of them at over 60%.

Guest Shots: Adam Hayes Predicts College Football Playoff Semifinals

Editor’s Note: Adam Hayes is a principal at the USS Sports Machine, where he and the team write about sports of every shape, size and type.  We thank Adam for his contributions. If you are a writer interested in contributing to Seldom Used Reserve, feel free to contact us at seldomusedreserve@gmail.com.

Peach Bowl

In the Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA on Dec. 31), SEC Champion #1 Alabama (13-0) plays Pac-12 Champion #4 Washington (12-1).The defending champs, the Crimson Tide are poised to be a huge thorn in Washington’s championship dreams.

Alabama’s juggernaut offense capabilities will on full show in the game due to the Huskies missing their lead pass rusher Joe Mathis, and lead tackler Azeem Victor. However, despite both players absence on the defensive end, Washington’s offensive inspires hope with the combo of Pac 12 offensive player of the year Jake Browning at the quarterback position and John Ross’s at Wide Receiver. If probabilities are any indication of success, many statistics sites believe Alabama’s offense will have a field day; FiveThirtyEight gives Alabama over a 64% chance of making the title game. I can’t see anything stopping the Tide in this one.

Prediction: Alabama 31 Washington 17

Fiesta Bowl

#3 Ohio State (11-1) plays ACC Champion #2 Clemson (12-1) in the Fiesta Bowl (Tempe, AZ on Dec. 31). Coming into the game, the Tigers have demonstrated that they have a very consistent offensive over the course of the season by averaging 500+ YPG, 40 PPG and converting on 85% of red zone visits. The Tigers offensive ability comes in contrast to the Buckeyes who had an excellent defensive season by allowing only 276 YPG, 14 PPG and most importantly a lot of turnovers. The battle between good offense and great defense will be difficult for both teams. However, Good defensive teams can be tough to defeat which is something Ohio State showed the world by winning the CFP in 2014.

While both teams sport a loss, like Alabama both have spent nearly the entire season firmly in the playoff discussion. Ohio State’s victory in perhaps the game of the season against Michigan earned them a spot despite not winning the Big 10 conference championship, while Clemson dominated the ACC even after a shock upset to Pitt. Deshaun Watson has been fantastic throughout the season using both his passing and running capabilities and will need a massive performance against the Buckeyes. I’m giving the Tigers the edge.

Prediction: Clemson 24 Ohio State 20


Vegas Confidential: Clemson vs. Ohio State Edition

Notes from the desert on Clemson and Ohio State.

Nic’s Picks – Bowl Edition

5-3 in the final week, 76-39 overall

Vegas Confidential: Early Bowl Trends Edition

A look at the trends in the first 9 bowl games.

Vegas Confidential – Vegas Knows Edition

Vegas Confidential: A team that’s covered 12 straight games & another that won with 0 passing yards

Clemson vs. Alabama, tOSU & Washington

generic-wpHow would Clemson fare against the other playoff contenders?

I have developed an algorithm to predict the outcomes of college football games. You can find more on my methodology here and find this weeks picks here.


It turns out that Clemson’s beat down of South Carolina didn’t enhance the Tigers profile as much as expected in that the Gamecocks were weaker competition (ranked 57th) than either Auburn (19) or Washington State (36).

Probabilities above are through games of week 13 and will be updated weekly.

Nic’s Picks – Championship Week

Nic's Picks

Week 13 – (6-4)

Overall – (71-36)

Weekly SUR Pickem – Conference Championship Week

Weekly SUR Pick'em

Matt and Chris battle it out for the title, while I hope to achieve some sense of respectability.