Fact: The winner of the BCS championship game has been favored by Las Vegas for the last seven years. This year, Oregon is favored by seven points. Even with that trend, statistics nerds and wiseguys check out Dave Bartoo‘s College Football Matrix before putting down a double sawbuck on the game. Bartoo predicts every college football game for upcoming year and he’s about 80 percent accurate. By any measure, that’s great. Now, I haven’t placed a bet since getting booted from the Reno Sahara for counting cards at blackjack (a story for another time), but I do check out Bartoo’s website regularly.
Bartoo hasn’t posted his prediction for the National Championship Game, but we can extrapolate; he focuses on several specific statistic measures to compile his recommendations. Let’s look at those: one measure is Offensive Efficiency, a measurement for a team’s scoring effectiveness adjusted for the level of their completion. Oregon ranks third in college football this year, Florida State is seventh and Ohio State is eighth. Another offensive measure is Total Scoring Efficiency which also adds in defensive and special teams scoring. Here Oregon is first in the nation and Ohio State third.
On the defensive side, Bartoo factors in Defensive Efficiency, the team’s defensive ability adjusted for the level of competition. Oregon is 13th here and Ohio State is 11th. All this may feel a little nerve-racking until we examine how Oregon performed against teams with similar Defensive Efficiency to Ohio State; Stanford is 10th overall, Utah 12th and the Huskies are number 16. Oregon smoked these three teams by an average of 47 to 21.
By the metrics, Oregon should win this game and beat the Vegas line, but numbers don’t hit the field on game day, the players do. Oregon’s defense has improved throughout the year and is better than their metrics. Even will all the injuries to the team, the offensive line is as healthy and so is Mariota. My prediction: Oregon 45 Ohio State University 21.
Top photo from Wikipedia