The eyes of the college football-loving world were on Mississippi last weekend and the state did not disappoint. Ole Miss dispatched Alabama and Mississippi State knocked off Texas A&M.
Sunday morning hungover Rebels and Bulldogs found themselves sharing – if not a bed – at least the number three spot in the AP rankings. The Egg Bowl is poised to be one of the most important ever, but what are the chances?
As of right now, Ole Miss will be slight underdogs to A&M and Auburn and favored in all other SEC games. MSU is a slight underdog hosting Auburn this weekend and projects as a bigger underdog on the road against Alabama but at least 10 point favorites against their other SEC opponents.
Both teams also face non-conference cupcakes that are essentially guaranteed victories. Putting all these together Ole Miss has about a 7.6% chance of heading into the Egg Bowl undefeated while State clocks in slightly lower at 7.4%. Combining these numbers, there is just over half a percent chance that the two teams are undefeated come Thanksgiving. Not too good, huh?
If you want to throw another stick of dynamite into the middle of this, No. 1 Florida State faces tough games at home to Notre Dame and at Louisville. There is a 75% chance that the Seminoles drop at least one game which would make an undefeated Egg Bowl a #1 vs #2 showdown.
Not that the teams need to be undefeated for the stakes to be high. If both teams survive Alabama and Auburn unscathed then a Rebel slip up at LSU or MSU being upset on the road by Kentucky would still make the Egg Bowl a showdown for the SEC West title.
Taking all the scenarios that can earn a trip to Atlanta the numbers come out: Ole Miss 27.6%, Mississippi State 18.58%, Auburn 37.84%, Alabama 10.68%, Texas A&M 4.37% LSU 0.43% and Arkansas 0.51%.
Of course projecting football is full of uncertainty. We don’t know exactly how good each team will be in a month due to injuries or just being better than we expect. If Ole Miss or Mississippi State keep winning we will have evidence that they are better than we currently believe and their projected numbers will keep climbing.
Brad Cole is an Oxford resident and mathematician who models sporting events for www.playpivit.com and you can find their app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pivit-what-do-you-think/id549985452?mt=8. Cole, an Idaho native, holds a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Idaho State University. The models used to gain the win percentages are derived from projecting the point spreads of future games based on past results, win/loss, margin of victory, historical data and the current week’s point spreads. We also account for home field advantage and strength of opponent. Cole won’t disclose the details of their method, but we trust it’s one of the best out there.