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  • 2012 Probability Poll Results

    by SEE

    (Notre Dame Football News | The Rock Report) – For the 6th year the NDNation Probability Poll is in and 2012 looks more pessimistic than 2011 to the fans:  7.6 wins and a so-so bowl.

    The probability concept puts a little more thought around predictions than just, is ND better than X? We ask every fan to estimate the probability of the Irish winning each game and use that to calculate expectations. Without further ado, the results:

    2012 Findings

    • On average, fans again expect approximately 7.6 wins this year and think there’s a 2.4% chance of going undefeated.
    • The biggest mover was in optimism (partly driven by the schedule) and it moved down substantially. The most optimistic boundary (highest responses garnering at least 10%) fans expect… 9.5 wins this season vs. 12 last season.
    • At the pessimistic boundary fans expect 5.9 wins this season and think there’s almost zero chance of finishing the season undefeated or with one loss.

    There seem to be four levels of opponents:

    • The coin tosses: Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford
    • The slight favorites: Miami
    • The solid favorites: Pittsburgh, BYU
    • The heavy favorites: Navy, Purdue, Bye, Wake Forest, Boston College
    • The solid underdogs: Oklahoma, USC

    Fans are almost perfectly in line with the early lines, with a notable exception: BYU

    To the experts BYU looks to be a harder game than fans think it will be.

    Fan disagreement:

    • Fans had the most disagreement about Oklahoma and Southern Cal.

    Here are the rolled up results:


    Navy 84% 70% 100%
    Purdue 83% 70% 100%
    Michigan State 56% 40% 70%
    Michigan 52% 40% 70%
    Miami 66% 50% 80%
    Stanford 55% 40% 70%
    BYU 69% 60% 80%
    Oklahoma 31% 10% 50%
    Pittsburgh 73% 60% 90%
    Wake Forest 82% 70% 100%
    Boston College 80% 70% 90%
    Southern Cal 31% 10% 50%
    7.6 5.9 9.5

    10 Responses to “2012 Probability Poll Results”

    1. I would move Miami to a solid favorite…this is nowhere near the Miami teams of the 80s and 90s talent or coaching wise and I don’t understand the hoopla about that game. Miami is morphing backward. As I said before the Sun Bowl two years ago, I will take Notre Dame and give up the points. I would move Boston College to a solid favorite. I’m taking the bye and the points.

    2. ok, I’m a nerd – monte carlo sim, took me like 3 mins so don’t mock me too much

      The distributions look something like:
      Less than 3 has a < 1% chance of happening at all.

      #wins %probabillity
      4 1%
      5 5%
      6 14%
      7 22%
      8 26%
      9 19%
      10 8%
      11 2%
      12 0.3%

    3. Sigh. Well these are depressing.

      I’m really hoping that we are all VERY WRONG and his becomes a special season. We have top 15 talent and a coach that has won elsewhere with less. We have the QB to run his system. We have a few weaknesses but who doesn’t? USC is thin. Alabama is reloading on D. Oklahoma has a weak O-Line. Florida State may have talent but what makes everyone think that Jimbo Fisher is a winning coach? LSU has a freshman QB.

      Plus, we weren’t that far off last year! Turnovers and penalties killed us in three games. TR wasn’t talented enough to win us games big games. He was a game manager. Now we have an electric QB that we all think will make us better. The players have another year in the system and know what is expected of them. In my opinion we upgraded our assisstant coaches. Despite the toughness of the schedule I really think we might suprise some people. Let’s get thru the first 3 games unscathed and I think the momentum and confidence just grows from there.

    4. 2001sorin says:

      Typo…Five levels of opponents

    5. You say the Miami team is no where near the Miami teams of the 80s and 90s like ND is even close? Al Golden is a good coach and even though these teams are not great they can upset ND. ND does not know how to win consitently.

    6. 8-4 will be a miraculous season.

    7. SEE – would you mind posting the raw data or a link to it?

    8. Mark P - ND '79 says:

      7-2 before the coin toss games sounds about right. Just not enough in the tank to expect to beat Top 5’s like OU or USC on the road. Add 2 out of 3 against the likes of U-M, MSU and Stanford and a bowl game win makes it 10-3 and another step forward on the way back to the national conversation.

      A stumble in a slight/solid favorite game and 1 out of 3 in the coin-tossers, and the long wander in the desert will continue. Hopin’ for the best, though – Go Irish!

    9. @SEE, you’re off by an order of magnitude on probability of going undefeated. It’s not 2%, it’s 0.2%.

      @ndmaqi, Monte Carlo isn’t necessary, the number of games is small enough for an exact solution to be feasible, yielding:
      0 0.0%
      1 0.0%
      2 0.1%
      3 0.4%
      4 1.9%
      5 6.3%
      6 14.4%
      7 22.9%
      8 25.1%
      9 18.2%
      10 8.4%
      11 2.1%
      12 0.2%

      Although the individual game probabilities sum to 7.6, the actual probabilities involved make the 50th percentile for wins be a little north of 8. (I had 77% chance of winning 7 or more games, 54% chance of winning 8 or more, 29% chance of winning 9 or more.)