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Stats Corner: Ranking the Probability

Ranking the probability of each team winning the conference

Fresno State v Arizona State Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images

Anything done before the first actual game is simply speculation and guessing. That includes the pre-season Probability Rankings I did on Stats Corner. There was no data other than last year, with the transfer portal does last year matter, and expectations. With teams having actually played some games and the conference slate really beginning this week, no offense Air Force and Utah State, this week on Stats Corner we are going to do a Probability Ranking based on the likelihood of making the conference title game. If you compare the probabilities to the pre-season ranking you will see that several games have flipped due to teams playing well, Fresno State and Wyoming, and other teams playing poorly, San Diego State and Nevada.

1) Fresno State (pre-season #2)

27.1%, up from 16.4%, chance of winning the conference, 5.1%, up from 1.8%, chance of going undefeated in conference, 5% chance of running the table up from .9%.

Nevada 92.1%

Wyoming 51.4%

Utah State 61.6%

UNLV 83.8%

Boise State 58.3%

San Jose State 51.9%

New Mexico 90.4%

San Diego State 70.7%

The Bulldogs now find themselves favored in every conference game this season. The only game where their probability dropped is San Jose State, and that’s due the Spartans play. They have been able to flip Wyoming, Boise State, and San Diego State. The game against the Aztecs has gone from toss-up, was 49.8%, to huge favorites for the Bulldogs. Until otherwise, the conference runs through Fresno.

2) Boise State (pre-season #1)

22.2%, down from 33.1%, chance of winning the conference, 3.0%, down from, 8.5% chance of going undefeated in conference

San Diego State 68.0%

San Jose State 61.6%

Colorado State 78.1%

Wyoming 63.6%

Fresno State 41.7%

New Mexico 89.7%

Utah State 60.8%

Air Force 63.1%

While the out of conference results have not been what the Broncos expect, compared to the rest of the conference they were not bad. It is just that Bronco expectations are through roof. The only game that flipped for Boise was the Fresno State. Some games got closer: San Jose State 76% to 62%, Wyoming 73% to 64%, Utah State 71% to 61%, and Air Force 73% to 63%, but the Broncos are still favored it is just the road will be more challenging than they expected at the start of the season. One lose and they still make the title game.

3) Air Force (pre-season #3)

16.8%, up from 9.8%, chance of winning the conference, 2.7%, up from 0.9%, chance of going undefeated in conference, 2.4%, up from 0.8%, chance of going undefeated in season.

San Jose State 45.0%

San Diego State 75.2%

Wyoming 59.5%

Colorado State 74.7%

Hawaii 63.8%

UNLV 76.6%

Boise State 36.9%

Air Force has an advantage over the other schools due the simple fact they have one conference win and therefore have less conference games to play. Less games means lower probability of some thing going wrong. I almost put the Falcons at number 2, but they do have two games where they are the underdog San Jose State and Boise State. They were able to increase the likelihood in every game except San Jose State and Wyoming. If they beat the Spartans, they get the number 2 spot.

4) San Jose State (pre-season #6)

14.5%, up from 5.4%, chance of winning the conference, 1.4%, up from 0.3%, chance of going undefeated in conference

Air Force 55.0%

Boise State 38.4%

New Mexico 74.1%

Utah State 64.2%

Hawaii 64.3%

Fresno State 48.1%

San Diego State 72.3%

UNLV 64.0%

While 1-3 is not great, the Spartans have improved their odds. They were able to flip the UNLV game, 47% to 64%, and improve their chances in the underdog games: Boise State 24% to 38%, Fresno State 47% to 48%. They also added close to 20 percentage points to New Mexico, 56% to 74%, and San Diego State, 51% to 72%. They also avoid by Wyoming which would go along way in determine the conference title.

5) Wyoming (pre-season #4)

10.6%, up from 9.7%, chance of winning the conference, 2.3%, up from .7%, chance of going undefeated in conference

New Mexico 86.10%

Fresno State 48.60%

Air Force 40.50%

Boise State 36.40%

Colorado State 81.40%

UNLV 65.20%

Hawaii 86.00%

Nevada 82.30%

The Cowboys are now underdogs to Fresno State, was 52% now 49%, but that is more the Bulldogs than the Cowboys. Every other game the Cowboys have improved their chances. It was close between Wyoming and San Jose State for 4th place but it ultimately came down to the schedule, three underdog games for the Cowboys and two for the Spartans. This would have been a good season for those two teams to meet.

6) UNLV (pre-season #7)

3.1%, down from 4.5%, chance of winning the conference, .01%, down from 0.2% chance of going undefeated in conference

Hawaii 69.2%

Nevada 66.4%

Colorado State 65.7%

Fresno State 16.2%

New Mexico 59.8%

Wyoming 34.8%

Air Force 23.4%

San Jose State 36.0%

Spots 6 and 7 are about as close as spots 4 and 5. The difference here is that Utah State has lost a game, therefore the Rebels get the higher ranking. By flipping the Nevada and New Mexico games the Rebels are now favored in four games, San Jose State has flipped due the Spartans playing well. A Rebel/Aggie match up is no happening this season, which would have been a nice decider as to who was better.

7) Utah State (pre-season #9)

3.1 %, up from 3.0%, chance of winning the conference, 0% chance of going undefeated in conference (that’s what happens when you lose a game)

Colorado State 75.4%

Fresno State 38.4%

San Jose State 35.8%

San Diego State 52.2%

Nevada 84.6%

Boise State 39.2%

New Mexico 70.9%

Like the Rebels, the Aggies are favored in 4 games and were able to flip the San Diego State game. Unlike the Rebels, the Aggies have a lose in conference. While unlikely the Rebels will flip a game, they do have one more chance to do so over USU, therefore USU gets the lower spot.

8) Hawaii (pre-season #8)

.7%, down from 3.3%, chance of winning the conference, .05%, down from 0.1%, chance of going undefeated in conference.

UNLV 30.8%

San Diego State 53.4%

New Mexico 44.8%

San Jose State 35.7%

Nevada 53.7%

Air Force 36.2%

Wyoming 14.0%

Colorado State 67.6%

Hawaii is about what was expected in the pre-season, the Air Force game has gone from toss-up to favoring the Falcons. Most of the other games have not changed much.

9) San Diego State (pre-season #5)

.6%, down from 9.3%, chance of winning the conference, .06%, down from 0.6%, chance of going undefeated in conference

Boise State 32.0%

Air Force 24.8%

Hawaii 46.6%

Nevada 79.2%

Utah State 47.8%

Colorado State 54.5%

San Jose State 27.7%

Fresno State 29.3%

The unfortunate bad surprise from the pre-season was the fall of the Aztecs. They have not been bad, 2-2 is the expected record, they just have not looked as good as they should have and other teams are playing better than expected. They have gone from favored against Utah State to toss-up, and underdog to San Jose State and Fresno State. Every game has seen a decrease in the probability of the Aztec winning.

10) Colorado State (pre-season #11)

.4%, down from 1.9 %, chance of winning the conference, .01%, down from 0.03% chance of going undefeated in conference

Utah State 24.6%

Boise State 21.9%

UNLV 34.3%

Air Force 25.3%

Wyoming 18.6%

San Diego State 45.5%

Nevada 69.8%

Hawaii 32.4%

What if the Rams had won on Saturday? That would have been a season changing win. Other than San Diego State and Nevada, the percentages have dropped for the Rams. The only game they are favored in is Nevada. A win over the Buffaloes would have changed all the percentages in favor of the Rams, but alas.

11) New Mexico (pre-season #12)

.1%, down from 0.7%, chance of winning the conference, .001%, down from 0.01%, chance of going undefeated in conference

Wyoming 13.9%

San Jose State 25.9%

Hawaii 55.2%

Nevada 49.3%

UNLV 40.2%

Boise State 10.3%

Fresno State 9.6%

Utah State 29.1%

The 11 and 12 spot are close as well. Nevada is very, very slight favorites over New Mexico, so why are the Lobos ranked higher, because this is a probability ranking not a power ranking. New Mexico are slight favorites over Hawaii, therefore they are more likely to win more conference games than the Wolfpack. Either way, it will be a long season for both teams.

12) Nevada (pre-season #10)

.1%, down from 3.0%, chance of winning the conference, .001%, down from 0.12%, chance of going undefeated in conference

Fresno State 7.9%

UNLV 33.6%

San Diego State 20.8%

New Mexico 50.7%

Hawaii 46.3%

Utah State 15.4%

Colorado State 30.2%

Wyoming 17.7%

There is a higher chance the Wolfpack goes winless then there is that they win conference. The only scenario that has a higher probability that going winless is winning one game. Neither is a good option.

Probability of winning 6 games

Fresno State- 99.8%

Air Force- 99.7%

Wyoming- 94.1%

Boise State- 76.2%


Utah State-67.5%

San Jose State-60.1%


Colorado State-17.6%

New Mexico-11.0%