It’s difficult to know what the future has in store based on the first weekend, but with a little statistical maneuvering, we can make some meaningful predictions.
Using data from the last couple of years and regression analysis, I’ve developed a formula to help us predict how many games a team will win. Using the points scored and the yardage in the game, and adjustments for the strength of the opponent and the conference in which the team plays (team’s in tough conferences will win fewer games than an equal team in a lesser conference), we can get a pretty good guess at how many games a team will win.
Above are calculations for a couple of Big East schools and the attached excel file (you can only view it in internet explorer, sorry) can be used to make the same or any other calculations. Three quick notes: first, the only adjustment for strength of the schedule is conference. If you know that a particular team has an unusually difficult out-of-conference schedule, subtract a little from the expected win total, and vice-versa. Also, statistical predictions have a hard time with extremes, and so the values will appear hedged—even Alabama's performance can't score it an estimated win total that is much above 10. Finally, this calculates the number of wins in a 12 game regular season. Conference championship and bowl games are extra.