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Cal Football Spring Predictions: Bears to Go 7-5

Opponent Win Probability
Nevada 80.59%
Southern Utah 96.54%
@ Ohio State 36.38%
@ USC 23.71%
Arizona State 71.20%
UCLA 71.25%
@ Washington State 67.16%
Stanford 55.77%
@ Utah 55.31%
Washington 60.91%
Oregon 34.55%
@ Oregon State 59.85%
Total: 7.13 wins

I am a bit surprised, Cal fans. A(n almost) 3000-yard QB, a 1300-yard RB, a first-round receiver, and one of the most talented defenses in the Pac-12, yet we only expect to win 7 games? When I solicited our first round of 2012 season predictions, I thought the average number of wins predicted would be around 7.5 or 8. But 7.1? Last year our predictions were also 7.13. Maybe we finally have shut off the sunshine pumps...

Many thanks to the nearly 500 of you who submitted predictions in the last week. Today we can enjoy the fruit of your labor.

To the right you will find a table with our chances of defeating each of our opponents. We favor the Bears in all but three of our games, and based on the odds we should win one of those three games. Where will the other three losses come from? The answer to that will undoubtedly bring much consternation and fist-shaking from the lot of us. The Stanford, Utah, Washington, and Oregon State games are all pretty much toss-ups. Let's say we drop two of those. Where will that fifth, final, and most flabbergasting loss come from? UCLA? ASU? ...Southern Utah?

Strap yourselves in Cal fans, this ride might be as bumpy as last year's was. Join us after the jump as we take a closer look at our predictions for the 2012 season.

First up let's take a closer look at the numbers we were just looking at. Does everyone remember everything you learned in Stats 2? Of course not--so let's do a brief review. In the table below we have the average, the median, and the standard deviation. Obviously you know what the average is (unless an Oregon fan managed to stumble upon this post--I kid, I kid! We all know they can't read). The median is the midpoint, so half the numbers are above that value and half are below. Finally, the standard deviation tells us how much variation there is in the numbers. A large standard deviation would tell us there was a wide range of responses while a small one would tell us we all mostly agreed with our predictions.

Opponent Avg. Probability Median Standard Deviation
Nevada 80.59% 80.00% 12.80
Southern Utah 96.54% 99.00% 7.77
@ Ohio State 36.38% 35.00% 16.65
@ USC 23.71% 20.00% 15.45
Arizona State 71.20% 70.00% 11.94
UCLA 71.25% 70.00% 12.59
@ Washington State 67.16% 65.00% 15.18
Stanford 55.77% 50.00% 18.82
@ Utah 55.31% 55.00% 15.51
Washington 60.91% 60.00% 16.87
Oregon 34.55% 35.00% 16.96
@ Oregon State 59.85% 60.00% 15.91
Total: 7.13 wins 7.10 1.17

I find the standard deviations to be pretty interesting when looking at our predictions. Most are rather close to one another, but there are a few worth pointing out. Southern Utah had, by far, the lowest standard deviation. This tells us that we are most certain in our predictions of that game. Fortunately our prediction is overwhelmingly in favor of a win. At least we're not very certain about a predicted loss (like we were with the Oregon game last year).

The ASU and UCLA games also had relatively low standard deviations--we appear to be pretty confident in our predictions about those two games. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Big Game, which has a standard deviation of 18.82. We all tended to have the widest range of predictions for that game. Some (such as yours truly) gave the Bears a great chance of winning now that Andrew Luck is gone. Others might be worried about all those tight ends who will test our young linebackers.

We can also look at that same data in chart form. Below I have a chart for the home games and one for the away games. On the x-axis is the Bears' chances of winning and on the y-axis is the percentage of you who predicted that value. You might notice that the plots are rather lumpy--this is because people tended to anchor on numbers ending in 0 or 5 (though there were a few of you who had predictions like 0.638423).


Nevada appears to be our easiest home game, followed by a virtual tie between UCLA and ASU. Washington is the next easiest followed by Stanford (I personally would switch those two--Stanford is going to be thoroughly mediocre this season). Finally we have the toughest home game of the season--those love 'em and hate 'em quackers from CGB North.

Did any of you notice that little bump at 1.0 for the Big Game? Kudos to those of you who refused to predict anything but a 100% chance that we return the Axe to its rightful home.

Next up we have the away games.


Well, most of these sit more towards the middle and left side of the chart. Apparently Tedford will give Cap'n Leach a rough introduction to the Pac-12 as we are most confident about winning that Wazzu game. Next up is Oregon State. Yes, Oregon State. When a trip to Corvallis is our second-easiest road game, you know we're in trouble (that or the Beavs will be lousy this year--I vote the latter). Utah is next, followed by a pair of games that will define our season--Ohio State and USC. I'll be pleased if we split the two. Win both and I'll call this season a success.

Now let's move onto something a little more complicated, but a lot more fun: simulating the season.

Simulating the Season

While it's nice to see what our chances are for each game, I am particularly interested in what our final record will be. I'm even more interested in what the chances are that we go 7-5 or 8-4 and so on. So I decided to run some simulations!

I used everyone's predictions to simulate the season one million times. In the chart below you will find the final record and the chance that we will finish with that record.

Record Probability
12-0 0.09%
11-1 1.01%
10-2 4.86%
9-3 13.02%
8-4 22.19%
7-5 25.00%
6-6 19.14%
5-7 10.14%
4-8 3.58%
3-9 0.85%
2-10 0.12%
1-11 0.008%
0-12 0.0001%

As you might expect, 7-5 is most likely, followed by 8-4 then 6-6. 9-3 isn't out of the question; unfortunately neither is 5-7. We have a 1 in 1000 shot at going undefeated! I'll happily take that over our 1 in one million shot at losing out.

Now let's transition toward looking at individual submissions. First up are the ballots from the CGB mods. Australian ballot? Not at CGB!

Fearless Leaders

What did your beloved mods' predictions look like? Below are our predictions from sunshine pumpiest to Oldest and Bluest.

Nevada S. Utah @tOSU @USC ASU UCLA @WSU Furd @Utah UW UO @OSU Total Wins
solarise 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 12
atomsareenough 0.90 1.00 0.4 0.25 0.75 0.8 0.75 0.6 0.60 0.99 0.65 0.75 8.44
Kodiak 0.90 0.95 0.45 0.33 0.95 0.85 0.65 0.7 0.60 0.55 0.45 0.55 7.93
TwistNHook 0.90 0.99 0.50 0.30 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.7 0.40 0.70 0.30 0.60 7.69
Cugel 0.95 0.99 0.59 0.33 0.65 0.65 0.55 0.6 0.60 0.70 0.40 0.62 7.63
Berkelium97 0.85 0.999 0.45 0.15 0.75 0.75 0.65 0.75 0.45 0.65 0.35 0.65 7.449
UncleSam22 0.70 1.00 0.50 0.33 0.67 0.67 0.67 0.56 0.75 0.60 0.33 0.60 7.38
HydroTech 0.80 0.999 0.50 0.20 0.65 0.70 0.75 0.60 0.65 0.50 0.30 0.50 7.149
norcalnick 0.85 1.00 0.35 0.20 0.80 0.75 0.70 0.50 0.40 0.60 0.20 0.70 7.05
Ohio Bear 0.80 0.99 0.15 0.20 0.70 0.70 0.75 0.50 0.50 0.60 0.30 0.50 6.69
LeonPowe 0.65 0.90 0.35 0.30 0.60 0.70 0.70 0.50 0.65 0.40 0.25 0.40 6.40

It looks like our consensus is about 7-8 wins. We actually appear to be a little more optimistic than the CGB community at large.

While looking at charts and numbers offers unending fun, let's hand out some award to those who participated.


First up we have a few editor's choice awards for those who had some extra moxie in their ballots.

The Redonkulous Bear Certificate of Recognition in the Art of Trolling

Our first editor's choice award goes to "GoCard" who gave the Bears a 0% chance of winning every game except Southern Utah and Washington State, both of which were 10%. I'm not even mad! I'm just shocked and surprised that there exist Stanford fans on the internet! Even more shocking is that one went through the effort of filling out a ballot!

The FiatLux Award for Excellence in Cal Spirit

This award goes to native son, whose seething hatred for the Lobsterbacks and Huskies should be an inspiration for us all. native son gave us a 100% chance of beating both teams and included these heartfelt messages with their respective predictions: "FUCK THE FURD" and "FUCK TOSH AND THE SEAL CLUBBER."

Now let us move onto our usual triumvirate of awards. First is Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers, which recognizes those who had the most optimistic of predictions.

Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers Total Wins
1. solarise 12.00
2. GO BEARS! ! ! ! 11.99
2. name 11.99
4. c98 11.90
5. rocksanddirt 10.38
6. texashaterforlife 10.29
7. Nkicker 10.13
8. kalboy 9.75
9. THEalumni 9.70
10. Cmoney 9.65

Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers:

Our own solarise leads the way with a pristine 12.00 predicted wins. That's right, 100% chance of winning every single game! GO BEARS! ! ! ! and name clearly need to step up their games. That lone 99% prediction isn't going to cut it. Same with you, c98. I expect that single 90% to be bumped up to 100% next time we solicit season predictions.

Besides the 12-0 or bust crowd, the most optimistic tended to predict 9-10 wins. Pump that sunshine! PUMP PUMP PUMP


Old Blues Total Wins
1. 0.1 1.20
2. Nick 2.90
3. kj 3.20
4. bearstein bears 4.10
5. SoCal Oski 4.20
6. HTH 4.34
7. tbnw01 4.39
8. thesmore studge 4.52
9. Hotgogg83 4.71
10. Waiting So Long 4.80

Old Blues:

Next up we have the Old Blues, who will be pleasantly surprised if we are bowl eligible!

0.1 leads the way, predicting a...wait for it...0.1 for every single game (even Southern Utah).

Nick and kj round out the top three. kj, are you THE KJ? I hope so. If I worked in politics and lived in Sacramento, my outlook on the world would be equally bleak.

Resident Old Blue SoCal Oski is at home in the middle of the Old Blues.

Considering the number of toss-up games we have this season, a 4-win season is not completely out of the picture. Fortunately my simulations indicate we have less than a 5% chance of winning 4 games or fewer. Let us praise the glorious numbers!

Finally we have The Voice of Reason, which goes to those whose predictions were closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason Deviation
1. Oski003 0.041
2. dude 0.048
3. coolperson2020 0.051
4. gobeers 0.052
5. Timetoturnitaround Cal 0.052

The Voice of Reason:

Good work, fellas. You are obviously the most rational and reasonable Cal fans around here! We could use your sage advice when we lose 35-10 to USC and start proclaiming that the sky is falling.

Thanks again to everyone for participating! We will get another set of predictions in August after fall camp comes to an end.