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Predict the 2015 Cal Football Season, Spring Edition: Results!

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We've gathered the results from our first round of semi-annual season predictions. The results are in: BOWL ELIGIBILITY, BABY!

7 wins!
7 wins!
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago I asked you all to predict the Bears' chances in each game of the 2015 schedule.  Clearly you are excited for some football because nearly 300 of you provided your predictions.  Today we enjoy the fruit of your labors.

Below I put the results in a table where we look at the average prediction and the standard deviation of those predictions.  The former tells us how likely we think the Bears are to win and the latter gives us a measure of uncertainty of that prediction.  Larger standard deviations indicate more uncertainty.

Opponent Avg. Prediction Standard Deviation
Grambling St. 0.967 0.071
San Diego St. 0.852 0.105
@Texas 0.523 0.157
@Washington 0.581 0.151
Washington St. 0.759 0.111
@Utah 0.469 0.154
@UCLA 0.425 0.159
USC 0.370 0.169
@Oregon 0.264 0.177
Oregon St. 0.715 0.125
@LSJU 0.575 0.232
Arizona St. 0.537 0.154
Total 7.04 1.23

Seven wins? Seven wins!  Expectations haven't been this high since the 2013 season!  Hopefully this season is in no way reminiscent of that awful, awful year.

The season opens with our two likeliest wins, Grambling State and San Diego State.  Then we go on the road against Texas and Washington, both games in which we favor the Bears.  If we can start off 4-0, we'll have a great chance of beating a Wazzu team that will be breaking in a new Air Raid Commander.  A 5-0 start would be absolutely fantastic.  And we will need a strong start because the Utah-UCLA-USC-Oregon stretch will be brutal, especially because three games are on the road.  I would not be shocked if we go 1-3 or 0-4 over that stretch.

Fortunately we close out the season with three winnable games.  We're not expecting much of a fight from a depleted, Mike Riley-less Oregon State squad.  We favor the Bears in the Big Game because we're not sadists.  Hopefully Bad Kevin Hogan shows up and ends our losing streak to the detestable Lobsterbacks.  Finally, we expect to have a 54% chance of beating the Sun Devils on Thanksgiving weekend.  I'm worried about that game.  Todd Graham may be a wristband-wearing dudebro, but he's a good coach.  I hope we do not end up in the same situation we were in last year, where the final home game of the season determines our bowl fate.  Fortunately, we do not collectively expect to be in that situation, because we project 7 wins.  7!  That's a bowl game and then some!

If you prefer visuals to numbers, you'll appreciate the following charts.  You'll still appreciate them even if you don't prefer visuals to numbers, but I digress.  In the following tables I listed our chances of winning on the x-axis and the number of respondents on the y-axis.  I have color-coded the plots by opponent.  The primary purpose of this plot is to show the distribution of predictions for each opponent.  First, the home games.


Obviously we expect the Grambling State game to be the likeliest win, with most of us giving us between 95% and 100% chance of beating the Tigers.  San Diego State is the next-easiest game followed by a near tie between Washington State and Oregon State.  Those two teams are replacing QBs with about 25,000 combined career yards and we expect them both to struggle next season.  Arizona State is right around a 50% chance and USC is our toughest home opponent.  It's a good thing we have a likely first round draft pick at QB and one of the most explosive offenses in the nation, because this is a supremely uninteresting home schedule.  Also, our home opponents have an ugly array of colors.

Next let's have a gander at the road games.


These predictions are surprisingly homogeneous.  The road game at Washington is slightly ahead of mess that is the Texas, Utah, UCLA, and Leland Stanford Junior University games.  There is not much differentiating those four, other than that pleasant spike around the 100% mark for the Big Game.  Oski bless all of you who gave us a 100% chance of beating the Lobsterbacks.  Not surprisingly, Oregon is our toughest road game.


Next I took the predictions from each game and used them to simulate the entire season. The simulation process is pretty simple. I select one prediction at random for Grambling State and use that to predict the winner. If I draw a .95, then the Bears will have a 95% chance of drawing a win.  Based on that percentage, I then draw either a win or a loss for the Bears, move on to the next game, and repeat the process. I did this for each of the 12 games to simulate the season and re-ran the process 1,000,000 times.  I'm glad there are no labor laws for computers.

I have plotted the results below. On the x-axis we have the number of wins and the y-axis is the probability (per our predictions) of finishing with that number of wins.


7 wins is the likeliest outcome, followed by 8 then 6.  Based on our predictions, we're more likely to win 9 games than we are to win 5 and miss out on a bowl game.  That's a future I want to be a part of!

Here are the exact probabilities associated with each outcome.

Wins Probability
0 0.00%
1 0.00%
2 0.14%
3 0.96%
4 4.07%
5 10.96%
6 20.02%
7 24.96%
8 21.12%
9 12.04%
10 4.39%
11 0.88%
12 0.08%

We have nearly an 85% chance of going to a bowl game based on our predictions.  In fact, our chances of winning 8 or more games are nearly 40%.  PUMP THAT SUNSHINE.  Speaking of sunshine pumping, let's hand out some awards.


We have our usual triumvirate of awards.  First we recognize the most optimistic among us.

Sonny Delight

Name Wins
1. Trueblue 12.00
1. dahim0301 12.00
1. rnjbond 12.00
4. FiatLux 11.97
5. NastyNateLongBomb 11.05
6. yessir 10.56
7. Texas Bear 10.49
8. Old Bear 71 10.39
9. EAY2015 10.25
10. the_bear 10.10

Trueblue, dahim0301, and mjbond top the list with perfect scores all around.  FiatLux barely missed sharing the top of the podium.  The remaining Sonny Delighters predict between 10 and 11 wins.  If Sonny Dykes can post a 4-game improvement in 2014 and a 5-game improvement in 2015, we might have to worry about someone poaching him during the offseason.  It's been a long time since we've had to worry about such things.  That would be a good problem to have.

Next we have the pessimists among us.

Sonny Yikes!

Name Wins
1. btownbear 3.38
2. Belchazer 3.57
3. BearFan09 4.18
4. tbnw01 4.29
5. paulf 4.33
6. Bears916 4.57
7. puresilence 4.82
8. bearaz 4.90
9. dfensepossessedbybuh 5.09
10. SGBear 5.20

As a whole, our fanbase must be feeling about pretty good about this season, as only 8 of us project the team to win fewer games than we won last season.  btownbear is the biggest doomsayer among us with 3.38 wins, followed by Belchazer with 3.57, and BearFan09 at 4.18.  Of course, it wouldn't be a list of pessimists without puresilence.

Finally, we have those whose predictions were closest to the group mean.

The Voice of Reason

Name Standard Deviation
1. msaviolives .041
2. Brooklyn_Bear .044
3. beantownbear .050
4. jahvidthejet4 .051
5. loges_ .055
6. Calmovieguy .058
7. Deanchoi .059
8. joltimpact .059
9. audenursine .060
10. Big Mike .061

msaviolives posted the lowest sum of deviations with .041.  What does that name mean? Is it Ms. Avi Olives? Ms. Avio Lives? Whatever it's supposed to mean, it means reasonable and level-headed predictions. Brooklyn_Bear finishes second and beantownbear rounds out the podium.  Something about the northeast must make you two extra reasonable.  It's not the humidity--I can tell you that.  jahvidthejet4 appropriately finishes 4th and loges_ finishes inside the top-5.  Ohio Bear and atomsareenough barely missed the cut and finished 11th and 12th.

And finally, we look at the predictions from CGB's motley crew of writers, mods, and other people of slightly elevated importance.  I've ranked them from most to fewest projected wins.  And look at that--we all project 6+ wins.  BOWL GAME!

Kodiak 0.99 0.80 0.60 0.70 0.70 0.50 0.65 0.50 0.45 0.75 0.55 0.55 7.74
Sam Fielder 0.99 0.99 0.67 0.60 0.75 0.45 0.45 0.35 0.30 0.75 0.50 0.50 7.30
atomsareenough 0.99 0.85 0.60 0.70 0.75 0.40 0.50 0.35 0.35 0.75 0.50 0.55 7.29
Nam Le 1.00 0.90 0.50 0.75 0.85 0.45 0.40 0.30 0.20 0.80 0.45 0.50 7.10
LeonPowe 0.99 0.85 0.45 0.45 0.60 0.40 0.35 0.30 0.15 0.65 0.99 0.55 6.73
Ohio Bear 1.00 0.80 0.45 0.50 0.70 0.40 0.33 0.33 0.25 0.70 0.49 0.60 6.55
Nick Kranz 1.00 0.90 0.40 0.60 0.70 0.45 0.35 0.30 0.10 0.75 0.45 0.50 6.50
TwistNHook 0.95 0.80 0.50 0.40 0.75 0.35 0.35 0.35 0.15 0.75 0.35 0.50 6.20
Berkelium97 0.99 0.80 0.55 0.55 0.65 0.30 0.40 0.40 0.10 0.60 0.40 0.40 6.14

The CGB Hivemind is alive and well, as we are all within about 20% to 30% of one another across all these predictions.  The lone exception is LeonPowe who, Oski bless him, gave us a 99% chance of beating the Junior University across the Bay.

If these predictions portend reality, it should be a good 2015 season.  We were spot on with last year's predictions of 5 wins.  Let us hope we're right again this year.  Thanks to all of you who participated!  We'll see you again when we run another round of this during fall camp.