51 reasons to be happy: with a slow start Cal roared into victory with Webb leading the Bears on a 17 point surge in the 2nd quarter. However, it was still disquieting to see that the defense wasn’t able to stop the Hawai’i rushing attack that avg. 6.5 yards per carry (slightly less than their low 6.9 yards per passing attempts). This doesn’t include the fact that Hawai’i RB Diocemy Saint Juste slashed Cal’s defense on 14 runs for 118 yards (8.4 YPC!!!!).
This week the S&P+ changes are not accounted for since only two powerhouse programs played for the National Championship (of Australia). What I will touch on outside of the “HOT AND cold” takes about the game and the relative team performance is the S&P+ based W/L projections for Cal.
Before the season began, Football Study Hall released a W/L projection for each team based on their pre-season S&P+ projections. He gives us a Probability Density Distribution for each of the teams.
First we will look into the Total Win Projections from the article.
Pac-12 Total Wins
We can see here that the S&P+ data has us at 5 wins as the most probable outcome and at 4 wins as the second most probable. The model has us at 0% chance at winning more than 10 games and at 1% chance at winning more than 9 games. Very encouraging stuff, I know. The projected W total of 4.84 would have Cal 5th in the Pac-12 North and 10th overall. The model probably has Cal’s chances against Washington, and USC at 0% and with Stanfurd, UCLA, and Oregon at ~4.6%.
Interesting tid-bit here is the fact that USC has a lower Estimated Win total than UCLA despite their higher S&P+ standing. This might be due to the fact that USC will face ‘Bama and Notre Dame and UCLA will face the embattled Texas A&M.
Another observation worth noting is the fact that every Pac-12 team has nearly a nil chance at going undefeated and only the beloved Washington has a double digit probability at nabbing 11 wins. This means that for another year in a row, the Pac-12 will not have a representative in the CFP barring multiple 12-1/11-2 teams in the top 5.
Of course we should note that these are Pre-Season projections.
Pac-12 Conference Wins
Here we can see the bleaker picture. With a 0% chance at nabbing 9 wins and only 3.2% chance at getting 7+ in conference wins Cal’s chances at making any noise in the Pac-12 North are small. It seems like Oski shall not be the new King of the North, not yet at least.Furthermore, USC is less likely to win 7+ in conference games than UCLA.
This maybe due to the fact that USC will face tougher Pac-12 North competition than UCLA.
The pre-season S&P+ data isn’t kind to Cal, and after the Hawai’i game, I do not blame them. I project Cal dropping quite a couple of spots in the S&P+ data vis-a-vis last year due to the poor performance of the Defense against Hawai’i that has much much lower S&P+. Fret not Cal, because until game 5 the S&P+ numbers will be all over the place. And as each week of college football happens, we will have more and more data that will allow us to shed more light into the 2016 CFB season.