The following was submitted by David Strong.
I have a riddle for you. What does a Cougar Football Fanatic, who is also an engineer, do when he cannot wait for the upcoming college football season to begin?
He creates a computer program that runs simulations of the BYU football games that will be played during the upcoming season. That is precisely what this cougar football fanatic did, and the results have been surprisingly accurate.
- @ Nebraska. In 1000 simulations of this game, the Cougars won 66% of the time. The average score of these games was 33-28 in favor of BYU. The final score of that game was BYU 33 Nebraska 28.
- Boise State. After updating the program with the data generated in the opening week of college football, BYU defeated Boise St in 75% of the simulations by an average score 26-22. BYU won that game 35-24.
- @ UCLA. The program had UCLA winning 80% of the simulations by an average score of 30-24. UCLA Won 24-23
- @ Michigan. The prediction that the program produced for this game was decidedly odd. It had BYU winning 54% of the contests, but the average score of the simulations was BYU 11.6-Michigan 11.8. While the algorithm clearly failed to predict the winner here, it did see the possibility in some of the simulations.
The most BYU scored in any of the 1000 simulations was only 13 points. On the other hand, in some of the simulated games, Michigan scored as many as 25.
- Vs UCONN, things were a little more predictable. The simulator had the Cougars winning 100% of the simulations by an average score of 26-6. They won 30-13.
This week BYU takes on a surging East Carolina (ECU) at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Unlike last week, the simulator program does not consider this game a lock for the Cougars. There were a wide range of outcomes produced in the simulated games. The biggest BYU victory in these mock games was by the score of 38-16, and their worst defeat was to the tune of 24-36.
According to the program, the key matchup in this game is the BYU rushing attack vs the ECU run defense. In the simulations, BYU’s passing game was always effective, but that was not always the case with their rushing attack.
The outcome of this matchup varied greatly in the simulations. In some of the simulated games, the Cougars had a definite, though by no means dominant, advantage in this matchup. Other times, the Pirates were able to completely marginalize the BYU run game. In most of the scenarios in which the Pirates were victorious, they were able to almost completely shut down the Cougar run game.
And now for the programs prediction for this Saturday’s matchup between the Brigham Young University Cougars and the East Carolina Pirates:
In 1,000 simulated contests, BYU emerged victorious 81% of the time by an average score of 30 to 22.