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ESPN Metric Projects OSU to Lose … Just One More Game?

What the metrics tells us about Oklahoma State’s prospects moving forward.



It’s been a pretty dark place around the old orange water cooler as of late. That’s what back-to-back home losses against projected bottom-rung Big 12ers will do for you. I projected Oklahoma State’s season¬†moving forward based on the remaining schedule earlier this week. And based upon my eye test, a little common sense and probably some recency bias, it didn’t look promising.

But with the bad should come the good, and I came across some interesting, if not mood-lightening, numbers during my daily Google research that I thought I’d share.

Most of you are familiar with ESPN’s FPI rating, I’m sure. If you’re not, it stands for Football Power Index and measures a “team’s true strength on net points scale; expected point margin vs average opponent on neutral field.” Basically, it’s a projection of what results team A should expect in a specific game against team B based on what they’ve done so far. Oklahoma State comes in at No. 20.

ESPN’s computers take all of these pieces of data, calculate them, and run multiple simulations. What comes out for Oklahoma State is a projected regular season record of 7.2-4.8 (no the math doesn’t add up). There is a lot of data and the sums do not always equal the whole.

But the the most interesting part I saw is that the metric still projects 50 percent or higher win probabilities for all but one game remaining on the schedule. Yeah, you guessed it.

at Kansas State — 77.4%
No. 9 Texas — 54.1%
at Baylor — 68.7%
at No. 11 Oklahoma — 20.5%
No. 6 West Virginia — 52.4%
at TCU — 50.0%

(They must have somehow included past Bedlams in their simulations.)

TCU on the road is basically a pick’em, and if the Cowboys live up to these projections, that spells an 8-9 win finish heading into bowl season. I think most of us (Mike Gundy included) would jump at that at this point.

That slate, which includes three teams currently ranked in the top 11 (with two of those on the road), is the fourth-toughest remaining strength of schedule nationally accord to the worldwide leader in stats.

ESPN gives the Cowboys have just a 0.6 percent change of winning out and a 1.4 percent chance of winning the Big 12. Not much to argue about there.

Of course these are just projections done by computers and the Pokes (who have to make actual tackles and block actual linemen) may only be favored to win two of those final six games — especially if they don’t take care of business against the Wildcats in Manhattan.

Furthermore, while OSU is projected to win five of the six games, their total win expectancy is just ~3. It’s important to keep that in mind because if you have a 50 percent chance of winning two games, you have a 25 percent chance of winning both.

FPI isn’t the only metric that is pro Pokes, either ………….

If a couple of plays go the other way, we’re dissecting an Iowa State win. If they pendulum swings the other way over the next month, we might see the Cardiac Cowboys find a little mojo. College football is a fluky sport and it’s hard for anyone to predict, even computers.