Blanchat: Oddsmaking for the undefeateds

Oct. 13, 2011, 1:45 a.m.

After six weeks of the college football season, we have 13 teams that are still undefeated, and the speculation of who will still be unblemished come BCS bowl time is already starting to run rampant.

I know I’ve spent a lot of time already writing about undefeated teams, but whatever. I’m a one-trick pony. So this week, I’ve decided to play a version of “Pardon the Interruption’s” oddsmakers with the teams left standing. I’ve listed off the 13 teams and placed their chance of going undefeated next to them. I’ve applied my super-secret formula to determine these statistics, so feel free to nitpick my predictions. And here we go.

LSU and Alabama–50 percent. Based on what I’ve seen, the wacky Leslie Miles has the Fighting Tigers at a near-unbeatable level. But little Nicky Saban also has the Crimson Tide playing scary-good football. I think one of these teams will go undefeated, but it’s a toss-up which one wins when they play each other on Nov. 5. Therefore, I’ll just say both of these teams have an equal chance of running the table.

Oklahoma–80 percent. The Sooners are stacked (and they have to be riding high after making Texas look like a JV team), but they still play four ranked teams in five weeks to end their season, including an away game against rival Oklahoma State. And we all know how “Big Game” Bob Stoops fares against good teams (3-5 in BCS bowl games). They’re legitimately better than every team left on their schedule, though.

Wisconsin–90 percent. The Badgers may have the best chance of any major conference team to go undefeated. The Big Ten is full of good-but-not-great teams, and the Badgers have one of the most dominant offenses in the country. They only play two ranked teams for the rest of the season (Michigan State and Illinois), so I’ll be surprised if they lose along the way.

Boise State–100 percent. Boise’s schedule is not just awful, it’s offensively awful. It’s as bad as the smell of Sex Panther from “Anchorman.” They’ll win every game and go to a BCS bowl because they are significantly better than every team on their schedule.

Oklahoma State–35 percent. The Cowboys scream “overrated” to me. Sure, they have the “best offense” in the country, but their stats are wacky thanks to a 61-point outburst against Louisiana-Lafayette and a 70-point game against Kansas, which has the worst defense in college football. They might run through the rest of their schedule, but I don’t think they can beat Oklahoma this year.

Stanford–65 percent. It’s hard to tell right now if LaMichael James will miss significant time for the Oregon Ducks, who are the biggest test remaining on Stanford’s schedule. If James isn’t there on Nov. 12 to drive the Ducks’ potent run game, this percentage will go up considerably.

Clemson–0 percent. Because they’re Clemson. Seriously. Clemson will somehow find a way to go 8-4 or 9-3. It doesn’t matter who they play, the “They’re Clemson” factor is too great to overcome. It’s as undeniable as the force of gravity. Also, did you see Dabo Swinney after Clemson upset Auburn? He was way too excited to beat a mediocre SEC team. It was like the 2011 equivalent of Howard Dean’s “BYAAAHHHH!”

Michigan–1.3 percent. Watching Michigan is like watching a pee-wee football team with one kid who is way faster than everybody else on the field. Their defense is terrible (no, don’t cite stats to me, I watched the Notre Dame game), and Denard Robinson is an appallingly bad passer. I don’t believe they’ll win out, but they have the luxury of not playing Wisconsin in the regular season.

Georgia Tech–45 percent. I love the triple option. Their schedule is significantly harder in the second half of the year, though.

Illinois–10 percent. I don’t think there’s any way they beat Wisconsin on Nov. 19, but I’ll give them a chance. The Illini are a nicely balanced team, but Wisconsin looks too strong.

Kansas State–0 percent. The Wildcats have played a pretty easy schedule up to this point, and they’ve been a nice surprise so far this season. BUT they have a four-week stretch where they play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas. If Kansas State beats all four of those teams, I’ll probably be so shocked I’ll bite the tip of my tongue off (or something awesome like that).

Houston–65 percent. Case Keenum and the Cougars are absolutely on fire once again. They’re first in the nation in passing yards and fifth in the nation in points, and they play an absolutely atrocious schedule. However, they have had close games against UCLA, Louisiana Tech and UTEP, so that does give me reason to downgrade them a bit. The best test left on their schedule is probably SMU, which means they have a darn good chance of running the table. GMAC bowl, here come the Cougs! (Or maybe the Liberty Bowl. But don’t worry, Houston, you’ll be in the Big 12 soon enough.)

Jack Blanchat prefers to showcase his manliness with bold sports predictions, as the usual method of flexing his biceps tends to rip apart his polo shirts. To challenge him to some arm wrestling, follow him on Twitter @jmblanchat, or send him an email at [email protected]

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