Auburn Will Be 8-4 in 2014, According to Prediction Machine


Sep 21, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Tony Stevens (8) against the LSU Tigers during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Auburn 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In preparation for the upcoming college football season, there are many forms of predictions made by a wide range of commentators and experts. Everyone wants to know: how will my favorite team do this season?

More from Auburn Football

The folks at have released their expectations for Southeastern Conference schools, and Auburn fans probably won’t like what they see. The website calls for Auburn to win just eight games.

If you are not familiar with Prediction Machine, here is a breakdown about what they do:

"Just as the Predictalator plays any individual game 50,000 times before it’s actually played, it can also play entire seasons 50,000 times before they are actually played. That is what we have done for the 2014 college football (FBS) season. The actual regular season and bowl schedules have been played 50,000 times, allowing us to compute likely records, expected bowl matchups and power rankings.Using the Predictalator is not as much of a concern to us as making sure that we have the best possible inputs for players’ statistics, progression over time and age, roles, health and playing time as well as teams’ coaching styles and weather.In general, we apply strength-of-schedule-adjusted, relevant statistics from the player’s collegiate games to a fairly traditional player development curve that is driven by class and previous playing time. Not only does this curve help to set average player inputs, it combines player health history to dictate the variance (“boom or bust” potential) of a player’s inputs.Playing time is more art than a science, especially in college football. We have done our best to estimate playing time for all players who are expected to see significant starting time in 2014. That being said, some playing time gaps have been filled in by our best approximations of average bench and role players on teams.After all of the math and analysis is conducted, we import each team’s schedule and play EVERY game 50,000 times."

They also give a breakdown of each team, including an overall national power ranking and ratings for the offense and defense. The Auburn breakdown is:


"Power Rank: 13 
Offensive Rank: 8 
Defensive Rank: 46 
Projected Regular Season Record: 8.2 – 3.8 
Conference Standing: 4 
Projected Bowl: Capitol One 
Biggest Strength: Offensive Efficiency and Tempo 
Greatest Weakness: Inevitable Regression of Luck 
Breakout Candidate: Shon Coleman, OT"

Certainly this method of prediction is a bit more complicated than others. Prediction Machine calculates many factors, and runs the numbers through their computers tens of thousands of times. However, a few things are worth a closer look.

The Tigers are ranked 13th in the country in PM’s power rankings – which is the lowest pre-season ranking I have personally seen for Auburn. The ranking also falls behind four other SEC teams – Alabama (3), South Carolina (6), Georgia (9), and LSU (10) – which are all teams that Auburn must face this season. Three more opponents fall just behind the Tigers: Ole Miss is 14th, Texas A&M 15th and Mississippi State ranks 18th. Kansas State, the highest rated non-conference adversary, comes in at number 32.

Apr 19, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver D’haquille Williams (1) carries during the second half of the A-Day spring game at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

In the explanation above, Prediction Machine mentions that strength of schedule is factored in to the simulations. With so many quality opponents on the Auburn schedule in 2014, the computers seem to think the weekly grind will take its toll on the Tigers.

They do factor in coaching styles as well, in which Auburn should have an advantage over nearly every other opponent – at least offensively. Ranking the offense eighth is fair. After all, Auburn finished the season ranked 11th in the nation statistically last year. A top-five finish is certainly possible given the fact that so much firepower returns for the Tigers, but eighth in the nation (and first in the SEC) is about right.

A 46th ranked defense appears to be even more than fair. Last season, the unit was 86th in the nation in total defense after allowing 420.7 yards per game. The defense allowed an average of 24.7 points per contest, which ranked 48th nationally, and Auburn must replace their best pass rusher and two solid defensive backs. The group as a whole appears stronger on paper, and a top-50 defense should be good enough to win a large number of games given the strength of the offense.

But there is one piece of the breakdown that is likely to cause an Auburn fans’ body temperature to rise a degree or two: “Inevitable Regression of Luck.”

So much has been made of the “luck” the Tigers had last season. Yes, there were close, dramatic victories. But, by and large, Auburn outplayed and outcoached their opponents last season – including Alabama and Georgia. The offense was one of the best in the nation, the defense stepped up to make big plays in big games, and special teams were great all year – not just on one missed field goal.

Additionally, Prediction Machine listed the won-loss projections for all SEC schools:

"Alabama 10 – 2South Carolina 9.5 – 2.5Georgia 9.5 – 2.5Auburn 8.2 – 3.8LSU 8 – 4Mississippi State 7.7 – 4.3Ole Miss 7.7 – 4.3Texas A&M 7.3 – 4.7Florida 6.6 – 5.4Missouri 6.4 – 5.6Tennessee 5.7 – 6.3Vanderbilt 4.9 – 7.1Arkansas 4.5 – 7.5Kentucky 3.6 – 8.4"

The biggest takeaway is that no Southeastern Conference team is expected to win more than ten games. If recent history holds, that would make it unlikely that the SEC would have a representative in the College Football Playoff.

Also, eleven teams are expected to be bowl eligible, but Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Kentucky are likely to stay home this holiday season (Tennessee’s 5.7 wins rounds up to 6, and the site predicts the Vols will play in the Texas Bowl).

What do you think about the Prediction Machine projections? Let us know in the comments below.