My thanks to the blog Football Perspective for providing some preseason grist.
Using a list of more than 200 point spreads for games this season, the website produced rankings for the 83 teams that had a line set for at least one game (Tech had two. More on that below.). I imagine at its most fundamental, if Team A is favored over Team B in Game 1, and Team B is favored over Team C, then the rankings are Team A, Team B and Team C, and the coach of Team C is on the hotseat. It’s explained in depth on the blog.
Anyway, Football Perspective’s Simple Rating System slots the Yellow Jackets at No. 45, right between Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Judging by the Sagarin ratings, that’s about an 8-5 or 7-6 season, which is fairly consistent with Tech’s recent (and less recent) history.
The ratings for the ACC:
The two Tech games included among the lines set by the Las Vegas Golden Nugget.
Tech is a seven-point underdog at Virginia Tech Sept. 20, a four-point underdog to Miami at home on Oct. 4.
How accurate is the Simple Rating System?
I used last year’s projections for 13 ACC teams (Duke did not have a game on the list) and compared them with the season-ending ratings from the Sagarin ratings. I guess it’s not apples to apples, but we’re also not trying to split the atom, so I hope you can tolerate this reckless crossing of wires. Also, I guess a variance is technically never a negative value. My deepest apologies.
You’ll notice last year’s preseason rating pretty much nailed the Jackets.
The average variance was 17.2 spots. (On the MS Word page I was writing on, the way they page breaks fell, I initially thought Pittsburgh was the last team to input, at which point the average variance was 10, and I thought, Wow, that’s actually pretty good. And then I realized I had five more teams left, two of which blew up the average.)
Interestingly, 10 of the 13 teams were overvalued. Obviously, Duke would almost certainly have been heavily undervalued and would have increased the mean average. Going back to the variance, an average of 17.2 doesn’t give a whole lot of credence to the projections. With Tech at No. 45, that could potentially be the difference between 9-4 and 7-6. (That said, the difference between those two records can be minute. It isn’t very hard to find two games that Tech lost last year that, but for a play or two, could have been wins.)
However, six of the 13 projections were within 10 spots or less, and four were within five slots or less. So you could conclude that there’s a 46 percent chance that the projection could be fairly accurate and a 31 percent chance it could be extremely accurate.
Or, you can just wait for the games to play out.