EA Sports Hopes For Redemption

E/A Sports fell from its high perch last year in predicting the outcomes of Boise State football games (or was that Boise State falling from the perch?) The 2008 simulations are done and here are the results!

The staff of E/A Sports fell off its pedestal last year with two glaring losses in their prediction of Boise State football games.  E/A produces a new version of college football each July featuring realistic animation and jam packs it with every football statistic and player attribute known to man.


It is not the video gaming but rather the software's simulation aspect that has drawn the attention of BroncoCountry.  Since the 2001 season, we have noticed that the simulations, when run several times, are as good a prediction of the upcoming season as you will find anywhere.  From 2003-2006, E/A Sports' "NCAA Football" correctly predicted the outcome of every single Boise State regular season game bar none.  Money.


Last year, the staff sloughed off and rested on their high laurels.  They missed two games in the Boise State season.  What's up with that?  They predicted Boise State wins over both Washington and Hawai'i, when we know that didn't happen.  Which begs the question—did the software blow it or was Boise State really supposed to win those games?  Such is college football, where paper and predictions mean nothing.


Nevertheless, interest is still high in Broncoville for these prognostications.  We ran 20 simulations of the 2008 season and as usual, found interesting results.



Generally, the 2009 version of this annual release expects Boise State to have a good season.  Boise State qualified for a bowl game in 19 of those simulations, with eight of those being BCS bowl games and a national championship game as well.  The conclusion you can draw is that the software projects Boise State has a 95% chance of making a bowl game, a 40% chance of making a bowl game and a 5% chance of making the national championship contest.  The other simulation bowls were Western Athletic Conference-affiliated bowls with the exception of one; the Emerald Bowl.


Boise State won the league in 16 of the 20 simulations (80%).  The Broncos lost a total of just 35 games in the 20 simulations, with a projected record of 11-2.  The best season was a 13-0 year, with E/A forecasting a 12-1 season in nine simulations (45%).  The worst season was a 7-5 year.


The average final ranking for Boise State in the 20 simulations was #18.  The Broncos finished in the top five three times, the top 10 six times and the top 25 12 times.  Thus, E/A predicts Boise State has a 15% chance of finishing in the top five, a 30% chance of finishing in the top 10 and a 60% chance of ending the season in the top 25.


Among the other WAC teams, Fresno State is the team E/A predicts will do the best.  The Bulldogs' average season record was 9-4.  FSU made a bowl game in 17 of the 20 simulations, or 85%.  They qualified for a BCS bowl game twice.  Fresno won the WAC in two of the 20 simulations.  Their best season was 11-2 which occurred five times, and their worst season was a 4-8 final record.


From there, it's a crapshoot and a fight for the league's third bowl game.  Nevada is projected to have a 6-6 record.  The Wolf Pack did not win the WAC in any of the simulations, but made a post-season bowl game in seven of them (35%).  Their best season was 8-5, while their worst was 3-9.    


New Mexico State got a lot of respect from E/A Sports.  The Aggies won the WAC in two simulations, the same number as Fresno State.  The team from Las Cruces finished with an average season of 7-6.  Their best year was 11-2, while their worst was 5-7, which happened three times.  The Aggies made the postseason in exactly half of the simulations. 


Louisiana Tech did not finish on top of the league in any of the 20 simulations, but nonetheless is predicted to have a good season.  The Bulldogs are also projected to have a 7-6 year.  They made a bowl game in nine simulations (45%).  Clearly, Tech is a force to reckon with this fall.  Their best season was a 10-3 year and they also finished 9-4 once.  Their worst season was 4-8, which occurred twice.


San Jose State is projected to finish with a 4-8 record.  The Spartans did not win the WAC in any of the simulations nor did they qualify for a bowl game.  Their best season was 6-6 while the worst E/A is predicting is 1-11. 

Idaho is projected to finish 3-9.  The Vandals finished 5-7 in three of the simulations for their best year, but also were 1-11 in four of them.


Utah State is projected to finish 3-9.  Brent Guy's team finished 5-7 in one simulation but also suffered through a 0-12 campaign.


Among non-conference opponents, Bowling Green is forecast to have the best season.  The Falcons finished with an average record of 8-5.  They were 11-3 in their best season, and did not suffer a losing record in the 20 simulations.  They made a bowl game in nine simulations (45%).


 Southern Mississippi is projected to have a good year as well.  The Golden Eagles finished with an average season record of 7-6.  They won 10 games in three of the simulations, while their worst season was 3-9.  Southern Miss made the postseason five times (25%).


Oregon was the surprise to me.  The Ducks, a Top 25 team in most preseason polls, are projected to finish with a 5-7 record.  The Ducks did make a BCS bowl in one simulation when they finished 11-2.  They were 3-9 a shocking five times.


Here are the individual game predictions:



Boise State vs. Idaho State

The Broncos came away the winner in 19 of these 20 simulations, with an average score of 43-7.  The largest margin of victory came in a 56-0 simulation, while Idaho State won a 10-7 slugfest.


Boise State vs. Bowling Green

The Falcons gave Boise State one of its toughest games of the year in nearly every simulation.  The average score was 32-30.  Boise State did prevail in 15 of those contests (75%), with the largest margin being 47-27.  The Falcons' biggest win was 37-13.


Boise State vs. Oregon

I've already revealed probably the biggest surprise of these simulations—that Oregon is not projected to finish with an outstanding season.  You can probably thus conclude that Boise State won 17 of those (85%).  Four of those, however, went into overtime with the Broncos winning one of them.  The average score was 34-25 in favor of the Broncos.  The largest margin of victory for Boise State was 55-14, while Oregon won 34-25.  Clearly, E/A Sports is going way out on a limb with this one and risking their accurate predictions.


Boise State vs. Louisiana Tech

The Broncos prevailed in 19 of the 20 simulations (95%) with Tech winning 37-34.  The average score was Boise State 39-24.  The largest margin for the Broncos came in a 48-7 game, but that was not the norm.


Boise State vs. Southern Mississippi

The Golden Eagles won at home in four of these contests (16%), with the biggest win being 45-27.  The average score found Boise State winning 37-24.  The Broncos won one contest 56-7, but again that was a simulation on the fringe.


Boise State vs. Hawai'i

Unlike last year's simulations between these two, in which Boise State prevailed in just 55% of the contests, the Broncos won 19 of these (95%).  Hawai'i's only win came in a 42-35 contest.  Boise State's biggest win was 45-10.  The average score came in as Boise State 35, Hawai'i, 18.


Boise State vs.  San Jose State

Boise State was the winner here in 18 of the 20 simulations, with the Spartans' biggest win coming in a 42-21 game.  Boise State won 55-3 in another simulation.  The average score was 43-16, Boise State.


Boise State vs. New Mexico State

The Broncos prevailed in Las Cruces in 16 of the 20 simulations (80%).  The average score was Boise State 39, New Mexico State 22.  The Aggies' biggest win came in a 41-34 win, while Boise State won 55-13 in their largest margin of victory.


Boise State vs. Utah State

The Broncos won all 20 of these simulations by an average count of 31-11.  The biggest margin of victory happened twice in 49-7 games.


Boise State vs.  Idaho

Boise State did well against Idaho as well, winning all 20 simulations.  The average score was Boise State 44, Idaho 15.  The biggest win came in a 70-3 game, but most simulations were closer than that.


Boise State vs. Nevada

The Broncos won in 19 of these simulations, with the average contest being 33-16.  Nevada's win was a 31-28 result, while Boise State's biggest margin if victory was 42-3.


Boise State vs. Fresno State

In the regular season finale, Boise State was able to win in 16 of these simulations (80%).  Fresno's biggest win came in a 42-28 victory in Bronco Stadium.  Boise State was a 38-3 winner in another simulation.  The average score was 30-21 in favor of Boise State.  Other than the Bowling Green game, this was the closest of the 12 simulations.


So there you have it folks.  E/A is once again sticking its neck on the line, especially in the Oregon season.  Nowhere have I seen them having anything but an outstanding year.  Print this page out and compare it against the results so we can hold the collective feet of E/A to the fire!

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