AccuScore has run more than 10,000 simulations for every bowl game for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's AccuScore.com's analysis of the BCS championship game.
Baseline: LSU 62%, Ohio State 38%; Score: LSU 28, Ohio State 23
After an unprecedented season of excitement, LSU and Ohio State will meet in the Superdome to decide the BCS championship. With the game in New Orleans, LSU will have a home-field advantage and Ohio State will be eager to erase the nightmare of last year's BCS title game against Florida.
AccuScore baseline simulations have LSU winning 62 percent of the simulations by an average of five points. The key to LSU's success starts with quarterback Matt Flynn and backup Ryan Perrilloux, who is expected to see significant action. The two QBs are combining for solid passing numbers (175 yards passing, 1.2 touchdowns, 0.9 interceptions per sim). Running back Jacob Hester will help balance the offense and is projected to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown while averaging five yards a carry.
The Ohio State offense goes through running back Chris "Beaney" Wells, who is forecasted to rush for 129 yards and a touchdown. The running game will help set up the pass, and quarterback Todd Boeckman will throw the majority of his passes to Brian Robiske and Brian Hartline. Simulations show that the Buckeyes defense will keep this game close with an average of three sacks and 1.5 turnovers.
What if this were a truly neutral field?
LSU is 3-0 in BCS games played in the Superdome, including a victory over Oklahoma to win the 2004 national championship. A big catalyst for LSU being nearly a 2-to-1 favorite is simple geography. The Superdome is in the heart of LSU country and less than an hour's drive from Baton Rouge.
LSU has a distinct home-field advantage and it is reflected in our baseline simulations. However, AccuScore wanted to know to what extent the home-field advantage helped LSU. To properly measure this, we re-simulated the game at a true neutral site, and then reversed the location to give Ohio State the home-field advantage.
|True neutral field||52%||48%||LSU 25-24|
|OSU home field||40%||60%||OSU 27-23|
The Superdome is a huge X-factor for LSU and the primary reason why LSU is projected to win. When we moved this game to a neutral site, LSU's win probability dropped 10 points and the game became a virtual coin flip. It got worse for LSU if the roles were reversed and Ohio State had a virtual home game. When we simulated the game in Columbus, Ohio State won 60 percent of the simulations by an average score of 27-23.
Should LSU start Ryan Perrilloux?
Ryan Perrilloux has had an up-and-down career at LSU primarily due to off-field distractions. His passing numbers, in far fewer attempts, are better than starter Matt Flynn's numbers. While Perrilloux's completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio would not be as good if he were getting 100 percent of the snaps, LSU is winning a higher percentage of simulations (66 percent with a plus-four percentage point improvement) with an average score of 29-22.
When Matt Flynn got 100 percent of the snaps at QB, the simulation reports virtually the same results as the baseline. Statistically, here is how the two QBs compare getting 100 percent of the snaps.
|100% of snaps||Win%||Comp-Att||Pct||Yd||TD||Int||Rush||Yd||TD|
There's a reason why LSU has put up with Perrilloux's off-field troubles.
For more information, visit www.accuscore.com.