Article by Andrew Cherico. Photo by Jim Marshall
Orlando FL- The UCF Football season is about a week away and fans are ready. With excitement building up fans have already given all of their record predictions. Common predictions are “6-6, 7-5, 5-7,” and even the highly optimistic “12-0”. The college football world has heard from the fans, experts, and even coaches but what does the ESPN Matchup Predictor think about UCF’s upcoming inaugural BIG 12 season? For context, ESPN’s Matchup Predictor is based on a collective of analytics that is generated by AI. The predictor has an accuracy rate of 75% meaning it will not be 100% accurate but rather an educated prediction.
The Matchup Predictor is based on a 100% split and whichever team has the higher percentage is the predicted winner. Starting with the debut game of the BIG 12 season against Kent State at home the predictor has UCF with a 94% chance to win their first game starting UCF at (1-0). Moving onto the 2nd game of the season UCF is predicted to have a 59.9% chance of winning against Boise St. on the road, leading UCF on to (2-0). After 2 strong wins for the Knights in the 3rd game of the season against Villanova at home, ESPN has almost guaranteed UCF a win at a 95.7% chance, advancing the record to (3-0).
According to ESPN after a very strong start to the season, UCF receives their first loss against Kansas St. on the road making UCF (3-1). The analytics have UCF with a 40.2% chance to win that game, which is the first time this season ESPN has UCF under 50%. After taking the first loss of the season ESPN analytics predict UCF will bounce back strong against Baylor at home giving the Knights a 56.9% chance to win that game (4-1). Going into week 6 on the road against Kansas, UCF is given a 69.4 chance to win that game further advancing the record to (5-1).
Now, what most believe is UCF’s most anticipated game of the season, week 7 in Oklahoma against former UCF QB Dillion Gabriel. There are many UCF fans who predict to win week 7 but ESPN only has UCF at a season-low 24.6% chance to win making UCF (5-2). Next week against West Virginia back in Orlando UCF bounces back with a 77.2% to win in week 8 making them (6-2).
Moving onto week 9 to face one of UCF’s better rivals Cincinnati. Although the Knights are on the road the predictor is giving UCF a slight edge with a 55.6% chance to win in what should be a great bout (7-2). UCF continues to steamroll through its schedule picking up a win on week 10 against Oklahoma State at home with a 65.4% chance of making UCF (8-2).
Entering the final 2 games of the season UCF faces their 3rd loss to Texas Tech on the road, UCF only has a 38.7% chance to win according to ESPN making them (8-3). Finally, in UCF’s final matchup of the season they face Houston at home and ESPN has UCF finishing strong with a 75.4% chance to win and a chance to improve their record to (9-3).
Overall, as we get ready for the season making record predictions is something all football fans do. While we have heard from experts and reporters, I thought it would be interesting to see a computer’s prediction of the season. By no means is ESPN’s Matchup Predictor accurate but it does consider all of the minute details. With a 75% accuracy rate, the predictor has UCF coming in at a (9-3) record which is very optimistic, and every UCF fan would love to hear that. My record prediction is (7-5) which I think is a great start for the first year in the BIG 12. To the fans, what is your record prediction?
Go Knights, Charge On!