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Re-weighing expectations: Vols one game away from 2014 goal of bowl eligibility

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Weighing the Vols' chances against their remaining schedule: Week 12.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

There's been a lot of confusion about the RTT 5-30 Point Scale that we use to precisely and accurately predict the outcomes of Vols games, so I wanted to take the opportunity this week in particular to clear up some of that confusion.

1. The characteristic for which the 5-30 Point Scale System is best known is its patent pending Liquid Precision. It's precisely accurate to an integer chosen mostly at random.

1. That statistical quirk that you think should be accounted for? The 5-30 Point Scale accounts for it to the precise degree it should. Garbage time? Yep. Strength of schedule? Of course. For instance, the factor that weighs the heaviest in the analysis is time of possession due to the proven scientific fact that offenses score more points than defense or special teams. It therefore logically follows that whichever team possesses the ball the longest has the best opportunity to score the most points. Really, TOP is the only data point we actually look at because it's even more important than points. That said, we also acknowledge that as important as it is, time of possession is also notoriously unreliable at predicting game outcomes, so after we weigh it heavily, we discard it. This allows the defenders of the system to tell those four individuals who still care about TOP that we care and those who don't that we don't. Which, by the way, is the guiding principle of the 5-30 Point Scale.

2.3 We believe in the clearest form of transparency here at RTT, and so we've exerted extreme effort to make sure that the 5-30 Point Scale algorithm is as opaque as it can feasibly be. All of the formulae are right there for the world to see on my personal computer in my basement. It's the hand-crafted Japanese puzzle box in the corner, and it's connected to the internet through a proprietary one-way CAT4 cable.

3.7 To date, the 5-30 Point Scale has been infallible, and 964 real live human beings have made $83,094,423.62 in Vegas with it. Naysayers may naysay that it missed the correct outcome of the Tennessee-Florida game, but what really happened there is that the game itself was wrong, not the prediction system.

10. QED.

11/22/14: Missouri (8-2, 5-1 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Beat South Dakota State, 38-18.
  • Week 2: Beat Toledo, 49-24.
  • Week 3: Beat UCF, 38-10.
  • Week 4: Lost to Indiana, 31-27.
  • Week 5: Beat South Carolina, 21-20.
  • Week 6: Bye.
  • Week 7: Got shut out and gave up 34 to a Todd Gurley-less Georgia, losing 34-0.
  • Week 8: Beat Florida, 42-13. Two pick sixes and two special teams touchdowns helps explain 42 points on barely over 100 yards on offense. Good news and bad news for Tennessee.
  • Week 9: Beat Vanderbilt, 24-14.
  • Week 10: Beat Kentucky, 20-10.
  • Week 11: Bye.
  • Week 12: Beat Texas A&M, 34-27.
  • Week 13: VOLS.
  • Week 14: Arkansas.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): 21, mostly because we just beat Kentucky 50-16. As anyone who's been reading this piece since we started doing it back on September 23, the 5-30 point scale has been confused about this Missouri team for the duration of the season. They got out of the gate well enough with wins over three cheese sticks, but then lost to Indiana. What's the midwestern version of cheese stick? Cheese curd? I love me some cheese curds. Culver's is like Steak n Shake but with parkas. Anyway, Missouri then made like they were actually good again this year by beating South Carolina, but we all know what happened to the Gamecocks the rest of the way, so you know. Then the Tigers got steamrolled by a Gurley-less Georgia, beat Florida (but we all know what happened to the Gators the rest of the way), and then beat Vandy, Kentucky, and A&M. All of that adds up precisely to 21, but earns the 5-30 Point Scale Honorary Shrug Award.

EARLIER PREDICTIONS - MISSOURI
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
18 18 18 23 20 22 19 19 21

11/29/14: Vanderbilt (3-7, 0-6 SEC, NR)

  • Week 1: Lost to Temple, 37-7.
  • Week 2: Lost to Ole Miss, 41-3.
  • Week 3: Beat UMass, 34-31.
  • Week 4: Lost to South Carolina, 48-34.
  • Week 5: Lost to Kentucky, 17-7.
  • Week 6: Lost to Georgia, 44-17.
  • Week 7: Beat Charlie Southern. By a point. 21-20.
  • Week 8: Bye.
  • Week 9: Lost to Missouri, 24-14.
  • Week 10: Beat Old Dominion, 42-28.
  • Week 11: Lost to Florida, 34-10. Sounds about right.
  • Week 12: Bye.
  • Week 13: At Mississippi State.
  • Week 14: VOLS.
  • Chances of a Vols win (on a scale from 5-30): 28? Yeah, 28. This goes here:

EARLIER PREDICTIONS - VANDERBILT
W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
27 27 24 25 24 27 28 28 28

So we get one last tough game at home against a Missouri team that's snuck up and beat us two years in a row now before we go to our home away from home in Nashville to play a Vanderbilt team that looks like the Black Night without the swagger. It smells like bowl games in here, but wouldn't it be nice to wrap this one up this Saturday evening at home and then just throw a party at Vandy? Yeah. Let's do it that way.

The Vols' chances of winning each of the rest of their games, on a scale from 5-30.

PREDICTIONS
5-30 SCALE W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12
5
6
7
8 Ole Miss (L; 34-3)
9 Ole Miss Alabama (L; 34-20)
10 Alabama Alabama
11
12
13 Alabama
14
15
16
17
18 Missouri Missouri South Carolina South Carolina (W; 45-42)
19 Ole Miss Kentucky Kentucky Missouri Missouri
20 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Missouri
21 South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina Missouri
22 Missouri
23 Florida (L; 10-9) Missouri Kentucky Kentucky (W; 50-13)
24 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
25 UTC (W; 45-10) Vanderbilt
26
27 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
28 UTC Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
29
30