Win Probability: What Will Tennessee’s Record Be?

Earlier this month we looked at Tennessee’s win probabilities using ESPN’s FPI and SB Nation’s S&P+. Their formulas assign a win probability for each game (somewhere between 7% against Alabama and 99% against Indiana State); add up those percentages and you’ll get their projection for Tennessee’s regular season wins.

Assigning percentages to each game is a more interesting and more reliable exercise to determine how you think the Vols will do this year; again, it’s one thing to say you think the Vols will go 9-3 with these nine wins and those three losses, but it makes more sense to assign a percentage to each opponent.

We don’t have fancy formulas, but here are our staff picks for Tennessee’s regular season using win probability (each number represents the percentage chance we give Tennessee to win):

Will Joel Brad Dylan STAFF AVG
vs Georgia Tech 60% 60% 65% 80% 66%
Indiana State 100% 98% 95% 100% 98%
at Florida 40% 51% 55% 55% 50%
UMass 100% 98% 95% 100% 98%
Georgia 50% 45% 45% 55% 49%
South Carolina 70% 75% 60% 65% 68%
at Alabama 15% 10% 20% 10% 14%
at Kentucky 70% 65% 60% 70% 66%
Southern Miss 95% 90% 90% 100% 94%
at Missouri 75% 70% 70% 75% 73%
LSU 40% 25% 40% 45% 38%
Vanderbilt 75% 70% 65% 90% 75%
WINS 7.90 7.57 7.60 8.45 7.88

Our staff is more or less on board with 8-4; Dylan is particularly more confident in wins over Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, while Joel is particularly less confident against LSU, but the numbers are fairly close everywhere else.

What about you? Find out below (thanks to Joel for the form wizardry) by selecting the percentage chance you give Tennessee to win each game to see your season projection, and be sure to submit it for our site average we’ll release next week.

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  1. This team has a better chance to really do well than others we’ve had under Jones. There’s far more depth and mature talent. If we have a reliable QB solution, and I think we do, then we’ll surprise in a significant way to the upside. In fact, unless we have a rash of injuries, I think we win the SEC East this year.

    No one who has seen my posts over the years would call me a kool-aid optimist, but the contrarian in me sees a lot of positive stuff that the national media are discounting because of the hangover from our injury-riddled finish, the Dobbs/Barnett/Kamara NFL departures and the dysfunction associated with Hurd’s exit.

  2. I’m an optimist this year. I think our QB position is in good hand(s) and the depth of experience our bench got last year is invaluable. Yes, we lost several key players, but we also have players stepping up to fill the gaps. It doesn’t hurt that expectations are lower this year amoung the “experts” hopefully leading to more of a “we’ll show you” type of attitude. That along with the assumed increased conditioning of the players, gives me the increased belief in a good year.

    • I’m with you, for all of the same reasons, plus a few.

    • Brenna’s especially on target with the addition of The Rock as our S&C coach. We earned the NFL Scout’s criticism of having soft players because our guys didn’t work as hard as the other SEC teams under former S&C coaches. That’s partly why we had the injuries as well.

      I forgot to add that LSU having Orgeron instead of Les Miles is a step down for them. Rah-Rah Cajun only goes so far. Assuming they don’t have a real QB and can’t figure out how to use a good one if they have him, we should have a shot if we are as good at the QB as I think we will be by Nov. I am not as negative on that game as everyone else is.

  3. I’m cautiously optimistic. The complete insanity of the injury situation last year has me a little gun shy. Other than that, I think we certainly match up with anyone else in the East this year. I look at Florida and see a toss up. We apparently have Georgia’s number at the moment and we’re playing at home there. I’m not sure about LSU but I’m not sold on their coaching change being an upgrade. We will have to see about that. Alabama is an uphill battle. We *should* beat everyone else but we still have to play the games. If we only go 1 / 4 out of the big SEC games and we drop one we should win, that puts us as 8-4 in the regular season. I don’t think that is a bad outcome.

    • The thing I keep saying is that I believe we can be and might actually be better this year (for a variety of reasons, avoiding a total meltdown on the injury front being one), but still have 50/50 games to play that might go the other way this time. I do like finally being more talented than Florida, though, and I do like sort of being to Georgia what Florida is to us — maybe less talented but still find a way to win.

      We’ll see.

  4. Vols will be underdogs to 4 teams this year. UF/UGA/Bama/LSU and I think they lose all 4. I also think they will have one loss between GT/USC/KY.

    Sorry I am a realist. I have a hard time believing that the the players who played as fill in last year for all the injured players are all of a sudden going to get good.

    People do not realize how hard it will be to replace Dobbs and Barnett.

    I think 7-5 is best case but 6-6 is the more likely. Hope I am wrong but…

  5. College football has such small sample sizes it’s hard to tell the lucky (MacElwain) from the good– and conversely, the unlucky from the mediocre.

    I’m guessing the divergence between Vegas/local team media predicting 7-8 wins and Big Sports Media predicting 5-6 is the perceived coaching difference between Butch and his rival coaches. It’s interesting to me that the disparity in total team talent (use any measurement you want) is overshadowed so much by narrative– but I guess that’s reasonably accounted for by the difference in investment by the predicting parties. Gamblers and local media personalities have more skin in the game.

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