Football: Playing the season a million times

I meant to get this up before the season started, but our development team here at CIS Blog Labs ran some simulations of the (mostly) upcoming schedule, using last year's RPI as a starting point for each matchup. The results are below.

One million seasons were simulated, and each team's record and place in the standings was recorded for each simulated season. For example, Laval finished first (or tied for first) in their conference 908,732 times out of the million seasons, finished second 77,316 times, and so on.

Next to each team below is the percentage of times they finished first (this includes ties, so the numbers don't add up to 100%). Teams are ranked by their average finish in the standings. For non-AUS teams, the second number represents how often they finished in the playoff seedings (1-6 in the OUA, 1-4 in the Q and Canada West). And the rankings from the latest Top 10 are added to any team that received a decent number of votes.

(5) Saint Mary's: 72.1%
StFX: 41.5%
Mount Allison: 8.5%
Acadia: 0.4%

(1) Laval: 90.9% (>99.9%)
Sherbrooke: 14.8% (99.3%)
(6) Concordia: 5.9% (98.7%)
(9) Montreal: 6.3% (98.8%)
Bishop's: 0.5% (82.2%)
McGill: 0.1% (43.3%)

(8) Queen's: 63.7% (99.5%)
(2) Western: 37.7% (98.1%)
(7) Laurier: 15.6% (89.6%)
(10) Ottawa: 13.4% (88.3%)
McMaster: 4.6% (75.0%)
Guelph: 3.9% (70.5%)
Windsor: 3.7% (66.6%)
Waterloo: 1.0% (44.2%)
Toronto: 0.7% (39.5%)
York: <0.1% (5.5%)

(3) Calgary: 49.1% (98.0%)
(4) Saskatchewan: 38.3% (96.7%)
(11) Simon Fraser: 28.0% (94.3%)
Regina: 15.5% (86.6%)
(12) Manitoba: 6.9% (73.5%)
UBC: 3.9% (59.7%)
Alberta: 1.5% (39.4%)

This doesn't take into account graduating players or transfers or returning-from-injury players or anything like that; it's just a baseline for expectations. Queen's seems a little high here, for instance. The results are also similar to last year's standings in the ordering of teams, but there are still schools like McMaster and Sherbrooke who come out better or worse than in 2008.

One surprising result was how close the Huskies and X-Men were: those two teams flipped back and forth between first and second in most of the sims, and StFX finished as good or better than SMU nearly half the time. This should make Saturday's season opener between the two teams, in Antigonish, all the more interesting.
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