One thing I’ve been curious to find out is if there’s a decided advantage to one side or the other when two college football teams face off against each other again in the same season. Brian Fremeau did the leg work for me on that.
Monday will be the 55th instance since 2007 of two FBS teams meeting twice in the same season. Most of these rematch situations have been in conference championship games, but there have been several bowl games mixed in as well. The BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2011 season featured an Alabama-LSU rematch that ushered in the playoff era. Of all rematches to date, the same team won both games 29 times (53.7%). Regardless of the outcome of the first game, the team favored by closing lines (per covers.com) won 79.6% of the rematch games. Compare that number with closing-line accuracy in forecasting all game winners since 2007 (74.6%), or with closing-line accuracy in forecasting conference championship and bowl game winners in the same span (only 66.3%).
Not much, in other words. Of far more interest is the winning percentage of betting favorites in the rematch. Just this side of 80% is not insignificant, especially in comparison to the overall percentage of postseason game favorites.
As an aside, if Saban is looking for more yummy rat poison, he might want to point to Brian’s conclusion:
For what it’s worth, FEI agrees with Vegas that Georgia should win on Monday. The Bulldogs had a single aberrant result in that game, but otherwise have been an exceptionally strong team offensively and defensively in all other outings this season. In terms of the metrics I track, Georgia rates among the most efficient and dominant teams of the last 15 years. It’s perfectly reasonable to say they are the measurably superior team in the matchup. It’s also perfectly reasonable to think Nick Saban’s football machine in Tuscaloosa will overcome and possibly even dominate the supposed “measurably superior” team once again. The two best teams are playing, and regardless of which team hoists the trophy, the two best teams at their best should put on quite a show.
FEI Projection: Georgia 33, Alabama 25