The Poinsettia Bowl and variance

Why SDSU vs. Navy is among the most interesting games of the season

Originally Published: December 23, 2010
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesWhen Ricky Dobbs and the triple option are rolling, it's very hard to stop Navy.

If you spend any amount of time analyzing college football, bowl season can be pretty tough to call correctly. This year has mostly been chalk -- but with long layoffs, final exams, coaching changes and more, it's usually fairly tough to predict these games accurately. As analysts, how do we approach the problem of forecasting what is supposed to happen in these games based on game data that doesn't include any of these factors?

The first data point worth considering is variance in play over the course of a season.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site,