|PredictionMachine.com simulated Alabama-Jacksonville 50,000 times to settle the debate. (US Presswire)|
Ah, yes. The seemingly annual debate of, "Would [REALLY, REALLY GOOD COLLEGE TEAM] beat [REALLY, REALLY BAD PROFESSIONAL TEAM]" added a new chapter in 2012 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide .
My normal instinct is to dismiss the notion entirely. There are easily 10-20 future professionals on Alabama's roster. But the Jacksonville Jaguars -- as poorly as they have played this season -- are made up 53 professionals. Despite the opposite results for team success, there is too big a gap in talent level and experience for even Alabama to overcome.
Luckily, our friends at PredictionMachine.com (@predictmachine) have crunched the numbers with their Predictalator -- a machine that simulates every possible outcome 50,000 times to determine probabilities -- and the results support traditional thinking.
Paul Bessire, GM of PredictionMachine.com and creator of the Predictalator, wrote about the simulation on his blog. Check out an excerpt of his post below.
|Alabama vs. Jaguars|
|Alabama's Offense||Jaguars' Defense|
|LT: Cyrus Kouandjio, 6-6, 311||DE: Jeremy Mincey, 6-4, 265|
|LG: Chance Warmack, 6-3, 320||DT: Tyson Alualu, 6-3, 295|
|C: Barrett Jones, 6-5, 302||DT: C.J. Mosley, 6-2, 310|
|RG: Anthony Steen, 6-3, 303||RDE: Austen Lane, 6-6, 265|
|RT: D.J. Fluker, 6-6, 335||OLB: Julian Stanford, 6-1, 230|
|TE: Michael Williams, 6-6, 269||MLB: Paul Posluszny, 6-2, 242|
|QB: AJ McCarron, 6-4, 210||OLB: Russell Allen, 6-3, 238|
|RB: Eddie Lacy, 6-0, 220||LCB: Rashean Mathis, 6-1, 195|
|WR: Amari Cooper, 6-1, 198||RCB: Derek Cox, 6-1, 195|
|WR: Kevin Norwood, 6-2, 195||SS: Dawan Landry, 6-1, 212|
|HB: Christion Jones, 5-11, 185||FS: Dwight Lowery, 5-11, 212|
|Alabama's Defense||Jaguars' Offense|
|DE: Ed Stinson, 6-4, 282||LT: Eugene Monroe, 6-5, 306|
|NG: Jesse Williams, 6-4, 320||LG: Mike Brewster, 6-4, 305|
|DE: Damion Square, 6-3, 286||C: Brad Meester, 6-3, 292|
|SAM: Adrian Hubbard, 6-6, 248||RG: Uche Nwaneri, 6-3, 310|
|MIKE: Trey DePriest, 6-2, 245||RT: Cameron Bradfield, 6-4, 308|
|WILL: Nico Johnson, 6-3, 245||TE: Marcedes Lewis, 6-6, 272|
|JACK: Xzavier Dickson, 6-3, 262||QB: Blaine Gabbert, 6-4, 235|
|CB: Deion Belue, 5-11, 179||RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, 5-7, 210|
|CB: Dee Milliner, 6-1, 199||WR: Cecil Shorts, 6-0, 202|
|S: Robert Lester, 6-2, 210||WR: Justin Blackmon, 6-1, 210|
|S: HaHa Clinton-Dix, 6-1, 209||FB: Greg Jones, 6-1, 265|
NFL players represent the best of the best and there are 11 players for each team on the field at all times. As good as Alabama has been recently, they are not responsible for one-thirty second of the league's players. And even if they were, players improve over time with experience, coaching and physical maturation.
After the 2011 season, Alabama had 11 starters who could be drafted into the NFL. Eight of them were – including an impressive four in the first round. Of those eight NFL players, only four have been active for more than one game this season. Only two Alabama players – Trent Richardson and Mark Barron - from last year's superior team are starting for their NFL teams right now. And NOT ONE of the 2012 NFL Draft picks from Alabama is playing at an above average level in the league in his rookie season.
Some other quick hitters:
Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert just completed 71% of his 38 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against a Lions' defense that includes ridiculously good college players like Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska, All-American), Nick Fairley (Auburn, All-American – who dominated on the interior over Alabama two years ago), Cliff Avril (Purdue, All Big Ten), Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska, All Big 12), Travis Lewis (Oklahoma, All Big 12 and Freshman All-American), DeAndre Levy (Wisconsin, All Big Ten), Lawrence Jackson (USC, All-American), Ronnell Lewis (Oklahoma, All-American), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest, All-American) and Chris Houston (Arkansas, All SEC).
To the best of my research, Jacksonville's current active roster includes 28 former first team all-conference players and 13 former first team All-Americans (at their respective collegiate levels).
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had 1,511 total passing yards on 120 of 209 passing (57.4% completions, 7.22 yards-per-attempt) before Saturday. Against BCS-AQ opponents, he was 61-for-124 for 767 yards (49.2%, 6.2). Against Alabama, Mettenberger completed 24 of 35 passes for 298 yards (68.6%, 8.5). Alabama is not invincible.
There are not any major weaknesses on this Alabama team, but I don't see anywhere in the numbers where the Crimson Tide roster currently has a matchup advantage over any NFL roster.
Again, in 50,000 simulations Jacksonville wins 94% of the time and by an average score of 33-9.
I do encourage you to go check out the full post, which includes comparison's to the 2011 Alabama roster -- which Paul argues could have kept the Jacksonville game within 20 points -- and a breakdown of the best college football team of all time: the 2001 Miami Hurricanes.
Recently, Paul joined me on the podcast to discuss the probabilities of Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame all going undefeated. He updates those odds in his blog, and you can click here to listen to his explanation on the podcast.
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