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Probabilities (and one ugly bonus stat)

Why has Texas struggled to close out first halves?

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the probabilities that Texas will beat their remaining opponents:

Kansas: 93.7%

TCU: 49.7%

And here are the probabilities of winning at least n more games:

1 game: 96.8% (bowl eligibility)

2 games: 46.6%

This will be my last post (on this subject, at least) until next season.  With so few games remaining, the cumulative probabilities aren’t very enlightening.  Intuition tells us that a win over Kansas is nearly a certainty while TCU is likely to be a coin flip.  That leaves about a 50/50 shot at both 6-6 and 7-5 with probabilities of 50.2% and 46.6%, respectively.

Since I’m not going to the trouble of plotting the density of the three possible outcomes for the regular season record, I’ll give you something else.  If you’ve ever had the feeling that Texas hasn’t been very good at stopping folks in the final minute of the first half, this should confirm what your gut has been telling you.

I logged every scoring play by Texas and their opponents during the Charlie Strong era and took the difference between Texas points and opponent points by minute.  The one eyesore of an outlier occurs in the 30th minute, i.e. the final minute of the first half, in which Texas has been outscored by a whopping 54 points.  In comparison to the other 59 minutes, -54 points is four standard deviations from the mean, which is statistical speak for silly.  So silly in fact that the probability it’s due to random chance is only 0.0031%.  Whether it’s due to poor clock/game management or something else, Texas has been awful in the closing minute of the first half.