November 15, 2019

Week 9 Ivy League Football Elo Ratings

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For a refresher on the model and its specifics, check out the first Elo article, where we explained how it works. 

In the penultimate week of Ivy League football, Cornell goes on the road to face the yet undefeated Dartmouth.

Last week started with a blowout as Yale (1554) handily defeated Brown (1272), 59-35. Brown continues to slide and remains winless against conference opponents, while Yale further solidifies itself as one of the Ivy League’s better teams.

The other three matchups were much more competitive. Columbia (1473) was able to beat Harvard (1528), 17-10,  to secure a thrilling overtime upset. Penn (1445) was able to hold off Cornell (1379), 21-20, as Cornell failed on a last-second two-point conversion in an attempt to win instead of sending the game to overtime.

And in the final game of the week, a contest of the unbeaten teams, Dartmouth (1704) won in commanding fashion, 27-10, over Princeton (1649). With this pivotal win in the Bronx, Dartmouth is the clear favorite for the Ivy League title barring a major upset in its final two Ivy League games.

In terms of Elo ratings, Dartmouth reigns supreme. They are the first team of the season to reach a rating of 1700 and opened up a large gap over Princeton with its win. Yale finally passed Harvard in rating following three straight wins by the Bulldogs and three straight losses by the Crimson. At the bottom of the ratings, Cornell and Brown continue to lose, and their ratings continue to dip.

This season, the model has been mostly accurate. Ivy League Elo has currently picked 18 out of 20 games correctly.

Penn at Harvard — 12 p.m. Saturday

Penn (1445) is coming off of an uncomfortably narrow victory against a weak Cornell team, while Harvard (1528) is attempting to shrug off an overtime loss to Columbia. The Crimson is definitely the better team in this contest; however, the Quakers are as strong as Columbia in rating and could surprise the Crimson. Still, expect Harvard to come away with a win at home, but this game may be closer than predicted.

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Yale at Princeton — 1 p.m. Saturday

This game looks like it will be the most competitive of the week. Yale (1554) and Princeton (1649) have both only lost to a dominant Dartmouth team. While there is a large disparity in their ratings, both teams are quite good. This could be very telling for both teams as a win by Yale would prove the Bulldogs are at the top of the Ivy League. A win by the Tigers would put the team back on track, as their two most recent losses (spanning 3 seasons) have both come at the hands of the Green. This game should be exciting, and other than last week’s Princeton and Dartmouth game, this contest may be the best of the season.

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Brown at Columbia — 1 p.m. Saturday

Columbia (1473) is hosting Brown (1272) this week. The Lions have momentum after pulling out the upset against Harvard last week and look to continue winning. Brown has zero momentum. But Brown is not as bad as its record would indicate. The Bears have still failed to win a game and close contests don’t count in the standings. Columbia should win this game unless Brown can finally show the ability to beat one of its Ivy League opponents.

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Cornell at Dartmouth — 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Cornell (1379) is not likely to do well against Dartmouth (1704). The model favors Dartmouth by 15 points in this game, and that is probably too low. As far as win probabilities go, Cornell’s mere 10% is one of the worst if not absolutely the worst of the season. When Cornell played Princeton two weeks ago, there was a 20% chance of victory — here, Cornell has half that. On the other side, Dartmouth rose above 1700 this week, which now puts the team on a historically great level. Dartmouth is highly unlikely to drop this contest as it looks to wrap up the Ancient Eight crown.

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