November 22, 2019

Week 10 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 final week of Ivy League football, a struggling Columbia team will visit Ithaca to play Cornell.

Last week was a week of upsets. Every single underdog won their games and in some cases, it wasn’t even close. In one of the smaller upsets, Penn (1468) was able to beat Harvard (1505), 24-20, in a close game between two relatively even teams. The second game of the week was a contest between some of the top Ivy League teams. Yale (1596) defeated Princeton (1607) in a surprising 51-14 blowout to put the Bulldogs in a great position for the conference title. That game led to a massive 42-point Elo rating change, but that wasn’t even the largest shift of the week.

The true massive upsets came from Cornell and Brown. Brown (1329) was able to finally win its first Ivy League game since 2016 with a commanding 48-24 victory over Columbia (1416). Columbia was favored by 10 points and Brown had a slim 19% chance of victory according to the model. However, Brown was able to double Columbia’s score and gain 57 Elo rating points.

In the most shocking game of the week, Cornell (1408) defeated Ivy League juggernaut Dartmouth (1675) in a thrilling game, 20-17. This was the Green’s first conference loss to a non-Princeton team since 2017, and it marked Cornell’s first win against Dartmouth since 2008.

This last week was truly incredible in the number of underdog victories. According to our previous predictions, there was only a .00182 probability that all four underdogs would win. That equates to a 1-in-500 chance. In contrast, the probability of every favorite winning last week was .347, which is just above a 1-in-3 chance.

With only one week left, it looks as though Dartmouth will claim the Ivy League Elo title. There was a lot of movement in the Elo standings, but it doesn’t appear to be enough to dethrone Dartmouth. As for the actual conference champion, the Bulldogs and the Green look set up to each take a share of the title. Both teams sit at 7-1 in the conference with Dartmouth needing a win over Brown and Yale needing a victory over Harvard in “The Game.”

After last week’s bizarre results, the Elo model has predicted 18 out of 24 games correctly this season.

Dartmouth at Brown — 12 p.m. Saturday

Dartmouth (1675) is coming off of an unexpected loss against Cornell. On the other side Brown (1329) finally broke their streak of losses and was able to pull out a win. A lot is on the line in this game, if Dartmouth loses here they will likely be knocked out of title contention. Don’t expect the Big Green to put up two bad losses in a row. Cornell was able to play spoiler last week, but Brown is even worse than Cornell and it is doubtful the Browns will earn a victory.

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Harvard at Yale — 12 p.m. Saturday

“The Game” is here. Harvard (1505) heads down to Connecticut to face its bitter rival Yale (1596). In addition to the history behind this matchup, Harvard has a chance to play spoiler this year. Yale is currently tied for first in the conference and a win here would guarantee a share of the title; however, if the Crimson is able to win, it will almost ensure that Yale will miss out on the Ivy crown. These opponents are relatively even and rivalry games always bring out the best in teams. This looks like it will be an exciting game with Yale having a slight edge.

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Princeton at Penn — 1 p.m. Saturday

Princeton (1607) travels to Philadelphia this week to face Penn (1486). Princeton is coming off two tough losses. The Tigers are looking to finish the season on the right note after having their title hopes smashed by Yale last week. Penn, on the other hand, is coming into this game having won its last three games. Princeton does not appear to be the powerhouse it was earlier this season, but on paper, it should be able to pull out this victory.

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

The final match of the week is Cornell (1408) versus Columbia (1416). Cornell is riding high after an amazing win over Dartmouth. Columbia, on the other hand, is coming off of what could be the worst loss in the Ivy League this year after it lost to Brown by 24 points. Cornell is looking very strong and showed last week that it can compete with the best in the conference. Look for the Red to finish the season with a nice statement win for the team on Senior Day.

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