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Oregon vs. Auburn: Math And Psychology Tell Us That The Underdog Will Win

Posted by: Dr. Granat on December 20, 2010

This year’s big game in college football looks like it will be a very exciting
The 2010 BCS features a Heisman Trophy Winner who is a remarkable athlete, two
undefeated teams and two high powered offenses.
Understandably, the game is getting a lot of buzz and media attention.
But, who will win this big game and why?
Last year, my colleague, Carlton Chin, and I wrote a book called Who Will Win The
Big Game? 50 Characteristics Of Championship Athletes, Teams and Coaches. The
book identifies the mathematical and the psychological factors that produce winners
in major sporting events.
We have correctly picked the winners of a number of contests and we are sharing
our data with coaches, athletes and team owners who want to win more often and produce
The book has been featured in The New York Times and in The Wall Street Journal.
Carlton, an MIT trained quant, crunched the numbers and I identified the mental
factors which allow winners to excel when the pressure is on. My research is based
on my counseling experiences with thousands of top athletes at

Oregon Looks Like The Winner-Here’s Why

Oregon has been the PAC Ten champion for two years in a row. This shows that
the team is consistent and that it has handled big games over two years.
Oregon also has big edge in errors and turnovers. Oregon accumulated 35
takeaways and was second in the nation in this category.
Oregon is plus 13 in turnovers while Auburn is plus 5.
Conventional wisdom and history seem to tell us that big games are lost and won
on mistakes and the ability to capitalize on mistakes which is what these numbers are
all about.
Oregon also gets the nod in points allowed. Their defense has given up 221 points
this year while Auburn has given up 318 during the same season. Some will say that the
SEC is a tougher conference than is the PAC 10. However, this still amounts to eight
an additional eight points being allowed every game.
The Oregon defense allows 4.5 yards per play. Auburn gives up 5.3 yards per play.
Auburn threw six interceptions out of 261 passes. Oregon threw only seven out of
353 passes.
Auburn has a slight edge in rushing yards per attempt.
Oregon has beaten virtually every opponent handily. Auburn has had some
some close wins. This proves that Auburn is resilient and tough, but Oregon appears to
be steadier and more consistent.

Having the Heisman Trophy Winner could be problematic for Auburn, since the
Oregon players will have some added incentive to steal some of the thunder from Cam
Football players at this level are very competitive and beating the best player in the
nation can inspire the Oregon Ducks to play with some added vigor and intensity. Some
players will be determined to steal some of Newton’s thunder as they participate in this big game.
Newton’s off the field controversy could also be a bit of a distraction especially
if more news about these issues surface prior to the game.
While lots of Auburn fans will travel to Arizona, Oregon is used to playing this
part of the country and they may have a bit of an edge in fan support because they are
closer to home.
For those of you who like to wager on sports, it looks like Oregon is well worth the
three points that they are getting from the people who set the odds on these games.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and the Founder of

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