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Rose Bowl Predictions: Facebook

We’ve spent the weekend analyzing ways to predict who the victor will be on January 1, when Penn State and USC compete at the Rose Bowl. We’re going to come at you this week with some of the most advanced statistical analysis this side of the Rockies (who knew Stanford had the best statistics program in the country).

Our first method is Facebook’s Lexicon, a little known tool that compares the number of wall post mentions any two words have. For example, one might compare Mac and PC, Obama and McCain, Onward State and Gawker… well, that last one might be a little unfair. The Internets really like us.

The analysis is after the jump.

First, we need a standard sample. Let’s use Rose Bowl 2008 to set the precedent.

Illinois and USC squared off last year in Pasadena. The Trojans came away with a sizable 49-17 victory. It seems like the match up might have been a little unfair (hopefully President Obama can get a college football playoffs system by next fall).

Here’s the data…

As you can see, USC just barely beat out Illinois on January 1 in frequency of wall post mentions. USC also led Illinois for most of the season.

Now let’s compare Penn State and USC.

USC was leading Penn State for the first half of the season, but in October we jumped ahead of those Californian Trojans. (Remember, that was the month we beat Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State.) You can see that the frequency of both terms dipped as October wore on.

Hopefully Facebook releases more data before January 1. We weren’t able to draw many conclusions from the current set. The only one we really agreed on is that Mark Zuckerberg totes checks out potential dates and friends on this thing.

Don’t you Penn Staters worry though, we’ll be back with some more indicators later this week.

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About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

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