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Weekly Win Shares: Does Florida’s 4-1 start pave the way to eight wins?

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Also: Has the author of this piece found a way to write it up weekly without having to get it up on Wednesday?

Florida v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Go on the road in the SEC and come home with a big win — as the Florida Gators did last Saturday at Mississippi State — and it gets a lot easier to project good things about you.

Do it twice in a row, as the Gators have done in Knoxville and Starkville, and you suddenly make it hard not to see the season before you shaping up as a success.

Here are my updated win shares projections for Florida, with a big ol’ boost and a lot of echoes down the line.

Florida’s 2018 Win Shares: October 4, 2018

Game Win Share Cumulative Win Shares Delta
Game Win Share Cumulative Win Shares Delta
Charleston Southern 1 1 0
Kentucky 0 1 0
Colorado State 1 2 0
at Tennessee 1 3 0
at Mississippi State 1 4 0.6
LSU 0.5 4.5 0.05
at Vanderbilt 0.7 5.2 0.05
vs. Georgia 0.25 5.45 0.05
Missouri 0.6 6.05 0.05
South Carolina 0.6 6.65 0.05
Idaho 0.95 7.6 0
at Florida State 0.6 8.2 0
Total 8.2 0.85

As you can see, winning a game that I gave the Gators just a 40 percent chance of winning last week — and one I sincerely did not believe Florida would win until the point at which the Gators went up by a touchdown in the fourth quarter — confers both the big ol’ 0.6 win shares of boost for that game and a reverberation that goes through much of the rest of the schedule.

And, in news that might surprise you, I’m actually bearish on Florida’s chances for the rest of its schedule, at least compared to S&P+. Check this out.

Florida Win Shares vs. S&P+ Win Probability: October 4, 2018

Game Win Share S&P+ Win Probability
Game Win Share S&P+ Win Probability
LSU 0.5 0.54
at Vanderbilt 0.7 0.74
vs. Georgia 0.25 0.3
Missouri 0.6 0.63
South Carolina 0.6 0.66
Idaho 0.95 0.94
at Florida State 0.6 0.76

Sure, a significant portion of the full-season difference between my projections and those of a sophisticated system that has a lot of math and years of testing behind it is me being a bit scared of assigning a big value to a Florida trip to Florida State. But I thought my projections were a little rosy when I was making them earlier today — and yet S&P+ suggests I’m probably underrating the Gators, if only slightly.

Regardless of that, what seems clear now is that Florida is cruising toward bowl eligibility — the Gators would need to lose six of their final seven games to be totally ineligible, and would have to lose five of seven while winning the Idaho game to be a 6-6 team that needed an NCAA waiver regarding its two wins over FCS teams to be bowl-eligible — and seemingly more likely than not to win eight games.

And a win over LSU this weekend would both send the Gators’ trajectory even further skyward and make their floor a much higher one.