College Confidential

Computer favors Frogs in Baylor-TCU debate.

This screen capture from the Action! PC Football game shows one of the most popular results among 50 computer replays of the TCU-Baylor contest. In the computer replay, the Horned Frogs won 35 of 50 times.
This screen capture from the Action! PC Football game shows one of the most popular results among 50 computer replays of the TCU-Baylor contest. In the computer replay, the Horned Frogs won 35 of 50 times.

What if?

What if this year’s TCU and Baylor teams could play again?

Would the Bears repeat their 61-58 win over the Horned Frogs? Would TCU again blow a 21-point fourth-quarter lead?

Would Art Briles and Gary Patterson still be the frostiest of friends?

And what about the College Football Playoff? What if justice had prevailed and the CFP committee would have rightly included the Bears or Frogs?

In reality, we’ll never know. But thanks to Action! PC Football, a computer simulation game produced by Dave Koch Sports, we can get an idea of how the what-ifs might have turned out.

Using this season’s rosters and results, we had Action! PC play the Frogs and Bears 50 times — 25 games on each team’s home field.

The results:

TCU won 35 of the 50, including 22 of 25 at Amon Carter Stadium. In games played in Waco, Baylor won 12 and lost 13.

The games, auto-managed by the computer coach, generally fell into a handful of common patterns. When Baylor won, it was usually high-chaos, high-scoring affairs, with the Bears snapping the ball close to 100 times and breaking off big plays.

When the Frogs prevailed, it was usually because their defense asserted itself at some point in the game, often with takeaways, and kept the final score in the 30s.

The average score of the 50 computer replays showed TCU averaging 39.8 points, Baylor 31.3.

Dave Koch’s game isn’t like the Madden NFL games. There is no eye candy. It’s designed to be an accurate statistical simulation of real football. There are no images of real-life players. Instead, a radio-type play-by-play commentary scrolls the result of each play.

Coaches can call almost any play, formation or defense they desire.

Four wide receivers? Sure.

Send everyone but the mascot on a blitz? Yep, but be prepared for the consequences.

When played head-to-head, there are even fake punts, audibles and play challenges.

The 50 TCU-Baylor replays seemed to worthily capture the personalities of the two teams. Few drives lasted more than four minutes. The first down chains were kept busy.

How did the two teams fare against the four teams selected for the playoff?

On a neutral field, TCU won six of 10 against Ohio State. The Buckeyes defeated the Bears seven of 10 times.

Against Florida State, both TCU and Baylor enjoyed the upper hand, winning seven of 10.

Admittedly, those are not huge statistical samples. That would take a lot more time, and the New Year’s Six bowl games are fast approaching.

Using Action! PC Football, however, to computer-play the real-life upcoming semifinals, two favorites clearly emerged.

Alabama defeated Ohio State 16 of 20 times in the mock Sugar Bowl. Oregon was even more dominant in the computerized Rose Bowl, beating Florida State 18 of 20 times.

The Crimson Tide’s average margin of victory was 38.3 to 31.5. The Ducks’ average final score was 41.4 to 23.2.

We avoided a lengthy computer-play rendering of an Alabama-Oregon championship matchup. We’ll save that for championship week.

To order Action! PC Football, you can visit the Dave Koch Sports website at www.dksports.com.

Koch releases a new version of his football game, both NFL and college editions, each year around the end of March.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @gillebreton

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