College Confidential

Computer game likes Ohio State in national championship

A computer game ran 200 games between Ohio State and Oregon. The Buckeyes won 102 times to the Ducks’ 98.
A computer game ran 200 games between Ohio State and Oregon. The Buckeyes won 102 times to the Ducks’ 98. AP

In the movies, Back to the Future II was set in the futuristic year of 2015, and villain Biff Tannen, blessed to have stumbled upon a sports almanac, could “predict” the outcome of every sporting event.

In the real 2015, we had to resort to Action! PC Football, a computer simulation of real-life football created by Dave Koch Sports.

And the winner is . . .

The Ohio State Buckeyes. Sorta.

Using the game’s built-in computer coach, we played Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game 200 times.

The Buckeyes won 102 times. The Oregon Ducks won 98.

But unlike Biff, don’t take this tip to Las Vegas. A result that close, even with 200 samples, suggests that Monday’s matchup is simply too close to call.

Action! PC Football isn’t like the Madden NFL games. There are no fancy graphics or lawsuit-inducing computerized likenesses. Rather, it’s designed to be an accurate statistical simulation of real football.

Coaches can call real plays, using “real” players who perform according to their real-life ratings and statistics.

Want to go five-wide on first down? Max-blitz on third-and-long? Call an audible if you think your original play is doomed?

You can do all of that in Action! PC. A radio-type play-by-play scrolls the outcome of each snap.

In our autoplay, the Buckeyes outscored the Ducks by an average score of 32.5 to 31.4.

Ohio State had a slim average edge in total offense, 451.6 yards to 449.7. The Buckeyes rushed for an average of 244.8 yards on the ground, while the Ducks averaged 244.2 through the air.

That seems too close to draw any real conclusions, other than that both teams’ defenses are in for a challenging night.

All games were played at AT&T Stadium. Home fields make a difference in Action! PC Football.

We endeavored to find an average result among the 200 simulated games. We think we found one in a 41-35 overtime victory by Ohio State.

Quarterback Cardale Jones ran three yards for the winning touchdown for the Buckeyes, after OSU’s Vonn Bell picked off a Marcus Mariota pass to start the overtime.

Jones threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the simulated game. Mariota passed for two scores and 248 yards.

The player of the game, though, was Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who carried the ball 27 times for 177 yards and was a constant force for the Buckeyes on third down.

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