Notre Dame Football Predictor Instructions
The neural network takes as inputs 14 parameters describing the
"situation" in the game. Every time a parameter is adjusted, the
program automatically makes a new probability prediction based on the
new data and displays it graphically on the lower right hand corner of
Given the situation data, the program predicts the probability that
different plays will be run. So, for example, if the graph shows a
bar of length 12 next to the "FB run" line, the program is predicting
a 12% chance the Notre Dame will run a fullback run in the given
situation. A full list of
abbreviations and play descriptions
The primary inputs:
Some of the parameters can be changed directly on the applet screen:
- The down.
- The quarter.
- Time outs left.
- Time left in the quarter.
- The score.
- How far it is to a first down.
- Field position (yard line).
- Field position (between the hash marks).
The down, quarter, time outs, time and score can be directly adjusted
by selecting the appropriate buttons or adjusting the sliders on the
upper left-hand part of the screen.
The inputs corresponding to yards to go for a first down and field
position can be adjusted in the window in the lower left hand corner
of the screen which shows a graphic representing a football field.
The brown oval on the field represents represents the ball location on
the field and can be adjusted by dragging it with the mouse. The ball
can be moved both up and down the field, changing the yard line, as
well as laterally across the field between the hash marks. The blue
lines move up and down the field with the ball so its location can be
The red line represents the first down line and can be moved up and
down the field by dragging it with the mouse. Since these inputs
adjust field position as well as yards to go for a first down, it is
important to have the ball and first down line accurately located on
the football field.
The program always assumes that the direction of play is from
the ball to the first down line. Therefore, if the ball is
moved past the first down line, the displayed prediction will be for
the opposite direction of play. The direction of play is important
because one of the inputs to the program is how many yards there are
to go for a touchdown.
By clicking on the "Additional Settings..." button, a window will appear
with some more inputs. These inputs need to be changed much less
frequently than the primary inputs.
These inputs are:
Unlike the primary inputs, the program does not make a new
prediction automatically when the values for the secondary
inputs are adjusted. The "Apply" button will hide the window
and cause the program to calculate a new prediction based on
the adjusted inputs in the window. The "Cancel" button hides
the window, but does not have the program calculate a new prediction
based on the changed settings. If the "Additional Settings..."
button is pressed again after the "Cancel" button is pressed,
the old values for the settings will be displayed.
- The weather quality, specified on a scale of 1 to 10. 10
represents good weather conditions for football. 7 or 8 represent a
light rain and a wet field or windy conditions, or the equivalent. A
5 represents a heavy rain or snow. A 1 is designed to represent heavy
rain and strong wind, or hurricane-like conditions. In all the data
used to train the network, there have never been weather conditions
represented on this scale by less than a 5.
- Relative strength represents the relative strength of the teams
before the game. A relative strength of 1 means that Notre
Dame is a heavy favorite to win the game. Conversely, a relative
strength of -1 means that Notre Dame is a big underdog. Logically,
then, a relative strength of 0 means that the teams are evenly
matched. This input should not be changed during the game.
- The next three inputs represent how successful three primary
plays have been, and should be adjusted once or twice a quarter.
How successful plays have been are represented on a scale from
-1 to 1, where -1 means that a play has been unsuccessful most
of the time, a 1 means that Notre Dame can run it at will, and a
0 means that the play has had about average success.
Last updated: November 14, 1996.