WOOSTER, Ohio (WJW) – When it comes to math, the sky is the limit.

With the proper calculations, you can plot the path of an eclipse or figure out the necessary displacement of an engine needed to lift 500 pounds of sand.

With the proper calculations, you can figure out why one high school football team can beat another.

“High school athletics is a very pure form. You’ve got young people in all sports playing for the friendships they have, the love of the game and the pride of their community.”

Drew Pasteur has always loved high school football, from the excitement on the field to the bands and the folks in the stands.

However, he is also co-chairman of the mathematics department at the College of Wooster and has combined his two passions into this.

Pasteur’s Ohio Fantastic 50 is a rundown of the top high school matchups around the state and the predicted winners.

“I start the season with the numbers of what the teams have done in the prior two seasons, about three-fourths dependent on last year and one-fourth before that as a starting point, but as the season gets going those carry over results matter less and less with every week.”

Using data gathered from several sources, Pasteur’s Fantastic 50 predictions are usually spot on and by mid-season can correctly predict winners greater than 85% of the time.

He says he looks at scores and schedules of hundreds of teams, but there are many things that can factor into a team’s victory or their position in the rankings.

“In a given week, if we talk about how teams ratings change and how it affects rankings. Did they under or over perform, what they did last week. If a team’s a touchdown favorite and they win 42 to 10 then, wow, they did a lot better than expected and they’re going to rise the next week. Sometimes those movements up or down factor into other games.” Pasteur said.

But what about luck and just plain old grit?

Pasteur says there are always those unknown factors that can come into play. 

It’s part of the beauty of high school sports when teams can punch well above their weight and exceed expectations.

“I think there’s a certain culture that centers around these programs that win year after year. You can’t just show up on Friday night and expect to win,” Pasteur said.

But the biggest winners in this aren’t on all on the field. Pasteur says these predictions are a way to show the importance of math and critical analysis.

He says it’s a fun way to get young people to think and to apply the numbers to everyday things, building an understanding and love of science that can go farther than a football field.

“The skills that we’re talking about with football and basketball are the same ones that might be used to look at data medicine and health care or analyze a company’s sales performance and sports. It’s a fun way for students to learn some of those skills,” Pasteur said.

Compare your picks with the Fantastic 50 for the season here.