Factor 1: Offensive Bias
Example 1: When two good football teams with strong offenses and defenses meet, the result should be a lower scoring affair, with a score and format similar to a pro game. Reason? The teams have good special teams and defense, so field position will be tough to come by. There shouldn't be long scores, which is how one puts up so many points. But for a college team to hang fifty or sixty points on a team, the defense has to be locked on as well. They must outmatch the opponent in all aspects of the game.
Example: OU Florida championship game, 2008-2009 season.
Precursors: Good offenses hanging tons of points on weak teams: this means their special teams, defense, and offense are good. When matching a similar team, it should cancel. The teams are "professional".
Factor 2: Superior Sustained Effort
Description: A team is very driven, beyong the average level for a college or professional team. With professionals especially, a team on a mission can really perform well and above previous performances. This has the highest effect in basketball and football, with a diminished effect in baseball, golf, etc.
Example: Boston 2007-2008, NE Patriots 2007-2008
Precursors: Teams with legitimate shots at winning a championship, with strong leadership in the locker room and coaching.
A challenging thing is to distinguish hype and fan expectations from sustained superior effort. Sustained Superior Effort is seen in who gets back on defense and how quickly, people fighting for rebounds in "garbage time", people not running out of bounds to finish a play, people blocking way down field, etc.
Factor 3: Weather Effect
Description: This effect only applies for football. Often times teams with indoor practice and playing facilities, teams from warm climates, will be forced to play a very, very cold playoff game in the snow late in the season. This has an adverse effect on motivation, muscle control, and muscle explosiveness. It saps their will to win. Yet some teams have a culture of embracing the snow and the cold.
Example: The Steelers and Patriots are the two teams that come to mind. Also the Bears.
Precursors: Contained in description. This can also be anticipated in reverse, when cold weather teams go to play in the warm weather for bowl games. I believe this is an inherent disadvantage.