Preseason polls and predictions and bowl projections are really amusing sometimes. Usually, that's because they're hilariously wrong in retrospect. Another set of those predictions hit my inbox today, and I felt compelled to share with you.
First, a slight excerpt on the origin of these predictions:
PredictionMachine.com strives to be the most accurate and trusted source for predicting sports outcomes. The state-of-the-art, Prediction Machine, was built by Paul Bessire (Twitter: @predictmachine), a statistician and veteran sports writer, who offers his in-depth analysis and unique takes through his blog posts and game predictions.
So, seems legit, right? Well, Bessire ran 50,000 simulations of this season and recorded the results. Let's take a look at the predictions for the ACC:
|2||Florida State Seminoles||9.0||3.0||Belk|
|3||Miami (FL) Hurricanes||8.4||3.6||Taxslayer|
|4||Virginia Tech Hokies||8.4||3.6||Russell Athletic|
|5||NC State Wolfpack||8.3||3.7||Quick Lane|
|6||Georgia Tech Jackets||8.0||4.0||Military|
|8||North Carolina Tar Heels||7.0||5.0||Pinstripe|
|10||Boston College Eagles||5.8||6.2|
|14||Wake Forest Deacons||3.1||8.9|
So, nothing too wildly unbelievable here. (To me, the biggest point of contention is NC State finishing above Louisville in the Atlantic Division, but that's OK.)
Suffice it to say, most fans won't be particularly happy about appearing in the Military Bowl, where Georgia Tech would theoretically take on a team from the American Athletic Conference on December 28 in the frigid Washington DC winter. Luckily, you should have some reason to believe that these predictions aren't quite 100% accurate.
Beyond the normal level of skepticism I expect you to have regarding any preseason predictions, I've actually got hard evidence as to how these can be inaccurate. It turns out, I've gotten these types of predictions before, and by the magic of Gmail, I've dug up the one sent last year. Here's what their prediction looked like last year:
|1||Florida State Seminoles||11.0||1.0||Rose, Championship|
|3||North Carolina Tar Heels||8.4||3.6||Orange|
|4||Virginia Tech Hokies||8.3||3.7||Russell Athletic|
|8||Miami (FL) Hurricanes||7.1||4.9||Pinstripe|
|9||Syracuse Orange||6.2||5.8||Beef 'O' Brady's|
|10||North Carolina State Wolfpack||6.1||5.9||Independence|
|11||Georgia Tech Jackets||6.1||5.9||Music City|
|13||Boston College Eagles||3.9||8.1|
|14||Wake Forest Deacons||3.5||8.5|
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy that the Georgia Tech "Jackets" went 10-2 instead of 6.1-5.9, and I'm glad they went to the Orange Bowl instead of going back to the Music City Bowl.
Truthfully, you will find some interesting and reasonably accurate predictions looking through history. It's just that it's not uncommon to see some that are way, way off.