Useless "Experts": Predicting Sports Outcomes So Random A Monkey Could Do It
Am I the only one who is really sick of sportswriters and broadcasters who make a living out of predictions that generally end up being incorrect?
Do not get me wrong, I love making my own predictions, I love arguing about them with my friends. I love the idea of Bleacher Report, where the ordinary fans can make their predictions public and argue their virtues with other fans around the world.
But when it comes down to it, can anybody ever predict how anything will ever turn out in sports accurately? Of course, as we go through March Madness, the most heavily-predicted sporting event of the year, this issue is especially pertinent. I really feel that the more we think know, the worse we end up doing.
My school runs a faculty pool every year, which is routinely won by a classics professor who picks based solely on mascots. There is a reason that your friend’s girlfriend who picks teams based entirely on the colors of their uniforms will beat you this year. I know I will never again do as well in a tourney pick ’em as I did in 2001, when I was 12 years old and in seventh grade and somehow nailed a perfect Final Four of Duke, Maryland, Arizona, and Michigan State, with Duke over Arizona in the finals.
It was the pinnacle of my predicting career. And yet I do believe that I have a chance at picking a more accurate bracket than a so-called professional bracketologist. Where does when get a degree in bracketology, anyway?
The issue goes far beyond March Madness. We have preseason predictions in all sports, predictive mock drafts. We can just look at the past NFL season. ESPN’s panel of football predicting “experts” went 20-for-20 in predicting the Patriots to win the AFC East…and the Pats missed the playoffs.
Not a single one of them picked the Dolphins, the eventual AFC East champions, or the Falcons, eventual NFC South champions, to even make the playoffs. The same group went 0-for-20 predicting the Steelers to win the Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals, Super Bowl losers, were only picked by three of 20 to even make the playoffs.
I will not even go into the 2005-2006 NFL season, in which the ESPN experts predicted that the 32 NFL teams would go a combined 23 games over .500—which is, in fact, mathematically impossible. I could definitely do better than that. Any member of the Bleacher Report community could do better than that.
In all honesty, why not put a monkey in an enclosed room with all 32 NFL teams on the wall and have it throw feces around? The teams it hits will be as likely to make the playoffs as what the experts say.
Once March Madness ends, the next swarm of inaccurate experts will attack us as people attempt to predict the NFL Draft and 2009 season. Which would you rather watch, a team of mock draft experts tossing around meaningless clichés like “he is a player who knows how to win” and using that to predict which team will pick which player when, or a primate throwing poo at a wall of potential first-round picks?
I don't know about you, but I am taking the monkey. It would probably be just as accurate, and would definitely be a lot more fun to watch. And at least the monkey would admit that it was totally wrong, instead of continue to offer "expert" picks despite the fact that it had lost all credibility.
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