A Look at Preseason Prognostication in the SEC

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A Look at Preseason Prognostication in the SEC
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All fans have listened to the hype. Every one of us has heard how Alabama is deeper and more talented at every position than any other team in the nation. We have all been informed of the great recruiting classes Nick Saban has stacked up.

Already the spin masters are telling us it does not matter that Alabama lost most of its defensive production after the 2009 season. We are being told every day how Alabama simply reloads.

Some have even mentioned that Alabama will get better when they lose starters. It would seem the theory is, the replacement is more talented so must be better. We have all been exposed to hype saying Alabama has better running backs on the bench than last year’s Heisman winner. Some have even mentioned that there are two better quarterbacks on the bench than the Alabama starter that has never lost a game.

The nation has been convinced that the inexperience means nothing. These were great players in high school, so they will be great on day one in college. Starting experience means nothing when you are that talented. It would seem talent eliminates the learning curve.

Given all these points we have been force fed for months on end; there is only one question that comes to mind; why would Alabama worry about opponents having a bye week before they play?

We know the best Alabama players are on the bench patiently waiting their turn. We know the talent level rises when substitutions are made. We have even been repeatedly told how the Alabama coaching staff is far superior to every other staff in the nation.

It would seem a team having a bye week before Alabama would be disadvantaged. A team would then face the possibility of playing their real talent that is on the bench. A team would never want to face a tired or injured Alabama starting line up. 

Fans have all been informed of the mere formality of playing the 2010 season. The SEC only has two teams. Alabama and Florida will play each other for the SEC Championship in December and Alabama will win. We have all been repeatedly exposed to this line of thought for months.

This is not the first year fans were exposed to this kind of hype. They were told the same things about the conference and Florida in 2009. This is not a new line of thought; it has been prevailing wisdom for years.

Most fans that are capable of remembering more than a few months know that these predictions are almost always wrong for the SEC Champion. Most fans do believe that these predictions are usually close. With fall practice starting in a week, it is a good time to evaluate the performance of the preseason prognosticators.

For this look we can use a consensus combination of the major preseason prognosticators.   Here is a compilation of such data should the reader want to delve a little deeper.

A Look at Preseason Prognostication

Year

Division Winner

Preseason Pick

Preseason Runner Up

1993

Florida

Florida

Tennessee

 

Auburn *

Alabama

Mississippi

1994

Florida

Florida

Tennessee

 

Alabama

Alabama

Auburn

1995

Florida

Florida

Tennessee

 

Arkansas

Auburn

Alabama

1996

Florida

Tennessee

Florida

 

Alabama

Alabama

Auburn

1997

Tennessee

Tennessee

Florida

 

Auburn

LSU

Auburn

1998

Tennessee

Florida

Tennessee

 

Mississippi State

LSU

Auburn

1999

Florida

Tennessee

Florida

 

Alabama

Arkansas

Alabama

2000

Florida

Georgia

Florida

 

Auburn

Alabama

Mississippi

2001

Tennessee

Florida

Tennessee

 

LSU

LSU

Mississippi

2002

Georgia

Tennessee

Florida

 

Arkansas

LSU

Alabama

2003

Georgia

Tennessee

Georgia

 

LSU

Auburn

LSU

2004

Tennessee

Georgia

Tennessee

 

Auburn

LSU

Auburn

2005

Georgia

Tennessee

Georgia

 

LSU

LSU

Auburn

2006

Florida

Florida

Georgia

 

Arkansas

Auburn

LSU

2007

Tennessee

Florida

Tennessee

 

LSU

LSU

Auburn

2008

Florida

Georgia

Florida

 

Alabama

Auburn

LSU

2009

Florida

Florida

Georgia

 

Alabama

Alabama

LSU

2010

?????????

Florida

Georgia

 

?????????

Alabama

Arkansas

  • Auburn was replaced in the SEC Championship game by Alabama due to NCAA Sanctions.

The preseason prognosticators have been right about both divisional champions three times in 18 years or 16.67 percent of the time.

They have predicted the eastern division winner six times in 18 years or 33.33 percent of the time.

They have had the SEC eastern division winner picked first or second all 18 years.

They have predicted the western division winner six times in 18 years or 33.33% of the time.

They have missed the sec western division winner by more than two positions six times in 18 years or 33.33 percent of the time.

In defense of these prognosticators, they did get it right in 2009. The bad news is, that this is 16.67 percent of all the times they have been right.

If a person were to simply go out on the street and find someone who did not know what football is and let them pick the divisional winners; they would have a one in six chance or 16.67 percent of picking a divisional winner.

This leaves us knowing that preseason prognosticators are about twice as likely to get it right as opposed to the average citizen of Somalia or another country where football isn’t covered. For a gambler it would be more profitable to bet against these predictions than go with them.

The prognosticators have gotten it right in 1993, 1994, and 2009. The only reason they got it right in 1993 was the actual champion of the west was disqualified from post season play due to NCAA sanctions. What are the chances of them getting it right two years in a running?

Fans are welcome to put in their thoughts on this, it would certainly seem that an educated fan has at least as high of a chance of getting it right.

 

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