Mountain West Football: How Accurate Were Preseason Magazines' Predictions?

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Mountain West Football: How Accurate Were Preseason Magazines' Predictions?

Every summer, in anticipation of the upcoming College Football season, local Barnes & Nobles and grocery stores get bombarded with College Football preview magazines.

There was a lot of preseason buzz surrounding BYU this season, and that showed in the predictions for the Mountain West Conference picks.

Here is a review of how the four major publications fared in picking the Mountain West standings.  I just did a basic point system.  For example, if Team A finished the actual season in seventh place, and they were picked third in the preseason, that would be three points (spots).  The lower the score, the more accurate the predictions.  In the case of a tie on scores, the magazine that picked the most accurate spots gets the edge.

Now you can get an idea of what magazine is the best for future years when it comes to accuracy in predicting the league.



Final 2008 MWC Standings

1. Utah
2. TCU
3. BYU
4. Air Force
5. Colorado State
6. UNLV
7. New Mexico
8. Wyoming
9. San Diego State



Lindy's Predictions

1. BYU (2 spots off final spot)
2. Utah (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. New Mexico (3)
5. Wyoming (3)
6. Air Force (2)
7. San Diego State (2)
8. Colorado State (3)
9. UNLV (3)

Total: 20


Athlon Predictions

1. BYU (2)
2. Utah (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. New Mexico (3)
5. Wyoming (3)
6. Air Force (2)
7. Colorado State (2)
8. UNLV (2)
9. San Diego State (0)

Total: 16


The Sporting News Predictions

1. BYU (2)
2. TCU (0)
3. Utah (2)
4. Air Force (0)
5. New Mexico (2)
6. Wyoming (2)
7. Colorado State (2)
8. San Diego State (1)
9. UNLV (3)

Total: 14


Phil Steele's Predictions

1. Utah (0)
2. BYU (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. UNLV (2)
5. New Mexico (2)
6. Wyoming (2)
7. Air Force (3)
8. San Diego State (1)
9. Colorado State (4)

Total: 16

-- Note on Steele's predictions: Steele usually picks two teams at a particular spot in his conference rankings.  In his magazine he has both New Mexico and Wyoming at No. 5.  He has Wyoming listed after, so I put it at the six spot to make it even with the other magazines.



So here's how the final magazine rankings go (if you can't figure it out on your own):

1. The Sporting News: 14 points
2. Phil Steele: 16 (tiebreaker)
3. Athlon: 16
4. Lindy's: 20

There you go.  So next year wait around for The Sporting News that usually comes late in June to get your accurate Mountain West picks.

The difference in the predictions came down to teams like Air Force, Colorado State, and New Mexico.  It was pretty clear the top three in the Mountain West this season would consist of Utah, TCU, and BYU.  It's those middle of the pack MWC teams that are hard to figure out because they are so inconsistent on a yearly basis.

Even though it wasn't the most accurate overall, Phil Steele's is still the Taj Mahal for info with its two-page breakdowns.  And to Phil's credit, he was the only one who went out on a limb and picked Utah as the MWC champion, where BYU was the talk all offseason.

Lindy's year-in and year-out is one of the more inaccurate magazines, but I buy it every year because it's the first one to come out, usually the day after Memorial Day in late May.

Athlon is unique because they have magazines designed for certain conferences, which is really cool.  It gives a lot of fans a chance to pick up a preseason magazine with a player from their favorite team on the cover.  This year BYU quarterback Max Hall graced Athlon's Western cover.

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