Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sports Media Comparison: College Football Predictions

We are now at the mid-point of the college football season. The "experts" at Sports Illustrated's released their midseason predictions today.

While SI seems to unanimously believe that Ohio State will end the season crowned National Champions, there is little consensus as to who their opponent will be in the title game. The lack of agreement between the experts is what makes things interesting. Sports prognostication and predictions work as a simple tool to see which "expert" provides value to a reader. There is little gray area here. A prediction is made. A game is played. The result of the game is readily available and accurately determines whether the prediction was right or wrong. In this way, we can compare not only individuals against each other, but also the news entities each expert works for.

Ohio State is thought of highly outside of SI as well. CBS Sportsline currently projects the title game to come to Ohio State and West Virginia. Fox Sports sees Ohio State and USC fighting for the championship. SI uses four experts, as said, each one sees Ohio State competing in the title bowl. Of the four, two pick West Virginia to face Ohio State, another picks Texas, and the last picks Florida.

It should be noted that CBS Sportsline updates its predictions each week, and one individual, J. Darin Darst, is the man responsible for the predictions. Fox Sports also updates its positions weekly, and credits College Football News as its source.

We'll revisit this later, roughly January 9th, and see how this plays out.

Here's the basic breakdown:
  • Sports Illustrated: Ohio State vs. West Virginia (2 votes)/Texas (1 vote)/Florida (1 vote)
  • Fox Sports: Ohio State vs. USC
  • CBS Sportsline: Ohio State vs. West Virginia
  • ESPN (provides "Power Rankings"): #1. Ohio State ; #2 Florida

Sports Illustrated appears to hedge its bets by offering a unified prediction. We'll find out later if that helps them or not; more likely it will just make for several incorrect picks.


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