ESPN NFL Football Expert Picks for the Wild-Card Games
ESPN NFL Football Expert Picks for the Divisional Playoffs
- For the wild-card game between San Diego and Indianapolis, nine of the ten ESPN experts incorrectly chose the Colts to win.
- For the wild-card game between Baltimore and Miami, all ten of the ESPN experts correctly chose the Ravens' win.
- For the divisional playoff game between Carolina and Arizona, all ten of the ESPN experts incorrectly predicted the Panthers (who, incidentally, got their ass beat).
- For the divisional playoff game between San Diego and Pittsburgh, nine of the ten ESPN experts correctly picked the Steelers over the Chargers.
For these four games, the experts' unanimous and near-unanimous choices went a whopping ... 2-2.
Sportsline.com's Experts' Picks for the College Football Bowl Season
- On January 2, three bowl games were played, and the Sportsline experts went a combined 0-15 - not one of the five correctly predicted even so much as one Utah, Kentucky and Ole Miss wins.
- Hawaii, Nevada, Boston College and Central Michigan, all unanimously predicted by the experts to win, managed to lose - and UH in blowout fashion.
- Six teams who were unanimously chosen to win their games managed to actually win their games.
Of all the bowls in which the experts chose a winner unanimously, the experts' choice went a rousing... 6-7.
The Moral Of The Story
Logically, you'd think that the games for which there was real consensus in picking a winner would represent a high chance for the experts to be correct. That's assuming that these "experts" are all independently evaluating the football teams and then predicting which team will win. The consensus, in this case, would represent a series of analyses that all come to the same conclusion.
Rather, I think these (admittedly small) samples suggest that there's a real tendency towards groupthink in these predictions. It's the sort of groupthink that is suggested by shit like the ESPN Bottom Line - which relentlessly reminded viewers that "Carolina is 8-0 at home, and Arizona is 0-5 when playing in the Eastern Time Zone" going into Saturday night's game - as though that would have a drastic impact on the game. Turns out, in an actual contest of American-style football, the time zone doesn't actually make much of a difference, and nobody bothered to mention that the teams played in the Eastern Time Zone were actually pretty good, including a 4-point loss to the Panthers. It's not like they played the Bengals or the Lions.
Or the same kind of groupthink that suggests universally that Notre Dame (they've lost a million straight bowls and didn't win road games this year!) or Ole Miss (Texas Tech is rated like really high! They scored a lot of touchdowns!) didn't merit even one choice of the five.
Actually, I suspect that these unanimous or near-unanimous decisions are rather the result of one analysis that gets passed around. Are there any statistical metrics which might have suggested that Arizona would win last Saturday (I mean, besides the fact that they only lost by four last time they played there)? I bet there are.