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Beat The Pre-Season Poll, Win A Beer

Prior to the beginning of the BCS chase, a posting by Dave Berri prompted me to offer the following bet: I’d buy anybody a beer that sent me a Top 25 that beat the USAToday Pre-Season poll as a predictor of the final BCS Standings. There were five takers: Dennis Coates (Economics, UM-Baltimore County and a poster here at The Sports Economist), Steve Winkler (financial analyst for The Oklahoman), Nick Evans (Associate, Parliamentary Public Law and Planning Dept.), Jon Russell (ConAgra Foods), and Burt Monroe (Political Science, Penn State).

By mutual agreement, the six of us have decided that the bet has run its course. The final BCS Standings prior to post-season play were compared to the offerings of the five competitors named above, using two scoring devices. One is the minimum of the actual ranking minus the pre-season ranking with an arbitrary value for picks that didn’t make it at all. The other is an accuracy measure devised by Steve (contact him if you want an explanation). And the winner is…

Burt Monroe, sort of. Burt tied the USAToday Pre-Season poll by Steve's "accuracy measure" and beat the poll 197-207 (by 5%) using the "score minimization measure." I’m not sure what we discovered, relative to Dave’s point that pre-season polls have no information content, other than this: The USAToday Pre-Season Poll beat four out of five interested observers.

Here’s to you, Burt. I hope you'll be in Seattle at the WEAI meetings, so I can buy you one.

Click for an MSExcel file with the results.