So I sat down to post this morning and once again got distracted by the Things To Do in my inbox, and here it is 8:15 (actual time of writing, not post time), and I haven't even had a chance to look at what's happening, if anything. I did, however, pull up the template for the statsy game preview that will go in this time and space beginning next week, and I even considered doing it this week, too. But then the boilerplate caveats hit their mark and did their work. Here they are from last year's first post in the series:
CAVEATS: You'll get tired of hearing this, but yeah, we know that small sample sets preclude concrete conclusions. One game (or even two or three) doesn't provide enough data to approach the predictive accuracy of even a Magic 8 Ball, but that doesn't mean we're not going to look at what little we have. Also, this: All of the following information is gleaned exclusively from the NCAA statistics and does not account for things like injuries, shared playing time, suspensions, and other stuff difficult to see in the stats from a bird's eye view under time constraints. As we did last year, we're putting the "conclusions" and "predictions" before and after the meat because it's a long post and we get winded more easily in our old age, you know? You're not seeing double. Or maybe you are.
Yeah. So instead of taking another step across the line into madness by doing this even a game earlier this season, I decided instead to look at how we did last year. I have no preconceived notions about this going in, so it could be embarrassing. Hopefully, it doesn't cause me to scrap the idea entirely.
Here we go:
Prediction: "Tennessee 21, Florida 20. No, I'm not altogether confident in this."
Result: Florida 33, Tennessee 23.
Comments: Yeah, we didn't predict Justin Hunter or the game plan being unavailable for most of the game. With him, I assume we would have been off more on Tennessee's points. We were just off on Florida's points. Too early?
Prediction: "Tennessee 38, Buffalo 13."
Result: Tennessee 41, Buffalo 10.
Comments: Okay, not bad.
Georgia 33, Tennessee 31. Tennessee 34, Georgia 33. Um, home field! Yeah."
Result: Georgia 20, Tennessee 12.
Comments: Wiffed on this, twice, it looks like. Lesson: Never put any stock in Georgia predictions.
Prediction: "LSU 20, Tennessee 6. "
Result: LSU 38, Tennessee 7.
Comments: By this time, we were well aware of our offensive woes, especially against good teams. We were low on LSU's points. Just giving out in the second half?
Prediction: "Alabama 41, Tennessee 7."
Result: Alabama 37, Tennessee 6.
Comments: That's pretty good.
Prediction: "Tennessee 21, South Carolina 20."
Result: South Carolina 14, Tennessee 3.
Comments: Decent on the Gamecock's points, but failure on Tennessee's. See the next two games.
Prediction: "Tennessee 31, MTSU 17."
Result: Tennessee 24, MTSU 0.
Comments: Within a score on UT's points, but missed on MTSU's. Again, I may have been starting to ignore the numbers a bit.
Prediction: "Arkansas 34, Tennessee 13. I really think it's going to be much closer than that, but the numbers are telling me that they're tired of being ignored and under-appreciated and if I don't start listening to them they're going to throw my stuff on the lawn and hurl insults out the second-story window."
Result: Arkansas 49, Tennessee 7.
Comments: Okay, listening to the numbers a little more.
Prediction: "Tennessee 14, Vanderbilt 10"
Result: Tennessee 27, Vanderbilt 21 (OT).
Comments: Or not. Overtime only skewed Tennessee's points by six and Vandy's not at all, so this wasn't great.
Prediction: "Tennessee 31, Kentucky 10."
Result: Kentucky 10, Tennessee 7.
Comments: Well . . .
So the analysis nailed a couple and failed a couple. I think we'll keep doing it.
If you have some extra time today, follow the predictions links above to see how the more specific predictions played out.