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NFL 2006 Hognostications: Science, Art, or Chance?

By Mark Solway | September 4th, 2006

NFL 2006 Hognostications: Science, Art, or Chance? The truth is that no one single formula can lead anybody to consistently prognosticate winners and losers with 100% accuracy any given week in the NFL. Surely, there are quite a number of very sophisticated statistical and quasi-statistical models that are put in place by a number of organizations, companies and experts based on past player performance, strength of schedule, players’ injuries, and any other tangible and intangible variables of the game. Some of these models are better known than others. Some appear to be, if not more sophisticated, at least more difficult to understand than others. Every possible mathematical attempt may have been made from weighted Gaussian to Bayesian to Robust Statistics, a myriad of models have been attempted. There are fans who have attempted to transplant the time series prediction mathematical models applied in the stock market to sports. These are -very- sophisticated tools for those in the know. The bad news are that if -any- single one among the myriad of them had managed to be able to predict with accuracy the future outcome of a given season schedule of NFL games, somebody out there would have been called a genius -and- a millionaire! Surely, there are many people that trust their gut far more than they do any quantitative approach to engage the world of predictions in sports. These are people in \x93the know\x94. At least that is what they say. To them, the ability to prognosticate is truly an Art with capital A. Not a skill available among mortals like you and me, they really -know-. They have been watching the games as professional spectators for decades. They may have met the players, coaches, and management. They simply \x93know\x94 who matches best against whom. Well, I hope I do not need to remind you about that prediction by Jimmy \x93the Greek\x94 that had the mighty John Elway Denver Broncos simply blow out of the field the lowly Washington Redskins led by an African American QB with nothing but a long history of failure at Tampa a couple of decades ago, do I? Surely, there is an element of sheer luck in prognosticating games isn’t it? No question about it! After all, Casinos in Las Vegas make a fortune in fees inviting you to gamble whether lady luck might be on your side this week or not. Well if all you’ve got is the feeling that lady luck -might- be on your side, it might be appropriate to quote detective Harry Callahan: Do you feel lucky today, punk? Well, do ya? Lady luck is not a very reliable companion to put it mildly (and I certainly have no intention to insult her many other virtues in the slightest). Nobody I know is consistently lucky. So what now? At The Hogs Network, we are serious about prognostications of every NFL week during the regular season. We call them Hognostications when they are made only by registered members of THN. No others, lurkers or not, can post their picks. So, if you intend to participate during this season, register as a member NOW. But let me explain what is it that we mean when I say we are serious. First, we make a commitment to compete for the whole season. But we also accept others that challenge us on one or a number of weeks. Second, we tend to remind one another who won and who lost. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ How good are we? Well, I could tell you that … naaaaahhh! Let it suffice to say that among the Hognosticators that participated during the entire last season, only one did not have a better record than Peter King from Sports Illustrated. Not a great achievement, you might add. And you would be more than right! Still, we love to put down the \x93professionals\x94 here to show them that these -amateurs- are better than them. QED. Can you measure up? Well, coming back to the title of the thread: Science, Art or Chance, which is it? Do you want the truth in my humble opinion? It is an inconsistent combination of research, numbers, history, gut feeling and lady luck. Surely not a model that I can fully describe solely as a science or an art or pure chance. There are millions of tangible and intangible variables that affect the course of each game, let alone a week or the season. But I am sure you feel you can challenge us. I am sure you feel that you are a respectable and very knowledgeable NFL fan. I bet you feel you can beat us. But you know what? I am sure you are full of … … yourself. So, I respectfully challenge you to join us in this year’s fun. The official announcement with the format will be made very soon by Boss Hog whom, I might add, has done a FANTASTIC effort to make this season look really professional. I will not steal any thunder from him and I will leave it at that: the challenge has been issued to all of you. Bring it on Hogs! My pal Texas Hog and I are waiting. :lowblow: RiC PS Sorry TH for getting you in this season long bragging rights fight. But I am sure you will enjoy it…

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