in Football

Preseason Picks Evaluated

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Everybody likes to get all fired up about preseason polls and the vast (and I mean vast) number of watch lists their teams’ players land on1.

But as time, and the chart I’m about to show you, has shown, we know so little this time of year it’s not even worth getting excited about2.

After they picked OSU to finish 4th in the conference yesterday (pretty reasonable, I might add) I wanted to see how well the media did historically at picking OSU and other Big 12 teams.

My disclaimer is this: picking six teams (as was the case when the Big 12 had two divisions) is much easier than picking ten.

Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 11.15.21 AM

This chart shows how well the media did in their preseason picks against where that team finished at the end of the year. Obviously Baylor has been pretty easy to pick for many years because they always finished last and were always picked last. Kansas State is more of a wild card.

Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 11.16.16 AM

This shows the number of times the media have been off by three or more spots. Of the 11 times this has happened, six were because the media picked teams too high and five were because the media picked teams too low.

Three of these happened last year which highlights how much more difficult it is to pick ten team than six. I expect this to increase a lot in the coming years.

This last chart is the most intriguing to me.

Screen Shot 2012-07-20 at 11.21.01 AM

So what this says is that Texas Tech is traditionally most underrated in the preseason by the media (followed by KSU and ISU) and Texas is traditionally the most overrated (surprise!).

Oklahoma State is right in the middle and Baylor, again, is the easiest to pick.

The scariest thing about this one, of the seven times OU was picked perfectly, five of those were when they were picked to finish 1st.

Gulp.

  1. And at this point if your team doesn’t have a player on a watch list then it actually probably is something to be concerned about
  2. The obvious exception being the preseason top 25 polls which, inexplicably tend to figure into final BCS standings
  • Zach

    There are some out there that get really fired up about preseason picks, but thats the only reason the media does it. As you showed here they rarely get it right but it creates interest, sells newspapers. Jerrod Johnson was the Big 12 PRESEASON POY in 2010. That should tell you enough.