Since the beginning of the 2014 season, The Power Rank’s college football prediction service is 56.4% in picking spreads and totals (137-106-6). Mike Craig and I use a computer model based on my algorithm that makes accurate adjustments for strength of schedule.
However, we never only rely on computers and numbers to make predictions. We always consider subjective factors like injuries and situations.
This reliance on both computers and human judgment is reminiscent of the world of chess and a New Yorker article on Magnus Carlsen, the 23 year old World Champion from Norway.
Computers and Chess
For most of the 20th century, the Soviets dominated chess. They relied on “focus, logic, and, above all, preparation” to produce world champion after world champion.
However, they met a new foe in the late 1990’s: the computer. These inanimate objects are all about focus and logic. When computing power hit a certain level, computer programs could use brute force search to pick the best move. This led to the Deep Blue computer’s famous win over World Champion Gary Kasparov in 1997.
Nowadays, computers always beat the top human players. When asked what strategy he would bring against a computer, a grandmaster said “I would bring a hammer.” Computers are also a training tool for chess players.
But Magnus Carlsen is different. As he told The New Yorker, the Norwegian champion never trains with a computer. He admits to preparing less for tournaments and relying more on his judgment.
Predicting football games
Predicting football games is more complicated than winning a chess match. Players don’t occupy a square on a board. Football also adds the element of randomness, as events like fumbles defy any quantitative attempts to predict them.
This makes human judgment even more important in predicting college football games than chess. For the college football prediction service, we always consider subjective factors like injuries and situations. For instance, we needed to make an adjustment for Baylor as they will start third string QB Chris Johnson against North Carolina.
Both computers and human judgment play a role in giving you the best possible predictions.
Last night to take advantage of bowl season discount
The prediction service, which has gone 55.9% (66-52-2) in 2015, is available for bowl season. The price goes up at midnight, Eastern time on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015.
To take advantage of this early bird price, click here.