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I Am Better Than You At Participation

It's been a week and a half since it became official, but I thought I'd take an opportunity to gloat over my victory in CGB's second-annual College Football Pick 'Em Challenge.  So here goes:

All y'all suckers can bow before my prognostication prowess!

Well, that was kinda lame.  Honestly, I'm rather out of practice at gloating.  My last fantasty victory was over 4 years ago in a baseball league that had just 5 teams, and my only Yahoo-recognized triumph was an NFL fantasy league where I pretty much kept the default team drafted for me and rode Peyton Manning to victory through the playoffs (upsets meant my 3rd-seeded team only had to face the 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-seeded teams to win the title).

And really, what's to gloat about?  Yes, I won the group by 4 points, and would have still won had I not bothered to submit picks for the final weekend, but what did I really demonstrate with my crushing victory?  Really, nothing more than my ability to enter picks, any picks, each and every single week.


Participation : Everyone's a winner!  -  Image via

FYI, here's the top 10:

1 ragnarok 138
2 Josh In Portland 134
3 on the face 132
4 Booya 129
5 Longshore Blows 127
5 sec119 127
7 Maharg 126
8 Omnizzle 122
9 Yellow Fever 121
10 SunBear14 119
10 Valiant Carpetbaggers

Until a few weeks ago, Yellow Fever and I were battling out for the top spot when his vacation aboard the Brock Mansion Party Yacht rendered him unable to submit picks in time, and I ended up easily pulling away from him.  In fact, of the 30 entrants in the Pick 'Em Challange, just 6 managed to submit picks for each of the 15 weeks.  Was I so superior that the rest of the field simply decided it wasn't worth trying anymore?  Hardly.  In winning the group, I failed to submit the most correct picks for even 1 week this season.  CBKWit, on the other hand, played less than half the season, yet managed to pick the most correct winners two different times before giving up.

Would things have turned out differently if y'all had my superior ability to show up on time every week?  This was a question I certainly wondered, so I decided to do a little math and compare everyone's pick percentage.

Now, a straight comparison doesn't actually work too well.  Turns out, there were a number of games, mostly in the first week, where a ranked team was playing a I-AA team, and so no line was posted.  All you had to do was pick the winner, and so, Michigan-App State notwithstanding, those are basically free points.  If you missed out on week 1, you missed out on 10 of those, so catching up was very, very difficult.  Also, there were two games in week 7 that were a push against the line, so no one got points for them regardless of who they picked; I simply eliminated two points from everyone's total possible points.

Eliminating those points that didn't involve any skill, I then compared the pick percentage of everyone who submitted picks for more than a couple weeks.  9 of us managed to pick better than 50%; here is the list:

1 CBKWit 55.0% 55/100
2 ragnarok
53.3% 121/227
3 Yellow Fever 53.3% 105/197
4 Berklium97 53.0% 80/151
5 SunBear14
51.9% 112/216
6 Josh In Portland 51.5% 117/227
7 sec119 51.4% 111/216
8 HydroTech 51.3% 101/197
9 on the face 50.7% 115/227

The rest of you should stay the heck away from Vegas.  Actually, Avinash reckons that, because sportsbooks take a cut of the action whichever way you bet, one needs to pick somewhere between 55% and 60% to actually make money betting on football, which means that it's probably a good idea if all of us refrain from gambling on amateur sports.

Congrats to CBKWit, who with his #1 pick percentage proves once again what a formidable force he'd be if only he could manage to show up and participate consistently.  And going back to my earlier question, would Yellow Fever have beaten me had he managed to stay in the game?  I have no idea; it might very well have come down to tiebreakers.  You can see above that we have the same pick percentage, and you actually have to go out to 5 decimal places before I come out on top (0.53304 to 0.53299).

Also, congrats to Berklium97, who finished with the best pick percentage of the non-Golden Bloggers, and to JoshInPortland, who finished second and had the best actual score of the non-Golden Bloggers.  Normally, there are no prizes for finishing second, but if either of you guys find me at a game or afterwards, your first beer's on me.