Fifty Seven Percent Rule

  • August 30, 2009 08:04 PM
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Posted by Tony Caridi on Sunday, August 30, 2009
(8:05 pm)
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Fifty seven percent - that’s my number and I’m sticking to it.

Fifty seven percent is the absolute unscientific percentile I’ve reached to represent the level of accuracy of preseason football predictions and opinions.

It’s not how I’ve reached the number that’s important, but rather it’s the understanding that what you’ve been led to believe during the last month about the Mountaineer football team, and college football teams in general, comes true about 57 percent of the time. That, of course, means that 43 percent of what you’ve heard will never happen.

There is no conspiracy to deceive - it’s just that stuff happens. Emotionally, everyone is salivating for the start of another season and often time reality takes a backseat to logic. It’s everyone’s fault: coaches, reporters, talk show hosts, players, and fans all misfire on their assessment of the situation.

The coach who grouses that the defense is so bad that they better have another scoreboard ready because the first one will blow - he is the same coach whose defense sets the school record for fewest point allowed. He’s responsible.

The player who opined that team chemistry has never been better is the same kid who gets suspended game two for complaining that he isn’t playing enough. He’s responsible.

The fan who waxes poetically that Johnny five-star recruit will start finds out just a few days before the opener that Johnny gets redshirted. He’s responsible.

We’re all guilty as charged.

There is no sport - none - that is more dissected and overanalyzed than football. I got a reminder of that Saturday morning in a coffee shop when a group of friends detailed the shortcomings of the high school football game they watched the night before.

So this coming Saturday evening when you’re heading back home from Morgantown reflecting on the Mountaineers first game of the season, be forewarned - 57 percent of what you expected will have happened and 43 percent won't.

The conversation normally sounds something like this. “I thought they said they were going to (fill in the blank) pass more, run more, play tighter coverage, play looser coverage, get a better traffic pattern out of the stadium.”

It would be nice if everything we thought would happen actually happened. But it won’t. Actually, just 57 percent of what we expect is going to happen.