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The practicality of bowl projections in May

ESPN just released their early bowl projections. Today, we examine just how helpful early projections are and if they are worth the pixels used to display them.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I think we can all agree that May is way too early to make bowl projections. I mean, Brian Anderson agrees with that point...

Well, with apologies to Mr. Anderson... ESPN released their "way-too-early" bowl projections Monday. I'll save you the time just in case you don't want to click that line: Brett McMurphy has the Cougs in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Rice and Mark Schlaback has the Cougs sitting at home enjoying a nice bowl of soup. CBS Sports and Jerry Palm also have predictions up and have the Cougs sitting at home as well.

Experiencing the shear ridiculousness of looking at bowl projections two months before fall camp even starts got me thinking. Is there any use to these types of articles at all? How much weight, if any, can we put into this? I thought back to the last journalism class I took (Com 333 in Fall 2013) and did some deep diving investigative journalism.

I couldn't find any early projections from ESPN, but after some sleuthing and a little help from, I found some from Jerry Palm and CBS Sports updated on May 7th, 2013. Now, I could go through and compare every bowl game prediction to every actual bowl game, but I won't. While it would be fun for all of us to laugh at the prediction of Texas going to the Fiesta Bowl, that would be way too much data to sift through. Instead I'm going to look at Mr. Palm's May predictions for every Pac-12 team and compare them to where the Pac-12 teams actually ended up.

Team Palm's Prediction Actual Landing Spot
Arizona Fight Hunger vs. BYU Advocare vs. BC
Arizona State Las Vegas vs. BSU Holiday vs. Texas Tech
UCLA Sun vs. UNC Sun vs. Virginia Tech
USC No Bowl Las Vegas vs. FSU
Stanford Rose vs. Nebraska Rose vs. MSU
Oregon Alamo vs. TCU Alamo vs. Texas
Oregon State Holiday vs. KSU Hawaii vs. BSU
Utah New Mexico vs. Air Force No Bowl
Washington No Bowl Fight Hunger vs. BYU
Washington State No Bowl I still don't want to talk about it

So, Palm ended up getting three of the bowls rights. While that does come out to a good looking 30%, it's not great considering in order to pick two of those teams he simply predicted that Stanford and Oregon would be the two best teams in the Pac-12 (and in the process predicted that 5th place in the Big 10 Nebraska would win the conference). I think the most noticeable piece of this is that Palm whiffed on three teams that ended up being bowl bound and didn't get a single opponent right.

So, what did we learn today? The odds of picking bowl projections correctly are very low and doing it is hard. All bowl predictions, especially those done in May, are worthless. But also that it would be a great job to have. I'm pretty sure that we could just use a little bit of common sense and pick the rest of the names out of the hat and have a respectable looking list. If we're right, we get to brag. If we're wrong, no one will care or remember. It's the perfect crime.

I know the offseason is tough. We have to cling to every little piece of news we can find, no matter how manufactured. Go ahead and look at these stupid predictions, just remember not to put any weight into them. I can guarantee you they will be mostly wrong no matter who you get your predictions from (unless it's Biff Tannen, in which case: go to Vegas)

James Hunter Transfer

USD Men Add Washington State Center
VERMILLION — South Dakota head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith announced Tuesday that 6-foot-10-inch center James Hunter has signed a scholarship agreement and will play the 2014-15 season with the Coyotes.

Track and Field

NCAA West Region Prelim Rounds Next for Cougs - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Kyle Stevens is one of 29 Cougars competing at the NCAA West Region Prelim Rounds this weekend.

More Predictions (Also probably mostly wrong)

Oregon State Football: Game-By-Game Predictions for the Beavers' 2014 Season
Nov. 8, vs. Washington State: WIN The Beavers host Mike Leach and his Washington State Cougars, who have probably lost too much talent on defense to compete here. Expect another big day for Mannion and an easy win.