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Weekly Football Pick ‘em

November 4, 2009 - Michael Palmer
If you read the Times Leader on Tuesdays in the fall you are familiar with our football poll. Sports writers and several other brave souls risk the wrath of local coaches, players, parents and fans when they try and predict the outcome of the local gridiron battles. Each member of the panel must make their choices with these consequences in mind.

It is impressive how clairvoyant the pickers can be from week-to-week. So far, no one will admit to a system that they use to divine their pigskin prognostications.

We are all humbled by one of the masters of scientifically predicting the outcome of high school football. Meet Drew Pasteur, a professor of math at the College of Wooster. Drew Pasteur is a native of North Carolina, where he was a high school teacher and athletic trainer for several years. After earning a PhD in applied math from N.C. State University, he took a job as a math professor at the College of Wooster last year.

JJ Huddle posters are familiar with Dr. Pasteur’s Ohio Fantastic 50. It is a computer ranking of the state's top 50 teams, based scientifically on scores and schedules. Margin of victory (or defeat) is used in the rankings, up to a maximum of a 21-point margin. Strength-of-schedule does play a significant part, but a team is not heavily penalized for games against weaker teams, provided that they win comfortably. These rankings are calculated to predict the outcome of future games.

This week he has set the hard drive spinning and calculated the mathematical odds for the playoffs.

In the Region 11 Playoffs the numbers have spoken and the results are not what local fans would have hoped for. Dr. Pasteur’s calculations have #25 Dover listed as a 27 point favorite over Harrison Central and Northwest favored by five points over the Panthers at Buckeye Local.

The news is good for Martins Ferry in the Region 13 playoffs. The Purple Riders are predicted to win by 17 points over visiting Woodridge.

The good doctor is also predicting bad news for the Seminoles in the Region 19 playoffs at Marietta. The numbers have Wheelersburg by 4 over Monroe Central.

Region 23 playoffs predictions hold good and bad news for our local teams in Division VI. Columbiana is picked by 13 over Shadyside but the same poll gives Bridgeport a 13 point edge over Tuscarawas Central Catholic.

There are all sorts of arguments you can make against the odds. Remember that these predictions are based solely on the numbers. Here is the season record for Dr. Pasteur’s formula.

Season-to-date predictions Record: 2810-682 (80.5%) Within 7 points: 1238 (35.5%) Within 3 points: 573 (16.4%) Winner and exact margin: 73 (2.1%)

As for me, I went all local teams with my predictions. Call it wimping out if you will, however I prefer that it be seen a show of support for the teams we have covered all season.

Check out the Fantastic 50 playoff poll and if you dare, sign in and make your own predictions in the space provided below.


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