Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Case for Humility in Predictions

I stumbled upon this Deadspin reaction to Auburn's hiring of Gene Chizik a little more than two years ago:
He also led the Cyclones to a robust 0-8 mark in the Big 12 this season. Oh, and he didn't play Texas, Texas Tech, or Oklahoma this year. But maybe I'm being unkind. After all, Chizik did beat Kent State and South Dakota State this year. Of course he lost 10 consecutive games after those wins. So, yeah, Auburn fans are pretty much fucked. How do you make Dan Mullen and Lane Kiffin look like Bear Bryant? You hire Gene Chizik.


Chizik was on the verge of being fired at Iowa State. Right now Iowa State administrators are celebrating because they aren't going to have to pay Chizik to leave. Even still, on the same day he's hired at Auburn he's on the verge of being fired at Auburn. Don't believe me? Look at Auburn's 2009 schedule and tell me how many games he's going to win. Auburn goes to Georgia, to LSU, to Tennessee and gets Alabama, West Virginia and Ole Miss at home. They lost to all of these teams last year except Tennessee. And at least Tennessee hired a coach with an offensive resume. Chizik is a defensive guru. Auburn's trouble was on offense. Is he going to create a better offensive system than Tuberville did? Of course not. If everything breaks his way he can get to 7-5. And everything is not gong to break his way. Not even with four consecutive home games to begin the season. Recall that Nick Saban lost six games in his first year at Alabama. Only Nick Saban had a huge cushion and Alabama fans celebrated his arrival as if Jesus had risen. Not so with Auburn and Chizik. In two years he'll be gone. Book it.
He has a better chance of being scooped up by the NFL at this point than being fired. Of course, based on the facts at the time, the author was right. Hiring a guy on his way out at Iowa State was a stretch. But that just goes to show why the sports media's obsession with predictions is just kind of silly. Even if you get it right (i.e. Peter King's Super Bowl pick), it was more luck than anything.


jd said...

Ironically, within two years Clay Travis was most certainly gone from Deadspin.

/Deadspin-style humor

pc said...

I'm guessing his exit had more to it than the Chizik prediction.