Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Look Back at 2012 MLS Preseason Picks

Before the start of the 2012 MLS season I spent a decent amount of time documenting different preseason pundit, fan and machine picks for Eastern Conference. My thought behind this was to take the general consensus of the crowd and see how accurate it turned out.


Turns out the wisdom of the crowd was above average in picking Eastern Conf order. Which means it worked as expected. Of the 29 picks I recorded it accurately picked seven teams within two spots on the table and picked two dead on. The median was 6 within 2 and 2 dead on.

There are lots of different ways to measure accuracy, I'm going to focus on picks within two spots on the table and "dead on" picks.


Kipp Lawton who wrote for the short lived Off the Laces. He accurately picked 9 out of the 10 East teams within two spots on the table. Interesting tid-bit I found in trying to track him down; He is now working with the San Jose Earthquakes.

The other folks to pick well:

Orrin Schwarz, Daily Herald (7 within 2 spots, 4 dead on)
Steve Davis, Pro Soccer Talk (7 within 2, 3 dead on)
Ryan Gates, Stumptown Footy (8 within 2, 1 dead on)
Big Soccer Member named "edwardgr" (8 within 2, 4 dead on)


Grant Wahl (Sports Illustrated) ended up being right around the middle. He had 6 within 2 spots and 3 dead on.

The EA FIFA 12 New York Times simulation article from the beginning of the year was one of the worst predictors. It only got 4 teams within two spots and 1 exactly correct. This basically puts it down near a guy named "LongDuckDong" from Big Soccer. It should be noted that the 'human' predictor at NYT was only slightly better (4 within 2, 2 correct).

My own FIFA simulation did much better. I wrote about that:

FIFA 12 Says... Crew 7th. Meram #1.

The always excellent Graham Parker picked very well this year in his preseason piece for The Guardian.

The worst? Well, besides "LongDuckDong" it was Rachna Kapur, a contributor for SB Nation's Goat Parade. Only 1 (one) team within 2 spots on the table and it was dead on, Sporting KC. It should be noted that 19 of the 29 picked KC correctly. There are some pretty long odds at actually picking this poorly.


Pretty good but I cheated and used the crowd. I was dead on about the Crew though, saying they would be battling for the final playoff spot. I'm pretty proud about that. Here's the link to that post. It will also include the list of off all the outlets I tracked.

MLS Fortunetelling, Apologies for Sporting Tops

And here's my post that included my final preseason predictions, I picked 8 within two spots on the table and 2 correct hits. That puts me up there with the top 3. My big miss was Toronto (a lot of folks missed them, only 2 of 29 picked them correct).


I'll round up a bunch of picks around February 2013 and post them up. I should be more accurate this go around because of what I've learned.

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