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Ranking Northwestern's Prognosticators, Week One (Or, Rodger really is the smartest person in the world, at least this week)

Northwestern's football team isn't the only thing that's seemingly deeper than it's ever been before. The Northwestern internet is pretty deep, too, and lots of people on the Northwestern internet like to make predictions about games. Between Hail to Purple, Lake the Posts, Sippin' on Purple, Inside NU, and ESPN's Big Ten blog, there were 20 different predictions about how the week one game against Cal would play out. Since at least 25% of the fun of being a sports fan is ranking things, I thought I'd see which predictions were the best.

I assessed the accuracy of these predictions on three dimensions: predicted score for Northwestern, predicted score for Cal, and the predicted difference between those two scores. You might say the last one is redundant, but I thought people should get credit for guessing Northwestern would win by two touchdowns, even if they thought the final would be 14-0. To create a "score" for each person's prediction, I calculated its mean squared error (MSE) across the three dimensions I just mentioned (i.e. I squared the difference between each predicted score/margin of victory and the actual scores and margin from the game, added them up for each person, and divided by three). The lower a prediction's MSE, the better the prediction.

And the best prediction of the week award goes to... Rodger! We bow before your awesome powers of prognostication, at least until Saturday. Check out the full rankings below. I also calculated the median prediction and included it in the rankings to see how individual predictions fared relative to the wisdom of the Northwestern crowd.

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