Thursday, September 4, 2008

Debunking The Coulter/Krugman Curse?

Brian: The week 1 college football blogpoll is out and Boston College’s bloggers received the disreputable honor of receiving the Coulter/Krugman Award. For those of you unfamiliar with this award, here's a rundown:

The Coulter/Krugman Award (CKA) goes to the blogs with the highest bias rating. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer.

This blog had Boston College ranked 15 this week, while the Eagle in Atlanta one-upped us and ranked the Eagles at 14. As a result, both Eagle blogs (Eaglogs?) ran 1-2 in this week’s Coulter/Krugman Award standings. See below:

1Eagle in AtlantaBoston College11.45
2BC InterruptionBoston College10.45
350-Yard LionPenn State5.49
4Block UUtah5.25
5Old Gold & BlogWake Forest5.09

At this point, you might be asking yourself, why does this have any significance? Well, as a general rule of thumb, the winner of the week’s CKA usually sees their team lose the following Saturday. Don’t think there is any legitimacy to this notion? Check out the 2008 preseason blogpoll Coulter/Krugman Award standings:

1TheESMichigan State15.65
2Eagle in AtlantaBoston College9.51
3Fulmer's BellyTennessee7.77
4Old Gold & BlogWake Forest6.94

A Michigan State blog Enlightened Spartan ranked MSU #10 in the preseason poll, accounting for more than half of the votes the Spartans received preseason. Two Tennessee blogpoll voters, Fulmer’s Belly and Deadspin, also overvalued their Volunteers. The results:

California 38, Michigan State 31
UCLA 27, (18) Tennessee 24 OT

So the question is simply this: do you believe in the curse of Coulter/Krugman (i.e. are we going to owe Boston College fans an apology on Monday for dooming the Eagles this weekend against the Jackets)?

For this discussion, we expand our weekly banter format to the third guilty party - Bill from Eagle in Atlanta.


Bill: When it comes to BC sports I believe in everything. Catholicism, Hinduism, The Book of Mormon, superstitions, conspiracy theories, and fate. I believe that the food I eat on game day and the clothes I wear can impact events thousands of miles away. I believe that phone calls can disrupt our offense. I believe that something as silly as eye contact or premature celebration can cause BC to lose. And I am not alone. That said, I don't believe in the CK curse. In fact I sandbagged BC most of last year just to avoid it. Where did that get us? Nowhere. The CK curse doesn't apply to BC.

Brian: We haven’t been at this blogpoll thing nearly as long as other bloggers, but when I read one comment that brought up the possibility of Boston College going 1-2 for the week 1 Coulter/Krugman award, I’ll admit I felt a little uneasy. I mean, there’s really no upside to ranking the Eagles where I honestly think they should be ranked early on:

If we break the CK curse this week and win against the Yellow Jackets, this blog and Bill's blog will continue to rank the Eagles where we feel they should be ranked and continue to win this award until we rattle off 5 or 6 straight wins. If we lose this weekend, let the flame mail and “I told you sos” begin. If we lose 2 or 3 weeks from now before the rest of the blogpoll voters wise up to BC’s talent, pollsters and readers will still say the curse lives on.

Jeff: When the Eagles celebrate victory on Saturday, Brian, Bill and I will say “I told you so” and other blogpoll voters will rank BC in the top 25, moving them up several spots in just one week. Meanwhile we might bump the Eagles up one or maybe two spots if some other teams lose but we'll probably just say Boston College beat Tech at home just as they were supposed to.

That curse thing doesn't apply to teams like BC who are perennially underrated just as BC is. It absolutely does apply to teams like Clemson, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and others that are perennially overrated because they make the Top 25 on name alone at the beginning of each year. A good recent example is Penn State making the preseason top 25 in 2003 and 2004 before BC pounded them early in both seasons.

Brian: Or Clemson in 2008? Sorry, Jeff, too soon?

Bill: Look at Jeff getting all numbery and historical with poll data. Don't worry about that...I am telling you Brian, losing after getting the CK award is pure coincidence. I know. I did my best to test it last year. It didn't work. If BC loses this game it will be because Spaz still hasn't figured Paul Johnson out. Assuming BC wins this week, next week CK won't matter because we're off. By week three attrition and other voters will come around and we'll be curse free in time for Central Florida and Rhode Island. Assuming those games go well, we'll be in decent shape in the real polls by October. So, see, the three of us are just ahead of the curve.

Brian: I can only hope you guys are right and we are ahead of the curve. I've been preparing all off-season for the whole "BC is nothing without Matt Ryan" conversation. I don't need the possibility of jinxing BC weighing on my conscience too. Last year, the Georgia Tech game launched the Matt Ryan for Heisman campaign. Hopefully this year's game launches the "rank BC in the Top 25" campaign.

Jeff: Curses are crap. We thought the Red Sox were cursed and would never win a World Series, but how does a cursed team come back from down 0-3 to win a series?


Leather D said...

Bill - the CKA curse does not work in reverse. Not winning the CKA does not guaranty a victory (how's only one team a week going to lose?). So, I don't believe you ever tested it, because you explicily avoided the CKA last year. Nice effort at a brave face though.

All three of you - I can't blame you for voting your heart and head. Let's be fair, the arbitrary embrace of VTech and dismissal of BC at the start of the season by, well everyone, was arbitrary. It didn't help BC that our first game was up against the prime ACC game of the week (and one of the biggest overall games), thus ensuring no one paid any attention to the 0 points allowed, 0 sack, 0 turnover, 0 penalty performance.

But yeah, it is your fault if we lose. Hey, no one made you start blogging.

And you are also correct that you'll probably continue to 'win' it the next couple of weeks if you manage to overcome the crushing blow of this double-'win'.

I tried to find historical data on CKA, but I believe the information was lost in mgoblog's move to the new site. Would be an interesting read if anyone can dig it up.

Gingerbread Mann said...

Eat those numbers, boys. We had it coming.

Bravesbill said...

I must be the most unbiased BC blogger there is. Check out my rankings, BC not even within sniffing distance of my Top 25.

BCMike said...

lol @ BravesBill getting his rocks off on how shitty he thinks BC is.

Good for you, BravesBill. Go blog in a corner somewhere and leave the actual Eagles fans alone.

Bravesbill said...

Hmm, no. Just offering objective, unbiased thoughts. I don't follow the herd and pretend I'm a cheerleader from the sideline like most BC clones do. A little criticism of the team goes a long way.