Sunday Aug 30, 2009

It's Football Season! Schmidt Computer Rankings Have a New Home

The calendar says it is almost September, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler.  It must be football season!  And with football season comes me spending my weekends trying to get my computer ratings going again.

This year, rather than muddling up this blog with the occasional entry on my computer's ratings, I've created a computer ratings blog that I'll do my best to diligently keep updated each week.  I've already posted last years season ending college ratings and the NFL will be there soon.

Go take a look and let me know what you think! 

Monday Jul 20, 2009

Mid-July Track Update, Paris Golden League, Heusden, and more

It's been several weeks since I wrote about track and field, and with this weekends action in Europe, things are heating up with some good competition, outstanding times by some stars, and standard chasing by some Americans.

The big meet of the weekend was the Paris Golden League event Friday night.  The highlight of the night was Usain Bolt running 9.79 in the 100m for a meet record, made all the more impressive by the conditions he had to run it in (cooling and heavy rain).  It's unfortunate that Bolt and Gay (world leading 9.77 this year) won't meet before the World Championships in Berlin.  The mens 3000m also had an outstanding showing by Bekele running 7:28.64 by taking it out strong behind the pacemaker and slowly building a gap over Lagat.  Lagat still finished well in a PB of 7:33.15 for second and Chris Solinsky ran a solid 7:37.72 for fourth.

In the 400m, Jeremy Wariner won the mens in an ok 45.28 due in part to the wind and rain, but Sanya Richards threw down an impressive 49.34 so the weather cannot have been that bad.  In other women's action standard chasing Maggie Vessey was a DNS in the 800m (tightness in leg during warmup or something, perhaps another shot Tuesday in Gent) but Anna Willard made the USA proud winning and setting a PB in 1:58.80 and this isn't even her event for Berlin!  And in the women's 100m Kerron Stewart continued her impressive year winning handily in 10.99.

The standard chasing continued he Heusden in Belgium on Saturday with a number of good showings.  These were headlined by Matt Tegenkamp running 13:07.97 to get second in the 5000m to meet the A standard making it so his teammate Evan Jager can make the team (has the B standard) joining their other teammate Chris Solinsky and defending champ Bernard Lagat in Berlin.  Jager, dropping down for a little speedwork also set a PB in the 1500 B heat in 3:38.33 so he is running well.  Nate Brannen won the 1500 A heat in 3:36.53 which did not quite meet the A standard.

Heusden was also the site of Pamela Jelimo trying to come back to form after a couple very disappointing times well over 2 minutes, and succeeded winning in 1:59.59.  Leonel Manzano also dropped down in distance to run the 800m and did so successfully finishing in 1:46.20 which I believe is a PB.

Today in Rethymyno Greece there was some good sprint action including LoLo Jones running a world leading 12.47 100m hurdles and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie running a 22.32 world leader. 

This weekend's big meet is the London Super GP where Bolt and Powell will run the 100m, Gay the 200m, and a host of others in other events at the 2 day event, but during this week Gent on Tuesday should see a number of Americans looking to run fast times including Maggie Vessey trying to get sub-2:00 in the 800m.

Saturday Jun 27, 2009

US Track and Field Nationals Mid-Point Update

As I wrote about earlier, the US Nationals and qualifiers for this years World Championships in Berlin started Thursday and we are halfway through, so an update seemed appropriate.

First, touching on the items I said to watch for:

  • Tyson Gay did run only 1 round in the 100m but threw down a wind aided 9.75 in winning his heat so he seems in good form.  He was unhappy with his execution in the race so look for better later this summer.  In his absence, Michael Rodgers capitalized and won the final in 9.91w to take the national chamipionship.
  • Bernard Lagat also only ran 1 round in the 800m but unlike Gay did not look that great running 1:48.59 and finishing third in his heat.  He plans on running another 800m in Europe in a week so look for an improvement there.  The favorites, Symmonds, Robinson, and Smith are all through to Sunday's final, but look for Tevan Everett to push all three.
  • German Fernandez ran the senior 5000m and did fantastic finishing 5th and setting a new American Junior Record of 13:25.46.  Just in front of him Tegenkamp and Solinsky threw down 53.x final laps with Teg coming out on top in 13:20.57.  Training partner and 20 year old Evan Jager finished third.  Given the young ages of all, it would seem to bode well for the US in the 5000m in upcoming years.
  • The 1500m has pretty much gone to form with Rob Myers being the key casualty in the heats.  Webb eked in getting second in his heat and Manzano and Lomong also were through easily.  Final is Sunday.
  • Galen Rupp did win the 10,000m in impressive fashion stalking Ritz over the final laps before kicking past with 500m to go.  It will be great to see hi run in Europe where he will be pressed by better runners and could get close to the American Record.
  • Sanya Richards looked very good in her 400's with the final today.
  • On the other hand, Allyson Felix didn't look so good in her 100's having a very poor start and not being able to close to reach the final.  Here's hoping she'll do better in the 200m and sharpen up before Worlds in August.
  • Barringer chose to run the Steeple and had to deal with a water barrier that was 6 inches too high in her heat.  She still won comfortably and the final against Anna Willard is Sunday.
  • Vessey is through to the final of the 800m with Borza'esque tactics of running near the rear but closing hard.
  • Flanagan choose to run just the 10,000m and surprise, her competition was not from Kara Goucher but from her training partner Amy Begley.  And Begley was sharper than Flanagan out-kicking her with 200m to go to take the title.  I'd still look for Flanagan to sharpen by Worlds and be in the running for a medal.

Now, some things I didn't say to look for but were notable.

  • Kara Goucher did run the 5000m and won easily looking good.  She says she will only contest the Marathon at Worlds though.
  • Carmelita Jeter continued her outstanding 2009 winning the 100m but was pressed by Muna Lee having to go to the photo to pick the winner by 0.001.  If Muna is running this well in the 100m, look for her to press and likely beat the current form Felix in the 200m.
  • Kerron Clement, choosing to bypass the 400m hurdles as he has a bye, ran the 400m and led all qualifiers including Olympic Champ LaShawn Merritt going into today's final.  Clement, while a hurdler usually, is the world record holder in the indoor 400m.
With the 200m heats today along with 400m finals and womens 1500m final, should be another entertaining day.



Thursday Jun 25, 2009

US Track and Field Nationals Start Today

The US Track and Field Nationals start today in Eugene Oregon.  Besides crowning national champions it will also serve as the qualification for the US team for the World Championships in Berlin in August.

There is a full slate of events on tap, check out the full schedule to see what you might be interested in, but the highlights for me will be:

  • Can Tyson Gay complete his comeback from injury at Nationals last year and a subsequent poor showing at the Olympics?  He ran a fantastic 200m a few weeks ago in his debut (19.58, third fastest ever) and will be running the 100m only at Nationals as he has a bye into both the 100m and 200m at Worlds due to being the defending champion from 2007.
  • Bernard Lagat will be dropping down to 800m to work on his speed.  He has never gone sub-1:46 even with his outstanding 1500m/mile credentials.  He also has byes to Worlds in the 1500m and 5000m.  It will be tough going against Symmonds, Robinson, and crew.
  • German Fernandez, what will he run?  He is entered in both junior and senior races at distances including 1500m and 5000m.  It would be great to see him go up against Tegenkamp and Solinsky at 5000m or Manzano, Lomong, Webb, etc. at 1500m.
  • Since Lagat isn't running the 1500m, who will step up and perform?  Manzano has looked great at times but not at others.  Lomong has potential.  Webb has only looked ok so far this season.  A long list could steal a spot on the team if it is a kickers race and Fernandez could steal it if he runs and it is a steady/fast pace.
  • Can Galen Rupp win his first national championship?  He has had a terrific year already with numerous championships at the NCAA level and is one of the favorites in the 10000m but Abdi will have something to say about it.
  • Will Sanya Richards redeem herself in the 400m after last years disappointment?  She was coming off illness and had issues with rounds last year but looks better this year.
  • Allyson Felix is doubling in the 100m and 200m so how will she do?  Many would love to see her run the 400m against Richards.
  • What event will Jenny Barringer run?  It will probably be just the Steeple and the American Record could fall there, but I'd like to see her run the 1500m where she is the fastest American this year and only the third American under 4:00 ever.
  • Was Maggie Vessey's 2:00.18 for real and can she step up as our next great 800m runner?
  • Will Shalane Flanagan double at 5000m and 10000m (or just run the latter) and if so, the duel between her and Kara Goucher at 5000m should be fun.

There is much more and the above is just a sampling, so do tune in.  Where you ask?  There will be the normal television coverage on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but in a new partnership between USATF and Flotrack there will be live and archived streaming video.  So you can tune in this afternoon to begin catching preliminaries in many events and the finals of the 10000m tonight.



Friday Jun 12, 2009

NCAA Track and Field In Progress

The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships started Wednesday but things really got going as the first finals occurred and points started to be scored.  I encourage you to go to Track & Field News or to see a host of stories, but a few highlights for you here.

First, in the Decathlon, Ashton Eaton from Oregon wrapped up the win as expected getting the Ducks 10 important points in the team title.  He was on pace for a huge score but a poor showing in the pole-vault put and end to those thoughts but he still won by about 200 points.

The field for the mens 1500m was loaded and the heats did not disappoint with good times and a huge surprise.  The first heat went out quick with 3 going under 3:40 led by Craig Miller from Wisconsin, the second heat a more traditional NCAA heat going out slow with a quick last lap won by Garrett Heath from Stanford in 3:44.22, and then the surprise was in the third heat with contenders Coe, Fernandez, and Centrowitz, the latter, the collegiate leader this year and a favorite to win, had a poor showing finishing last, apparently due to a foot injury.  That makes the team competition extremely close with Texas A&M now predicted to win by 1 point over Oregon.

The result from the 1500m put even greater importance on the mens 10000m final with favorite Galen Rupp now having to win to not "lose" more points in the race with Texas A&M.  He did not disappoint as after Chelanga and Forrest tried to run away at the beginning, Rupp reeled them in and the just followed until it was time to put the hammer down, closing in around 1:59 and 3:01 and he had plenty more.  He may need the more in the 5000m tonight where he is again expected to garner the 10 points for the win.

A great writeup on the whole day is here.  Coverage is on CBS College Sports tonight and CBS tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Saturday May 16, 2009

Track and Field 2009

Track and field for 2009 has already gotten off to a great start with good collegiate action and some fantastic times in Doha last week by the pros, but the pros start to run for real for the first time later today in Los Angeles at the adidas Track Classic.  And conference championships are this weekend with the Pac-10's in Eugene. has a great preview of the adidas meet so take a good look at it and be ready to watch or record it at 5pm PDT today on ESPN2.  Look for Bernard Lagat, Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Jordan Hasay, Shalane Flanagan, LaShawn Merritt, Xavier Carter, Jenn Stuczysnki, and more!

But to take a quick look back at the Doha meet:

  • In the 1500 there were two in the 3:30's
  • In the 800 there were three in the 1:43's
  • The 3000 had a sub-7:30
  • The 3000 steeplechase had a sub-8:00

All are fantastic times for this early in the season, but the Steeple is #7 person all-time and fastest every before June.


There are quite a few more events coming soon too.  Check out my calendar, but look for NCAA Regionals in 2 weeks as well as the Reebok Grand Prix, Pre-Classic in 3 weeks, and NCAA's in a month.

Sunday Feb 01, 2009

Congratulations Pittsburgh, winners of Super Bowl XLIII

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers for winning a very entertaining game in Super Bowl XLIII.  I have to say I was a bit bummed as I was pulling for Arizona, and save for the first-half ending interception return, perhaps they would have won, but it seemed Pittsburgh was doing just what they had to do so perhaps they still would have pulled it out.

I have to give my computer some props as it nearly picked the game perfectly (Pittsburgh by 5.2) getting the win and pick against the spread.  For the playoffs I was a terrific 9-2 against the spread but only 5-6 picking winners.  But the Vegas line was also 5-6 picking winners so I don't feel so bad there.

So now we turn our attention to basketball but also track and field!  We just had the Millrose Games this weekend (Lagat won #7 in the mile), Boston Indoor next weekend, and a variety of good college action so stay tuned.

Sunday Jan 18, 2009

NFL Playoff Predictions Conference Championships

The conference championships are about to be played and I just realized I hadn't provided an update from last weekend and predictions for the games today.

Last weekend found my computer going 1-3 picking winners but 4-0 against the spread, taking the points for Arizona, Baltimore, and Philly, and giving the points for Pittsburgh.

In today's games the prediction is Pittsburgh by 2 and Philly by 2.4.  While my ratings do have Baltimore #1 (moved to #1 the last week of the regular season) Pittsburgh is close enough that home field advantage sways the game their way.  Conversely, even though Philadelphia is on the road they are far enough ahead of Arizona that they are still the pick.

Enjoy the games!

Friday Jan 09, 2009

Bowl recap, Big-12 was a fraud, and Florida #1

With their victory last night over OU, Florida is #1 in my ratings by nearly 2 points.

1    Florida              96.620  13-1
2    Oklahoma             94.802  12-2
3    Southern_Cal         93.011  12-1
4    Texas                92.284  12-1
5    Penn_State           88.831  11-2
6    Texas_Tech           86.171  11-2
7    Alabama              85.982  12-2
8    Utah                 85.714  13-0
9    TCU                  85.566  11-2
10   Boise_St             85.296  12-1 

It is interesting that they keep OU #2 ahead of USC and that the other team everyone is talking about, Utah, is #8, albeit a 5 spot improvement from before the bowls.  As a reminder, these ratings are intended to predict games so this is saying that Florida would be predicted to win by 9 over Utah on a neutral field.

As far as the bowls go, the Big-12 ended up disappointing and the SEC did better than the computer predicted, and so it would be appropriate to say the Big-12 was a fraud since I made statements about Alabama being a fraud earlier this year (which ended up being true IMHO).  Predicting they'd when every game was a big statement but while they did finish with a winning record, more was expected.

The predicted and actual records by conference are below.

Conference Predicted Record Actual Record
ACC 7-3 4-6
Big-Televen 1-6 1-6
Big-12 7-0 4-3
Big-East 3-3 4-2
C-USA 2-4 4-2
Independents 1-1 1-1
MAC 3-2 0-5
Mountain West 1-4 3-2
Pac-10 4-1 5-0
SEC 2-6 6-2
Sun Belt 1-1 1-1
WAC 2-3 1-4

The predictions were mixed with a perfect or within 1 record for 6 of the conferences, but big misses on the ACC, Big-12, and MAC (all did quite worse than expected) and C-USA, Mountain West, and SEC (did better).

On individual game predictions, the computer ended up 19-15 picking winners and 18-15-1 against the spread.  I missed both the winner and spread on UF/OU, but if I had given Florida credit for playing a home game as many have said playing in Miami effectively was, I would have picked them to win.  But my policy on bowl games is a team gets homefield advantage only if they are playing in the same city/stadium that is home for them.

So that completes another season.  We now turn to the NFL for a few more weeks so look for more posts on that soon.

Sunday Jan 04, 2009

NFL Playoff Predictions Week 1 Update

With week 1 of the playoffs complete, it is time to update my predictions.

 My computer went 3-1 against the spread and 2-2 picking winners.  Details are:

  • Atlanta/Arizona - Took Arizona and the points which was right but had Atlanta winning.
  • Indy/San Diego - Had San Diego winning outright and they did.
  • Baltimore/Miami - Had Baltimore covering the 2.5 and they did.
  • Philly/Minnesota - Had Minnesota winning outright and they didn't even cover.

For the upcoming games, current predictions are:

  • Carolina by 7.1 over Arizona
  • Tennessee by 1.4 over Baltimore (pick would be Baltimore on neutral field)
  • NY Giants by 3.4 over Philly
  • Pittsburgh by 6.3 over San Diego

The updated Superbowl predictions are:

Team Get to Win
0.336 0.184
New York Giants 0.377 0.179
Tennessee 0.320 0.171
Carolina 0.294 0.130
Baltimore 0.208 0.118
Philadelphia 0.192 0.092
San Diego 0.137 0.077
Arizona 0.137 0.049

Friday Jan 02, 2009

Alabama was a fraud part 3 and College Bowl Predictions 1/3 Update

I was vocal mid-season and then again after the SEC Championship game about Alabama's being #1 being wrong, so after Utah's dismantling of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl I feel compelled to toot my computers horn yet again.

While I did not go so far as to predict the upset, it was my second best pick of the week against the spread (picked Alabama by 4, line was 10.5, best pick was Virginia Tech to upset Cincinnati which they did) and reinforced what I said in the earlier posts.  And by actually getting beat where I said they'd win by 4, it is saying that even my computer ranking them #7 (and I had them in the #7-#9 range since week 7) was high.

Now, my computer isn't going off the deep end and proclaiming Utah #1, in part because Alabama wasn't as strong as everyone was saying, but more importantly because Utah played weak opponents generally and some of those very close (4-8 New Mexico 13-10!, 3-9 Michigan 25-23), and in their games against good opponents only won narrowly and were fortunate to have most at home (hosted Oregon State beating them by 3, hosted TCU winning by 3).  Utah will likely end up #7 or #8 in my rankings.

Having said all this, my computer isn't right all the time :(  In the three games yesterday I went 0-3 picking winners and 2-1 against the spread.  That leaves me 17-13 picking winners and 17-12-1 against the spread.  Both are above 0.500 but you'd expect picking winners to be a bit better than against the spread and this reflects the emphasis of my computer being predicting against the spread, not predicting winners.

And while my computer has generally done well in predicting conference records, it has missed on a couple with the SEC (Alabama excepted) and the Mountain West being stronger than expected, and the ACC and Big-12 being worse.

Conference Predicted Record Actual Record
ACC 7-3 4-6
Big-Televen 1-6 1-5
Big-12 7-0 3-2
Big-East 3-3 3-2
C-USA 2-4 3-2
Independents 1-1 1-1
MAC 3-2 0-3
Mountain West 1-4 3-2
Pac-10 4-1 5-0
SEC 2-6 5-2
Sun Belt 1-1 1-1
WAC 2-3


Even with some of the big games already played, while teams have moved around the predictions for the final 4 games have not changed significantly.  OU is picked by 2.1, UT by 9.4, Ball State by 2.3, and UConn by 2.8.

College Bowl Predictions 1/2 Update

With the games of New Years Day now past, here is my next update.

Since the last update, in picking winners I went 7-3 for a total of 17-10 which is getting better. Against the spread I went 4-5-1 for a total of 15 11-1.

  • Houston/Air Force - Had Air Force winning by 0.5 so missed on both since Houston was favored by 4
  • Oregon State/Pitt - Had Oregon State by 1.1 and they won but line was 3 so a push on the spread
  • Vanderbilt/BC - Had BC by 2.5 but Vandy won but had Vandy +3.5 so won the spread
  • Kansas/Minnesota - Had Kansas by 7.9 and they won but had Minnesota +10.5 so lost on the spread
  • LSU/Georgia Tech - Had Georgia Tech by 6.2 so missed on both
  • Iowa/South Carolina - Had Iowa by 3.3 and they won and line was 3 so won the spread
  • Georgia/Michigan State - Had Georgia by 2.2 and they won but had Michigan State +8
  • Nebraska/Clemson - Had Nebraska by 0.6 and they won and also had them +3
  • USC/Penn State - Had USC by 1.1 and they won but had Penn State +10
  • Virginia Tech/Cincinnati - Had Virginia Tech by 2.9 and they won and line was Cincinnati by 2.5 so won that too


As far as the conferences go, here is the status:

Conference Predicted Record Actual Record
ACC 7-3 4-6
Big-Televen 1-6 1-5
Big-12 7-0 3-1
Big-East 3-3 3-2
C-USA 2-4 3-1
Independents 1-1 1-1
MAC 3-2 0-3
Mountain West 1-4 2-2
Pac-10 4-1 5-0
SEC 2-6 3-1
Sun Belt 1-1 1-1
WAC 2-3 1-4

With conferences games complete or possibility to still have my predictions on, the predictions are still generally dead on (Big-Televen, Big-East, Independents, Sun Belt) or 1 off (Big-12, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC, WAC).  Of course, the SEC still has 4 games to play and the Big-12 3 so I could be way off too!

As far as over and under achievers, the ACC underachieved by 3 games, the Pac-10 finished perfect, and the SEC is on track to over achieve.

Current predictions for today's games are Texas Tech by 9.1, East Carolina by 2.5, and Alabama by 4.8. 

Wednesday Dec 31, 2008

NFL Playoff Predictions Vegas Odds Comparison

I made my NFL playoff predictions a few days ago but just found this story on Vegas' odds so thought it would be interesting to compare the odds of winning the superbowl.

Here is a table listing the Vegas odds, what that translates into as a percentage, and my percentage for comparison.  Since the article above doesn't list all teams I went here to get a full list.

Team Vegas Odds Vegas % My %
New York Giants


Tennessee 7-1
San Diego

As of this writing, it is interesting to see that the Giants went from 2-1 in the ESPN story to 3-1 where the 3-1 is a lot closer to what my computer had them at.  Perhaps I'm not so far off :)  It is also interesting to see that as expected (Vegas has to take their cut) the Vegas percentage is higher than mine except for Tennessee and Pittsburgh.  And Minnesota is the same.  According to my computer those would be good bets to place on average.

Tuesday Dec 30, 2008

College Bowl Predictions 12/31 Update

With another 4 games played and 5 more on tap today, it is time for another update.

 In picking winners I went 3-1 and against the spread 2-2.

  • Missouri/Northwestern - Picked Missouri by 8.6 and they won by 7 and had Northwestern +13
  • Maryland Nevada - Picked Maryland by 1.2 and they won by 7 and naturally got the spread win too as they were 2.5 point dogs
  • Rice/Western Michigan - Picked Rice by 0.6 and they won big but missed on the spread having Western Michigan +3
  • Oregon/Oklahoma State - Had Oklahoma State winning and covering the 2.5 but Oregon won so missed on both.
That leaves the total for winner at 10-7 and the spread 11-6.  Not too bad so far.

As far as the conferences go, here is the status:

Conference Predicted Record Actual Record
ACC 7-3 3-3
Big-Televen 1-6 0-2
Big-12 7-0 1-1
Big-East 3-3 3-0
C-USA 2-4 2-1
Independents 1-1 1-1
MAC 3-2 0-3
Mountain West 1-4 2-1
Pac-10 4-1 3-0
SEC 2-6 0-0
Sun Belt 1-1 1-1
WAC 2-3 1-4

My predictions are generally on target, especially for those that are done nailing the Sun Belt and Independents and only 1 game off for the WAC.  We'll see if Oklahoma State losing is an omen for the Big-12 though as they are just off to a 1-1 start after a 7-0 prediction.

There are 5 more games today so we'll see if I can post another update tomorrow morning.

Monday Dec 29, 2008

College Bowl Predictions 12/29 Update

I posted my computers bowl game predictions and a first update the past couple of weeks and with 13 games played now, it is time for another update.

In picking winners I went 4-4 for a total of 7-6 which isn't impressive but there were a bunch of close games I just missed. I had Boise State by less than a point and they lost by a point so I was awfully close to the right margin, just on the wrong side. I had North Carolina by 3 and they lost by 1. I fared a lot better picking games against the spread (which is what I've tuned the system for) going 7-1 the past 8 games for a total of 9-4.

As far as the conferences go, here is the status:

Conference Predicted Record Actual Record
ACC 7-3 2-3
Big-Televen 1-6 0-1
Big-12 7-0 0-0
Big-East 3-3 3-0
C-USA 2-4 1-1
Independents 1-1 1-1
MAC 3-2 0-2
Mountain West 1-4 2-1
Pac-10 4-1 2-0
SEC 2-6 0-0
Sun Belt 1-1 1-1
WAC 2-3 1-3

All of this done through the Rutgers/NC State game so things will change after tonight's game where Missouri is now picked by 8.6 with a line of 13.




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