Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Bad (Good) Game

As mentioned in my previous posting, I recently looked at the effect of dropping a football team's best game (highest Margin of Victory) and their worst game (lowest MOV).  The intuitive notion is that everybody has bad days, where everything goes wrong, and good days, where everything goes right, and maybe those days don't tell us anything useful about the real strength of a team.  If that's so, then dropping those games might give us ratings that are more accurate.

To test this hypothesis I implemented this "drop the worst score" grading system for a couple of the rating systems I use for football and measured performance in the usual way.  Here are the results for one of the rating systems:

  Predictor    % Correct    MOV Error  
BGD Baseline73.7%16.52
BGD w/o blowouts or lowouts 72.6%16.77
BGD w/o lowouts72.9%16.69
BGD w/o blowouts73.6%16.62

Here I'm using the whimsical "lowout" to indicate the worst loss for a team.

As this shows, eliminating the blowouts/lowouts hurts predictive performance.  For what it's worth, the losses seem to be more important than the wins.  (I saw the same effect in basketball when I looked at this last year.)

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