Maybe the National Post should let someone else handle the football picks from now on.
Peter James is the winner of the first part of our CIS football predictions contest, guessing the final regular-season W-L records of each team closer than anyone else.
(He also has a better record picking CFL games than his colleague Bruce Arthur does with the NFL, hence the cheeky lede here.)
Specifically — and you can skip this paragraph without losing the thread of the story — James' predicted records for each team, when compared to that team's actual record, had an RMS of 1.56. Zero would mean "perfect predictions." To put his result in context: if all you did was use last year's wins, you would get an RMS of 1.95. So James was about 20% better than that knowledge-less baseline. Which doesn't sound so impressive — anyone can beat the "stupid" prediction, right? — but half the entries in our contest in fact did worse than just using last year's record.
He beat out about 20 others who submitted sane ballots — and several others who clearly didn't even bother. He was within two wins for every team except UBC (guessed 3, actually had 6) and Acadia (guessed 2, actual 7). However, he was the only one to predict fewer than two wins for eventual 0-8 Alberta. And if you average all the fans' predictions together, only two people (James and one other participant) did better than the consensus.
James, of course, takes the humble route regarding his win, saying, "I'm pleased my lack of faith in Alberta paid off, but I confess that it was more luck than skill that I came out on top."
Still, someone had to finish first, and it was indeed Peter James. Given this result, and his CFL picks, either he keeps getting lucky in a small sample, or he knows his Canadian football. (If it's the latter, it's fitting, since he was the featured guest on Rouge Radio this week, talking CFL. Podcast here.)
The second winner of our predictions contest won't be decided until the Vanier Cup is over, as Part 2 was concerned with picking the bowl game participants and winners correctly (at the beginning of the season, of course, not now). If you're wondering how James might do with those predictions ... well, he picked Saskatchewan to win the Vanier. Can't get 'em all right, I suppose.