Welcome to the ninth  annual NFL Prediction Tracker Awards. The purpose of these awards is
to help raise the publicity for those systems that have been superior in various qualities of
interest. Most awards will be based entirely on the numbers I've monitored with my prediction
tracker web pages. In 2008 the number of NFL systems dropped by 2 from the previous year to 61.
Apologies for all typos and mistakes, it is always enough of a challenge just to get this out
before all the details of the past season are forgotten.



BEST STRAIGHT UP WINNERS (Entire Season)


Winner: Ken Ashby

  In a very tight race, Ken Ashby’s 180 wins against 86 losses (67.7%), straight up, puts him one
win ahead of Pigskin Indexegas Line and two wins ahead of the Vegas line and Dokter. it was a
relatively down year.  Last season 13 systems predicted two-thirds or more correctly, this year
it was only the top two.  Those being the only two to also beat the line.


Winner 2008: Ken Ashby
Winner 2007: Sonny Moore
Winner 2006: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (record 72.28%)
Winner 2004: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2003: Beck Elo
Winner 2002: Herman Matthews
Winner 2001: JFM Power Ratings, ARGH Power Ratings
Winner 2000: CPA Rankings
Winner 1999: Kenneth Massey Ratings




  BEST AGAINST THE SPREAD (Entire Season)

Winner:  Nutshell Retro
Winner:  The Entropy System

  Some consider the true measure of a ranking system to be its record against the Vegas line.
We had a tie between Nutshell Retro and The Entropy System for best record against the spread.
They tied with a record of 146-115, 55.9%.  Anti-Honorable mention goes to Eric Hollobaugh's
43.6%.  I would say it was a typical year, a handfull of standouts with the rest close to 50%.


Winner 2008: Nutshell Retro, Entropy System
Winner 2007: Sagarin Predictive
Winner 2006: Brian Gabrielle (record 59.0%)
Winner 2005: Least squares with team HFA
Winner 2004: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2003: CPA Retro Rankings
Winner 2002: FreeSportsPlay.com
Winner 2001: CPA Rankings
Winner 2000: Yourlinx
Winner 1999: PerformanZ Ratings





  SMALLEST MEAN ABSOLUTE ERROR (Entire Season) 

Winner: Ken Ashby

  This was a another very close category.  Ken Ashby ended up with a average absolute error
of 11.0748 compared to Game Time Decision's 11.0777.   Game Time Decision also missed one
week.  That might have made a difference in the final standings.  Another system, Cover81,
actually had the lower error of 10.9555, but was missing 20% of the games.  You've got to
wonder if anything has changed with the line, this make three years in a row with someone
other than the line having the best number.  It should be noted this that this year's winner
is a full point worse than the record set back in 2005.


Winner 2008: Ken Ashby
Winner 2007: Computer Adjusted Line
Winner 2006: Brian Gabrielle
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (updated) (record 9.9513)
Winner 2004: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2003: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2002: FreeSportsPlay.com
Winner 2001: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2000: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 1999: Vegas Line (updated)




 SMALLEST BIAS (Entire Season)  

Winner: ARGH Power Ratings

  ARGH Power ratings finished the season with the smallest average bias, 0.00200.  A very good
number.  This year there was quite a large and uniform spread with most ranging in the +/- 1 range.
The overall average was probably slightly positive.


Winner 2008: ARGH Power Ratings
Winner 2007: CPA Rankings
Winner 2006: Tom Benson
Winner 2005: Sagarin Elo (record 0.001)
Winner 2004: System Average
Winner 2003: CPA Rankings
Winner 2002: Sagarin Pure Points
Winner 2001: ARGH Power Ratings
Winner 2000: Pigskin Index
Winner 1999: Flyman Ratings




 MOST ACCURATE SYSTEM - SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR (Entire Season)


Winner: Computer Adjusted Line

  When the system that has the best number missed a week or perhaps two weeks then I will rerun the full season
numbers throwing out the week that the leading system missed.  That is what I had to do this year.  Game Time
Decision appears to have the loest mean square error.  But after looking at all the systems throwing out week
13 Game Time is no longer the best.  Therefore, the winner goes to the best record with full season data, which
was the Computer Adjusted Line, MSE=193.53.  Again, the numbers show this was a relatively poor season for
accuracy.


Winner 2008: Computer Adjusted Line
Winner 2007: Computer Adjusted Line
Winner 2006: Computer Adjusted Line
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2004: Vegas Line (updated) (record 166.808)
Winner 2003: Vegas Line (opening)
Winner 2002: FreeSportsPlay.com
Winner 2001: Vegas Line
Winner 2000: Pigskin Index



            SECOND HALF AWARDS 


Some systems don’t begin publishing rankings until every team has played a couple of games, while the season-long
systems often rely on preset starting values in the early part of the season. For those reasons, I like to look
at the results over the second half of the season when these systems have had time to become 'burned in' to the
season's data. Second half data consists of all games from week 10 through the Super Bowl.



  BEST STRAIGHT UP WINNERS (Second Half)


Winner:  Nutshell Girl

  It is generally a tradition here that multiple systems tie for the lead in most straight up wins
over the second half.  I would also think it is fair to say that the rating jockeys have all be men.
So this year The Girl rating for NutshellSports breaks both of those traditions by being female
operated and winning by herself.  There were a lot of people close.  Hank Trexler and Tom Benson finished
only one game behind then six systems finished 2 games behind.  The Girl's record was 92-44, 67.6%.
A big 8 games off the record.



Winner 2008: Nutshell Girl
Winner 2007: Computer Adjusted Line, Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2006: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (updated), Nutshell Sports (record 100-37, 72.99%)
Winner 2004: Pigskin Index
Winner 2003: JFM Power Ratings, Kasulis Enhanced Spread, Beck Elo
Winner 2002: Least Absolute Value Regression, JFM Power Ratings, CPA Rankings
Winner 2001: Pythagorean Ratings, Elo Ratings, Ken Massey Ratings
Winner 2000: PerformanZ Ratings, Scoring Effeciency
Winner 1999: Ken Massey, Ed Kambor, Pythagorean Ratings




  BEST AGAINST THE SPREAD (Second Half)


Winner: Ken Ashby

  Ken Ashby clearly had a great season, Most total wins and lowest average error for the
full season and best against the spread in the second half.  Ashby was 70-54, 56.4%.
My PerformanZ ratings actually had 4 more wins but had 4 more losses also, 74-58.  Percentage
wise Ahsby finshed 0.0039% better than me.  Multiple systems get the Anti-Honorable mention
award, Hollobaugh, Kasulis Enhanced Spread, and Cover81.  Systems that have done well here all
finished down around 42-43%



Winner 2008: Ken Ashby
Winner 2007: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2006: CPA Rankings
Winner 2005: Tom Benson
Winner 2004: ARGH Power Ratings
Winner 2003: Logistic Regression, Viacheslav Ugolnikov
Winner 2002: Least Absolute Value Regression (record 78-52, 60.0%)
Winner 2001: Stat Fox
Winner 2000: Pythagorean Ratings
Winner 1999: Least squares using team specific home field advantages





  SMALLEST MEAN ABSOLUTE ERROR (Second Half)

Winner:  The Entropy System

  It is not an odd numbered year, so that means it it not Vegas' turn to win this award.
The smallest average error over the second half of the year goes to Dokter's Entropy System
with a mean error of 10.8972.  Game Time Decision looks to be lower but when you throw out
everyone for week 13 Game Time drops way down the list.  Hank Trexler was the only other
person to out-perform the line.


Winner 2008: The Entropy System
Winner 2007: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2006: Jeff Self
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (updated) (record 9.9489)
Winner 2004: Least Squares Regression
Winner 2003: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2002: FreeSportsPlays.com
Winner 2001: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2000: Pythagorean Ratings




  SMALLEST BIAS (Second Half)    


Winner: CPA Rankings


The lowest bias was Steve Wrathell's CPA Rankings Index with a bias of -0.01760.  I believe this is the second
smallest we hae seen. The numbers were overwhelmingly positive over the second half.  Last year it was just the
opposite, going strongly negative.


Winner 2008: CPA Rankings
Winner 2007: Pigskin Index (record 0.0077)
Winner 2006: CPA Retro
Winner 2005: Kasulis Enhanced Spread
Winner 2004: Tom Benson Gridmarks
Winner 2003: CPA Rankings
Winner 2002: StatFox.com
Winner 2001: Monte Carlo Markov Chain
Winner 2000: Flyman Performance Ratings
Winner 1999: Flyman Performance Ratings




  MOST ACCURATE SYSTEM - SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR (Second Half)


Winner: Hank Trexler


  The most accurate system for the second half, defined by having the smallest mean square error
was Hank Trexler, with a MSE=195.23200.  This is 18 points higher than last year's winning number
and 30 points higher thant the record.  The Entropy System was the only other system to beat out
the line.  Here the ordering flipped as compared to mean absolute error.


Winner 2008: Hank Trexler
Winner 2007: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2006: CPA Rankings
Winner 2005: Vegas Line (updated)
Winner 2004: Computer Adjusted Line
Winner 2003: Viacheslav Ugolnikov
Winner 2002: FreeSportsPlay.com
Winner 2001: Hank's Power Ratings
Winner 2000: Pythagorean Ratings (record 165.954)





   BEST PREDICTIVE SYSTEM (Entire Season)


Winner: Ken Ashby AccuRatings

To come up with the best overall predictive system I give each system
points for how well they do in all of the above categories.  I then sum up
the points and the system with the highest total is dubbed predictive system
of the year.  So this award goes to the system that is the most well rounded
One flaw can totally take a system out of the running.


This year the best predictive system for the entire season was Ken Ashhy's AccuRatings.
It was an overall impressive year for Ashby.  The season was pretty much dominated
by Ashby and Dokter's Entropy System.  Does anyone think there is one system out there
that is the best for predicting NFL?  In nine years this award has gone out to nine different
winners.


Winner 2008: Ken Ashby
Winner 2007: Jeff Sagarin
Winner 2006: Brian Gabrielle
Winner 2005: Vegas Line
Winner 2004: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2003: Beck Elo
Winner 2002: Matthews Grid
Winner 2001: CPA Rankings
Winner 2000: Ed Kambour



  BEST PREDICTIVE SYSTEM (Second Half)


Winner:  The Entropy System

The race for best predictive system over the second half was a little more competitive
that for the full season.  Here we have to flip the ordering of the full season,
Entropy gets #1 and Ashby #2.  My PerformanZ ratings had it's best ever showing finishing
in third.


Winner 2008: Dokter Entropy System
Winner 2007: Cover 81
Winner 2006: CPA Retro
Winner 2005: Hank Trexler
Winner 2004: ARGH Power Ratings
Winner 2003: CPA Rankings
Winner 2002: Kenneth Massey
Winner 2001: Monte Carlo Markov Chain
Winner 2000: Pythagorean Ratings





 RETRO AWARDS 


  The retrodictive categories are based on each systems final standings and measure things by applying
those final ratings to the entire season in retrospect.  As I did in the college awards I am going to
break this down into big systems (estimate team specific home field advantage) and simple systems
(do not estimate team specific home field advantage).



 MOST RETRODICTIVE WINS - Complex System 

Winner: Least squares with team specific HFA

  With the Sports Report not participating this year the retro awards are up for grabs.
Least squares with a team specific home field advantage takes this one with a record of
200-67, 74.91%.


Winner 2008: Least squares with team specific HFA
Winner 2007: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2006: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2005: The Sports Report SLOTS (record 89.9%)
Winner 2004: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2003: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2002: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2001: The system average
Winner 2000: CPA Rankings





 MOST RETRODICTIVE WINS - Simple System 

Winner: Jeff Self

  For the first time since the average won in 2001 a simple system was the overall leader.
Jeff Self had the overall best retro-record, 201-66, 75.28%.  In fact 3 of the top 4 systems
are 'simple' systems.  There have been six different winners in the last six seasons.


Winner 2008: Jeff Self
Winner 2007: Least Absolute Value Regression (L1)
Winner 2006: Jeff Sagarin
Winner 2005: Dunkel Index (record 78.3%)
Winner 2004: Brian Gabrielle
Winner 2003: Frank Alder





 SMALLEST RETRODICTIVE ABSOLUTE ERROR - Complex System

Winner: Least squares with team specific HFA


Least Squares with Team Specific Home Field Advantage reclaims the best absolute error crown.
But after several record breaking seasons in a row the winning average increased a full point
to 9.0324


Winner 2008: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2007: The Sports Report Predictive (record 8.0858)
Winner 2006: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2005: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2004: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2003: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2002: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2001: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2000: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA





 SMALLEST RETRODICTIVE ABSOLUTE ERROR - Simple System 


Winner: Least Absolute Value regression (L1)

Three of the top four  systems in this category use individual team home field advantages. The best system that doesn't is
Least Absolute Value Regre ssion (L1), which finished 3rd overall, and it's 4th first place finish in a row.
It increased only about half a point to 9.4282.


Winner 2008: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2007: Least Absolute Value Regression (record 8.9498)
Winner 2006: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2005: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2004: Sagarin Points
Winner 2003: Sagarin Points





 SMALLEST RETRODICTIVE BIAS 

Winner:  PerformanZ Ratings


   My own PerformanZ Ratings gets a rare first place finish by having the smallest retrodictive bias.
The numbers were not all that good this year, the winning bas was 0.04400.  Sagarin and CPA were the
only other two under 0.10.  With the exception of the regression based systems the biases tended towards
the positive direction this season.


Winner 2008: PerformanZ Ratings
Winner 2007: The Sports Report SLOTS (record -0.0006)
Winner 2006: Least Absolute Value Regression
Winner 2005: The Sports Report Elo
Winner 2004: CPA Rankings
Winner 2003: CPA Rankings
Winner 2002: PerformanZ Ratings
Winner 2001: Herman Matthews
Winner 2000: Massey Ratings





 MOST ACCURATE SYSTEM - SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR - Complex system 



Winner: Least squares with team specific HFA

 As with absolute error we as a whole were not as accurate this year.  Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
reclaims the top spot with an averge MSE of 132.04200.  The two CPA systems finished 2nd and 3rd.



Winner 2008: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2007: The Sports Report Predictive
Winner 2006: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2005: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2004: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA (record 112.865)
Winner 2003: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2002: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2001: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA
Winner 2000: Least Squares with Team Specific HFA





 MOST ACCURATE SYSTEM - SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR - Simple system 

Winner: Least squares with team specific HFA

The most accurate system without a team specific home field advantage was Least squares regression,
MSE=150.72500.  I think it is very interesting and important to note that the regression based systems
are the best at what they are designed to do.  Not only that, but they are as simple to create as just about
any system out there and the algorithms is are well known statistical procedures that most anyone could
reproduce.  In my opinion that makes them the perfect rating systems for the BCS.


Winner 2008: Least Square Regression
Winner 2007: The Sports Report
Winner 2006: The Sports Report
Winner 2005: The Sports Report
Winner 2004: Least Square Regression (record 132.830)
Winner 2003: Sagarin points




 BEST OVERALL RETRODICTIVE SYSTEM - Complex System 



Winner: Least squares with team specific HFA

As with the other overall a wards, points are assigned to systems in each category then summed up.
The system with the most points wins.


  Least Squares with team home field advantages reclaims the best overall restrodictive
system crown.  Without The Sports Report systems this was not a very close competition.
Steve Wrathell had the 2nd and 3rd place systems with his CPA Rankings, and CPA Retro Rankings.


Winner 2008: Least Squares with team home field advantages
Winner 2007: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2006: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2005: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2004: Least Squares with team home field advantages
Winner 2003: The Sports Report SLOTS
Winner 2002: Least Squares with team home field advantages
Winner 2001: CPA Rankings
Winner 2000: CPA Rankings




 BEST OVERALL RETRODICTIVE SYSTEM - Small System 


Winner: Least Absolute Value regression (L1)

The best overall retrodictive system among the small systems was Least absolute value regression.
This was good for 4th best overall.  Sagarin had the 2nd and 3rd place finishes with his main rating
and predictive rating.


Winner 2008: Least Absolute Regression (L1)
Winner 2007: System Median
Winner 2006: Jeff Sagarin
Winner 2005: Sagarin Points
Winner 2004: Sagarin Points
Winner 2003: Frank Alder