CITY, S.D. (Jan. 30, 2014) – As football fanatics gear up for Sunday’s big
game, one question hangs in the air: Who will be the next Super Bowl champion?
Some look to players’ injuries, others, coaches’ plays, while still more bet on
the sheer will of diehard fans for a decisive victory. Roger Johnson, Ph.D.,
counts on math. His prediction: the Seattle Seahawks by a mere .2-point edge.
His models have a history of success. “This year my scheme
correctly predicted game outcomes 63 percent during the regular season and 80
percent correct during the playoffs,” explains Johnson, a professor in the
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science at the South Dakota School of
Mines & Technology.
During the NFL season, Johnson produces weekly “point-spread”
ratings. Essentially, each team has a rating, and when two teams play each
other, the predicted score difference is the difference in the ratings. The
only deviation: a 3-point correction for home-field advantage.
“To get a feel for the method, if two games have been played in a
season – say Minnesota beats Green Bay by 10 points and Green Bay beats Chicago
by five points – then the method predicts Minnesota would beat Chicago by 15
But it’s not all cool statistical analysis; his heart’s in the
game, too. Johnson began his forecasts in 1998, the year his beloved Vikings
lost the championship game, missing their chance at Superbowl stardom. Even
then, his predictions foresaw the Bronco’s rise to the top.
This Sunday, he’ll face Denver again and wait to see if the
Seahawks keep their .2-point edge, leading its team – and Johnson – to victory.
in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and
engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering
bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640
students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of
14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent
placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on Twitter