Monday, January 28, 2008

Economists on Recruiting

Bad news: the nation's top recruit, Terelle Pryor, is heading to Ohio State. Well, Ohio State has a 40.2% chance anyway (Michigan has a 37.9% chance). A couple economists have a computer model that can accurately predict the destinations of the top high school football prospects (ht Freakonomics). The model has correctly picked the schools for 72.5% of the top 100 recruits over a two year period. This model puts science to the whims of these teenage phenoms. The model includes more than two dozen variables and reveals some surprises: recruits don't care how many players you put in the NFL, or how stacked you are at their position. Also, recruits from the West and Northeast were less likely to stay close to home than those from the Midwest and the South. What was most important? "According to the model, they usually will pick the BCS-conference school nearest their hometown that has the biggest on-campus stadium and won the most games last season. Not the past five seasons, mind you."

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