Date: 10th October 2019 at 1:54pm
Written by:

There is a nasty rumour going around, and I don’t like to print those but I feel this one is deserving of being published, just so that we can refute it.

The nasty rumour is that Joel Sked of The Scotsman is a journalist.

Let’s quash that right now.

Having an NUJ card doesn’t make you one of those any more than holding a wooden spoon makes you a chef.

So if you hear this stuff out there on the streets, just ignore it.

I think the word “hack” is too good for Sked.

If there is a less capable person working on a major national title, anywhere on this island, I do not know his name. It is kind of awesome how bad Sked is, and in a pool where the competition for the title of “worst” is fierce, he is a great white shark devouring the rest.

There is, I guess, talent of a sort in that.

His latest piece today is another scraping from the internet floor; someone has put him onto a website FiveThirtyEight, which has “crunched the numbers” and has predicted that Sevco will win the league by three points.

Actually the truth is a little different, but what do you expect?

I am intimately familiar with the site FiveThirtyEight, more familiar, I’ll bet, than Sked is, because they offer analysis on US political polls which I enjoy studying.

The website is owned by ABC. It’s US based. It’s not a football site – what they call “soccer.”

It uses complex computer modelling to make predictions in a number of fields.

You can take nearly everything on there, on any given day, with a grain of salt.

Sked said the numbers have “been crunched for us” by the website.

Who exactly is this “us” he refers to? The Scotsman newspaper? No, because their predictions on who will win the main national leagues in Europe have been on the website a while, on their soccer section. It’s barely worth paying attention to though.

Is this the first time he’s stumbled upon them? Who knows?

Who really cares?

His is a completely ludicrous article.

You know why?

Because FiveThirtyEight is always changing its forecasts … they evolve with changing events.

So a forecast that’s good today might be entirely different in a week.

The people who run that site don’t factor in what’s known as “volatility” … changing circumstances and events which drastically alter the data and skew the predictions in a new direction.

That’s the trouble with statistical analysis of fluid events … it’s worthless.

This is not a “prediction” it’s a projection based on current data … and the difference is that a projection is ever altering.

They have, on that site, the lists of over a dozen European leagues, with their current projections, represented by a statistical probability, and this early in the season they change with every week.

Perhaps this eejit knows that and perhaps he doesn’t.

Perhaps he just doesn’t care.

But the article is absolutely pathetic. There is no validity whatsoever to it.

But this is a sterling example of what I was talking about last weekend when I said we were going to get a fortnight of nonsense, a fortnight which mercifully we’re almost a week into now. The end of it can’t come quickly enough.

Sked’s article is just pitiful.

This is of the same journalistic school as letting Football Manager run on simulation mode and calling their end of season table a “prediction.”

Look out for that article from The Scotsman’s in-house blogger the moment the new version is released next month.

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