The Marshall Plan: Super Bowl XLVII — The methodology of man, machine and mammal predictions

Nearly everyone and everything has a method, a system, or at least an opinion on predicting the Super Bowl.
This includes humans, computers and even animals.

This Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII looks to be an exciting and intriguing match-up.
In one sense it is a match-up of two quarterback styles. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is fast, mobile, and he can pass accurately in a variety of offenses. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco is a more of a traditional NFL pocket-passing quarterback who has the ability to hit the big play or rely on a potent running game.

Factor in Ravens star receiver Torrey Smith, who played for Maryland and Stafford High School.

Both team’s defenses can potentially dominate a game.
Experience may favor the Ravens marginally.
This sportswriter’s winning percentage after 17 games this season was 64.5 percent—not bad, not stellar.
Prediction: Ravens 27-17

Wisdom is often associated with age. Let’s see if this applies to the Super Bowl.

The Silver Club, a seniors-oriented Parks and Recreation club was predominantly pro-Ravens with a few exceptions. On a vote only six of 32 members chose the 49ers.

“I saw on television the other day that the city with the lowest unemployment figures have won the last seven Super Bowls,” said Jim Casey, a member of the Silver Club. “Baltimore has lower unemployment numbers. So it looks like it’s going to be the Ravens.”
Many in the group decided on the Ravens because of Baltimore’s closer proximity geographically, uniform colors and gut feelings.
Silver Club selected the Ravens.

The Country Troubadours, a popular local musical group that rocks senior centers with a mix of gospel, oldies, country and rock-n-roll predicted a win by the “White Sox.”

Maybe “Shoeless Joe” will knock one out of the park. It’s obvious that the Country Troubadours are musicians first, sport prognosticators not so much.

The youth vote appears to favor Charm City locally.

Kid Central’s six basketball teams chose the Ravens by a 5-point margin.

The computer-based predictions were split on their outcomes.

PredictionMachine.com, a computer based prediction site says the 49ers will prevail after running the teams through the computer 5,000 times. This is a statistics based program.

Electronic Arts, creators of the highly popular Madden Football franchise ran a simulation through Madden 13 on the Xbox platform this week.
The Madden 13 simulation predicted a tight game ending with a 27-24 victory for the Ravens. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco took home the virtual MVP honors.

Historically the Madden simulations have correctly selected the winner of seven of the last nine Super Bowls, according to EA Sports.
Animal-based predictions tend to seem odd at first glance. However, animals tend to do nearly as well as humans.
Do you recall the late-great Paul the Octopus-of World Cup 2010 fame?

Paul the German octopus beat the odds during the World Cup by correctly forecasting all eight games he was asked to predict, including Spain’s 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.

That wiggly bag of sucker cups had plenty of soccer experts beat.
Animals are always amusing when they predict weather, earthquakes or professional sports match-ups. It’s like there’s some kind of opposable-thumb guilt we have about out-evolving them. People love it when animals beat the local sports writer or the ex-pro on television.

For those into nostalgia and canines there’s Jim “The Wonder Dog,” who in the 1920s was able to predict the winners of seven Kentucky Derbies and a World Series. However, he also chased his own tail, had an affair with a poodle and suffered from a bad case of fleas.
A number of animals across the nation weighed in with their predictions.

Franco the Ferret, who lives in Fredericksburg, predicted a Ravens win.
Pierre the Cajun Chihuahua, from Anacoco, Louisiana predicted a Ravens victory.
Bogart, a friendly lab from Ladysmith, Virginia pawed at a Ravens logo instead of a 49ers one.
Dizzy the spaniel from Orange chose the Niners.

The only thing for certain this Sunday is that one of the Harbaugh brothers will hoist a Super Bowl trophy.

Marshall Conner is a long-time freelance writer for Culpeper Times