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No Modesty Here: This Forecast Rates Bouquet of Roses

I had not meant to crow about my successful Rose Bowl game prediction, but so many people have mistakenly accused me of blowing it that I feel obliged to set the record straight.

Professional psychics invariably blow horns and beat drums when they accidentally hit one on the nose, though one never hears a peep about their misses.

I want to say that had my prediction of the game’s outcome been off the mark, I would have been the first to say so. I now note its success only because so many have misinterpreted it.

You may recall that I predicted Washington would beat Iowa, 24-10. The final score was Washington 46, Iowa 34. Those who do not understand football or the art of predicting the outcome of games may think at first glance that my prediction was greatly in error.

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Not so. I predicted a point spread of 14. The actual point spread was 12. To come within two points of the correct spread when the total points scored were 80 is remarkable. I remind you that the pre-game bookmakers’ spread was 9 1/2 points, Washington winning.

I would also like to remind the reader that I am not a psychic. I consider all psychics frauds. I made my amazingly accurate prediction, as always, on the basis of my keen understanding of the game.

Taking all factors into consideration, I calculated that Washington was 14 points better than Iowa. Certainly I should be allowed a 2-point variance.

Granted, I predicted a combined score of only 34 points, while the teams actually scored 80. That is really of no consequence, since the relative merit of the teams remains constant, no matter how many points are scored.

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I know that some of my readers don’t understand football, and I don’t like to subject them to a tedious analysis of the game. However, there is a dynamic in football that must be considered in judging the value of any prediction.

The Rose Bowl game was in many respects anomalous. First, we had a touchdown scored off a blocked kick. In a well-run football game that doesn’t happen. Then, we had a touchdown scored off an intercepted pass. It happens, but one can’t foresee it. Then, we had missed conversions, fumbles, onside kicks, fake kicks, flea flickers and, as Jim Murray said, “more ad libs than a comedy store.”

Not even Nostradamus could predict the outcome of a game like that.

No, I am content to have predicted the winner, and to have come within two points of predicting the margin of victory. Not bad.

In predicting that the Raiders will win the Super Bowl, I am not making the mistake of predicting the exact score. After all, the exact score is irrelevant. All that really matters is who carries off the trophy.

Again, my Super Bowl prediction owes nothing to clairvoyance or psychic power. It is based purely on my keen knowledge of the game and its possibilities.

In attributing my success to that knowledge, and not to any psychic vibrations, I hope to discredit in some small way the pretentions of all so-called seers.

However, I have little hope that my demonstrations will even begin to undermine the public faith in such charlatans. I do point out that psychics never predict the outcome of sports events. The results are too soon in coming, and too explicit. One cannot quibble.

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A recent Gallup poll, as reported in the winter, 1991, issue of the Skeptical Inquirer, indicates that 26% of Americans believe in clairvoyance (the power of the mind to predict the future); 49% believe in extrasensory perception; 39% believe in telepathy (communication between minds without using the five senses); 29% believe in ghosts; and 55% believe in the devil.

Fourteen percent of Americans say they have seen UFOs (unidentified flying objects thought to be spaceships of extraterrestrial origin); 47% believe that such objects are real, not just figments of someone’s imagination; 27% believe that aliens have actually touched down and visited Earth.

More than 70% of Americans believe in life after death; seven out of 10 also believe in heaven, and half believe in hell. About one in five Americans (21%) believe in reincarnation--"rebirth of the soul in a new body after death.” (Why would God return worn-out souls to new bodies? If He can make new bodies, He can make new souls, can’t He?)

What puzzles me is how one-fourth of us can believe in clairvoyants when none of them is ever able to foresee the outcome of a football game. If clairvoyants could foresee the outcome of football games, or horse races, they could quit mucking around in the futures of the rich and famous and make their fortunes laying sure-thing bets.

If the Raiders win the Super Bowl, I’m going to put out my shingle: “Know the future. Private readings. Football games a specialty.”


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