United States employers lost between $615 million and $2.1 billion in lost wages from employees filling out brackets for the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Conservative predictions from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said 23.7 million employees will use "company time to research, construct and check their NCAA basketball tournament brackets this year," resulting in a loss of $615 million. High-end estimates said up to 81.5 million workers will spend at least an hour on brackets, bringing potential losses to $2.1 million.
How much money do companies lose on workers bombarding Twitter, Reddit and comments sections with vitriol over preseason college football predictions?
As diehard as some fans are — or claim to be — their the lack of awareness and reason for the unpredictable world of college football is baffling. It's been proven repeatedly that parity and unpredictable or shocking outcomes drive fan interest. Plays the Kick Six or Michigan's fumble punt make fans come back.
Any fan who predicted those occurrences would've been vilified. The same goes for fans who predicted Penn State would go 8-1 in the Big Ten last year. Or Notre Dame to lose eight games, Wyoming — not Boise State — to play in the Mountain West Championship and Colorado to win 10 games.
Let's rewrite last year's preseason predictions and show fans how absurd someone would've sounded last August had they predicted the Nittany Lions to beat Ohio State or Colorado to play in the Pac-12 title game.
Predicted Record: 11-3 (8-1, Big Ten)
Penn State will not only top seven wins for the first time since 2012, they'll reach 11 for the first time since 2009.
New starting quarterback Trace McSorley will rank among the top 15 FBS quarterbacks in yards per attempt and passer rating and throw about one interception per 50 pass attempts.
The Nittany Lions will lose two of their first four games but reel off nine-straight victories, including an Oct. 22 victory over Ohio State, 33-point demolition of Michigan State in the season finale and win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. They'll narrowly miss the playoff but put themselves in position for a run in 2017.
Predicted Record: 4-8
Notre Dame won't make the College Football Playoff. In fact, they won't even make a bowl game or surpass four wins. The Irish will stumble through one of the worst seasons in program history.
The offense will rank in the nation's bottom half in many categories, including rushing, and the defense will generate fewer than 30 turnovers and sacks, combined.
They will lose to Texas in the season opener and drop two more games in September. They'll have three separate two-game losing streaks, including losses to North Carolina State and Stanford in which the offense scores one combined touchdown.
Head coach Brian Kelly will make mass firings on the coaching staff and enter 2017 with six new faces.
Predicted Record: 8-6 (6-2, Mountain West)
Wyoming and third-year coach Craig Bohl will win more games in 2016 than the previous two years combined (six).
The Cowboys' balanced offense will average more than 35 points per game — and score 30 at least 10 times — and quarterback Josh Allen will put himself in contention for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
They'll beat Boise State for the first time ever, win six conference games and capture a division title for the first time in 20 years.
Predicted Record: 10-4 (8-1, Pac-12)
Colorado hasn't won more than five games since 2007 and 10 games since 2001. They haven't won a division title since 2005 or even been relevant in the Pac-12 since joining the league in 2011.
All of those streaks will end in 2016.
Their defense will yield barely 20 points per game and they'll hold six opponents to fewer than 17, including four games with 10 or fewer. Offensively, running back Phillip Lindsay will transform into one of the best players n the nation.
The Buffs will drop a close game at USC but ride a six-game winning streak to the Pac-12 Championship. And head coach Mike MacIntyre — who enters the season on the hot seat — is rewarded with a gigantic contract extension.