Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HOW TO: cook baby back ribs in the oven (low and slow)

I bought raw ribs once before. It was a disaster. I had no idea what I was doing. I figured my george foreman wasn't up to the task, so I think I tried boiling them and then doing something else. It didn't work. That was enough to put me off until today.

I bought a full rack of baby back ribs from Trader Joe's. There it was only 3.99/pound so the full rack was just under 8 bucks. Cheaper than those pre-cooked ones that come bathed in bland sauce.

I read that you should remove the membrane and even found a video that showed me how. (and I love the way that guy introduces his website) Yet when I flipped my slab over, I didn't find a membrane. I guess Trader Joe's gets rid of that for you. That's nice.

So with that out of the way, I rubbed my slab with a "smokehouse bbq rub" that was made out of sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and onion.

I applied the rub on both sides and refrigerated the slab in aluminum foil for almost 24 hours. Here's what it looked like when I took it out of the fridge:

I gave it a second coat of rub, since the first had been absorbed into the meat. So of course, true barbecue is low and slow, not on the grill. My plan was to not only use low temperatures, but to use steam to my advantage, ensuring a moist rack of ribs. So I filled my pan with an inch of water and added another piece of foil on pretty tight on top. (I used foil on bottom to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.)

Here's what it looks like about to go into the oven, just imagine another piece of foil on top:

So the total cooking time is six hours for a slab like this. I cooked it for 5.5 hours covered with foil at 200 degrees F. This is how it looked after five and a half hours of steaming:

The water had turned to grease. And notice how the meat tightened up, exposing some of the bones. In fact, the whole slab fit into the pan a lot easier now that it shrank. This is the home stretch. I dumped the grease, and gave another dusting of rub on top. If you want wet ribs, this is the point at which you can add sauce. I wanted to compare dry vs wet so I only added Trader Joe's Kansas City sauce to half, and put it back in uncovered for about 30-45 minutes. Here's what it looked like when I removed it from the oven, over six hours after putting it in:

Yes, the sauce side turned a beautiful color with the sauce carmelizing, but notice how even the dry side took on a beautiful color in that last uncovered phase. It was still glistening on the outside, so I removed it from the pan and let it rest on a board for about 15 minutes to ensure the juices would settle back into the meat.

And then it was time to cut into them, the moment of truth.

They turned out perfectly. Cooked all the way though, superbly tender and juicy. Falling off the bone, yet not mushy at all. I served them with a side of Bush's baked beans, kicked up with the bbq rub and sauce I was using.

And what about the taste?

Far be it for me to say that I'm a better barbecuer than professionals, using just my oven and not a real smoker, but these were some of the best ribs I've ever had. Part of it is that there is something special about doing it yourself, plus you know that you're using premium meat and a sauce without corn syrup. Also, I assumed I would like the wet more than the dry, but I loved them both the same, even the wet had all the spice of the dry side, the dry held their own just fine.

Does that mean there's no room for improvement?

Burnsy and I agreed that the texture was perfect, but the rub was perhaps a little simple. Not bland, but that it wasn't as bold as it could be. I felt like I used enough, so I could try a different one, perhaps Emeril's, or perhaps the way to do is just to make your own. Although I don't know that I want to buy 10 different spices just to make one serving of rub. It's also possible that finishing them on a grill would increase the flavor, but that's not an option right now. At any rate, today's ribs were delicious, so it's not like I need to do anything drastic.

But for 8 bucks these ribs served a dinner for three that would impress the toughest guests (unless they're vegetarian). And to think Matt turned down the dinner invitation. Although next time, I would allot 1/2 a slab per person, and truth be told, I could put away 3/4 and save a couple bites as leftovers.

- - -

Previously I bought a Trader Joe's BBQ pork roast, I think about 24 ounces for 7 bucks or so (roughly the same price per pound as the ribs) and that was even easier to make. Just half an hour in the oven and then shred it with a knife, cover with sauce, and cook for another ten minutes. Between the homemade shredded pork and the homemade ribs, all of a sudden it seems that I don't need to go out to satisfy my BBQ fix.

Monday, December 28, 2009

analyzing playoff predictions: nfc

Since the NFC is set, I can start my analysis a week before the playoffs start.

The six teams in are:


- - -

After 1 week of the season, I had 3/6 right: Packers, Cowboys, Eagles, but also had pegged Falcons, Giants, and Seahawks. But I hadn't marked anyone as clearly in. I had marked 3 teams as clearly out: Panthers, Rams, and Lions. Basically, those three teams, their season was over before it began.

In week 2, I marked Giants, Saints, and Falcons as clearly in. Only 1 made it. As of week 2, I was still 3/6.

Through weeks 3 and 5, I was still only 3/6 and still had the Giants marked as clearly in. By week 5, I did correctly have both the Saints and Vikings as clearly in.

By week 7, I had 5/6, having the Giants instead of the Cowboys.

After 9 weeks, I was 5/6, this time including the Falcons over the Packers.

At the 11 week mark, I had 6/6. The Saints, Vikings, and Cardinals were marked as clearly in.

No changes at 13 or 15 weeks.

- - -

While only half of my sample size, I found this very interesting.

In the first two weeks, I had a handle on half of the playoff teams, and the Cardinals were the only team that wasn't designated as a playoff team in either one of those weeks.

The way it broke down in the NFC, the key takeaways are:

After 2 weeks we know 3/6 playoff teams.

After 7 weeks, we know 5/6.

After 11 weeks, we know the field.

This supports my general understanding that you know a team's identity by halfway through, but not necessarily in the first two weeks.

I suppose these would make nice charts, but here are the playoff teams confidence level throughout the season, 1 being clearly in, 4 being clearly out. (1 and 2 are in, 3 and 4 are out)

Saints: 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Vikings: 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1
Cardinals: 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1
Cowboys: 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2
Eagles: 2, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2,
Packers: 2, 3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, 2

The Packers were the last team to get figured out, but this conference seems fairly simple to figure out. The only team that seemed clearly in and didn't make it was the Giants. And a late season collapse from them isn't that surprising anyways. I snuck a peek at the AFC data and there are more surprises on that side. But I'll have to wait until next week when I know the 6 teams to make any analysis.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

playoff predictions: week 17 afc

Just about everything has been decided...except:

Likely In

Likely Out
Broncos win but don't get enough help
Jets and Texans don't win
Dolphins and Jaguars need too much help

super bowl futures

After hitting 4/5 in week 10, and picking Illinois over Cincinnati but losing money on BS SB I here's where I stand:

Invested: $200
Currently: $320

Up $120 on the year is pretty good.

I thought I'd try something new, and bet $100 on Super Bowl futures on the eve of the playoffs. Here are the current odds:

As good as I think the Chargers are, I am willing to stake a big claim that Norv Turner won't win a Super Bowl. Same goes for Favre.

And I just wrote a big post about how I think losing today hurts the Colts, but the Pats are the only team I think that can hang with Indy in the AFC.

Since the Colts are at 11/4, putting $40 on them would give me $110, and a profit. That's my goal. To profit on the Pats, I need to put more than $10 on them.

In the NFC, since I believe in the Saints, I need to put at least #34 on them to make a whopping $2. And with the semi-collapse of New Orleans and Minnesota, I think the Packers, Cowboys and Eagles all are interesting bets. But I consider the Eagles and Cowboys about the same, and I'm getting twice the action on Dallas...

So here are my NFL futures for Super Bowl 44:

Colts $38
Saints $36
Pats $12
Packers $8
Cowboys $6

I can see why these bets are so great for the Sportsbooks. To reach my goal of simply making a profit, I've covered not even half the field and my potential profit is negligible. And if either #2 seed wins than I've lost all my money. All risk, no reward is how I've set this up. The other option would be to put all $100 on the Colts, giving me significantly more room for reward, but also lessens the chance that I'll break even at all. Basically these are terrible bets. Good to know.

Post your futures in the comments and see if you can make more than me with $100.


Today in the 3rd quarter, the Colts had a 15-10 lead over the Jets with the ball. They were just over a quarter away from being 15-0 and having only the Buffalo Bills in the way of a perfect regular season.

Now if the Pats went 19-0 do you think the Colts make the same decision?

- - -

The Colts, of all teams, should know that you don't win Super Bowls when you rest players, and you do win Super Bowls when you stay hot, winning games and entering the postseason with confidence.

So if I'm a coach resting my healthy players isn't a consideration. But then there's the asterisk of the undefeated season and the 18-1 Patriots, the best team I've ever seen. Just as I've seen that you don't win Super Bowls when you rest players, I've seen that trying to go undefeated piles on the pressure and might make it harder to achieve your actual goal: winning the Super Bowl.

So I don't want to rest players, but I also acknowledge that going 16-0 might be a bad thing. It's a tough position to be in.

Today the Colts took out their starters and promptly lost the game. (Watching the Manning-less Colts sealed my vote for Peyton as MVP) But that decision wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to the defense who had held the Jets to 10 points and then had to see Curtis Painter give away the game. The same defense who had helped you get to 14-0. We'll see how great that defense plays next week in Buffalo when the game doesn't matter, and then we'll see how great they play in postseason, once they're used to not being important.

Same goes for the home fans. I wonder how much less of a homefield advantage they'll have from the fans in January, when the fans remember the last game the saw was garbage. The Colts threw away this game because they were afraid Peyton was going to get hurt, but has he ever had any sort of injury? Instead, I think they threw away their momentum.

They are the current Vegas favorites (11/4 compared to 3/1 for Saints) and before today they were my obvious pick for the team playing the best, given the way the Vikings and Saints have been playing lately. But if I had to pick a team right now? I don't know that I could pick them.

If they do win the Super Bowl they can laugh at all the naysayers like me and hold their trophy high. But if they don't, they only have themselves to blame.

the most coveted prize in all of sports

The 2009 Burger Bet goes to the Kansas City Chiefs. By losing their fifth game in a row, they clinched the burger for me. That is pathetic.

I say it's clinched because the Chiefs are 68 points ahead in the net points tie breaker. A realistic way for the Lions to take back the crown would be to beat the Bears by a field goal, and have the Broncos win over the Chiefs 66-0.

As pathetic as it is, the burger bet kept me invested in this season, long after their playoff chances were eliminated. And to have it go down to week 16 is pretty impressive. If the Lions could have won today, that would have put a huge amount of pressure on next week's games.

And now the only question is which burger to choose? Do I go with the $19 Rockit burger that might be my favorite one that I've already had, or do I pick a new one from the list, Kuma's Corner, Capitol Grille, or say Hot Chocolate in Wicker Park?

One of the best questions I will ever face.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

draft redo

I didn't draft very well. With the hindsight of the season totals, here's the best team I could have come up with. Since I had the 9th pick, AD and MJD were already off the board.

1. A. Johnson, WR

2. C. Johnson, RB

3. B. Marshall, WR

4. M. Schaub, QB

5. D. Jackson, WR

6. Ray Rice, RB

7. B. Favre, QB

8. Eagles D

9. Kaeding, K

10. Akers, K

11. Packers D*

12. C. Benson, RB

13. B. Celek, TE*

14. V. Davis, TE*

15. R. Williams, RB*

16. M. Austin, WR*

*these players went undrafted

Some of these players got hot later in the year, but I still think with this roster you would go 15-0. Here's how it looks, with positional rankings in parenthesis:

QB Schuab (4th)
RB C. Johnson (1st)
RB R. Rice (4th)
WR A. Johnson (1st)
WR M. Austin (3rd)
Flex B. Marshall (4th)
TE Davis (2nd)
D Eagles (1st)
K Akers (1st)

Favre (8th)
R. Williams (6th)
C. Benson (12th)
D. Jackson (8th)
Celek (5th)
Packers (2nd)
Kaeding (2nd)

- - -

Some observations:

Even with knowing all the answers, it's not possible to build the perfect lineup because some of the best were drafted before I even had my first pick, and to get the elite RB/WR, you can't get a top QB.

On the other hand, of the 9 starting slots, 4 of the best positions could have been had with undrafted players. Plus, the kicker really doesn't matter that much and I grabbed the #3 kicker off the waiver wire early in the season.

So since you can fill 5 positions well from the waiver wire, you have 16 draft picks to nail a QB, RB, WR, and a flex. It sounds so simple.

Also note, that Mark had better running backs on his team, than the team I constructed with 20/20 hindsight. That's bananas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hypothetical Bowl Conclusions

As previously noted, getting the 4th playoff seed came down to tiebreakers. If I had gotten it, I would have beaten Mac in the first round and faced Mark in the Super Bowl. So hypothetically, what would have happened?

Week 15
Mark 138
Dave 111.5

Figures. So historically:

Construda Super Bowl I, 2007: lost in Super Bowl
Construda Super Bowl II, 2008: missed playoffs by 1 game, would have lost in Super Bowl
BS Super Bowl I, 2009: missed playoffs by tiebreaker, would have lost in Super Bowl

Conversely, for Mark:

Construda Super Bowl I, 2007: won Super Bowl
Construda Super Bowl II, 2008: dominated season, lost in playoffs
BS Super Bowl I, 2009: won Super Bowl

All three years that we've been doing a draft league, Mark has just dominated. And he would have three titles to show for it, if not for one abnormal week in 08.

- - -

But what about the subplot that no one's talking about?

All Niraj had to do was to lose one more game (he could have rested his starters in week 13), or have mark win more one game, even if I had forgotten to set my lineup in week 13 that would have been a mark win...any of those and Niraj is in the super bowl vs Mark. And how would that have turned out?

Week 15
Mark 138
Niraj 144.5

So there you go. This isn't as pipe dreamish as me wishing for another regular season win so that I could get to BS SB I. Burnsy needed another regular season loss. If he had done worse, he would have won it all. Or, if Mark had done better Mark would be a Super Bowl loser. Crazy.

- - -

But because that doesn't help me, I'm taking you deeper.

I may have finished with 111.5 but I left 109 on my bench.

My best lineup would have totaled 175 in week 15. So yes, my best lineup could have beaten Mark's week 15 starters. But what if I give Mark and Burnsy the same luxury?

Week 15 Best Possible Scores
Niraj 185.5
Dave 175
Mark 144

Interesting conclusions: Mark set his week 15 lineup the best. Even though I didn't like benching Rivers, it only cost him 6 and it was the only wrong call. I would have been better off with Flacco, Chambers, Stewart and Bears D. And Burnsy would have improved with Wells, Heap, Sims-Walker and Eagles D. But what's really interesting is that Mark's best possible score was less than Niraj's actual week 15 total.

Friday, December 18, 2009

BS SB I: The Pick

Although ESPN is projecting this to be a 146-145 win for Mark, I don't think it's going to be that close. They've got Maroney getting 22 which I think is a reach. Plus's all of Stevo's players are on the road, while Mark has home matchups.

If I had to guess, I'd say this turns out to be roughly a 135-115 win for Mark. I'm picking Mark straight up but what about with the Las Vegas spread (Mark -17.5)?

All week I was thinking put your money on the favorite, but now...I'll put $20 on Stevo +17.5.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

playoff picks: 3 weeks left


Clearly In

Likely In

Likely Out

Clearly Out


Clearly In
Cardinals (only because of their division)

Likely In

Likely Out

Clearly Out

- - -

* = clinched

Welcome to Dumpsville, Chicago. One more team added to clearly out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Road to BS SB I

The road to the BS Super Bowl is a long and winding one. Although, more long and winding for some. Here's a breakdown of how these teams were built:

Mark's Team

Stevo's Team

As you can see, these teams couldn't have built more differently. For this analysis, I'll focus on the starters and ignore the kickers and DST since they are mostly interchangeable.

For Mark's 7 skill positions, he drafted 5, traded for 1, and he is currently projected to start a flex running back he picked up today. Even if you look at his bench, Mark has *zero* difference-makers acquired via the waiver wire. (Yes he did claim Steve Smith 2.0 and turn him and Addai into Chris Johnson).

On the other hand, for Stevo's 7 skill positions, he only drafted 3, and one of them is Hightower, a late round pick that isn't a bust, but isn't exactly an every-week start. The strength of his team was built after the draft, trading for Ricky Williams and jumping on Sidney Rice and Vernon Davis.

Rice is a Tier 2 receiver, and Davis is the #1 TE in Fantasy. And they were sitting on the waiver wire. It's to Stevo's credit that he saw their potential, and it may have in fact helped that he was new to Fantasy this year. I wasn't about to go near Vernon Davis after being burned by him in previous years. But look at his numbers and when Stevo grabbed him--before week 5. He had two typical Vernon Davis weeks, one fluke week, and one decent week against the terrible Rams. To look at that and think he's a commodity on the rise...well that's why he's in the BS SB I.

Likewise I hadn't hardly noticed Rice. Look at his first four games: two terrible games against the best possible matchups. Then decent games, but you figure he's one of those guys that relies on touchdowns and they just wont come. And then he starts exploding with huge games, without getting the touchdowns. So there you go.

Going back to Marks' team, he first 5 draft picks are in his SB lineup. That's amazing. On the other hand, Stevo's first three picks aren't in his lineup.

- - -

Also, as I previously stated correlation does not equal causation, but it is very interesting to note that the teams with the first four draft slots, are the four playoff teams. In 07 when Mark and I made it the Super Bowl, we had the 8th and 10th slots. I think after looking at this more in-depth, that it's more of a coincidence. Mark was going to be good no matter where he was at. Stevo wasn't helped by the draft at all. So yeah.

BS SB I: Media Day #2

Continuing with Media Day...five good questions with Mark, who apparently lose his shift button.

Interview with Burnsy Sucks Cock

1. What was your draft day strategy?

my strategy, after i woke up at 5 AM to do the draft and learning i had the number one pick, was to take peterson, then grab the best QB and WR available. from there, i wanted to go for value, regardless of position. i also wanted to take the first TE, hoping to have an advantage at that position all season. i wanted to get stable players, only taking one gamble or two. i remember thinking the most about my WR pick at the end of the 2nd round. it came down to three guys. roddy white, reggie wayne, and steve smith (panthers). i was worried about matt ryan having a sophomore slump and negatively effecting white. i was worried about the coaching changes in indy and if i remember correctly, manning was coming off of surgery and was playing without marvin harrison. i thought wayne would be getting more attention from the defenses and would have a down year. turns out, i should have taken wayne and dominated throughout the season. i knew i was taking a gamble on brandon marshall. he had been hurt and demanding trades during the offseason, plus was suspended the first game, but i remembered him playing really well at times last year and thought he might benefit from garbage time. i also thought fred jackson would be a steal for the first few weeks. both of those paid off. however, anthony gonzalez never played.

2. Any mistakes or regrets this season?

my kickers always seemed to lose to my opponents kicker. i never felt like i got it right until i picked up bironas at the end. i still regret passing on wayne. and there are always start/sits that i wish i could go back and change. most of santonio holmes' good games were spent on my bench. i kept trying to get receivers i could just stick in my starting lineup and leave there to pair with brandon marshall, but kevin smith, steve smith (panthers), maclin, and forsett weren't enough to entice somebody to give me a top-5 receiver.

3. Any smack you want to talk about your chances of winning it all?

don't want to jinx it

4. If you don't win the SB, will this season be a failure?

yeah. my team is loaded. best team i've ever had. i should win. i have the best team. but you never know who's going to go nuts week-to-week. lets just say that if i lose, i'll be really disappointed. ever since i got chris johnson, i've felt like i've had the better team and that my opponent has to have his best week to beat me.

5. Anything else you want to get off your chest?

Swag is an idiot for trading a great running back who was getting better for a waiver wire guy who became the #1 WR early in the season. although addai turned out to be better than we all thought.

BS SB I: Media Day #1

Ah, Media Day. Where the hard-hitting press ask the tough questions. First up...Stevo.

Interview with Team Like A Boss

1. What was your draft day strategy?

I spent a lot of time researching the draft, mostly on because I have never done Fantasy before. I watch a lot of football, but I was far from an expert going into the draft. Looking back, I made a lot of poor picks. I guess I put too much stock in espn's draft order suggestions. I had the third pick in the draft, and I took Forte first(who has been a total dud). Espn seemed to push the idea of going RB, RB, WR, WR. So, I followed Forte with Brandon Jacobs (another dud), Roddy White and Wes Welker. Welker has been my most consistent player (since he came back from his injury) and I traded Jacobs and White. Tony Romo has been my best player as far as points but other than that, my draft was pretty poor. When I list my top five players, I only drafted two of them. I traded for Ricky Williams and I picked Sidney Rice and Vernon Davis up off Free Agency. I am in the Super Bowl thanks to my 15 acquisitions and 2 trades, not the draft.

2. Any mistakes or regrets this season?

I regret buying into the idea that the Chicago Bears were going to be good this year. They had a lot of potential, but having 4 Bears on my roster was a mistake (and starting them was a bigger mistake). I waited too long to stop starting Cutler, Forte, Knox and Hester. I should have recognized earlier that those players were not getting me anywhere. After week 7, I was 2-5 and in last place. It was at that point I traded for Ricky Williams, picked up Davis, Rice and Laurence Moroney and turned my team around. I made mistakes along the way, but I think I learned a lot and have won four in a row (and 6 of my last 7) going into the Super Bowl.

3. Any smack you want to talk about your chances of winning it all?

One thing I read, which I think applies to my team is: You dont have to be flashy to win. I dont have any superstar receivers or really explosive backs, but my team is very consistent. I have an excellent TE who leads the league in TDs, Welker is leading the league in receptions and Romo and Williams are both top ten at their position. Obviously Mark's team is amazing. He scored over 200 points last week, and that is intimidating. However, I still think my team can pull off an upset. I want that trophy!! All the haters out there, remember the old phrase, "Any Given Sunday". And Thursday, and Saturday and Monday! It's a crazy week in the NFL!!

4. If you don't win the SB, will this season be a failure?

If I dont win the Super Bowl this year has not been a failure. Not by a long shot. I never expected to be here in my first year, and its been a very exciting season. I really loved it and I cant wait for next year!

5. Anything else you want to get off your chest?

As you all know, I was very disappointed that two people chose to veto my trade with Adam. But I've beat that issue to death, any you are all sick of hearing about it, so I'll just let the numbers do the talking for me. Other than that, its been a lot of fun and I appreciate you all letting me join your league.

Last Time They Met

Last time these teams met was week 5: Forte and Rivers were on a bye, and Stevo had yet to trade Roddy White. Instead his 41 points were on the bench.

Chris Johnson put up 4 points back when the Titans were terrible. The Jets D put up 0. Somehow I don't think those two are going to combine for 4 again. Man that 41 points on the bench would have been nice.

I think Mark looked at his team after winning with a 109.5 and told them, "We can build on this!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

on tags

I wish I had been using tags from the very beginning. Not sure if any of my readers ever click them, but they are a tremendously useful tool.

They complete list is always on the left nav bar, under the archive, sorted by usage. Fantasy 09 is closing in all the all time ranks.

Some other tags to go through: bcs, novel, and Middle East, where I just rewatched mark's sandwich clip and found a comment on youtube:

"This looks GREAT!!! Didn't recognize some of the ingredients though. By far most interesting response I've seen."

Of course there's also the popular photography, photoshop, and Chiefs and Illini posts. Good stuff.

what if?

The subplot that no one's talking about!

Week 7: Mac beats Mark by 5.5 points. If Mark had started Maclin over Fred Jackson, Mark wins that game. Then Mark is the #1 seed with a 9-4 record. Burnsy is still at 8-5 and gets the #2 seed. Mac still owns the tiebreaker over Stevo, so Mac is #3, Stevo is #4.

So then Mac would have lost to Niraj, Stevo loses to Mark...

and we were that close to having a War Across the Shore rematch for the Super Bowl in week 15!

It didn't have to be that loss for Mark...if he had beaten me in week 13, then the same thing. One more win for Mark would have been great news for Niraj.

- - -

But that's out of Niraj's control...what about in week 13? If he rests his starters, Kirat makes the playoffs with a 8-5 record and gets the #3 seed where he loses to Mark. Niraj still owns the tie breaker over Stevo and me, so Niraj gets in, gets the #4 seed and beats Mac by 60.

Basically, one more loss by Niraj would have been great news for Niraj.

So now we've got an added wrinkle to the Hypothetical Bowl. Let's have me and Niraj set our best lineups, and see who could/would have won it all.

grading my grading of the draft

Before the season started, I made some predictions:

Projected Illini Standings:


Actual Illini Standings:
Mark 8-5
Niraj 8-5
Kirat 7-6
Dave 7-6
Savan 5-8

I knew Mark would be good and Savan not so much. And I correctly predicted that Kirat is middle of the pack. I overestimated myself and underestimated Niraj. But could you blame me?

- - -

Projected Naperville Standings:

Actual Naperville Standings:
Doyle 8-5
Boss 7-6
Swag 6-7
Bloopy 5-8
Harlan 4-9

Similar story. I knew Boss would be good, and that Swag was middle of the road. The one I really missed was that I didn't like Team Doyle. I wasn't convinced that Warner would last the whole season, and I didn't realize Reggie Wayne was that elite.

If you go back and look at my comments, some of them are funny, some are right on.

fantasy 09 tiered analysis, part two

Here are the top QB's. Since you only start one, we don't have to down as far.

Tier 1:
Brees, Rodgers, Manning 337-312 points

Tier 2:
Favre, Brady, Schaub, Romo, Rivers 284.5-267

Tier 3:
Big Ben, Eli, Warner 242-233

Tier 4:
McNabb, Cutler, Cambell, Palmer 217.5-203

This sort of fits with what I guessed, after seeing that our two super bowl teams didn't have elite QB's. In fact they had the bottom of Tier 2. More on this after we look at WRs.

Tier 1:
Andre, Wayne, Fitz, Marshall, Welker, Moss, Austin 217.5-196 points (7 guys)

Tier 2:
Smith 2.0, D. Jackson, V. Jackson, White, Rice, Colston, Ward, Ochocinco, Holmes 178.5-161 (9 guys)

Tier 3:
Driver, Mason, Sims-Walker, Jennings, Harvey, Meachem, Boldin, Smith 1.0, C. Johnson 152-130.5 (9 guys)

Tier 4:
The next 30 or 40 guys who total around 100 points.

The slope between tier 3 and 4 is slippery, but I think that there are roughly 25 receivers that matter. It works out that we start around 25, considering the flex.

- - -

Our league starts 10 QBs. 8 are in the top two tiers.
Our league starts 25 (avg with flex) RBs. 4 are in the top two tiers.
Our league starts 25 (avg with flex) WRs. 16 are in the top two tiers.

Sort of wish I had this information 4 months ago! One thing to note is that even with .5 PPR, QBs still dominate the scoring ranks, then come RBs, then WRs. One implication is that you're better off starting a RB over WR at flex.

I went WR with my first pick thinking that with the PPR that WR were about to become irreplaceable. And my pick turned out to be the best receiver, but you could find 6 other guys that could replicate his value.

If we see that Mark dominated the points totals, how did he do it? Tier 2 at QB. A WR at each of the top three tiers. And two of the four RB in the top two tiers.

No one else can say they have the same thing.

So how did the best team draft?


Of course, this is misleading. The best player in fantasy, relative to positions, is Chris Johnson, and Mark didn't draft him.

fantasy 09 analysis, ramblings, and personal revelations

Chris Johnson is coming in between me and Mark. Wait, that didn't come out right. Wait.

One of the downsides of Mark being across the sea, is that for the most part, for half of the year our relationship revolves around fantasy football. And right now I hate Mark. No, that's not quite right. I have intense jealousy, masking as hatred for Mark as a fantasy football owner. It's just that right now I can't think about Mark without thinking about fantasy, and that he traded for Chris Johnson.

This is one of those trades that every owner would love to make. Trade depth for studs; take multiple players that aren't much different than what's on the waiver wire, and get back game changers in exchange.

I tried to do a version of that trade this year. Except instead of trading depth for studs, I tried to do a buy low, sell high. I was trying to unload Braylon (or anyone) to get Matt Forte. I figured he would end up a top 8 rb and maybe I could get him since he was underperforming.

The funny thing is that Forte finished as the 13th best rb, but it didn't feel like it. In fact, let's go to the chart. Here are the top 25 backs, Stewart and Charles are tied at 25.

(click to read chart)

So people talk about top 10 running backs, or top 20, or whatever. But now that the season's over, it's easier to see these guys in groups:

(points through 14 weeks)

Tier 1:
Chris Johnson 311 pts

Tier 2:
MJD, Rice, Peterson 242-239

Tier 3:
Jones, Jackson, R. Williams, Addai, Gore, D. Williams 200-187

So there are the top 10 backs. As you can see, they are not interchangeable.

Tier 4: 9 guys from 174.5-139

Tier 5: 7 guys from 131-121

But basically we can focus on the first three tiers. These are the big RB playmakers, averaging double digits every week. In a 10-team league, you need at least one. But really, it's having one of the guys in Tier 1 or Tier 2 that makes you a playoff team.

This all comes back to Mark. He had the #1 pick and it panned out, so he was handed a Tier 2 guy on a silver platter. But then he traded for Chris Johnson and got him. Without giving up a stud in return. I can't believe it. I wasn't able to trade for Forte (a Tier 4 guy) and rightfully so. And Mark gets the guy with his own tier.

But I can't get mad at Mark, per se. I just can't believe it. By the way, the whole money part of everything seems so ancillary. Who gives a crap about the $10. This is tearing me and Mark apart. (sigh)

I'm going to do a similar tiered look at QB and receiver to see what can be learned.

BS SB I: Tale of the Tape

stevo vs mark



regular season points rank

draft slots

winning streak
4 games______1 game

15 acq, 2 trades_______25 acq, 1 trade

head to head matchups

qb rank

top 2 rb ranks
7th and 13th___1st and 4th

top 2 wr ranks
5th and 12th_____4th and 16th

top 10 overall
romo (8th)___johnson (4th) and rivers (9th)

Hypothetical Bowl

Seeding for the playoffs came down to tiebreakers. I was that close to grabbing the #4 spot and facing Mac in the playoffs.

For the record:

Construda Super Bowl I, 2007: lost in Super Bowl
Construda Super Bowl II, 2008: missed playoffs by 1 game, would have lost in Super Bowl

Here's how my team would have fared:

Week 14 lineup:
brady 11
charles 28.5
jacobs 10.5
boldin 4.582.5
andre 38.5
meachem 7
scaife 6
packers d 12
tynes 8

Carried by Andre Johnson I would have beat Mac 126-82.5. Of course I wouldn't have stood a chance if Mark had been the #1 seed, or even against Niraj.

But now I'm in the Hypothetical Super Bowl against Mark. (sigh)

- - -

Also, for what it's worth, my 3rd place scenario is playing out exactly as I supposed it could. Burnsy scores 145 in the first round, and would have beat two of the other playoff teams. Instead he's eliminated because Mark went crazy. So what is Burnsy's reward? Nothing. He could finish in 4th place, and owe $10 to Mac, the same guy he would have beat by 60.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's on: BS Super Bowl I

this performance deserves its own post

This was ridiculous. And you look at it, he left 9 points on the bench at QB, at 8.5 at TE. I suppose it helps when your #1 pick overall has a good game, but not as good as the RB you traded for, who wasn't as good as a WR that just set the all-time record for receptions in a game.

Talk about peaking at the right time. Mark gets to smack Burnsy in the face 13 times with a burrito and is the odds on favorite to win BS Super Bowl I.

p.s. check back tonight for a special post at the conclusion of MNF

last week for board bets

The Board Completed Bets
Week 5: Mark wants Bloopy +20 (+3)
Week 6: Mark wants Boss +20 (+17.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Niraj -15 (-37.5)
Week 6: Mark wants Himself -25 (-26)
Week 6: Mark wants Savan +7.5 (+7.5) push
Week 7: Mark wants Doyle +12.5 (-5.5)
Week 7: Mark wants Swag -12.5 (-61)
Week 7: Mark wants Savan -20 (-11.5)
Week 7: Mark wants Boss +32.5 (+18.5)
Week 11: Mark wants Forsett over 7.5 (18)
Week 11: Mark wants AD over CJ (CJ)
Week 11: Mark wants Andre J. over 18 (15)
Season: Mark wants Delhomme over Flacco (Flacco)

Weeks 5-15: Mark wants Kevin Smith over Westbrook (Smith)
Week 13: Mark wants Dave +30 (-30.5)
Week 13: Mark wants Boss -22.5 (-36.5)
Week 13: Mark wants Savan -14 (+20)
Week 13: Mark wants Burnsy +7 (-6.5)
(one bet was taken off the board because Matt started a QB that was ruled out)
Kirat will make the fantasy playoffs: Dave: Yes, Mark: No

It's 13-5 with three active bets set to finish in week 15, all of them in Mark's favor.

Active Bets
Dave: Tom Brady 273 vs Mark: Drew Brees 308
Dave: Pierre Thomas 136 vs Mark: Kevin Smith 147
Dave: Steve Slaton 131 vs Mark: Steven Jackson 194

I concede the 2009 Board and owe Mark $10 worth of barbecue, at the place of his choosing.

all over but the eating

The last time I said someone had a stranglehold on something, they didn't get it. But the 2009 Chiefs have a stranglehold on a big fucking burger for me!

With three games to go, the Chiefs are one game ahead in the standings and 60 net points ahead in the tie breaker. Which means the Lions have to outwin (that's not a word, but you know what I mean) the Chiefs by 2 over the last three weeks.

Remaining Schedules:

KC vs Browns
KC @ Bengals
KC vs Broncos

DET vs Cardinals
DET @ 49ers
DET vs Bears

A KC win over Cleveland and a Detroit loss to Arizona would clinch the meat for me. But even if the Chiefs don't win another game...can the Lions win 2 out of 3? They can't beat Arizona unless their QB throws 7 picks and they can't win on the road.

I'm glad we don't have a minimum competenecy clause to claim the burger. The Chiefs are terrible. The lost to the Bills at home. If they can't beat the Browns next week at home, they might as well get demoted to the AAFL.

And yet...they're STILL better than the Lions!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

hypothetical bowl

Because I was eliminated, I never bothered to look at my lineup. But for hypothetical purposes, I want to see how my best lineup would have fared against Mac, if I had secured the #4 seed.

Week 14 lineup:
packers d

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BCS Playoff Mythbusting

Listening to head of the BCS is infuriating. In this 7-minute clip he evades all the questions about how the current system sucks and while he acknowledges that there might be more money in a playoff, he throws out 2 myths about a college football playoff.

Myth #1 Playoffs mean you have to get rid of the bowl system.

I don't understand this one at all. The current bowl system has 34 bowls, but 5 of those games are special BCS bowls. Fine.

Why couldn't the new system keep all the 34 bowls, keep the 4 BCS bowls as the first round of the playoffs, and then create two new semifinals and a new playoff championship.

Myth #2 Playoffs negatively affect the regular season.

This one seems sounder on its face. But I don't buy it.

Let's look at the games in the regular season where having just a 1 vs 2 "championship" helped: Florida vs Alabama. Yes this game had a lot of buildup, as you know that the winner would be playing for a championship. (The game turned out to be a dud, but that's beside the point.)

What about in September when we had #3 USC playing #8 Ohio State. You could argue that this game was helped by the current system because getting a loss could shut you out from a national title...but wouldn't that game be just as important with a playoff? We're only talking about an 8-team playoff. To finish in the top 8 you've got to either finish with one loss or less, or win your conference. A loss by either team would put them on the brink of missing the playoffs. (OSU did lose that game, but won their conference and finished 8th).

But aren't there also cases where a playoff would increase the excitement in the regular season? Think about the Cinci/Pitt game last week. Not many people outside the region cared because we knew the championship was already decided: SEC vs Texas. But if I knew that Cinci was fighting for a playoff spot...and if they didn't win, that their spot would go to a team like Georgia you've got me interested. That's drama.

And what about the TCU, Boise State seasons...each of their games would have increased drama if we knew they, as undefeated teams, were playing for a playoff spot and one loss would lock them out. I think it would only add to the excitement of winning your conference and trying to make sure you get into the top 8.

Think about the NFL. Their regular season captivates the nation week in, week out. The playoff race is probably the best part of the season, and one of the things that fans love, is that for a good chunk of the season, they think their team could go to the playoffs. Which right now is simply not the reality in college football. Even when Illinois won the Big Ten in 2001 with only one loss, we never had a national championship hopes. But every game would have been a hell of a lot more exciting if we thought that we were fighting for one of only 8 playoff spots.

- - -

And to put it another way, right now there is a 2-team playoff in college football. For 120 or whatever teams. Baseball has 8, football as 12, and the NBA has 16. And those leagues all have about 30 teams. College hoops has 64, which corresponds to the number of college teams.

Now I think that NBA has too many, football gets it just right, and there's nothing wrong with being strict in baseball. But baseball the strictest league there is, still puts 26.7% of teams into the playoffs. College football puts in 1.7%. An 8-team playoff would mean 6.7%. Don't tell me that the regular season will be negatively affected by such an increase.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

playoff picks: week 13


Clearly In

Likely In

Likely Out

Clearly Out


Clearly In
Cardinals (only because of their division)

Likely In

Likely Out

Clearly Out

- - -

* = clinched

Bengals go from likely out to clearly in. No changes in the NFC.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

elementary, my dear watson

dash acoustic: hands down

(this video was taken 6 inches in front of me)

aaaaaaaah, tiebreakers

Can't believe I finished 1 game behind first place in the standings!
Can't believe I finished 1 game behind first place and didn't make the playoffs.

Started 0-4. Finished 7-2.

And I still don't think that might team was that good over the last 9 weeks. Which is why I'm not upset about this. But geez, who knew that I would finish with a playoff worthy record? If you look at the team that lost to Stevo in week 9, that team was terrible...and then I won the next 4 division games. Technically I finished 6th in the 10-team league, which isn't that good. But was so close to getting tied with the best record. Strange league. Also, for the second straight year, Mark has dominated the points. Geez. Start testing this guy. Steroids.

- - -

Also, how about those total points in Me vs. Mark, including our bench this week? We blew up! 449.5 between our rosters. For comparison, our rosters put up 350 in week 1, and Kirat/Niraj put up 315 this week.

Monday, December 07, 2009

homemade pizza throwdown

On Saturday, I made two homemade pizzas. It was a Throwdown!

First up, I made my own crust using this recipe. I topped it with Trader Joe's pizza sauce. Then I sliced half of a 8oz. ball of Trader Joe's fresh mozzarella and topped half with pepperoni and all of it with peppers and onions.

It was barely edible. Hmmm, perhaps that's the wrong way to start. It looked like pizza. It sort of tasted like pizza. Basically the crust was really bad. Doughy, and bland, it was not suitable for guests. The sauce, also bland. It added nothing. But the cheese and toppings were fresh and delicious.

So armed with that knowledge, I kept the same toppings, but this time used Trader Joe's pizza dough and my own personal recipe for Italian sauce.

Here's what it looked like covered with the remaining 4oz. of fresh mozz: (you can see my homemade pasta sauce next to it)

Here's what it looked like right before I put it in the oven, topped with a 3-pepper blend, onion, and 1/2 pepperoni.

And here's what it looked like after it was finished baking:

The verdict: the cheese and toppings are right on. I could have tried using shredded mozz, but the fresh stuff really popped with flavor. The sauce...made all the difference. I gotta say , my homemade sauce (that I used last night to top angel hair) works just as well on pizza as it does on pasta. As for the Trader Joe's ready to bake pizza dough? It was pretty good. Not great enough to say I won't try other crust options, but it did make a damn good pizza. Mrs. Hoagie Central approved.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

fuck you, CBS graphics department

Since when does the graphics department get to make jokes? It should be noted though, that all those miscues had occured in the first 35 minutes of the game! And despite all those the Chiefs were only down 8 at halftime. Sheesh.

I started watching the game. KC got an INT in the endzone and on the ensuing drive had a wide open Bobby Wade past the defense. The pass was an inch too long, and he only put out one hand for it. We punted. On the next drive, down 7-0, KC got to first and goal from the 1 and couldn't get it in. Game over. I stopped watching at 14-3. At least the Lions lost. With back to back home games against the Bills and Broncos coming up, I'm feeling good enough about this burger bet.

2010 Edition - Fymbo Formula™: A College Football Playoff That Works

Actual BCS Schedule
Rose: Ohio State (Big Ten) vs Oregon (Pac-10)
Orange: Iowa (At-Large) vs Georgia Tech (ACC)
Sugar: Florida (At-Large) vs Cincinatti (Big East)
Fiesta: TCU (Automatic) vs Boise State (At-Large)
Championship: #1 Alabama (SEC) vs #2 Texas (Big 12)

- - -

Fymbo Formula 1.1a BCS Playoffs

This iteration is based on rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 12.

January 1st, Friday
Sugar: #1 Alabama (SEC) vs #8 Ohio State (Big Ten)
Fiesta: #2 Texas (Big 12) vs #7 Oregon (Pac-10)
Orange: #3 Cincinnati (Big East) vs #6 Boise State (At-Large)
Rose: #4 TCU (non-BCS automatic) vs #5 Florida (At-Large)

This 8-team playoff pits the top 8 teams in the country (as decided by the BCS rankings) against each other. The only conference champion left out is Georgia Tech with two losses--who aren't in the discussion for national title anyways. They would still get the next best bowl, Capital One or Gator or what have you.

January 9th, Saturday
Semifinal #1: Sugar winner vs Rose winner (likely Alabama vs TCU/Florida)
Semifinal #2: Fiesta winner vs Orange winner (likely Texas vs Cincinnati/Boise State)

January 18th, Monday: BCS Championship

The beauty of this system is that all five undefeated teams get their shot to settle it on the field. Boise State already showed they could beat a top BCS team in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Why shouldn't they get their shot to play for the championship? Cincinatti has an even bigger beef. They went undefeated in a major conference just like Alabama and Texas. So why are they left out? And fans of Alabama and Texas can't complain either. If they both win two more games, then they get their beloved #1 vs #2 matchup. The only difference is that they will have proven they belong.

- - -

I've heard the theory that the BCS controversy is good for college football because it gets people talking about college football. That is bullshit. I have no interest in watching those bowl games, I have had little interest in the regular season and when everyone is talking about stupid AND unfair the structure is, it's bad for the sport.

Plus, who's ever in charge is missing the boat: more and better bowl games equals more money, more interest. What's stopping this?

BCS in an Alternate Universe

"This is presentation of CBS Sports...Welcome to College Football's Selection Sunday, I'm Bryant Gumbel. Let's get right to it. Yesterday, Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati and Texas all completed their perfect undefeated seasons. And they are anxiously awaiting to see where they get slotted in the BCS Bowl Playoffs! [cut to local campuses, players arm in arm] Thank goodness the BCS wised up a few years--with FIVE undefeated teams, there's no way to have a legitimate national championship without an 8-team playoff, which is exactly what we have to look forward to. Plus, because we kept the tradition of all the other bowls, and in effect have only added three new games, it's brought in even more money and positive attention! Of course, the BCS doens't care about money, it's just about getting to decide who's the best on the field. These four teams have played their hearts out, but only one of them can emerge from the BCS Bowl Playoffs as National Champions!"

- - -

[Further analysis to come after BCS is announced.]

Friday, December 04, 2009

memory lane

This is the Chiefs video that pumps me up the most.

I was walking back from lunch and thinking about it. And of course when I think about Dante, all that really comes to mind is this game:

NFL Highlights: Chiefs vs Chargers, 11/24/04

Seriously watch those highlights, what a game. That was the first game that Brit and I went to together (also the first one of my modern fandom; previous was early 90's when I lived there). From the reference point of the main camera, Brit and were seated on the far side, upper deck. So when Dante ran back the kickoff to start the 3rd quarter, he was running from my left to right, fumbling right in front of me (!).

That game had LJ's first touchdown. Also in that game, Drew Brees and Gonzo, vintage Tomlinson and Gates, and of course, oooh Fujitas.

The image of that kickoff return fumble is burned into my brain, except it's the reverse angle of the above picture. I know he redeemed himself with a KOTD in the 4th quarter, but still. That would have made it 24-14 with a huge momentum swing...sigh.

recap: 40-day dry aged, 13-dollar burger from David Burke's Primehouse

To date, the notable Chicago burgers I've had include:

Paradise Pup
The $19 Rockit Burger
Goose Island (Burger Bet 07)
Gaslight (Burger Bet 08)
Hop Haus
Five Guys
Grand Lux (with short ribs)
Boston Blackies

- - -

Today I ventured one block to Burke's Primehouse to try their 40-Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burker (sic: a play on the owner's name) for twelve dollars. I ordered it medium and with cheddar ($1 extra) and passed on the fried egg on top ($4 extra). It comes with garlic spinach, crispy shallots, and bacon mayo, on a toasted potato bun with a side of asiago truffle fries. Got all that?

I've been in nice, expensive steakhouses before (Capital Grille, Gibson's) but this one carries an element of chefery, a foodie air about it. Before the food came an odd, crispy roll accompanied by a pat of butter with super-coarse brown salt sitting on top.

The menu didn't say how many ounces the burger was. It's not small by any means, it was a good size, but I think I was expecting a taller, rounder burger. Here's a good picture, not taken by me. Imagine this with cheddar between the burger and spinach:

It was definitely juice and definitely not overcooked. The center was absolutely RED, while the ring around it was a nice meaty pink before getting to a fully cooked age. There was too much spinach for my taste, so I scraped off a bunch and left a little.

About half-way through I remembered that this was a dry-aged burger. So I bit into again and again trying to discern the dry-aged flavor. I couldn't. Perhaps someone with a more refined palate could, but I couldn't. It tasted good, just not any different than my usual high-quality beef.

One thing that was surprising, was that if you're going to dry-age your beef for 40 days, why bother covering up with crispy shallots, bacon mayo and garlic spinach, and especially with the fried egg offer? Perhaps with just a hint of fine mayo, the agey-ness would have been more apparent.

As for the fries, I was really excited to try my second batch of truffle fries after my having Rockit's fries. I couldn't taste the truffle oil. The fries were good and the asiago--most of which was under the fries and required me to scoop it back on--was nice, but I would never have known these were truffle fries except for the label on the menu.

I liked going there, and thought the food I had tasted good, but sort of felt like I was promised more: dry-aged beef and truffle fries.

- - -

So based on the burgers I've had in Chicago, here are my recommendations, not in a ranked order:

Rosebud (when you want a super steakhouse burger)
Rockit (when you want an exotic, wild burger and truffle fries)
Gaslight (when you want a classic merkt's, bacon and barbecue burger)
Paradise Pup (when you want that old school cheddar char-burger)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

fun with maps

This map has 4 places marked: Grand Canyon, Boulder CO, Chicago, and Baton Rouge. Which trip do you think is less miles? Which is faster?

Here are the routes mapped:

It appears those pesky Rocky Mountains make that southwest trip a pain in the ass. So what's the verdict?

Well it is closer (by miles) to go from Boulder, CO to the Grand Canynon, but it will take you less time to drive from Chicago to Baton Rouge.

But what if you went on foot?

Walking to the Grand Canyon shaves off over 1/4 of the miles! And it only takes 9 days of walking. Awesome. Though it might be missing some pedestrian paths.

Walking to Louisiana doesn't cut down on that many miles, and now to the increased distance, walking takes considerably longer. Though honestly, if I had to walk either of these routes, I think I would chose the Midwest over walking through the Rockies.

- - -

The inspiration for this post was me hearing about a co-worker's vacation to the Grand Canyon, and my disappointment of how far it was from Boulder, a possible future home.

at least he didn't move before the snap

contender for tweet of the year

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

biggest comeback in school history

Update: BIG TEN highlights

ESPN highlights

Down 23 in the second half...on the a ranked win the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time...PUT IT ON THE BOARD!

Last year Clemson beat Illinois 76-74 and the ACC won 6-5.
This year Illinois beat Clemson 76-74 and the Big10 won 6-5.

A 28-4 run in the second half.

Davis was 9/11 for 22, Paul had 20, DJ was 3/4 from distance, and Tisdale had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, and the game winner.

tynes in ny

The Giants are auditioning new kickers. To replace Tynes. Who they gave a 5-year contract prior to the '08 season, coming off a Super Bowl winning season. So he must be really shaky, right?

Ignore that ESPN highlights the Chiefs on every page when I'm logged in, the Giants are middle of the pack. Only one team has made more field goals than Tynes. Really, you're going to bring in new kickers now? The team that should be looking for a new kicker is Atlanta.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

my team through 12 weeks

As Mark commented, it appears to be too little too late for my team. But how did I start 0-4, and get to 6-6?

Here are my scores graphed vs my opponents.

At first glance it looks like my team had a fairly up and down season. And it seems that perhaps it just comes down to matchups. Notice how close my last three wins were. In fact, except for week 6, every win I had was close.

Here is the same data graphed with linear trendlines:

What does tell us? Yes, I did improve on the season, but only by 1.15 points a game. My opponents did get progressively worse, by an average of negative 2.29 points a game. But the beginning was so bad that it took 10 weeks to catch up.

But is it really that complicated? Does it really come down to matchups? This is my weekly totals, sorted by score.

As you can see, I cracked the 100-point barrier 7 times. I won 6 of those. I lost all 5 that I didn't. So how did I go from 0-4 to 6-6? I started scoring over 100 a game. Of course, in week 3 when I scored 122.5 and lost, only one team outscored me. It was Kirat. And that's why he's got the inside track to the playoffs instead of me.

Actually, I don't feel bad about my playoff situation. Sure I would have liked to make it, but I don't feel as though my team has played that great, or that I would win any playoff games anyways. (Though I'll be sure to compare my hypothetical matchups, in case I had grabbed the #4 seed). I just didn't have it this year.

the epic battle of big ten vs acc

This "challenge" as they call it has been won exclusively by the ACC, 10 years running.

Will this be the year?

The Big Ten is 1-0 already, let's make it happen.

Monday, November 30, 2009

thankgiving leftover sandwich

Back on June 5th, I dreamed up the ideal Thanksgiving leftover sandwich:

And then I came across this page of layered Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. As I said before I'm usually a simple leftover sandwich guy. But if I were to think about such things, I wouldn't be a fan of cranberries or mashed potatoes on mine. Instead I would go with turkey, dressing (aka stuffing, but we don't stuff ours) and a little bit of brown sugar sweet potatoes. Mmmm.
So on Black Friday, while everyone else is crowding into Best Buy, I was making this:

(click for HD!)

I started with a generous layer of white and dark meat turkey. The middle layer is stuffing, this one of the cornbread variety. The top layer is roasted sweet potatoes, with a noticeable lack of brown sugar sauce. I thought about putting mayo on it, because of the turkey, but ending up going without condiments because I didn't think it would jive with the other layers.

The result? It was a warm, delicious endeavor. It was plenty moist and didn't need condiments. It was in fact better than just a plain turkey sandwich. The only thing that it was missing was the brown sugar sauce. Maybe next year.

rocky's photo session