Wednesday, December 21, 2011

strange avs trends

The Avs started 6-0 in road games. Since then, they are 0-8-1. Their last road win was October 22.

They started 1-5 in home games. Over their last six, they are 6-0. Their last home loss was November 28.

They are 6-0 in shootouts. Only one other team hasn't lost a shootout--the Red Wings are 1-0 in shootouts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

fantasy 2011 lessons

(since I'm writing this monday, season stats do not include week 15)

There are seven top QBs. We have 12 teams. 3 of the 4 playoff teams have one of the top seven.

Here's where they were drafted:

Rodgers - 409 - 4th overall
Brees - 353 - 13th overall
Brady - 340 - 11th overall
Newton - 323 - undrafted*
Stafford - 298 - 92th overall
Eli - 282 - 86th overall
Romo - 277 - 31st overall

*(Mac picked him before week 1 to be Bradford's backup. Newton had completed 42% of his preseason passes with a passer rating of 64.)

Not a big surprise that the two teams that got tremendous value at QB were the two best teams--Mac and Mark. And the team with Rodgers made the playoffs while the team with Brees was tied for second best record in the league, though missed the playoffs due to tiebreakers.

There are nine top RBs.

McCoy - 8th overall
Rice - 5th overall
Jones-Drew - 14th overall
Foster - 6th overall
Forte - 30th overall
Jackson - 67th overall
Peterson - 1st overall
Lynch - 81st overall
Sproles - 160th overall (and then dropped)

If you wonder how Cobb could draft Peyton Manning and make the playoffs, here's your answer. He had 3 of the top 6 running backs. Fred Jackson missed the last three games and he's still a top 6 back. Though unfortunately he lost Forte and Jackson before the playoffs. When Mac picked up Cam Newton, he dropped Sproles--probably should of dropped Thomas Jones instead.

8 top WRs:

Welker - 64th overall
Johnson - 20th overall
Cruz - (undrafted)*
Smith - 85th overall
Wallace - 29th overall
Jennings - 18th overall
Nelson - 119th overall
Fitzgerald - 22nd overall

*(picked up after getting two touchdowns in week 3. scored 2 points through the first two weeks)

This year more than others I can remember, the best players weren't drafted in the first rounds. Everyone had chances to grab these players.

- - -

It's amazing (as always) to look back at the first couple rounds and see the disappointments, some due to injury: Vick, Charles, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson.

Should Orton be back next year?

A lot of Chiefs fans have had it with Cassel. And after seeing one game from Orton in red and gold, they're ready to proclaim him the QB of the future. But how does he stack up to Cassel?

Cassel played 10 games for the Chiefs this year.
Orton has played 1.

Orton's game had a better completion percentage, yards, yards/attempt, and passer rating than ANY of Cassel's 10 games. And compared to last year when Bowe was going off, and Cassel threw 27 TD, 7 INT, Cassel still never had that kind of completion percentage or yards/attempt more than twice in 16 games. In fact, if Orton had yesterday's stats for every game this year this would be his ranks in the NFL this year:

Yards: 5th
Rating: 4th
Yards/Attempt: 1st
Completion %: 1st

So certainly, by any measure, Orton had a terrific game yesterday.

- - -

But it was one game. How many times have you seen no-so-great quarterbacks have great games?

And it was against the Packers. Yes, they were undefeated. But their defense hasn't been that great this year. And they're still going to have home-field throughout. While I'm sure they would have liked to keep winning, this wasn't life or death for them.

- - -

If Orton could play like he did yesterday, everyday, then sure, we should bring him back because he'd be a top-3 NFL QB. But let's not assume, after one freaking game, that he can do that every week.

- - -

P.S. It's funny that it was Orton who I railed against in my first sort of NFL column from 2005. Although if you look at his stats, I don't think you can blame me. Amazing that the Bears went 11-5 with a QB averaging 51%, 116 yards, and a 59.7 rating. (This year, Josh Freeman is throwing 61%, 217 yards, and a 73.5 rating and the Bucs are 4-10.)

And it's just as amazing that the 2006 Bears went the Super Bowl with Grossman putting up these numbers. He had two games where he combined for 0 TD, 7 INT, a 5 passer rating, and 35% completion. And Chicago won both games.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

good day to be a chiefs fan

I don't know if it's possible (and I know this means that I'm sort of but not really rooting for the Raiders) but I would absolutely love for the Orton Chiefs to beat the Tebows on the last game of the year and knock them out of the playoffs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

avs-sharks

So just yesterday I posted how I shouldn't get sucked into hoping the Avs make the playoffs this year. And then last night I turn on the Avs-Sharks game. I had to work around Harrison's nap schedule. So I got to see a little bit of the first and then all of the third.

Down 1 going into the last period, the Avs tie it up with a wraparound during 4 on 4 play with 13 minutes to go. I LOVE wraparounds. They never seem like they should work, but they're a thing of beauty when they do.



And then with 8 minutes to go, the Avs on the power play, move the puck from Elliot to O'Reilly to Hejduk to Duchene to the back of the net.

The Sharks pull their goalie. And then with only 30 seconds to go, the Avs McClement fans on clearing the puck and San Jose ties it up.

So now we're in OT and then a shootout.

Avs score first but only go 1/3. San Jose miss their first two. One save wins it. And the Sharks score.

Then the Avs miss. So the Avs need a save. And they get it.

Then the rookie (#2 overall pick) Landeskog scores for Colorado on his first career shootout attempt. And San Jose...hits the post.

Back and forth, and Colorado pulls out two points for the standings. Sure San Jose got one, but whatever.

Good times.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

i could've been a contender

So one thing that I thought about with the Chiefs over the last couple years, particularly in 2005 when they missed the playoffs at 10-6, and in 2006 and 2010 when they lost in the wild-card round...is that it's not really enough to just make the playoffs--you need a Super Bowl contender.

Take the Raiders this year. They're only one game out of the division. But even if they won the division and hosted a playoff game...they're not winning the Super Bowl this year. So what's the point of getting all excited about making in to the playoffs? But then you have teams like the Packers who win the Super Bowl as the 6th seed and the Cardinals that win the World Series as a wild-card. So you have evidence that all you need to do is make into the playoffs and anything can happen.

So which is it?

- - -

What made me think of this? The Avs are currently 12th in the conference. They've played 30 games. If they had won 3 more, they'd be 8th in the conference and in the playoffs. So I've been eyeing that line and hoping they could win enough to get to that 8th spot. But should I be? Is getting in the playoffs with a mediocre team enough? Or to win a championship, do you have to have one of the best teams?

- - -

Going back for the last ten years, here are the regular season records for the Cup winners:

2011: Bruins (7th best record in NHL)
2010: Blackhawks (3rd)
2009: Penguins (8th)
2008: Red Wings (1st)
2007: Ducks (4th)
2006: Hurricanes (4th)
2004: Lightning (2nd)
2003: Devils (4th)
2002: Red Wings (1st)
2001: Avalanche (1st)

I think this is pretty revealing. For seven seasons, the Cup winner had a top-4 record in the league. Over the last three years, it's expanded, but not by much. The Bruins were a 3-seed and the Penguins were a 4-seed.

So in modern hockey, in a league where SIXTEEN teams get in the playoffs, you still have to be a top team to win it all. I suppose the 7-game series nature helps that quite a bit.

So what about other sports?

NFL 

2010: Packers (8th best) [They were a 6-seed but 10-6, while the 4-seed Seahawks were 7-9.]
2009: Saints (2nd)
2008: Steelers (5th)
2007: Giants (8th)
2006: Colts (4th)
2005: Steelers (9th)
2004: Patriots (2nd)
2003: Patriots (1st)
2002: Bucs (3rd)
2001: Patriots (7th)

Considering only 12 teams make it in, the fact that 4 of the last 10 NFL Champions were 7th best or lower does suggest that the NFL playoffs are more wide open than the NHL playoffs. Though it should be noted when we've had 6-seed winners, they were still in the top 9 in the league.

MLB

2011: Cardinals (8th best)
2010: Giants (5th)
2009: Yankees (1st)
2008: Phillies (5th)
2007: Red Sox (2nd)
2006: Cardinals (13th) [Won a 6-team division with a 83-78 record. Only played 161 games due to a rainout that was never made up because it didn't matter.]
2005: White Sox (2nd)
2004: Red Sox (3rd)
2003: Marlins (7th)
2002: Angels (4th)

There's just as many winners from outside the top-4 teams as from the top-4. Considering only 8 teams get in, I'd say it's reasonable for a fan to just hope their team makes the postseason.


NBA

2011: Mavericks (5th)
2010: Lakers (2nd)
2009: Lakers (2nd)
2008: Celtics (1st)
2007: Spurs (5th)
2006: Heat (4th)
2005: Spurs (3rd)
2004: Pistons (6th)
2003: Spurs (1st)
2002: Lakers (3rd)

Much like the NHL, it's not enough to sneak into the playoffs. You need to be a top-5 team in the league during the regular season. So come the 2012 NBA playoffs, we should look at the top 5 teams and be able to cross off the other contenders.

Of note: The Cavs with and without LeBron. I didn't realize how good their regular season records were since they never won a title.

2009: 1st in the NBA
2010: 1st in the NBA
2011: 29th in the NBA

Also of note: From 1980-2010, there were 31 NBA Champions. They were distributed among 8 franchises: Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, Pistons, Bulls, Rockets, Spurs, Heat. The 2011 Mavericks make it 9 franchises out of 32 titles.

In other words, of all the NBA fans born since 1976, only one-third of them has seen their team win a championship. 

- - -

So to get back to the original question. The Avs currently have the 25th best record in the NHL. Right now the 8th seed in the West is the Sharks with the 14th best record. I guess I should stop hoping they sneak up to the 14th best record, and hope they rebuild enough to be a top-5 team.

Monday, December 12, 2011

if mcdaniels gets hired

...I don't know how to finish that sentence without my head exploding.

the haley era is over

Let's review:

He inherited a 2-14 team with Tyler Thigpen.

In 2009, in Matt Cassel's first year, the Chiefs finished 4-12.

In 2010, they finished 10-6, winning the division.

In 2011, Berry, Charles, Moeaki go down at the beginning of the season. Somehow they regroup and get to 4-4. Then Cassel goes on IR and in comes Palko, who doesn't even deserve to hold a clipboard in the NFL. Haley is fired at 5-8.

- - -

I'm not saying that Haley is a great coach. He may not have been good enough to coach the Chiefs to a Super Bowl. And it's certainly possible that Kansas City could hire someone better.

But I don't see how you can fire someone for that tenure. (Even without the injuries, the Chiefs probably only finish 8-8 this year. But it sure seems like Haley would still be the coach if it wasn't for all those ACL tears.)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

troy and abed in the christmas

avs win three in a row (then get blanked 6-0)

Good weekend for Avs hockey. After posting a 6-1 win, they come back against the Blues, almost win it in overtime (goal was reversed) and then win in the shootout, improving to 4-0 in shootouts this year.



And then two days later they beat the Red Wings. Even though the rivalry is really dead, based on ticket prices and fan reaction, Detroit is still the team that Colorado wants to beat the most.

Colorado came back again and won it with a one-timer in the third:

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

NHL realignment: Playoff Problems

30 teams.

Currently in 6 even divisions. With wild card spots.

Next year in 4 uneven conferences. With possibly no wild-card spots?

The plan is for the top 4 teams in each conference to make the playoffs.
So half the teams will have a 50% chance of making the playoffs.
And the other half will have a 57% chance.


Okay, so I understand that it sucks to have teams like Columbus and Detroit playing a bunch of games on the West coast throughout the regular season. I don't have a beef with the schedule, though it does take rivalries like Avs-Red Wings down to 2 games a year (ie, Detroit plays only once in Denver.) Applies to Blackhawks-Canucks, Bruins-Flyers, etc.

But what is unacceptable is having unequal chances to make the playoffs. How to fix this?

Plans

Plan 0: The old system
Plan A: As proposed, top four from each conference
Plan B: Top three from each conference, with four wild cards - divisional playoffs
Plan C: Put a 7-team conference and an 8-team conference on one side of the bracket, top two from each conference, four wild-cards
Plan D: Contract two teams, get down to 7 teams in each conference and do the top four just fine.

Personally, I like wild-cards as it keeps interest in playoff races. Anyways, let's compare plans 0-C using last years records. I know that Plan D would work, but contracting two teams is it's own ball of wax.

Plan 0





Notes: The Rangers had the 18th best record but made the playoffs over Dallas and Calgary because the West was stronger this year.

Plan A

Conference A
1 Vancouver
4 Phoenix

2 San Jose
3 Anaheim

Conference B
1 Detroit
4 Dallas

2 Nashville
3 Chicago

Conference C
1 Boston
4 Buffalo

2 Tampa
3 Montreal

Conference D
1 Washington
4 NY Rangers

2 Philadelphia
3 Pittsburgh

Notes: Changes from Plan 0--LA with 98 points misses the playoffs, Dallas with 95 points makes them. All divisional playoffs for the first two rounds, every year.

Plan B

Conference A
1 Vancouver
4 Dallas (wild-card: Vancouver was #1 division winner, so they get Dallas the #4 wild-card)

2 San Jose
3 Anaheim

Conference B
1 Detroit
4 Los Angeles (wild-card: Detroit was #3 division winner, so they get LA the #2 wild-card)

2 Nashville
3 Chicago

Conference C
1 Boston
4 Phoenix (wild-card: Boston was #4 division winner, so they get Phoenix the #1 wild-card)

2 Tampa
3 Montreal

Conference D
1 Washington
4 Buffalo (wild-card: Washington was #2 division winner, so they get Buffalo the #3 wild-card)

2 Philadelphia
3 Pittsburgh

Notes: Top 16 teams in NHL made playoffs, even better than Plan 0. While fair, this creates playoffs that aren't close in travel.

Plan C

This is a pain in the ass only because they put the two 7-team conferences on the east coast. If Columbus was in Conference D (green on the map) it would be pretty simple.

I'll do it both ways to see what I mean.

Plan C.1 

Conference A +  D Bracket

1 Vancouver
8 Los Angeles

2 Washington
7 Phoenix

3 Philadelphia
6 Anaheim

4 Pittsburgh
5 San Jose

Conference B + C Bracket

1 Detroit
8 Dallas

2 Boston
7 Buffalo

3 Tampa
6 Montreal

4 Nashville
5 Chicago

As you can see the B/C bracket is easy. The A/D bracket sucks, east-west travel all over.
But if we swap Columbus to conference D...

Plan C.2

Conference A + B Bracket (West)

1 Vancouver
8 Chicago

2 San Jose
7 LA

3 Detroit
6 Phoenix

4 Anaheim
5 Nashville

Conference C + D Bracket

1 Washington
8 NY Rangers

2 Philly
7 Buffalo

3 Pitt
6 Montreal

4 Boston
5 Tampa

Would you look at that, it's virtually identical to Plan 0. We still don't get the top 16 teams in the league, but the travel is fine. It's the easy way to fix the regular season travel without affecting the playoffs. 

Conclusion

Plan 0: Has worked well for the playoffs. But it's going away.

Plan A: Unfair percentage wise. Negatively impacted 1 team in 2011. Could be fixed with a tweak that says a 5th place team in an 8-team C could take the spot of a 4th place team in a 7-team C. In this example, LA would have taken the Rangers spot to play Washington. But then that makes Washington one of the only teams travelling far and they had the 2nd best record.

Plan B: I prefer it to Plan A. I think the wild-card races create more interesting games in the last two months of the regular season, which is always important. And I don't mind forcing teams to travel in the playoffs, if it's been helped in the regular season. At least we get the top 16 teams in the NHL.

Plan C:
C.1 sucks.
C.2 is pretty darn good. Requires flipping a team like Columbus (though they are in the Eastern time zone and are relatively new, so I don't see the big deal) to an Eastern division. Fixes regular season travel and keeps the playoffs as they have been. Edit: It would also work to move Phoenix to Quebec and put them in Conference C.

Plan D:
Would be sweet. But isn't on the table right now.

Post Script

Plan A vs Plan 0 in modern history...

How unfair is Plan A? Since this is the proposed plan, I think it warrants a larger investigation.

Plan A in 2010

Colorado, with the 12th best record gets bumped for St. Louis at 15. Philly and Montreal still get in at 18 and 19.



Plan A in 2009

Carolina and the Rangers get bumped with the 11th and 12th best records for Florida and Buffalo at 14 and 18. Interestingly, Carolina and Rangers were teams 5 and 6 in a 7-team conference. So this isn't a product of 7 teams vs 8, this is just what happens because conferences are never perfectly balanced.


Plan A in 2008

Another strong year for 7-team conference D. Washington at #12 gets bumped for #20 Chicago in an 8-team conference.


Plan A in 2007

Here the Thrashers with the 12th best record get bumped for Toronto at 18. This was the case of a 5th team in an 8-team conf vs a 4th team.



Verdict on Plan A


In the last 5 seasons, 6 teams that made the playoffs would not have under the proposed new rules. All 6 would have been replaced with teams with worse records, as would always be the case.

Conferences with teams negatively affected
D: 3 times
A: 2 times
B: 1 time

Conferences with teams positively affected
C: 3 times
B: 3 times

In case you forgot, A & B have 8 teams. C & D have 7 teams. At least for the last five years, it's more about who's in your conference than how many teams. If you're in conference B or C, you should be pretty happy that 4 of your teams are getting in the playoffs. D or A, not so much.

Every year the 12th best team in the NHL doesn't make the playoffs. But it's plausible for Bettman to argue that the increased rivalries and decreased travel is worth that tradeoff.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Fighting Illini in the Fighting Hunger Bowl

72 of 120 FBS teams were bowl eligible.
35 bowl games means 70 bowl berths.

Western Kentucky and Ball State are not going bowling.

- - -

Illinois started 6-0. They finished 0-6. You know what that means....



Illinois went 2-6 in the Big Ten.

One of those wins was to Northwestern.
The other was to Indiana. They are 1 of 2 Big Ten teams that are not bowl eligible.
Which means we lost to a non-bowl eligible Big Ten team, Minnesota.

- - -

Here's how the Big Ten bowls shake out:


1. Rose - Wisconsin (1) vs Oregon
2. Sugar - Michigan (2) vs Virginia Tech
3. Capital One - Nebraska (4) vs South Carolina
4. Outback - Michigan State (3) vs Georgia
5. Gator - Ohio State (8-tie) vs Florida
6. Insight - Iowa (6) vs Oklahoma
7. Meineke of Texas - Northwestern (8-tie) vs Texas A&M
8. TicketCity - Penn State (5) vs Houston
9. Little Ceasars - Purdue (7) vs Western Michigan
10. Fight Hunger - Illinois (10) vs UCLA

In parens, I've ranked the teams within the conference. By BCS standings where applicable, and then by overall record and conference record.

Since bowls don't have to invite based on finish, we can piece together trends:

Nebraska is more appealing than Michigan State
Ohio State carries a lot of cachet.
2011's Penn State players got punished for something that had nothing to do with them.
Purdon't.
No one wanted Illinois.

- - -

Back on October 3rd, I made my Big Ten Bowl predictions. ESPN had two analysts do the same.



Here's how I saw it:

1. Wisconsin (correct)
2. Michigan (correct)
3. Nebraska (correct)
4. Illinois (6 spots too high)
5. Iowa (1 spot too high-though Insight bowl was correct)
6. Michigan State (2 spots too low)
7. Penn State (1 spot too high-though Ticket City bowl was correct)
8. Ohio State (3 spots too low)

- - -

ESPN's Schlabach:

1. Wisconsin (correct)
2. Michigan (correct)
3. Illinois (7 spots too high)
4. Michigan State (correct)
5. Nebraska (2 spots too low)
6. Iowa (correct)
7. Ohio State (2 spots too low)
8. Penn State (correct)

ESPN's Edwards:

1. Wisconsin (correct)
2. Nebraska (1 spot too high)
3. Michigan (1 spot too low)
4. Illinois (6 spots too high)
5. Michigan State (1 spot too low)
6. Ohio State (1 spot too low)
7. Penn State (1 spot too high)
8. Iowa (2 spots too low)

To sum up, no one saw the Illinois collapse coming.

this game was not worth $94

Quarterback and Running Back have long been the most marquee positions.

The Chiefs and Bears started the season with Matt Cassel, Jay Cutler, Jamaal Charles, and Matt Forte respectively.

Sunday the crowd was witness to Tyler Palko, Caleb Hanie, Jackie Battle and Marion Barber.

- - -

Palko was replaced by Orton to start the second quarter. Orton was injured on the first play and Palko played the rest of the game.

- - -

On 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 4, Barber split out wide left and was not covered at all by the Chiefs. It was an easy throw to him wide open in the end zone. The touchdown didn't count because Barber wasn't on the line of scrimmage. 

- - -

In four games in November, the Chiefs scored one touchdown. Now they've scored two touchdowns in their last five games. The touchdown from Sunday: a 38-yard Hail Mary at the end of the first half. 

- - -

The Chiefs' season was already over. But Sunday's defeat and injury to Forte may have ended the Bears' season.

Community

Following in the history of Anchorman, here's our friends as the cast of Community.

Jeff Winger: Savan
Britta Perry: Brit
Abed Nadir: Niraj
Troy Barnes: Dave
Annie Edison: Missy
Shirley Bennett: Nirali
Ben Chang: Kirat
Star-Burns: Eve
Magnitude: Katie
Pierce Hawthorne: Matt
Dean Pelton: Mark



Nirali: Once you make a boy pee his pants, you think about where your life is headed.

Nirali: Matt has got a girlfriend!
Brit: That’s great. What’s she do?
Matt: She’s an escort.
Nirali: Oh ...
Savan: Some mysteries solve themselves, don’t they?

Niraj: I hate when they finish each other's...
Dave: ... pies.

Mark: Add Eat, Pray, Love soundtrack to workout mix.

Katie: Pop-pop!

Matt: Brit, you're the selfless one in the group, right?
Brit: Wouldn't know, haven't thought about myself in years.

Missy: Accidents don't just happen over and over and over again. This isn't budget daycare.

Niraj: Savan, you’ll have to play the part of my dad.
Savan: I don’t wanna be your father.
Niraj: See? You already know your lines.

Mark: I hope you like getting balled.

yet another BCS mess: part two

All these years I've been pushing for a 8-team playoff. Even though it's the best solution, it's asking a few teams to play too many games.

So what would recent history look like if we had a four-team playoff (aka plus-one)?

2011
#1 LSU 13-0 vs #4 Stanford 11-1
#2 Alabama 11-1 vs #3 Oklahoma State 11-1


Improvement over #1 vs #2?
A big yes. We can't agree on who should play LSU. Let them fight it out.

Any problems?
Not really fair that Stanford gets into the mix. Though impossible, best solution would be a Alabama-OkSt semifinal and give LSU a bye to the title game.


2010
#1 Auburn 13-0 vs #4 Stanford 11-1
#2 Oregon 12-0 vs #3 TCU 12-0

Improvement over #1 vs #2?
Yes. TCU was undefeated and beat #5 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. They deserved a shot at the title.

Any problems?
No.

2009
#1 Alabama 13-0 vs #4 TCU 12-0
#2 Texas 13-0 vs #3 Cincinnati 12-0

Improvement over #1 vs #2?
A substantial yes. Four undefeated teams have a shot at the title instead of just two.

Any problems?
Still excludes an undefeated Boise State. Would need an 8-team playoff to fix that. 

2008
#1 Oklahoma 12-1 vs #4 Alabama 12-1
#2 Florida 12-1 vs #3 Texas 11-1

Improvement over #1 vs #2?
No. Even though Florida beat Bama by 19 in the SEC title game, Alabama has just as good of a chance to win it all.

Any problems?
And this excludes a 12-0 Utah. They would go on to beat Alabama and deserved a title shot. Need an 8-team playoff.

2007
#1 Ohio State 11-1 vs #4 Oklahoma 11-2
#2 LSU 11-2 vs #3 Virginia Tech 11-2

Improvement over #1 vs #2?
Not really. If you just look at the records, I suppose Oklahoma and Virginia Tech have just as much claim to the title game as LSU--though LSU's losses were both in triple overtime and Oklahoma and VaTech both lost their bowl games.

Any problems?
Just that there are ton of teams with 2 losses. An 8-team playoff would eliminate a lot of complaining.

- - -

Time to speed things up.

- - -

2006
Improvement: No.
Problems: Still excludes undefeated Boise.

2005
Improvement: Actually a downgrade. This is the one year we only had two worthy teams.

2004
Improvement: HUGE yes. 13-0 Auburn gets into the mix.
Problems: Still excludes undefeated Boise.

- - -

There you go. The plus-one helps 4 out of the last 8 years.

The 8-team playoff is the perfect system...except for the amount of games. Sigh.

yet another BCS mess: part one

Every year, the number of college football teams that have a right to play for the championship is different. In 2009 it was five. In 2004, it was four or five. This year, it really seems like there's only one. Or three.

- - -

This problem doesn't happen in the NFL. There's 12 teams in the playoffs every year. Most years, there are good teams that get barely shut out, but that's life--if you wanted to make the playoffs you have to be not just good, but in the top 6 out of 15 teams in your conference. Some years, a not-so-good team makes it in. But if the Seahawks had won the Super Bowl, I don't think anyone would have said that the Saints or Packers really deserved to win.

My point is that every year the NFL has a set number of teams in the playoffs, and there's hardly any complaints about who is selected to the postseason.

- - -

Two years ago, I made the point that it's possible for the two best teams in the country to be in the same conference.

- - -

The reason we have computer rankings in the BCS is because after the AP poll in 1997 elevated Nebraska to National Champion, (conveniently in the year that Tom Osborne retired) the computers were seen as more trustworthy than human polls. This year, the computers favor Oklahoma State. The humans favor Alabama.

- - -

Here's the final case for teams to play LSU:

Alabama
Pro: only loss was overtime loss to best team in the country
Con: not conference champion, already lost to LSU at HOME

Oklahoma State
Pro: conference champion, only loss was a fluke double overtime loss after a tragedy
Con: loss to a bad team

Oregon
Moot because they have two losses

Stanford
Moot because they lost to Oregon and not conference champions

Boise State
Moot because they lost their only real challenge, not conference champions

- - -

In the end, we have a two-team playoff. Regardless of whether Alabama or Ok St got picked, there would be a team left out.

- - -

I don't think it's fair to LSU, that they beat Alabama at Alabama, went to the SEC championship and won that, and now are on equal footing with Alabama. If Bama wins the title, they will still have a worse record than LSU (overall with a split head-to-head).

- - -

This is what we get:

#1 LSU vs #2 Alabama



This is what a 8-team playoff would look like:

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, Sunday
Sugar: #1 LSU (SEC) vs #8 Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Orange: #2 Alabama (SEC #2) vs #7 Kansas State (Big-12 #2)
Fiesta: #3 Oklahoma State (Big 12) vs #6 Boise State (non-BCS)
Rose: #4 Stanford (Pac-12) vs #5 Oregon (Pac-12 #2)

This includes EVERY team with a viable claim. It rewards LSU and Alabama with easier first round games.

January 9th and 10th:
Semifinal #1: Sugar winner vs Rose winner (likely LSU vs Standford/Oregon)
Semifinal #2: Fiesta winner vs Orange winner (likely Alabama vs OkSt/BoiseSt)

If we assume that LSU rolls to the title, here's where we have the teams settle it on the field who deserves it.

January 17th, Tuesday: BCS Championship


Here's my only problem with this playoff. LSU has already played 13 games, including a conference championship. This would project them to play 16 games this season. The SEC isn't about to get rid of their conf. championship, so the best we could do would be to get SEC teams to play 11 games in the regular season. Even that is a stretch.


Here's what a plus-one would look like:

LSU vs Stanford
Alabama vs Oklahoma State

That pretty much says it all.

- - -

to be continued in a part two

my sleep last night

came in 6 chunks:

1 hour
2 hours
1.5 hours
1.25 hours
1.25 hours
30 minutes

Yep, Midnight to 7:30am, just how we drew it up. I feel like I could hit something with my car and and keep driving.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

I hope Georgia beats LSU

That way the National Championship would feature TWO teams from the same conference--and neither one would be the conference winner.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

burgundy and blue

I don't know what it is, but I'm enjoying this 11-13-1 Avs season like they're still in first place.

I suppose it's better than the Chiefs miserable season and the Illini 2-6 Big Ten record.

Anyways, here's a sweet highlight from a couple weeks ago.



And here's a beauty of a shorthanded goal from last night's 6-1 win.



Maybe I just like the Avs so much because I know Mark hates them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

death to pennies

Somehow in almost 2000 posts I've never mentioned how stupid it is that we still have pennies. Not only that, in all those posts I've never used the word penny or pennies, until now. Anyways, getting rid of pennies is so common sense...that it's no wonder our government hasn't done it.

Yes, that's a cheap joke. It's also true.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

how the illini court keeps getting uglier: a timeline

2000-2005
Nice logo at center court, nice orange lanes complementing the center logo.




2006-2008
A negligible downgrade. The lanes switch from orange to blue. Not aesthetically negative, but not as warm, not as "paint the hall orange." And now that the orange is along the outside, it's not as strong, not as good of a divider. But still, not that bad.






2008-2010
Umm..gone is all the color from the lanes. Even the BigTen logo. The logo at center isn't that bad, though I preferred the basketball specific logo--this one feels a little more generic and suited for football, but still not that bad. But 80% of the time, the camera is positioned in a half-court set and there is no color, no design, nothing Illini or even BigTen. Just generic two-tone parquet.



2011-present
What the fuck. The fonts around the outside look terrible--cheap and generic. The center logo has lost even more character. The orange top of the key is an attempt, but a poor one. The worst is the two-tone treatment has the area outside the lane looking washed out. When I loaded up some highlights, I seriously thought they must have been in some shitty Chicago arena, not Assembly hall.

Using the state shape at center is a good idea in theory (see second picture) but it shows up quite poorly (see third picture). At first I thought it was a mistake, a washed out section in progress.

At this rate, by 2015 the Illini will be playing on a solid pale court with an orange square in the middle.





Friday, November 25, 2011

my first turkey






So this was my first time cooking a full turkey. I bought a 15.5 pound bird. I put it in the fridge to thaw on Sunday night. The package said 2-3 days, but it was still partly frozen when I got it out Wednesday night.

I made a brine: water, salt, brown sugar, some all-purpose rub, rosemary and sage. I had to keep it in the fridge but that was a challenge. I couldn't get the bird fully submerged even though I had enough liquid--it was the angle and the fridge space. And even double bagged, when I opened the fridge at 8am, a couple cups of brine fell on the floor. I would be better off using a bunch of trash bags and putting it in a cooler.

I cooked it in an oven bag with a couple apples and some onion inside. Canola oil on the outside. I cooked in the bag for 2.5 hours, and then about another hour until the thermometer popped up.

Then I waited an hour and carved it like so.

And then I made a simple glaze with some honey, apple cider and butter. Probably should have used less cider and butter to keep it thicker and stickier.

All in all, a pretty good success.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

linger birthday dinner

Went to Linger for my birthday. It was awesome. Here's the review.

And here's a crappy photo taken by someone else of my favorite dish, "Devils on Horseback."

Friday, November 18, 2011

another day, another avs loss

After being in 1st place for the first two weeks, they're 2-7-1 in their last 10.

Still, a really nice save by a defenseman in a game that was scoreless until the final three minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

nifty duchene goal

I saw the Avs give up 4 in the 3rd. But this was nifty.

Monday, November 14, 2011

my 3 favorite tv shows since college

Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Community.

(Sure I had a Studio 60 phase, but it ran off the rails a little bit. Should have been renewed for more than one season, but that's life.)

None of them are ratings winners. AD barely got 3 seasons. Though you don't hear rumors of cancellation, Fey's show has never performed well. And now Community is getting benched mid-season. I was just thinking about writing a post of how good Community has been.

It started slightly rough but became smart and funny pretty quickly. The Second Season was flawless. Episodes 4, 5 and 6 of the third season have been amazing. 

It's been so good that I guess I shouldn't be surprised it's getting benched. NBC says it won't be off the air for long, but it's never a good sign.

chiefs thoughts

The Chiefs were 4-3 two weeks ago. They will finish 5-11.

This time lost consecutive games AT HOME to a winless team and a team that only completed two passes. One of those was a screen pass. Denver couldn't even complete a shovel pass.

So much for the Arrowhead advantage. This team is terrible. Of course they won just enough games to not get a top draft pick now that rookie salaries make top draft picks super valuable again. [Side note: Cam Newton got 22M guaranteed. Sam Bradford got 50M. Panthers got lucky to be the team with the #1 pick the first year of the new wage scales.]
This says a lot.

The Chiefs wins can be explained pretty easily:

Rivers fumbled the game away.
Palmer hadn't learned any plays yet.
Manning is out = Colts are winless.
McNabb on Vikings was 1-5.

This still holds up pretty well.

tebow thoughts

So with Tebow taking the snap the Broncos are great at running the ball. They don't want to throw it that much. But they can occasionally throw the ball deep, almost as a surprise, to some success.

I realized that is not the description of a starting NFL quarterback.

That is the description of a wildcat QB.

Why not have Orton (or any moderate pocket-passer) be your starter and have Tebow come in at the goal line, or on a random 3rd and 3, or on a drive when you need a boost?

Friday, November 11, 2011

OT win

So I know there's exactly 0 people that read this that care about the Avalanche. And I don't care.

I checked ESPN in the second period and the Avs were down 3-0 at home. Figures. At that point they had only 1 win in 6 home games. (I was there for the 11/6 loss to Calgary. Colorado scored in the first 40 seconds and lost 2-1.)

So this morning when I checked on the final score I was pretty shocked to see a 4-3 overtime win.

Here's your game winner in OT:

a thanksgiving birthday

My birthday is November 22. Which means that it occasionally lands on Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving is a variable holiday, it's more interesting then having a birthday of December 24. In that case you know every year that Christmas Eve is your birthday. And it sucks.

Also, because of leap years and crap, it's not as simple of a pattern as it might seem initially.

Here's my future, relative to turkey day.

2011: tuesday before
2012: on thanksgiving
2013: friday before
2014: saturday before
2015: sunday before
2016: tuesday before
2017: wednesday before
2018: on thanksgiving
2019: friday before
2020: sunday before
2021: monday before
2022: tuesday before
2023: wednesday before
2024: friday before
2025: saturday before
2026: sunday before
2027: monday before
2028: wednesday before
2029: on thanksgiving

- - -

But Hoagie Central takes you deeper. The pattern would be easy to predict, except that every four years my birthday skips a day of the week.

2011-2012: wednesday
2015-2016: monday
2019-2020: saturday
2023-2024: thursday
2027-2028: tuesday

And the skipped day is always two days minus (or five days ahead if you think that way) then the previous skipped day. So my birthday is on Thanksgiving every 6 years, except once every 28 years or so, it skips.

By the way, the last time my birthday was on Thanksgiving was 2007. I remember thinking that it sucked. That it didn't really feel like a birthday. But who knows. Maybe 2012 will be totally different.

I never really realized, but my birthday can't fall after Thanksgiving. But it falls anywhere from 6 days before to the day of.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the local team is on tv

I've been an out-of-town fan for so long that I'd forgotten that basically every local game is televised. Considering how many times I've listened to the Chiefs via online radio, or found a p2p video stream, or just followed a ESPN Gamecast because they suck and lose 3-31 to the winless freaking Dolphins...it amazed me to realize that Denverites with cable get to watch every Avalanche game.

Of course...I don't have cable. So I don't get the Altitude Network. But still it's sort of exciting. Oh and it would be nice if they would stop losing too.

Right now:

Chiefs 4-4
Illini football 6-3
Avs 7-7-1

Even though I feel like I've been Zooked, Illini football is the best thing I've got going. Although really they're 2-3 in conference, 8th best Big Ten record. So yeah. Hey look, Illini basketball hasn't lost yet! (season starts tomorrow) And they get to play Nebraska twice.

not quite a foodie

The term foodie has been around for a while. When asked for our work website, are you a foodie?, I instantly said yes.

But foodie implies certain things. That you can appreciate a menu like this. Which I can. It also implies that you wouldn't be caught dead eating something like this. Which I would.

But I realized something this morning as I was talking to myself. I was thinking that while I enjoy the occasional pale ale, whiskey sour or Burnsy Brew, I'm not really a drinker. I'm more of a fooder.

And there you have it.

I'm a fooder.

There are drinkers. They like to drink lots of things. They are not beer snobs or cocktail connoisseurs. They are drinkers. And then there's me. I'm a fooder.

yelp short list





I love yelp and bookmark places to try all the time. So I end up with a list of 120 places that is unwieldy when it comes time to actually go out. So here's a short list. Not to be confused with the already made Denver burger list (haven't had any on the list since then).


India's Pearl - 1475 S Pearl St - 5280's choice for Best Indian CLOSED

Ming's Dynasty - 4251 E Mississippi Ave - lunch buffet or Hong Kong duck

Pulcinella Pizzeria & Wine Bar - 1400 E Hampden Ave

D'Corazon - 1530 Blake St - downtown mexican

Rioja - 1431 Larimer St - possibly the best restaurant in Denver

Steuben's - 523 E 17th Ave - fancy comfort food

Linger - 2030 W 30th Ave - a place I keep hearing about, concept is global street food 11/22/11

Tag - 1441 Larimer St - modern american, kobe beef sliders

Vesta Dipping Grill - 1822 Blake St - romantic special occasion place

Virginia Village Liquors - 1455 S Holly St - make your own six pack









Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Real Mascots: AFC West

Part 8 of 8. A note on the Chiefs. I knew the story but I researched to make sure. The official statement is that there was a fan contest to name the team. 42 people submitted Chiefs. Lamar Hunt was considering Chiefs and Mules. Lamar was good friends with the Mayor of KC, who had the nickname The Chief.

There's no way to know what those 42 people were imagining when they submitted Chiefs. Lamar allegedly was thinking of his good friend the mayor. But that could be a modern PC revisionist history to make it seem like it's not offensive.

Of course, the logo and name of the stadium came later once Chiefs was already established, so it's not evidence that the team was named after Native Americans. This one could have gone either way, so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Lamar Hunt's official statement.




Friday, November 04, 2011

bloomin' bread

YES PLEASE




Bloomin' Pizza Bread Recipe 




Bloomin' Cinnamon Bread Recipe

Real Mascots: NFC West

Time for the thrilling conclusions to this series. Sorry for the delay. I got my new job the week after part 6 went up. And I've been a little busy.




Thursday, November 03, 2011

sports colors by city: volume one

This is a project that I've thought about for a while. Perhaps it was inspired by the Seinfeld quote that we're just rooting for laundry. Anyways, each square represents a sports team. I used my best judgement of how to split up the percentages. This could be its own website so you could sort colors by cities, divisions, etc. And then pick your favorite teams and get your own color block.

It would take me forever to make all 120ish pro teams. And I didn't want this to sit forever. So here's a sampling. I might do more one day. (New York, Boston, LA, and Miami would be next up.)


Chicago







Denver







Detroit







Kansas City

if the season ended today


Three teams from the NFC North would be in.

The Bills and 49ers would have byes.

And the Chiefs and Lions would both make the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

hc takes you deeper

When you look at this:

5. Dave 860 (3-5)
6. Steven 833.5 (5-3)
7. Kirat 822.5 (5-3)

it could mean:

A. I got robbed on the scheduling and should be at least 5-3
B. My performances have been inconsistent and I would be 3-5 no matter what

But as you know...Hoagie Central takes you deeper.

- - -

If I would have played Steven's schedule, I would be 4-4
If I would have played Kirat's schedule, I would be 5-3

Let's go deeper.

If I would have played Mark's schedule, I would be 6-2
If I would have played Ted's schedule, I would be 6-2 on a four game winning streak.

That's the craziest part. I'm on a four game losing streak. But if Burnsy's random number generator comes up differently, my record goes from .375 to .750.

fantasy check-in

Because of nothing in particular, totally random, I wanted to check and see how our teams points totals relates to wins. 

1. Mac 987 (6-2)
2. Mark 971.5 (6-2)
3. Spencer 901.5 (6-2)
4. Adam 882 (6-2)
5. Dave 860 (3-5)
6. Steven 833.5 (5-3)
7. Kirat 822.5 (5-3)
8. Niraj 799 (2-6)
9. Savan 794.5 (4-4)
10. Drake 748 (2-6)
11. Ted 702 (2-6)
12. Harlan 676.5 (1-7)

- - - 

Wow. I figured I was just imagining things, the tendency to always blame the schedule, etc. 

But based on point totals, it seems that I should be at least 5-3. Niraj should be at least 4-4 and Savan should probably be 3-5. 

Sure enough, Niraj and I have both faced 912 points against. That's an average of playing a top-3 team every week. 

Stevo and Kirat? 770 or less. A bottom 4-team every week. 

half a point


normally after a loss i am livid. last night, this morning, just whatever. what can you even say?

4th highest total this week
5th most points total on the season
lost four in a row
only 1 game out of the playoffs with 6 to go

Monday, October 31, 2011

predicting the national championship

Assumption #1: The winner of LSU/Alabama will win the SEC Championship game.

That SEC Champion will play in New Orleans. Who will join them?

First candidate: Oklahoma State, if they win out. They've got home vs K-State, on the road at Texas Tech, Iowa State, and then home vs Oklahoma. I see them losing one.

Second candidate: Stanford, if they win out. They've got a road game against Oregon State, and then three home games against #8 Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame. Those games are tough. Conventional wisdom says they lose one of those. But if I had to guess, I think they win out.

Third candidate: Boise State. I have no doubt they go 12-0. But they need OSU and Standford to lose. And...

Fourth candidate: Oklahoma if they win out. The way the timing shakes out, if OU beats an undefeated OSU it will be the last game of their season and could be enough to vault them above the Broncos.

- - -

Really though, I'd love it the championship was an undefeated Boise State vs an undefeated SEC team.

3 central division matchups come down to mnf

Savan's got a half point lead with Gates against Stevo with Vincent Jackson.

Burnsy trailing 4.5 with the Chargers D against Cobb with Bowe.

And I need Jackie freaking Battle to get 14 tonight.


4 of my 7 fantasy weeks involved late prime time comebacks. Now it will be 5 of 8. So far I'm 2-2 in those situations. Can my team's running back get 80 yards and a touchdown? Probably not. But we'll see.

avs highlights

Here's an amazing shorthanded wraparound from Kobasew:



Here's the top shelf game winner from Duchene:

Friday, October 28, 2011

colorado inspiration

here are some photos i've gathered from the intertubes

one of the best baseball games I've ever seen

I'm not even sure what else is on the list? I suppose this one, and the 2004 ALCS games 4, 5, 6.

But last night might be the best.

(highlights) (win% graph) (Will Leitch article)

Let's breakdown the Cardinals play-by-play from the 9th on.

Bottom 9th: Rangers 7, Cardinals 5

Theriot strikes out.
Pujols doubles.
Berkman walks.
Craig strikes out.
Two out, two on, down two, 1-2 count: Freese triples, scores two.
Molina lines out.

Bottom 10th: Rangers 9, Cardinals 7

Descalso singles.
Jay singles.
Lohse sacrifices, moves the runners.
Theriot ground out, scores one.
Pujols intentionally walked.
Two out, two on, down one, 1-2 count: Berkman doesn't swing, takes a ball VERY close to the plate. 2-2 count: single, scores one.
Craig grounds out.

Bottom 11th: Rangers 9, Cardinals 9

Freese homers.

- - -

14 at bats
4 unproductive outs
2 outs that moved runners
2 walks
3 singles
1 double
1 triple
1 home run

- - -

The Rangers threw pitches 3 times, 1 strike away from winning the f'ing World Series.

1st chance: Freese triple, tied the game
2nd chance: Berkman takes a ball
3rd chance: Berkman single, tied the game

Amazing.

gamblin' man

Last night for our work Halloween party, they took us to the Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, CO and gave us $50 to play.

I started by putting $10 into a video poker machine, because that's what my mom always plays.

I played for ten minutes and the $10 was gone.

So then I put $50 down at the Roulette table. I had never played the inside numbers before, sticking to red and black. But it looked fun.

They gave me 50 single dollar chips. It was a $5 minimum table. So every round I put 5 chips out. For example: 29, 22, 11/8, 1, 31/32/34/35.

I hit a few quadrants, that paid 8 bucks. But the real story is that I hit 3 single numbers: 29, 22 and 1. Which pay out 35 bucks each.

I walked away from the Roulette table with $120 dollars. Up $70.

Subtracting the $10 that I lost at the machine, I profited $60 at the casino.

Plus, they gave me $50 to play, so I walked out with $110 more than I walked in with.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our first Colorado snow

Call me crazy or biased, but I swear the snow is prettier in Colorado. The first four are from yesterday the day it snowed. The next three are from today with blue skies. Here are my best snow pics from Chicago for reference.