Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alex Smith to KC

The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game was 1993.
The last time the Chiefs won any game with a QB they've drafted was 1987.

- - -

The Chiefs need a quarterback.
They have the #1 pick and the #34 pick in the 2013 draft, among others.

- - -

Alex Smith is now the 49ers backup quarterback.
In his first six years with San Francisco he put up terrible stats and got benched and took a paycut to stay with the team.
In his seventh season, Smith performed well under Harbaugh. After that season, Smith was a free agent. The 49ers tried to get Peyton Manning. After Manning went to Denver, Smith signed a three-year deal.
In his eighth season, Smith was performing well but still benched. He has two years, 16M remaining on a contract to be a backup. The 49ers want to trade or release him.

- - -

The Chiefs have apparently agreed to a trade with San Francisco.
Chiefs get: Alex Smith with two years and $16 million remaining on his contract
Chiefs give up: 2013 second round pick (No. 34), 2014 conditional third round pick

- - -

Matt Cassel just got run out of town.
Matt Cassel has better stats than Alex Smith.

- - -

This is the first move by new GM Dorsey and Coach Reid.
Trading a 2nd round pick for Matt Cassel was GM Pioli's first move.

- - -

What does this all mean?

At the very least, it's clear that the Chiefs gave up way, way too much for Smith. If this was a 4th round pick, I think most fans would be fine with it. We could still draft a QB with in the 1st or 2nd round and possibly have more than one competent quarterback in the next few years. It's a good problem to have.

If the 49ers couldn't make a trade, they might have released him or asked him to restructure again. They were not excited about paying that much to a backup. The Chiefs might not have gotten him if they said their best offer was a 4th round pick. But would that have been so bad?

By trading those picks away, it seems that the Chiefs think Smith is the guy. And that means they probably won't draft Geno #1.

This deal comes down to how will Alex Smith perform with the Chiefs. If he has Pro Bowl years and leads the Chiefs to a playoff win, the deal is worth it. If he doesn't, it's a bad deal.

Reid and Dorsey might think that Alex Smith is the best option for the 2013 season. That the Chiefs could win more games with him than with Geno Smith or Foles or Barkley or whoever. And they might be right. But our goal cannot be to win 8 games this year. Our goal needs to be to build a consistent playoff-winning team, even if it takes 3, 4, 5 years.

Reid and Dorsey must think that they're getting the Alex Smith from the past two years. But Pioli thought he was getting 2008 Cassel.

If it were me I'd probably draft Geno and try and trade for Foles or Alex Smith with a lower pick.

We haven't had any success with a QB that we've drafted in over 30 years. Todd Blackledge winning two games in 87 doesn't count. Even if it didn't work it, we fans wanted to give it a shot. But for me it's not about that streak.

It's about the playoff wins streak. Win a damn game. Can Alex Smith do that in red and gold? We'll see.

NHL Realignment: Take Two

In October 2011, I solved the Winnipeg problem with a plan to keep the six divisions. The NHL did not choose this plan.

Then in December 2011, the NHL unveiled their "four-conference" plan. I wasn't so much concerned with the team placement as I was with the playoff plan, or lack of one.

For the Avalanche it was keeping their division, but subtract Minnesota and add San Jose, LA, Anaheim and Phoenix. Not a big gain or loss there.

And then this week the NHL announces a new "four-division" plan and playoff plan. The playoffs would start as divisional playoffs, but with wild-cards per conference. That sentence is confusing. Let's try again. Each division gets the top 3 teams. And then there are two wild-card spots for the West. And two for the east. Here's what it looks like:

So the wild cards fix the imbalance problem with some divisions having 7 teams, and some 8, right?


The West has 14 teams, the East 16.

The West will have 8 teams in, 6 out.
The East will have 8 teams in, 8 out.

In other words, in the West once you takeaway the top three spots in the two divisions, you have 8 teams fighting for 2 wild-card spots. But in the East, you have 10 teams fighting for 2 spots.

If the West and East both had 15, it wouldn't matter if each conference had uneven divisions. How does nobody in the NHL league office realize this? I guess they probably did but think that timezones are more important than fairness. They have 16 teams in the Eastern timezone so they put 16 teams in the Eastern conference. It prevents Detroit or Columbus from having to play at inconvenient times, but is that really worth it?

And because of the wild-cards, you're not going to have true divisional playoffs, which I thought was one of the selling points. So the playoff plan is kind of a disaster.

As for the Avalanche, I love, love love the new division. I never gave a shit about Vancouver/Calgary/Edmonton. But gaining rivalries with St. Louis and Chicago I think if fantastic. And I can get more excited about playing Minnesota, Dallas and Nashville than Phoenix and Anaheim.

And this way, Colorado doesn't have to get out their passports as much.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"the deep cuts don't keep the mansion running"

I love this. I may have posted it before, I'm not sure. Dave Grohl, Kyle Glass. Life's a Bitch.

comment sums up how i feel

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best Sitcoms

About a week ago, before I saw this, I was thinking in my head about my favorite comedy shows. It was inspired by the ending of 30 Rock and the possible end of Community.

My thoughts were thus:

Seinfeld and Simpsons were the two shows from my childhood (pre-college) that have shaped and defined my sense of humor.

Arrested Development, 30 Rock and Community are the best comedies post-2000.

1. Seinfeld
2. Simpsons

I give Seinfeld the nod because the Simpsons dropped off. Seinfeld knew to leave at a high point.


1. AD
2. Community?
3 30 Rock?

Not sure about that.

If I had to make a total might be this:

1. AD
2. Seinfeld
3. Community
4. 30 Rock
5. Simpsons

The answer to life, the universe and everything

Also, I read that it's impossible to become pregnant (without using fertility drugs) past the age of 42. Truly making the answer to life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Book: Cover Art Reveal

Pie for Breakfast should be released early March. Within the first month, I will make it free for a day, so that none of my friends will have to pay for it. Good times.

The Best Video Games I've Ever Played On The PS3

It's too hard to rank video games all-time with the changes in systems and nostalgia. My favorite games as of August 2010 is here. 

But my favorite current generation games are in order:

Assassin's Creed 3*
Red Dead Redemption
Portal 2
Grand Theft Auto IV
NHL 11

*because I'm not even halfway through the story, only 20% through the completion checklist. So it might fall. (L.A. Noire had a great beginning but faded for me.) But as of right now, it's the best ps3 game I've played. (On my yet to play list: Uncharted 3, Hitman Absolution, Dishonored.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Avalanche 6, Predators 5: I Was There

I picked going to this game based on the time and cost of the tickets. I got a good deal because it was a weekday afternoon game (President's Day). And I would be taking Joe to his first hockey game.

But Sunday night I was checking out the Predators stats. Best in the league at preventing goals. Worst in the league at scoring goals. Sounded like a super low scoring game. Then I started reading about their starting goalie, Pekka Rinne. He's fantastic. I was a little bummed. I had an awful vision of a 2-0 Predators win.

I read a comment on's preview that someone guessed that Rinne wouldn't play against the Avs, since Nashville would be playing Detroit the next day. I hoped that would be the case.

I show up about 25 minutes early to catch some warmups. The first thing I check is who's in the Nashville net. It's Rinne. And a surprise, Giguere is warming up in the Colorado net. Whatever.

I try and take some pictures of the warm-ups but with my crappy camera it's hard to get a good one. This is the best shot I got:

Here's the Avs taking the ice:

And to my delight...Varlamov is in the Colorado net and Pekka Rinne is on the Nashville bench. Mason is the Predators goalie today.

My hopes for the game were the win and seeing one Avs goal on the net in front of me. I knew that they were only shooting this way for the second period, so that might be tough to get. 

Let's play some hockey.

Four minutes in the Avs get a super lucky goal. The puck bounces in the crease and Mason kicks it in his own net. 

Later Barrie gets his first NHL goal on a slap shot one-timer on the power play. It's 2-0. What team is this?

The Predators score a power play goal of their own. After one, it's 2-1 Avs. 

At intermission we watched about twenty 5-year-olds play against five guys in mascot costumes. And I sort of figured they would let the kids win. Nope. It was 3-0 mascots before they finally let them have a pity goal. Jerky mascots. You gotta feel for the five-year-old goalie. 

Anyways, I went to Jalapeno's Cafe to get my monster nachos. This year they offered pork carnitas on them. 7.75 and delicious. 

We get back to our seats just as they're about to get underway.

Three minutes in, there's a wild play. All of a sudden Duchene has the puck and he's behind everybody. He slows down, he's about 10 feet in front of me at this point, and shoots it top shelf, hitting the water bottle.

The replay clearly shows it was a blown call. But what can you do? You play to the whistle. 

Halfway through the game it's 3-1. And then with 9:44 to go in the 2nd, Nashville makes it 3-2. Here I am thinking about the last Avs where they had a 4-1 lead in Edmonton but lost 4-6. 

A minute later...Stastny drives to the net, puck gets deflected right to Kobasew who slams it home five-hole. It's now 4-2 and I got to see two goals in my living room.

Two minutes later the Avs get caught in a change and Nashville gets a breakaway goal and it's 4-3. The third time that they've cut the deficit to one. 

16 seconds later...Stastny gets a goal on the second rebound. He kept digging and now it's 5-3. The fourth time that the Avs have extended the lead to two.

13 seconds the play of the game. The Avs dump the puck in the zone to Shea Weber. Their captain. Somehow voted third-star of this game. 6'4", 240lbs. He has the puck. And here comes Matt Duchene. Our finesse guy. 5'11", 200 lbs. Comes in and checks him into the boards and off the puck. Quick pass from behind the net to McGinn who one-time it home. 6-3 Avs. The PA was still announcing the previous goal. 

Here's the video:

With a minute left in the 2nd, a slapshot that is going well wide bounces of an Avs skate and into the net. 6-4 after two. Seven goals in the period. Four Avs goals right in front of my face. 
Oh yeah, after goal #6, the Predators pulled Mason and put in Rinne. So now there's 20 minuts of hockey and I'm thinking that the Avs won't get a goal past Pekka. So can they hold on?

3rd period shots on goal: 17-5 Nashville.

With seven minutes to go the refs call a penalty against Colorado, the 5th against the Avs. It was the first one that really got booed.

But they kill it off.

And then there was a shift where McGinn didn't have a stick, but they killed that off.

The Predators pull Rinne with two minutes to go. And with constant pressure they get a goal to cut it to 6-5.

1:18 to go.

Edge of our seats. What a game. There's a puck that comes close with about 7 seconds to go but it goes wide.

And your number one star of the game is...

Matt Duchene.

I mean, if I could draw up the game, that would be just how you'd want it. Lots of scoring. Specifically Avs goals right in front of me. Tight at the buzzer but a regulation win to get the two points, zero for Nashville. The last game I was at ended on a Landeskog sudden death overtime goal. That's going to be tough to beat. But this one was good in a different way. That second period was crazy.

So I come home and check the highlights. And yep you can see me. I'm wearing my gray Avs shirt with a white long-sleeve shirt under it.

In this next one you can see me holding my Monster Nachos!

And if go back up to watch Duchene's play of the game you can see me clapping hard for his check/steal on the replay.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

Odds of Winning a Championship

I am currently a serious fan of four sports teams:

Kansas City Chiefs
Illinois Football
Illinois Basketball
Colorado Avalanche

All four have won championships. The first three before I was born. The fourth before I moved to Colorado and became a fan.

Mark has his stupid Cardinals and Red Wings. Matt has his White Sox.

Will I ever see a championship?

- - -

Which got me I due? What are the odds of winning one? First I'll just pretend that these are any old teams.

I've been a Chiefs fan since I was 8, but I have to subtract about 7 years (between moving away from KC and finding my roots in college). So that gives me 15 years of being a serious Chiefs fan.
32 NFL teams. Mathematically, each team has a chance to win every year. That's a 15/32 possibility of seeing a Chiefs title already.

I've been a serious Illini fan since 2001. 120 college football teams. 12/120 of a cfb title.

345 college basketball teams. 12/345 chance of seeing a cbb title.

And I have 1 full year of Avs fandom under my belt. They didn't win the Cup last year. 1/30 chance there.

Add it all up and we get...

To this point in my life, I've had a 63% of one of my teams winning the title.

How to interpret this? Am I due? (And yes, I obviously know that "being due" doesn't exist. You know what I mean.)

Let's imagine a 20-sided die. And let's say that I am a fan of number 7.

If I roll the die once, I have a 1/20 chance of winning. After ten rolls, I have a 10/20 chance of getting a 7. After 13 rolls, 13/20. After twenty roll, I have a 20/20 chance of getting a 7.

If this was a fair die, you could expect that 7 would come up once in 20 rolls. But that's not how dice rolling works. You could roll it 20 times and get 3 or 4 sevens. You could get zero.

Back to the sports. So it seems that if your "title odds" were from 0 to .25 and you won a title, you would say that it happened far earlier than you expected. From .25 to .50, would be slightly earlier. From .50 to .75, would be slightly later. And from .75 to 1, would be far later. And if your number was over 1, than you would be "due" in my book, even if that doesn't exist.

Of course this only works if sports teams were fair dice. And they're not.

If you lived in Cleveland and were a Browns, Indians and Cavs fan. Let's say you're 48. So we'll say you've been a serious fan for 40 years.

40/32 + 40/30 + 40/30 = 3.92

You've invested your life in these teams and you could mathematically expect to see about 3 or 4 championships over the long haul. The bigger the sample size, the more you would expect it to even out. And you got zero.

Meanwhile your cousin lives in Boston. He has a kid that started rooting for the Patriots and Red Sox in  2000. And just hopped on the Bruins and Celtics bandwagons the year they won.

So that's 13/32 + 13/30 + 1/30 + 1/30 = .906.
That kid could comfortably expect to have seen 1 title in that span. He got 7.

(Also that kid has a better number than me? Rooting for college teams doesn't do shit for your number.)

- - -

So what about my specific teams. The Avalanche aren't in contention right now, but in 3-7 years could be in position to make a run. I'd call this a fair die, with expectations of getting 1 in the next 30 years.

The Chiefs are in disarray, but with a good quarterback might have a shot in about 5 years. Considering their history, I don't think they're quite a fair die. I'd pose their long haul odds more like 1 in 50 years.

Illinois Basketball was the closest I've come to a championship so far. But I'd put their odds below the Chiefs right now. Possibly as low as 1 in 100. And 2005 might have been their shot for this century.

And Illinois Football? They will never win a national championship again. I guess it's like rolling a die with 10,000 sides. But that might even be too generous.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Just Watch

Illinois: National Championships?

I had an Illinois pen that listed various athletic accomplishments, including number of Final Fours and National Championships.

But did Illinois really win a National Championship in football or basketball?

The Fighting Illini wiki page boasts the following claims:

National Champions: 1915 (awarded by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1935)

National Champions: 1914, 1919, 1923, 1927, and 1951

- - -

Fantastic. Six national titles in our history. But really?

- - -


Well, the NIT and NCAA tournaments weren't established until 1938, 1939. So any championships prior to that must be awarded by a committee. And the most official to do that is the Helms Athletic Foundation. And apparently for the 1915 season, Illinois is the only school to claim a championship.

So far, so good.

Let's go deeper.

This is what college basketball looked like in 1915:

155 schools. That were somehow able to win 1206 games while only lose 774 games. Obviously they were a lot of games against non-Division 1 schools.

Illinois went 16-0. Texas was 14-0. Denver was 8-0. Kansas was 16-1.

This is what our conference looked like:

It's hard to know if Helms thoroughly considered the quality of competition in each conference to determine that Illinois was the best team. Or maybe they just went by they had the most wins among undefeated teams. But Kansas and Texas aren't contesting this one. So I guess this goes in the books as a title for Illinois.


In football, Illinois is claiming 5 national titles. The trouble is that all 5 are also claimed by other schools. Let's go year by year and sort it out. Following each school is the organization that named them national champs.

The NCAA recognizes Parke Davis as the only selector to have primarily used research in his selections. Bafflingly, he sometimes picked two champions in the same year.

Army: 9-0. Helms, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis
Texas: 8-0. Billingsley
Illinois: 7-0. Parke Davis

It's pretty clear that Army had the most selections.

Harvard: 9-0-1. Football Research, Helms, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis
Illinois: 6-1. Billingsley, Boand, Football Research, Parke Davis
Notre Dame: 9-0. National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis
Texas A&M: 10-0. National Championship Foundation

Although they had four selectors, they were the only team with a loss. Harvard gets this one. This Parke Davis guy is infuriating...three teams are your champions?

Illinois: 8-0. Boand, Football Research, Helms, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis
California: 9-0-1. Houlgate
Michigan: 8-0. Billingsley, National Championship Foundation
Cornell: 8-0. Sagarin.

Going by the consensus of the selectors, the 1923 championship belongs to Illinois, led by Red Grange. Here is a quite detailed breakdown of this mythical championship, where the author picks Cornell slightly over Illinois. But that's just like his opinion, man.

Illinois: 7-0-1. Billingsley, Dickinson, Helms, National Championship Foundation, Parke Davis
Georgia: 9-1. Boand, Poling
Notre Dame: 7-1-1. Houlgate
Yale: 7-1. Football Research
Texas A&M: 8-0-1. Sagarin.

It would seem that Illinois does indeed have the best claim to this title as well. This guy's analysis basically says that Illinois wasn't even in the top five. However, I think it's only fair to go by consensus.  Interestingly, in 1914 and 1919, this guy says that Illinois deserved at least a co-title.

Georgia Tech: 11-0-1. Berryman, Boand
Illinois: 9-0-1. Boand
Maryland: 10-0. DeVold, Dunkel, Football Research, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin
Michigan State: 9-0. Billingsley, Helms, Poling
Tennessee: 10-1. AP, Litkenhous, UPI, Williamson

Tennessee lost to Maryland in the Sugar Bowl, 13-28. So this is Maryland's, fair and square.

I'm actually surprised that Illinois has legitimate football title claims. If I were in charge of Illinois' record books, I'd list the titles as such:

National Champions: 1915 (awarded by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1935)

National Champions: 1923, 1927

Avs Hit List history

I was curious, if you were able to go to every Avs home game, going back in time, how far back would you have to go to see all 29 other teams lose.

Red Wings

17 in 2011-2012. Let's keep going to get the other 12.

Blue Jackets

We're up to 23 total. Six left.


26 total. Three teams left: Penguins, Bruins, Maple Leafs.




Maple Leafs

So what's the deal with the Avs vs Bruins?

Road Win

Home Loss

Road Win

Home Loss

No Game

Road Win

Home Win

Same story for Avs vs Leafs:

Road Win

Home Loss

Road Win

Home Loss

No Game

Road Win

Home Win

And if they didn't win that one...the previous time that Toronto played in Denver...was December 1997. Um, so I guess the NHL wasn't very concerned with rotating schedules back then. They also had ties, so who knows what the deal was.

- - -

To sum up, two years of season tickets would get you pretty darn close. Then you could just cherry pick the games among the remaining six or so teams that you haven't seen lose yet.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

behind the back assist

Avs lose, but a pretty power play goal.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Fantasy Playoffs Recap #2

I figured the way to win the fantasy playoffs was to get the most multipliers. In essence, have more players playing.

So in the first week, I picked players on bye, to at least guarantee some 2x, hoping it would lead to 3x and 4x.

Here's a comparison between how many "players" Spencer and I had over the playoffs.

Round 1: 4
Round 2: 15
Round 3: 13
Round 4: 10
Total: 42

Round 1: 8
Round 2: 11
Round 3: 9
Round 4: 14
Total: 42

So there you go...very different ways of getting to the same number. And we were only separated by a point.

But what about Mark? He was 25 points back. How many players did he have?

Round 1: 4
Round 2: 15
Round 3: 12
Round 4: 11
Total: 42

That's pretty remarkable. We all had 42 players. Of course that makes sense. 42 is the the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Fantasy Playoffs Recap

Dave's Team

Spencer's Team

I'll ignore that Spencer should have won if he would put in anybody at WR for the Super Bowl.

I won this league in the Divisional Round. My two highest players were Foster and Rodgers, but Spencer had Foster and Wilson. The key differences were White, Jennings, Gostowski and Broncos D (all 2x). I got pretty lucky that Ray Rice and Torrey Smith didn't do much, since Spencer was getting 2x on both of them.