Friday, November 19, 2010

Speedgeek Inspires a Furious Return

Guess who's back. If you guessed SpeedGeek, then you're right! (Go read his post.) But I'm back too.

The only problem is that it's not going to be free this time. I hate to break it to Wedge, but to get these hands to type these words, it's gonna cost a little change. I'm NOT SAYING it's gonna cost $180,000-$200,000... but I am TEXTING it to him right now. Don't tell any Mississippi State boosters though. Those dudes can't keep a secret.

So I recently made some big decisions and am now able to devote more time to making you all scroll through a bunch of bull to get to the good stuff that the other guys post. And let's face it... it's almost the most wonderful time of the year. BLOGATHON. Are you guys ready, or what?

Besides Blogathon, here are some other things I'm anxiously looking forward to:

- Auburn is going to lose a game and LSU will somehow play for, and win, the BCS title. As I celebrate (into the NFL playoffs and watch the Saints repeat), the uproar among NCAA officials will finally spark some change and we'll finally see a playoff.

- The Cubs are going to unload Fukudome, trade for Prince Fielder, and bring back Kerry Wood. (OK, we'll be lucky if they can dump Kosuke, I'd just love to see Wood back at Wrigley, and imagine how pissed the Brewers fans would be if that Fielder trade actually happened.)

- Sean O. is going to stick around and post more comments like "THE SHITTY SHIT THAT YOU POST ON THIS SHITTY BLOG IS A BUNCH OF SHIT." It's going to be so much fun. Huskies Football 4 Life.

- East Dillon is totally going to... Ahhh... Andy would kill me if I did that. BUT HOW AMAZING IS THIS SHOW? I can't believe it's almost over.

- The Hornets are going to win the NBA Finals. I can't believe it.

- NO LIMITS. Where will you be on New Years Eve? Hopefully in front of your TV.

So yeah. I'm glad to be back and, as that list proves, I should have a ton of stuff to post about in the near future.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Introduction (of Sorts) and a Farewell (of Sorts)

Hi, everybody. Speedgeek here. Some of you might be familiar with my work, but a lot of you may not, so I feel compelled to drop a few words up here to let you know who I am and what exactly it is that I think I'm doing here.

As you might figure from my name, I'm a racing fan. I'm also a sports fan in general, and so I very much enjoy reading the non-racing stuff that Wedge, Ron and Deuce write here, but my main forte and what you'll read the most from me is racing stuff. IndyCar and Formula 1 are the two main series that I follow and dedicate my time to, but I also follow the American Le Mans Series pretty thoroughly and I also stay pretty well up to date with GrandAm (hey, the Daytona 24 Hours and Blogathon 2011, are just around the corner, right?), the three top NASCAR series, the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans Intercontinental Cup, and lots of the junior formula and undercard series (including but certainly not limited to Indy Lights, Star Mazda, USF2000, SCCA World Challenge, GP2, Australian V8 Supercars, German DTM, and on and on). I'm also a bit of a gearhead, and enjoy talking about street cars and nuts and bolts stuff, but I'll probably leave that stuff to other sites, if I ever do get around to writing about it. This is a sports site, right?

OK, as far as what I'm doing here, I was invited by the staff of Grab Bag Sports to join up with them a few months ago. In my usual timeline of getting around to things, here I am about five months later getting to my first post. Hooray for me! Anyway, my sincerest thanks to the guys here for taking me on board and thanks to all their regular readers for reading (assuming you're still reading this far down in a post that is probably only interesting to me) whatever it is that I might come up with.

Oh, and as Ron started out when this site relaunched as Grab Bag Sports, I also have a grab bag tale of my own to share. Growing up, my brother and I went to A LOT of baseball card shows. He was, being the older of the two of us, far more invested in baseball cards, both monetarily and intellectually, and so he spent most of his time at shows wheeling and dealing and looking for his next investment that was a sure thing to increase in value by 300-800% (by the way, I wonder if he still has that stack of 100 Dave Martinez rookie cards that he bought for like $0.06 a piece?). I spent most of my time wandering around looking for Ryne Sandberg cards, caches of Donruss, so that I could work on scratching a few more cards off of my sometimes-shortening checklist of cards that I needed from the '85 to '88 sets (damn that Barry Bonds rookie card that I still need to this day to finish off the '87 set), and getting sucked in by various tables of "grab bags". I was a total sucker (as my brother told me vociferously and repeatedly), and so I probably spent $150 of my hard earned allowance over the years on what probably turned out to be about $21 worth of assorted commons and Rated Rookies that never panned out. I guess that all that taught me a valuable lesson: don't play the lottery. Also: never trust greasy looking card dealers because there really is only one Bo Jackson and one Orel Hershiser in that entire table worth of bags.

With all of that out of the way, I also have a farewell to make today. As many of GBS's faithful readers might be aware, the esteemed Roy Hobbson of The Silent Pagoda has hung up his spurs and The Pagoda is being deposited in a mini-storage somewhere west of Plainfield. There have been a couple of hints dropped on Twitter that we may not have seen the last of Roy, but at the very least, he's on a good long break for a while. Um, 6 to 8 years with time off for good behavior, to be exact, I think. Anyway, Roy's a solid fella (that stuff that happened in the Coke Lot after Carb Day this year notwithstanding), and a heck of a writer, so I sincerely hope that he finds his way back to The Internets sometime soon. Thanks for all the entertainment you've provided over the last two years, Roy. We'll keep the closet well stocked with Febreeze (for external and internal use, to be sure) until you get back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Regular Season College Football Fans Could Be Excited For

Oh college football regular season, how you bore… The BCS supporters would have you believe that the BCS is amazingly awesome because “every game counts” or “it makes the regular season matter so much” or “the regular season is the playoffs.”

So for a moment, lets forget about the ridiculousness of calling a system that eliminates undefeated teams a playoff. Forget the money involved, forget discrimination, and bad poll voters and broken computer formulas.

Lets just think about how the BCS actually effects the regular season in a manner of  what truly “matters” to the end goal – a championship. Effectively there are now three weekends remaining in the Division I college football season, and we’re all bored. So bored Pat Forde even spent his space as an ESPN columnist to writing about how boring it is.

TCU and Boise may once again
be playing for nothing
So boring that rather than analyzing potential upcoming matchups, we’re listening to analysts blab about how they think TCU’s close game against a 7-win SDSU doesn’t bode well for them, but pay no attention to Oregon’s close call with a crummy Cal team… because they say so. Regardless of the reasoning behind the Mark Mays of the world, the reason they are giving the opinion, is because that’s all there is to talk about right now, because we’re all bored. Why?

With 3 weeks remaining in the “every game is a playoff” regular season, we’ve already decided the championship game matchup. We’ve even decided on the two alternates for that matchup. The stage was actually set a week ago when Alabama lost to LSU. If there is anything to happen to our championship situation, it must come in the remaining regular season for Auburn or Oregon.

Including conference championship games there are 131 games remaining in Division I… but only 4 of them matter in respect to the championship (Oregon has two and Auburn has two): only 3% of remaining games definitely matter.

If you include the possibilities where Oregon or Auburn lose and then include remaining games for championship alternates TCU/Boise State (possibly LSU) as potentially mattering then it goes up to 8-10 games or 6-8%.

We’re leading in to the BCS post-season and only 3-8% of the remaining season matters? What a shame in a season like 2010 where so many conferences, rankings and bragging rights are still up for grabs.

The Alternative
: In the past we’ve proposed a 16-team playoff with 11 auto-berths for conference champions and 5 at-large spots based on rankings; almost the exact same thing proposed in the popular new Death to the BCS book. Lets think about what could be if we used this proposed and universally liked 16-team playoff system, and how that would affect the remaining scheduled games.

(warning there is some math coming ahead, but its worth it).

SEC: Their championship game will match Auburn and South Carolina (1), but Auburn can’t afford to lose its game to Alabama (2) and also the champ game because that could lose them an at-large position so both games definitely matter.

Stanford could be fighting
for the 5th seed
PAC 10: Oregon has not yet sewn up the title, they and Stanford each have 2 games remaining. Stanford plays one of those games before Oregon can clinch, so both of their next games definitely matter in reference to the playoff post-season. Were Oregon to lose against Arizona all 4 of their remaining games would matter. (2 definite to matter / 4 potential to matter)

ACC: Virginia Tech has the Coastal Division wrapped up but there’s still a 3-way tie in the Atlantic between Maryland, NC State and Florida State so there’s 3 more season games plus a championship game that matter to a playoff; plus Virginia Tech is in position to get an at-large berth without the ACC champ game giving potential meaning to their remaining games (4 definite / 6 potential).

BIG 12: There’s the champ game (1), but before that Nebraska still has win the North with their next game; if they lose to A&M then suddenly their final game and Missouri’s 2 games matter. In the South all Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M’s next game already matter; pending results the final games can matter as well. (4 definite / 9 potential)

BIG EAST: Interestingly Pittsburg has only played 4 conference games thus far, they are in the driver’s seat but have 3 games remaining. Even if Pitt wins their first game, all the 2-loss Big East teams’ next games still matter to keep them alive: that adds Syracuse, UConn, USF, and West Virginia’s next game to the mix (2 more definitely mattering) What if Pitt loses their game to USF? Then it’s a mad house, all the rest of their conference games could matter: (3 definite / 9 potential)

BIG TEN: We have a 3-way tie, but 4 teams are alive (Wisconsin, OSU, MSU and Iowa); all next games definitely matter, but pending results all their final games could matter too (3 definite / 7 potential)

"The Rock" in Hattiesburg could host
playoff implications
C-USA: One championship game, but thanks to Southern Miss’ victory over UCF, still undecided participants. In the East division by virtue of chronology, UCF and ECU’s next games definitely matter, pending the UCF outcome both their final games along with both USM’s games could matter. In the West we need to know what happens in SMU and Tulsa’s next games; and pending their results, final games could matter. (5 definite / 8 potential).

MAC: One championship game and 5 teams vying for a shot to get into it; all of their next games matter; pending results they all likely need to play out their season before someone can clinch.  (4 definite / 8 potential).

MWC: The Mountain West is the only conference that is decided. But even so, Utah’s final game matters in terms of them trying to get back into position for an At-Large bid. (1 definite)

SUN BELT: Like the MAC, another conference with a wide open door and many potential champions, but due to how the scheduling falls, FIA’s next 2 games definitely matter, while the rest of the contenders only matter pending the outcome of those games. (2 definite / 6 potential)

WAC: Common theory dictates that Boise State will be the champ, but math dictates that 4 teams are still eligible, and 3 of the 4 play each other. (4 definite / 8 potential)

How can we live in a world where
Les Miles and his 'damn strong'
football team don't matter?
At Large etc. – In the 16 team playoff, there would be 5 at-large berths up for grabs; and while I’ve addressed some of those implications above, here are some more: All of the Top 25 are within a reasonable mathematical striking distance to an at-large bid depending on outcomes of all the games, meaning they all definitely need to be played and definitely matter. The top 25 is covered in most above, except we need to add definitely mattering for LSU (+2), South Carolina (+2), Arizona, (+1 as 1 was already counted with Oregon) Mississippi State (+2) and Arkansas (already counted with LSU).

Current conclusion: This gives us a current tally of 41 remaining games definitely mattering mathematically to a playoff championship, and a potential for it to reach 66 remaining games having an impact on the postseason.

BUT we’re not done… Very important to the playoff equations are the at-large selections; this means many of the above marked “potential implication” games need to change to “definite implications;” this is because while they may not already be set to affect conference championships they definitely already affect at-large bids. So we change status from potential to definite for: Stanford (swap 1), Wisconsin (swap 1), Nebraska (swap 1), OSU (swap 1), OkSt.(swap 1), MSU (swap 1), Oklahoma (covered by OkSt), Missouri (swap 2), Va Tech (swap 2), Nevada (swap 2), Texas A&M (swap 1), Iowa (swap 1) and Miami (swap 1). Suddenly a whole LOT of games (56) in the final 3 weeks have a definite impact on who our national champion will be.

The Final Conclusion for “making the regular season matter”:
  • A 16-team playoff would mean that 56 of the 131 remaining games would already definitely matter (i.e.have implications on the eventual national champion) – 43%!
  • There is a potential that 66 games could end up mattering depending on early outcomes – 50%!!
  • The current BCS system gives us 4 games (3%) definitely mattering
  • The BCS scenario can potentially have upwards of 8-10 games (6-8%) possibly mattering

BCS = 3-8% of the remaining games in the final 3 weeks of the season mattering   


 16-team playoff = 43-50% matter

Now, can someone explain for me again how the BCS is the best system in making the regular season important???

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Voice for BCS Frustration

Its not that no one has said it before, but I'm just glad yet another person who takes the time to be aware of the real goings on in the BCS is willing to use their good platform to rail on the stupid BCS system.

Alas, I give you ESPN/Washington Post sports analyst, Michael Wilbon:

BCS deja vu: TCU, Boise State are getting snubbed once again

Chicago Cubs