Sunday, October 12, 2014

Expanding Darkness

Like the Northern Sun Conference, it has been brought to my attention that the MIAA conference within Division II has also dropped interconference games during the regular season.  Regrettably, we will have to discontinue ranking these teams as well.  While our critics have suggested that this destroys the credibility of our D2 rankings, it's unclear how anyone could do credible rankings of a D2 conference relative to the rest of the division when that conference only plays games among themselves.  From a fan base that seems to pride itself on its playoffs ("we determine things on the field"), I must confess that I wrestle to reconcile the criticisms when the chasm between "sorting it out on the field" and "I can't even find a team that played a team that played a team that played a team that you insist should be ranked higher (or lower)."  Of course, there is the usual invocation of common sense, kind of like one blogger whose "perfect rankings" would grant points for turnover margin.  I guess he would be disappointed to find out that a positive turnover margin is actually a negative indicator for future performance -- most turnovers are just luck and reversion to the mean for teams that depend on them are a killer.  Just like most things, the less you know, the easier it seems.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oops

OK, I got home and away teams reversed on the D3, D3, and FCS playoffs.  Sorry, I'm used to seeing the home team listed on bottom.  Will fix it tonight.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Northern Darkness

It has recently come to my attention that the Northern Sun conference in Division II no longer plays nonconference games during the regular season.  Like the NESCAC (D3), this will force me to exclude them from rankings during the season.  Hopefully, nonconference games will be restored in the near future.  In the meantime, ranking the Northern Sun relative to the rest of the D2 football world is now reduced to a process of generating random numbers.  Too bad.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teams with the Best Chance to Finish the Regular Season Undefeated and Ranked 1 or 2

This is not strictly a commentary on how good a team may or may not be.  It also has a lot to do with schedules, and whether or not teams ahead of you are likely to fall.  Typically, having one's toughest games at home helps a lot, but this year there seem to be many exceptions.  So, with that, here are the teams with the best chance to finish the regular season undefeated and ranked 1 or 2.

1.  Alabama - The schedule is very favorable... except for Texas A&M on the road.  If the O-line doesn't figure out how to block soon, though, then all bets are off.

2.  Oregon - The biggest test is Stanford on the road in the Battle of the Big Birds.  Of course, Washington and Arizona away won't be easy either.

3.  Oklahoma State - Should be 9-0 when they go to Texas.  After that, the Cowboys finish with Baylor and Oklahoma at home.

4.  Florida State - Must visit Clemson and Florida, both unfriendly to visitors.

5.  Texas A&M - If they take down a Bama team that showed several weaknesses last week, then it should be smooth sailing until they pay LSU a visit.

6.  Louisville - Should be favored by a TD or more until they go to Cincinnati to finish the year.  In the meantime, they'll need some teams ahead of them to go down.

Highly ranked teams very unlikely to finish the regular season undefeated*:

1.  Ohio State - Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, plus most of the rest of the schedule is no cake walk.

2.  Stanford - It will take more than they have to navigate the last eight games without stumbling.

3.  South Carolina - Getting past a Georgia team with nothing to lose will certainly help, but probably not enough.

4.  Clemson - While the ACC may not always boast a lot of top ranked teams, there are few gimmes either.  The talking heads seem to put a lot of stock in beating Georgia by a home field advantage, but the SEC will get another shot when Clemson finishes up at South Carolina.

*About the only thing working in this group's favor is that when South Carolina faces Clemson, one of the two has to win.

What Was I Thinking?

There are times that I sometimes think that college football rankings and predictions must be the stupidest hobby I could have ever chosen.  I hate to disrespect my fellow hobbiests, but, as a group, we may be exceeded in paranoia only by the MUFON crowd.  Unlike the MUFON crowd, however, which is only paranoid about space aliens and the government, rankings and predictions hobbyists are paranoid about each other, which probably makes us the only hobby in the country where the hobbyists are afraid to communicate with each other.

We each act like we possess some secret formula that will cure cancer, change lead to gold, dissolve warts, make brussel sprouts taste good, end war, and silence Kirk Herbstreit, all with zero preservatives or calories.  Come on, people.  When you describe your ranking formula by saying you "look at this" and "look at that," that's a warning sign.  Plus, I hate to break the news, but most predictions are no better than numerical noise, and those that are better still suffer from a signal-to-noise ratio comfortably below -20dB.

I guess the best way to describe this hobby is with one of those hybrid words -- funny-sad.  Do they make an emoticon for that one?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Atomic Football 2013?

I don't know what the future of Atomic Football will be.  Right now, my mom and my wife both have cancer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AF 2012 Is Coming...

...Just a little later than usual this year.  Believe it or not, things more important than football are demanding my time.  My mom is battling a serious form of cancer.  Wife recovering from foot surgery.  Five children can keep you busy, too.  Hoping to get the first week's predictions posted this weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New(?) Football Strategy

Did anyone notice the third to last play in last night's Super Bowl? About 17 seconds left, if I recall, the Patriot's needing 56 yards for a TD, a long incomplete pass, and the Giants are flagged for twelve men on the field. Eight of the 17 seconds run off the clock during the play, five yard penalty.

Looks like a pretty good deal to me. Why not put twenty men on the field? Short of invoking the "palpably unfair act rule" (OK, try 13 men on the field), giving up five yards to run precious seconds off the clock seems to make sense.

Remember, intentional penalties are well within the rules (e.g., delay of game).

Actually, if you want my honest opinion, the NFL (and NCAA, too) may need to consider a quick rule change to close this loophole.

On the other hand, I wouldn't expect this strategy to make a huge impact. Doing it too soon will override turnovers (or turnovers on downs) and keep the drive moving. I don't know -- maybe we just leave things the way they are and just see what happens for while.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Georgia on My Mind

I just don't know what it is that keeps the vitriol flowing out of the great state of Georgia towards Atomic Football (see previous two posts). Honestly, my family loves to camp in the north Georgia mountains. My wife and I love to get away to Savannah. Hiking at Cloudland Canyon. Tubing the Cartecay. Unicoi State Park is one of my favorite places on earth.

Here's the latest I stumbled across (from http://www.gtsportstalk.com, grammar errors are those of the author):

"These Atomic Football prediction are a bunch of crap anyway. This Tech team is different, they have heart, they play with fire and a chip on their shoulders. That is the way they should play. Cant wait for Saturday!!"

At the time (9/20/11), Georgia Tech was 3-0, having won their games by an average margin of 37 points. With a schedule that grew increasingly difficult through the year, Atomic Football was predicting the Jackets would finish 7-5. Apparently, this didn't sit well with some of the faithful.

Tech proceeded to rattle off three more wins (by an average margin of 7 points) before the wheels fell off, going 2-4 in their final six games and finishing the regular season 8-4.

Granted, I underestimated their wins on the season by one, but having been outscored 241-243 in the final nine games of the season, Tech was fortunate to escape with more wins than losses during that period.

Were my predictions "crap?" I dunno. I don't claim to be psychic, but most of the time, I'm pretty close.

Best of luck to the Yellowjackets next year. They are always an exciting team to watch.

Oh, and we just got a new camper. Can't wait to visit the Peach State again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Respect

I'm not sure why I can't seem to get any respect from the great state of Georgia (see my previous post). The feeling is NOT mutual. Nevertheless, here are some excerpts from a thread on panthertalk.com discussing my 2011 predictions for Georgia State (my "for the record" updates are interleaved):

"They have us losing against West Alabama"

"I was noticing the same thing. I find it odd they say we have a better shot at beating USA than West Alabama. I know it's a home game vs a road game but really? Are those two even the same caliber of team?"

    For the record: GSU 27 - USA 20, GSU 23 - West Alabama 30

"Also has us losing to Murray State. Sigh....computers."

    For the record: GSU 24 - Murray State 48

"Predicted score against CAU is 37-12...garbage."

    For the record: GSU 41 - CAU 7 (not sure what's close enough for "not garbage")

To the credit of the Georgia State football team, they played an extremely tough schedule (9 of 11 opponents finished the regular season with winning records).