27 December 2011

Tuesday Football: Victory Weighting in Action, Week 17

The AFC West scenario generated by Victory Weighting this season got even more dramatic, thanks to the, um, re-humanization of Tim Tebow last Saturday in Buffalo. The most obvious evidence is reflected in the standings:

San Diego7-8
Kansas City6-9
Victory Weighted
AFC WestStrengthW-L
San Diego307-8
Kansas City246-9

In the official playoff scenario:

  • Oakland can still qualify as an AFC wild card (but Denver cannot).
  • San Diego is eliminated, because the Chargers would lose any tiebreaker with Oakland or Denver.
  • Denver wins the division with a win or tie, or an Oakland loss or tie.

Under Victory Weighting, though, the situation is far different, in large part because everyone in the NFL is engaged in divisional play this week.

  • Oakland could not qualify as a wild card, because it cannot match sixth-seeded Cincinnati's 36 Strength.
  • The San Diego-Oakland game would essentially function as a play-in game, with the winner capturing the AFC West. A tie favors the Raiders unless Denver wins in regulation.
  • Denver would qualify only with a regulation win and a Charger-Raider tie. Any other combination would eliminate the Broncos.

With Oakland removed from it, the Victory Weighted AFC wild-card race would also simplify. Cincinnati qualifies outright with even an overtime loss to Baltimore.

If the Bengals do lose in regulation, then Tennessee and the New York Jets become eligible with regulation wins.

  • Neither the Titans or Jets wins in regulation: Cincinnati advances outright.
  • Only the Titans win in regulation: The Bengals defeated the Titans, 24-17, in Week 9. Cincinnati advances.
  • Only the Jets win in regulation: The Bengals and Jets did not meet, but the Jets would have 28 Strength over AFC games, while the Bengals would have only 24. New York Jets advance.
  • Both the Titans and Jets win in regulation: The Bengals are eliminated with the lowest Strength over AFC games (24). The Titans and Jets, who did not meet this season, would each have 28 Strength (7-5) over AFC games. Then, the Titans win the common-opponent tiebreaker over the Jets. Tennessee advances.

20 December 2011

Tuesday Football: Victory Weighting in action. Plus: All-Gigli!

I know that not many people have been viewing my Victory Weighting posts, but this is the best time of year for one.  This year is pretty quiet, with only four teams directly affected, but my little standings system would wreak the most havoc about right now.

To quickly review:  Victory Weighting assigns up to four points per game to each team, depending on whether

  1. the team won, lost or tied and 
  2. the game required overtime (indeed, it's overtime that the system weights.)

Teams are then ranked by total Strength over the season, with winning percentage providing the first tiebreaker.  A full explanation of the system appears on the Victory Weighting page.

Who's being affected the most?

Denver (Strength 29, 8-6) and San Diego (Strength 30, 7-7)

Officially, the Broncos lead the AFC West with the division's best winning percentage.  Most 8-win teams have Strength 32, but three of the Broncos's wins -- all under the new Tim Tebow regime -- came in overtime. That reduces the Broncos' Strength score to 29.

By contrast, San Diego stands at 7-7, officially second in the AFC West. Two Charger losses, including one to Denver, also came in overtime, so the Chargers's Strength score has increased from 28 to 30. Since Victory Weighting ranks teams by Strength, the Broncos would actually be trailing the Chargers. Maybe Tebow wouldn't be getting so much worship over on ESPN. This may seem wrong, but remember: it's the four overtime games involved here that are being "weighted."  Tebow-Fascist Zombie Brigade™ protests notwithstanding, Victory Weighting is working as I intended it.

Arizona (Strength 25, 7-7)

Like the Broncos, the Cardinals are 3-0 in overtime games. That reduces their Strength from 28 (the standard for 7-win teams) to 25. Unfortunately, it also means that the Cardinals can end the season with (at best) Strength 33, two less than current sixth-seed Detroit. Victory Weighting would thus eliminate the Cardinals, who are still officially in contention for a wild-card bid, from the playoffs.

Atlanta (Strength 37, 9-5)

Officially, the Falcons haven't secured a playoff bid. Victory Weighting wouldn't qualify them right now, but it would make their life much easier. Right now, Chicago, Seattle, the New York Giants and Arizona -- all 7-7 -- all threaten the Falcons' playoff position. Under Victory Weighting, Arizona is eliminated, and neither Seattle nor the Giants (both Strength 28) can overtake the Falcons. That would leave the fading Bears (Strength 29) as the only team that can still eliminate the Falcons. Even another overtime result in New Orleans this weekend would clinch a playoff bid. Merry Christmas, Atlanta.

Introducing the All-Gigli Team!  Believe it or not, there are fantasy-football leagues where the object is to create the worst team possible.  Unfortunately, I didn't play in such a league, so where could I put players who absolutely, positively failed my teams at critical times?  Why, in a team named after one of the worst box-office flops ever.  My tight ends and defenses all did a great job when called to duty, so two extra spots opened for more players who hurt the Fluttering Horde and/or the Ghost-Grey Cats.  The more detailed excuses appear in the newly added All-Gigli page (click on the tab at the top of this page), but here's the quick list.  Decide for yourself which of these suspects requires as much maintenance as Jennifer Lopez.

  • Quarterbacks:  Curtis Painter (Ind)
  • Wide receivers:  Pierre Garçon (Ind), Greg Little (Cle), James Jones (GB)
  • Running backs:  Marion Barber (Chi), Ryan Grant (GB)
  • Tight ends:  None; WR Julio Jones (Atl) awarded empty spot
  • Kicker:  Shaun Suisham (Pit).
  • Defense/special teams:  None; QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ) awarded empty spot

06 December 2011

Tuesday Football: Why I still can't oppose the rotten BCS

On the surface, this year's Bowl Championship Series selection has provided plenty of reasons to scrap the BCS:

The championship game itself: I'm so bitterly disappointed that Alabama and LSU will have a rematch, I plan on finding something else to watch one month hence, like a Squidbillies marathon.  You could point to Oklahoma State's loss at lowly Iowa State -- but then you'd have to forget that the OSU community had suffered a major tragedy that morning.  The Cowboys deserved extra credit for even showing up on the field in Ames, not scorn for losing.  Even with that loss, OSU outpointed Alabama in five of the seven computer polls.  No amount of honest voting should have overridden that.  Score another one for big money.

The Hokey Hokie Sugar Bowl:  What on Earth are Virginia Tech and Michigan doing in a BCS bowl game, much less the same one?  The BCS boys just invited a team that (a) lost the ACC final, 38-10, to overrated Clemson and (b) wasn't even as good as the Hokie squad that lost at (essentially) home to Boise State a year ago.

As for the Wolverines, I suppose that QB Denard Robinson deserved to play in a BCS bowl, and their case for BCS inclusion was stronger than VaTech's.  But Boise State (Kellen Moore) and Baylor (Robert Griffin III) could make the same argument, and either would have been more convincing than the Maize and Blue.

The excuse we're being given is that Virginia Tech and Michigan both bring lots of supporters.  The common buzz-phrase is "to travel well," but that's just yet more code for "these guys are richer" than the likes of BSU and Baylor.  Yep, big money wins again.

But why not playoffs?  So I've joined the thousands, if not millions, who've pointed out that big money has corrupted the BCS.  But as the case of Penn State is showing us, big money has corrputed the whole of college athletics, especially the Football Bowl Subdivision.  Playoffs for the FBS wouldn't solve that problem -- and I'm not convinced that they wouldn't exacerbate it.

A helpful miscue:  It's funny how, in fantasy football, something that looks like a mistake turns out to be a brilliant move.  Several weeks ago, I missed out on the chance to add Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham to the Fluttering Horde.  With trepidation, I claimed Dallas rookie DeMarco Murray instead.

Boy, howdy, did that ever work.  On the same day Graham suffered a season-ending injury, Murray turned in a 253-yard, one-touchdown performance.  He hasn't sat on the Horde bench since.  With no downside remaining, I added Murray to the Ghost-Grey Cats the next week.

That mistake, missing out on Earnest Graham, has boosted both teams.  Now back from an injured foot, Ahmad Bradshaw rejoins the Horde's powerful rushing troika with Murray and Darren Sproles.  The Cats just lost Matt Forte, but because Murray's there to take his place alongside Arian Foster, they're likely to purr their way into the playoffs.