Sunday, October 31, 2010

EPL: My local team is better then your local team

Playing around with my new found soccer leagues in England. I spent some time looking at domestic leagues in terms of winners and losers and am now turning some attention over to the non-domestic.

The EPL is 9 and 10 games in (Sunday morning, games today). 20 teams, 192 games played.

Home team is winning 44% of the time. Losing 23% if the time and drawing 33%.

What that works out to be is the following: If your team is playing at home then it has a 77% chance of getting out of there with at least a point. I looked at it with out the top three teams as well: 74% chance of coming out of your own back yard with at least a point.

What changes when I pull out the top three is just an increased chance to lose on the road. Just slight, however. 44% chance with top 3, 49% without.

Outside of plain old normal distribution of data, I have a few conclusions:

1. Advantage: Home Team
In a big way. It's something you don't see to this degree in domestic leagues. However, American sports don't end in ties (at least they don't easily). It sort of funny because the two times I can remember a tie there was a massive outcry by fans and players didn't even know it was possible. Once in the MLB all star game and once in the NFL where McNabb didn't even know a tie was possible.

2. 1/3 of games played end in a draw.
It's the way of footie I guess. I'm trying to get use to it. It's definitely an added dimension. No way am I saying get rid of it, just saying.

3. Lowest division, nPower league 2 has the same results. 73% of teams come out with a win or draw. 45% chance of an outright loss on the road. Note: League 2 has a larger sample set of games. 24 teams, 14 games in, 294 games played.

4. Tie games are typically an English thing.
I looked at the Bundesliga. Home team wins 44%, similar to EPL. However, games only end in draws 18% of the time. Also looked at Serie A in Italy, where I thought every game ended in a tie. Nope, still less then England at 30%. Though, similar results with home team coming out with a point (76%).

4a. MLS
Finally, the MLS. Similar to the Bundesliga. 24% chance of draw. 48% chance of home team win.

5. Goals
MLS, EPL, nPower and Serie A have similar GD averages hovering around +0.2 in favor of the home team. Bundesliga is ever so slim at +0.09; home team. Go figure. The league with the least amount of ties has the closest games.

6. Digging deeper
How about the 1975 English Top Division season? Similar home results. 77% chance the home team will pull out a point at home. Draws down to 28%. GD slightly higher at +0.26 for the home team.

7. Who is the worst team in the EPL this year?
Wigan. They have had 6 home games. One more then most everyone else and are sitting at 16th.

8. Who will probably climb the ladder a bit?
Blackpool. Only 3 home games when most everyone has 5. They are sitting at 15th place with two winnable home games in a row coming up.

I could go on and on man. Anyway, Liverpool won in 1975, just beating out the Queens Park Rangers by a point.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A lil' Football History

I'm learninged myself on soccer's best players. Well, at least English/UK ones I find interesting. Combine that with FIFA 11's good creation editor and I'm having some fun.

The Helltown Brewmasters have been up and running for a month now and I'm still having a great time with them. Today the other Helltown team was created in the way of the Growlers. Skill wise they are a better team because, well, they have some of the most interesting players I have read about. And watched online.

Here are some of the players I've choosen:

Bobby Moore
George Moorhouse
Graeme Souness
Bobby Charlton
Jimmy Johnstone
Alan Shearer
George Best
Dixie Dean
Jimmy Greaves

Outside the UK I have:

Gerd Muller
Carlos Valderrama

Of course I have a few reserves from my treasure chest:

Gordon McGirt
Mathew Drain (aka, J. Smith for reasons only known to EA)
Audrea Poff
Chad Cole
Larkin Tysor
Matthew Madaries
Billy Schwarting

Out of all of them I think Valderrama and Best are the most intriguing. If you get a chance read and watch as much as you can on George Best.

It's only the beginning for the Growlers. As I learn more about the intricacies of soccer players my get more interesting.

Of course the Brewmasters and Growlers are available for download. Feel free to bring them into your home.

The Growlers play at "Lisa's Grounds". Do it.

of course I got my own soccer heroes here:

and here:

Weekend Funnies

I like I like the Truth and Rumors section of the site. The crowd that posts stuff up there in the comments sections can be smart, witty and insightful. That is, until to pull up the NBA section of the feature. Here is one I thought funny.
Simple enough story, though it is a little strange for a player to have vertigo. In any case, it's really not too much of a story and the comments show that. Just one guy knows how to end it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GM: To a lot less fanfare

No commercials this go round, which makes it more serious and believable. If my hunch is right, they want the government out something fierce. Pay it off gentlemen and get two work.

From Edward Niedermeyer at The Truth About Cars:

News that the government will sell only $6b-$8b worth of its GM equity has been joined by an even more surprising GM IPO announcement: GM will buy the Treasury’s entire $2.1b holding of preferred stock in the initial offering. GM has not announced how much it will pay for the stake, and the Detroit News reports that it’s not yet clear if GM will also buy some $400m in preferred stock held by the Canadian and Ontario governments. We’re also getting word via Twitter that GM will put $4b in cash and $2b worth of its stock into its overdrawn UAW pension fund, as well as making a $2.8b payment to the UAW VEBA account. With a $5b line of credit secured, GM says these and other steps will reduce its debt by $11b over an unspecified timeline.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FIFA 11 Bad Guys

I looked at this with FIFA 10 and am asking myself the same question with 11. Who am I facing online most of the time? Well... 52% of the time you will be facing the following teams:

12% : Manchester City
12% : Real Madrid
10% : FC Barcelona
10% : Chelsea
10% : Milan

I have enough data points (42) to show that most choose the best teams in the world. It's understandable with the way online ranking is set up. I just wish I could see more of SL Benfica, where I had that one magical 6-0 win. Outside of that I've not scored more then 3 goals in a game. Nor have I ever had more then 3 scored on me. That's saying something I guess.

I'm off to play. And if you can figure anything on the lyrics on this song... your a better man then I. I love it.

Friendly Neighborhood Reminder

Fable III comes out today.

Chevy Runs Deep

GM's new tagline. It's interesting that they are using "Chevy" because of the memo that created a manic 24 hours at GM instructing employees not to use the term.

So... from "See the world in your Chevrolet" to "Like a rock" we now have "Chevy Runs Deep".

My thoughts are the same as Rob Finfrock over at The Truth About Cars: “deep” does Chevy want its customers to go back into their memories for a happy story?

“Remember when your Dad told you fond stories of his father’s 1957 Bel Air… while you both waited in the Service Department lounge for your S-Blazer’s third transmission to be installed?

“Remember that first date with that special someone, in your 1975 Vega? Remember how she helped you push it into your driveway? Remember how the rusted rear bumper fell off and broke her foot?

“Remember the 1990 Lumina? Wait… please don’t.

“Remember the Malibu you rented last year in Atlanta? I mean, it was pretty decent, right?

“Chevy runs deep!”

I can relate especially to the Malibu I rented in Boston. I found myself not saying to myself that the car was good. Just asking myself questions... Is this interior good?... Do I like how I sit high up?... Does this car have any power?

Monday, October 25, 2010

A League Sliding

In terms of revenue, the NFL is the most successful league on the planet. Throughout the mid-nineties till now it has over taken just about everything out there. I am here just to say that it has reached it's peak dominance. It will always be popular, don't get me wrong. It just will not be where it is now ever again.

Back in the 1980s the NFL grew really fast. So fast that in 1987 there was a player strike. You see this sort of thing in other businesses as well. When a company is doing "too well" labor problems creep in. It happened in 1987 for the NFL and it will happen again next year. In 1994 it happened to MLB, which opened the door to the NFL. In the NHL you had the opposite problem. The league stopped for an entire year back a few years ago because of loss of revenue. That, my friends, is just normal distribution of data. Meaning, sports fans were choosing to watch a disproportionate amount of NFL, therefore some other sport had to suffer.

The NFL has many, many major issues to work out. Not just labor either. Injury to players is becoming more and more a problem. Last weekend there were 5 concussions in the span of about an hour. All played out on national television. In pro football it isn't something that new, just the timing of it is new. It is an extremely violent game, it's always had serious injuries we just have a bunch of newer fans with new eyes watching it.

This past weekend, after stiff fines going out to players hitting too hard, we had a kinder, gentler NFL... except for a sideline ref who got run into, fell crashing down on the back of his head and was wheeled off the field with blood running down his face out of his eyes form his brain bleeding. Yes. His brain. Oh, and something more horrifying, at least to me. A player named Todd Heap for the Ravens, who was the recipient of a blow to the head two weeks ago, just collapsed on the field with no one around him this week. That video is actually being promoted by the NFL. HERE.

I'm not for making tackle football; flag football. Just stating that the league that has grown at this rate is taking a dive. This stuff is now under a microscope.

Speaking of dives, I've got some soccer to play.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

IV. Only Interesting to Me

1. One Man's Sasquatch is another Man's Chewbacca.

2. Johnny Reb was retired in 2006
After four years nobody noticed, Ole Miss finally decided on a suitable replacement. A Black Bear. I don't get bent out of shape about this stuff. The bear is fine. I liked that Reb was prowling the sidelines, I reckon. But the mascot politically correct thing just keeps marching on and on. It's a mascot, folks. How can some people get upset with the Redskins saying it is derogatory and offensive and then the same people take Johnny Reb seriously. Wouldn't those people want to keep Johnny because it, by the same reasoning, makes a joke out a southern redneck? Shouldn't Mississippians been offended by ole Johnny? Just my two cents.

3. Found a really bad logo today:

Feast your eyes on that! Anyway, I'm mentioning it because winter is coming here to Ohio.

4. I saw a guy wearing a Colt McCoy Browns Jersey this morning.
It's an ongoing joke with some co-workers because Browns fans here have a hard time investing in a player jersey because no player ever sticks around there. You know what? The Browns beat up on the Super Bowl champs today. Maybe that dude knows something.

5. Jim Valvano once said:
"Everyday you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry... that's a heck of a day." He said that three months before he passed. Here is a story of a kitten born blind that I can't believe I'm mentioning but I am. Jack Tripper. And he is doing great. If you haven't had anything move your emotions today take a look. Click on his name at your own heart melting peril.

Jack Tripper.

6. Dear smart dumb people,
The same people who ban mascots. If you leave any food out in a dry environment it will not mold. You'll get beef burger jerky and french fry jerky.

A photographer hard up on ideas decided to leave McDonald's food out for a half year and take pictures. People seemed to be all up in arms about how it didn't mold. Anybody who has found a fry in your car knows they don't. You need moisture. That said, news flash... fast food is bad for you. You don't need misguided story from Yahoo news to tell you that. Take it from Helltown. It makes you fat, don't eat it.

3b. Speaking of logos, Cadillac over the years:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

III. Only Interesting To Me

1. Buckeyes

The football player kind. The only kind and they rule these parts. They lost last night in a rowdy Camp Randall stadium. Since I mentioned a few weeks back the VT entrance I can't not mention the Wisconsin tradition of playing Jump Around at the end of the 3rd quarter. I like this one for a few reasons: A. Visiting fan filming in awe B. Opposing team joining in. C. 90,000 people. D. Ref is signaling at the end... in time with the song. E! Bucky the Badger dancing F!!! Cheerleaders in full dance routine. G!!!!! God Bless America.

However: If we are going to compare stadium atmosphere let us take a lot at the granddaddy of entrances.

2. Tough loss Stoke.

3. Colt McCoy starting for the first time
The guy was a legend in Texas. He even saved someones life. He's going up against the Steelers as his first time out in the NFL. Someone may need to save his.

4. Redskins on Sunday Night Football in America
Breaking out the Beenie Weenie dip for this one.

4a. Larry's Traditional Beenie Weenie Dip Recipe:
- Thick and Rich Bush's Baked Beans
- Mexican shredded cheese
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Two thinly sliced cheese dogs
- Tostitos cheese queso dip
- Texas Pete hot sauce
(how much of each ingredient you put in is up to you)

- Tostitos Multi-grain Chips

PS: Back to Camp Randall with the same game the lady from ASU was wowed by... from inside the student section (what she was looking at).

Hesmer Goal!

Only the 2nd time in MLS history that a keeper has scored. This happened in stoppage time and allowed the Crew to get a much needed point going into the playoffs. They are in, but they could take the top spot next weekend, which would mean extra home game.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Perfect Getaway

Another film that I just happened across that falls into the category of "a film Larry likes, oh boy." In some ways it is classic suspense type storytelling. Who done it turns into, well, doing it. Simple, sharp and has great scenery. The acting by Zahn and Olyphant is really good. It helps that the characters are strangely likable. For a movie that you know is building to a twist the writer pushes onward with honesty which makes it difficult to explain here. How about; straight laced and not about who the killers are but how is it going to get there.

Milla is in this one, which is welcome. I was surprised with Kiele Sanchez. I like her.

Another note on Steve Zahn: he is going to be in another movie that is right up my alley. "Knights of Badassdom".

Here is the tagline:

Live-action role players conjure up a demon from hell by mistake and must deal with the consequences.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

EPL Talk; Not to be Mean

But the readers and gamers of your site choose the following teams in the FIFA 11 League:

Manchester City: 8 ppl
Liverpool: 4
Chelsea: 4
Tottingham: 4
Manchester United: 4
The rest of us: 6

Where is the diversity of teams man?! Eight players with Man City?! 1/3 of the league??

It's a game, yeah I know. Most football/soccer die hards are probably not playing. I don't know. It's a little discouraging. As a (new) fan of Premier League soccer I couldn't imagine playing as a bunch of hired guns, even if it means a win as meaningless as a video game online league. When I was in England I found so many passionate fans supporting their local team... Good or bad. I don't know. Maybe I expected more from what I thought this EPL website has. I kinda respected what some of the folks had to say.

I'm a stickler for passionate fans. Soccer I thought was about "z-passion". Not a transparent bunch of Americans posing as "real" Barclay's Anglophiles. But as it turns out it's the same kinda people that go to a Columbus Crew game wearing an Barcelona jersey. Soccer and EPLtalk in America has a ways to go, man. I don't think I'd say this if I didn't notice a lot of the people playing in the league were people posting comments often. Anywho.

Maybe it's just to much of a "my home town team is better then your home team thing". Maybe I need to get on to the bandwagon of just playing with the best players, I mean, "team" and shut up and have some fun.

Maybe I'm tired of loosing to Manchester City. But I thought was more then what I'm getting with FIFA 11. But it isn't.

Man, I'm a sore looser.

I liked these

A bunch of billboard promotional posters designed ahead of the Woodard Cruise a couple years ago. GM is selling the "real" ones HERE. Campbell Ewald, Chevy's ad agency does these every year. My favorite official one is still, "Remember when your cup holder sat next to you and wore a poodle skirt?"

My favorite un-official one: "We came up with some pretty cool shit when we could smoke and drink at the office."

True, so true.

I'm posting this on the eve of GM's release of the Chevy Volt. Yeah, a technological achievement. Indeed it is. A mighty feat of engineering. But I just can't help thinking... something's just missing.

Oh yeah. A soul.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mini: Only Interesting to Me

Watched the Indiana University / Ohio State football game today. OSU dominated the game in just about every phase. Which got me thinking a bit about something which has been sticking in my mind for a while. Player size. In the NFL size seems pretty negligible between teams but in college it seems, just by watching the game, that one team is just... well bigger.

I read somewhere that a high school team up north somewhere just refused to to play a game because of the size discrepancy. So with that I decided to look at starting rosters on OSU and IU. OSU's defense dominated so I looked at their D line verse IU's offensive line.

OSU's line is, on average, 27 pounds heavier and about the same height. Flipped around IU's O line is 15 lbs heavier, yes, but OSU has 2" in height.

I chose to look at lines because it was/is where games are won and lost. Weight alone doesn't necessarily mean strength or skill. Just bothers me sometimes how I hear on TV during games how some of these smaller schools should be considered to be ranked higher. Yeah, there are loads of other considerations that I should take into winning and loosing. Heart being the biggest thing... Coaching right after that.

But man, if your line is 30 lbs a man heavier? You're going to win.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

McCracken Goal

Above video has music by Badelt which, yes, is from Pirates of the Caribbean. Goes well with just about anything. As you'll see below. The video below is almost a daily morning devotional for me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Name This Player

It's almost criminal how much fun I am having with FIFA 11. It's like the create a player thing was made for me. I'm playing a league setup with Helltown pitted against MLS teams. Stats are actually believable. I'm not running the table in every category. I'm around 5th place with Doran my leading scorer after 12 games the only one in the top 20.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Team is Up and On

Better titled as: How I spent all day Sunday. FIFAs online "Creation Zone" is really good. It was easy to create players and a team then pull it on to my XBox. In fact anyone can pull down the Helltown Brewmasters United.

Here is a Smitty goal:

Full team list is as follows. I can create up to 50 players... and I will.

Name and Position
Daniel Hunter Defender
Geoff Wood Defender
James L Johnson Defender
Jay Smith Defender
Larkin Tysor Defender
Larry Johnson Defender
Ole Moses Defender
Brett Stone Forward
Chris Doran Forward
El Vez Forward
Francis Huntington Forward
Jeff Smith Forward
Mark Ragase Forward
Matt Stevens Forward
Cory Smith GK
Scott Bullard GK
Billy Sasquatch Midfielder
Dustin Kidd Midfielder
Mark McCracken Midfielder
Matt Wood Midfielder
Russell Murphy Midfielder