Sunday, January 30, 2011

USL, NASL, USSF & Creation Centre

Grab some coffee, it's going to be a long one here.

Good news! Lower division soccer in North America exists! Okay, that's good, but not news. Alternate good news! It is a mess that is trying to get organized! Right now, as I type. 2011 could be seen as one of two things for our lower divisions.

1. Just another transition year that will be followed by many more.

2. The start of a real lower league that will finally hold for years to come.

Others more mighty then I have perished trying to explain lower league soccer in North America. I'm trying to put all this together right now and looking at the top of my browser I see that I have about 10 tabs open. Anyway, the best I can find is the the United States Soccer Pyramid.

I believe that 2011 will be the year that lower division soccer will get a foothold even though it is still in flux. The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps are moving to the MLS this year leaving a void that will have to be filled behind them. They were not promoted based on performance or anything. More just about how much money they can make. Promotion/Relegation in the US is not in the cards anytime soon. The Timbers and Whitecaps were founded in 2009, this is frustrating. The USL has teams that have been around for over 10 years and a couple for 17 years. Portland and Vancouver were chosen based on two simple facts.

1. Location (the MLS wants a clear cut East / West)
2. Revenue Potential

I'm not a fan of "United States Soccer Federation" (USSF). It's an organization that despite sitting on a goldmine (of potential money and millions of American kids playing) fails to organize the sport here. But, it takes a national organization like it to create order out of chaos. Once this gets sorted the US will begin to get better. Or even better, depending on how you feel about our quality out here.

Looking at Lower Division Challenges:

The biggest challenge for the USSF is distance. Covering it requires money. In England it is not a problem. In the US? it is. It is very expensive to travel a team all around the country. Another challenge is obscurity. Only a small fraction of the country knows that there is more pro soccer out there other then the MLS.

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup:

With the USSF taking the reins on Lower Division soccer I can see this cup becoming more interesting in the coming years. It has been around forever, but now that the MLS has finally proved that pro soccer can be sustainable in the US I believe that the key to future success of soccer in this country is the US Open Cup.

Only once since the MLS has been around has a team outside that league not won the CUP. The Rochester (Ragin') Rhinos. Charleston Battery made the final in 2008 but lost to DC United. I've read in the past that those two have a fierce rivalry. This is a little thing but means big things for the future.

It's a good thing that MLS teams are winning this Cup. It shows that our "top division" truly has the best teams even without relegation and promotion. That said, I hope that we see more teams not from the MLS doing well. It will bring them out into the national spotlight and raise awareness to the fact that soccer has already arrived in the US whether ESPN likes to admit it or not. I'd venture to say that the anchors over at that cable station all have kids playing soccer and choosing soccer over other sports and are slowly coming to terms that - In fact; it is the most played sport in this country.


FIFA 11's incredible feature that allows people to create teams is incredibly popular. I once felt that I was in the minority in spending hours creating my own team filled with friends using reasonable, believable stats on skill and height. But I am not!

Just yesterday I discovered that there are many. Yeah, there are the unbeatable teams filled with 99 rated players, but I also found a wealth of teams just like the Helltown Brewmasters. There are also folks uploading lower division US teams like the Richmond Kickers and Charleston Battery. How great is this? EA might not include them but players are creating them.

There are varying levels of good though. Example; Richmond is lovingly done, but the stats are off the charts. Charleston is fairly done though. It's great. That team fits exactly where it should in terms of stats.

England football fans have also come out in force in creating teams even further down the league tables. I was able to find Kettering Town (my grandmothers home) that was realistically created.

I intend to find more. Long post here so in the future I can create a list of teams fairly done from the US lower divisions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When DC ruled, DC

And all the angels said... AMEN.

For McCracken. And Smitty.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jay Cutler, The Anti-Hero

I spent part of my day yesterday watching the Chicago Bears play the Green Bay Packers. After about the first series in the second half Chicago's starting QB, Jay Cutler, all the sudden just sort of stopped playing in the game. He didn't seem too injured as cameras showed him on the sidelines walking around. My first thought is that he was benched. He had an awful first half. He has a history of; when playing bad... It's REALLY bad. He seemed to be having one of those games.

Jay Cutler has Type 1 diabetes. This is the worst type. It means you have to monitor your insulin multiple times a day, every day, for the rest of your life. I've known someone that he has this. If not monitored properly it can cause you to go into a scary/creepy zombie like state. If left un-monitored for longer, you will die. To say that someone who has Type 1 is subject to mood swings is an understatement. I've sort of attributed Cutler's up and down performance to his diabetes (right or wrong). I notice the heavy bags under his eyes, the lost / distant look he had last night. This isn't an excuse for him. It is very well known that he likes a bit of a drink. This is a major problem, ergo; his up and down games.

So old Jay has a couple things going for and against hime here.

A. He has Type 1 diabetes
B. He takes a liking to the drink. An elbow problem, so to speak.

But C. and D.? He has a golden arm and he is a professional football player. These guys are world class athletes. A and B normally don't mix with C and D. In fact, they never do.

I heard a lot of talk today about his toughness. I gotta admit it made me angry. You can count on one finger the number of NFL players that have Type 1.

So where does the anti-hero come in? It is in the way he he just just isn't likable. Not just to the press and fans, but to fellow players as well. He's grumpy, doesn't do good interviews and doesn't say (bull) the right things that we've heard a million times before.

It's very unusual that other players were out in force calling him out for quiting on his team last night. You never see that happen outwardly. It just shows high degree in which he isn't well liked. The same players, in the same league, that rally around rapists and murderers without batting an eyelash. Even NFL management protects its own (see: Brett Farve. See: Ben Roethlisberger. See: that one guy who was wasted but ran over and killed another wasted guy but playing a month later, that other dude who was busted with ... sigh, too many to count). But no protection for Jay? Only the same old falling for the fake hero thing because they dance around saying and acting in a way that would make the writers of pro-wrestling jealous.

But none of that for Jay. And for this? I like him.

An anti-sports star. An anti-hero for fans. We need more of them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

EPL Stuff, Pitch Sizes

Searching around for stuff on the EPL today and found the "official" handbook on English teams. I found the management structure of each team interesting. Some teams are run like a typical company. By that I mean chief executive officers and, well, structure. Others are still run like a 1900 sports team. I am a bit conflicted on which I prefer. On one hand I like the idea of sportsmen running teams yet the other hand is telling me that any successful business endeavor isn't rocket science. Structure works. Teams that have it are doing well.

Among that and other things I went through every. single. team in England looking for pitch sizes. Why? the United game on today was a blowout, but I couldn't completely look away. So how did I spent my time? Well, looking up each and every single stadium in England. Yep, that's right.

Not all pitch sizes are listed and not all are accurate. I know pitch size can change season to season and can change depending on what you are looking at. The "official" handbook of the EPL didn't match anything, which I found interesting. Anyway, it's like baseball in a way. Only the grounds keeper on match day knows for sure.

I looked up 137 stadiums in England spanning about 7 leagues (sigh). Below are the top 5 with pitches larger then the normal.

9690:AFC Bournemouth:Dean Court:114x85
9516:Chester:Exacta Stadium:122x78
9204:Dorchester Town:Avenue Stadium:118x78
9184:Ipswich Town:Portman Road:112x82
8970:Nottingham Forest:City Ground:115x78

Friday, January 21, 2011

Un-Flying Dutchman

In April 2006, Simon Kuper wrote in the Financial Times:

"One night last year some legends of Dutch football gathered for dinner in an Amsterdam house. Around midnight conversation turned to an old question: who was the best Dutch footballer ever? Dutchmen have been voted European Footballer of the Year seven times, more than any other nationality except Germans. Yet Jan Mulder, a great centre-forward turned writer, chose a player who had never even threatened to win the award nor, at the time, a Champions League: 'Bergkamp. He had the finest technique', said Mulder. Guus Hiddink, the great Dutch manager, nodded, and so the matter was settled."

If Hiddink says so... so it is. Dennis Bergkamp will make an appearance on the Growlers for sure.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Did You Know, Redskins

Here are some interesting facts about the Redskins as a team that you will never hear about, except here. HELLTOWN.

For my brother.

1. 1942: The teams best winning record. 10-1
2. 1991: One of the best football teams in history. Outscored opponents by 16 points a game. SIXTEEN. 14-2 record.
3. DC has seen 27 different coaches since 1932
3a. Joe Gibbs coached the team for 16 total years. No other coach lasted more then 7. Allen and Flaherty.
3b. 22 of the 27 coaches have lasted 3 years or less.
4. 2010:Madden 11 correctly predicted season 6-10
5. Norv only made the playoffs 1 time in 6 years.
6. Over 16 years Joe won games by an average of 4 pts.
6a. To contrast in modern times, Zorn lost by an average of 3 pts a game.
7. 1983. The Redskins scored 34 pts a game. Followed by 32 pts p/GM in 1967 and 30 pts p/GM in 1991.
7a. 2005: Best team since 1991. 10-6. 22 pts a game. 18 against.

I could go on. Bottom line: The Redskins, in 78 years of history, have had a couple great coaches in Allen and Gibbs. Made the playoffs 21 of those years. 12 of those in my lifetime.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stoke City Chant Explained

I was looking around today at Stoke stuff. I can't find a dang jersey. Anyway. Learning more about my adopted team and found out the secret behind the Delilah chant.

"We're probably most famous for our version of Tom Jones' Delilah. Many opposing fans ask why we sing it. Basically it was started in the late 80s by a Stokie nicknamed TJ. It was soon given a twist by the Boothen End and is now the subject of debate from the more PC Stoke fans - the line "I put my knife in her hand" was given a more 'erotic' slant and it upsets some dads who take their kids."

Change the word "knife" to... well, use your imagination. This is Tom Jones we are talking about.

While I'm at it; I know the Potters have a really bad reputation. The opening sentence written by the Guardian before the songs explanation states: "Anthony Bunn, editor of Stoke fanzine A View To A Kiln, takes you on a tour around the urine-free Britannia."

Here are a few of my favorite comments about Stoke around the internets:

"your relegation fodder. you may make it this year but next,bye bye. to be honest most fans will be glad to see the back of you,with your anti football long ball shit. they bring nothing to the prem and neither do their fans. tiny little shite ground"

"stoke dont even play football. just play rough and work off a throw in"

"Stoke play the worst football in the league with players who deserve to be locked in a cage."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

IX: Only Interesting to Me

Grab your coffee or, if you prefer, favorite 'non-hot' Sunday morning drink, and relax. Time for things only interesting to me.

1. Bonduel, Wisconsin.
Pictured: Bonduel in the Summer.
How the heck I wound out looking up the history of this town? Oh, Yahoo news. An old German Bible was found there. A 1640 copy of Martin Luther's original translation so only about 100 years after Luther's death. According to Bonduel history it was founded by (German) Jesuits in the late 19th century. Could the Jesuits (Catholic) brought the bible with them? Didn't Luther teach that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus as redeemer from sin?! What happened to the Jesuits?? I smell scandal in Bonduel! Maybe we need to dig deeper into Bondeul history to discover where their split with the Catholic faith came from:

"Bonduel takes its name from Reverend F. Bonduel, who was a priest from Green Bay. The legend is that after providing missionary services to local Native Americans, the village was named after him. There is also a legend about how the "Bears" name came about. It is that one day while the Reverend was making his rounds, someone attacked him. However, two bears came to the defense of the helpless man, scaring the attacker away. It is said that after this time, the bears followed him no matter where he went, protecting him from any harm."

It always goes back to a guy being protected by two bears doesn't it?

2. Other video games I played this year.
Sitting on my coffee table is a little stack of PS3 games I got in 2010 a couple of which I didn't mention in my game of the year post. Namely, Just Cause 2, MLB: The Show and... Naughty Bear. Bears again! That game is one of those "so bad it's good".

2a. Just Cause 2 is a really fun game. It's like an action movie that you can direct yourself. Climb in a helicopter, take it up as far as you can go, crash it into a military base atop a tall snowy mountain and para shoot out down to a boat next to a tropical village... rinse and repeat.

3. Playoff Football.
Dang it Ravens. You just created another legion of B.I.R.G.s. for the Steelers. That's from a study done back in the 70s about bandwagon fans. Basking In Reflective Glory. Notice in the table picture that UM fans actually support their team win or loose. OSU fans disappear.

3a. Dome team Atlanta Falcons get blown out. Woohoo! Watching the Green Bay packers playing in that awful, sterile visual environment was painful. Booooo domed teams. BOOOOOOOOOO.

4. Movies needing time to soak.
Picked up a couple movies recently to watch and try and figure out if they are really good or just good at the time in the theater. Pans Labyrinth; Good. Up; Not so good. Unfortunately I saw this is washed out 3-D first. Gave it another chance and think it's good, but not great. I did discover it is very pretty though. 3-D. Boooooo.

5. Stoke Win!
Higginbotham! Stoke again proving some of the modern thoughts about possession wrong. 35% in another win? Yes. Also, good to see Holden out there for Bolton.

5a. Tevez is a beast.

5b. Watching the Liverpool / Everton game now. Liverpool is attack, attack, ATTACK! good.

5c. Opps. Opened them up. 2 quick goals from Everton.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Carl, Special Operations

I personal story here.

When the facility I was working at had a new owner and was shutting down, I was the one person picked to come to Columbus to work from a company filled with much more competent people then I. The man who choose me was a Marine.

When I came to Columbus I met another man. His name; Carl. I didn't know much about Carl at first. Cranky a little. Driven? very much. His job was seemed unspecified. He just seemed to work on everything. I tried to relate to Carl as he was picked, as I was, by the same man and same purpose. I know he came in from California, grew up in Germany and spoke a few languages. That's about it. Over the course of a year and a few nights out I got to know him. He was an Episcopalian. He was familiar with Free Masonry as well. He liked going out. In fact, a little too much.

He worked hard, played hard. I grew to like his sort of crankiness over time because it was sort of a bored thing. Like what he was doing was simple, but very important to him at the same time. A hard dynamic to explain in words.

One day I caught him talking to the Marine who hired me outside on a frozen afternoon. It was a candid conversation filled with words and lingo unfamiliar to me. He was getting dressed down in a way I had never heard or experienced since. The only sentence I remember was how the conversation ended; "you didn't land on a beach and wave your arms and say, 'Here I am! I'm here!'". After that they separated.

I walked up to Carl and asked... "Carl, are you military? Marine?" He stood there shuffling his feet and put out his cigarette and said; "Yeah, SEAL."

I said nothing. He walked away.

I short time after he started to change. He'd show up to work late, or not at all. I remember not seeing him during the week, only a couple Saturdays here and there when I was in and he was smoking in his office. I always wanted to ask him, in sober moments, about where he had been, what he had done. I never did. Maybe out of respect. Maybe fear.

One of those Saturdays I remember sitting at my desk trying to figure out how to frame a botanical. A group of random colored leaves. Only thing i know was that it was a group of leaves from different parts of the world. I couldn't figure out how to make the product work. Carl walked by. No words. He stopped to look for a second. No "hi" no nothing. I could smell the stench of a long night on him though. A few minutes later he came back and asked me where that leaf was from. Heck if I knew? I shrugged and said, "Hell if I know." He stood for a second with the leaf in his hand the promptly rattled off a city of a country I didn't know and can't remember. "I remember brushing that aside there, I'm sure that's what it is." he said.


Not long after Carl was let go. Everyone there grew tired of his drinking and. well, womanizing. Word of it got to the wrong people. A week after that he wrapped his truck around a lane divider going home. They said it was an accident. Though he liked to drink, they said he was sober.

I know this is a sad story. It was a few years ago now. But I won't forget Carl. The guys that do what he did are rare. Most will probably never meet a Carl. Most don't think about the horrific things he did in his lifetime so I can sit here and write.

But I'm thinking about it now. I'm glad I am. I'm glad to have known him.

I was one of the first to hear of his death. It was confusing and not believable. I remember thinking of the Marine that hired him, coached him and believed in him, like me. After I heard, I knew I had to go into his office and talk about it. I remember mostly silence. He pulled pictures up of other teams he helped at his former job (saved and categorized on his computer). It was of those who worked with Carl.

I don't know the Marine's background in the military. All I know is that he said, after a few awkward hours of conversation, "another comrade down."

As a son of a Marine myself, that's all I needed to know and will need to know.

As a postscript:

The reason I write this is for the superficial thoughts I have on a game like Black Ops verse a game like Medal of Honor, Limited Edition (Tier One, or whatever it is). One lets you fight zombies at the end as JFK or Nixon. The other simply plays out a story of our countries warriors. No conspiracies, no pulling a gun on the president or shooting Fidel Castro. Just warriors doing what our country, right or wrong, tell them to do. I felt a hint of that in the MOH game. Maybe just a hint and maybe just a game inappropriately mentioned after a real tragic story. But some things like COD: Black Ops in our world need to be called out as inappropriate by guys like me know might know a little more. Just a little.

Rest in Peace, Carl. You and your unknown actions are not forgotten, nor are the actions of the heroes that advised the creation of MOH forgotten... even to an ignorant gamer as myself who know no other way to remember you or honor you.

There is no video on youtube that glorifies what you really do, not books on your exact operations or what you have done. No movies that accurately show your actions. No fancy comments, slogans, symbols and no funny stories to share from a guy like me. So all I have to say is:

Thank you.

Well done

History of Gaming from Florian Smolka on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Here, there, and everywhere throughout the day today.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time for that Game of the Year

I've been over thinking this one. There are a couple stand out games that I played in 2010 for sure.

I had the best time with FIFA 11. What a great experience I am having with this game. Its online creation system almost made it a game worthy of my pick. But no matter how you slice it... still a sports game. I think if more statistics were available I would pick it. As it is you get things like how much distance a player covers and time of possession during the game, but once out they seem to disappear. Goals, assists, yellow and red cards stick. Which is great, but still lacking. I want more!

I picked up both big 'shooters' of the year; Call of Duty: Black Ops and Medal of Honor. MoH was a superior game, by far. I wanted to write about it more but used up all my writing on 1st person shooters on the failure that was Black Ops. It's strange that MoH got destroyed in reviews and Black Ops got all the good scores. What a joke. The Medal of Honor game is recommended.

Mass Effect 2 also made an appearance for me. I've only scratched the surface of this one though. A couple other games I didn't get to play this year were Deadly Premonition and Nier. Premonition is one I will check out.

So where does that leave me? Red Dead Redemption and Heavy Rain.


Heck, it's my world here. I'll give it to both.

With the sight edge to Red Dead and the "you have to experience it" tag to Heavy Rain.

2010: Red Dead Redemption / Heavy Rain
2009: Uncharted 2
2008: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sergeant Baker, Execution Story

More family history and recollection. From my mothers side of the family. This is very special to me as I never got to meet my mother's father in person, only through his words as a writer in the mid-west and DC.

My mother writes as preface in email:

"Chris (my uncle) sent me a newspaper (a scanned copy) of an article that appeared in 1945. It was taken from a letter written by your grandfather, my father, Bob Baker. Thought you’d like to see the kind of writer he was … wish I could find more of his stuff. Three newspapers are cited as places he’d written for. Here it is."

From the American Legionnaire (Hoosier) newspaper, 1945

Hoosier Photographer Tells How French Executed a Spy

The dramatic story of how the French executed a spy is told by Sergeant Robert Baker, son of Guy L. Baker, managing director of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. The letter was written to Felix (Star) Brown, connected with the Motor Vehicle division of the state:

“Before it happened, we talked and laughed among ourselves. In the park ravine, where the light of breaking dawn threw down long shadows, we clumped about in muddy grass.

We had saluted and nodded to the French officers in charge. Now we looked at the riflemen – two rows of seven each. Young fellows, most in their early twenties. And rather nervous – two or three unable to test their weapons without assistance.

The Stage Was Set

Down on the floor of the small natural bowl, we continued to mill about, talking of trivial, unrelated subjects. More French officers, dignified and business-like, joined our circle which now included a New York Times reporter, three cameramen, and half a dozen intelligence officials from headquarters. On the dark bowl rim behind us fifty or so curious GIs stood in knots, audibly speculating on what was about to occur.

Suddenly the condemned man was coming toward us, with a guarding soldier on either side. He carried a stub of a cigarette in one hand, while the other was tied by rope to the wrist of an escort. He was a small, thin fellow, pale and sickly-looking, but he walked steadily towards the appointed spot.

When 50 feet from the stake, the prisoner threw away the cigarette butt. He paused to exhale, and for the only time, appeared to falter. Between the two impassive guards he reached the stake and his body reeled slightly as he was pushed down to his knees. An officer stepped from behind him with a black handkerchief, and the little man, looking directly at the men with the rifles, tried to remonstrate against the blinding cloth. But it was too late and his will to resist vanished quickly. Almost as quickly the big handkerchief went around his head, covering all his face, and the rope that had been tied to the guard’s arm was slipped around the stake at the prisoner’s back.

Firing Squad Ready

The riflemen, coached by sign rather than word, cocked, aimed, and squeezed all the volley of lead. Blended into the loud flash of their fire was the spraying one of a camera bulb. The half-hooded, kneeling figure lurched into the air, then crumpled to the ground. In another moment – blood welling from the twisted body – a pistol bearer strode forward, and leaning over the man’s head, administered the coup de grace.

In the dim dawn light, two medical officers whispered briefly before signing certificates. Then civilian flunkies lifted the body, and on a makeshift little carried it from the silent ravine to a waiting cart.

For his aid to the Gestapo, one Frenchman had paid. Hundreds more await the fate of the collaborationist.


Sergeant Baker, who wrote the above thrilling story, won a Legion contest writing on, “Why I Am Proud to Be An American,” while a student at Wabash. He was a former news writer for the Wabash Plain Dealer, New Castle Times, Indianapolis Times, Bloomington Star, and U.S. Daily. He attended George Washington University, and several Army schools. His brother-in-law, Lieutenant James F. Applewhite, was killed in an Army airplane crash.

A man and his pocket knife.

Some wise words, wisdom and Johnson history By Larry W. Johnson, Sr.

Not edited by my mother (so he says). Okay, Maybe a little.
A lot can be learned about a man by knowing something about his pocket knife.

The pocket knife tells a lot about the man who carries one. A man who does not carry a knife may not be a real man some folks say. Pocket knives come in real handy almost every day. Johnson men have carried them since I can remember. A.D. Johnson, your great-great grandfather, was known for cutting his Brown-William plug with a knife. He was a Primitive Baptist preacher and a merchant in Coats and whittled. John Lewis (Papa) Johnson a carpenter and your great grand father used his for cutting plugs, fishing, and carving little boys wooden toys. I remember the little wooden man who danced on a board. Then there was the one toy that defied gravity.

A man whose knife is dull means he is sort of lazy. A sharp knife means a man is smart and quick witted. A well worn knife means the man is dedicated. If he carries his knife in his bib overalls top pocket that means he is a caring man. If he puts it on a string and ties it to his button hole he is thinking all the time. If he carries his sharpening rock in his pocket he is a perfectionist. If he oils his blades he is conscientious. If he loans his knife out he is just plain stupid. When he wears out his knife he doesn't throw it away but puts it in his little "keep sake" box to remind him of the good times they had and places they've been.

A man who carries a pocket knife likes people, especially children, kitties and puppies. He wouldn't allow a child to use a knife until a certain age and not without a lot of instruction from an expert teacher... himself. He meets all the high standards of the Johnson men and is a God fearing pondering Abraham and Peter and living out his Christian beliefs. He knows that his pocket knife is a symbol of responsibility, honesty and useful living.

It can help him earn a living, bring pleasure, save his life and reminds us of our obligations. I didn't mention Granddaddy Johnson who cut strings on rolled roast, dressed fish and opened "sidemeat" salt bags at our store. It was L. M. Johnson's Meat Market where he sold "the best meat, fancy groceries and fresh seafood." On summer days too hot to work he cut cane reeds, fishing strings and removed hooks from the mouths of fish for yours truly at Popes Lake near Coats. Days of great memories of growing up.

There's a lot more but I can't rmember them right now. So, Son, I'm giving you this "Buck" and all that goes with it. Love, Dad

I'm putting that here because words here will probably outlast the paper letter. I hope they last long enough to be read long into the future.

Thanks dad.

Larry Jr.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fantasy Premier League

For the Brent Woodpeckers, Land'on the Free, Maennerchor and Mr. Average.

Top 3 Highest Week Total (Points):
77: Land'on (week 14)
69: Brent (week 19)
66: Land'on (week 13)

League Average per team, per week: 41.6 pts.

Most Unlucky: Land'on the Free:
The most overall points. Positive Point Differential against Brent and Maennerchor, yet in 3rd place.

Lowest Variability, Most Consistent (Absolute value, Week to week)
Land'on the Free Again! Absolute Aggregate of 206 through 21 weeks. Only +/- 9.8 pts change per week.
- 351 pt change week to week: Brent Woodpeckers +/- 16.7 week to week (not predictable)
- 320 for Maennerchor +/- 15.2 pt change week to week (not predictable)

Games left: 17

Most Improvement between first 3 weeks to latest 3 weeks:
+44: Maennerchor
+27: Brent Woodpeckers
+2: Land'on the Free

Crazy Sid Meier Graph (aggregate, all pts) by week:

Complete League table. Team in yellow, records vs opponents as well as points bellow:
Man... Matt, you gots my number! dang. For some reason I'm getting lucky against Smitty. Sorry man.

Smitty's consistency and high point total may take him to the top right at the end of this season. Myself and Matt are tweaking rosters every week, swinging for the fences! we need to be careful!

Finally, my favorite.

How are we, as a mighty American force of EPL fans, doing in their first year of EPL fantasy against the rest of the world?

Average loss to MR. Average 1st four weeks:

Last 4 Weeks?

As a group we are 95.2% to Mr. Average on the year. or -4.8% below. We have been as close as 5% to Average since week 14. Considering we were -20% below after the first 5 weeks, we are gaining! We need to step it up!

(that means me, the mighty Maennerchor).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Southern Boys Play Football

Or looking at football scores in a different way. More interesting way? probably not. Grab some coffee and pull up a chair and observe as I spiral down a mathematical hole of which you nor I have any business going down.

28 bowl games played, 56 total teams.

Data can be very misleading but here goes; The traditional South (for my definition of that go HERE) has fielded 22 of those 56. Here is the breakdown:

22: South
16: West
11: Mid West
07: North

Here are the Records by region:

13-9: South
8-8: West
3-4: North
4-7: Mid West

So how about match-ups? Say... North vs. South? They had 12 head to head.

South 8 wins, 4 losses. Average margin of victory? 22 pts. When Northern team wins the margin was 14 pts.

I found something interesting here in terms of point margins; That being when one school from a particular region plays another region it is a blow out (one way or the other). For example: when the a Northern team travels it either won by 21 or lost by 16. But when a Northern School plays another school from the North, the margin is only three points. Same thing in a South v. South match up (4.8).

Southern teams didn't do well in their 2 games against teams not in the North. Two losses (and loosing bad) by an average of 17.5 pts. An aggregate of 35 pts.

I got turned on to soccer more this year so lets look at Goal Difference, oops, I mean point difference in North v. South:

South: +74

HA HA! Suck it Yankees!

When it was North v. Other:

Other: +24

How about variance. What is the distance between a win and a loss for each region:

12.4: Mid-West (good)
15.6: South
18.1: North
18.5: West (bad)

Generally speaking, this tells me is that Mid-western teams are scoring more in a loss because the winning team, no matter region is scoring around 35 pts. It's pretty predictable that the teams out west have all this variance. From what I've heard, they don't play defense out there.

What's strange is that mid-western teams have the worst record out of the bunch. I first thought that there isn't enough data points (11 games) for them, but then again, that 20% of the games played. So what's with this region? Some sociologists may stay going from a colder region to a warmer one (most bowl games are in warm climates) to play and the kids may treat it like a vacation and not a game. Football analysts in the know will probably say that it is because cold weather teams are built for a slower game (run and defense).

Let's put that last part to the test. Points per Game by where the school is from in terms of weather (generally):

26.3: Warm (Western teams, Deep South, California)
25.1: Cold
24.3: Moderate Temp (Mid-Atlantic, Maryland, North Carolina)

Here are the winning %:

56%: Moderate temp
46%: Warm
45%: Cold

One very important note; I took Oklahoma out. That state has been very successful this year winning all three of their games and I don't know how to classify their weather.

So is it that teams in the Mid-Atlantic are balanced and can play with anyone? Man, I don't know. I'm rambling on now, but it has been fun to look at this stuff. Just a different way to look at this stuff.

Statistically speaking the only significant difference I found was in the South vs. North match-ups. All other match-ups, North v. West, West v. West, South v. anyone, Mid-West or whatever, is 50-50. So, when it comes down to it I think it comes to playing for something bigger then your school. Southern teams and Southern players have an enormous amount of pride and passion for their region, especially when playing a school up North. Combine that with the reality that schools up North probably don't care and you get a disparity.

Don't believe me about the Southland? Talk to someone from down there. Here; I'll simulate a conversation for you if no Southerner and Yankee is available to you.
Yankee: Yeah, yeah who cares.
Rebel: Not too many, I reckon.
Yankee: Fat, lazy, backward, redneck sumbitches
Rebel: Maybe so, but we set out to win some football games, and we did. What have y'all done?
Yankee: You want me to seriously answer that question?!
Ok, so it's not much to win a couple football games, but good enough for me.