Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 COAS Pigskin Pick 'Em Week 7

I had a decent bounceback week in Week 6 of our consortium's picks against the spread, but unfortunately I haven't gained any ground.

Adam and I split our six disputed games last week, leaving us where we were the week before. He has a nine game lead over me and remains in first place, maintaining a three game lead over my cousin Grant. Meanwhile, I'm still in last place, though I picked up a couple games on my dad and Logan to keep everyone reasonably well packed in together.

We've got another two teams on bye this week, leaving us with 15 games to pick. Adam and I disagree on five games on this week's slate. If you want a breakdown of how everyone has picked in comparison to each other, I've got an updated breakdown available here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 NCAA NCSS Rankings: Week 8

With a quick look at the overall schedule, we are into the second half of the college football season. Most of the haves and have-nots have been established, as I have two mock Death to the BCS Playoff brackets for the season in the books. With seven more weeks' worth of games to play though, there's a lot of data left to collect.

This also means we're approaching Coward Week in about a month, which I think is what I'm going to call it formally in the future because it's not just Nick Saban who's a coward.

We saw a little movement in last week's rankings, though the MAC has been at or near the top pretty much all season to date. With conference play in full swing though, most of the rankings changes are minimal. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how this metric works, check back to the season introduction post.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016 Death to the BCS Playoffs: Week 7 Mock Bracket

In theory, at least, this process should be getting easier.

Last week I unveiled this season's first mock playoff bracket based on the format put together by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan. I continue to cite them in all of these posts because I can't take credit for the idea for this format. It was their brainchild, and they deserve all of the credit.

They didn't delve much into how to decide that field, except that all conference champions would receive an automatic bid. How the seedings would be assigned is left to a selection committee. For the purposes of COAS, I am that selection committee.

I use a number of metrics to help me decide the teams who make it and their seeds. I combine the use of Non-Conference Schedule Strength (NCSS), First Degree, Second Degree, and Adjusted Playoff Points (PP1, PP2, and aPP, respectively), and then balance that out with computer rankings derived from formulas created by Jeff Sagarin (SAG), the late David Rothman (ROTH), and now from the website All My Sports Teams Suck (AMSTS). These factors all combine somewhat organically to build the bracket.

If you want an explanation on these scores, you can view that in last week's mock post. For now, let's build a playoff.

2016 NCAA Playoff Points: Week 7

The really important trophy, for me, is back where it belongs. So while I celebrate the forces of good triumphing over the dark forces from northern DuPage County, I'm looking up at the D-I level as well to see how things have changed after Week 7.

We're down to just one winless team in Rice, while a number of undefeated teams still stand. That will make my second mock bracket a bit of a challenge, but that comes later.

You can come back and view last week's rankings here. You can also flash back to August for a primer on how these metrics work. Let's crunch the numbers.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 COAS Pigskin Pick 'Em: Week 6

We're onto Week 6 of the NFL season and ohmygodwhatishappening.

After a couple solid weeks got me back into the mix a little bit, I did not have a very good Week 5, as Adam took six of our seven disputed games and almost swept the early games for the second straight week. He's now firmly in first place in our consortium, and if I had to pinpoint one X-factor through five weeks for him: he's 3 for 3 on hero picks. You can see a full breakdown of how we've picked in relation to each other here.

So as I attempt to climb the ladder from nine back of the lead and four back of the closest person, Adam and I disagree on six of the 15 games on this week's slate. Let's get to it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 NBA/ABA Tournament of Champions: Championship

Way back in April, I announced that I was going to undergo a major project over the span of about six months. The last 65 NBA champions, along with the nine ABA champions, were going to compete to find the greatest team of all time. I've run this experiment a couple times before coming to the same conclusion: the 1996 Chicago Bulls are the greatest. I wanted to include the ABA teams, however, because to exclude them might cloud things a little bit.

Those 74 teams were narrowed to 72 in June, and the ABA teams played a single round robin amongst themselves to give me a baseline to judge them by. That set the stage for a five week long tournament to narrow the field even further down to 32. And now, just two teams remain.

In one corner, we have a blue blood champion that has had some success in the first two tournaments. The 1997 Chicago Bulls romped through the first three rounds in 2013, losing just two games total before falling in seven to the eventual finalist in the 2005 San Antonio Spurs. 2015 was also kind to Chicago as they won that tournament's Group E with an 11-3 record and had no trouble in the first two rounds before dropping a heartbreaking Game 7 at Oracle Arena to the 2015 Golden State Warriors. After stewing on that loss, they came into the 2016 Tournament of Champions as a contender once again and held their own, going 13-3 and winning Group G. It's been a tough road in the Elimination Stage, but the Bulls have done their damage, knocking off the 2003 Spurs before avenging their elimination to the '05 Spurs. They beat their younger selves from 1992 then got arguably a sweeter revenge, knocking off the '15 Warriors in Game 7 to make up for last year's shortfall. Here stands Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and company: just four wins from immortality.

Standing in their way is a true Cinderella story. The 1985 Los Angeles Lakers easily dispatched their first round opponent in 2013 and got a Game 1 winner at the buzzer from Kurt Rambis in Round 2 before dropping four straight to the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers, including a winnable Game 4 where they blew an 11 point lead in regulation and lost on a buzzer beating dunk in overtime. Los Angeles went 10-4 in Group B last year, good for third place. They pulled a seven game upset in the first round and responded to a Game 1 loss in the next round with four straight wins to advance to the quarterfinals before running into the buzzsaw that was the 1996 Chicago Bulls. The Lakers got put in a tough group this year and managed to sneak into the Elimination Stage with an 8-8 record and overcome the 1993 Bulls thanks to the tiebreaker. They were the second-worst team to advance, but shocked the world by sweeping their group's winner and #2 overall seed in the 1990 Detroit Pistons. They then managed to get by three different iterations of Laker teams, starting with the constantly contending and underrated 1972 team before surviving a seven game war with their 1987 counterparts and knocking off Shaq and Kobe's 2002 team to arrive at the ultimate stage.

These two titans have earned their way here, but they need to win four more games to claim the prize as the greatest team of all time. To determine that, we are once again playing a best of sever series in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. Home court advantage goes to the Bulls by virtue of their winning their group while the Lakers finished in fourth place. All simulations are once again provided by And now, without further ado, let's crown a champion.

2016 NCAA NCSS Rankings: Week 7

It's been a busy 15 hours or so of football-related posts for me as I catch up following a long weekend. We're almost to the halfway mark of the season, if you can believe that. There's still a ton of time left in the season, even if we're almost out of non-conference games.

However, mainly because of the independents but also because there are some out of conference games that don't involve those teams still to come, I'm continuing to follow up on the schedules for each week by conference, though I'm not commenting on any of the conference games because, for the purpose of this metric, it doesn't matter.

The rankings are mostly stable as we go from week to week, but unexpected changes can and do happen. Either way, if you want a refresher on how this metric works, you can view that at my season intro post. Let's get to the schedule.