No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for the 'Sports' Category

February 8, 2010

Monday Hot Read – Eric’s “Super Bowl XLIV Recap”

by @ 10:57. Filed under Sports.

All you need to know about the 44th edition of The Championship Game That Cannot Be Named™ can be found at Eric’s recap of the game:

One thing is certain in all of this. The Saints are no longer losers. They are now the very best.

On this day, we all wanted to be in that number. The Saints went marching in.

In 213 days, the NFL 2010 season kicks off. Before that is the NFL Draft.

The Saints are the defending champions, and Super Bowl XLIV is in the history books forever.

31-17 Saints

I strongly recommend you read the entire writeup. It is far better than anything you’ll find on any sports page, local or national.

December 27, 2009

Tiebreak THIS!, AFC 8-way 8-8 edition

by @ 22:58. Filed under Sports.

NBC Sports’ Gregg Rosenthal challenged the Twittersphere to tiebreak a hypothetical 8-way 8-8 tie between the Miami Dolphins (7-8), New York Jets (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), Baltimore Ravens OldBrowns (8-7), Houston Texans (8-7), Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8), Tennessee Titans (7-8) and Denver Broncos (8-7) for the two AFC wild-card playoff spots. The NFL tiebreaking procedures state that ties within the division get broken first.

Let’s start with the easiest division, the AFC West. Denver would be the only team at 8-8, so they go on to the first wild-card tiebreaker

Next, let’s go to the AFC North. Baltimore split their season series with Pittsburgh, but they have a better division record (3-3 versus 2-4). Baltimore would go on to the first wild-card tiebreaker.

The AFC East is a bit easier as Miami swept New York, and they would go on to the first wild-card tiebreaker.

Finally, we get to the wild division, the AFC South. Jacksonville has the best head-to-head-to-head record of the three teams (3-1 versus 2-2 for Tennessee and 1-3 for Houston), so they would go on to the first wild-card tiebreaker.

Now, we can go to the conference-level tiebreakers between Denver, Baltimore, Miami and Jacksonville:

  • No team either beat or lost to all of the others, so the first tiebreaker (head-to-head sweep/swept) is out.
  • Each team would have a 6-6 conference record, so the second tiebreaker (conference record) is out.
  • The four teams do not have 4 games against common opponents (sharing only Indianapolis and New England), so the third tiebreaker (record against common opponents, minimum of 4 games apiece) is out.
  • That devolves to the 4th tiebreaker, strength of victory. Between the games through tonight and the games necessary to create the 8-8 tie, Denver would have a SoV of 66-59, Baltimore would have a SoV of 58-67, Miami would have a SoV of 55-69, and Jacksonville would have a SoV of 46-80.

Denver would get the first wild-card spot based on strength of victory (none of the other 3 teams can make up the 10+ games). If either Baltimore or Miami has the 2nd-best strength of victory outright, that team would get the second wild-card spot since Jacksonville would not be able to catch either team. However, a difference of 2 1/2 games going into tomorrow night’s game means that it is possible they would tie. In that case, they would go to a two-team tiebreaker:

  • Baltimore and Miami did not play each other this year, so the first tiebreaker (head-to-head) is out.
  • Once again, they would have identical 6-6 conference records, so the second tiebreaker (conference record) is out.
  • They would have identical 2-3 records against common opponents (Indianapolis, New England, Pittsburgh and San Diego), so the third tiebreaker (record against common opponents, minimum of 4 games apiece) is out.
  • We already stipulated that strength of victory would be identical, so the fourth tiebreaker is out.
  • Between the games through tonight and the games necessary to create the 8-team 8-8 tie, the two teams’ strength of schedule is an identical 138-111. If one team pulls ahead, they would get the last wild-card spot. Otherwise…
  • …Things devolve to best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed. Miami has scored 336 points (8th in the AFC) and given up 360 points (14th in the AFC), for a combined 11th. Baltimore has scored 370 points (4th in the AFC) and given up 248 points (2nd in the AFC) for a combined 3rd, easily favoring Baltimore.
  • Revisions/extensions (11:20 pm 12/27/2009) – Things only start over if a tie remains after breaking up a 4-way tie. The post has been shortened to reflect that.

    R&E part 2 (11:25 pm 12/27/2009) – Corrected a rather-embarrassing typo. I originally listed Houston twice in the list of 8.

    December 21, 2009

    NFC playoff picture – after week 15

    by @ 22:47. Filed under Sports.

    There’s two weeks left, and things really tightened up in the NFC, where a 9-7 record and a 7-5 conference record is required for wild-card consideration. Four of the six spots are now locked up, including two more division crowns, and three teams remain in contention for the last two spots:

    • The Dallas Cowboys knocked out the remaining teams that could have finished 8-8 going into the weekend (the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers) as well as the Atlanta Falcons by defeating the previously-unbeaten New Orleans Saints.
    • The Minnesota Vikings failed to take advantage by losing to those same Panthers, but backed into the NFC North crown as the Green Bay Packers choked against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    • The Philadelphia Eagles got into the playoffs by beating (and knocking out of wild-card contention) the San Francisco 49ers.
    • The Arizona Cardinals finally seized the opportunity to take the NFC West crown by knocking off the Detroit Lions.

    In the playoffs

    New Orleans Saints (13-1, 9-1 NFC, won the NFC South) – The Saints, who have already claimed the NFC South crown and a first-round bye, are still in the driver’s seat despite losing to the Dallas Cowboys. However, if they and the Minnesota Vikings tie, the Vikings would win the tiebreaker for home-field advantage based on a better conference record. The good news is that since the Vikings also lost, the magic number to clinch is 0.5 (or a tie by either the Saints or the Vikings). Given the schedule of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) on Sunday and the Carolina Panthers (6-8) on the road on 1/3, it is very likely they will get home-field advantage.

    Minnesota Vikings (11-3, 8-2 NFC, won the NFC North) – The Vikings backed their way into the NFC North crown as they swept the Green Bay Packers. They would hold the tiebreaker against the New Orleans Saints (conference record) for home-field advantage, but would not hold any tiebreakers involving the Arizona Cardinals (who beat the Vikings, and would have a better conference record), Philadelphia Eagles (conference record) or Dallas Cowboys (conference record). Their magic number to get a bye is still 1.5 against the Eagles, and 0.5 against the Cardinals and Cowboys. They have the Chicago Bears (5-9) on the road Monday, and the New York Giants (8-6) at home on 1/3.

    Philadelphia Eagles (10-4, 9-2 NFC, 1st in the NFC East) – The Eagles already swept the New York Giants, so they’re in the playoffs. They would hold any tiebreakers involving the Minnesota Vikings (conference record) or the Arizona Cardinals (conference record or common opponents). The magic number to clinch the NFC East crown is 1.5 over the Dallas Cowboys (who already beat the Eagles once); they also would win the NFC East if there were a three-way tie at 10-6 (the Cowboys would be out on division record, with the Giants out on the head-to-head sweep). Their remaining games are against the Denver Broncos (8-6) Sunday and at the Cowboys (9-5) 1/3.

    Arizona Cardinals (9-5, 7-3 NFC, won the NFC West) – They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Minnesota Vikings (by victory) and the Dallas Cowboys (common opponents), but would lose any tiebreaker to the Philadelphia Eagles (conference record/common opponents). Their remaining games are both at home – against the St. Louis Rams (2-12) Sunday and against the Green Bay Packers (9-5) 1/3.

    Scrambling to get in

    Green Bay Packers (9-5, 7-3 NFC, 1st in the wild-card race) – The Packers hold the tiebreakers against the Dallas Cowboys (by win) and the Atlanta Falcons (conference record), but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the New York Giants (common opponents). Their magic number is 2 over the Cowboys or 1.5 over the Giants. Their remaining games are against the Seattle Seahawks (5-9) Sunday and at the Arizona Cardinals (9-5) 1/3.

    Dallas Cowboys (9-5, 7-3 NFC, 2nd NFC East, 2nd wild-card) – The formula is deceptively-simple – win out and they’re in as NFC East champs by virtue of sweeping the Philadelphia Eagles (10-4). Unfortunately, not only do they have a horrid December record over the last several years, they also don’t have the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Green Bay Packers (lost to them) or the New York Giants (got swept by them), or the three-way tiebreaker against the Eagles and Giants at 10-6 (they would have the worst division record). They did, however, beat the Eagles once, with the rematch in Dallas on 1/3, and would have the tiebreaker against the Arizona Cardinals (common opponents), the Minnesota Vikings (conference record), and the Atlanta Falcons (conference record). Their magic number is 1.5 over the Giants. Besides the Eagles to close the season, they get the Washington Redskins (4-9) on the road Sunday.

    New York Giants (8-6, 6-4 NFC, 3rd NFC East, 3rd wild-card) – They can no longer win the NFC East as the Philadelphia Eagles swept them. However, they do hold the tiebreakers over the Green Bay Packers (common opponents), the Cowboys (swept them) and Atlanta Falcons (conference record). Their remaining games are against the Carolina Panthers (6-8) Sunday and at the Minnesota Vikings (11-2) 1/3.

    The AFC is just too crowded to summarize. Besides, my allegiance is to the Pack, and they’re in the NFC.

    December 15, 2009

    NFC playoff picture – After Week 14

    by @ 10:49. Filed under Sports.

    If it’s December, it’s time to take a look at who’s where in the playoff picture. Everybody has 3 games left, and to be in the wild-card picture, a team has to be able to finish at least 8-8 and finish no worse than 6-6 in the conference (the worst that the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals can do) to make it through the tiebreakers. The St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins can’t make it to 8-8, while the Chicago Bears can’t finish better than 5-7 in the conference. That leaves 11 teams for 6 spots, with 2 already claimed.

    In the playoffs

    New Orleans Saints (13-0, 9-0 NFC, 1st in the NFC South) – The Saints, who have already claimed the NFC South crown and a first-round bye, are in the driver’s seat. However, unlike the also-undefeated Indianapolis Colts, they do not yet have home-field advantage locked up. In fact, if they and the Minnesota Vikings tie, the Vikings would win the tiebreaker based on a better conference record. The magic number for home-field advantage through the playoffs is 1.5 (any combination of Saints wins or Vikings losses, with a tie counting as a half). Given the schedule of the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12) on 12/27 and the Carolina Panthers (5-8) on the road on 1/3, it is at least even money the Saints will finish 16-0.

    Minnesota Vikings (11-2, 8-1 NFC, 1st in the NFC North) – The Vikings have not yet locked up the NFC North crown, but they do have at least a wild-card berth locked up. They can win the NFC North with a win or a Green Bay Packers loss (or two ties between the two teams) as they swept the Packers. Assuming they win the NFC North, and they and the Arizona Cardinals (who beat the Vikings) do not both finish 11-5, their magic number to lock up a first-round bye is 1.5 (any combination of Vikings wins or Philadelphia Eagles losses, with a tie counting as half). They have the Carolina Panthers (5-8) on the road Sunday, the Chicago Bears (5-8) on the road 12/28 (so much for ESPN’s hope that game would mean anything), and the New York Giants (7-6) at home on 1/3.

    In the driver’s seat

    Philadelphia Eagles (9-4, 8-2 NFC, 1st in the NFC East) – The Eagles already swept the New York Giants, beat the Atlanta Falcons, and would hold any tiebreakers involving the Minnesota Vikings (conference record) and/or the Arizona Cardinals (common opponents). They can get two more head-to-head tiebreakers and the three-way East tiebreaker with games against the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. A win against the Niners (6-7) at home on Sunday (or a tie by either team in any remaining game and a tie/loss by the Giants, or one win in their other two games) gets them into the playoffs. If necessary, a win at the Cowboys (8-5) on 1/3 gets them the division crown based on winning either the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Cowboys (division record) or a three-way against the Cowboys and the Giants (games against each other). Beyond that, the magic number for the division is 2.5 versus the Cowboys and 0.5 versus the Giants. Sandwiched between the two games with possible playoff implications is a game against the Denver Broncos (8-5) on 12/27.

    Arizona Cardinals (8-5, 6-3 NFC, 1st in the NFC West) – They blew a chance to clinch the NFC West last night by getting swept by the San Francisco 49ers. However, they did beat the Minnesota Vikings, so they do have a theoretical shot at a first-round bye (it requires a two-way tie; the Cardinals would lose in a 3-way tie with the Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles). Their magic number to clinch the NFC West is 1.5 (any combination of Cardinals wins or Niners losses, with ties counting for half), as they swept the Seattle Seahawks, though a three-way tie would give the NFC West to the Niners based on games against each other. On the wild-card end of things should they degenerate to that point, their magic number is 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, and 1 against the Carolina Panthers. They also hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the New York Giants (by win) and Cowboys (common opponents), and have to play the Green Bay Packers (9-4) on 1/3, but lose head-to-head tiebreakers to the Eagles (common opponents) and the Panthers (by loss). They also would have the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Falcons (6-7) via conference record unless they both finish 8-8 and the Falcons win their remaining conference game; in that case, the Falcons would take it based on the record against common opponents. Their other games are at Detroit (2-11) Sunday and against St. Louis (1-12) 12/27.

    Green Bay Packers (9-4, 7-3 NFC, 2nd NFC North, 1st wild-card) – The Packers still have a theoretical chance to take the NFC North crown, but since they got swept by the Minnesota Vikings, it would take a total collapse (outlined above). They hold head-to-head tiebreakers against the Dallas Cowboys (by win), San Francisco 49ers (by win) and Atlanta Falcons (conference record), and have to play the Arizona Cardinals (8-5) 1/3, but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the New York Giants (common opponents). Their magic number is 1 over both the Cowboys and Giants. Their other games are at the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) Sunday and against the Seattle Seahawks (5-8) 12/27.

    Scrambling to get in

    Dallas Cowboys (8-5, 6-3 NFC, 2nd NFC East, 2nd wild-card) – The formula is deceptively-simple – win out and they’re in as NFC East champs by virtue of sweeping the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4). Unfortunately, not only do they have a horrid December record over the last several years, they also don’t have the tiebreaker against the Packers (lost to them) or the Giants (got swept by them). They did, however, beat the Eagles once (they play in Dallas on 1/3), the Falcons, the Panthers and the Seahawks, and hold the tiebreaker over the Niners (common opponents). Besides the Eagles to close the season, they get the New Orleans Saints (13-0) on the road Sunday and the Washington Redskins (4-9) on the road 12/27.

    New York Giants (7-6, 5-4 NFC, 3rd NFC East, 3rd wild-card) – Their chances took a body blow when they got swept by the Philadelphia Eagles, but things could get very interesting in a 3-way tie in the NFC East. Outside of that, they do hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Green Bay Packers (common opponents), Dallas Cowboys (swept them), Atlanta Falcons (beat them), and Seattle Seahawks (common opponents), have to play the Panthers (5-8) at home 12/27, and would lose the tiebreaker to the Arizona Cardinals (lost to them). Sandwiching the Panthers game are trips to the Washington Redskins (4-9) Monday night and the Minnesota Vikings (11-2) 1/3.

    On life support

    San Francisco 49ers (6-7, 5-4 NFC, 2nd NFC West, 4th wild-card) – They do hold all the tiebreakers against their NFC West foes (swept the Arizona Cardinals, have a better division record than the Seattle Seahawks, and have the best record against each other). They also would have the tiebreaker against the Dallas Cowboys (conference record), and have to play at the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) Sunday, but would lose the tiebreaker to the Green Bay Packers (lost to them), Atlanta Falcons (lost to them) and Carolina Panthers (conference record). After Sunday’s game, they get Detroit (2-11) at home 12/27 and St. Louis (1-12) on the road 1/3.

    Atlanta Falcons (6-7, 5-6 NFC, 2nd NFC South, 5th wild-card) – Atlanta holds only the head-to-head tiebreaker against the San Francisco 49ers outright by virtue of beating them, while they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, and would lose the tiebreaker to the Carolina Panthers (split, but the Panthers would have a better record against common opponents). Also, there is one and only scenario where they would have the tiebreaker over the Arizona Cardinals – they both finish 8-8 and the Falcons win their remaining conference game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12) 1/3. Before then, they play the New York Jets (7-6) on the road Sunday and the Buffalo Bills (5-8) at home 12/27.

    Being fitted for a toe-tag

    Carolina Panthers (5-8, 5-4 NFC, 3rd NFC South, 6th wild-card) – First, they have to beat the Minnesota Vikings (11-2) on Sunday, the New York Giants (7-6) on the road 12/27 and the New Orleans Saints (13-0) on 1/3. Next, they must have the Giants (who they would have beaten), Atlanta Falcons (6-7, with whom they split), Dallas Cowboys (8-5, who beat them) and San Francisco 49ers (6-7) end up with at least 8 losses, with the Niners and/or the Giants (and/or the Arizona Cardinals if the Niners go 8-8 to win the NFC West) ending up at 8-8 along with them and the Cowboys. If that happens, no matter what the combination is, the Panthers would be in the playoffs.

    Seattle Seahawks (5-8, 4-6 NFC, 3rd NFC West, 7th wild-card) – The good news is getting to 8-8 is easier for the Seahawks, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12) on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers (9-4) on the road 12/27, and the Tennessee Titans (6-7) on 1/3. The bad news is they do not win any division tiebreakers nor any head-to-head tiebreakers with teams that can finish 8-8. The only possible way for them to make the playoffs is if neither the Carolina Panthers (5-8) nor the San Francisco 49ers (6-7) get 8 wins, if the Dallas Cowboys (8-5), New York Giants (7-6) and Atlanta Falcons (6-7) finish 8-8, AND the Falcons win their remaining conference game to create a 3-way conference record tie between the Falcons, Giants and Seahawks, AND THEN it depends on strength of victory (which doesn’t look good for the Seahawks, seeing three of their victims have a grand total of three wins).

    November 4, 2009

    Milwaukee Mile on its last cylinder

    by @ 21:05. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin, Sports.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I am a race fan. That is why it saddens me to have to tell you that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported that Milwaukee Mile promoter-to-be Historic Mile LLC has pulled out after failing to get enough financing to pay NASCAR for the 2009 races put on by previous promoter Wisconsin Motorsports, an amount previously reported to be $1.8 million.

    However, the news isn’t quite completely hopeless. Despite that collapse, Dave Kallman reports that NASCAR has not yet pulled the scheduled 2010 dates, the same weekend as the Sprint Cup race in Sonoma, California, partly because nobody else wants those dates, and partly because there’s still hope that a group headed by former promoter Frank Giuffre and including enough money to make that payment will get the rights to the track.

    A bit of history of recent promoters and the State Fair Park board is in order, with a lot of help on the numbers from the various reports on State Fair operations between 2002 and 2009 from the Legislative Audit Bureau and drawing on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for recent events:

    • In 1992, CART car owner Carl Haas took over race promotions at the Mile from Frank and Dominic Giuffre, who had been bought out by the board. In exchange for exclusive promotion rights (with one guaranteed major race required, CART’s June race usually held the weekend after the Indy 500, and an effort to secure a second), access to the board’s bonding authority, and most of the revenues generated by the track, Haas Racing Inc. would pay a guaranteed rent of $300,000 and service any track-improvement debt financed through said bonding authority. By 2001, that debt service had become over $375,000 per year.
    • In 1995, Haas Racing had secured that second major race, with NASCAR coming back with the Busch Series after a 2-year run in the 1980s and the then-new Craftsman Truck Series.
    • After Haas Racing lost $1 million in both 2000 and 2001, due in large part to the failing condition of CART in its losing war against the Indy Racing League, they and the board agreed to finally replace the crumbling 1930s WPA-built grandstand and somewhat-newer bleachers to the tune of $20 million, with the bleachers replaced in time for the 2002 racing season and the grandstand replaced in time for the 2003 racing season to help alleviate that. Of note, while Haas Racing lost $1 million in 2001, the State Fair made $395,000 off that agreement.
    • An estimate done by a private company in 2000, specifically the same one that did an analysis of the effects of building what became the very-troubled Expo Center (that story is for another post), claimed that, after a 1st-year loss of about $200,000, the new grandstand and the additional dates and revenues it would allow would let Haas make a profit of between $360,000 and $720,000.
    • As part of that construction, the board and Haas Racing restructured their deal in 2002 to eliminate the minimum guaranteed rental, change the debt-service requirement to be in effect only if Haas turned a profit, create a hard 50% profit-sharing agreement, give the board veto rights over Haas Racing’s track operating budget, and give the board several new termination rights.
    • In November 2002, Jim Doyle (D) won the gubernatorial election over Scott McCallum (R), who took over the governor’s office in 2001 when Tommy Thompson left to become HHS Secretary. That began to shift the makeup of the board as two members of the cabinet (the secretary of tourism and the secretary of agriculture, trade and consumer protection) are automatically members, and the 7 other members not tied to the Legislature (each house has a majority and a minority member) are appointed by the governor to 5-year terms.
    • In May 2003, citing a loss to the Fair Park of $341,743 due entirely to $376,000 in debt-service payments Haas Racing did not make as they did not make a profit in 2002 (thanks also in part to the bleacher-only nature of the track in 2002 as the new grandstand was not complete), the board bought out the contract for $250,000 two days before the CART racing weekend and took over operations. That grandstand had been greatly scaled back to reduce its cost, which also had the effect of reducing its money-generating potential.
    • Despite getting IRL to come to the Mile in 2004, the board lost $693,600 on track operations in 2003 (including the $250,000 buyout of Haas Racing), $3.6 million in 2004, and $2.9 million in 2005. Debt service increased to $1.8-$1.9 million in the latter two years as the full effect of the new grandstand and other track improvements mandated by the various series took effect. Of note, the 2004 LRB report made the claim that the 2000 study was grossly optimistic, but failed to note that the scope of the grandstand rebuild was cut.
    • The board attempted to get an unnamed promoter to assume operation of the track beginning in late 2004, with requirements that the promoter pay off the entire remaining debt service through the license fee, secure a letter of credit to ensure that 2 years’ of payment would be made, and pay for all maintenance and future improvements to the track outside the board’s bonding authority, but that initial attempt fell through in April 2005.
    • Doyle was the grand marshal for the NASCAR Busch Series race in June 2005, and he was roundly booed (I remember because I was at that race).
    • In August 2005, with Doyle appointees, cabinet members and the Democrats now in the majority, Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC, a brand-new entity with no prior experience at track promotion, was announced as the new promoter, and they took over in 2006, with an average license fee of $1.8 million. The board did give MMH parking revenues for the 134 days per year it had control over the track (something not originally envisioned, and something that Haas Racing did not enjoy), secured the first year of the $3.6 million line of credit for MMH (with a requirement that MMH renew it annually), and knocked $1.5 million off the 2006 fee. MMH also acquired a 4-year right to buy a park-surrounded property owned by a gas company and give it to the board after remediation in exchange for board-owned property between the track (still owned by the board) and Greenfield Ave to the south.
    • With ChampCar (nee CART) departing the Mile after the 2006 season, MMH was once again reduced to two major series weekends, with the IRL assuming the CART/ChampCar weekend-after-Indy date in 2007.
    • In April 2007, MMH assigned its right to buy that gas tank farm to the board (which then bought the land from the gas company) and agreed to pay the board for that transaction if it decided to acquire the land south of the track (never acquired), while the board agreed to defer $722,000 of the $1.8 million payment from June 2007 to December 2007 and agreed that the license agreement could be reopened after the 2007 racing season.
    • In December 2007, MMH filed notice of claim against the board seeking $6.4 million and a release from the license agreement claiming, among other things, a loss of a track sponsor due to the board’s actions and a misreprentation of revenues in the 2005 negotiations.
    • In February 2008, MMH and the board agreed on modifications, including a reduction and further deferral of that $722,000 down to $400,000, a reduction in the license fee to $1 million (with a sliding-scale deferral of those payments to 2017-2023), a reduction in the number of days MMH had control of the track to 75, and a change in the land swap from ownership to ground-lease rights on a smaller parcel. It also required MMH to secure a fresh letter of credit that included all the defered payments by March 2008.
    • MMH failed to do so by either March 2008 or its original annual renewal date of August 31, 2008. They claimed to have sustained $5.1 million in losses since 2006, and wanted to get rid of the license fee entirely before providing an updated letter of credit. The 2009 LAB memo on State Fair operations is unclear whether one was produced for 2009.
    • MMH ultimately provided a 2-year notice of termination in December 2008, stating at that time it could not pay the IRL or NASCAR fees, and giving the board permission to get another promoter. The board and the Department of Justice responded in February 2009 by terminating the license agreement due to a lack of a letter of credit, deemed by the DOJ as an act of default. The 2009 LAB report indicates that the DOJ plans on suing MMH for $2.7 million in damages.
    • MMH then-President of Operations Charles Napier formed Wisconsin Motorsports LLC to assume racing operations, which then entered into a 10-year agreement with the board – $180,000 in license fees plus 10% of gross monthly revenue (less only directly-related sales costs and NASCAR/IRL sanctioning fees). That revenue-sharing was to be capped at $300,000 in 2009, $350,000 in 2010, $400,000 in 2011, and $450,000 in 2012.
    • Meanwhile, three things severely hampered Wisconsin Motorsports’ ability to make a go of it in 2009, even if they had money and not just a couple people who worked for MMH:
      • The economy continued to crater.
      • Wisconsin Motorsports decided to honor $1 million in tickets sold by MMH even though MMH did not turn over the money. Related to that, MMH owed vendors between $500,000 and $800,000 as of May 2009.
      • NASCAR implemented a ban on unsanctioned testing at all tracks where it runs a race at any level. In previous years, since the Winston/Nextel/Sprint Cup Series did not have a race at the Mile, Cup teams could test here, usually in preparation for the races at New Hampshire.
    • Unfortunately, Wisconsin Motorsports did not have the money. They owe IRL about $200,000 in unpaid sanctioning fees, and despite NASCAR taking all the vendor money directly during their weekend here, they owe NASCAR $1.8 million in unpaid sanctioning fees.
    • In July 2009, Wisconsin Motorsports went under, and cancelled the Wisconsin All-Star Weekend scheduled for the end of August. Limited minor events, such as an SCCA event, did go on, while the board searched for a new promoter. The board declared that it would not be responsible for the overdue sanctioning fees.
    • In August 2009, Historic Mile LLC, comprised of Tony Machi, Jim Beaudoin, and Wisconsin Motorsports GM/COO Steve Jones (who left the group later in the month), was announced as the intended promoter for 2010. That was dependent on them getting committments from IRL (which had already released its 2010 schedule without the Mile on it) and NASCAR. They were chosen over several other groups, including one featuring the Giuffre brothers and reportedly including long-time CART/IRL team owner and owner of the Menard’s home improvement store chain John Menard (later confirmed to be part of the group).
    • In mid-September 2009, NASCAR announced that the Mile would have both Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series dates on the same weekend as the Sprint Cup race in Sonoma, just as in recent years.
    • Despite a disagreement between Historic Mile and the Giuffres on whether the Giuffres would provide Historic Mile a loan, as well as a lack of disclosure from Historic Mile who beyond Machi and Beaudoin was involved in that venture, the board and Historic Mile signed a 10-year agreemnent-in-principle at the end of September 2009. At the time, Machi claimed that Historic Mile made NASCAR “happy” (since disproven).
    • Simultaneously, while Dominic Giuffre said he was no longer interested in running the Mile, Frank said he was, and listed his other partners as Menard, fellow track promoter John Kaishian, and the Deckers that put on Eagle River’s World Championship Snowmobile Derby.

    October 27, 2009

    New NRE poll – What is the proper response to Favre’s purple return to Lambeau?

    by @ 18:39. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

    Wendy has the perfect set-up to get me away from politics for a while, though it may not be exactly safe with the readership on the far side of the Mississippi/St. Croix…

    What is the proper way to greet Favre in his return to Lambeau?

    Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

    • Lusty booing. (30%, 13 Vote(s))
    • Silence. (20%, 9 Vote(s))
    • Wild cheering. (20%, 9 Vote(s))
    • Polite applause. (18%, 8 Vote(s))
    • What is this "football" you're talking about? (7%, 3 Vote(s))
    • Mild booing. (5%, 2 Vote(s))

    Total Voters: 44

    Loading ... Loading ...

    October 23, 2009

    The Kenseths come to Oak Creek

    by @ 7:23. Filed under Sports.

    Author’s note; this is adapted from my two-part report over on the Matt Kenseth Fan Club boards, done at the “request” of the board’s Crew Chief Rae.

    Since I am a Matt Kenseth fan, and Matt, his father Roy and his son Ross decided to come down to Oak Creek to help celebrate the re-opening of the Oak Creek Farm and Fleet store (helped by the fact F&F is Ross’ main sponsor), I decided to brave the rain and the traffic to meet them and get an autograph and a few pictures. The pics from the “good” camera are up on my Flickr account, while the early ones from the “smart”phone went up on Twitpic.

    Even though I live a few minutes from the Farm and Fleet, I got there late thanks to the same traffic that held up the Kenseths. The parking lot was completely full, and I ended up parking on a side street a few-minute walk in the rain from the store. That rain also limited the outdoor display to the hauler and the DeWalt show car.

    Because I was late, I didn’t get a ticket, at least initially. However, I got extremely lucky when somebody who somehow had an extra ticket had his cell phone die on him, and he asked me to message him a pic. Because it is easier for me to send it via e-mail, I did that instead (and it also allowed me to let him know about the full set).

    Since that extra ticket was in the last few of the 400 to get tickets, I decided to grab a couple of crowd-related shots. The shot of the night was a young fan up on the table between Matt and Ross. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY with a camera was taking pictures of that.

    Matt and Ross with a young fan
    Do click on the pic for the standard Flickr sizing options, including the gonzo-sized one

    One of the hardest shots to get was Ross’ trophy collection. The line to get autographs went right past it. Something I did leave out of the MKFC report was the spotty cell coverage; the indoor coverage from AT&T ranged from the Edge network to no data coverage at all, which isn’t good when trying to upload 600K-sized pics.

    Eventually, my number group got called, so I got into line. I ran into somebody who drove in from Iowa and also got in a bit too late to get a ticket. He heard from one of the Farm and Fleet employees that even though Matt and Ross were a bit late in getting in, they would try to stay a bit later after all 400 ticket-holders were taken care of to sign some more autographs.

    I got all the way in and handed my hat, which I picked up at the Miller Lite Nationals this year to ward off the rain, to Roy. He found the one part that isn’t black and signed it. He then passed it to Ross, who found a silver Sharpie and put his signature on it. Meanwhile, I handed my 2007 Carhartt race-won diecast to Matt to sign. Ross, forgetting that there was a one-item-per-driver limit, handed my hat to Matt, and he also signed that.

    I briefly talked to Matt about what might have been had he had more cars like the Charlotte one a couple months earlier, and he’s looking forward to getting a win or two out of the rest of the season. I had to head to a meeting to which I was already rather late, so I don’t know whether the gentleman from Iowa who got in a bit late was able to get something signed. Before I left, however, I decided to give DeWalt one last plug with the signed souvenirs since Farm and Fleet was so kind to have a DeWalt display.

    The night's booty
    Again, click on the pic for the standard Flickr range of sizes.

    October 14, 2009

    The utter hypocrisy of the Nobody but Fucking Liberals gang (formerly known as the National Football League)

    by @ 20:58. Filed under Politics - National, Sports.

    What do you suppose the difference is between this

    NFL owners meeting in Boston this week approved (Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson,) the Black Eyed Peas singer as a part owner, but the team has yet to complete an agreement with her, Dolphins chief executive officer Mike Dee said in an e-mail Tuesday.

    …and this

    (Rush) Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh’s participation had become a complication in the group’s efforts and the bid will move forward without him….

    Three-quarters of the league’s 32 owners would have had to approve any sale to Limbaugh and his group. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay predicted that Limbaugh’s potential bid would be met by significant opposition. Several players have also voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh’s potential ownership position, and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, who is black, urged players to speak out against Limbaugh’s bid….

    At the NFL owners meetings this week in Boston, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Limbaugh’s potential involvement in the league and said “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about.”

    Goodell added: “I’ve said many times before, we’re all held to a high standard here. I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL — absolutely not.”

    I guess singing about being a nymphomaniac while being an ardent member of the ObamiNation counts for far more than decrying the gang infusion of the NFL (something that Mr. Jane Skinner is supposedly against) while not being a card-carrying, or any other kind of, member of the ObamiNation.

    October 11, 2009

    Odd NFL fact of the day

    by @ 8:58. Filed under Sports.

    Despite the presence of five 4-0 teams (four of which are playing today), there are only 3 games where both teams are above .500:

    – Cincinnati (3-1) at Baltimore (3-1)
    – Atlanta (2-1) at San Francisco (3-1)
    – New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0)

    There is also only one game where both teams are under .500 – Cleveland (0-4) at Buffalo (1-3), despite all six teams that are winless (Cleveland, Tennessee, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and Carolina, which already had its bye) playing this weekend.

    BTW, take the Packers over the Bye because they are getting 3.

    October 6, 2009

    Moron math – How many 16-0 teams can there be?

    by @ 7:46. Filed under Sports.

    Notropis asked this question in last night’s Ace of Spades HQ MNF open thread:

    Here’s a fun math question (or not):

    Examine the NFL schedule, and determine what the maximum number of undefeated teams could be, at any point in the season.

    Ex: after week 1, I’d guess it’d be 16, unless someone had a week 1 bye.

    Since the order of the NFL schedule is too random to properly assign victories between Weeks 2 and 16 (e.g., a team that won in Week 1 may or may not face another 1-0 team in Week 2), it is impossible to answer that without a Cray supercomputer.

    However, since the content of the NFL schedule is entirely predictable, we can figure out how many teams can finish 16-0. The schedule of every NFL team is made up of the following:
    – A home-and-home series against each of the other three division rivals.
    – A game apiece against the four teams of a single division in the other conference.
    – A game apiece against the three teams in the same conference that finished in the same divisional order the prior season (i.e. the NFC North champion will face the NFC East champion, the NFC South champion, and the NFC West champion).
    – A game apiece against the other three teams of a single division in the same conference.

    A single team that goes 16-0 (Team A) eliminates from a 16-0 possibility the other three teams in its division, all four teams of its “interconference” division schedule, the three teams that finished in the same divisional spot the prior season, and the other three teams of its “intraconference” division schedule. That leaves 6 teams in that same conference and 12 teams in the other conference that could go 16-0.

    A second team in the same conference that goes 16-0 (Team B) eliminates from a 16-0 possibility its two division rivals that didn’t face Team A, all four teams of its “interconference” division schedule, the two teams that finished in the same divisional spot the previous season that didn’t face Team A, and the team of its “intraconference” division schedule that didn’t face Team A. That leaves just 8 teams in the other conference that could go 16-0.

    The first team in the other conference that goes 16-0 (Team C) eliminates from a 16-0 possibility, at a minimum, its three division rivals and the team that finished in the same divisional spot the previous season that didn’t face Team A or Team B. If the “intraconference” division opponents for Team C are not the same as the “interconference” division opponents for Team A or Team B, Team C also eliminates the other 3 teams of that division.

    If, however, they are the same, a fourth team (Team D) could go 16-0.

    October 5, 2009

    The Do Not Disturb sign is lit

    by @ 19:30. Filed under Sports.

    My allergies are acting up too much to head out for the game, but I’ve got the not-so-big screen tuned into Channel 12.1 (or 34.1 if your PSIP is not working right) here in Milwaukee. I’ve got the iPod Touch fired up to keep up on Twitter, but the main focus will be on the Packers whupping up on the Vikes.

    Shoebox undoubtedly has a different take on that since he’s on the other side of the Mississippi (BTW, I see 3 picks, including a pick-6).

    Quick NRE poll – Who will win tonight?

    by @ 11:48. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

    It is the Battle of the Mississippi River, Part I tonight, as the Minnesota Vikings storm Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers Packers storm the Metrodome to take on the Vikings. First place in the NFC North will be on the line.

    Who will win tonight?

    Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

    • Vikings (57%, 8 Vote(s))
    • Packers (43%, 6 Vote(s))

    Total Voters: 14

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Vote quickly – I’m ending this at 7 pm.

    September 15, 2009

    Down in the hole early

    by @ 16:33. Filed under Sports.

    Once again, I proved that picking NFL games straight-up is easier than taking candy from a baby, but picking against the spread is the hardest thing in the universe. Let’s review the carnage:

    Tennessee 10 @ Pittsburgh 13 (-6.5-LOSS) – The Hines Ward fumble as Pittsburgh was headed in for a touchdown was the appropriate start to the season. Oh, did I mention I hate overtime?
    Chicago 15 @ Green Bay 21 (-3.5) – Both offensive lines were, in a word, offensive. Fortunately, the Bears’ o-line problems extended to their punt unit. Oh yeah; the under hit too.
    Minnesota 34 (-4.5) @ Cleveland 20 – Or at least it was an easy picking.
    Detroit 27 @ New Orleans 45 (-13.5) – TIIIIMBEEEEEEERRRRR!!!!!
    Miami 7 @ Atlanta 19 (-4) – What did I say about the Wildcat on Thursday?
    Kansas City 24 (+13) @ Baltimore 38 – I saw the scores. Now I’m a believer!
    Philadelphia 38 @ Carolina 10 (+2.5) – …and boy did that object move.
    Denver 12 @ Cincinnati 7 (-4) – It figures that the Game of the Weak would feature the Play of the Week.
    New York Jets 24 (+5) @ Houston 7 – The Barking Dog is back, and he is HUNGRY!
    Jacksonville 12 (+7-WIN) @ Indianapolis 14 – Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the closest rivalry of all?
    Dallas 34 (-6) @ Tampa Bay 21 – I may not know my spreads, but I know my overs.
    San Francisco 20 @ Arizona 16 (-6) – …but passing to Gore plus the Super Loser Curse equals disaster.
    Washington 17 @ New York Giants 23 (-6.5-LOSS) – It’s a good thing the Giants don’t play in New York City; Eli fired the shotgun 18 timees.
    St. Louis 0 (+8.5) @ Seattle 28 – I’m sure there’s a couple of high school teams can beat the Lambs.
    Buffalo 24 @ New England 25 (-11-LOSS) – That was a collapse of historic proportions from the first and only team to lose 4 Championship Games That Cannot Be Named™ in a row.
    San Diego 24 (-9-LOSS) @ Oakland 20 – And then there was one running back worth taking in the first round of a fantasy draft.

    That leaves me 7-9 ATS, 13-3 straight-up, and 2-0 on the over/under bonus plays. All in all, not a bad Weak One considering my historical suckitude on this.

    September 10, 2009

    2009 NFL Season – Week 1

    by @ 17:05. Filed under Sports.

    My joints are healed up after a disastrous 2008 and a meeting with Vito the Pipelayer. I can smell fall in the air, the first tree near the bunker is turning colors, and we’ve got the king of sports starting up tonight. As always, the lines come from Bodog, the nose picks are against the spread, and if you decide to bet using them, the management of No Runny Eggs cannot be held responsible for any legal, illegal or medical bills incurred.

    Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (-6.5) – This is oddly reminiscent of when the Tennesseans were in Houston and known as the Oilers. If only this were in January in the snow, it would be a perfect game.
    Chicago @ Green Bay (-3.5) – Meet the new boss; same as the old boss. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the over/under is 46, so run, don’t walk to your local bookie and limbo the under.
    Minnesota (-4.5) @ Cleveland – It’s going to be easy pickings for the Vikings’ defense (side note; I’m trying to not drive away the Minnesota readership this year, at least before Week 4).
    Detroit @ New Orleans (-13.5) – Let there be lumber!
    Miami @ Atlanta (-4) – Now that we’ve had the Wildcat for a full season, it can be stopped. Without that, the Dolphins are nothing.
    Kansas City (+13) @ Baltimore – I know the Chefs are on the menu, but I am not at all convinced that the OldBrowns can score.
    Philadelphia @ Carolina (+2.5) – It’s the case of the resistable force (Eagles with a 1-3 road opener record in the last 4 years) meeting the movable object (Panthers with a 1-4 home opener record over the last 5 years).
    Denver @ Cincinnati (-4) – This is the Game of the Weak. My sympathies if you are forced to watch this one.
    New York Jets (+5) @ Houston – If you had a 401(k) left, I’d recommend raiding it for this barking dog. Having a mobile MASH unit going into Week 1 like the Texans have is hazardous to a team’s season.
    Jacksonville (+7) @ Indianapolis – There is one certainty about this rivalry; the game will be closer than it appears in the mirror.
    Dallas (-6) @ Tampa Bay – The only thing I can figure is the bookies flip-flopped the over/under with the Packer/Bear game. Take the over-39 and RUN like Marion Barber.
    San Francisco @ Arizona (-6) – All Gore and no passing makes the Niners very beatable.
    Washington @ New York Giants (-6.5) – I wonder if Eli Manning will use the shotgun.
    St. Louis (+8.5) @ Seattle – I know a few college teams that could probably beat what either of these teams will be trotting out of the trainers’ room.
    Buffalo @ New England (-11) – History will be made as the Bills will become the first team to lose 12 straight to one opponent.
    San Diego (-9) @ Oakland – For extra cash, take LT -9 against the Raiders.

    Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 9/10/2009) – If you’re a wimp and simply want the winners, head on down to Ick’s Corner for them, and to enter Ick’s straight-up contest.

    The 2009 NFL preview

    by @ 16:23. Filed under Sports.

    The NFL kicks off tonight, so it’s time once again to crack out the crystal ball. Let’s see if the tape-and-glue job holds up any better this year…

    NFC North
    Green Bay (10-6) – The good: The starters look dominant, especially that new-fangled 3-4 defense. The bad: If ANYBODY gets hurt, this season is lost. The ugly: Turkey Day in Detroit. The takeaway: A third-place schedule is just what the Packer faithful ordered.
    Minnesota (9-7) – The good: AP, a stifling defense, and a serious upgrade at QB. The bad: That upgrade involves a head case. The ugly: Favre is suggesting that he won’t play the entire year, and Jackson/Rosenfels at 100% are not as good as Favre at 50%. The takeaway: It’s a yo-yo year.
    Chicago (8-8) – The good: A shiny new QB. The bad: The defense is yet another year older. The ugly: Sophomore Slump is scheduled for Matt Forte. The takeaway: Bears fans; be thankful you get to play the Lions twice.
    Detroit (1-15) – The good: No more curses, no more Millen, nobody has ever gone winless for two straight seasons in the NFL. The bad: No improvement on the field. The ugly: They’re so bad The Onion made fun of them. The takeaway: Their best chance of beating somebody is the trap game on Turkey Day.

    And the rest of the NFL, with the minimalist approach:
    NFC East:
    New York Giants
    Philadelphia (Wild Card)
    Dallas
    Washington

    NFC South:
    Atlanta
    Carolina (Wild Card)
    New Orleans
    Tampa Bay

    NFC West:
    Arizona (by default)
    San Francisco
    Seattle
    St. Louis

    AFC North:
    Pittsburgh
    Baltimore (Wild Card)
    Cincinnati
    Cleveland

    AFC East:
    New England
    Miami
    New York Jets
    Buffalo

    AFC South:
    Tennessee
    Indianapolis (Wild Card)
    Jacksonville
    Houston

    AFC West:
    San Diego
    Denver
    Kansas City
    Oakland

    The Championship Game That Cannot Be Mentioned™:
    Pittsburgh over Atlanta

    The Week 1 picks will be up shortly.

    July 24, 2009

    No more Bees

    by @ 7:09. Filed under Sports.

    DeWalt will not be back on the #17 Roush Fenway Ford driven by Matt Kenseth next year. That ends a 10-year relationship with Roush/Roush Fenway, and an 11-year relationship with Kenseth.

    Roush Fenway needs to lose a team after this season to get down to the Hendrick-standard 4 teams. Kenseth does have a multi-year deal with Roush Fenway, along with Greg Biffle (whose sponsor, 3M, is not signed beyond 2009) and Carl Edwards (whose sponsor, Aflac, is signed through 2011). David Ragan and Jamie McMurray are currently signed only through 2009, though Ragan’s sponsor, UPS, does have a multi-year deal with Roush Fenway. Let the speculation begin.

    June 29, 2009

    The last NASCAR race at the Mile already run?

    by @ 12:36. Filed under Business, Sports.

    Don Walker reports that Wisconsin Motorsports, which promotes the races held at the Milwaukee Mile, owes NASCAR $1,878,228 for the races that ran earlier this month. Late last week, Claude Napier, head of Wisconsin Motorsports, acknowledged that he still owed NASCAR money, but it was not known at that time just how much money was owed.

    As part of a deal Wisconsin Motorsports and NASCAR inked the day before before the scheduled running of the Camping World Truck Series Race on June 19, Wisconsin Motorsports acknowledged that it would not be able to pay the sanctioning fees in full, and that all the revenue generated by the races that would normally go first to Wisconsin Motorsports would instead go to NASCAR. Thanks in part to a rain delay in the Truck Series race, there were approximately 7,500 people that attended that race the early afternoon of June 20, while approximately 35,000 attended the Nationwide Series race held in the evening of June 20.

    Meanwhile, questions are still swirling about whether the Indy Racing League was paid for its May race, and whether the IRL will return to Milwaukee next year. The IRL continues to avoid answering whether it got paid, while Terry Angstadt, the president of IRLs commercial division, told the Indianapolis Star that Milwaukee’s presence on their 18-race schedule was in doubt because of promoter issues.

    Both Napier and the Legislative Audit Bureau both state that the Mile will lose money this year. What is telling is the State Fair’s reaction to the troubles of the company they brought in after firing the previous promoter earlier this year – they’re just going to sit back and watch the whole thing implode.

    April 28, 2009

    New NRE poll – What will the official team of NASCAR (Hendrick Motorsports) be driving next year?

    With the news that GM, the parent company of Chevrolet, is seeking a government takeover, the Car and Driver April Fool’s Day joke about the Obama Administration forcing them (and Chrysler) out of NASCAR is quite a bit closer to reality. With that in mind, it’s time for another NRE poll, focusing on the official team of NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports.

    I’ll leave it to your discretion on whether to count a Chevy Impala with all the badges removed as a non-factory-sponsored Chevy or “something else”. The cars IROC ran in their last couple years of existence were Pontiac Trans Ams, but since GM stopped making them (and ultimately pulled Pontiac out of motorsports), they bore no GM badges.

    What will the official team of NASCAR (Hendrick Motorsports) be driving next year?

    Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

    • NASCAR will be out of business (26%, 10 Vote(s))
    • Toyotas (18%, 7 Vote(s))
    • Non-factory-sponsored Chevys (13%, 5 Vote(s))
    • Something else (13%, 5 Vote(s))
    • Factory-sponsored Chevys (11%, 4 Vote(s))
    • Fords (11%, 4 Vote(s))
    • Hendrick Motorsports will be out of business (5%, 2 Vote(s))
    • Dodges (either factory-sponsored or non-factory-sponsored) (3%, 1 Vote(s))

    Total Voters: 38

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    March 27, 2009

    Now take him to be tortured

    by @ 6:26. Filed under Sports.

    Now that my bracket has been been beheaded courtesy Villanova, with a 3rd Final Four team also eliminated, I’m ready to pack my bags for the one place worse than Detroit, the Hartz Mountains of Asia.

    In lieu of marinara, I ask that you send ligaments.

    March 22, 2009

    Quad damage Sunday

    by @ 22:39. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

    I’ll start with the bad news on the bracket first. I went 4-4 on today’s games, losing my 1-8 upset special as Oklahoma State couldn’t quite get the job done against Pitt (which made my still-open 1st-round semi-scientific wild-assed guess 67% wrong). I also can’t show in the AoSHQ tourney (down to a potential best of 5th with 153 points) thanks to the Cowboy choke. Further, both Wisconsin and Marquette (who I had going out in the 1st) bowed out today. Finally, statistical analysis proved no better than SSWAG, as I am not missing 9 of the Sweet 16, 4 of the Elite 8, or 2 of the Final Four.

    Now, the good. That was my only miss among the 11 games that didn’t die in the first round, and I had OSU not going past the Sweet 16. I’m still just missing the quarter of my Elite and Final brackets I was at the end of the day Friday (damn the Midwest and South brackets).

    A bit of housekeeping – the which #1 is out first poll is still open because we still have all four #1s still in it. Do choose wisely as seconds do count. Don’t take the early tentative schedule courtesy Yahoo Sports as the final word (though the days are solid):
    – West – UConn and Purdue (5-seed) Thursday at 6:07 pm (first regional semifinal)
    – East – Pitt and Xavier (4-seed) Thursday at 6:27 pm (first regional semifinal)
    – Midwest – Louisville and Arizona (12-seed) Friday at 6:07 pm (first regional semifinal)
    – South – UNC and Gonzaga (4-seed) Friday at approximately 8:57 pm (second regional semifinal)

    I did not and will not reset the poll, so if you already voted (especially for UNC, like me), you’re stuck. However, unlike the first two rounds, I will suspend the poll while games involving #1s are being played.

    Which #1 will be the first out of the 2009 Big Dance (seconds do count)?

    Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

    • Pittsburgh (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • North Carolina (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • Connecticut (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • Louisville (10%, 1 Vote(s))

    Total Voters: 10

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    March 21, 2009

    No Damage Saturday

    by @ 21:41. Filed under Sports.

    Good news – out of the 6 games I had an interest in today, my teams won all 6. Yes, Gonzaga, Duke and Purdue (yes, I did take a couple of Big Ten teams to be Sweet) were too close, but as the title says, I had no further damage.

    Now, the bad news – because North Carolina and Villanova both won, I can do no better than 3rd in the AoSHQ bracket. At least I have more teams locked into the Sweet 16 than locked out.

    Bracketology life support

    by @ 2:06. Filed under Sports.

    Well, we’re through the first round, and it’s time to review the damage so far. First, let’s take the shredded predictions:

    The Marquette Care Bear…er, Golden Chickens will be able to beat the rush out of Boise tomorrow. Oops; they somehow survived Utah State. Unfortunately, because they’re the nightcap, the Wisconsin Bagders can’t say the same. Actually, the Badgers managed to come back to force OT and ultimately win.
    – Once again, no #16 seed will win. Louisville did have a 1st-half scare, and East Tennessee State almost closed the deal on Pitt. However, the #16s are now a perfect 0-100 in the actual tourney (not counting the play-in game between #64 and #65).
    This year’s Cindy is Butler, with Mississippi State being the lowest-seeded 1st-round winner. Picked the wrong Horizon team; Cleveland State was the lowest-seed 1st-round winner.
    Call me crazy, but I see three Big Ten teams making it out of the first round. Off by 1.
    – For those of you participating in the third annual “Which #1 will be knocked out first” poll, I am not calling for a repeat of last year’s all-#1 Final Four. In fact, Pitt and UNC will not make the Sweet 16. Yet to be determined.

    Only the safest of predictions came in, and then only because Pitt finally got the choke out of their throats. So, what did that do to the bracket?

    – 11 first-round losses
    – 5 games completely meaningless to me this weekend
    – A quarter of my Elite Eight dead and buried
    – My Southern regional champ packed up and back in class

    I could look on the bright side and point out my national championship game is intact. However, I tend to say, “I positively hate this fucking place,” when asked for a positive attitude check. Instead, I’ll apply some statistical analysis:

    Current-round loss rate – 11/32
    Next-round loss rate – 5/16
    3rd-round-out loss rate – 1/4 (call it a bit higher)
    4th-round-out loss rate – 1/4 (call it a bit lower)

    Projected number of missing Sweet 16 teams after 2nd round = 5 + (11 * 11/32) = 9 missing Sweet 16 teams
    Projected number of missing Elite 8 teams after 2nd round = 2 + (6 * 5/16) = 4 missing Elite 8 teams
    Projected number of missing Final 4 teams after 2nd round = 1 + (3 * 1/4) = 2 missing Final 4 teams
    Estimated probability of missing at least one of the National Championship Game teams after the 2nd round = 50%

    I could extrapolate further, but it’s too depressing.

    March 20, 2009

    Bracket of Despair

    by @ 6:56. Filed under Sports.

    I don’t know why I do these things. The first game saw me lose one of my Final Four teams, and a second Final Four team almost choked themselves right out of the tourney. I also lost a second Sweet 16 team on my way to a 10-6 start.

    The really bad news – the first day is usually my “best”. I am ready to declare the Bouncing Mozzarella rejected.

    March 19, 2009

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year for ballers

    by @ 10:39. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

    That’s right, the NCAA Mens’ Basketball Tournament is upon us. I’m already 0-1, incorrectly taking Alabama State over Morehead State. As a Moron, I should know better. Oh well, here’s the rest of my Bouncing Mozzarella bracketology. Selected lowhighlights:

    – The Marquette Care Bear…er, Golden Chickens will be able to beat the rush out of Boise tomorrow. Unfortunately, because they’re the nightcap, the Wisconsin Bagders can’t say the same.
    – Once again, no #16 seed will win.
    – This year’s Cindy is Butler, with Mississippi State being the lowest-seeded 1st-round winner.
    – Call me crazy, but I see three Big Ten teams making it out of the first round.
    – For those of you participating in the third annual “Which #1 will be knocked out first” poll, I am not calling for a repeat of last year’s all-#1 Final Four. In fact, Pitt and UNC will not make the Sweet 16.

    That brings me to the Third Annual Which #1 Will Drop First poll. As always, seconds do count, so pick carefully.

    Which #1 will be the first out of the 2009 Big Dance (seconds do count)?

    Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

    • Pittsburgh (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • North Carolina (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • Connecticut (30%, 3 Vote(s))
    • Louisville (10%, 1 Vote(s))

    Total Voters: 10

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    February 22, 2009

    Two in a row!

    by @ 21:36. Tags: ,
    Filed under Sports.

    Matt Kenseth has become the 5th driver in the history of NASCAR to win the first 2 races of the season in the premier series. While there was some rain this time, it was the Bees that made the difference. Other than one bad stop about mid-race, they picked up a lot of spots on pit road, and Matt held off Jeff Gordon at the end.

    On to Vegas and a shot at doing what they say can’t be done – start the season 3-for-3.

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