Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2016 Stay-At-Home Bowl: Conference Championships

Well, I did such a great job with last week's preview, that I can just read the state of affairs off there. If New England goes to the Super Bowl, there is no winner. If Pittsburgh does, we have a winner, which will be Dallas if Green Bay goes, and Philly if Atlanta goes.

As a Redskins fan, I would not like to see either team win anything, even something that I made up, but I will still be rooting for Pittsburgh. (Despite the fact that Tom Brady is an alumnus of the finest institute of higher learning known to mankind.)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bowie Restaurant Project: (95) Chick-Fil-A

15505 Annapolis Rd,
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 1/12/2017
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 1
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

It's been about a year since my last restaurant review. Does that mean the Bowie Restaurant Project is dead? Possibly! For various reasons, I've more or less stopped going out to eat, so I'm not sure I'll be covering Bowie's newest restaurants, or returning to the two older ones I hadn't reviewed. If I were quicker on the draw, I would have changed my criteria and reviewed those two and declared the project complete. But a bunch of new ones have opened that I may never get around to.

Bowie has a Chick-Fil-A now. No, not that one. That's barely outside city limits. No, not that one. That's way outside city limits. In the rebuilt Marketplace, there's a Chick-Fil-A, and on a day when I had less stopped eating out than usual, I stopped by.

My kids won't eat at Chick-Fil-A because they got sick once after eating there. So I was by myself. I had a perfectly reasonable drive-through experience. I don't really love fried chicken sandwiches, so I got the grilled chicken. The fries were pretty good. By the time I picked the kids up from school, my stomach was doing flip-flops. To be clear, I don't blame Chick-Fil-A; some people don't react well to certain locations. But given my reaction, and the fact that I don't like fried chicken sandwiches, I'll have to stick to 2 stars for this location.

Monday, January 09, 2017

2016 Stay-At-Home Bowl: Divisional Round Playoffs

For a reminder of what I'm talking about, and a preview of this year's Stay-At-Home bowl, please see last week's post.

Well, those wild card playoffs really collapsed the timelines, didn't they? With Miami and Detroit out, Tennessee's possibilities are narrowed to KC-Green Bay and Houston-Green Bay. With the Giants out, Philadelphia is down to Pittsburgh-Atlanta and Pittsburgh-Dallas. With the Giants and Lions out, Green Bay is down to Houston-Seattle. Dallas is down to Pittsburgh-Green Bay. Tampa still has KC-Atlanta and KC-Seattle. Pittsburgh, Houston and KC are eliminated. San Diego still has Houston-Atlanta. Atlanta and Seattle are eliminated.

To recap:
If New England goes to the Super Bowl, nobody wins the SAH Bowl.
If KC goes, there is a winner, unless Dallas goes.
If Pittsburgh goes, there is a winner, unless Seattle goes.
If Houston goes, there is a winner unless Dallas goes.

So six teams are alive under nine of the sixteen remaining scenarios. There will be no shared victory this year.

Since the Patriots are the overwhelming favorites in the NFC, there is a good chance of no winner. Still, the Steelers are second-favorites, and a Pittsburgh-Dallas SB would make Philly the winner. Stay tuned next week, when we will be down to four teams, four possible Super Bowls, and anywhere between one and four possible stay-at-home scenarios.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Geocaching Update: Double FTF

In my last geocaching update, I talked about enjoying seeing particular statistics change. Here are a couple of statistics I just got to change:
I described the "First to Find" (FTF) side game in a post from last June on the occasion of my third FTF. (It's an unofficial statistic about who finds a cache first after it's been published.) The other day, I received an alert a few miles away from where I was, so I drove over there. It required clambering down a hill and jumping over a small stream.
Once I was there, however, the cache wasn't too hard to find. It's actually in this picture.
It looks like the second finder showed up 25 minutes later. On my way there, however, I got an alert for a second hide less than a mile away. This was not a coincidence -- they were both hidden by the same user. It would have been unlikely for it to be otherwise -- these were only the 4th and 5th caches hidden in the DC area in 2017.

So I rushed off to the next cache. It was a little trickier, but I persisted. The guy 25 minutes behind me on the first walked to the second, and failed to find it an hour after I claimed the FTF. I didn't think to take a picture there.

So, two FTFs in one day, and my fifth and sixth overall.

What other statistics have I updated since my last post?
  • I am up to 227 caches found overall.
  • 2016 was my most productive caching year, with 134 total finds.
  • I have now found caches hidden in 125 months, which keeps pace, as the total number of months geocaching has been around ticks up to 201.

Friday, January 06, 2017

2016 Stay-At-Home Bowl Preview

Welcome to the second annual Android's Dungeon Stay-At-Home Bowl preview. As is our tradition, we begin by reminding you what the Stay-At-Home Bowl is. It's awarded to the team or teams who defeat both Super Bowl participants. Last year, nobody won it.

Why is it the 2016 Stay-At-Home Bowl rather than the 2017 edition? Is it in honor of the regular season where most of the games were played? Or did I just forget what year it was last year when I ran the 2015 Bowl? Who knows?

Before the playoffs start this year, which teams are eligible? And which teams should be considered favorites?

The way I thought about this last year is that there are 36 possible Super Bowl matchups at this point, since there are 6 teams left in each conference. Let's consider the total number of possible Super Bowl matchups that will make each team a "winner."

In this scenario, Tennessee is the favorite, since they were the only team to defeat multiple playoff teams from each conference. They win if the Super Bowl is Miami-Detroit, Miami-Green Bay, KC-Detroit, KC-Green Bay, Houston-Detroit, or Houston-Green Bay.

Two teams have three possibilities: Philadelphia and Green Bay.

Two teams have two possibilities: Dallas and Tampa Bay.

Six teams have one possibility: Pittsburgh, Houston, KC, San Diego, Atlanta and Seattle.

As last year, playoff teams are heavily represented here (7 out of 11) and stay-at-home teams make the playoffs a lot (7 out of 12).

Looking back at the Tennessee scenarios, those seem pretty unlikely Super Bowls. So let's grade each team's chances based on the seeds of the playoff teams they beat. Basically, assign six points to beating the number one seed, down to one point for beating the number six seed. For each possible scenario, multiply the two numbers together, and add all possible scenarios. So beating both number one seeds (hypothetically, nobody did) would be worth 36 points, while beating both number six seeds (as Tennessee did) would be worth 1.

I won't run down the full list, but Philadelphia is in first at 52 points with Pittsburgh-Dallas, Pittsburgh-Atlanta and Pittsburgh-Giants being relatively likely Super Bowls. Then comes Tampa Bay with 45 points on the strength of Kansas City-Atlanta and Kansas City-Seattle. Tennessee's six scenarios garner 36 points, and Seattle gets 35 from New England-Atlanta and Miami-Atlanta.

Stay tuned next week, when we cut down to 16 scenarios.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: Champions League Changes

One of the questions hanging over the computation of the 2017 UEFA coefficients has been how they would affect the 2018-9 qualifying, given that major changes are coming to the Champions League, and by extension, the Europa League.

For 2017-8, entry is determined by the 2016 coefficients. There is a table put together by the indispensable Bert Kassies that shows what happens to a nation's teams at various rankings. In the range of realistic interest for Scotland, countries 13-15 are equivalent, 16 and 17 are, 18-24 are, and 25 down to 45 are.

In other words, if your national coefficient drops from 15 to 16, your league champion enters a round earlier, your second place team enters the Europa League rather than the Champions League, your third-place team enters in the first round of Europa League qualifying rather than the third, and your fourth-place team doesn't get to play European football. (That's a big deal!)

If your coefficient drops from 17 to 18, your national cup winner enters in the second round rather than the third, and your second-place team enters in the first round.

If your coefficient drops from 24 to 25, your cup winner also enters in the first round. (Scotland landed at 25 for 2016. It is possible this will get reshuffled to spare their cup winner the first round matches.)

This month, UEFA approved the new access list for 2018/9 qualifying. Unfortunately, they then neglected to release it. So it fell to Kassies to piece it together from publicly-available information and leaks on his message board. Based on his list, the breakpoints are in the same places.

The differences are what happens at those breakpoints. The drop from 15 to 16 only pushes your third-place team back one round, since they were only getting to enter in the second round anyway. The drop from 17 to 18 makes your national champions enter in the first round of Champions League qualifying. (Previously the first round was only for the lowest-ranked associations; there's a new pre-first round for them.)

So, how does this affect Scotland? For 2018/9, not much. If the Cypriot and Bulgarian teams both have amazing runs through the Europa League knockout phase, Scotland could conceivably be knocked down to 25th again. But that is very unlikely.

From 2019 onward, aside from avoiding that 24th/25th drop, now a climb to 17th is even more important, as it spares the national champions one extra round of qualifying. Unfortunately, they would have to make up almost 5 points on Denmark in next year's competitions (as well as lesser amounts on other teams) to get up there. For 2020, however, they need less than 4 points on Austria -- and they have two years to do it. Two years of solid performances by Celtic and Rangers could have them within striking distance. 2021? Well, by that point, the rules will most likely change again.