Thursday, December 10, 2020

Geocaching: Fall 2020

Well, I'm glad I'm doing meteorological fall (so it consists of exactly three months), but I don't have a lot to report.

I found 12 caches in this season, none of them far afield, given the state of the world.

In September, I started out with a relatively new one in Maryland, near a Target pickup I did. Then I did a couple within biking distance of home. One of them was my first August 2020 cache (though it was archived in November) -- that's Month 212.

I got one near a drive-through CVS while I waited for a prescription to be filled, and then a couple of more in Maryland.

October was even slower. I got three near home, and one in Maryland shortly after it was placed to give me October 2020 (Month 213).

I only got two in November, one on a bike ride, and another "waiting" find.

At 110, I likely won't exceed my all-time record of 134 from 2016, but I have a good chance of beating my second-place total of 119 in 2018.

I'll count this as 34 missing months, since December was not available in Fall. Still, that's up 1 from Summer, and I suspect I won't make much progress on most of my geocaching goals until travel is possible again.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Where's Jon? Surprise Non-Virtual Canadian Edition


Jon giving a talk
Pictures are now on-line from a conference I went to last year in Waterloo.

I spent some time finding a couple of images of me in the audience before stumbling across this one of me giving my talk.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Group-Stage Preview

We have group stage! For two clubs!
Just like last year! And the year before that!

The Coefficient

What I take from this is that Scotland is firmly entrenched with two Champions League spots for 2022/23. In other words, to drop below 15th, they would need to be caught not only by Denmark and Cyprus (difficult when each nation only has 1 team left in Europe), but one other nation would need to make up more than 4.5 points in the group stage and beyond.

In fact, let us set aside anything even as unlikely as Scotland being caught by Denmark or themselves catching Austria. What is at stake for the coefficient in the group stage?

Scotland, by holding on to 13th, would have their champion enter the Champions League no earlier than the third qualifying round, and likely the playoff round. If they could make it to 12th, they would guarantee that playoff round slot, and one of their Europa Conference League teams would get to enter into that competition's third qualifying round, instead of the second. If they make it to 11th, they would likely (but not guaranteed) go straight into the Champions League group stages.

(The "likely"s in the above are if the Champions League winner qualifies for the Champions League group stages another way -- that was true of seven of this year's quarterfinalists, including the eventual winner. There are other weird things that could happen, because UEFA.)

Using Fivethirtyeight's match predictions, we expect Scotland to gain 3 points in the group stage, while Turkey gets 1 point, and Ukraine gets 2.5. That would put Scotland barely ahead of Ukraine, and probably not settle things if some clubs go on to the knockout rounds. I guess my summary would be, expect Turkey to fade, and despite Ukraine's three teams, two of them being in the Champions League means more losses are expected there.


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Where's Jon? Virtually Québec City Edition


These online conference photos are easier, because my name is generally on my picture. I forgot to turn on my camera for this one, so it's my profile picture. That's fine, I suppose, as I was in a bike shop at the time, trying to use a virtual background. This one is from the Québec-Maine Number Theory Conference last weekend. I still really want to go to Québec City. Maybe 2022 or 2024.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Third-Round Preview

All four made it through to the Europa League third round (Motherwell barely), so let's preview where the third round and possible playoff round have us headed.

The Coefficient

Still the same 10-16 neighborhood within 4 points of Scotland. They gained a little bit on Ukraine in the race for 12th.

There's not a lot of movement this year, because of the reduced maximum points (0.75 instead of 1) for a club winning and a guaranteed parting gift of at least 0.25 for clubs that lose.

In order to keep rising, Scotland needs both halves of the Old Firm to progress to the group stage. In order to tread water, they need one half. If either of the other sides makes it through to the playoff round, I consider that a bonus.


Celtic (ELO 1629), as expected, return to action against Riga (ELO 1203). That should be an easy win, but away matches are tricky, especially in this weird year. If they make it through, they face the winners between Bosnian champions Sarajevo (ELO 1272) and Montenegrin champions Budućnost Podgorica (ELO 1098). It's a clear path if they can take advantage of it, but they will be away again.


Rangers (ELO 1607) blasted Lincoln Red Imps 5-0, to set up a showdown with Willem II (ELO 1468). They should win, but it probably won't be easy. If they take care of business in the Netherlands, they host the winner of Galatasaray (ELO 1522) and Hadjuk Split (ELO 1460). Definitely possible, but not as easy of a path as Celtic.


Motherwell (ELO 1303) needed penalties to see off Coleraine, which meant they missed out on 0.125 for the coefficient in the process. They now face Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ELO 1382). It's not a definite loss, but it is likely. If they sneak through, they host the winner of APOEL (ELO 1590) and Zrinjiski Mostar (ELO 1276). That doesn't make group stage likely, but again, this is a weird year.


Aberdeen (ELO 1422) took care of Viking FK, but face another road match at Sporting CP (ELO 1614). A win there means they face either LASK (ELO 1636) or  Dunajská (ELO 1363). The Aberdonians definitely face the hardest path of any Scottish side.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Second Round Review/Preview

Well, this is the last time this season we have to worry about the disconnect between the Champions League rounds and the Europa League rounds, as Celtic got bounced out of the Champions League. For reasons I don't understand, all four Scottish teams are away for the third round.

The Coefficient


 There's not change worth mentioning here.


Celtic (ELO 1623) lost their second-round Champions League game (still picking up .25 for the coefficient because COVID), so they are idle until the third round, where they face the winner of Riga (ELO 1213) and Tre Fiori (ELO 701). Let's say it's going to be Riga, and let's say Celtic better win.


Rangers (ELO 1605) take on Lincoln Red Imps (ELO 904). Another "better win" situation. If they do, it's on to face the winner of Progrès Niederkorn (ELO 1124) and Willem II (ELO 1469). Willem II could prove a tough opponent, but it's the type of match Rangers needs to (keep) winning if they want to return to, let's say, the top 100 European clubs.


Motherwell (ELO 1296) are having a terrible domestic season, and will hope to salvage good news against Coleraine (ELO 1090), their second consecutive Northern Irish opponent. They should win, but I'm not too confident. Success would see them up against the winner of Laçi (ELO 1214) and Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ELO 1387). I don't see them getting past Hapoel.


Would someone please get Derek McInnes to the group stage? Aberdeen (ELO 1418) take on Viking (ELO 1360), and then hopefully Sporting CP (ELO 1618). Oof.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Geocaching in the Time of Coronavirus

Well, my record pace of geocaching screeched to a halt with the spread of the pandemic, so I am back to longer intervals between updates. It was not so much that the restrictions inhibited my geocaching (though the lack of travel has hurt), but more time was required for other things, like stocking up on groceries and taking care of kids who were suddenly home from school. Before the pandemic hit, I found two geocaches in March. One during a quick trip to Leesburg, another while camping. 

I returned to the geocaching scene by finding one on Father's Day.  That earned me the "Blue Switch Day 2020" (Souvenir 69). Never mind what Blue Switch Day is -- the important thing is that you can get the souvenir all year long, because coronavirus.

Then I found three in July, including my first ones hidden in March 2020 (Month 208) and April 2020 (Month 209). I also picked up a souvenir in the Memory Lane promotion (Souvenir 70), which is lasting all year long, because coronavirus.

In August I found 10 geocaches, including my first from July 2020 (Month 210) and June 2010 (Month 211). I picked up another Memory Lane souvenir (Souvenir 71). Things have really picked up now that I am biking regularly.

 My months left to find has gone up to 33 from 31, which is not bad, considering. There was one from August 2020 that I biked to on the 30th, but forgot a pen, so I didn't search for it. I suspect in September I can get at least two months and start shrinking that number again.

My future updates will, for now, align with the meteorological seasons, because it is much easier to follow calendar months.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Late August Update

After finishing the last update, I discovered that this season's schedule does not have the two Leagues' schedules even close to aligning. So if I waited until the end of the first qualifying round in the Europa League, I would miss previewing the second qualifying round in the Champions League. So here's a brief update.

The Coefficient

Since I'm considering nations within 4 points of Scotland, the window has shifted up after Celtic's win. Austria, Switzerland and Greece have not had any clubs play yet, so the first is added to the top of the chart while the latter two drop out.


After their thumping of Reykjavik, Celtic (ELO 1636) will be less heavily favored against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros (ELO 1501).


They are idle until the second round.


Motherwell (ELO 1309) will host Northern Ireland's Glentoran (ELO 1113).


Aberdeen (ELO 1400) will host NSI Runavik (ELO 902).

Monday, August 10, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 First-Round Preview

As a reminder from this weekend, here is where we stand entering the 2020/21 European football season (with the caveat that we haven't fully exited the 2019/20 season.)

I think the primary rooting interest we have is for Scotland to stay above 16th, and thus keep both Champions League places. Secondarily, it would be good to build up a solid lead, as I suspect the past two seasons' success will be hard to sustain once the points are spread among five clubs next year.

COVID notes

Instead of the first three rounds being two-legged ties, they are one-legged. UEFA has decided to handle this in coefficent calculation by giving 3 points to the winner, and 1 point to the loser (2 points if it goes to penalty kicks). This is as if everyone who advances does so with a win and a draw. Points are, as usual, halved in these rounds, and then divided by the number of clubs from that nation.

It is hard to know what effect this

First-Round Preview

Celtic's Champions League road begins with a home match against KR Reykjavik, the champions of Iceland. Expect Celtic, which Clubelo has with an ELO of 1634, to be favored against the Reykjavik, which has an ELO of 1152.

 If they win, they host the winner of Ferencvaros (ELO 1507) and Djurgarden (ELO 1475), unless travel restrictions prevent hosting Djurgarden, in which case the match would be at a neutral site.

Rangers is idle until the second round.

Motherwell (ELO 1307) host the winner of Glentoran (ELO unknown) and HB Torshvan (ELO 910).

Aberdeen (ELO 1400) host the winner of NSI Runavik (ELO 902) or Barry Town United (ELO 980).

I think anything less than a sweep would be disappointing. That would equal 3*3*0.5/4=0.825 for the coefficient. Note that the theoretical worst is 3*1*0.5/4=0.375. So Scotland will continue to be in 13th place going into the second round. Note that there is no practical effect between 13th and 14th place.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Knockout Round Review

Well, Rangers lost to Bayer Leverkeusen on Thursday, ending Scotland's presence in Europe. Perhaps more importantly, Olympiakos went out, so Greece can't catch Scotland. Scotland is ensured of finishing no lower than 15th. (They will get 14th unless Basil wins the Europa league, which Fivethirtyeight gives a 4% chance of happening.)

I think Scotland has earned the right for us to look at 1-18, rather than just a thin band around them. Note that only five nations have earned more points so far this year than Scotland.

So that guarantees Champions League berths for the two teams that finish atop the Premiership this season, presumably Celtic and Rangers. The Scottish Cup winner (or third-place team if one of the top wins the Cup) goes to the Europa League, and the third- and fourth-placed teams (or fourth- and fifth- if as above) go to the new Europa Conference League.

Well, now that Scotland is not longer participating in European football, we have our traditional long break until the 2020/21 Champions League first-round draw, which is...tomorrow? Oh, dear. Well, then I will leave you with a look at where the nations stand entering this season.

Denmark starts below Scotland, but could move above it based on Copenhagen's performance in this season', last season', the 2020/21 Europa League. Switzerland can't catch up. I am keeping the band around Scotland a little wider this season, as the important thing is to avoid the drop below 15th.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Where's Jon? Online Edition

And now, the recurring feature where we look at conference photos and see where I am. This one is really easy.

This was from the Number Theory Online Conference. I feel obligated to point out that the conference was not this small, but not everyone could run the preferred conferencing software. There is also a Zoom picture containing other people. (And the usual number of people not showing up for either photo.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Early Preview

I hadn't been posting on this subject, mainly because there aren't any games being played, but at least there is finally some news.

There is no plan yet for finishing the 2019/20 Europa League, so we don't know what will happen with the coefficient, as a result. Fortunately, those results affect the coefficient for the 2021/22 European season, so we are in no hurry to see those results. In the very unlikely event that Rangers wins that competition, they will end up in the Group Stage of the 2020/21 Champions League. I'm going to ignore that possibility.

Scotland finally called off the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership, which settles the top 3 teams, who will get European places. Normally, the other European place goes to the Scottish Cup winner, or the 4th place team if the Scottish Cup winner is in the top 3. We don't yet know what's going to happen with the Scottish Cup, but...

The Telegraph is reporting that the top 4 clubs would end up with all 4 European places. (The only way this wouldn't have happened is if Hearts or Hibs managed to win the Scottish Cup.) The relevant rankings have Scotland at #20, so here is what to expect (if the 2020/21 Europa League takes place):
  1. Celtic enters in the first qualifying round of the Champions League. Presumably, recent Scottish success will mean this is the last year the Scottish champions enter so early.
  2. Rangers enters in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Again, recent Scottish success should make this the last year where the Scottish second placed team/Scottish Cup winners enter so early. But it's better than last year, where they ended up entering in the first round!
  3. Motherwell enters in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. Scotland is on track to bump that to the second round for the following season.
  4. Aberdeen enters in the first qualifying round of the Europa league. Again, if Scotland does well enough (keeps its coefficient at 14 or 15), that will get bumped to the second round in future years.
The last time I looked at European places, those were the four most likely teams to make it. I am happy with all of them except Motherwell, a smaller club whose league success is unlikely to translate to Europe. But I am resigned to the idea that there will almost always be one smaller Scottish club in Europe. Stephen Robinson seems to be a good manager there, so they have a chance to steal a few fractional points for the coefficient if he stays on.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 I'm #438

It has been about 8 1/2 years since I posted an update on my progress at on-line Dominion. (Long enough ago that Michigan beat Ohio State while I was playing.) Since then, Dominion has moved servers a couple of times. As a quarantine amusement, I started playing on the latest incarnation, The beginning rating is 38.8. Unfortunately, due to the increased load during quarantine, they stopped updating the ratings for a while. I was pretty sure I was better than that!

I guess I am, because today I logged in and had a rating of 54.3, which is good enough for 438th based on my games from the past few weeks.

(I only play 3-player, so I'm not sure how I'd do in the 2-player ratings instead of the 3/4-player ratings.)

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Geocaching: February 2020

I found 35 geocaches in February, my second busiest month ever. So I will continue reviewing things monthly.

I started the month on a geocaching streak, and bumped my longest streak from 7 to 8.
Included in that streak was a "Fun in All Directions" souvenir for finding one on 02/02/2020 (or 2020-02-02). That brings me to 68 souvenirs.

I started another streak on the 8th. On the 9th, I found my first February 2020 caches (Month 206).
I also got my 24th FTF (First to Find).
On the 16th, I found Minutes 35, 36, 37 and 39 for the West 77 Degrees Longitude Challenge.
I also found my first April 2010 cache (Month 207) that day.
On the 17th, in West Virginia, I found Minutes 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50 for the same challenge. One of those also gave me Minute 20 for the North 39 Degrees Latitude Challenge.
I also got my first 4.0/1.5 Difficulty/Terrain combo (D/T Combo #44).
On the 18th, I found a nice one on the Alexandria waterfront.
I stretched the streak through the 20th. I decided it was too much pressure to have that daily task competing with my other daily tasks (which are generally more important to my life).

So other than hitting the West 77 Challenge hard (I only have 6 caches left for that one), I didn't do a lot of stats this month compared to the number of caches I found. My Jasmer grid only got two additions, so I am one closer to filling this. (31 months left, not counting March 2020.)
My heavy caching has made this third-busiest year. And it's only one-sixth over.
My fastest 100 find is now down to 111 days:
My previous record was 210 days, ending April 20, 2018.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Round-of-16 Preview

This is the first time I have gotten to write two previews in the knockout round phase since I started blogging about Scotland's UEFA coefficient.

Against the odds, Rangers are the side that are through. Scotland has not quite, but almost, locked down 15th place, which will guarantee two Champions League places in 2021/22.

This range of teams is self-contained. By that, I mean, none of them can climb above 13th, and there are no teams below 19th place still active.

Round-of-32 Review

50 minutes into the return leg of their matchup with Copenhagen, Celtic was set to make the Round of 16. 84 minutes into it, they were set to compete in extra time. Then everything fell apart, and they lost in aggregate 4-2. At least they picked up 0.25 points for the coefficient before they went out.

Rangers, by contrast, had the opposite experience. They were down 2-0 with 66 minutes gone in the first leg, and ended up winning both legs of their tie with Braga. That's a full point for the coefficient and progression to the Round of 16.

Scotland ended up in 14th, as predicted, with about the number of points as predicted. In fact, 13th-18th were as expected, and Switzerland over-performed to take 19th instead of Croatia.

Round-of-16 Preview

Rangers drew Leverkeusen, probably the second-hardest draw after Manchester United. Still, Fivethirtyeight gives them a 21% chance of advancing. On average, they get one loss and one draw, which moves them ahead of Denmark if Copenhagen gets swept.

That's one way to assure that Scotland stays at 15th or above. Even if Rangers gets swept, they need Olympiakos and Basel both to go deep.

Dale Johnson of ESPN says that in order for Scotland to miss out, you'd need Olympiakos to reach the semi-final and Basel to reach the final. Those are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for Scotland to get bumped to 16th. Fivethirtyeight gives Olympiakos a 10% chance of making the semis, and Basel a 5% chance of making the final. The chance of both happening is about half a percent, so Scottish fans shouldn't be too worried.

Quarter-Final Sneak Peek

All I have to say here is that in the 21% of universes where Rangers makes the quarter final, I am supposed to be in Scotland during the return leg. (I guess there's about a 1 in 10 chance there will be a Rangers home match then.)

2020/21 Sneak Peek

Scotland is up to 12th for the starting of next year's race. All the nations here but Cyprus have teams remaining, so we could still be some small changes.

Here is how the race for the European places is going in the Premiership:

If a top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the top 4 teams all go to Europe):

  1. Celtic 100%
  2. Rangers 100%
  3. Aberdeen 70%
  4. Motherwell 65%
  5. Livingston 32%
  6. Hibernian 32%
  7. Kilmarnock 2%
If a non-top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the 4th place team misses out):
    1. Unnamed non-top 4 team 100%
    2. Celtic 100%
    3. Rangers 100%
    4. Aberdeen 45%
    5. Motherwell 31%
    6. Livingston 12%
    7. Hibernian 12%
    The big change from a few weeks ago is that Hibs are up, and Motherwell's down. Based on the relative resources, I think that's a good thing. Also, the Scottish Cup quarter-finals are set, so Kilmarnock, Livingston and Motherwell no longer have a path to Europe that way. However, Hearts, St. Johnstone, St. Mirren and Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle do. We'll see it narrowed down further over the weekend.

      Saturday, February 08, 2020

      Geocaching: January 2020

      I got into a weird habit of dividing my geocaching posts up by meteorological seasons. The last few seasons I found 17, 17, 9, 6, 10, 39, 37. This January, I found 47. So it seems time to move to months for a summary.

      Before getting to January 2020, I found two caches in the winter portion of December 2019 that I should acknowledge. On a stop on Skyline Drive, I found an earthcache, which gave me County 101 (Warren County, VA). On New Year's Eve, I found a cache to give me the Goodbye 2019 souvenir (64th souvenir).

      So, why 47 caches in January? Partially a desire to get more exercise, partially a well-timed trip to Colorado. 47 is of course, my busiest month.
      Get ready for many more stats I achieved in January.

      On January 1, I found a cache in Virginia, which gave me the Hello 2020 souvenir (65th souvenir), and the 3, 2, 1 go souvenir (it was the last day of a period in which I had to find 6 geocaches). It was also my first cache placed in March 2019 (Month 197).

      I had a busy weekend the first weekend of the year, which led to my best weekend yet, and second busiest day yet on Sunday.
      At the end of that Sunday, I had found some traditionals, some mysteries and a virtual when I saw a nearby, easy multicache. That's four types in one day.
      One of the caches I found that day was placed in May 2007 (Month 198), which finishes off all 2007 months for me.

      On my trip to Colorado, I decided to break my maximum distance in a day.
      The Colorado souvenir was my 67th.
      While staying in Denver, I found 10 of 13 counties in the North Central Colorado Urban Area. (I skipped the mountainous ones, since it was January.) Those were counties 102-111 for me.
      The week of the trip was my most in a week.
      My list of highest elevation caches looked substantially different, with only two caches from a 2007 cross-country drive remaining on the list, compared to the ones pre-trip.
      While I was out there, I also managed to add January 2010 (Month 199), September 2008 (Month 200), December 2018 (Month 201),  January 2020 (Month 202) and June 2011 (Month 203).

      Since Colorado is approximately the same latitude as Maryland and Virginia, I made some progress towards the North 39 Degrees Latitude Challenge, which requires me to find a cache in each minute of 39 Degrees North. After adding minutes 32, 33, 42, 44, 47, 49, 50, 58, I had 29 of the required minutes. (3 of the minutes were from a trip to California, where I may end up again this year.)

      On the trip, I added my 41st and 42nd difficulty/terrain combos.
      A very nice caching week, and not just statistically. There was also some very nice scenery. I wouldn't mind going back, and maybe hitting those mountain counties.

      Back in the East, I got my 22nd First-to-Find on the 24th (my birthday!).

      On the 26th, I knocked out a few more degrees. I picked up a cache in 38'43". I now have all the latitude minutes from 38'40" to 39'08". On the longitude side, I also got 77'06", 77'14", 77'16" and 77'38". I now have 45 of the 60 I need for the West 77 Degree Longitude Challenge. I now have all longitudes from 76'39" to 77'34".

      On that day of caching, I stopped for a bite to eat. I went to see if any caches were nearby, and one was. After finding it, I discovered it gave me December 2009 (Month 204) and my 43rd D/T combo.

      On the 28th, I picked up my 23rd FTF.
      Then, on the 30th, I found a May 2019 cache (Month 205).

      I am writing this in early February, so the stats below include a few caches I found this month, but no new months placed, I believe.

      I see four distinct groups of missing months. There are the "ancient caches" -- from 2000 or 2001 (8 missing months). Those are often ones people need to plan trips in order to get, as there are only a few from certain months.

      Then there are the "old caches" -- from 2002 to 2005 (11 missing months). These are rare, but not spectacularly so.

      Next we have the "middle-aged caches" -- 2008 to 2013 (10 missing months). Because they are not of historical value, they are less likely to be preserved, but often they will pop up at random.

      Finally, we have the "young caches" -- 2018 to present (3 missing months). They are not hard to find, but they are easy to miss as new months keep popping up on the calendar. (I am not counting February 2020, since this is a January post.)

      Saturday, February 01, 2020

      Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Knockout Round Preview

      This year both halves of the Old Firm made it through to the Round of 32 in the Europa League! There are important consequences, detailed below!

      I tell you, it's a long wait between the draw (December 16th) and the first games (February 20th). Now is as good of a time to do this post as any, though.

      The most points a team can earn in the Europa League knockout stage is 21, while the most two teams can earn together is 40. This knowledge was used to expand the table excerpt I usually give to go all the way down to Sweden (who can earn 21/4=5.25 for the coefficient and catch Scotland) and up to Ukraine (who can be caught by Scotland adding 40/4=10).

      Group-Stage Review

      Celtic went 4-1-1. That's 9 points, giving 2.25 for the coefficient. Really good! The one loss was after they clinched advancement, and is the type of disappointing result I've come to expect (if not excuse) in European competition.

      Rangers went 2-1-3. (I'm writing it where the "3" is the number of draws.) That's 7 points, giving 1.75 for the coefficient.

      I expected around 3 points, so 4 points (with both clubs advancing) is fantastic. I also projected Scotland in 17th place, and they are in 16th. I said Scotland was unlikely to make it into 15th place (and two Champions League places in 2021/22). With a Celtic draw in their last game, that's where they would be! So the race for 15th place continues!

      Playoff-Round Preview

      Fivethirtyeight gives Celtic a 65% chance of advancing, with an average of 2.39 points, providing about 0.6 for the coefficient. Keep in mind that the only number of points they can actually get is whole numbers 0 through 4. 0 and 1 mean they don't advance, 3 and 4 mean they do, and 2 means extra time or the away goals rule comes into play.

      Rangers has a 50% chance of advancing, with an average of 2.00 points (which makes sense), giving 0.5 for the coefficient.

      Here is what 13-21 will look like, on average, after the round of 32.
      • 13. Denmark 27.902
      • 14. Scotland 27.722
      • 15. Czechia 27.3
      • 16. Cyprus 27.185
      • 17. Greece 26.106
      • 18. Serbia 25.5
      • 19. Croatia 24.876
      • 20. Switzerland 24.852
      • 21. Sweden 23.135
      But these results are very swingy. For example, if Celtic sweeps Copenhagen, Scotland is guaranteed to move above Denmark. That's true for too many scenarios to list (e.g., Celtic gets 2 points against Copenhagen, and Rangers sweeps Braga), also many in the opposite direction.

      So 15th place is in reach after all, and even 13th is not out of the question.

      2020/21 Sneak Peak

       Remember, this affects the 2022/23 leagues (the second year of the new format).

      Scotland is already in 14th place, and the likely positions after the Round of 32 are:
      • 13. Scotland 24.722
      • 14. Cyprus 24.185
      • 15. Ukraine 24.024
      • 16. Denmark 22.402
      That would put Scotland in a pretty nice position going into next season, but an up season by Denmark and a down season by Scotland could very easily lock Scotland out of the 15 spot.

      So much to cover over the next year, before Scotland gets comfortably ensconced in the 5-team range. (If things go well next year, they may lock it in for several years.)

      Also, with Scottish Cup round-of-16 action getting underway next weekend, let's look at clubs' chances of making Europe, again via Fivethirtyeight.

      If a top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the top 4 teams all go to Europe):
      1. Celtic 100%
      2. Rangers 100%
      3. Motherwell 86%
      4. Aberdeen 78%
      5. Livingston 24%
      6. Hibernian 10%
      7. Kilmarnock 1%
      If a non-top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the 4th place team misses out):
      1. Unnamed non-top 4 team 100%
      2. Celtic 100%
      3. Rangers 100%
      4. Motherwell 46%
      5. Aberdeen 45%
      6. Livingston 6%
      7. Hibernian 2%
      I am on record as saying that Scotland is better off when four of the "Big Five" (Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs) are in Europe. That frequently doesn't happen, so I've learned to settle for three. Hopefully, Aberdeen joins Celtic and Rangers, or Hearts or Hibs get in via a Cup-set (get it?) All of the teams listed above are still alive in the Cup (as, in fact, are all Premiership sides except St. Mirren).

      Monday, January 13, 2020

      2019 Stay-At-Home Bowl: No Winner

      With the conference championships now set, there is going to be no Stay-At-Home Bowl winner this season.

      I.e., the teams that beat the Chiefs or Titans did not beat the Packers or 49ers, and vice versa.

      Friday, January 03, 2020

      2019 Stay-At-Home Bowl

      I never did a final post about last year's Stay-At-Home Bowl, mainly because nobody won.

      As a reminder, the Stay-At-Home Bowl is "the honor I bestow upon a team that has beaten both Super Bowl participants."

      One final bit of business from last year's season, though, the 2017 winner, Kansas City, lost in the 2018 AFC Championship game. Now 12 of the 20 winners have made the playoffs the following year.

      The possible winners this year are:
      • Baltimore Ravens
      • New Orleans Saints
      • Kansas City Chiefs
      • Green Bay Packers
      • Philadelphia Eagles
      • New England Patriots
      • Miami Dolphins 
      The most unexpected entrant there is the Dolphins, who started 0-7 before going on to beat both the Eagles and the Patriots.

      The Washington Post wrote an article about the most likely Super Bowl matchups. You have to get to the 9th-most-likely game (Patriots/49ers) before you have a winner (Ravens). The 10th-most-likely game (Ravens/Vikings) also has a winner (Chiefs).