Recent Comments

Packers Hold Off Cowboys in Thriller, Advance to NFC Championship

Yeah, after 3 days and 6 games of boring blowout playoffs, Sunday delivered two tight, closely fought games.

posted by hincandenza at 05:11 AM on January 16

Steelers Kick 6 Field Goals, Advance to AFC Championship

Travis Kelce is claiming that James Harrison took a dive on that two-point play where holding was called. I don't think it was even a close call. It was a takedown.

posted by rcade at 12:19 AM on January 16

Packers Hold Off Cowboys in Thriller, Advance to NFC Championship

Uh...good football game, man. I didn't really have a rooting interest in either team (other than the pick'em), and that was a hell of an ending.

posted by grum@work at 12:02 AM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Now that A Whale's Vagina is no longer a football town, the MLS is set to make it a futbol town.

posted by NoMich at 09:31 PM on January 15

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Hey rcade - fwiw, you got my GB lock in but appear to have missed Pittsburgh.

Fixed.

posted by rcade at 03:07 PM on January 15

Falcons Advance to NFC Championship

Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the league! Julio's inside-slant routes are nearly assured insta-first downs.

The falcons were definitely one of the most underrated teams coming into the playoffs.

posted by FLsportsman at 02:10 PM on January 15

Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip

How an NFL quarterback can have such a terrible throwing motion is beyond me.

In Jacksonville we dream of a quarterback with a throwing motion as good as that.

posted by rcade at 09:56 AM on January 15

Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip

No athlete builds a large house in between them two places without getting permission from Nolan Ryan.

Trying to pull up my Lone Star Calculator, so I can figure out what 250 regular miles is in Texas miles. I reckon it's about 65 miles or so. Bout a half hour drive, depending on how much traffic there is on the dirt roads.

posted by beaverboard at 09:35 AM on January 15

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Words of wisdom from Tiffany Dufu as published in today's NYT, regarding how her family spends their Sundays:

"I figured out years ago that if you get your husband addicted to Formula 1 racing, he'll get up early with the kids, because the races air early Eastern time."

posted by beaverboard at 09:29 AM on January 15

Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip

So, he built a house in Dallas?

posted by NoMich at 08:54 AM on January 15

Falcons Advance to NFC Championship

Always fun to see a safety scored. Some defenders make the correct overhead official's signal; others look like they're getting ready for their First Communion.

posted by beaverboard at 02:51 AM on January 15

Falcons Advance to NFC Championship

Community owned Packers threatening to derail possible upcoming Arthur Blank - Jerry Jones sideline posture fest.

posted by beaverboard at 02:47 AM on January 15

Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip

Oh good lord, Brock's deal.

Not saying it will happen, but Tony Romo just built a huge house (250 miles) up the road from Houston.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:27 AM on January 15

Patriots Set Record with 6th Straight AFC Championship Trip

Six straight CG appearances, and 11 in 15 years as starting QB (from 2001-2016, minus 2008 when he was injured in the first half of game 1). That's... that's insane.

This was as ugly a game as I've seen Brady play in recent memory, although his interceptions were more of the bad luck deflection type, and he was throwing up some long bombs all night. Thank god for Dion Lewis! Still, I was genuinely worried Houston would get some momentum and come out in the second half to surge ahead, so am a little shocked New England still managed to cover an almost historically large point spread. Hopefully that's our one "bad" game, as opposed to the usual Superbowl nailbiter (if they get there).

Is there any possibility Osweiler gets any starts next season? I know he's guaranteed through next year- and presumably cut immediately after unless by some eldritch miracle he turns into Peyton Manning next season- but why even bother playing the guy at this point? From what I saw today, it's clear Houston has an incredible defense and even a decent QB would have cruised to 12-4 or better this season; seems that would make them real attractive to an established QB looking to be the final piece in a strong playoff contender. How an NFL quarterback can have such a terrible throwing motion is beyond me.

posted by hincandenza at 12:09 AM on January 15

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

... and now I'm feeling sick. :(

posted by hincandenza at 09:10 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

I'm going to be the first player to finish with a negative pick 'em score, aren't I? I just hope I haven't cursed the Patriots in their matchup with the Texans.

posted by hincandenza at 08:23 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

I would like to lock my pick of Dallas tomorrow. Full updated picks:

Atlanta by 5
LOCK New England by 13 LOCK
Kansas City by 3
LOCK Dallas by 10 LOCK

Matt Ryan
Zeke Elliott
Antonio Brown
Whitney Mercilus

posted by bender at 07:45 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Hey rcade - fwiw, you got my GB lock in but appear to have missed Pittsburgh.

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:29 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Scores don't reflect the bonuses yet.

posted by rcade at 05:24 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Just getting in under the wire, kickoff in 3 minutes! :)

Seattle at Atlanta - SEA by 7 LOCK
Houston at New England - NEP by 16 LOCK
Pittsburgh at Kansas City - PIT by 7
Green Bay at Dallas - GBP by 7 LOCK

Golden Arm: Tom Brady, NEP
Golden Legs: Ezekiel Elliot, DAL
Golden Hands: Antonio Brown, PIT
Golden Defender: Vic Beasley, ATL

posted by hincandenza at 04:33 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Falcons by 9
Patriots by 12 LOCK
Steelers by 6 LOCK
Cowboys by 4

QB: Rogers
Rushing: Bell
Receiving: D. Baldwin
Sack: Frank Clark

posted by beaverboard at 12:57 PM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 7

New England by 17 <-- lock

Kansas City by 3

Dallas by 6

Passer: Brady

Rusher: Bell

Receiver: Julio

Sack: Flowers

posted by rcade at 08:55 AM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 10 LOCK

New England by 24 LOCK

Pittsburgh by 6

Dallas by 3

Brady

Elliot

Baldwin

Clowney

posted by jagsnumberone at 03:11 AM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Seattle by 5
New England by 15 - LOCK
Pittsburgh by 5
Dallas by 6

1. Russell Wilson
2. Ezekial Elliot
3. Antonio Brown
4. Cliff Avril

posted by cl at 01:10 AM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 7
New England by 20 (LOCK)
Kansas City by 3
Green Bay by 3

Roethlisberger
Bell
Antonio Brown
Cliff Avril

posted by holden at 12:53 AM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

It's pick 'em time for football once again. Just think, counting this week there are only 3 more to go. I fear there will be SpoFites suffering from pick 'em withdrawal soon.

Ryan can cement his reputation in this one. Atlanta by 6
Vince Wilfork's farewell game? Sad to see him go. New England by 18 LOCK
Can Pittsburgh score enough to overcome their porous defense? Kansas City by 8
This one could be a classic. Rookie vs grizzled veteran. Youth is served. Dallas by 3.

Golden Arm: Rogers (GBP)
Golden Legs: Bell (PIT)
Golden Hands: Jones (ATL)
Golden Defender: Hightower (NEP)

posted by Howard_T at 11:57 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Seattle by 7

NE by 30 LOCK

Pittsburgh by 6

Green Bay by 4

QB - Rogers

Rushing - Bell

Receiving - Baldwin

Sack: Chancellor

posted by rumple at 10:35 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Seattle by 3
New England by 17 * LOCK *
Kansas City by 6
Dallas by 7

1. Quarterback with most passing yards - Aaron Rodgers
2. Player with most rushing yards - Ezekiel Elliott
3. Player with most receiving yards - Antonio Brown
4. Player with a sack or partial sack - Lawrence Timmons

posted by grum@work at 08:19 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 6

New England by 31

Kansas City by 3

Green Bay by 5

Passing Ryan

Rushing Elliott

Sack Mercilus

Receiving Jones

posted by tommytrump at 05:46 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 7
New England by 20
Pittsburgh by 6
Dallas by 10

1. Quarterback with most passing yards - Tom Brady NE
2. Player with most rushing yards - Ezekiel Elliott DAL
3. Player with most receiving yards - Julio Jones ATL
4. Player with a sack or partial sack - Lawrence Timmons PIT

posted by MeatSaber at 04:57 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 4

New England by 20 - LOCK

Pittsburgh by 3

Green Bay by 3

1. Matt Ryan

2. Thomas Rawls

3. Antonio Brown

4. Vic Beasley

posted by tron7 at 04:55 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 13 (LOCK)
NE by 18 (LOCK)
KC by 6
DAL by 9
QB: Matt Ryan
RB: Zeke Elliott
REC: Julio Jones
SACK: Trey Flowers

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:44 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 9

New England by 20 **LOCK**

Pittsburgh by 7

Green Bay by 3

Quarterback with most passing yards: Brady

Player with most rushing yards: L.Bell

Player with most receiving yards: A.Brown

Player with a sack or partial sack: J.Harrison

posted by cixelsyd at 04:13 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 13 (LOCK)

New England by 8 (LOCK)

Pittsburgh by 4

Green Bay by 3

Matt Ryan

L. Bell

Davante Adams

Lawrence Timmons

posted by ic23b at 04:01 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

Atlanta by 5
LOCK New England by 13 LOCK
Kansas City by 3
Dallas by 10

Matt Ryan
Zeke Elliott
Antonio Brown
Whitney Mercilus

posted by bender at 03:27 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

ALL LOCKS

Atlanta by 6

New England by 17

KC by 3

Green Bay by 10

Rogers

Elliott

Antonio Brown

Avril

posted by tahoemoj at 03:19 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

ATL by 8
NEP by 16
PITT by 6
DAL by 6

Quarterback with most passing yards: M. Ryan (ATL)
Player with most rushing yards: L. Bell (PITT)
Player with most receiving yards: J. Jones (ATL)
Player with a sack or partial sack: J. Harrison (PITT)

posted by NoMich at 03:18 PM on January 13

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em: Divisional Round Edition

I'm still finishing the scorekeeping for round one.

Pick the winner and the game's spread. Locks are unlimited.

Also choose these four props for five points each:

1. Quarterback with most passing yards

2. Player with most rushing yards

3. Player with most receiving yards

4. Player with a sack or partial sack

posted by rcade at 03:11 PM on January 13

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

This article almost perfectly encapsulates how I, and possibly quite a few other San Diegans, feel about the Chargers ownership. Every sentence feels ridiculously true.

posted by LionIndex at 11:09 AM on January 13

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

Someone on reddit didthemath and came up with the odds of a 48 team World Cup resulting in situations where the last game of the first round might lead to teams conspiring to draw (a biscotto in sah-KER parlance).

posted by yerfatma at 10:27 AM on January 13

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

The PFT Commenter is the best radio troll since Ronald Clontle graced the WFMU airwaves.

posted by NoMich at 10:21 AM on January 13

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Bill Simmons gets some unusual recognition from a barista.

posted by Howard_T at 10:51 PM on January 12

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

In junior tournaments in Australia, often held on one day with shortened matches, drawn matches were decided on corners, and if corners were equal, then by the number of goal kicks "won". I refereed a lot of these, too, and keeping my notebook up to date was always a challenge.

posted by owlhouse at 09:30 PM on January 12

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Well damn, this is Thursday, not Wednesday.
Washington at Boston
Cleveland at Portland


Chicago by 14
Golden State by 18
Atlanta by 8
Utah by 12
Memphis by 8
Golden State by 8
Los Angeles Clippers by 8

posted by NoMich at 08:35 PM on January 12

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Chicago by 7

Golden State by 18 (slam dunk)

Boston by 9 (slam dunk)

Utah by 4

Memphis by 6

Golden State by 3 (slam dunk)

Oklahoma City by 1

posted by Goyoucolts at 07:54 PM on January 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Now I have a better understanding of Derrick Coleman. He played his entire pro career pretending he was in the UK.

posted by beaverboard at 05:54 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

I've seen many LA Galaxy games at the Stub Hub Center in Carson - an excellent venue for watching soccer. It hosts other events like some of the California high school football championship games. Even if it's short-lived, it could be an incredible (and intimate) atmosphere for an NFL game.

posted by sbacharach at 05:09 PM on January 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'm watching Pacers vs Nuggets from London right now. What a difference between the rather reserved British crowd and the usually raucous NBA experience. It almost sounds like they are playing in a high school gym. Players often say that they are energized by the crowd. I wonder if the lack of fan reaction will have any effect on the quality of play. So far it doesn't appear so.

posted by Howard_T at 03:36 PM on January 12

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Now to continue where I left off. Last night's game featured the 4th quarter Isaiah Thomas show, when Thomas went off for 20 of his 38. He is somehow able to keep his legs late in the game, even on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. In the meantime, Washington seemed to suffer from a case of "4th quarter legs". That is, as the legs get tired, the mid-range and 3-point shots quit falling. It was obvious last night, as Celtics exploded and Wizards fell flat. One final note, the referees were calling very little of the incidental contact last night, including more than a few occasions when players from both teams were hit pretty hard on shot attempts in the paint. It led to some confrontation, and at the end of the game Jay Crowder and John Wall were "engaging in a little trash talk", according to Wall. At one point Crowder had his finger on Wall's nose, thereby disregarding the wisdom that you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

On with the picks:

Which locker room will Derek Rose show up in? New York by 6
Engine don't run good when the Pistons got no rings. Golden State by 14 SLAM
Return of the Native (apology to Thomas Hardy for stealing his title) Horford leads Boston by 9
The trip will not be too great for Pistons. Back-to-back trying to keep up with Jazz. Utah by 10.
Sounds like Wall Street with the Bulls vs the Bears (Grizzlies). Market is down. Memphis by 8.
Neither of these two is playing to full potential. I'll go with the homers. Golden State by 7.
Inclement weather vs the fast sailing ships. They will survive the thunder. LA Clippers by 5.

posted by Howard_T at 03:27 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

Chargers fans could tell themselves their team is still close and might flop in L.A. and come back.

I think that's the most likely scenario for San Diego to ever have an NFL team again, however unlikely it may actually be, but I think the Spanos family would have to sell the team first. I can't see the NFL expanding again unless they can add 4 teams, which would dilute the talent level a lot. (You add 4 teams to get a total of 36, realign to have 6 teams in 3 divisions in each conference; playoff format remains basically the same but with 3 wild cards instead of 2)

It might be changing, but one hallmark of sports fandom in San Diego is that the city has been largely made up of transplants who bring along their own sports allegiances for a long time - people come out for military stuff and stick around afterwards or whatever. They may follow the Chargers or Padres on radio or TV but never fully transition their allegiance to the degree that they plunk down for season tickets, and with the track record of those teams, who can really blame them? Fans of visiting teams have always been a sizeable presence at any San Diego sporting event.

posted by LionIndex at 01:42 PM on January 12

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I remember, many years ago, a South American under-21 tourney was decided by the amount of corners taken by each team...

I believe this only applied to the finals and actually, if I remember correctly, one of the teams won, so there was no need to use this tie-breaker.

I believe this makes it for a more exciting game; very often in over-time, teams are so tired they are just killing time waiting for the shoot-out.

And the pk's are pretty much like a flip of a coin, anyway.... Nerve-racking to watch, but not very fair, IMO

posted by gloglu at 01:08 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

I'm not sure the league and owners care about fans in the building too much any more.

I'm sure they'll say they do, as the minimum effort required to get some people through the door because it looks good in the back of the TV shots and because tickets and beer is extra gravy poured on top of a giant pile of money, but I'm pretty sure the meal tastes fine without it.

Hence mention of the team going to the 30,000 capacity StubHub for two years.

I presume having teams in LA, (and Las Vegas), allows the league to ask for much more in the TV deals when those contracts come up again. If it lets the league throw a dollar onto the per-potential-viewer fee for the LA market then the teams could play in empty stadiums and still make everyone more money.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:08 PM on January 12

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

Penalties are amazing. Whenever a game I'm neutral about gets near to 90 minutes I fervently hope for an evenly-spread number of goals in extra time so I can watch people crack under pressure on live television.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Zaza, (among very illustrious others).

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:56 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

I would expect quite a few Chargers fans to keep their allegiance, at least for a while. A lot depends on what the local sports media does with the team being in L.A. Do they keep covering the beat and make it seem, to the TV news viewer and sports radio listener, as if they never left?

Living in Jacksonville I've shifted quite a bit of my attention from the Cowboys to the Jaguars. One thing I like about following a team is the saturation coverage. The team being talked about all the time gets in your DNA.

When I left Dallas in the 1990s I did all kinds of stuff to stay plugged in. I subscribed to a fax newsletter with daily Cowboys news, then was a regular listener of Dallas sports radio once that hit the web. My sports brain was still a resident of Dallas.

But as the years passed, I was reprogrammed by the sad sack Jaguars and all the miserable talk here about the only major sports team Jacksonville will ever get. When I drove to Dallas a few months ago, I had Apple CarPlay and Tune In Radio so I could hear sports talk from either Dallas or Jacksonville. I chose the latter.

Chargers fans could tell themselves their team is still close and might flop in L.A. and come back.

posted by rcade at 12:50 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

That'll depend pretty heavily on how much of the fan base feels alienated now, and whether that feeling sticks. I don't know that the Chargers are going to have any more success in creating a fan base in LA than the Rams have, even though the Rams had a remnant of one from when they were there previously (the Chargers' previous tenure in LA was too brief and long ago to have any impact now). Alienating fans has seemed to me like it's been the Spanos family's primary goal for over a decade now, so maybe they've already hit rock bottom, but I feel like a lot of the reasons for their desire to move to LA in the first place are just fantasies that have very little chance of actually happening. They've traded a market of 3 million where there's only one other major team in town for one that splits fan attention between 12 or so franchises and major college teams, many of which play during the football season. They've basically sacrificed a home game every year whenever the Raiders come to town. I have a really hard time seeing any benefit to the move, aside from that they're now in LA and can therefore sell the team for more money.

posted by LionIndex at 12:20 PM on January 12

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

The first Rams season back in Los Angeles had some ratings and attendance woes. I am a bit skeptical that two teams can succeed there, but the San Diego fan base is close enough for some of the diehards to make the trek on a regular basis.

posted by rcade at 12:09 PM on January 12

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I hate penalties. I sometimes entertain the idea that shots on goal should be tracked on the scoreboard and be a tiebreaker.

posted by rcade at 12:07 PM on January 12

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Chicago by 8
Golden State by 13 (SLAM)
Boston by 16 (SLAM)
Utah by 9

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:26 AM on January 12

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I can live with having less panic about the U.S. not making the World Cup.

It shouldn't be that difficult for the USA! USA! USA! if the proposed breakdown goes through: 6.5 spots for CONCACAF (out of 35 current full members). Likely would mean the Round of 12 would continue as two 6-team groups with top 3 in both advancing and fourth-place teams playing off to enter WC playoff.

Another proposal would be that any group-stage draw would go to (immediate?) penalties.

posted by jjzucal at 08:34 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Boston by 16 (SLAM)
Cleveland by 10

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:12 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

In casually following the NFL coaching carousel each year, I can't recall a HC candidate being as prominently mentioned on as many teams' short lists as Vance Joseph. I don't think there was a team in need that didn't want to talk to him.

Congrats to the Broncos for landing him, and it's a great opportunity for him, given the unusual situation brought on by Kubiak's unfortunate retirement from a competitive and relevant team.

posted by beaverboard at 06:03 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Vicodin, beaverboard, but I fear running afoul of NH and their crackdown on opiate abuse. Actually, I took only 1 from this bottle, but my wife is down with a broken leg, and she has been popping one every now and then to take care of her pain.

posted by Howard_T at 05:16 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

I will pick tonight's games for now. Have to get dinner going and head out to the game at TD Garden.

Celtics will be sharper after blowing a lead last night. Boston by 12 SLAM
Watch out for this bunch from the Northwest. Portland by 3

Off to watch the back court duel of John Wall vs Isaiah Thomas. Should be fun.

posted by Howard_T at 05:12 PM on January 11

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Go Ufez!

I feel really good about 146 points this week because I know exactly what I am doing and spent a lot of time researching so no surprise really, at all.

posted by rumple at 04:24 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Boston by 11 - SLAM
Cleveland by 9
New York by 4
Golden State by 15 - SLAM
Atlanta by 6
Utah by 7 - SLAM
Memphis by 9 - SLAM
Golden State by 7 - SLAM
Los Angeles Clippers by 7 - SLAM

posted by tron7 at 03:20 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Boston by 12 <-- dunk
Cleveland by 9
New York by 4
Golden State by 18 <-- dunk
Atlanta by 8
Utah by 11
Chicago by 4
Golden State by 6
Los Angeles Clippers by 8

posted by rcade at 03:00 PM on January 11

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

Without taking goals scored into account, there are 27 possible outcomes in a group of 3 (3 games ending in 3 outcomes win, lose or draw) and 729 possible outcomes in a group of 4 (6 games, 3 outcomes). In the 3 team group, there are 3 ways in which all teams can be tied and 3 ways in which 2 teams can be tied for second place. This gives a 22% chance of needing some form of tiebreaker (6/27). In the 4 team group, there are 7 ways all teams would be tied, 20 ways 3 teams are tied for first, 12 ways 3 teams are tied for second, and 168 ways 2 teams will tie for second. This gives a 28% chance of needing some tiebreaker (207/729).

So it seems more likely to end up in the drawing of lots with 4 teams than 3. Of course this doesn't take into account that some teams will be more likely to win than others. And there are other possibilities when the top two teams tie where you would need to figure out which team comes out first and which comes out second.

posted by Ricardo at 02:53 PM on January 11

NBA Pick 'Em Week 12: Unexcused Absence Edition

Boston by 7
Cleveland by 5
Chicago by 4
LOCK Golden State by 17 LOCK
LOCK Atlanta by 7 LOCK
Utah by 6
Memphis by 7
Golden State by 4
Oklahoma City by 5

posted by bender at 01:24 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I'd much rather watch parkour than quite a few other "sports".

posted by billsaysthis at 11:34 AM on January 11

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Yay Ufez!

posted by billsaysthis at 11:31 AM on January 11

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Thanks, rcade! Team bender is waiting with baited breath to find out if our stunning week 17 performance has indeed moved us out of the cellar or if we have a dented new Costanza to add to the trophy case.

some text

posted by bender at 10:53 AM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Howard, I hope you took the opportunity to express your appreciation to the dental technician for skillfully working three of your tuscaloosa.

If you're not using the percocet or vicodin they gave you, I'll send you my mailing address. I have some very smooth small batch potato vodka I can swap with you. It's out in the snow at the moment. Makes a nice post-op swish.

posted by beaverboard at 01:07 AM on January 11

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

The view from Down Under. And for countries like Thailand.

posted by owlhouse at 12:25 AM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I had 3 teeth pulled Monday and the technician who helped in the process is a stout Alabama fan. (Well, she's not "fat" stout, rather she's stout in her strong like for Alabama.) She called me today to make sure that I was doing well after the surgery. I was doing a lot better than she was, I'm sure.

posted by Howard_T at 11:48 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congratulation, Ufez, that was a great job with the picking. Many thanks, rcade, for running this. It's always a lot of fun, and it's one of the things that keeps Sports Filter and its denizens as my favorite sports-related web sit.

posted by Howard_T at 11:43 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Thanks, rcade. Sorry I was such a zero this season.

posted by Goyoucolts at 11:15 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

Even Canada is going to qualify for the World Cup someday.

Hey! We've done it before!

The question is...will we ever score a goal?

Besides, some people think Canada's best chance of going back to the World Cup would be act as a co-host.

posted by grum@work at 10:21 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

It's possible for four team groups to end up all square, too. It looks like "drawing of lots" is your answer.

It's harder for four teams to end up in a dead-tie than it is for three teams. The more teams (and intragroup games) you add, the less likely you end up with a "draw lots" possibility (unless every game ends in a 0-0 draw, in which case you declare the group a waste of time and let other teams move on instead).

posted by grum@work at 10:10 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

In the 1990 world cup the Irish and Dutch ended up dead level with three draws from three games and two goals for and against, so they drew lots.

The luck of the Irish won which sent the Dutch into the second round against arch-rivals Germany.

At the time, various European countries limited the number of foreign players on domestic teams to three. As a result, Inter Milan had three Germans, (Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann) and AC Milan had three Dutch players (Gullit, van Basten and Rijkaard) and the game was in the San Siro in Milan, which added some extra spice.

This is the game where German forward Rudi Voller and Rijkaard were both red carded for, among other things, repeatedly spitting on each other. Germany ended up winning 2-1.

The Irish ended up facing Romania which was a big deal for our family as most of them are from Cork and this was Ireland's first world cup. The game was pretty good despite ending up 0-0 and then 0-0 at the end of extra time.

Then came the penalty shootout.

The deep V on the Romanian shirts is really something.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:00 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Man, the option to lock as many games as you want was a poison that I just couldn't stop drinking after about week 4. I should have quit after the week where I nailed almost all of them, and just gone back to one or two a week.

Instead, I rode the snake each week, and it kept biting me...

posted by grum@work at 09:38 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

It already is. Three and a half places for CONCACAF. You should make it every time.

I agree that we should make it every time, but at least the margin for error is small enough that it remains interesting. With 6 teams getting through, there is effectively no chance that the US doesn't qualify. Even Canada is going to qualify for the World Cup someday.

posted by bender at 09:05 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

It's possible for four team groups to end up all square, too. It looks like "drawing of lots" is your answer.

The rules from Brazil 2014:

The league format shall be used: each team playing one match against each of the other teams in the same group, with three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat.The ranking of each team in each group shall be determined as follows:

a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;

b) goal difference in all group matches;

c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings shall be determined as follows:

d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the

teams concerned;

e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams

concerned;

f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams

concerned;

g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee.

posted by owlhouse at 08:51 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I'm guessing penalty kicks.

posted by LionIndex at 08:39 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

So what happens when a group ends up with three 1-1 teams who each won 1-0 and lost 0-1?

posted by Etrigan at 08:21 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

The U.S. is pretty good at making qualification scary.

posted by rcade at 08:12 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I do not like the fact that this makes qualification a slam dunk for the US.

It already is. Three and a half places for CONCACAF. You should make it every time. Try being an African or Asian nation.

posted by owlhouse at 07:53 PM on January 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I'd rather be parkouring.

I'm sure that's a word.

posted by owlhouse at 07:52 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congrats, Ufez! Thanks for running it, rcade!

posted by MeatSaber at 07:08 PM on January 10

Jaguars Promote Doug Marrone, Make Tom Coughlin a VP

Hiring Coughlin is visionary thinking at its finest.

If the Jags make the playoffs and find themselves facing the Pats, they've got Belichick's supreme nemesis ready and waiting to help extend the curse.

If the NFL ever decides to adopt relegation and the Jags find themselves playing Notre Dame, having Coughlin on board will seem like a stroke of genius.

posted by beaverboard at 06:56 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Walks off the field without shaking hands.

posted by tron7 at 05:44 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

rcade, why you gotta keep doin' me dirty like that?! I locked all those suckers, which I think results in an 86 point week for me. I should be in a tie for the coveted 11th place slot, rather than all alone in 12th. Tell you what, we'll let it slide this time.

In all seriousness--nice pickin' ufez, and thanks for running the show, rcade.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:41 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I suppose it is worth noting that the tournament field has only been 32 since 1998. The current format just seems so good, though, and I agree that 3-team groups sound a lot less compelling.

I do not like the fact that this makes qualification a slam dunk for the US. Currently, WCQ matches are exciting and interesting and accessible here at home. I don't want to lose that, and the downgrade in importance may also hurt team development.

I also am concerned for my marriage. I watch a lot of the World Cup already, to the detriment of all else.

I'm with you, though it's a bit surprising that adding 16 teams would only add 16 matches and keep the same amount of time on the calendar. Think of it this way, there's probably 16 snoozers in group play that you can forego so that you can add in the round of 32 without watching more games!

posted by bender at 05:39 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congrats, Ufez !!

posted by tommytrump at 05:20 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

I can live with having less panic about the U.S. not making the World Cup.

But three team group divisions in which two advance? That takes a lot of drama out of that stage.

I also am concerned for my marriage. I watch a lot of the World Cup already, to the detriment of all else.

posted by rcade at 05:09 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congratulations, Ufez! Your Roger Goodell ball awaits. Email me your address.

posted by rcade at 05:06 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

Congratulations Ufez Jones.

posted by ic23b at 04:28 PM on January 10

It's the end of the World Cup as we know it

""This football promotion, in many parts of the world where today they have no chance to play [at the World Cup], was at the top of our thoughts."

According to Fifa research, revenue is predicted to increase to 5.29bn for a 48-team tournament, giving a potential profit rise of 521m."

Those sentences are back-to-back in the story on the BBC, who aren't saying, they're just saying...

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:22 PM on January 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

BTW, Clemson beat the past seven national champs this season. Florida State, Auburn, Ohio State, and...well...Alabama, Alabama, Alabama, and Alabama.

posted by NoMich at 04:07 PM on January 10

NFL Pick 'Em Champion Crowned

:D

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:06 PM on January 10

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

There was a slow buildup in the game, but what a finish! I think it was a steady progression of Clemson figuring out Alabama's defense so that they could lay it to them in the 4th quarter.

posted by bender at 04:02 PM on January 10