Friday, May 22, 2009

ACC Tournament Format: Yes or No?

The wheels fell off our baseball team this week, getting beat by Miami and rolled by Boston College. FSU has clinched a berth in the title game already and there is still 2 days of baseball left. While we wait and hope that our team figures out what the hell is going on, here is a question:

Do you like the ACC Baseball Championship Format? What would you change about it? What would you keep?

Washington's Key Player: Danielle Lawrie

Super-Regional Information
Time: 12 Noon & approx. 1:30 PM

This year has been a historic year for Georgia Tech softball. The new field, finally on campus, has been a place where excitement has thrived, full of exciting and dominating performances. This Saturday marks the farthest the softball team has ever made it in the postseason. The hosting of the Super Regionals is a special mark. Proving you are among the elite of the softball teams (plus you have a facility that has lights).

It will be a daunting task on Saturday. The Washington Huskies come in as the National #3 seed (Tech is #14) and have National Player of the Year Finalist Danielle Lawrie on their side. Expect to see her and only her pitch this entire weekend. The only thing at stake? A berth in the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

She is who stands in the way

Danielle Lawrie is what powers the Huskies. With an overall recored of 35-7, she dominated the Regionals in Amherst, MA and has no-hitters logged against powerhouses #6 Arizona and #2 UCLA. She has also shutout No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Georgia and No. 11 Ohio State this season. Note that Florida, Alabama and Georgia all played and beat us this season. The task will be daunting, but the reward will be tremendous.

Washington is 44-11. They are not invincible and have been beaten. They also don't get involved in slugfests. Either their bats are hot and Lawrie throws the heat or the bats can't connect. When the Huskies have lost, they lose by an average of 4 runs. Not the slimmest of margins in softball, and this tells me that Lawrie is the anchor of the team. Her success leads to team success. Hold the other 8 at bay, make sure Lawrie doesn't beat you (twice) and you're in.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

A little bit of trivia: There is a degree of separation between Georgia Tech and Washington. Lawrie and our very own Jen Yee both played for Canada in the Beijing Olympics in August.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tech-uga ESPN Poll Closes with Analysis

Who Won?
A poll conducted by ESPN SportsNation accumulated over 15,000 votes on who would have a more succesful season: Tech or Georgia. So final tallies indicate Tech won the popular vote over Georgia 52% to 48% but would've lost the Presidential Election as Georgia took California, Texas, and New York. Why did Tech win the popular vote? Well, the poll only polled people that cared so the states of Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Ohio were key states in the popular vote as those four states tallied over 34% of the total votes. It also didn't hurt that voters outside of the US (~8% of the total votes) chose Tech 53% of the time.

Conference Affiliations
An interesting trend was a delineation along conference lines. States affiliated with certain conferences aligned with certain teams. Obviously, ACC states chose Tech while exclusively SEC states took Georgia. What's interesting is the Clemson contigent in SC and the Tech contigent in Georgia overwhelmed the Cocks and Dogs, respectively. And I think Florida just went overwhelmingly with Tech because of FSU/Miami and Florida's hatred of all things dog-related. In states only affiliated with the SEC, Georgia took 55% of the votes.

Here's a breakdown of votes based on state-conference affiliations:
1. ACC - 2599 of 4591 votes for Tech (57%)1
2. Big East - 576 of 1113 votes for Tech (52%)2
2. SEC - 2789 of 5342 votes for Tech (52%)3
4. Big 10 - 1257 of 2471 votes for Tech (51%)4
4. Big 12 - 1149 of 2257 votes for Tech (51%)5
6. Pac 10 - 602 of 1247 votes for Tech (48%)
7. No BCS or I-A Teams - 244 of 516 votes for Tech (47%)

Interesting Trends
There were some noticeable trends such as states who had played Tech recently siding with Georgia and vice versa. So I went back five years pulling only OOC games and matched the teams up with their home states to show that Tech only had a 47% approval rating in states that had played Tech since 2004 (OOC opponents). Georgia, likewise, only had a 49% approval rating in states it had played OOC since 2004. This, to me, indicated Tech and Georgia left a sour taste in the mouth of OOC opponents or our OOC opponents perceive us to be weaker after playing us.

And I'm sure there're some random Georgia fans out there thinking, "This is BS, I know some conferences respect my good ol' 2009 DOGS!!! WOOF WOOF!" Well, I found one: the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC States are the only other grouping of I-A affiliated states on par with the Pac 10 at a 48% approval rating for Tech. Pretty interesting that the only conferences that approve of the Bulldog's upcoming season are 2,500 miles away or their own SEC homer friends in Goober, Alabama.

Top Fives
So with a minimum of 100 votes, here are the states that felt Tech would do better than Georgia followed by states that felt Tech would do worse. I think Nebraska loves the Triple Option and our ACC brethren took care of their own states. Georgia pulled Idaho because of their shillacking of Hawai'i/Boise State recently. Kansas I do not understand. It's an island of haters in a sea of Big 12-GT friendship.

1. Nebraska (61%)
2. North Carolina (59%)
2. South Carolina (59%)
2. Massachusetts (59%)
5. Virginia (58%)
1. Mississippi (35%)
2. Idaho (37%)
3. Kansas (42%)
4. Arkansas (43%)
5. Minnesota (44%)

Notes: 1) Includes votes from Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.
2) Includes votes from Pennsylvania.
3) Includes votes from Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.
4) Includes votes from Iowa and Pennsylvania.
5) Includes votes from Iowa.

Thoughts are welcome.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Out of Conference SOS rankings

One of the biggest arguments in college football is who is the best conference. I am a strong advocate of the best team and the best conference is that who plays the hardest out-of-conference schedule because in-conference schedules are flawed. cgb over at CollegeGameBalls came up with a unique formula to analyze the Big 6 Out of Conference Schedules. cgb came up with the following formula for SOS:

St = (((0.9 * H) + (1.1 * A) + (0.7 * h) + (0.8 * a) -(0.9 * C)) / (H + A + h + a + C))

H = Home games against BCS teams (and Notre Dame)
A = Neutral or Away games against BCS teams (and Notre Dame)
h = Home games against non-BCS teams
a = Away games against non-BCS teams
C = Cupcakes, games against any team that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories ie 1aa teams.

Here are the ACC's stats:

Pac 10 Sc = 0.653
Big 12 Sc = 0.564583
Big Ten Sc = 0.4863
Big East Sc = 0.44
SEC Sc = 0.425
ACC Sc = 0.377083

The ACC is dead last. NCSU, Duke, and UNC hurt the conference by scheduling 2 cupcakes each, wasting a game and throwing it down the toilet. Georgia Tech is tied for 2nd with Florida State and has a score of 0.55. This is attributed to away games at both Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, along with a home game vs. Georgia. It does pay to have an in-state rival in another conference. "Surprisingly", cgb has VT ranked #1. You can call out cgb and claim foul play (as I did!) but in reality when you look at their schedule, they don't play 1-AA cupcakes. It's the way a schedule should be.

Got problems with these rankings? What are your thoughts?

ACC Tournament starts today

The ACC Tournament starts today and we kick it off with first pitch at 12 Noon today. The ACC runs a Round Robin style of tournament, meaning we are guaranteed 3 games against Miami, Boston College and finally UNC. The team with the best record plays for the championship and [possibly] a salvaged NCAA Tournament seed.

Georgia Tech's ACC Tournament Schedule:
May 20: vs. Miami
May 21: vs. Boston College
May 23: vs. Florida State

All games are at Noon and can be watched on Fox Sports South

ACC Championship Central
ACC Sports Journal Preview
Baseball America Tournament Preview

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GT vs. uga Electoral College Style

A poll performed by ESPN Sports Nation asks the question: Who will have a better season, Georgia or Georgia Tech? Currently, it's a 50/50 split by total votes. Georgia has 25 states to Tech's 22 with 3 undecided. If the map were broken down by 2008's electoral college, Georgia would win with 248 electoral college votes to Georgia Tech's 218. Georgia Tech is winning outside of the US votes.

Obvious region biases go out with the Big 10 and SEC states favoring uga and the ACC, East Coast, and Tornado Alley favoring the Jackets. Pretty cool, imo.

Deck McGuire and other baseball news

Deck McGuire was named ACC Pitcher of the Year for 2009. This is the first time a Jacket has been dubbed Pitcher of the Year. Pretty cool and some good exposure for GT's (at times) average pitching. I think Winfield will agree that our pitching has been part of the reason we haven't gone all the way in Omaha...

Also, since A-Rod's return, Mark Teixeira is batting .341 and last night he hit two homers. Mark leads the Yankees with 28 RBI's this season. So that should make you feel a bit better.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MNF crew changes

So Tony Kornheiser is done with Monday Night Football and is being replaced by exiled Bucs coach Jon Gruden... Damn. I was finally used to the current threesome. Jaworski was the genuine, intelligent football guy. Tirico is an excellent play-by-play. And Kornheiser was the witty color guy.

Someone explain to me how Jon Gruden will balance this crew. I can only see him as the cherry-faced asshole running up and down the sidelines. Oh well, we'll see. I'll still watch MNF's. I just have a feeling it won't be very good and will be filled with lots of awkward silence. I imagine a scenario where Gruden starts barking about poor footwork on the part of the defensive backs and calls them a bunch of turd-eating asshats. This is followed by a completely stoic Tirico stating, "Yes, in fact, their footwork looks a little off tonight." And Jaworski is just silent.

If I hear anything from Redskins fans saying they think Theismann should be back in the booth, I'll punch them directly in the face. Theismann was a piece and was flat out mean to Kornheiser. I don't think JT respected a comedic approach to announcing NFL games. Entertainment ≠ Theismann. Dennis Miller was simply not good.

Big Weekend Recap: Clutch and Not-So-Clutch

Unclutch: Losing to Duke. The baseball team lost their series to Duke over the weekend and thus proceeded to lose the ACC, the Coastal Division title, and possibly a National 8 seed in one fell swoop. The Jackets enter the conference tournament as the #4 seed overall and will face Miami on Wednesday at 12pm. The tournament is round robin and we will play Miami, Boston College, and Florida State in that order. The team with the best record will play for the championship.

Where would we be without our main man Deck McGuire? Nowhere my friends. We should all be grateful for his services.

Moving on to clutch....
GT Softball advances to the Super Regionals! They swept through the tournament and sealed the deal by holding off a pesky Boston University. They will host the national #3 seed Washington Huskies. UW battled it out long into the night with UMass, losing Game 1 and then finally lighting the scoreboard up in the 15th (yes 15th!) and racked up 5 runs to win 6-1 in Game 2. Their pitcher, Danielle Lawrie tossed all 15 innings worth and struck out 23.

Some may wonder why do we get to host the event since we are the lower seed (National #14). It's because Washington has no lights and that is a requirement to host a regional. Many years, we have had to be shipped because of that same problem, now we got preference. It's time for Tech fans to realize that and show up and support the team.

Game 1 is May 23 and 24th on an ESPN channel. All games played at the "Mew".