Things That Caught My Eye
Five days after the one-year anniversary of the crash that killed 71 people and nearly destroyed the Chapecoense soccer team, the rebuilt Brazilian club clinched a return to the 2018 Copa Libertadores, the very tournament that the 2016 squad was traveling to compete in the final against Atletico Nacional. The 2-1 victory over Coritba meant Chapecoense will finish eight and qualify for the group stages of the South American club competition. [Goal]
Tiger Woods, golfer, competed in the Hero World Challenge last week mounting another return to professional golf. Despite being the 1,199th ranked golfer in the world, Tiger has been claiming headlines despite not winning a tournament since 2013. Indeed, he gets more ink than all the people who have at times held the No. 1 world ranking since 2014. Tiger Woods has been the most written about player in golf for 24 of the past 47 months. On one hand, that’s nuts, on the other hand, the whole objective of golf is to play the least amount of golf, right, so from that point of view the golfer not playing all that much golf may very well be the best, right? Right? [FiveThirtyEight]
The College Football Playoff selection committee was presented with a difficult decision on whether to award Big Ten champion Ohio State with the fourth playoff berth or whether to give America another Alabama-Clemson game. Going into the day, we estimated there was a 40 percent change Ohio State would get the ticket, 28 percent chance it’d go to Alabama, and a 20 percent chance it’d go to USC. Only one other time in playoff history did a team that wasn’t a conference champion get into the playoff Clemson will face Alabama and Oklahoma will play Georgia in the first games of the playoff. [FiveThirtyEight]
Russia, the hosts of the 2018 World Cup, got into what appears to be one of the weakest groups in modern World Cup history, with Group A — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Uruguay — having an average Elo rating 97.8 points lower than cup average. That’s the lowest since 1986. As a result, Russia has a 74 percent chance of advancing out of the group stage. [FiveThirtyEight]
Try out our fun new interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?
The tandem running backs of the New Orleans Saints have been running all over the league this season, and Sunday’s win over NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers involved both racking up more than 100 yards from scrimmage, the fourth game this season they’ve both pulled that off. No running back duo has pulled off such a feat since Roger Craig and Wendell Tyler for the 49ers in 1985. [ESPN]
A San Francisco 49ers win over Chicago means that Cleveland is two games ahead of San Francisco and New York Giants in pursuit of the the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL draft. By day end Sunday they had in the ballpark of a 90 percent chance of claiming the top pick. [ESPN]
Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!
Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, and Oakland are each 6-6, and any of them could plausibly win the AFC West. Right now Kansas City has the inside track, with a 59 percent chance, Los Angeles has a 26 percent chance and Oakland has a 15 percent chance. For each team, winning the division the only conceivable path to the postseason: They’d each be fighting the 7-5 Ravens and 8-4 Jaguars or Titans for those wildcard spots. [FiveThirtyEight]
Leaks from Slack: Sunday, noonish
What do we think of this? I was biased in favor of Ohio despite my Michigan background but thought they’d choose Alabama
That said all the stuff about Alabama’s consistency was surprising to me because good teams playing less good teams are going to consistently look better than good teams playing good teams
Does that make sense?
Yeah, definitely. Although to Bama’s credit, they played a number of teams roughly as good as Iowa (Miss State, LSU, etc) and handled them instead of losing by 31. (Then again, they also didn’t have any signature wins like OSU had over Penn St. and Wisc…)
In that sense, the committee probably did hold Ohio State’s low point against them, and downplayed their high points