Things That Caught My Eye
The San Francisco 49ers beat the New York Giants 31 to 21 at home Sunday. This was a historically awful game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it is only the third time in the Super Bowl era when two teams with only one combined win entered a game in Week 10 or later. This travesty was televised in two of America’s biggest media markets. New York is now 1-8 and San Francisco is 1-9. If anything, this hampers San Francisco’s quest for the top overall pick of the draft: Last week they were projected to finish the season with 1.6 wins, compared to the 1.5 wins projected for the Cleveland Browns and 4.0 wins projected for New York. But after Sunday, Cleveland is projected to get 1.4 wins, San Francisco is forecasted to finish with 2.4, and New York with 3.2. [ESPN]
Yesterday Chicago Bear Benny Cunningham caught a football and came quite close to the end zone with it. The refs said it was not a touchdown. Coach John Fox disagreed and challenged that call, arguing that it was indeed a touchdown. Upon review, the refs noticed that Cunningham actually fumbled the ball at the pylon and, thus, not only was the play not a touchdown, but indeed it was no longer even Bears ball, and that posession went to Green Bay. This single sequence of events reduced Chicago’s win probability by 20 percent. They’d lose 23-16. [ESPN, The Ringer]
Congratulations to the University of Miami, who after routing Notre Dame now have 48 percent chance of making the college football playoff. I want to apologize to John Kelly of Jersey City, N.J. for elevating his hopes of Notre Dame’s playoff potential. That’s on me, buddy. [FiveThirtyEight]
There are 20 schools that rank among the top 50 all-time winningest schools in both men’s NCAA football and basketball. As it stands right now — comparing the harmonic mean of the basketball and football teams of those schools — the University of Wisconsin is currently the best two-sport school in the country. [FiveThirtyEight]
The Sixers look really solid. This is an absurd thing after what they’ve endured over the past several years. Through Sam Hinkie’s tenure as general manager, the 76ers plunged to a depth of Elo ratings that it’s rare to recover from, yet here we stand with a Sixers team in spitting distance of average, nay, good even. Only six teams in NBA history have pulled off such an awful nosedive and peeled out of it in a similar timely fashion. [FiveThirtyEight]
Team USA has won the Four Nations cup in Tampa topping the women’s national hockey teams of Canada, Finland and Sweden with a 5-1 defeat of Canada in the final in Tampa on Sunday. This bodes very well for the team at the Olympics this winter. [USA Hockey, The Ice Garden]
Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!
With the 49ers win over the Giants, only one team in the league does not yet have a win, the Cleveland Browns. From now until week 11 through week 17, FiveThirtyEight gives the Brown’s opponents a respective 77 percent, 82 percent, 82 percent, 78 percent, 73 percent, 78 percent and 93 percent chance of beating them. Combine that and you get a 21.4 percent chance that each of the Browns opponent wins and thus Cleveland finishes 0-8. Still, that does mean that the team has an implied 78.6 percent chance of not going undefeated. The question is, how lucky does Cleveland feel? [FiveThirtyEight, Walt Hickey]
Leaks from Slack: Men have some work to do
fun lil *A Tale of Two National Teams* going on with the USA W/M Ice Hockey teams. Circumstances are a lil different of course (no NCAA players called up yet, a big deal for a non-NHLer MNT), but both teams played in Four Nation Tournaments this past weekend, the WNT at the Four Nations against some big competition in Canada, Finland and Sweden. They left the champions and undefeated, beating Canada twice! The MNT played the Deutschland Cup against the not-so-big competition of Russia, Germany, and Slovakia. They left winless with a goal differential of 4-12. The WNT had a goal differential of 22-5.
I am immensely curious to see how this all pans out in PyeongChang both in performance and media coverage.