Monday, December 14, 2009

Who's No. 1?

TigerBlog is fascinated by ridiculous arguments and the fierceness with which people will debate them. Along those lines is the question of when the current decade ends.

TB has heard people vehemently say that, because there was no year "zero," that all decades end with the years ending in zero. Then there are others who think that the decade ends in the years ending in nine and that the new decade begins in the years ending in zero. He has heard the "zero" people and the "nine" people get pretty heated about it.

As an aside, TigerBlog watched much of what is one of the final NCAA championships of the decade, if you listen to the "nine" people, the men's soccer game between Akron and Virginia. It led to some great notes:
* Because the semifinal and final were tied after overtime and thus officially considered ties, Akron went undefeated (23-0-2) but did not win the NCAA championship, something that's hard to do in an NCAA tournament
* Akron was unscored upon in six NCAA tournament games - and did not win the championship
* Akron played 220 minutes in the semifinal and final and did not score or allow a goal

As a further aside, penalty kicks is a tough way to decide a national championship, and TB would rather have seen the game go until one team scored, regardless of how long that was. Knowing they had to score to win would have, in TB's mind, changed some of the way the teams played, and the resulting chances each would have taken would have led to a counter the other way.

As a final aside, the Akron goalie made two of the clutchest saves you will ever see when he stopped PKs in rounds 4 and 5, either of which would have won the game for UVa. And then, just when it looked like Akron was going to make a miracle comeback, the Zips sent their final chance over the goal.

But what was the point here? Oh yeah, if you google "what year does the decade end," you get taken to yahoo answers, which has a thread debating this issue. The responses are pretty evenly split down the middle.

Here at HQ, we have no such doubt. We're definitely "nine" people, and for us, the current decade has fewer than three weeks remaining.

To that end, beginning tomorrow, will start its countdown of the top 10 male and female athletes of the last decade.

The rules that we used were that to be considered, an athlete had to have played at least two years of his or her career in this decade, which eliminated great athletes like John Mack who graduated in 2000 and Chris Young, whose career went from 1998-2000.

As for current athletes, they had to play for three years, because those who are freshmen or sophomores are going to be judged more for being part of the next decade. As an aside, that rule led to discussion here at HQ that asked what current athletes would be on the 2019 decade top 10. The answers we came up with? Niveen Rasheed (women's basketball) and Katie Reinprecht (field hockey) for women and maybe a Chad Wiedmaier or Tyler Fiorito from men's lacrosse for men.

Besides, the project of selecting the top 10 male and female athletes of this decade was tough enough. Given that nearly 3,000 athletes are eligible for our two lists, it's a daunting task.

The easy part was separating out the top 25 or so on both lists. The hard part was going from there.

The lists are completely chosen by the staff here at TigerBlog HQ. The selections will be revealed on in reverse order, with the following schedule:
No. 10 - tomorrow
No. 9 - Wednesday
No. 8 - Thursday
No. 7 - Friday
No. 6 - Dec. 21
No. 5 - Dec. 22
No. 4 - Dec. 23
No. 3 - Dec. 28
No. 2 - Dec. 29
No. 1 - Dec. 30

Feel free to agree or disagree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Penalty kicks are a bad way to determine a game because, at the highest levels of soccer, a team can play for penalty kicks right from the opening tap.

When Brazil beat Italy in the 1994 World Cup, it seemed to me that Italy was playing for penalty kicks right from the get-go. If you as a team feel that your opponent is superior but you have the defense to hold them off, this is a rational strategy.

Elimination games should be decided in the following way. Both teams play the first ten minutes of overtime with 10 players, the next ten minutes with 9 players, another ten minutes with 8 and thereafter with 7 players. You'll have a goal soon enough.