Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fun In The Pool

Again, for the four millionth time, TigerBlog will begin by prefacing that no money is involved or changing hands and that nothing of tangible value was at stake in the Office of Athletic Communications World Cup pool.

That, of course, would be a major problem in the world of college athletics. Nothing resembling gambling is permitted, and with good reason - almost nothing can destroy the integrity of the intercollegiate sports like the hint of games being fixed. As a result, any sort of gambling on any sport has to be strictly against the rules - even if it's the World Cup.

This rule is reinforced at its most strongest in the buildup to the Super Bowl and NCAA men's basketball tournament, for obvious reasons.

Could having a $5 pool on the World Cup in the OAC somehow equate to betting on - and fixing - Princeton games? No, obviously. Still, as is the case with most NCAA rules, it's there because if it wasn't, someone would push it and push it and push it and then someone else would figure that it needs to be pushed a little more and so on until there is nothing but lawlessness.

Keep that in mind the next time someone wants to talk to you about how ineffectual the NCAA is and how bulky the rulebook is. Yes, some of the rules are on their face ridiculous.

Still, they were put there - by the membership, not by the NCAA itself - because someone figured out how to get around the spirit of the rule and use every loophole as an advantage.

Anyway, TB is fine with having just-for-fun pools here in the OAC.

A World Cup pool isn't as easy as having one in which a single-elimination format is already set from the start, because it's possible to pick teams in the final that will end up coming out of the group stage on the same side of a bracket.

TigerBlog has continued his series of awful predictions with his World Cup selections.

His pre-tournament predicted champion? That would be Spain.

He's not sure why he thought the Spanish would roll again and become only the third repeat champion. Maybe it's because he was rooting for them. Maybe it's because they were ranked No. 1 in the world prior to this World Cup.

Whatever it was, he completely underestimated how much soccer players age in four years. The Spanish certainly did.

So he wasn't quite right about that pick. Spain went out meekly, losing its first two games, ending up with a minus-3 goal differential and never being a factor in the tournament.

TigerBlog's runner-up pick was Brazil, who is still alive. Thinking back, he's not sure why he chose Brazil to lose in its own country in the final. What ref would allow that?

His other two semifinalists were Switzerland (at least made it out of the group stage before losing in the round of 16) and Portugal (did not).

Oh, and TB's format was to award one point for each team that reaches the semifinals, another point if a team wins in the semis and then two points for winning the final. A perfect score would be eight.

TigerBlog got a one.

John Bullis, the video guy, has either one point or two points, because he had five teams in the semifinals, something TB didn't notice until he started going through the picks this morning. Like TB, John has Brazil as the runner-up. Like TB, John's pick to win it all didn't get to the semifinals; unlike Spain (TB's choice), the U.S. (John's choice) at least made the knockout round.

Yariv Amir has two points as well and can get another, since has Brazil losing in the final (to Portugal).

Kristy McNeil has Brazil to beat Germany in the final. She enters the semis with two points.

Ben Badua has three points but doesn't have the winner (he picked Spain too). His runner-up is Brazil, bringing to four out of six people who participated who had Brazil to lose in the final at home.

Ben can get a max of four points, which he would get with a Brazil win over Germany today. At worst, he will have three.

That leaves Craig Sachson, who has three points and Brazil over Argentina in the final. Should Brazil win today, then Craig and Ben would have four each and Kristy would have three. Kristy can get to five, but to do so, Brazil would have to win, which would give Craig six.

So basically, it goes like this.

Should Brazil win it all, then Craig would win with either six or seven points (depending on whether Argentina was the opponent in the final). Should Brazil win today and lose the final, then Craig and Ben would be tied with four points each, but Craig would get another point if Argentina defeats the Netherlands and be the winner. If not, they would tie.

And if Brazil loses today, then Kristy would get another point for having Germany in the final, giving her three. Craig would also have three, as would Ben. Craig would win if Argentina also won, of else it would be a three-way tie.

TigerBlog? Nope. He's not winning this one.


And hey, if there is a tie, TigerBlog's proposed tiebreaker will be penalty kicks.

It works better in a for-fun pool than it does in the real matches. TB hates that, but more on that another time.

For now, let's just say TB hopes it doesn't come to that.

He's predicting it will, though, which given how it's been going in his predictions of late means that there's almost chance it will come true.

Spain. What a bad pick that turned out to be.

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