Saturday, August 25, 2007

Magic Numbers

I had a few people ask me how to calculate the magic/elimination #s we've been using on the blog.

Well, first of all, credit goes to reader Wooden who's been keeping track for awhile and passing the info along here. But the formula is pretty simple:

(G+1) - (W1-L2) = Magic Number

G=total number of games in the season
W1=number of wins for the first place team
L2=number of losses for the 2nd place team

To calculate the elimination number for teams in 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc, plug in their losses where "L2" is.


DaveCo said...

After he tried explaining that all to Mr Leahy I responded with the following:

" just killed my brain"

BUT....this looks easy enough to calculate,it just sounded confusing

wooden said...

Where it gets fuzzy is the CanAm's habit of not making up every game. Ordinarily, you'd start with 48 for the half (47+1) and 95 (94+1) for the whole season. So what I've been doing as a fail-safe is keeping track of the number of games remaining and adding it to the two team's win columns, then assuming both teams go on a winning streak (this scenario doesn't work if the two teams play each other, as John Henry pointed out to MLB in 2003).

For example, the Spirit have won 26 and have 9 games left. The Surf have won 24 and have 9 games left. Thus, the most games AC can win is 33, so the Spirit would have to win 34 in this "win out" scenario. Subtract 26 from 34, and you've got the magic number of 8 for the 2nd half title.

Down the line for the 2nd half:


For the wildcard, the reason why the magic # is 1 is that Quebec can play up to 94 games and win as many as 52 games. The Spirit are at 51 wins already and can play up to 93 games, thus if they were both win 52 games, the Spirit would win on percentage points (.559 vs. .553).

This uneven number of games thing could influence seedings - and travel plans. Atlantic City has a max # of games played of just 92, whereas Nashua and North Shore are at 93. What this means is that the #3 seed can be won or lost by as little as a half-game, and it could mean the difference between driving to NH or NJ.

So to recap, the magic #s to clinch:

Playoffs (#4): 1
Best Wildcard (#3): 5
Best Overall Record: 6
2nd Half Title: 8

wooden said...

In case anyone was wondering, I think the reason why the league site isn't mentioning the "clinch" last night is that it's still mathematically possible for the Cutters, Grays, and the Rox to win the 2nd half title, and thus, have both Atlantic City and Nashua finish ahead of the Spirit.

But the Les Klansmen have been eliminated, no matter how you slice it!

The elimnation #s....

NHC: 3
GRY: 2
BKN: 1

wooden said...

Wow. I guess we've proven that the Spirit read this site -- they're now stating they've clinched. My fault, I guess, and I e-mailed under my pseudonym to correct them and spell it out.