Friday, November 11, 2005

University of Alabama Football Report for 11/11/05

According to the self-similarity principle, once the defining attribute of a group is identified, said group should exhibit the same strata and complexity representative to other bodies separated by a different attribute. To put it another way, there are just as many would-be poets, percentage-wise, among housewives as lumberjacks. Everything comes down to the foggy math of fractals and representations.

According to 2004 campaign disclosures, the two presidential candidates spent millions of dollars on predictive polling firms – not one each, but every last stinking one of them. How these companies sweep up their numbers and boil down a poultice for the politicos saying, “you can win here,” or “don’t spend a dime there” is proprietary data. Once you work for one company, you can never – ever – work for a competitor, even though they all get hired anyway.

According to the financial pages, only one mutual fund has ever outperformed the general stock index in long-term growth. In other words, all the hand wringing and selective prioritizing over a few dozen stocks isn’t as shrewd as investing one buck in every company across the board. Inflation is smarter than Harvard business grads.

Here’s the kicker though: Take the housewives and lumberjacks; who has a higher percentage of axe-murderers in their midst? A member of both groups may have some time alone with a pen and paper, but only one has an axe in his hand after drinking too many with Sven and the boys.

And the reason the polling firms protect their data collection methodology so tightly and why all of them find work every four years is surprising: They’re always wrong. Always. Their formulas are just as likely to come from voodoo as Big Blue. No one wants to expose the gears on a machine that may not even work.

And don’t bother Warren Buffett with math. He’s got a good thing going.

So according to Vegas, Bama is a three-point underdog at home against LSU, flying in the face of fractal geometry and sociological convention. No matter though, because unlike the political predictors, the oddsmakers have a better track record.

For this reason, the new bookie doesn’t care to talk sports much. It’s all so much math homework to him. And he don’t cotton to esoteric bullshit about moral uprightness and the shaping of men’s souls either. If born to another life, his head for figures would have taken him through MIT then on to some nameless underground facility that requires keycards and eye scans just to use the toilet. As it is, he drops cigarette ash in the parking lot of his mother’s fish place, helping her stay afloat by catering to numbers junkies like me.

If you ever find yourself east of the river and very hungry, I recommend the good woman’s double-catfish filet sandwich (a.k.a. ‘the Escalade’), but it is not to be ordered on a whim. This sandwich is big enough to share but good enough not to. Her son will be the large man with the shaved head. He’ll be wearing an appropriate sports jersey for the current weather and may be wrestling his muscled thumbs over the keypad of a platinum Blackberry when you walk in.

If you ask too many questions, he will ignore you. But if you ask just the right number, he’ll pull one of his three cell phones out of his pocket, the one with a Las Vegas area code, and he will put your money where your mouth is. He will tell you, “it’s all about the numbers,” but don’t you believe him.

Roll Tide.