National tournaments

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National tournaments

Post by MLafer » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:03 am

Just a general question for everyone:

What is the general feeling about the two national tournaments? I've noticed that a lot of teams are only spending money to go to ICT, as if the default thinking is "We're going to ICT, and maybe if we have enough money left over, we can go to that ACF thingie too" instead of vice-versa. This year is an especially interesting case, since the appeal of the location probably won't factor in so much (Maryland and Michigan being equally unappealing places to visit). It also can't be the packet submission factor, because Andrew has stated that he would allow teams to play without submitting a packet. And yeah, some teams like UNC are much closer to Maryland, but there are other teams, like those on the west coast (Stanford, UCLA, Caltech) who are only going to ICT and it would be cheaper to attend ACF. Maybe D2 is a factor. And maybe the spectacle of the whole thing is a factor (exciting terms like "S-score" and the suspense of three teams ahead of you on the waitlist dropping and getting in at the last second; watching the myriad of finals games in front of massive audiences while Eric Hillemann furiously adds up the score on a chalkboard and R. plows through 28 questions in 5 minutes). Or is it just common consensus that ICT is *the* national tournament and ACF is just some kind of sideshow for the ultra-hardcore among us.

When I was in school I always put nearly equal prestige on the two events: while I prefer ACF questions, and I think that they are better at separating teams of similar skill level, NAQT had a more quality field from top to bottom due to the bid process, and they always had a much larger attendance.

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Post by wwellington » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:12 am

We were planning on attending ACF, but then things like transportation to Michigan falling through happened (wow, worst sentence ever). In our case, at least, it's not a case of trying to avoid ACF.

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:14 am

The official policy of the Chicago College Bowl Team (I'm speaking as an officer of the team, not as an individual) is to maximize the amount of national championships we win. We recognize ACF Nationals, ICT, and CBI Nationals as legitimate national championship conferring tournaments. As such, we do not officially prefer one over the other two, or any two over the remaining one of the three.

In terms of what we actually feel like, I would say that ACF Nationals has far more legitimacy among our players than ICT, mostly because the questions at ICT as seen as too trashy and too poorly written. CBI is in actually not seen as legitimate at all except for a very small fraction of the team, who admit that they play CBI only for the novelty value and would not objectively grant it legitimacy.
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Post by vandyhawk » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:55 am

We went to both last year, and placed right at the 50th percentile of each (10th of 21 and 16th of 32). For those of us who play on the A team, we don't really have a big preference for one or the other since we have strengths and weaknesses unique to each one, and it kind of balances out, as evidenced by our equivalent finishes. We aren't going to ACF this year for a couple reasons. The biggest one really is that my master's thesis is due April 3, and if (when) it's not done well in advance, I don't want to be dealing with that while traveling. We also spent a ton of money last year flying to MLK, Penn Bowl (best idea ever...), and both nat's, so given that we're taking a DII team to ICT as well, we just couldn't justify sending a me-less team to ACF this year. To refute one of Matt's points, UMCP is only a metro ride away from DC, while Ann Arbor is a rental car drive from Detroit...take your pick there.

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Post by canaanbananarama » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:03 am

MLafer writes:
but there are other teams, like those on the west coast (Stanford, UCLA, Caltech) who are only going to ICT and it would be cheaper to attend ACF
Well, UCLA actually will in all likelihood go to ACF Nationals with a team of Ray Luo, Jay Turetzky, and me. But that's moderately irrelevant to your point as you're right: even though we are probably going, it's secondary to NAQT. I had to justify going to ACF Nats by making it a simple pit stop on a lengthy spring break trip; otherwise I probably wouldn't go. If forced to pick between the two of them, I, and I suspect, every teammate of mine save Ray Luo, would pick NAQT. Maybe Dwight's (Wynne) coming around, I don't know. NAQT plays to a lot of my strengths: geography and trash, and I become a terribly one-dimensional player when forced to play on ACF questions which neglect my specialties. I can't really say that much more before having attended ACF Nationals.

I will also concur that the opportunity to visit Washington, DC is an attractive proposition to West Coast people who have not visited there. One shouldn't underrate the drawing power of one the nation's most important tourist destinations. To put it on West Coast terms, it's Anaheim vs. Spokane. Though I've been to both [DC and Detroit], I still find College Park the far more interesting destination.

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Post by grapesmoker » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:55 am

If it weren't for the fact that the ICT was within driving distance for me, I probably wouldn't go. I suspect the tournament itself will be good (in the areas I like) because Andrew will have a hand in it, but he can't do anything about the distribution or the speed of the game, which makes it less enjoyable for me. If ICT were somewhere requiring flight, I would not go, as it's simply too much money for me to spend on a tournament that I'm probably going to enjoy less than ACF.
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Post by Chris Frankel » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:11 am

FWIW, I think that while ICT does have the larger field and wider range of teams, the competition looks to be more intense at ACF. Consider that TAMU , Princeton, and Michigan aren't showing up at full force for ICT, but are coming with their big guns for ACF, and you've got yourselves one tournament with a deep title race and one tournament where the rest of the field is, to put it bluntly, what seems to be a circle jerk for third behind Chicago and Illinois (I think the only team who's going to be weaker at ACF than ICT is Brown, and we all know that Jerry is no slouch). At least from what I see given the field, you also don't have too many punching bags at ACF, so you know every team who shows up wants to be there and that each match is going to be competitive.

Also, good to see you guys coming, Charles... can I put your UCLA roster in my predictions thread because that definitely counts as one more good team coming to the mix.

And yes, I have to agree, ACF's choice of location outright sucks ass. It would have made my day had they been the ones in Maryland instead of ICT, but that's not how it is, and it comes down to a matter of who really wants to play the game.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by Susan » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:49 am

Bruce wrote:The official policy of the Chicago College Bowl Team (I'm speaking as an officer of the team, not as an individual) is to maximize the amount of national championships we win. We recognize ACF Nationals, ICT, and CBI Nationals as legitimate national championship conferring tournaments. As such, we do not officially prefer one over the other two, or any two over the remaining one of the three.
Dude, what the hell are you talking about?

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Post by canaanbananarama » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:04 pm

Chris Frankel writes:
Also, good to see you guys coming, Charles... can I put your UCLA roster in my predictions thread because that definitely counts as one more good team coming to the mix.
Go ahead.

And to make this post slightly more interesting than a boring reply, I think that Berkeley's having confirmed their NAQT Nationals bid means that they should be officially considered a threat to win nationals, and will add another West Coast team to the list of teams going to ICT and not ACF. Rumors are that they will field a team with Jeff Hoppes, David Farris, Paul Lujan, and Brendan Shapiro. I'll pick them to win, anyways.

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Post by grapesmoker » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:18 pm

canaanbananarama wrote: And to make this post slightly more interesting than a boring reply, I think that Berkeley's having confirmed their NAQT Nationals bid means that they should be officially considered a threat to win nationals, and will add another West Coast team to the list of teams going to ICT and not ACF. Rumors are that they will field a team with Jeff Hoppes, David Farris, Paul Lujan, and Brendan Shapiro. I'll pick them to win, anyways.
Is this true? I was under the impression that Berkeley was not going to go, but if this is their intended team, I think this makes them the favorite to win. Jeff Hoppes in particular is a devastating NAQT player, as everyone knows.
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Post by csrjjsmp » Sat Feb 25, 2006 12:06 am

Yes, at practice this Thursday all but Jeff had confirmed their interest in going, and David supposedly has been in touch with him since then. That will probably be our ICT team (it'd better be, because that's what I told the NAQT people).
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Post by suds1000 » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:50 pm

I'm been staring at lists for the last two hours, and I'm sick of it, so I'll bite.

While I personally place about equal emphasis on ICT and ACF nationals, I think there are a few reasons that Illinois has attended only ICT for the last few years:

1. We've barely had enough money to attend one of them
2. We've consistently had a better shot at winning and/or placing better at ICT, and it was hard to find motivation to participate in the "circle jerk" (thanks, Frankel) for fourth behind Chicago/Michigan/Berkeley for the past few years
3. On ACF Nationals weekend last year, our best ACF player was in St. Louis at the Final Four
4. ICT has a more diverse field, so we get to play great teams other than just Chicago and Michigan, whom we play all the time

Neither 1 nor 3 is/will be true this year, and while we do probably have a better shot at winning ICT than ACF Nats, the ACF field no longer features any set of one, two, or three teams that will blow everyone else away. This ACF nationals is the first one that's really been up for grabs since I started playing.

I agree with Lafer that ACF Nationals is probably better at separating teams of similar skill level, but it appears that ICT has become the *real* national championship by virtue of the number of teams clamoring to come. Of course, that's a function of the fact that ACF has become less popular, for which there are multiple reasons...I'll address that in a separate thread, which should appear soon.

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:14 pm

suds1000 wrote:
2. We've consistently had a better shot at winning and/or placing better at ICT, and it was hard to find motivation to participate in the "circle jerk" (thanks, Frankel) for fourth behind Chicago/Michigan/Berkeley for the past few years

... while we do probably have a better shot at winning ICT than ACF Nats, the ACF field no longer features any set of one, two, or three teams that will blow everyone else away. This ACF nationals is the first one that's really been up for grabs since I started playing.
I thought I'd comment on this, since it seems to me a popular and yet wildly inaccurate perception. Here are the teams that have finished in the top three at both nationals since 2000:

ACF

2005: Michigan, Chicago, Berkeley
2004: Chicago, Berkeley, Texas A&M
2003: Berkeley, Michigan, Kentucky
2002: Michigan, Kentucky, Princeton
2001: Michigan A, Virginia, Michigan B
2000: Chicago, Illinois, Harvard

NAQT:
2005: Michigan, Chicago, Rochester
2004: Berkeley, Florida, Michigan
2003: Chicago, Berkeley, Maryland
2002: Michigan, Virginia, Chicago
2001: Chicago, Michigan A, Michigan B
2000: Illinois, Chicago, Michigan

What strikes me about these lists is their remarkable similarity.

* Michigan and Chicago have won 5 of the last 6 ACF titles; they have won 4 of the last 6 NAQT titles.

* Michigan, Chicago, and Berkeley have finished in the top two 9 of 12 times at ACF; they have finished in the top two 9 of 12 times at NAQT.

* 6 schools that were not Michigan, Chicago, or Berkeley have cracked the top three at ACF; 5 schools that were not Michigan, Chicago, or Berkeley have cracked the top three at NAQT.

And you can't say "yes, but the fourth through sixth (or whatever) place teams are much closer to the top three at NAQT than they are at ACF." Nobody came close to Chicago at NAQT in 2003, or to Berkeley at NAQT in 2004; last year, Chicago and Michigan were both undefeated going into the final game of the playoffs.

I agree that both the ACF and NAQT titles are much more "open" this year than they have been in the past, but it's simply wrong to think that the one tournament has been more "up for grabs" than the other. Obviously this doesn't change the fact that teams are clamoring to play at the one tournament, even though they don't have a prayer of winning, while largely spurning the other. There may be a number of reasons why teams prefer NAQT to ACF nationals. But teams that are motivated by the sense that they have a better shot at an NAQT title are, alas, living in a fool's paradise.

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Post by nafai » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:50 pm

Maybe it's that "staring at lists" results in a better performance at NAQT than ACF?

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Post by 96sininep » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:55 am

nafai wrote:Maybe it's that "staring at lists" results in a better performance at NAQT than ACF?
Are you implying something about Mr. Potru's NAQT abilities?

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