The offices of the FootyMaths Institute* have been inundated with a request to look into the crystal ball and consider forecasting the ladder come season end.
The algorithms used by the super computer ensconced inside the institute typically only toil away looking at week-to-week figures with a view to determining who could win the next week. After extensive crunching of numbers, and equally extensive crunching of chips (not computer chips, but these type), the combined resource of the computers and the boffins at the FMI can reveal the following as its selections for both the ladder and season trends.
Though it is fair to say, a good deal of the calculations were disregarded by the boffins, who, when predicting a whole season ahead, decided a bit of the old common sense** would be best to boot home this predictions post.
The Strong Teams
...that will hold up everyone else on the ladder
Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide
Cant see any guaranteed wins for either of these teams, and are prepared to be entirely wrong on the 2012 Spooner (i.e. I wouldn't be surprised if Port sink clearly to the bottom).
Only candidate for jumping from this group would be Gold Coast.
Another Season Of
...missing out on the 8 and finals action.
Brisbane, Essendon, Richmond, Adelaide, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle.
-Brisbane are still in re-build phase and may be finals candidates in 2014, but not before then.
-Similarly Richmond, but perhaps 2013 will have them in the 8.
-Essendon will always live by the candle that is the Hird-factor... but it wont be enough to power them back to health.
-Adelaide may well have the FlabCup, but really... more work to be done.
-Melbourne. Do I need to add more? OK then how about 'flip a coin'. Talent is there, but consistency?
-Western Bulldogs will also be re-building, and will be the most likely to break from this group into the 8.
-Fremantle. Same old, same old. When will you learn to win away?
...as the so-close-but-yet-so-far 5 are;
North Melbourne, West Coast, St. Kilda, Carlton, and Sydney
-Another of the key boffin over-rides, North Melbourne. Stats pull them into 9th (with the Dogs in 8th), but the thought is that the Roos are on the up, and the Dogs have more work to be done. But its a close one. An 8th spot that is probably a charity show (like the Bombers of 2011)
-West Coast could break from this group and join the genuine flag challengers. Real progression last season has then as possibly the best-ever Spooners (in 2010).
-St. Kilda get into the top 8 purely on past history and quality of list... but its an old list. Lets note them as 'most likely to fall out of the 8'.
-Carlton will be there or there abouts, but no flag for you.
-Sydney will keep on keeping on... decent list, play their home ground well and still grind out wins.
The Best Three of 2012
And it seems to be the favorites of most...
Hawthorn, Geelong and Collingwood
-The three teams clearly from the stats... in fact the old C64 crunched out Geelong as the best team, but the boffins have had a bit of a think and knocked them back a peg (ageing players etc).
-Collingwood should keep sailing smoothly with a younger team, but they do have a new coach and alleged hubris that might up-end them.
-Hawthorn garnered a few media tips as the best of 2012, and they may be, but the FMI have them maybe 2 games off the top 2 places
So that is the FMI run of the season grouped out.
Yeah, All Right Then
So if you really want to push for a definitive season end ladder... we would arrange the teams thus:
4 West Coast
7 North Melbourne
8 St. Kilda
9 Western Bulldogs
16 Gold Coast
17 Port Adelaide
18 Greater Western Sydney
* No longer affiliated with the Ponds Institute.
** 'Common sense' in the offices of the FootyMaths Institute is quite un-common.