Happy Feet would have to overcome the biggest loss indicators on record to win Season 29. History favours soireé after their 5–3, 5–3 victory in the upper page playoff against happy feet.
If you look back at the last 15 ozfortress /OWL seasons, back to Season 14, some trends emerge about the top 2 teams and the winner of the Grand Finals. One fact that is immediately obvious, is that the winner of the grand final has never lost or drawn more than one match between Week 6 and the Upper Page Playoffs.
You’re probably wondering why there is significance placed on Week 6, and why the weeks prior aren't considered? The reason is that top seeded teams don’t start playing off until week 6 making the data from this point onward the most reliable indicator in predicting Grand Finals success.
I’m too lazy to make these tables pretty, but you can see the history in these two screenshots:
Grand Finals Winner History — W6-GF
Grand Final Loser History — W6-GF
The ultimate winner of the season losing or drawing one game has been seen before: Jasmine lost the upper page playoff in Season 15, and more recently, happy feet and Coffee Clock have dropped or drawn a game in Seasons 24, 26 and 27 between Week 7 and the Upper Page Playoffs. All of these losses have been to the teams they would eventually face in the Grand Final.
The complicating factor for S29’s happy feet is that no team has lost two games in this stretch and gone on to win the Grand Final. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it would be a Western Bulldogs (2016) type win (based on the low probability of victory).
Going a bit deeper — The ‘3 lights’ theory
We can actually look a bit deeper than just pure wins & losses — I’ve also taken a look at the following metrics across this Week 6 to Upper Page Playoffs period:
- Total maps won
- Total round difference
- Total rounds conceded
This gives us a sense of how dominant the each of the two teams were leading up to the grand final, and a comparison of how well the teams were performing on average in their victories/losses.
You may wonder why the Semi-Final isn’t considered: The top 2 teams are typically ahead of the third/fourth place teams in skill-level. If the semi-final is considered, then the loser of the Upper Page Playoffs (winner of the Semi-Final) has an extra “dominant” game in hand that skews these metrics (maps won, round difference) in their favour.
If we then also look at how close the Grand Finals were in terms of total round difference, we can try and investigate whether there are any trends between the 3 metrics listed above, and how close a grand final is.
Table is truncated, view the full table here
You’re probably thinking — what the fck am I looking at? What are these column names? What are these colours? Let’s break it down:
- GF Round Diff. to Winner = Total rounds for winner — total rounds for loser THE RESULT
- Maps Won Diff. to Winner = Total map wins for winner — total map wins for loser [W6-UPP] LIGHT 1
- Rounds Won Diff. To Winner = Total rounds won for winner — total rounds won for loser [W6-UPP] LIGHT 2
- Rounds Conceded Diff. To Loser = Total rounds conceded for loser — total rounds conceded for winner [W6-UPP] LIGHT 3
3 green lights = Grand Final winner
No team has lost the grand final when they have gone in with all 3 green lights (or at least 2 green and 1 yellow). We can see that there have been 5 seasons out of 15 where the winner went in and their opponent had one green light, of which 2 are considered legitimate.
Lets look at each case:
Season 20 — mad men had 2 green lights to The Sauce’s 1. There are couple of things happening here, the first being that it was a close season. The total round difference for that grand final ended up being 4 rounds which is historically close. The Sauce changed their lineup fairly dramatically after losing the upper page playoff to mad men, suggesting that the numbers for W6-UPP weren’t actually reflective of the teams that eventually played off in the GF.
Season 22 — Pencil Case had 2/3 green lights (Jasmine Tea had 1) but this was a weird season in that xeno were actually 2nd after Week 7 and played off in a close game with Pencil Case in the UPP (4–5, 4–2, 3–2), while Jasmine Tea had a fairly easy 5–0, 5–0 against brain brigade. There are only two times a team has played in the UPP and not played in the grand final, and both times it was xeno (S18 & S22).
Season 24 — Coffee Clock only had 1 green light, big chungus had 1, and the maps won were dead even. This was clearly a ridiculously close season leading in to the Grand Final. The Grand Final went to 4 maps and this season stands as evidence that it’s hard to predict a winner using this ‘3 lights’ method when the numbers are very close (or there are not 3 green lights).
Season 26 — MMGP had 1 green light to Coffee Clock’s 2, and ultimately played out in the closest ground final on this list. A total of 1 round separated the Grand Final that was played out over 5 maps (3–1, 1–2, 3–1, 1–0, 2–1). Coffee Clock ultimately came home with the chocolates, but again, this stands as an example of the ‘3 lights’ method maybe not being as effective in close seasons. I do note that Coffee Clock did have 2/3 of the lights here, though.
Season 27 — Butterfly Effect went into the grand final with a win in the upper page playoff against happy feet and 2 green lights. However, unlike most seasons, Butterfly Effect were seeded 3rd, and the winner of a Grand Final has always been seeded 1st or 2nd (as long as seeding has existed). The result of this was that Butterfly Effect had a week 7 soft game against fridge zeej (5–0, 3–0). happy feet on the other hand, had their Week 7 match against second seed, NoG (4–3, 3–1).
Where does this leave Season 29’s happy feet and soirée?
I’ve calculated these same ‘lights’ for soirée and happy feet — and have assumed that happy feet will win through to the Grand Final. As you can see in the table above, soirée have 3 green lights, and history says that no team with 3 green lights has lost the grand final.
I will be the first to confess that this is a small sample size (n=15), but hey, you can only play with the data that’s in front of you.
Further to the general qualitative statement “soirée will win” — if we sort by the “Rounds Won Difference”, the numbers also seem to suggest that the grand final might not even be close (in terms of total round difference between them on the night).
I’ll leave it at this for now, but keep an eye out for roster changes in scrims that could invalidate this data. I’d also say that if any team can ‘make history’, it would be happy feet. They’ve previously shown that one loss in the run-up doesn’t mean much, maybe two won’t either? The redcoat and yewl core has also won the last 5 Grand Finals, with redcoat playing in winning teams in 7 of the last 9.