Friday night not quite as filled with lights this week

High school football in Illinois was scheduled for Thursday in many communities this weekend, instead of the traditional Friday, due to the most solemn holy day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which Jewish people traditionally observe with about 25 hours of fasting and intensive prayer.

In Illinois last week, only four games were played on Thursday, indicated in red on the circle graphs at right. All of them were in Chicago, and a total of eight teams were involved.

This week, 31 games involving 62 Illinois teams were played on Thursday, most of them scheduled on a school night as a result of the Jewish holiday Friday, which began at sundown.

The number of games on Saturday was about the same for the two weekends: 74 Illinois teams play today in 37 games, and 101 Illinois teams played last weekend in 52 games on Saturday (three games involved out-of-state opponents).

Most games scheduled on Saturday are played on fields that don’t have lights installed yet or on fields that are shared by several different schools.

In Maryland, many games this week were also scheduled on Thursday to allow for Yom Kippur.

Strong thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and evening across Baltimore, however, which took out the air traffic control tower at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport for a while, caused the games to be rescheduled until Friday or Monday anyway, the Baltimore Sun reports.

About 100 Illinois games had that problem two weeks ago, as strong thunderstorms moved through the Chicago area.

Computer predictions begin

In a few days, once all the Illinois results are in from Week 3, we’re going to turn on our predictions. Our computer model, based on a regression we did six years ago, will make a prediction for the winner of every football game played between two Illinois schools. As more results come in, the predictions become more reliable, but please keep in mind:

  • The results are completely invalid. We are not experts on high school football.
  • The results are based on mathematics, not football fundamentals.

We do this because it is a reasonable way to apply mathematics to something that is relevant to the lives of high school students: their home team’s football season. If our computer predicts one team will win a game, please don’t interpret that as us saying the predicted winner is a “better” or “more prepared” football team than the predicted loser. That is not the intention.

Along those lines, our model is pretty good, but it’s not perfect. If a high school student would like to develop a different model, based on sound mathematical principles, we would be delighted to program it into our database and include it in all the predictions. Send me an email.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more biographical information, see the About page.