I am going to make a few threads relating to specific topics that facilitate statistical analyses of various degrees. A few potential subjects include: Attendance and related issues. The Castrol Index and other measures of 'effort' and 'skill.' In this first series I was hoping to discuss different measures or alternative ways to analyze and rank the various strengths of last year's team and our closest rivals as well as their weaknesses. I think that analyzing the facts, we can likely predict another playoff birth, but it will likely have to come a very different way. First, a table: What do we see from the table: 1. The race for the playoffs ended with the DC United getting in by 6 points. 2. The teams DC beat had the lowest average points earned among all Eastern Conference competitors. The teams DC beat had the lowest average position at season’s end. 3. The teams DC lost to had the highest average point total of all Eastern Conference competitors. The teams DC lost to had the highest average position at season’s end. 4. DC United earned an astounding 53% of it’s points from teams ranked in the bottom 6 at season’s end, higher than any other team in the playoffs in 2012. 5. DC United earned only 27.5% of it’s points from teams in the top 10, lower than any playoff contender in 2012. There are of course some limitations here. I think it might be a better idea to use the opponent's strength at the time the teams play rather than "end of season record." For example, LA might be rank 3 early on, but end the season at rank 12. As team's play opponents, you should probably count whether they were a winning club at the time of the game and add them up at season's end to determine who was the strongest team. I am curious what some people think of these statistics. Some questions: 1.What other data is relevant to the discussion here? What would you like to see as part of the conversation? 1a. How important are statistics like goals scored? What about when goals are scores? Is it relevant to look at goals per 10 game blocks? 2. When a team gets a very high number of points from teams low on the table and few points from higher ranked teams, what strategy is best taking on the next season? 2a. Given collectible data, is the "look at the last 5 matches" approach to ranking teams or predicting success even worthwhile? 3. How do you think teams did to adjust to specific limitations perhaps apparent in certain stats? 4. What do you predict, the playoff race, that is, the top 6 teams in the league will finish as for 2013? I want to hold off my own views for a little while until people provide some input of their own.