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N.E. Brigand

How much do corps normally improve after San Antonio?

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Curious about that question, I took a few minutes to look at the past three years to see how much each corps' score has increased between the Southwestern regional and the Championship prelims (selected rather than semis or finals because all corps appear). Only corps who played in both events were counted--which explains Jersey Surf having no number for 2011. (Also, penalty deductions, of which there were only two, were restored on the grounds that they were anomalies that masked actual improvement, for good or ill.) I included the two corps that folded during that time.

First, these are the overall score averages at each show and average change between them:

2011: 80.52 >> 85.59 (=5.07)

2012: 78.10 >> 83.98 (=5.88)

2013: 78.50 >> 85.41 (=6.91)

2014: 79.92 >>

Any thoughts on why San Antonio scores went down after 2011? Or on why the average increase has gone up over three years? ("It doesn't mean anything" is a perfectly acceptable answer, in my view.)

Here is the average improvement for each corps (with the three yearly changes in parenthesis):

7.23 -- Cadets (6.95, 7.10, 7.65)

7.10 -- Oregon Crusaders (n/a, n/a, 7.10)

7.03 -- Boston Crusaders (5.65, 7.45, 8.00)

6.98 -- Santa Clara Vanguard (5.70, 7.35, 7.90)

6.82 -- Bluecoats (5.20, 7.40, 6.82)

6.73 -- Phantom Regiment (6.75, 6.85, 6.60)

6.72 -- Carolina Crown (5.25, 7.05, 7.85)

6.70 -- Cavaliers (5.40, 8.00, 6.70)

6.62 -- Blue Devils (5.90, 6.20, 7.75)

6.43 -- Jersey Surf (n/a, 4.70, 8.15)

6.33 -- Blue Knights (5.80, 7.20, 6.00)

6.25 -- Spirit of Atlanta (6.45, 4.75, 7.55)

6.22 -- Mandarins (5.90, 4.75, 8.00)

5.80 -- Crossmen (5.30, 5.85, 6.25)

5.75 -- Blue Stars (4.00, 5.80, 7.45)

5.62 -- Madison Scouts (4.70, 5.50, 6.65)

5.35 -- Pacific Crest (3.55, 6.60, 5.90)

5.23 -- Colts (4.80, 4.55, 6.35)

(5.20 -- Glassmen (4.35, 6.05, n/a))

5.08 -- Academy (4.35, 5.35, 5.55)

4.82 -- Troopers (4.15, 3.75, 6.55)

(4.75 -- Teal Sound (4.75, n/a, n/a))

4.27 -- Cascades (4.35, 3.55, 4.90)

3.78 -- Pioneer (2.40, 3.60, 5.35)

(Oregon's number is of course the least reliable, being based on just one year.)

Any surprises here? Or heads nodding in recognition? Thoughts on why certain corps fall where they do? Why Blue Devils apparently improve more than Cadets early in the season and less than Cadets late in the season? Predictions as to which corps is likely to exceed or fall short of its historical gain? Or, again, does all this mean nothing--is the sample too small, are the differences too slight, etc.?

Even if it does mean nothing, I was naturally curious as to what prelims would look like if each corps improved by exactly their averages from their San Antonio scores this year. Of course it won't happen that way (if we knew that it would, there'd be no need for the corps to practice any more!), but for fun, that would make this year's prelims scores as follows:

98.267 Blue Devils

98.208 Cadets

96.667 Bluecoats

95.983 Santa Clara Vanguard

95.417 Carolina Crown

93.625 Cavaliers

91.458 Phantom Regiment

90.433 Blue Knights

89.458 Boston Crusaders

87.475 Blue Stars

87.042 Madison Scouts

86.050 Crossmen

82.800 Spirit of Atlanta

82.717 Troopers

81.900 Oregon Crusaders

81.333 Colts

79.858 Academy

78.592 Mandarins

78.400 Pacific Crest

76.075 Jersey Surf

71.467 Cascades

67.908 Pioneer

So if the numbers are reliable, we should expect to see very little change by Thursday, August 7. And in fact, looking at placement changes between Southwestern and Prelims the past three years, invariably a handful of corps shift one or at most two positions, and (apart from lower-scoring W.C. corps slipping more by being overtaken by O.C. corps) that's it.

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I'm not a big numbers person, so I don't know what, if anything, all that stuff means. But I expect BK to shift at least one position upward and I expect them to break 90 this year. I guess that would be consistent with your numbers.

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By august they are usually better than they were in San Antonio. Then for some reason June comes around and everything goes to ####.

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It will be interesting to see how your scores will compare to the actual prelim results. Thanks for taking the time to crunch the numbers.

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Thanks for running those numbers. Interesting stuff. (I like numbers and the story they tell)

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A lot of good work running the numbers. I guess from here we will see which shows crash and burn. This year most corps are above their scores from (013). You can also look at the score increases from Allen town to prelim's is also interesting.

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So if the numbers are reliable, we should expect to see very little change by Thursday, August 7. And in fact, looking at placement changes between Southwestern and Prelims the past three years, invariably a handful of corps shift one or at most two positions, and (apart from lower-scoring W.C. corps slipping more by being overtaken by O.C. corps) that's it.

There are outlier years, but in a nutshell, that's how it usually plays out. And once you get to quarterfinals of championship week, it's even more predictable.

"But I can dream, can't I?" Yes, you can. There are outlier years and no statistical way to predict them from San Antonio.

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As far as the Oregon Crusaders go, they start later then most so I would expect their score to increase more then most between SA and Prelimes. Also, OC usually gets a couple of point boost from Prelims to Semi-finals. The 13-17 placement will be interesting when finals gets here. I doubt anyone can catch Crossmen for 12th.

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In 2011, The Cadets, who finished 3rd in San Antonio, went on to win the gold.

In 2014, the Bluecoats, who finished 3rd in San Antonio ...

Placement can change. Scoring this year seems less reliant on (that old nasty term) "slotting" than we've seen a quite a while.

Keep changing opinions of the judges, Bluecoats!

Edited by drumcorpsfever

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