Why U's wouldn't be playing Stoke even if we'd won on Sunday

Habbinalan

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The Cambridge Messageboard is on form again to day. We have a heated debate (not an argument) about "what if?" It combines the outcome of Ossett Albion v Garforth Town with the application of higher maths to subjective probabilities -

https://plus.maths.org/content/still-struggling-chance

Vess asks: "On Tuesday night, I had the choice of two matches to attend.. I ended up at Thackley 2-3 Silsden, instead of opting for Ossett Albion 2-0 Garforth Town. Had i chosen the latter, would the two scores have been completely different?"

Our friend Tom responds: It doesn't take much, if Chris is at the other game then the players see something different, it might seem like nothing but subconciously it might mean you move a fraction of an inch in a different direction, which means you then miss the pass that was played slightly in front of you and rather than getting it under control and putting it in the box it goes out for a throw in, different game then...

As with us, you could put it down to a whole number of factors, but let's say we win and everything up until the rehearsal draw on Monday stays exactly the same (it wouldn't). Saying "Cambridge United" takes fractionally longer than saying "Doncaster Rovers", that means when our ball is pulled out of the hat in the reharsal draw, the person drawing it takes fractionally longer to say it, meaning they don't put the ball down at the same time, meaning their movement changes, meaning they then stand in a slightly different place, put their hand back in the bowl at a slightly different angle, in a slightly different position, and pick out a different ball. The rehearsal draw is then different, and what they do and think after that is completely different to what actually happened, meaning everything that happens from then on happens differently to how it did, and we more than likely do not draw Stoke at home...."


So there you have it - we could have had ManUre again if we'd won.
 

Glasshalffullpools

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You can't argue with common sense ......was there any there ?
 

shoddycollins

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You're talking about very slight changes having an immediate effect though. I understand this as an application of chaos theory commonly described with the analogy of a butterfly flapping its wings in China causing a hurricane in Brazil, but the key factor in that analogy is the time and distance. You alter the starting conditions very slightly and that changes things unpredictably over time until, given sufficient time those changes build up to a conditions being very different.

Football matches and cup-draws may be good examples of chaotic systems, but even in a chaotic system, a small change initially has only minor effects that may not be noticeable. The fraction of a second it takes to say 'Cambridge United' over 'Doncaster Rovers' would probably not have enough of an effect to change the next ball from Stoke to something else... perhaps the tiny change might result in one of the later balls being different, but unlikely the very next one. Similar with Osset Albion, the presence of single extra spectator might cause a player's head to turn fractionally more as he surveys the crowd, but the probability of these minute changes adding up to a different scoreline over the course of only 90 minutes is pretty low.

It's not impossible, but it's improbable enough not to get too excited over.
 

Laker

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I missed this thread on here. I questioned the logic of this too, not that I really care about Stoke but more because I don't really understand/agree (delete where appropriate) with the theory. Still, was an interesting discussion if you're into that sort of thing.
 
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