Sunday, September 02, 2007

Charlotte (NC) Independence High School has just had its 109-game football winning streak come to an end -- but it took an out-of-state opponent to do it.

As part of former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit's Ohio vs. The USA Challenge, Charlotte Independence ventured to take on Cincinnati Elder in the latter's home city, and dropped a 41-34 overtime decision.

As noted in the above-linked article, "Most of the wins weren't close. Independence had beaten opponents during its win streak by an average of nearly 35 points per game entering the 2007 season."

Independence's situation appears to fit a very simple "theory" of super-long streaks. A team (or individual) is physically superior to its competition, thus winning most of its games in dominant fashion. Then, in the rare circumstance of a tight game, the team with the winning streak benefits from good luck to keep the streak going, until the luck runs out.

One recent memorable example, from college football, was USC's 2005 win at Notre Dame to extend the Trojans' winning streak to 28, a victory that required some favorable bounces of the ball at the end.

When one thinks of other historical streaks, such as Joe DiMaggio's getting a hit in 56 straight games, the UCLA men's basketball team winning 88 straight games, and Tiger Woods making the cut at 142 straight PGA golf tournaments, it should not be surprising that the teams and individuals who accumulated these streaks were already at the top of their crafts.

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