Thursday, October 05, 2006

UF-LSU: A three part preview

Anyone can analyze a football game based on statistics or players. Here at the Church of Albert, we take a different approach. This is a three part preview, comparing Mike the Tiger and Albert the Alligator to each other directly using science, the power of fiction, and sorcery. A lesser blog would split each of the three segments into individual articles, but here at the Church of Albert we throw the entire bloated thing at you at once.

Part 1: Science

First I turned to the ultimate determiner of fact: Wikipedia. Alligators appear to have an advantage in size, as an adult male can weigh over a ton and a Bengal tiger is less than half that size. Wikipedia also says that alligators sometimes take down Florida Panthers, and that tigers occasionally take down crocodiles…so Wikipedia is not very helpful.

According to Zoobooks, a respected source of scientific data, Nile Crocodiles often feed on Lions. I once read that male lions are more than capable of handling tigers in a fight (due to their mane protecting the neck and more experience fighting one on one). This tenuous A=B=C Zoobook based logic gives an alligator the edge over a tiger.

As you can see, my exhaustive research is inconclusive. So I have turned to an expert to analyze this problem.

Dr. Reed is the curator of mammals at the Florida Museum of Natural History and he got his PHD from LSU. He is both an actual scientific figure and involved on both sides of the game. Thus he is the perfect person to analyze this conundrum. His words, mostly unedited, follow.

“Similarities:

Both the American Alligator and Bengal Tiger have been listed as endangered species (we've all had bad football years), but the alligator is no longer listed as endangered and is seeing a return to prominence.

Both are top-level carnivores, they are at the very, very top of their food chain. That means that rarely is an adult tiger or alligator going to be taken down by some other animal.

Both have amazing defenses:

Tigers have incredibly strong jaws and sharp claws.

Alligators have strong jaws and sharp teeth, but they also have a wicked tail (a defensive secondary) that can knock you off your feet.

On offense:

Both tigers and alligators are lie-in-wait or ambush predators, their prey doesn't know what is coming until its too late (disguised plays).

Tigers are highly efficient predators (check out J. Russell's stats from last week)

Gators are a double-threat (Leak and Tebow in the backfield)

Differences:

Of course, they live on opposites sides of the world, so we are speaking hypothetically. However, we did have big cats in North America that are now extinct (and clearly the alligators are not). We had several different kinds of saber-toothed cats in North America and one that was found right here in Alachua County (Xenosmilus) that was about the same size as an African Lion.

One must consider which animal is creeping into the territory of the other, too. A tiger is not as well equipped for a fight in the swamp, although tigers do well around water, the muddy conditions of a swamp might prove challenging.

Bottom Line:

I think it is fair to compare them as full-size adults, and I think it is fair to say that it will be a hell of a fight. The skin of a tiger is amazingly tough, and I would give them a slight edge (not unlike the oddsmakers).”

So Science gives Mike a slight edge.

Part 2: Story

(that scary picture was taken near my hometown, in a lake I've swam in. /shudder)



I present to you the world’s first Albert the Alligator and Mike the Tiger fan fiction. At The Church of Albert, there is nothing we won’t do in an attempt to figure out who will a game.

“Mike stopped in some thick grass, he had been running for a while. He stopped to think on his situation. Mike’s thoughts weren’t in words, but in pictures, smells and sounds. His thoughts ran over the day, assessing his situation. He remembered the naked-apes dying under his claws, oh how he hated the naked-apes. Their stink covered his body. The stink of their blood covered his beautiful fur. Oh how Mike loved his fur and most of all loved keeping it clean. Being covered in the stink made him mad, he shuddered with anger, thoughts filled with murder.

Mike’s mind raced over the day, and the anger turned to joy. Anger and joy are related emotions for a tiger. He stunk of naked-ape, but he knew the stink was for a good reason. The naked-ape loud-mover had fallen over and the exit-less cave had opened. This had allowed Mike to run free. Oh they tried to stop him, but Mike’s claws and fangs were loosed. He would never be trapped in the exit-less cave again. Never again would the many naked-apes yell at him again.

This was the best day of Mike’s life. He stopped to lick the stink off of his pretty fur.

**

Albert floats just under the surface of the water, his nostrils poking out. Albert doesn’t think so much as react. His body takes information from the outside world via his senses, instinct asses those senses and picks one of three primal commands, and Albert’s body reacts to the command he is given. Albert is very efficient, it’s been over a million years since evolution has changed him. Right now, he waits. His nose peaks above the water and smells something strange. Something large and possibly dangerous. Something that doesn’t belong. Albert’s first primal command has been dictating his behavior all day and this new information does not change that. Albert waits.

**

Mike is pleased. He has done a good job of cleaning his coat, he is very pretty. If there were any female tigers near, Mike is sure they would like his coat. Mike is a sophisticated animal. He has conflicts between thought and instinct. He has never seen a female tiger besides his mother, so he knows they do not exist. Yet despite these thoughts, his body fills him with lust for female tigers. He is not sure what all of this inner conflict means. Mike shrugs it off, for now, it is enough that his coat is pretty. He is thirsty, all the killing and running and cleaning has made him thirsty. He can smell water nearby, and he goes to drink.

**

The smell grows stronger. The first command continues to repeat itself in Albert’s primitive brain. Albert waits.

**

Mike finds the watering hole. He is so thirsty. Part of him, the part deep inside, tells him that the water hole may not be safe. Mike’s brain dismisses this. Just as there are no female tigers, there is no danger in the water hole. Experience has taught him that he is Mike and he is a killer. Nothing can hurt him. Mike leans in for a drink of water.

**

The intruder begins to drink right above Albert. The proximity of a possible rival and meal causes the second primal command to kick in. Albert bites.

**

Green teeth monster! Mike is grabbed by a beast and he almost panics. But Mike is a killer, he is fierce. Killing leaves no time for panic. Seven hundred pounds of feline muscle tenses and grasps the shoreline with rear paw. The front paws slash rapidly into thick reptilian armor. Mike thrashes back and forth in the green teeth monster’s mouth, drawing blood repeatedly with his claws.

**

Albert feels pain. Albert never feels pain. Albert however, is too primitive to panic, and instead, his third primal command kicks in. Albert rolls.

**

Mike dies.”

The power of the pen gives Albert the edge.

Part 3: Sorcery

We come into this segment tied 1-1. The winner here; wins the game.

Wizards of the Coast displays a strong anti SEC bias by not even having an alligator in their monster manual. I choose a CR4 Crocodile to represent Albert. A CR4 Tiger will be used to represent Mike. That’s right, Dungeons and Dragons will choose the ultimate winner to this challenge, and thus: the game. I wasn’t kidding when I claimed this was the nerdiest sports blog out there.

Albert is Huge. He has 59hp. His initiative is +1. His AC is 16. His base attack/grapple is +5/21. His attack is a bite +11 melee (2d8+12) or a tail slap +11 melee (1d12+12). His full attack is just both of those attacks together. He has improved grab.

Mike is Large. He has 45hp. His initiative is +2. His AC is 14. His base attack is +4/+14. His attack is claws +9 melee (1d8+6). His full attack is his attack twice and a bite at +4 melee (2d6+3). He also has rake (+9 melee at 1d8+3) and a feat called pounce, which should just be called “I win button.” Pounce says that if he charges, he gets a full attack and two rakes.

We will set this on land, because if it were in the water, Albert’s various water bonuses would end it instantly. The two animals are just standing in a giant arena facing one another.

They roll initiative (all dice rolls done on AIM). Mike rolls a 16 (+2) for an 18. Albert rolls a 19 (+1) for a 20.

Albert will charge and bite. The charge boosts his attack value up to 13, but lowers his AC to 14 for two turns. Albert again rolls a 19, +11 for a 30. Albert hits for 2d8+12 damage. Albert rolls 4 and 3 for damage, hitting for 19 total.

Mike’s hitpoints are reduced to 26. Note, if this fight were in the water, it would already be over. Albert’s feats allow him to drag an opponent to the bottom of the water after a successful melee attack. DEATH ROLL IS UNSTOPPABLE.

Mike does a full attack. He rolls 9, 19, 14. After bonuses: 18, 27, 23. All three hits. Mike rolls damage. Two d8s and two d6s. 4, 8, 5, 3. Total damage of 35.

Albert’s hitpoints are reduced to 24.

Albert does a full attack. 3 and 20. After bonuses: 14 and 31. The 20 is a critical threat, Albert has to roll another d20 to see if he achieves critical. Albert rolls a 17, the critical hit connects. So Albert’s damage rolls are: 2, 2, 8, 9. Plus bonuses of 36 (crits are NASTY). For a total of 57 points of damage.

Mike is eviscerated.

Albert wins the Sorcery segment of this preview, thus winning the whole thing 2-1. Some conclusions: this blog is run by a huge nerd, DnD is balanced poorly, and the death roll is UNSTOPPABLE.

Enjoy the game. Go Gators.


(updates on the Science part here)

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