Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oh Boy.

I'm not getting in the middle of this one. All I can do is report the facts:

And the facts are, after one month of football, Mr. Q and Huskers Du are tied atop the standings. Everyone else, read em and weep. Analysis and shit coming later in the week. But for now: it's gonna be a tense week in Madison and Palatine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pick Six: Week 4's Quick Picks

It's Thursday morning Friday afternoon already...sigh, and I'm just barely getting caught up with last weekend's football. Wednesday night I sat on the new couch (it is comfy) and checked out all the scores and the latest AP Top 25. But Pitt-Miami kicked off Week 4 last night, and we're going to South Bend tomorrow, so not a lot of time for looking back. Let's talk quick.

For those clamoring for a Pick Six update, here's the upshot: not much happened. The only teams to move more than two slots were Iowa (grrr) and Arizona (double grrr ... wait a minute, that's the same grrr) and Stanford (not good for the Irish). So wherever you were last week, that's probably where you are this week. I'll get my spreadsheet issue sorted out and have an update next week.

Because by Sunday, we should see some big movement. Whereas last week there was only one game between ranked teams (which was obliterated from my memory), this week there are four. At least four ranked teams are going to lose, and probably more. So you'll need to know where you stand, and I will provide.

Week 4 Preview: Things are getting MAC-tastic in the Big Ten. Check out this week's lineup of foes: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Toledo and Austin Peay. Eight of 10 teams in action (Illinois had a MAC snack last week, and in typical Zook fashion almost lost, so they're taking a breather this week) are facing the Little Engine That Could of conferences. That sound you hear is the entire Big Ten fanbase yawning.

This Week It Sucks to Be: a former powerhouse. Florida and Southern California were the dominant programs of the last decade. But in 2010, the voters just don't believe. The Gators opened the preseason at 4, won and dropped to 8, won again and dropped to 10! By winning last week, they jumped all the way up to 9. But the Trojans can top that: Southern Cal has won in three straight weeks ... and dropped in the polls all three weeks (from preseason 14 to 16 to 18 to their current 20). I'm not sure if/when that's ever happened before. Hell, if they keep winning, they'll be out of the poll altogether!

Allrighty, enjoy the games tomorrow. The season is already a quarter over, and by this time tomorrow it will be a third done. But hey, let's focus on the upside: there's 75% (soon to be 67%) of the season left!

Here's hoping the temps drop into the 50s and 60s:

It's almost blanket weather for Quigley cat!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pick Six: Week Two Update

What happened with your favorite teams this weekend? Of note in the Pick Six universe:
  • Oklahoma curb-stomped Florida State, knocking them out of the poll. In other bad news for the ACC, Georgia Tech lost to no-longer-good Kansas, and Virginia Tech lost at home. To James Madison. Who in addition to being dead since 1836, doesn't even play I-A (highest level) football.
  • Georgia looked offensively inept against South Carolina, and paid for it with their four points. This is what happens when you play the only early game worth a damn on the biggest Saturday of September: everyone sees you suck.
  • Conversely, South Carolina got an unnecessarily large bump (12 spots/points) for that win over UGa (pronounced "Uggg-uhhh" after how they played).
  • Other inexplicable jumpers: Auburn for barely beating hapless Mississippi State; LSU for beating the worst team in the SEC; Utah for beating UNLV, who now has two 20+ point losses on the season.
About the only jump that made any damn sense was Oklahoma, who actually beat a ranked opponent.

The other new entries: welcome to Houston, Oregon State, The Hated Mitten, and the Arizona Wildcats, making Saturday's Iowa game the ONLY matchup of ranked teams on the weekend. (Of course ESPN's Gameday will be at Auburn as they face perenial chokers Clemson.)

Enough jibber jabber. Who's winning?

Believe it or not folks, a cat has taken the lead with a whopping 103 points. It's only Week 2, but the peace-loving kitty (his pick rationale will be explained later this season) has Boise, TCU and Oregon, and they're all top 5 this week. The cherry on top is his Arkansas/Auburn/South Carolina combo: that Hillbilly Alley trio are all No. 16 or higher.

If you're wondering about the highest-ranked human being: it's Finley wtih 94 points, Mo and Larry Sparks with 82 points, and at 81 is Bob Mould's old band. No, not Sugar. I'm still having trouble with formatting and Googledocs, but you can see the full spreadsheet here.

Week 3: What to Watch For. Other than me in the bright gold "gameday" shirt at Arizona Stadium? Not much. If your team loses points, you should be worried big-time. After a huge slate last week, no one (besides Iowa and Arizona) faces much of a challenge (unless you believe Georgia will scare Arkansas, and as of about 11:30 am last Saturday, you should not). Expect these scores to hold steady for one more week.

Finally, one piece of house-keeping: Frrrr was denied 1 point for Stanford last week due to a spreadsheet error. That has been corrected, and just in time, too, because Stanford is up to No. 19 (7 points) and that's too much to miss.

I'm going to Arizona this weekend for the Hawkeye game. Hope I don't get thrown in jail (again).

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pick Six 2010: Game On

The Pick Six game is off and running! For those who missed the boat, here's a quick summary:

You divide the AP Top 25 preseason poll into five groupings, pick one team from each, plus one unranked team, with the goal of having the highest ranked teams at the end of the season.

This year we have 22 players, divided into two biological divisions (Human and Feline/Canine). The full list of players and their preseason scores is* here:

The entries have a bit of a Nebraska flavor. Between Husker Du, HuskerFan and "Husker Larry" Sparks, I couldn't help but think of this commercial:

Okay, on with the score update! I hope to make this look prettier in the coming weeks, like the Googledoc above, but for now, feast your eyes on the Week 1 standings:

Team Name Pts.
1 Finley 84
2 Mr. Q 83
3 HuskerFan 82
4 Hüskers Dü 81
5 Piece of Cheese 81
6 Husker Larry 78
7 My Non-Contention 76
8 P. Puff 74
9 Gin-N-Tonic with Extra Lime 74
10 Mo 73
11 Sidney 72
12 MPF004 72
13 Sadandbritish 71
14 Tippy 71
15 QBKatt 70
16 Frrrrrr 59
17 Sodeh 59
18 Art/Arden/Aislinn 55
19 MAC FAN 55
20 The Boonster 53
21 Mitzu 51
22 Team Awesome Excavator 50

Big movers: Finley scored big with five jumpers, led by Utah, who upset Pitt (much to the chagrin of the six Pitt pickers). HuskerFan and Husker Larry also benefitted from the Utah pick to jump into the Top 5. North Carolina also fell out of the poll.

What to watch this weekend: A few players committed a cardinal Pick Six sin of selecting teams that play each other, guaranteeing yourself a loss. QBKatt has both Ohio State and Miami. Larry has Florida State and Oklahoma. And, uh, whoops.

Other than that though, it's going to be a huge day of football. In addition to the above games, you've got Notre Dame vs. Michigan, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Penn St. vs. Alabama, Oregon vs. Tennessee, Georgia (sans A.J. Green) vs. South Carolina. Can you imagine a few years ago that Cal vs. Colorado would be the 7th or 8th best game of Week 2? Hell, even Syracuse/Washington would have been huge in the early 1990s .... now it's an afterthought (MPF thinks about how few readers remember when both Cuse and UDub were good, feels old, has a beer).

Enjoy the games, cheer on your teams, and if you've got a blog, be sure to post your thoughts and/or results. (Don't bother with the Facebook or the Twitter cause I'm not on those.)

* -- Occasional proper grammar use is at the sole discretion of the blog proprietor.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

MPF004's Pick Six Revealed

The deadline has passed for the 2010 Pick Six game. I can now reveal my pickset and reasoning.
A: Alabama has nowhere to go but down, and repeating is extremely difficult. I don't trust Boise, and I'm going to pick a Big XII team in the B grouping. So it's Ohio State, who has never let me down in past years, vs. Florida, who is breaking in a new QB (if I called him "Petra" would anybody get the joke?) and a ton of new starters on D. Much like last year, when I felt Alabama could go all the way but I picked against Saban, I'm going to play it close to the (sweater)vest. I think Florida could be in the national championship game, but I'm going with Ohio State.

Mister Conservative.

B: What a stacked bracket. My heart won't let me pick Iowa. I hear Virginia Tech's offense is better, but is it good enough to finish better than 10th? I don't think so. I'm reluctant to pick a non-BCS school here because one loss could plummet them. So it's a good ol' fashioned Big 8 matchup for me. What I saw out of Landry Jones subbing for Sam Bradford makes me pick Oklahoma over Nebraska. Sorry Kelly.

Sorry Herbie.

C: Man this is a tough pick. Southern Cal could go 11-1 or 6-6, and I probably couldn't choose them even if 12-0 was guaranteed. Pitt is the second best team on paper (behind USC), but Wannstache makes Kiffykins look like JoePa. I don't trust Miami ... too uneven. I don't think I can pick Wisconsin. So I guess I got Oregon to repeat in the Pac 10? Unlikely as it is to happen, am I really picking a repeat of the 2010 Rose Bowl? (sigh) JPG Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009.

D: This grouping is filled with fool's gold. Georgia Tech lost a ton of talent off a team that got destroyed by Iowa in the Orange Bowl. This No. 16 ranking assumes that the ACC will not figure out the Paul Johnson triple option; I suspect the Wreck is good for 3-4 losses or more. Arkansas has a great QB (Mallett) and an awful D. North Carolina is on the verge of having their NFL-caliber defense suspended for receiving NFL-caliber compensation. Penn State is breaking in a new QB to replace Clark and faces a near-certain loss at Alabama on Sept. 11. So that leaves me with, aw shit, really, Florida State? Oh well. Christian Ponder might be the best QB in the ACC this year. I know Tyrod Taylor and Virginia Tech have had a great run, and I pick against them hesitantly. But FSU it is (I guess). I know WR Forston got kicked off the team, but at least it happened early enough (meaning, in camp) for the team to recover. Let's see how Fisher does in his first year at the helm.

Anybody need a reason to not pick Georgia Tech? Ask Adrian Clayborn.

E: I like Georgia. Not sure why. I just think this might be the year Mark Richt puts it all together, and finds a way to win some of those conference games that have killed them recently. I don't believe this is the year Les Miles puts it all together, I damn sure don't trust Gene Chizik, I can't see West Virginia making a run, and I don't know enough about Oregon State other than the Rodgers brothers. So Gaw-ja it is. Don't let me down this time Dawgs.

Phil gives my pick of Georgia the thumbs-up.

F: The all-important pick sixth. I put a lot of research into this one, because your pick sixth will make or break you. My runners-up were Stanford (great QB, appear to be on the rise, but lost TB Toby Gerhart), Utah (good program, reasonable schedule, but a young QB) and Sparty (on paper the most talent, but c'mon, they're Sparty, they are going to lose a few they shouldn't and finish 7-5). Although history doesn't really repeat itself in college football, I looked at last year's top pick sixth and saw a basketball school kind of come out of nowhere, with an experienced QB, smart head coach, and the right momentum. Several close losses and a bowl win over Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks the prior year seemed like a pretty good launching pad for the following season. Plus, they don't play ND or Iowa, so no rooting conflicts. After picking California and UCLA the last two years, I'm taking my "C"s to the other sea.

So I'm going with Connecticut as my team to jump from the ranks of the unranked to finish high in 2010, perhaps even upsetting the Wannstache for the Big East championship.

MPF004: Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida State, Georgia, UConn.

Good luck everybody! We'll try to get a participant/score update out early next week.

I hope you picked good teams, ya moran.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Today in Blog History

I wrote this.

Looking back on it, it's funny to see how much disdain there was, with only one season (and one NCAA investigation) under his belt. If anything, that disgust-bordering-on-hate has grown, because when I see him, all I see is a white hillbilly version of Tyrone Willingham: an outsider who JUST FUCKING DOESN'T GET IT, the "it" in this case being the tradition and history of the program he's running right into the ground. (Not that I mind terribly. But they should fail with one of their own, like ND did with Charlie.)

Anyway, to hell with him. I hope he goes 0-12. (Yes, even Massachusetts, Bowling Green and Indiana.)