Friday, December 31, 2010

Pick Six: The Animals' Picks

Way back in the initial call for entries, I promised that if an animal played and explained its picks, I would share them with the group (permission pending of course).

The fall turned out to be a lot busier than I thought, but I do want to follow though on the promise, better late than never. Earlier in the week I caught some sort of bug, and spent most of the last two days sleeping. Now that I'm basically recovered and marooned on the couch, it's time to see how the pets came to their choices.

MPF this week, if he were a cat.

MR. Q. You've already read about the amazing success of Mr. Q. I don't think we need to say any more.

P.PUFF. Priscilla Pufferson, aka "P.Puff," is a formerly hirsute cat in Madison, Wisconsin. Her human translator sent along these notes:

I went over the teams with her. Here are her thoughts:

1. Boise State. Seriously. I tried to talk her out of it. She says she has a feeling.
2. Iowa, as a favor to me. Thanks, Kitty.
3. Wisconsin. She loves Wisconsin. She is the biggest Badger fan in this house.
4. Arkansas. Penn State will lose to Iowa, Florida State to Florida. She was once stung by a bee near the recycling bin and did not like it. She likes Arkansas' offense. But more than anything she loves ham.
5. LSU Tigers. All reason goes out the window when tigers are concerned.
6. Wildcard: Cincy BEARCATS. She is a bearcat too! And, also like her, they were abandoned and then adopted by someone much better.

Also, she says she thinks the grand prize should be Pounce Cat Treats. I disagree.

P.Puff was exhausted by this whole process.

Well, P.Puff, your gut was right on Boise and Arkansas. I guess you and Quigley were on the mark there. LSU was great too.

THE BOONSTER. Booni, aka the Boonster, lives in a high-rise building on the Chicago lakefront. I have a soft spot in my heart for him because I helped adopt him (in the role of driver). His picks weren't so great this year, but his thinking was solid.

Booni wrote:
Well, seeing how I am a tad lazy... and I have no thumbs, I have asked the human to type for me.

Looks like he's reviewing the preseason Top 25 on ...

A - Texas. So this first one is a little challenging. There are no kitties in the mix so I had to go with what I would most like to eat (I didnt get this fine physique by eating nuts after all!). Cow = deliciousness.

B - Iowa. No kitties again! This one was a toss up between Iowa and VT. Both are tasty but in the end, the Hawkeyes are better fried. That and the Hokie is kinda scary.

C - Pittsburgh. Easy- why would I pick a badger when there is a ferocious kitty in the group.

D - Penn State. Again, kitties rule, doggies (and bumble bees) drool.

E - Louisiana State. Seeing how beavers are tasty, I almost went with Oregon State... but I cannot turn my back on my brethren. Go cats!

F-Cincinnati. At this point if you do not see trend that is your problem. I am tired... done esplaining. Time for nap.

More tired kittehs.

TIPPY. Tippy lives in Wisconsin. I don't know much about Tippy, but I'm glad he played. His picks:

A - Texas
B - Virginia Tech
C - Oregon
D - Georgia Tech
Unranked - Arizona

Well, I'm not happy about that Arizona pick, but they are the Wildcats.

Tippy's human wrote:

Tippy's choices were more mascot based. He's a cat that likes interesting mascots. I'm guessing he'll do better than me.

Actually Sadandbritish, you did just fine. Be sure to let Tippy know who the top picker is in that household!

MITZU. Mitzu is a tiny, yippy dog who lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Her teams didn't perform so hot, but the logic was impeccable, focusing on what dogs do best (aside from humping my leg and sniffing my crotch).

Mitzu's human wrote:
A - Boise State - Wants to piss on a blue field.
B - Virginia Tech - Wants to piss on Michael Vick's alma mater
C - Pittsburgh - Wants to piss on Wannstedt
D - Penn State -Jo Pa has same type of incontinence problems.
E - Louisiana State - No one will notice the extra piss on Bourbon Street
Un-ranked - Mississippi - By using the same letters can make the words - I'm piss piss.

JOEY. Joey is a Australian sheepdog who lives in New Hampshire. He's pretty big but has yet to bite me, so I guess he's OK.

Joey sent in quite the elaborate picking scheme:

We hope the Commish finds it in his or her heart to allow this late entry. The picks were made shortly after dinner tonight in a very unscientific (trivial?) way. Then again if the Commish is the cat then we're screwed.

How the picks went down:

Five bowls were laid out in front of Joey with treats in each bowl. The bottom of the bowls were labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Each letter corresponds to the order of
the teams listed on the TMMPF website (All "A" picks are Alabama, TCU, Oregon...) Upon telling Joey "Go make your pick!" he got up and went for the dishes. Whichever dish he ate out of first was his pick. To make it more random, we had Team Awesome Excavator mix up the bowls so they were never in the same place twice.

Without further ado (and BS), here is the picks from "Piece of Cheese"...
A- Ohio State
C- Oregon
D- Arkansas
E- Georgia

U- Mississippi State (Bulldogs)

And the photos:

The dishes are set. The dog awaits. (He's been to obedience school, so he's waiting for the signal.)

Examining the options.

A "b", or second pick. This would have been either Ohio State or Arkansas.

The fruits of his labor.

With only the final, post-bowl poll yet to come out, Mr. Q and Piece of Cheese have their respective specie-specific divisions all but wrapped up. Congrats to all the kitties and doggies who played this year. I hope you enjoyed the game, and Happy New Year from all of us at!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Pick Sixer's Guide to the 2010 Bowl Season

Last year I wrote a thousand words, complete with pictures of Elvis, Wannstache and the Dude, previewing the bowl games. That might have been a bit much to digest, so I followed it up with easy-to-read charts.

This year, since I'm hosting the Pick Six™* game, I'm going to make it really easy on you. There are only three categories of bowl games, and they are based on the Pick Six teams.

  • Dec. 18, New Mexico, BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6)
  • Dec. 18, Humanitarian, Northern Ill. (10-3) vs. Fresno St. (8-4)
  • Dec. 18, New Orleans, Troy (7-5) vs. Ohio (8-4)
  • Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Louisville (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (8-4)
  • Dec. 23, Poinsettia, San Diego St. (8-4) vs. Navy (8-3)
  • Dec. 29, Military, Maryland (8-4) vs. East Carolina (6-6)
  • Dec. 29, Texas, Illinois (6-6) vs. Baylor (7-5)
  • Dec. 30, Armed Forces, SMU (7-6) vs. Army (6-5)
  • Dec. 30, Pinstripe, Syracuse (7-5) vs. Kansas St. (7-5)
  • Dec. 31, Meineke Car Care, Clemson (6-6) vs. South Florida (7-5)
  • Jan. 1, TicketCity, N'western (7-5) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
  • Jan. 6,, Fake Miami (9-4) vs. Mid. Tenn. St. (6-6)
  • Jan. 9, Kraft Fight Hunger, Nevada (12-1) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Finish your shopping or gift wrapping. Make that overdue call to Grandma. Write Christmas cards. Do whatever it is you do when you aren't watching football, because nobody picked any of these teams in these 13 bowls. You don't care. Unless you have some other reason to care.

  • Dec. 31, Liberty, UCF (10-3) vs. Georgia (6-6)
  • Dec. 24, Hawaii, Hawaii (10-3) vs. Tulsa (9-3)
  • Dec. 26, Little Caesars, Toledo (8-4) vs. Florida Int'l (6-6)
  • Dec. 27, Independence, Air Force (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6)
  • Dec. 28, Champs Sports, N.C. St. (8-4) vs. West Virginia (9-3)
  • Dec. 29, Alamo, Arizona (7-5) vs. Oklahoma St. (10-2)
  • Dec. 30, Music City, N. Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)
  • Jan. 1, Capital One, Michigan St. (11-1) vs. Alabama (9-3)
  • Jan. 7, Cotton, Texas A&M (9-3) vs. LSU (10-2)
  • Jan. 8, BBVA Compass, Pittsburgh (7-5) vs. Kentucky (6-6)
These 10 games feature one Pick Six team vs. one non-Pick Six team. So yeah, someone's points are being affected, but it's in a vacuum. There's no joy of seeing a competitor team lose, knowing they will lose points in the final poll. (Although the schadenfreude-loving of us will watch the LSU game knowing that 11 of the 22 P6'ers have the Tigers.) It's not as directly exciting as the next batch...

  • Dec. 22, Maaco, 3Utah (10-2) vs. 6Boise St. (11-1)
  • Dec. 28, Insight, 1Missouri (10-2) vs. 6Iowa (7-5)
  • Dec. 30, Holiday, 1Washington (6-6) vs. 5Nebraska (10-3)
  • Dec. 31, Sun, 2Real Miami (7-5) vs. 1Notre Dame (7-5)
  • Dec. 31, Chick-fil-A, 2Florida St. (9-4) vs. 1S. Carolina (9-4)
  • Jan. 1, Outback, 5Penn St. (7-5) vs. 2Florida (7-5)
  • Jan. 1, Gator, 1Michigan (7-5) vs. 1Mississippi St. (8-4)
  • Jan. 1, Rose, 6Wisconsin (11-1) vs. 3TCU (12-0)
  • Jan. 1, Fiesta, 5Oklahoma (11-2) vs. 2Uconn (8-4)
  • Jan. 3, Orange, 3Va. Tech (11-2) vs. 3Stanford (11-1)
  • Jan. 4, Sugar, 9Arkansas (10-2) vs. 6Ohio St. (11-1)
  • Jan. 10, BCS Title, 5Auburn (13-0) vs. 7Oregon (12-0)
This is where the rubber hits the road, the fur starts to fly ... the points will grow or shrink in accordance with a team's success or failure. The blue number indicates how many P6 folks have that team, NOT their current AP rank. For that, and to check your teams the morning of Jan. 11 check out the AP Top 25 homepage. But yeah, a LOT of us will be watching the Sugar Bowl and the title game.

* -- not really trademarked. Just playing around with superscripts in HTML.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pick Six: The Game Is Not Over

In the wake of Iowa's awful performance, and company in town and being really busy blah blah, I did not update the standings after Week 12. Although it was the last full week of the regular season, not much changed.

I updated the spreadsheet after the weekend of the conference championship games, so you can see where you stand at this point.

Wait, you say, "at this point"? Aren't we done?

No! I talked to Huskers Du last weekend, and she was lamenting her second-place finish. I told her she wasn't out of the running yet. Remember that the AP poll goes through the end of the bowl season, which means the Pick Six game goes through the end of the bowl season.

Therefore, I'll have a bowl preview for you up this weekend, but in the meantime, let's look back at the regular season.

In a vacuum, there's a lot to like about my picks. I had two outright conference champions (Oregon, Oklahoma) and two more who shared the conference crown (Ohio State, UConn). All four are in the big money BCS bowls. Florida State made it to its conference championship game, leaving only one dud. But it was not enough to get me into the top 5.

Let's take a quick look back at the quintiles ... and who you should have picked.

A - Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State, Florida, Texas. Florida and Texas are out of the Top 25. Ohio State is the current leader of this group at No. 6.

B - Texas Christian, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia Tech. Iowa disappeared down the stretch. Your best bet was TCU at No. 3.

C - Oregon, Wisconsin, Miami, Southern Cal, Pittsburgh. Boy did this group tank: three of the five are gone. Oregon spent a good chunk of the year at No. 1 and is the current No. 2. (Curiously, this is the only quintile with two Top Five teams.)

D - Georgia Tech, Arkansas, North Carolina, Penn State, Florida State. Three more dropouts. Best bet: Arkansas at No. 8.

E - Louisiana State, Auburn, Georgia, Oregon State, West Virginia. Auburn at No. 1.

Best of the unranked: Stanford, No. 5, followed by Michigan State (No. 7) who, believe it or not, nobody picked. (Aaaargh.)

You will notice that the cat has four of the six best possible teams, and his other two are no slouches either. He is one of four* players to have all six teams still ranked at the end of the regular season, and the only set with no fear of losing a ranked team due to a bowl loss (I put Utah and West Virginia in that vulnerable category).

So what now? What now is, you start watching the bowls, which begin Saturday afternoon. And if you want any chance of overtaking the cat, root for his team to lose.

* Congrats also to: Finley, Sadandbritish and Larry Sparks.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lee Elia Discusses the 2010 Hawkeyes

After starting the season with a Top 10 national ranking, the Iowa Hawkeyes limped to a 7-5 record Saturday, losing to the woeful Minnesota Gophers (more like “WOE-fers”) 27-24.

It has been a tough season for Hawkeye fans, so I decided to seek out a man who knows a little about venting, former Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia. Luckily, I was able to track him down and have a conversation.

* * *

MPF004: Lee, thanks for taking time to talk with us today.

Elia: Thanks MPF, it’s great to be here.

MPF004: Let’s talk with the disappointment of these last few losses. Iowa fans are really feeling gut-punched.

Elia: It's unbelievable. It really is. It's a disheartening fuckin' situation we're in right now. Anybody who was associated with the Hawkeye organization 10 years ago that came back and sees the multitude of progress that's been made will understand that if they're football people, that 7 and 5 doesn't negate all that work.

MPF004: ‘Disheartening’ is a good word for it, I guess. Where would you put the blame? I don’t think anyone is calling for Ferentz to resign or anything, but these losses do point to an inability to make adjustments in close games. Does the coaching staff deserve that criticism?

Elia: Everybody associated with this fuckin’ organization have been winners their whole fuckin' life. Everybody. And the fuckin’ credit is not given in that respect. The fuckin’ changes that have happened in the Hawkeye organization are multifold.

MPF004: If not the coaches then, is it on the players?

Elia: What I'm tryin' to say is don't rip them fuckin' guys out there. But don't rip them fuckin' guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give. And right now they’re trying to do more than God gave them, and that’s why we make the simple mistakes. That’s exactly why.

MPF004: I understand these are just college kids, yes. But is there hope for the future? Do you see the 2011 team getting better?

Elia: Once we hit that fuckin’ groove, it will flow. And it will flow. The talent's there. I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. I'm frustrated. I'll guarantee you I'm frustrated. It'd be different if I walked in this room every day and saw a bunch of guys that didn't give a shit. They give a shit. And it's a tough Big Ten schedule. It's a tough Big Ten period.

MPF004: Well if it’s not the players or coaches, then what do you make of this collapse? Was this always a 7-5 team, and the fans’ expectations were just too high?

Elia: We got all these so-called fuckin' fans that come out here and say they're Hawk fans that are supposed to be behind you, rippin' every fuckin' thing you do. I'll tell you one fuckin' thing, I hope we get fuckin' hotter than shit, just to stuff it up them fuckin' people that show up every fuckin' day, because if they're the real Hawkeye fuckin' fans, they can kiss my fuckin' ass right downtown and PRINT IT.

They're really, really behind you around fuckin' ass. What the fuck am I supposed to do, go out there and let the fuckin' players get destroyed and be quiet about it? For the fuckin' nickel-dime people that turn up? The motherfuckers don't even work. That's why they're out at the fuckin' game. They oughta go out and get a fuckin' job and find out what it's like to go out and go out and earn a fuckin' living.

Rip them motherfuckers. Rip them fuckin' cocksuckers like the fuckin' players. We got guys bustin' their fuckin' ass, and them fuckin' people boo. They talk about the great fuckin' support the players get around here. I haven't seen it this fuckin' year.

MPF004: Hey Lee, let me just remind you that Iowa plays on Saturday. Most people have that day off work. Getting back to the on-field performance: every single loss came down to Iowa giving up the lead in the fourth quarter. What happened in those crucial drives?

Elia: Don’t ask me about any specific play, I won’t answer it. I’m not going to talk about specific fuckin’ plays. The name of the game is get the fuckin’ job done. Every time we lose a fuckin’ close game, it’s magnified: why did this Stanzi throw that pass, or and that guy drop a pass, or this guy fumble… that’s college football fellas. That’s going to happen, that’s how touchdowns are scored. That’s how the fuckin’ balance goes cock-eyed. That’s the difference between victory and defeat. All these motherfuckin’ editorials about Stanzi and Clayborn and fuckin’ … ah … the “here we go again” and all that shit, it's sickening.

MPF004: Well that about sums it up. Thank you, Lee Elia, for coming onto the blog today.

Elia: #*@&. Go Hawks.