Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shower Cat (A Story)

Friends, let me tell you a little secret about cats. One of many great things about cats is that they clean themselves. Every single cat we've had has been the self-cleaning type--in fact, I've always gone to great care to select the deluxe model of housecat with that feature added. If you're gonna get a cat, I say, you might as well spring for all the bells and whistles. It's so great to not have to worry about giving a kitty a bath, like with messy dogs, or how--

Oh! Hello there kitty. What are you doing in the shower? Silly kitty, you can clean yourself. In fact, I was just talking about how great it is that kitties don't need to take a bath...they clean themselves! Yup, just pull out that rough textured tongue, a generous supply of saliva from those glands Mother Nature gave ya, and wash away. Many times a day if needed! Boy, if I had a nickel for every time a cat of mine just up and stopped what he was doing to give himself a quick --

Oh, need some private time, I see. Okay, well, ahh, I guess I'll just leave you alone, let you do your thing, as they say. ... Say, little fella, do you know how to operate this here contraption? I mean, your species, they generally do this kind of thing on their own, you know what I mean. I've heard of kitties being toilet trained but this is a different thing altogether.

* * *

Now, that same story told in LOLCats:

Lessee....  ...turn water on heer

water   come out heer

Saturday, December 17, 2011

P6 2011: Bowls To Care About

Every year, the bowl season sprawls out with unfamilar sponsors like "Belk" and "R + L Carriers" and exotic locations like San Francisco and Boise. How to make sense of all of it? And what does it mean for the Pick Six?

Luckily, I've put together my annual list of the bowl games, starting with the ones that have zero impact on the Pick Six game, because no one picked either team:


Dec. 17 Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming vs. Temple, Albuquerque
Dec. 17  R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; New Orleans
Dec. 20  Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl: Florida International vs. Marshall; St. Petersburg
Dec. 24  Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Nevada; Honolulu
Dec. 27  Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Purdue vs. Western Michigan; Detroit
Dec. 27  Belk Bowl: NC State vs. Louisville; Charlotte
Dec. 30  New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa State vs. Rutgers; New York
Dec. 31  AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt; Memphis
Jan. 8 Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State; Mobile

If you want to watch these, hey, it's your choice. Caveat watchtor.

Next, if you want to have your rooting interests nice and clear, these games involve just one Pick Six selection:


Dec. 17   Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio (4) vs. Utah State (0); Boise
All players who went with Ohio are alums or spouses of alums.

Dec. 21 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: TCU (9) vs. Louisiana Tech (0); San Diego
TCU was a popular preseason pick, but two early losses knocked them out of the Top 25. With a win, they can finish the year about where they started (14th).

Dec. 26  AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: North Carolina (0) vs. Missouri (12); Shreveport
Dec. 28   Military Bowl: Toledo (1) vs. Air Force (0); Washington, DC
Dec. 29   Valero Alamo Bowl: Baylor (0) vs. Washington (2); San Antonio
Dec. 30   Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Wake Forest (0) vs. Mississippi State (4); Nashville
This wins the award for longest bowl name of the year.

Dec. 31  Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Illinois (2) vs. UCLA (0); San Francisco
Illinois was picked by an alum, plus a native-born kitty. In other words, no one without a connection to Illinois wanted this team. 

Dec. 31   Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech (0) vs. Utah (1); El Paso
Jan. 4  Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson (0) vs. West Virginia (9) Miami
For most the year, Clemson was the highest ranked team that no one picked. What is it about the color orange that makes us not trust the team that wears it? 

Jan. 7  BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh (0) vs. SMU (1); Birmingham
Don't sleep on "The Bobcat." A strong showing by Notre Dame and SMU could get those teams into the final poll. Add in wins by Nebraska and Arkansas (both favored) and that could be enough for The Bobcat to make a run for first place. 

Finally, here are the games that have a lot of picks involved. The P6 championship may hang in the balance of one or more of these games.


Dec. 22 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Boise State (10) vs. Arizona State (6); Las Vegas
Dec. 28  Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Cal (1) vs. Texas (8); San Diego
Texas was the most popular Pick Sixth team. I guess many of you thought, there's no way that Texas can be that bad two years in a row! And you were right ... Texas flipped that 5-7 record into a 7-5.

Dec. 29   Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State (14) vs. Notre Dame (16); Orlando
This won't decide the P6 championship or anything, but it is in a tie as the most involved bowl with 30 picks total. (A couple players have both teams, and thus will be rooting against themselves.)

Dec. 30  Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: BYU (1) vs. Tulsa (1); Dallas
Call this the "Dave on da Car Phone" vs. "No (Bleeping) Clue" Bowl. This is the beauty of the Pick Six game, bringing together a former co-worker and a high school friend's wife, using college football.

Dec. 30  Insight Bowl: Iowa (7) vs. Oklahoma (12); Tempe
Dec. 31   Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl: Northwestern (3) vs. Texas A&M (7); Houston
Dec. 31   Chick-fil-A Bowl: Virginia (1) vs. Auburn (14); Atlanta
Jan. 2   TicketCity Bowl: Penn State (3) vs. Houston (1); Dallas
Current second-place "HORRIBLE Dog" has Houston. Would a Houston win be enough to boost the dog to the top spot?

Jan. 2   Outback Bowl: Michigan State (11) vs. Georgia (14); Tampa
Jan. 2   Capital One Bowl: Nebraska (20) vs. South Carolina (10); Orlando
Jan. 2 Gator Bowl: Ohio State (7) vs. Florida (8); Jacksonville
Jan. 2   Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (17) vs. Oregon (9); Pasadena
Jan. 2  Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State (2) vs. Stanford (9); Glendale
Boy, don't we all look dumb. Both teams went 11-1 and are in the BCS. They were right there for the taking in group "B", but no, we all wanted Florida State. (Sigh.)

Jan. 3  Allstate Sugar Bowl: Michigan (3) vs. Virginia Tech (6); New Orleans
Jan. 6 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic: Kansas State (1) vs. Arkansas (10); Arlington, TX
"Violas Rock" against the world!!!

Jan. 9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game: LSU (4) vs. Alabama (17); New Orleans
LSU was the least popular pick in Group A. Put another way, 48 of 52 players looked at LSU and went with someone else. So "Tressel's Tats," The Bobcat, "Dennis Erickson's Guidance Counselor," and "The Undertaker," I say congrats to you. If LSU wins as expected, you will have picked the undisputed 14-0 champion of the 2011 season.

Monday, December 05, 2011

P6 2011: The Dog's Days Are Over

If you want to have bad dreams tonight, you can watch the band's official video here. I recommend not.

I almost didn't update the scores and standings this week. There were only a few games, I figured, how much can change? Well, as often happens around here, I was wrong.

My Pac-12 teams had finished their seasons, Florida State and South Carolina managed to not win their crappy halves of the ACC and SEC respectively, leaving only Alabama and Michigan State in the conference championship games. I split those, for a net minus 1 points. End of story, right? Except South Carolina and Southern Carolina each gained 4 points, I guess for having the initials U-S-C and having the wisdom to not lose (or make) their conference tournament game. All that got me plus-7 on the week, pretty good.

Turns out those were among the good teams to have: Wisconsin jumped 6, K-State jumped 5, followed by the USCs at 4. Less fortunate: teams that got skunked in their conference championship games: Houston (-13), Virginia Tech (-12), Georgia (-6), Oklahoma (-6 in a de facto championship game).

Best of the week: It's a four-way tie:

That's a gaudy trophy, Ray Barone's mom Marie, a hottie spy, and a big pile of CDs. Congrats to
"The Cy-Hawk Trophypocalypse", "M-I-L’s Picks", "Sidney" and yours truly MPF004 who all finished the week up 7 points. T.C.H.T gained off Wisconsin's climb, whereas M.I.L. and Sydney used the USCs like I did.

Enough jibber-jabber, who's winning?

In the penultimate standings update of the game, we have a new leader (if the song wasn't enough of a hint):

The dog had Houston, the spy had the USCs. And so "Sidney" re-takes the lead heading into the bowl season, 97 to 92. I'm tied for a distant third with 76 points. And if anyone thinks of crying foul that the game is rigged: I cannot win. Sidney and I have four teams in common, our "F" teams are both out, and his "B" team, Stanford, is too far ahead for my Florida State to catch up. Barring an amazing bowl season by "Tressel's Tats" or maybe "the Bobcat," this is a two-horse race.

Standings, if you don't have it bookmarked by now, where you been all season. The Pick Six will be back before the bowl season starts, so you know who to root for (besides your own teams of course)! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

P6 2011: Cruising into Championship Week

It's the end of the regular season, and coaches are getting fired. As of today that list includes Ron Zook (2 Pick Six players have Illinois) and Dennis Erickson (6 players have Arizona State). Of course that doesn't include Joe Pa at Penn State (3 players) or Tressel at Ohio State (7 players). If your team is on that list, it doesn't bode well for your overall score. (Outside the P6 realm, others canned include Rick Neuheisel at UCLA, Turner Gill at Kansas and former Charlie Weis assistant Rob Ainello at Akron.)

In the games last week: I had another 5-for-6 week. Alabama, South Carolina and Florida thumped in-state rivals (over Auburn 42-14, South Carolina 34-13, and Florida 21-7), USC killed cross-town rival UCLA 50-0, and Michigan State glided to a win over no one's rival Northwestern. If Utah had beaten crappy Colorado, they had a chance to go to the Pac-12 Championship. Alas, they did not, and since they are already out of the poll, that didn't hurt me points-wise. So, a big gainer, right?

The problem is that there wasn't much movement generally this week. Even Arkansas, who got outclassed by LSU 41-17, only dropped three points. So Florida State re-enters the poll at No. 25 (yay) and USC gains a point by going from 10th to a tie for 9th, for a two-point gain. Luckily, the two kids ahead of me both had Arkansas, so I move up by default, into a tie with "The Champagne Room" for fifth.

We've finished 13 weeks, which means the regular season (12 games plus a bye week) is over for almost everyone. (Trivial fact: Central Michigan was the only team this year to play 12 games in 12 week, no bye.) Aside from Army-Navy, the game that makes you proud to be an American and sad because the football season is over, the focus is now the conference championship games.

Best player of the week:

As I said, not a lot of movement. Very few teams moved, but "El Duderino" got bumps from West Virginia, Nebraska, TCU and Oregon. A bunch of small jumps equals 8 points and the best improvement of the week. (TMMPF's former bowling team colleagues and fellow Acheivers will want to watch the longer version of this scene.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

No change at the top. Much like last year, we are all looking up at a four-footed family friend: "HORRIBLE Dog" retains the lead for a second straight week. The top ranked human is "Sidney", the top kitty is Franklin "The F-Bomb", and the top child is "The Bobcat". Standings here.

Remember, the regular season is over, but the game is not. The Pick Six goes until the end of the season, after all the bowls are played. So if you're in the running, don't dismay. There's still time ... and a lot can change after the bowls. Keep watching the blog for bowl updates!

Monday, November 21, 2011

P6 2011: Week 12 And The End Is In Sight

Games watched: Ball State-Northern Ill (Tues); Ohio-Bowling Green (Weds); North Carolina-Va Tech (Thurs); Okla State-Iowa St (Fri); Iowa-Purdue; Neb-Mich (backup TV); Kentucky-Georgia (snippets); ND-BC; Penn St-Ohio St (backup TV); Utah-Washington St (snippets); Vandy-Tennessee (ending); USC-Oregon (end, mostly); Cal-Stanford (until falling asleep).

Last week, the average scores went up, but the top five players all lost points. This week the average score was basically flat (52 to 51.7), but the top seven players all improved their scores. Weird game.

For most of the day I thought I was going to finish with another clean sweep for my Pick Sixers. In the morning, Alabama and South Carolina had D-IAA creampuffs, and Michigan State crushed Indiana. In the evening games, Utah pulled out a snowy win at Washington State, and USC dominated Oregon for most of the game, then held on for the upset. Unfortunately, Florida State decided to be stupid and let Virginia pull out a win. They are punished with banishment. Still, five wins is five wins, and USC was rewarded accordingly, as we'll see momentarily. I moved from a tie for 13th to 7th. My closest household competition remains Franklin "The F-Bomb" who is tied for 10th.

Elsewhere in the game: Congrats to The "A" Team, whose Pick Sixth (the Virginia Cavaliers) took a while, but finally made the poll at No. 24, albeit at the expense of my "B" team, Florida State. Note: in this week's poll, Nebraska and Notre Dame are tied for 22nd (four points each); there is no Number 23.

This is not a metaphor for the NBA season, which apparently isn't happening this year, and no one at all gives a shit about*.

Biggest gainer: ohhh it sucks to say, but it was USC. They beat Oregon late at night, as the Pac 12 has finally figured out how to slow down that crazyfast Duck offense. Stanford, last seen losing to said Ducks, unnecessarily climbed four spots for edging mediocre Cal, and nobody else moved up more than three spots.

Biggest losers: Not so much in the poll standings, but Oklahoma State shit the bed on national TV. Granted, their heads were not in the game, as they had learned that morning about the plane crash that killed two women's basketball coaches. But Iowa State should not be able to beat Okla. St. under any circumstances, even a Friday night home game. Trying to keep up with Little Brother, the Sooners went out and lost to Baylor for the first time ever. Okla St drops three, but Oklahoma drops seven.

Nebraska also fell after looking downright pathetic against Michigan (-5, not that Minus 5). What the hell, Nebraska! Have you not watched the Big Ten the last two years? There is a blueprint for beating Denard Robinson. And just because you were technically in the XII last year is no excuse, we know you were watching our games back then.

Trivial fact: the 13 points earned by teams not picked by this year's players (Clemson, Baylor, Georgia Tech) is the lowest since the second week of the season (same three, plus South Florida).

Best week: It's also your overall leader, so sit tight. Honorable mention is Sidney (+14 on the week).

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

Finley's awful dog! I met this dog once or twice. I remember thinking that any dog that Quigley could sit on, is not much of a dog. It yipped a lot, as tiny dogs do, and generally contributed nothing to society. However, the back half of the pickset for "HORRIBLE Dog" has come on strong in the past few weeks: Georgia has rebounded from an 0-2 start to make the SEC championship game; USC's only loss since September was in triple overtime to Oregon; and Houston is the only other 11-0 team besides LSU.

Those three teams gained 11 points, plus Boise and Stanford's gains (Wisconsin had no change) adds up to 18 points on the week, 99 points on the season and moving into the lead over "Tressel's Tats." Read 'em and weep.

This is the last full week of the football season. Go out there and enjoy it, and enjoy your holiday, wherever it takes you. Hawkeyes and Huskers at 11am Central!

* -- Grammatically, about which no one gives a shit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

P6 2011: Week 11 Was a Little Distracted

Games watched: South Florida-Syracuse (pieces, Fri); Michigan State-Iowa; Nebraska-Penn St (backup TV); Georgia-Auburn (snippets); Michigan-Illinois; ND-Maryland; Oregon-Stanford; Washington State-Arizona State (until falling asleep).

The AP poll comes out on Sunday afternoons. Usually that means I've got the rest of the afternoon and evening to update the spreadsheet, see who's winning, and write up a report. But this Sunday, the Bears had a 3:15pm game and then we went to see Paul Simon. I had time to update the googledoc (go ahead and check it now if you don't feel like reading and waiting), but not time for the writeup.

So Monday night, I settled in to write about college football ... and then I saw Jerry Sandusky was going to be on 30 Rock or Rock Plaza or Something About A Rock, a new newsmagazine with Brian Williams.

And that was my week, in a nutshell. The Penn State scandal was an obsessive, consuming story ... and I didn't even go to Penn State. I paid attention to almost nothing else. We saw The Scott Miller on Wednesday night, I had a work event Thursday night, we went out for dinner Friday night, and suddenly I had to figure out the picks for my weekly pick 'em game. The results were what you'd expect from zero preparation: 9 out of 21 right.

As for the games: I had about as good a week as you could hope for, P6-wise. All six teams won: Alabama (hangover win vs. Miss. St), Florida State (thumped whichever ACC team they played, I think it was Real Miami), South Carolina (edged Florida), Michigan State (beat Iowa at Kinnick for the first time since the 1980s--sigh) and Utah (gone, but not forgotten). All that was only good for a plus 6: good, but not great, and I feel I'm going to give most or all of it back next week when USC plays Oregon.

In the Top 25 overall: There weren't a lot of big gainers: TCU was the biggest, re-entering the poll at No. 19. Florida State also re-entered the poll (+3). But losers.... oh yes, there were losers. Penn State (-9), Stanford (-5), Boise (-5), Texas (-5 and out of the poll) paid for their losses. Only Stanford lost via blowout, but the points come off all the same.

Best week:

Welcome back to the Pick Six writeups, Mr. Q! It's been a long time since I wrote about Mr. Q in the context of P6. But here in early November, he gets a mention for  the best week of all 52 players. Oregon, Nebraska, TCU and Notre Dame all had good wins, and Q benefits via a 13-point gain. (He is currently sitting next to me on the couch, wagging in his tail contently in a state of semi-sleep.)

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

We have a tie:
"Tressell's Tats", who made a personal appearance at TMMPF headquarters this weekend, and

"HORRIBLE Dog", an incontinent canine in the north suburbs. Will Penn State's downfall hurt Tressel's Tats? Will Houston's first loss send them plummeting in the polls, and HORRIBLE Dog plummeting in the standings? Who is waiting in the wings if they fall? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

P6 2011: Week 10 Ends on a Low Note

Games watched: Northern Illinois-Toledo (Tues); Temple-Ohio (Weds); USC-Colorado (snippets, Fri); Michigan-Iowa; Minnesota-Michigan State (backup TV); Kansas-Iowa State (snippets); South Carolina-Arkansas (snippets); LSU-Bama; ND-Wake (backup TV); Oregon-Washington (until fell asleep).

Early shift: I finally got to watch a meaningful Iowa game. Between travel and watching games in person, all I'd really seen were blowouts.

So it was nice to see an Iowa victory. The game itself was pretty much what we've seen the last two years: Iowa outplays its opponents for three quarters, then lets the opponent make a game of it late. The exception is that this year, the Hawkeyes toughened up on "D" late, with a goal-line stand and preserving the win. This is the first three-game winning streak over Michigan in Iowa history. Thank you, Rich Rod and Dave Brandon, for your role in our run of success.

Three in a row, Skunkbear. Now get outta my face.
(photo by Des Moines Register)

Late shift: For as long as I can remember (that'd be 2003), Notre Dame has never been bumped off the main TV. Even if there's a timeslot overlap, which is rare, the nature of Notre Dame's scheduling means that the Irish game is usually more interesting.

But Saturday night, we were watching the Game of the Century Week, LSU vs. Alabama, No. 1 vs No. 2. And I gotta say, it lived up to the hype. Every single play mattered, and the athleticism of both teams on both sides of the ball was evident. In the end, it came down to something the blog Roll Bama Roll had predicted:
'Bama remains the narrow favorite in Vegas, though it is hard to say if that is essentially random white noise or if notes a legitimate disparity between the teams. Home field advantage is baked into the point spread, and the actual impact of that advantage is up for debate, especially in a series where road teams have routinely experienced so much success. And in fact, a traditional match-up analysis would have LSU as the favorite, given the near equal offense versus defense match-ups coupled with the Bayou Bengals' decided edge in the kicking game.
Even though it was fun to watch, Bama's loss meant a drop in the polls and the end of national title hopes for the Tide.

Of course, by now it's Tuesday night, and the college football world has spent the last couple days alternately mesmerized and sickened by the Penn State story. The details and facts change by the minute, so anything I write will be obsolete by the time you read it. Suffice to say, in the wake of something this horrible, many more people will lose their jobs, likely including the greatest coach we've ever known.

Last night I didn't get to the Pick Six update because we were watching the Bears in Monday Night Football. Pro football has nothing to do with anything except this picture is CUTE AS SHIT.

The Pick Six: Well, USC blew out Colorado and Florida State blew out Boston College. But South Carolina lost to Arkansas (and probably lost their QB in the process) and of course Bama lost to LSU. (Sparty beat Minnesota unimpressively; Utah won but likely won't sniff the Top 25 the rest of the year.) I fell a couple spots and Franklin moved up a couple spots to solidify his household lead.

Best week:

I have no idea what "HORRIBLE Dog" did to deserve the moniker of "HORRIBLE." Being a cat person who is scared of most dogs, I'm just going to assume it was something pee-related, so this picture is appropriate. But whether Finley likes it or not, HORRIBLE Dog has Georgia and Houston, both of which have made great runs of late. With a +14, Mitzu had the best performance and moves up to second place.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?
"Tressel's Tats" is just 16 points off the perfect score, which is remarkable this late in the season. His top four teams all won (Mizzou was out of the poll already, Penn St. bye'd) and so he kept his lead in the standings for a second straight week.

Monday, October 31, 2011

P6 2011: Week 9 Enjoyed Some Chowda

Greetings Pick Sixers. We were in Boston all weekend, singing our lungs out, consuming much chowda and dodging (unsuccessfully) the pelting snow of a nor'eastah. We only caught a few games (ND-Navy, some Michigan State-Nebraska, the end of USC-Stanford) so not a lot of commentary this week.

I can tell you that Michigan State's loss hurt, and even though South Carolina ticked up with a road win, I still dropped three points and down into a tie for 18th. I also lost my grip on the household lead, as Franklin "The F-Bomb" gained four points and climbed ahead of me. Oklahoma State has to lose soon, right?

In the poll: Movers of significance were Penn State (+5), followed by Georgia (+4), Houston (+4), Michigan (+4), Nebraska (+4), Oklahoma (+4). The biggest hits were Texas A&M (edged at home by unranked Missouri, kicked out of poll), Wisconsin (upset by Ohio State, on a second straight deep ball, -7), Kansas State (killed by Oklahoma, -7) and Sparty (killed by Nebraska, -6).

And trivially, check out this from AP beat writer Ralph Russo: "Cool note AP poll note: Texas Tech is 2nd team since '89 (when it became Top 25), to go from no votes to ranked to no votes in three weeks." This also means the state of Iowa was responsible for two of the week's most baffling games, since ISU manhandled that Texas Tech team that beat then-No. 1 Oklahoma, and Iowa decided Floyd was too heavy to take back to Iowa City and said 'why bother.'  (Also, please ignore that is a link to the Twitter. I'm not proud.)

Most Improved of the Week:

This is Morrissey from the Smiths. He is certainly sad, and British, but not "sadandbritish" who takes this week's top honors. She got a boost from Oklahoma being re-admitted to the Top Ten, plus Georgia and Penn State climbing, for a boost of 13 points. This marks the first time all year a cat-human duo from the same household have taken best of week awards. Congrats to sadandbritish; any gloating would likely occur here.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?
This is as close as I could come to illustrating "Tressel's Tats," a reference to the scandal that took down Mr. Cheatypants McSweatervest himself. "Tressel's Tats" climbed nine points and bumped Sidney to second place. Standings here.

"Bahstin" talk and picks hopefully later in the week, plus a preview of exciting week 10 games!

Monday, October 24, 2011

P6 2011: Week 8 Needs Some Cheering Up

Look, I had a good week in the Pick Six, there's no denying that. I had four wins and a bye (Utah lost again, falling to 0-3 in conference. I have written them off; they will be a cap on any future gains I make.) Alabama won big, Florida State won big, Michigan State won an exciting and close prime-time game.

But my "E" team, which was supposed to get crushed by the resurgent Irish, throroughly dominated that game, cruising to a 31-17 win that wasn't even that close.

So yeah, I gained some points. I went from tied for 41st to tied for 13th, one of the largest one-week jumps of the year. I'm now leading my household ("The F Bomb" is just four points and four slots behind me). But it's Monday morning and I'm still kinda grumpy.

In the poll: The biggest winner was Sparty, who gave Wisconsin a tough fight in Bucky's first true road game. It came down to the final play:

Because of that, Michigan State (+7) climbs into the Top Ten at No. 9.On the other side: losing to Syracuse is frowned upon by AP voters, even if Cuse is at home, even if it's a Friday night. So West Virginia takes it on the chin with a  big ol' -14. Others getting skunked were Wisconsin -8, who were on the wrong end of MSU's long bomb;  Oklahoma -8, losers at home to then-unranked Texas Tech; and Auburn -7, who couldn't hang with LSU.

Most Improved of the Week:

Somewhere between Dayton and Springfield (if I remember correctly, which if I didn't someone will correct me) is the town of Sidney or Sydney Ohio. With a gain of +15, "Sidney" had the best week, on the backs of Stanford, Sparty and Southern Cal. Second place (+12 on the week) was a tie between "Tressel's Tats" (broad-based gains of Stanford, Arkansas, Georgia, Penn State) and MPF004 (Sparty, Southern Cal).

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

This is Syndey (or Sidney) Barstow (or Bristow or Bristol) from the ABC TV show "Alias." Which I have now misspelled as "Alais" at least twice now. Notre Dame loses and I can't type or spell. Between the map and the spy chick I'm sure I got it right at least once, because "Sidney" moves into the lead with 81 points. The standings are here.

Like you, we're just biding our time until the Bama-LSU showdown next week. Let's hope a win against Navy helps to heal these wounds.

Monday, October 17, 2011

P6 2011: Week 7 Goes Losering

Let some Whiskeytown float over ya:

Last night we got back from a weekend (dare I say MAC-tastic) trip to Athens, Ohio, to see Ohio University football. We've now seen them four times: at Northwestern, at Tennessee, at the Motor City Bowl vs. Marshall, and now finally a home game. And they lost all four. Hell, we even went to a volleyball Friday night. They were 6-0 in conference before we showed up ... and the volleyball team lost.

So that's it. No more going to Ohio games. If you can't beat Ball State on Homecoming, it must not be the football team ... it must be me.

Despite this week's losering theme, all six of my Pick Sixers got wins. Alabama and Florida State crushed inferior opponents; Southern Cal got the rare road win on Thursday night; South Carolina eked out a win; Utah did the same on the road vs. Pitt, and Sparty ... well, let's let the third-most dickish coach in the Big Ten describe it:

And although I gained nine points, unfortunately all that winning didn't get me out of the 40's in the standings.

In the polls: Another slow week at the top of the standings: the top 10 remain unchanged. After that, there was a little bit of action with #11 Michigan and #12 Georgia Tech lost.

A personal apology to "Violas Rock." Somehow I didn't get Kansas State added to the scoring. They started at #20, then climbed to #17 and now to #12. I don't know how this happened, only to say that there is a human element to Pick Six scoring. Maybe someday I'll charge you all $10 to play and I'll hire a neighbor whiz kid to computerize the scoring system. What's worse, Violas Rock was one of the few teams I was beating the standings.

With the correct count of K-State, and the re-addition of Georgia and Washington, there are now only two teams in the poll that were unpicked by anyone in the game: Clemson and Georgia Tech.

Sparty got a fourth straight win over "Big Brother" and gained eight points for the biggest climb this week. The other big gainers were K-State (No. 17 to 12) and unkillable Auburn (No. 24 to 19).

The losers were Arizona State (lost to Oregon by two touchdowns), Illinois (lost to previously awful Ohio State), and Michigan (finally faced a competent defense for 60 minutes).

Most Improved Of The Week:

"Violas Rock!" No, it's not because I forgot about K-State (a legit +5). Violas Rock has Texas A&M (+4) and Michigan State (+8). That is a non-wind-aided plus 17 points for the week. Congrats Carolyn (and Mike)!

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

Why this boring ass picture? Because this is the video conference room available from Remote Counsel in Champaign, Illinois. Hence, "The Champagne Room." He gained four points to strengthen his lead over Week 5 leader "ALeMay." Somebody else please win next week, or I'm just going to give up and post another Chris Rock video.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Franklin's Picks Explained

One of the great things about the Pick Six game is that it's so easy, your child or cat or dog can play. When we adopted Franklin back in June, we let him know about the Pick Six game, and slowly got him started with understanding college football. Since TM works with Quigley to make his picks, I talked to Franklin to get his picks.

Franklin and MPF004, making the picks, captured on the laptop webcam, August 28, 2011.

In Group A, Boise is the new kid on the block, the "nouveau riche" who stormed into the established scene, upsetting the traditional powerhouses with their trick plays and rambunctious energy. That is the Franklin of college football if we've ever seen it.

Group B was easy too. Oklahoma State is the little brother to older brother Oklahoma. They have always tried to get into the spotlight that has firmly been on Norman. This year, they have a ton of returning talent, and finally have that chance to show up their rival. That is Franklin's situation for sure.

Oklahoma (right); Oklahoma State (left).

For the C grouping, I asked Franklin twice which team he wanted, since there wasn't an obvious choice. He just stood up, circled, and went back to sleep. I took that as a sign to pick the sleepiest campus town, and from what I know of Blacksburg, that was a pick for Virginia Tech. Moments later he got up, and as I read off the team names yet again, when I got to Virginia Tech, he crawled into my lap and wedged between my stomach and the laptop as seen in the webcam picture above.

Isn't that the Blacksburg of kitties right there?

The group D pick was easy: this is a Notre Dame kitty. After all, he started his life here at our house by reading the ND preview magazine.

Once training camp started, we watched Brian Kelly press conference videos together.

And he jumps on the TV cabinet when the Irish are on. (No photo of that, just picture us yelling "Get Down!!")

On to Group E. Again, I wasn't sure if there was a quintessential Franklin team like other groupings. So again I read off the team names. When I said "Auburn Tigers," he nudged my hand. I thought he would take the Missouri Tigers since they are striped and Midwestern (like him), but he picked Auburn. I will say Franklin doesn't know anything about Cam Newton or Gene Chizik or the SEC. But hey, it's his pick.

For the sixth, I was thinking he would like Illinois. [Note: this was written before the season started. --ed.] Now before you call animal abuse on me, I will say that I seriously considered Illinois for myself. With OSU being down and Penn State not scary, that half of the Big Ten is wide open. But also, Franklin is an Illinois native. And when I asked him, I was scratching his belly and said, "What about Illinois?" He immediately turned and looked up at me and kept purring. It's a high risk pick, we admit. But, Franklin can be kinda crazy. And Illinois: 

and ... 

Now that's the Franklin of coaches right there!

Now that we are six weeks in, his picks have paid off pretty well, as he climbed from 39th after week 1 all the way to 10th last week, and is currently in 12th place. Good luck Franklin!

I'm done reading. Let's watch some football!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

P6 2011: Week 6 Advises Don't Give Up

We are through six weeks of the Pick Six game. Most teams haven't had a bye and are halfway through their schedule. And although the season really runs 14 weeks with byes and conference championship games, the end of week 6 is the halfway point in most fan's minds.

And if you're feeling down about your picks, this week's song is for you:

Imagine yourself as Peter Gabriel (or Kate Bush) and the Pick Six game in the role of Kate Bush (or Peter Gabriel). Throughout six weeks we've had five different overall leaders and six different best performer of the week. A lot can happen in the regular season. Don't give up on your Pick Six teams!

Of course, maybe I'm just making that argument to myself. I'm trying to improve upon my 49th place performance, but Florida State's loss won't help me. Utah now is 0-3 in their new conference, and voters don't appear to have any interest in USC. South Carolina found a little magic by switching from Garcia to Shaw, and Sparty jumped backed into the top 25 with a dominating bye to stay at 4-1 (one of only five teams with only four wins in the Top 25). So with that, I gained three points and moved up to 46th place. So there's hope.

Elsewhere in the poll: Florida State also dropped out, meaning all three Florida schools (including Miami) are not ranked. Even South Florida is gone after getting whupped by Pitt, so there are zero schools from the Sunshine State.

The Top 10 didn't change, as everyone won or bye'd. Arkansas, for example, had a great win over No. 15 Auburn, but couldn't move up because nobody above them lost. The only other newcomer besides Michigan State was Houston (congrats to "HORRIBLE Dog" for the debut of her Pick Sixth).

Most Improved Of The Week:

This is "Clueless." ( Okay, that's Alicia Silverstone from the movie of the same name.) She says she doesn't know much about college football, but she has Texas A&M, South Carolina and West Virginia, all of whom gained three points this week. That's a nine-point jump, good enough to tie for best performance of the week. She's went from 47th to tied for 34th. And who is she tied with? ....

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning? 

The new leader allows me to say something I've been waiting to say since Week 1. And that is:

Ladies and gentleman of the Pick Six Game 2011: No matter what the game organizer tells you, there is No Sex In "The Champagne Room."

I don't know if he's a Chris Rock fan, or a frequent attendee of strip clubs, or maybe it's just a reference to the town of his alma mater. But by gaining 14 then nine points over the past two weeks, "The Champagne Room" takes over from "ALeMay" with a six-point lead. He's also one of two players, along with "Huskers Du," with all six teams ranked. Congratulations Mike (and Carolyn)! Check out the standings here.

Next week we're heading off to another game, this time our first-ever Ohio home game (after seeing road games in three different states). The Pick Six might be a little late next week, but hopefully we'll make up for it with some great photos and a Bobcat victory!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ladies and Gentleman...

As if I wasn't excited enough about visiting Athens next weekend, check out the halftime dance from Saturday:

The best 110 dance ever? Discuss...

Monday, October 03, 2011

P6 2011: Week 5 Flexed Its Muscles

This is a metaphor for the changing balance of power in the Big Ten. It is also a cool picture.

Games watched: South Florida-Pitt; Northwestern-Illinois; Texas A&M-Arkansas; Northern Illinois-C. Michigan (listened on radio); Auburn-South Carolina (snippets); ND-Purdue; Nebraska-Wisky (backup TV); Alabama-Florida (flipped at commercials); Ole Miss-Fresno State; Arizona State-Oregon State (until I fell asleep).

It was a light week, with Iowa being off and ND playing at night. I took advantage to do some non-in-front-of-TV activities on a Saturday, hence the light viewing list. I was really looking forward to those three night games, and was surprised that all three were blowouts. (I really thought Nebraska and Florida would keep things closer than they did.)

Despite Alabama's dominant win, my Pick Six suffered. South Carolina lost to Auburn, Utah lost its second conference game, Florida State had a bye, USC won unimpressingly and gave up 41 points, Michigan State could only put 10 points on a hapless Ohio State.

Damn. If you're looking for your P6 administator, that's me down at 49th. My comeback begins NOW.

In the poll: Auburn is horribly inflated at No. 15 (+11 from last week). Was barely beating a South Carolina team that basically beat itself worth that big of a bump? At least Arkansas' jump (+8) for beating A&M was somewhat deserved, as it was an exciting, back-and-forth game in A&M's home state. I also think Florida's failure to do anything over the final 59 minutes made voters more sympathetic to Arkansas' loss to the Tide.

South Carolina was punished for that lame performance against Auburn. The Gamecocks haven't exactly blown away any opponent, and I sense voters said, A-ha! You finally lost. Now I'm going to ding ya. Other big losers were Nebraska, TCU, A&M and Virginia Tech.

Michigan (+7) and Texas (+6)  scored big jumps, for beating horrible teams Minnesota and Iowa State. But is Texas really the 11th best team in the country? The school that went 5-7 last year and has already cycled through three quarterbacks? Is Michigan really 12th for beating four cupcakes and being present for Notre Dame's self-destruction? We'll find out when they leave the Big Library House for road games at Northwestern then at Sparty. Texas has the Red River Shootout with undefeated, formerly No.1 Oklahoma, then a home date with Top Ten Oklahoma State.

Most Improved of the Week:

This is "Singing Fat Ladies" and "How Pathetic!" I realized yesterday while updating the scores that I met these guys in 1993. That's almost 20 years ago. That's a lot of bitter sarcasm and 255-1500 jokes. "Singing Fat Ladies" is this year's moniker for the owner of "HORRIBLE Dog" (who is ahead of him, by the way) and "How Pathetic!" professes to know as much about college football as I know about the NBA (hint: it fits here).

They weren't doing so hot last week, but they share Auburn, Alabama and Auburn (using an early alphabet SEC strategy?) and so gained 20 points to be the co-leaders for Most Improved. Of course, having both Alabama and Auburn shows their lack of understanding for the greatest rivalry in college sports, but hey, whatever works.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

This is NOT your new leader, "ALeMay." I asked him if he wanted a picture of himself since he took the lead. He said something generally Michigan themed "or something with Denard Robinson" would be fine.  I don't have a lot of pictures of Michigan stuff, as you can imagine, but this is one. So there you go.

And a QB at Michigan Stadium? I ain't running a Denard picture, but for some godforsaken reason, I still have this picture:

Anyway, Aaron won and lost in the Wisky-Neb game, and gained from Auburn and Michigan's climb, and so he has the lead after five weeks. Standings and points as always, right here.

Next week: The Air Force Academy comes to South Bend. This is one of the few times in the year it's okay to root against the U.S. military. It's allright, it's Notre Dame football. We'll be there, seeing if Bob Diaco has figured out how to stop the triple option. Now that the conference season is in full swing, things are going to start getting interesting. Enjoy the games!

Monday, September 26, 2011

P6 2011: Week 4 Shivered My Timbers

Welcome back Pick Sixers. After a Week 2 where Notre Dame and Iowa lost in last-minute, heart-wrenching fashion, I was all:

I don't even watch this show. I watch so little TV programming that I just noticed, after nearly four years on the blog, that we don't have a "TV" tag.

But then on Sunday the sun rose. And in Week 3, I saw ND dismantle the formerly unbeaten Spartans, and Iowa had a comeback for the ages that may have salvaged the season. So then I was all:

Note, the reason why I don't post personally identifiable pictures or last names on the blog are: 1. I don't want employers or future employers to see me writing "fuck" at will. 2. I am weirdly colored red and covered in fur. 

Coming down off that high, and all the realignment buzz, shortened the feel of the week. And indeed it was a short week: we left town Friday morning for northwest Ohio. We intended to scout the Fostoria-Otsego game for any Division I prospects, but that didn't work out. Instead we watched a lot of football (on TV) and then attended a pirate birthday party on Sunday. (Note, it was a 3-year-old's party. Not mine, although that would be cool.)

Games watched:  Meechigan-SD State (snippets), ND-Pitt, Toledo-Syracuse, Iowa-LA Monroe*, Ohio-Rrrrutgers** (computer), Florida State-Clemson, Ohio State-Colorado (geographic requirement), Alabama-Arkansas (computer), Florida-Kentucky (about two minutes...that was enough), South Carolina-Vandy, LSU-West Virginia.

Games ignored: NC State-Cincinnati on Thursday. Man I love college football, but I saw about 5 seconds of this and decided I had a million better things to do with my life.

Overall it was a good week 4: ND stole a victory from the jaws of defeat and Iowa decided to treat a cupcake like a cupcake. My Pick Six results were worse: Florida State's QB is broken, and guess what? The backup redshirt freshman is not as good as the highly touted recruit who is now a junior. That's two losses to ranked teams for FSU, but the team gets punished nonetheless. USC lost to Arizona State. They essentially switched places in the poll. We're four weeks in, and three of my P6 teams are gone. For all of you who thought you didn't stand a chance in this game because you didn't know anything about college football: I read about this stuff year round and I'm tied for 47th place. So there.

About that poll: Bama and LSU spent the early weeks flipping between #2 and #3. Oklahoma's troubles with a not good Mizzou (sorry Tippy and Eileen) was enough evidence to bounce them down to #2. And if you've watched LSU this year, can you blame the voters? Three wins over ranked teams, all away from home. They can outrun Oregon (40-27) or they can smother Mississippi State like a python (19-6). That Bama-LSU game is going to be a monster, a 7-3 type bout with 15 punts.

Who won the week?

We have a first-ever three way tie for best performance of the week. Because it's a cool team name, the best visual, and, ok, because she's the highest ranked of the three, we salute "The A Team" for the best week. The A Team got a boost from Nebraska, South Carolina and Florida, none of which had a great win, but a modest six-point bump was enough in a quiet week. Congrats to co-winners "Flying Cougars" and "The Undertaker" who also jumped six. Flying Cougars used the Neb-Fla combo, and The Undertaker got a bump from Neb and Va. Tech.

Enough jibber-jabber, who's winning?

Eat, sleep, poop (wrong, wrong, wrong --ed.)... lead the Pick Six game?

"Single D" retains his lead, sitting comfortably in his diaper and Husky onesie (ed: I am a moron. Single D is the dad, not the infant son. My apologies.) with 77 points. Same as last week, but hey, if nobody jumps ya...Standings are here. We'll brace for the big Nebraska-Wisconsin game by staring at gigantic swatches of red all week. How about you?

* -- still uncertain whether that "LA" means Louisiana or Los Angeles.
** -- that is not a pirate reference. That is a Scott Clark of WABC reference.

P6 2011: Interruptus

Hello Pick Sixers. It's been a long weekend in Ohio, filled with football and pirates, and a late arrival back home to our furry, attention-starved friends. I'll have an update posted for you later tonight.

The short version: good if you have Clemson or Florida, not so good for Texas A&M, West Virginia and especially (sigh) Florida State.  See you soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

P6 2011: The Ballad of Group D

Oh come around my friends, and listen close to me
As I sing this song to you, a tale to tell to thee
About these five ball teams, as sad as they can be
It's the autumn of their discontent, the Ballad of Group D.*

I've been playing the Pick Six game since 2005, the first year that Blue Gray Sky organized the game. (That's me way down at 32 points. Louisville, Purdue, Virginia? Did I think it was a basketball league?) I'm pretty sure I entered each year through 2009**, when BGS hung it up and I started my own version in 2010.

And in that time, I've seen some unexpected climbs (TCU and Boise, to name two) and stunning crashes. But I can't recall an entire grouping falling so far so fast as this preseason's 16 through 20: Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia and Mississippi State.

Actually, maybe this is a better soundtrack: Group D is coming onto something so fast, so numb that they can't even feel.

The pain started early. ND and Georgia faced tough opponents: a motivated, Skip Holtz-coached South Florida and Top 5 Boise State. Although both had home field advantage ('Dogs were in the Georgia Dome), both fell flat. Week 2 did no more favors, with close, high-scoring losses to rivals (Michigan and South Carolina). Both got feel-good beatdowns yesterday to move to 1-2, but both remain unranked.

Mississippi State looked the part of a Top 25 team by crushing hapless Memphis in its first game. But then they lost on the road to Auburn (who themselves had just fallen out of the poll), and on Thursday looked helpless against the crushing LSU defense. They stand at 1-2 and are unranked.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten duo racked up four wins. Ohio State looked shaky against a motivated in-state MAC Attack, but we'd all seen that before. MSU crushed their cupcakes. But that facade crumbled Saturday. A fired-up Notre Dame did to MSU what they'd done to their previous opponents, but this time finished the job. Miami made Al Golden's home debut one to remember with a convincing win over a ranked foe (and a measure of revenge for OSU's 36-24 win last year.)

As of this afternoon's poll, these five, who started with a cumulative 40 points, are all out. You can find them slumming in the "also receiving votes" ghetto. For context, the bottom five who started with 15 points now have 24 points thanks to climbs by Florida and West Virginia (plus Southern Cal).

What does the future hold? Of these five, Sparty and the Irish have the best chances to rebound, and I'm not saying that because I watched them live yesterday. Ohio State has deep flaws that were just waiting to be exposed. As I wrote in my preview:
Ohio State is a litmus test on how important you think Tressel and Pryor are/were. My sense is they will lose at least 2, probably 3, games they would have won with one or the other. So a 10-2/Top 10 season becomes 7-5/unranked. 
I think yesterday showed that those two guys were that important. (The OSU radio team that we heard seemed to think as much.) Toledo laid out the blueprint but didn't have the horses to hang with OSU. I didn't see the game, but Miami clearly took that plan and ran it to perfection. You know that Big Ten teams will be able to do what Miami could and Toledo couldn't.

Ok, what about the rest of the Pick Six game?

Ooof. Our collective scores took a bath. In addition to the three "D"s I mentioned above, Arizona State and Auburn also fell out. Those five represent 42 selected teams in the game. Add in Florida State (14 players have the Seminoles) and a lot of people dropped. The game's average score fell 3.5 points from 62.4 to 58.9.

But there were a couple bright spots:

Oh jeez this is awful. But what can you do... I don't pick these team names.

Moving up from 31st to FIFTH (yes I believe that is a record 26 slots in one week) is "C'mon Irene," the hurricane-themed entry that benefitted from West Virginia and Texas moving up, in addition to minor bumps from the A-B-C groupings. Plus 11 points in one week, nice job Jordan!

Enough jibber-jabber, who's winning?

This is a "Single D" battery. I sure hope the manager for the Single D and Double D teams send me a picture of themselves, because there are too many tempting possibilities online to illustrate those concepts. But one of the game's youngest players steps (crawls? gurgles?) into the lead with what has become near-perfect picks of Oklahoma, Stanford, Wisconsin and Florida.

Standings as always are here ... read 'em and weep.

* If you didn't know (and it's okay if you didn't, as we aim to educate you about folk music in addition to college football), that is Woody Guthrie, who is happy as hell (in heaven) his Okies beat Florida State last night. Learn about him at the official web site.

** For what it's worth, by 2009 I figured out what I was doing and finished with 76 points.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Pig With The Froggy Tattoo

P6 2011: Your Week 3 Game Watch Guide

I'm just going to pretend that Saturday didn't happen and instead look ahead to this weekend's games. You're playing the Pick Six, your teams are winning games ... what do you want to keep an eye on this Saturday?

Here's your guide for what to watch this weekend (other than your chosen six teams of course):

Tonight: No. 3 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State: a great SEC matchup. LSU stormed over Oregon, then had a cupcake last week. MSU was punished in the polls for losing to Cam Newton-less Auburn. The Bulldogs are traditionally a weaker program, but they have had a resurgence under Dan Mullen, and the home team has a great track record in these Thursday night games. (But LSU will win, handily.)

Friday: No. 4 Boise State at Toledo: the new kids on the national scene invade Northwest Ohio. Toledo put up a pretty good fight at Ohio State last week ... but yeah, don't kid yourself. This is merely a chance to watch a great team on non-blinding turf. (And no I'm not linking to that hideous field.)

Saturday (early): No. 18 West Virginia at Maryland; No. 21 Auburn at Clemson; Penn State at Temple: whatever, it's early. It'll keep you occupied. 

Pittsburgh at Iowa: It feels so hard to muster anything for this game. That dull ache of losing to Iowa State hasn't gone away yet. I won't even be near a TV. So, yeah, someone watch this, and let's talk later about how it went. The ennui is too strong now.

Colorado State vs. Colorado: Nobody has either team except "Rx R Us," so it'll be an intrastate rivalry you can watch without feeling kicked in the stomach.

Afternoon: No. 7 Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois: College ball in Soldier Field. That's about it.

Washington at No. 11 Nebraska: This is the third matchup in 12 months for these two teams. The Blackshirts will seek revenge for their crappy showing in the Holiday Bowl last December.

Tennessee at No. 16 Florida;  No. 23 Texas at UCLA: anybody remember when these were good games? 

Navy at No. 10 South Carolina: Will the Gamecocks be exhausted after a firefight with Georgia last week? Will they be prepared for the triple option? 

No. 22 Arizona State at Illinois: can Sparky win away from home? What new creative way will the Zooker find to blow a close game?

Louisville at Kentucky: a good basketball game. But it's not basketball season, unfortunately.

Marshall at Ohio: Bobcats go for 3-0. One of the most popular Pick Sixths, so I know this will be followed.

Primetime and later: No. 17 Ohio State at Real Miami: Dubbed the "Ineligi-Bowl", this matches two teams that spent the summer in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For those of you who picked OSU, this will be their first real test (sorry, I don't count the Rockets).

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State: the game of the century, this week. When I wrote earlier about feeling conflicted, I was really looking ahead to this game. Three players in the top 5 --"Takin' that Pick 6 to the House!", "QBKatt" and "Cleverer than the Cats"-- all have both teams. So all three will gain or drop the same amount. But several other players have one or the other, so expect a big shakeup in the standings next week.

Syracuse at USC: My team "E" begins their climb back into the top 25. I hope (I guess).

Utah at Brigham Young: BYU continues its brutal September (welcome to independence). My Pick Sixth resumes its march towards the top 25 (I hope).

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Tulsa: on the road, but only kind of. Minimal risk of upset, but Tulsa has a great offense. Should be a lot of points scored.

Hawaii at UNLV; No. 6 Stanford at Arizona: It is late. There is football on TV. I will watch until I fall asleep.

Finally, the Game of the Week for the team: 
No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame. The narrative about ND all week has been the stark contrast between the team that marches down the field on opposing defenses and the team that has run out of feet to shoot itself in, and has moved on to calves, knees and higher. Sparty has a strong offensive line and is generally untested in all phases after two cupcakes.

What you think will happen in this game boils down to which Notre Dame you believe in, whether Jeckyll or Hyde makes an appearance in the fourth quarter. Me, I think the coach works out the kinks, gets the team's head screwed on straight, and eliminates the mental errors. ND-Sparty has gone down to the wire (one-possession game) seven of the last nine years. We were there for the 2009 game, and it was a doozy. I don't expect any different this time around, but I also wouldn't be surprised if State laid an egg like their Iowa or Alabama games from 2010.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

P6 2011: Feeling Conflicted

Games watched: Louisville vs. Florida Whichever (snippets); Arizona St. vs Missouri; Iowa vs Iowa State (main TV at bar); Ohio St vs Toledo (small TV at bar); Alabama vs Penn State; TCU vs Air Force (snippets); South Carolina vs. Georgia; Kansas vs. Northern Illinois (very end); USC vs. Utah; Michigan vs. Notre Dame.

Week 2 is in the books. This week introduced a couple players to the sometimes unavoidable pain of the Pick Six game: who to root for when two teams play each other?

"Clueless" faced this when South Carolina and Georgia matched up. Frankly I think South Carolina's close win was the best possible outcome for her: Georgia was already out of the Top 25, and a win wouldn't necessarily have boosted them into the poll. Meanwhile a 'Cocks win keeps their confidence and poll standing high. USC (east) stays on pace for the SEC East title many predicted.

I had a similar problem: Utah played USC (the real, western USC) in their first-ever Pac 12 conference game. I saw this game coming but figured USC needed the win more, whereas Utah could recover and start climbing the polls mid-October. Like Clueless, I think this was about as good as I could hope for: Southern Cal got another win, Utah got a close, understandable road loss.

Elsewhere: Texas, Virginia Tech and Ohio State had "too close for comfort" wins. Only Texas didn't fall, and I think that's because the opponent (BYU) was more respectable than East Carolina and Toledo.

It was a bad day to be: ... me, frankly, or a fan or "M" schools. Both Mizzou and Mississippi State lost and were punished by pollsters. The Bulldogs fell from 16 to 25, and Missouri from 21 to unranked.

Your Week 2 winner*:

Dapper. Stylin'. And your week 2 top performer. 

Tippy had a rough start in Week 1, with Oregon and TCU losing. But Auburn jumped back into the poll, TCU redeemed themselves by thumping Air Force, and Tippy jumped up 10 points for the week's best showing. Honorable mention to "No (Bleeping) Clue" who went from ninth to second place.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

This calm, composed gentleman is Bo Pelini, head coach of Nebraska. His boys struggled with Fresno State, only leading 21-20 in the fourth quarter before pulling away, 42-29. In our game, "Bo's Boys" had four teams rise (the other two held steady) to take over first place from Cleverer Than The Cats. (Standings, as always, right here.)

Next week: ohh, lots of exciting matchups coming. I'll have a preview for you later in the week.

* -- It's not really winning, because you don't get a prize or anything, but it is good to know you had the best week of anyone playing.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hate Week 2011: ND vs. Michigan

As I said earlier, it's a great week to hate Michigan. I detest pretty much everything about the football program including their obnoxious head coach (more on him later, probably during Iowa week).

For now, let's take a quick stroll down memory lane: the 1980 Notre Dame-Michigan game. The Wolverines lead 27-26 with just seconds left. Irish kicker Harry Oliver lines up for a 51-yard attempt. Here's legendary announcer Tony Roberts with the call.

And here is Michigan announcer Bob Ufer on the same play. He really nails the math.

Go Irish! Beat Wolverines!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

P6 2011: Primera Semana

Despite taking many years in high school and college, I am nowhere near fluent in Spanish. Oh, I can pick words out of a block of text (a skill I practiced at our old church with bi-lingual missalettes). But I've never been able to follow along with Telemundo, much less understand your average person speaking at normal speed. (If you are impatient and don't see where this might be going, jump to the P6 update.)

Friday afternoon I bounced out of work, early on a holiday weekend (with the boss's permission) ready to enjoy a lot of college football, and I heard a Spanish speaker behind me say "something something primera semana." That means 'first week'. Now they could have been talking about the first week of school, or September. But I naturally assumed they were talking about this first week of college football.

Our soundtrack.

Games watched, at least partially: Murray St. vs Louisville (snippets); UNLV vs. Wisconsin; TCU vs. Baylor; Utah State vs. Auburn (2nd TV); Northwestern vs. BC; Tennessee Tech vs. Iowa; South Florida vs Notre Dame; Western Michigan vs. Michigan (2nd TV); BYU vs Ole Miss (snippets); Oregon vs. LSU; Boise vs. Georgia (2nd TV); Ohio vs. New Mexico State (online); Colorado vs. Hawaii (late game, was kinda sleepy); Marshall vs West Virginia; SMU vs. Texas A&M; Miami vs. Maryland.

Big gainers: Not many in a typically quiet first week, but LSU's win over a top 5 team was rewarded with a bounce of two spots. Wisconsin jumped three for dismantling UNLV in prime time, and Mississippi State and Florida jumped four for the same reason. West Virginia didn't need four quarters to jump five positions.

Big losers: Oregon was punished for falling flat in SEC country (again); TCU for forgetting how to play defense. And if you lost ... see below.

Dropping out: Auburn, USC, Georgia, Notre Dame. The Tigers and Trojans actually won their games, but too close for comfort for the voters apparently. Expect to see USC again shortly, but Auburn will need multiple high-visibility wins to persuade people that they are more than a one-hit wonder.

Hello to: South Florida, fresh off being on the same field as Notre Dame's offensive meltdown; Penn State; Texas (I guess one week wthout the Longhorns was plenty) and Baylor, after that amazing Friday night win over TCU.

The week's big mover:

Bonfire took advantage of a Rust Belt-Appalachia swatch of geography in Virginia Tech, Ohio State and West Virginia to gain 10 points, moving up from 23rd to fourth.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

I don't have a recent picture of (or permission from, yet) Cleverer Than The Cats so I guess this will have to suffice. He rode his early lead and this week's minimal activity to stay on top. Standings as always are here. Note: anyone worried about losing to Quigley for a second straight year should check out where "Mr. Q" stands (or sleeps, technically).

Games to Watch: Now that Penn State is ranked, the "Bear vs. JoePa" bowl is a matchup of ranked teams. Seventeen players have Alabama, second-most in the game, and three have the Nittany Lions. That is the only matchup of ranked teams, although popular pick-sixth Arizona State would likely be ranked if they beat No. 22 Mizzou.

Also, this is a very good week to hate Iowa State and Michigan if you are a fan of Iowa and Notre Dame. Respectfully.

Big News, Told With Movie Posters



That's right! So in less than

(less than


and we



Your two biggest questions: the

is late February. Now,

is a

and the kid COULD be born on Feb. 29.

you ask? Well to me: an 80-year-old who can't legally drink alcohol.

And... boy or girl? Well, we are

so we're not finding out and going to


Thanks to everyone for all your wishes and prayers!