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!