Monday, November 26, 2012

P6 2012: Week 13 Just Kinda Rubs Its Chin In Wonder

It's Monday night. It's been a little under 48 hours since Notre Dame beat Southern Cal to finish the season 12-0 and cement a spot in the national championship game. The sense of "what the bleepity fuck" really hasn't gone away yet. I wrote to a friend today: "(The season) has been more surreal and dreamlike than chest thumping. All season I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was pretty nervous Sat night. Even when we won, it wasn't a triumphant "YES" moment but more of a 'hunh. whoa. wow.' kind of moment."

There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done, so let's move on to the poll: 

Adios: Louisville (was 19, lost to UConn in OT), Rrrrutgers and my Scott Clark references (was 21, killed by Pitt. Pitt!), Mississippi State (was 25, lost to in-state rival Ole Miss, who came in 5-6).

Hello: Northwestern at 22* and Boise at 25. (We had a tie at #25 last week, meaning there were 26 teams in the poll. This week we're back to 25, so three depart and two join.)

Biggest movers: Very little movement in the Top Ten. Stanford is now 10-2 and moves up three spots to No. 8. Congrats to the tree or the bird or the color or the whatever the hell. Kent State and Northern both move up 5 points in advance of what should be an entertaining MAC championship game Friday night. Texas -5 for being schizophrenic. Little yellow pills are available for the 12 of you who took Texas with your "C" pick. (Kegs of cheap Milwaukee-produced beer are available for the 27 of us who took Wisconsin in that slot.) South Carolina and Oklahoma +2 for dispatching in-state rivals. Florida State and Clemson -3 for losing to in-state rivals. Statistical proof that losing really is worse than winning.

Best week: If you want to gain points this late in the season, you better have some red in your game. "Huskers Du" picked Stanford and Nebraska, who collectively got 6 points. Her other four teams were flat, but no matter. Plus-six takes the best of the week and gives her a bump from 14th to 9th.

Enough jibber-jabber, who's winning? 

The top four players all lost points. But "Flying Cougars" had the least bad week, only -1, and retakes the lead with 95 points, one better than "I Hate Caillou" who makes a nice showing at +2. Top kid: "Thomas the Train." Top kitty: Mutchka. Top dog: "Silly Milly."

Gamewide: we collectively dropped a point and a half, down from 55.0 to 53.6.  I'm barely below the Mendoza line with 53 points, still not even leading the household. I guess there's always the bowl season.

Standings. Team points.

There are really only a few games left to whet your whistle before bowl season. As mentioned, there's the MAC championship on Friday night, the Pac-12 championship (UCLA vs. Stanford) also on Friday, then the SEC, Big Ten and ACC championships on Friday. Texas vs. K-State should be a decent game but much less meaningful that two weeks ago.

* -- what are you doing to do. They are 9-3 in a crappy Big Ten. The only other Big Ten team even receiving votes is Penn State. The champion of the East division is 7-5 and received zero votes from any of the 60 voters. This is the Big Ten in 2012.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

P6 2012: Week 11 and 12 OMG-WTF-LOL UBERUPDATE

Last week, real life intervened. I couldn't get the P6 written (although I did update the googledoc, if you checked the standings). So this week, a quick review of the Week 11 action (there wasn't much) and a deeper look at Week 12.

First up, the Week 11 summary, pieced together from some notes I jotted. --MPF004

P6 2012: Week 11 Heard a Thunderous Sound

And that sound was either a "crack" or a "thud." The "crack" was Texas A&M piercing the invincibility of Alabama. After about seven minutes of football, it was 14-0 A&M. Bama could never recover. The "thud" was at the final gun when Bama fell from the ranks of the undefeateds, creating an opening for K-State and Notre Dame to claim one of the two slots in the national championship game.

Big gainers: nobody except Michigan +3, to rejoin the poll as the least deserving in the poll and the most over-rated three-loss team in the country. It was a quiet week.

Big losers: Louisville -9 after getting killed by Syracuse.  Alabama -3 and (at least so we thought at the time) its chances at the national championship. Toledo -3 and out (losing to Ball State will do that to ya).

Best week: Congrats to "Keiimik," "Haskins Mama," and "The Big D" who all had a +7.

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

"Thomas the Train" and "Dix Pix Six" both tumbled, leaving an opening for our old friend from Week 7 and 8, "Flying Cougars," who shamefully benefitted from Michigan's win.

Gamewide average: basically flat, from 54.1 to 54.0.

In Week 12, Flying Cougars has a matchup between Ohio State and Wisconsin. But more importantly, what about those losses?

P6 2012: Week 12 Watched It and Still Couldn't Believe It

I think we all figured Notre Dame would cruise past Wake Forest (Jim Grobe: good guy, runs a clean program, has a MAC feather in his cap, but was way overmatched). And I think some were hopeful that stodgy, tough Stanford could hang with the high-flyin' Ducks of Oregon.
But nobody saw Oregon losing AND K-State losing, particularly the way they did. Add it all up and I get email messages like this:

N D # 1

Didn't think this morning this could happen.  Hope you got to watch/listen to the games!!!!!!

And pictures like this (click to embiggen):

Also: Tennessee fired Derek Dooley on Sunday (cue sad Scott Miller).

I was speechless Saturday night and I'm still at a loss for words (mostly because it's late and I want to get this posted so I can go to bed). All I can say is, if Notre Dame can beat USC, featuring a redshirt freshman making his first collegiate start, then they will play for the national championship. Those words are so bizarre and so true.

To the poll:

Adios to Southern Cal, Louisana Tech and Texas Tech. Ahhh, don't pretend to be sad (said with a Michael Corleone "ahhh"). You didn't have either of those Techs, and if you had probation-battered Southern Cal, well, it's your own fault. Welcome to: Oklahoma State (an original Group "D", making 9 players happy), Mississippi State (unloved and unchosen by the Pick Sixers) and Northern Illinois, making this week's Top 25 doubly MAC-tastic since Kent State is still there. Being a Chicago-based game, I'm surprised no one jumped on the Huskies as a Pick Sixth. I guess all that Midwestern love went to the Irish, and rightly so you pickers!

By the way, is Georgia really the third best team in the country? Despite losing in OT, when you look at their body of work, it's not Oregon? Or, you know, 11-0 Ohio State?

Biggest winners: Notre Dame obviously, and I'm not talking about the two points in the poll. But back to the rankings math: Oklahoma State, who beat the former No. 23 Red Raiders of Texas Tech. Stanford, +3 for beating the Ducks and making Saturday historically awesome. Michigan, again, improving 3 points, clearly not based on anything special they did Saturday.

Big losers: Voters did not look kindly on losing to 4-5 Baylor and dropped K-State five spots. USC: dropped five notches (and out) after that pathetic performance against cross-town rival USC. Oregon down 4.

Best week: I still don't know (yet) what Caillou is, and why "I Hate Caillou" hates it so much, although I assume I'm going to find out soon enough. Dislikes aside, my old buddy in North Carolina came through with a mightly +12, benefitting from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford and ND, all of whom gained a couple notches apiece. Despite a huge gain, he only moves from 7th to 5th in the game. Who could have possibly topped him?

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning?

"Dix Pix Six" scored a +7 on the week, good enough for 97 points and a one-point lead over last week's leader, "Flying Cougars." I'm way down at 34th, partially because I put my Pick Six "A" faith in this guy:


Top kid: "Thomas the Train." Top cat: Mutchka. Top dog: "Silly Milly." Gamewide: up one point, from 54.0 to 55.0. So I guess it was a good week for our teams, overall.

Standings: read 'em and weep.

We're down to the last full week of the regular season. The last week sees classic rivalries like Alabama-Auburn and Notre Dame-USC, both of which need to dispatch weaker foes to keep their slot in the championship game. There are other exciting rivalries that will move the standings, like South Carolina-Clemson and Ohio State-Michigan. And, uh, Iowa-Nebraska. A game that I planned my Thanksgiving around to make sure I'd be home for. Oh well, at least there's the Iron Bowl too.

Good luck next week. Keep an eye on your teams to see how they finish it out!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

P6 2012: Week 10 Has Found The First Odd Man Out

Games watched: EMU-Ohio (Thurs, parts); Va Tech-Miami (Thurs, somewhere between Ohio and sleep); Wash-Cal (Fri, first half); Mizzou-Fla (snippets); Oklahoma-Iowa State (2nd tv); Michigan-Minnesota; Iowa-Indiana (as little as possible, 2nd tv); Nebraska-Michigan State (snippets); Pitt-ND; Oregon-USC (2nd tv); K-St-Okla St (flip at commercials); Bama-LSU.

Saturday was the rare day when I was able to watch all four of the top teams in action, at least partially. Notre Dame kicked off at 2:30 and didn't end until three overtimes later, around 6:45. Oregon-USC kicked off at 6pm, and the game was out of reach before we could switch over. I will give credit to Southern Cal for hanging in there and occasionally keeping it close, but I don't know what you can say when a team can score 62 points and not really look like they broke a sweat. Meanwhile, K-State dispatched Oklahoma State in a night game. I'm not sure K-State's stadium has ever been that electric at night. As for Bama-LSU: despite my urgings as an ND fan and LSU Pick Six holder, they could not unseat Alabama, who truly looks every bit the Number One team in the country.

After 10 weeks, we basically know the profile of every team (with exceptions like West Virginia and Texas, who seem to flip a coin to decide if they'll be good any given week). And generally, I'm not given to big pronouncements about what can and will happen at the end of the season: remember that Kansas-West Virginia national championship in 2007? Exactly. But having said all that: I don't see anyone on the schedule of Alabama, Oregon or K-State who can or will beat them.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, could easily lose to any of the next three teams, just as they could have (should have) lost to Pitt yesterday. A flat defense, more quarterback roulette, a case of fumble-itis ... any of things could derail the Irish, especially against an opponent who knows that a win would make their season.

So yeah, Notre Dame is Number 4. But I'm looking at a three-man race from now til December 1.

To the poll: Three re-entries. First up:

No one is going to get that joke except TM ("QBKatt") and perhaps the New York City residents/alums in the group. Everytime Scott Clark (former sports anchor for WABC-Channel 7) said the name of the State University of New Jersey, he said it like this:


It was awesome. We moved away in 2007 and still say it like Scott Clark.

Also, Texas (more on them in a second) and MAC token of the week, the Toledo Rockets. Special shout-out to "NO Bowl Game" who visited us here in the suburbs recently, and had the temerity to pick a MAC school as his Pick Sixth. (Yes that's right Pick Sixers, if you come out to the burbs and visit TMMPF HQ, you will probably get a personal shout-out in the blog. This is how bribery works, man.)

Adios: Boise State (losing to Sparty doesn't look as good in November); the other schizophrenia special, West Virginia; and everyone's favorite ex-Michigan coach* and his new Arizona squad. I mean, c'mon, they kept it within 55 points of UCLA!

Big gainers: The previously mentioned walking case of schizophrenia known as the Texas Longhorns re-enters the poll at 19. That's +7 points for a team that lost 63-21 to a team that lost at home, at night, twice in five weeks. (In Oklahoma's defense, they lost to the current No. 3 and No. 4 teams. That's SEC-worthy.) That's also the best jump of the week. Nebraska +3 for beating Sparty in a Cro-Magnon game of pathetic offense. If that's not a "fuck it, I don't care about this Big Ten" from voters, I don't know what is. Also +3 for Toledo (in at No. 23).

Big losers: This, as Richard Nixon would tell you, is the more interesting side of things. Boise went from 19th to gone (-7) for the crime of losing on their blue turf to San Diego State. LSU dropped 4 for the more respectable home loss to Alabama. USC down 3 for losing to the No. 2 team. West Virginia -3 and out for falling in a shootout to TCU. West Virginia currently ranks 116th out of 120 teams in scoring defense (giving up 39.75 points per game). If you add in the four new schools that the NCAA doesn't count for whatever reason, they fall to 119th of 124. For context, ND is second at 11.67 ppg, behind Bama at 9.11 ppg.

Trivial: this week has two ties, at No. 5 (Ohio State/Georgia) and at No. 19 (Texas/La Tech). I don't think I've ever seen that.

Best week: This was the week to have Texas, and a couple other climbers as well. "Dix Pix Six" fits the bill, jumping 11 points with Texas plus Georgia, Ohio State and Florida. That gets him from 5th to ...

Enough jibber jabber, who's winning? 

"Thomas the Train" (or his mommy) had the wisdom to take Ohio State out of Group D, which, by the way, is the only 10-0 team in the country and has climbed up to No. 4. Last week Thomas had a one-point lead, 91-90, and this week he's up to 93. But "Dix Pix Six" joins him at the top of the pile. (I wasn't entirely sure how to illustrate "Dix Pix Six." Then I found six guitar picks with Elvis on them. Now I need to go put "Elvis guitar picks" on my birthday wish list.)

Top adult: "Dix Pix Six." Top kitty: Mutchka. Top dog: the awesomely named "Four Legs and a cloud of dust." Gamewide average falls a half point, from 54.6 to 54.1.

* -- Oh who am I kidding. EVERY ex-Michigan coach is great to make fun of.