Saturday, August 31, 2013

MPF004's Picks Explained

As fearless leader of the Pick Six, I describe the rationale for my picks every year for laudation (or mockery). 

The Group A pick boils down to Alabama vs. Anybody Else. My choice of "anybody else" is less a vote of no confidence in Bama and more of an acknowledgment of the difficulty of maintaining a dynasty in modern college football. Nebraska had an amazing run in the 1990s, Florida State was dominant for a stretch, USC was nearly unbeatable in the mid-2000s. All of them came back to earth. Besides, I think most people will pick Alabama, and if you want to win, you've got to take a risk.

Georgia was five yards and three seconds away from the national championship game last year, but I don't think they'll repeat that success. Ohio State and Stanford had great seasons as well. But I look at Oregon and I see a team that hardly ever loses. Despite losing Chip Kelly to the NFL, they keep the same offensive system. Plus they have a kid from my old high school. Amazing athletes + hometown sentimentality is enough to outweigh those ugly, ugly uniforms.

In Group B, I'm staying far away from Clemson, Texas A&M and Louisville. I think all three are far too mercurial and likely to finish the season much lower than this. So it basically boils down to who I think will win the Florida-South Carolina game, as these two are otherwise evenly matched. I like the wiliness of Steve Spurrier to exploit the weaknesses in Will Muschamp's defense. I expect an SEC East title and a boost into the Top 5 for South Carolina.

In Group C, I was torn between Notre Dame and Texas. None of the "States" tripped my trigger, although I think FSU is in the best position among the three to run the table. In the end I thought there's enough that can go wrong for ND, and a wide open Big XII, that I felt better with Bevo. Plus I won't feel doubly-awful if/when ND tanks.

Group D was somewhat easier. I've already picked Texas to win the Big XII, so no Oklahoma or TCU. I think Boise will plummet on its first loss and probably not recover. I am not picking Michigan. So, I ended up with Nebraska. I think they'll have a nice recovery from last year's embarrassments, the schedule gets easier, and I have a bonus reason to hate Michigan on Nov. 9.

Group E is weird: three Pac 12s and two Big Tens. I've already got a Big Ten team, so those two are out. No way I'm picking USC, and I don't know why Oregon State made the poll over someone like Michigan State. So I reluctantly choose UCLA. I realized after I made this pick that the Bruins and Huskers play each other (on Sept. 14).

As for the all important Group F. It couldn't be someone from the SEC because that conference is already well-represented. I didn't want to pick Iowa ... not enough confidence there. Michigan State is very tempting. They went 7-6 but had an awesome defense and lost five of those by a combined 13 points. But then I'd have to root for a team that plays Iowa and Notre Dame. Kansas State looks impressive but I gave that one to Franklin "The F Bomb." (Note: this was written before K-State's loss to North Dakota State last night.) I didn't pick an ACC team above, so that was looking good.

I needed someone off the radar, someone with talent but not in the media spotlight. Someone with a talented roster and a good coach.

Last year I picked South Florida. They went 2-10 and Skip Holtz got fired. This year I'm going even further southeast ... to Miami.

First and probably last time the Fresh Prince shows up on my blog. 

Site of January's Irish Massacree, home of "Da U". The ACC is wide open, with only two teams in the Top 25, both on the other half of the conference. Miami's hardest games are home vs. Virginia Tech, at Florida State and home vs. Florida but a 9-3 record is certainly reasonable and could get them into the Top 20 or better.

Last year all my hard work and research garnered me a 38th place finish. We'll see how I do in 2013.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thomas The Train: The 2012 Pick Six Champion

Entries are rolling in for this year's Pick Six game. But before we kick off the season, a moment to discuss last year's winner.

Each year the winner gets a small prize. Usually I get a photo with the winner and their prize. But since last year's winner is in eastern Ohio, I didn't have a chance to take a picture of the winner, "Thomas the Train." And I couldn't really call him, because he is only 1 year old.

I did take a photo of the first place prize (and the bonus for the runner-up, courtesy of 2011 champ Sidney:)

I finally connected with "Super Why" and "Cat in the Hat", the parental units of young "Thomas." They agreed to coordinate an interview. I am grateful for this, because I'm learning that interpreting the proto-language of a 1-year-old isn't easy. His mom explained: "We answered with his favorite words because he didnt want to pay attention when we asked him  :). We provided our translation of what we think he would say." How did you make your picks as an eight month old?
Thomas the Train: "Dino"
Translation: "As with everything, I trusted my parents. Their help with my picks ended up being the best of both of them, just like me. Besides, how can you go wrong with Ohio State?" What was your reaction when you heard you won the Pick Six game?
Thomas the Train:  "yay!"
Translation: " I was shocked, at a year old I had never won anything before! But seriously, Ohio State went 12-0. I had a pretty good idea." As a former champion, what's your advice to people as they make their picks?   Thomas the Train: "it's hot"
Translation: "Don't overthink it...I may have trusted my parents last year but this year I am going to leave it up to chance. We'll see if I can repeat!"

Thanks to "Super Why" and "Cat In the Hat" (by the way, I totally get those references now ... I've seen my fair share of PBS Kids) for their help in securing access to our winner. 

Finally, here's a picture of the champ with his prize. Just think, people: in four months, this could be you. 

"Thomas the Train," 2012 Pick Six Champion.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Time To Play Pick Six 2013!

If you live in the Upper Midwest, like many readers, you've noticed a certain chill in the air. A crispness that says ... it's football season. And as of today, it IS officially football season, because the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll was released, and that means the Sixth Annual TMMPF Pick Six Game. Cue the Viking kitties.

The Viking Kitty video actually won't play within Blogger. Watch here to get psyched up.

THE GAME IS EASY! If you've played in previous years, you know how simple it is (to enter at least, winning is a different story) ....

The preseason Top 25 poll is divided into quintiles (a word that probably gets used once a year and on this blog only):

A: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Georgia
B: South Carolina, Texas A&M, Clemson, Louisville, Florida
C: Florida State, Louisiana State, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Texas
D: Oklahoma, Michigan, Nebraska, Boise State, Texas Christian
E: UCLA, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Southern Cal, Oregon State

Pick one team from each group. Then one unranked team (Group F). There's your Pick Six. The goal is to have the highest ranked teams at the end of the season. (The game ends after the bowls, with the final AP poll in January.)

FAMILY FUN! We've learned the game is more fun when multiple members of your family or household participate. Think you don't care about that Georgia/Clemson game? You will, if you've got the 'Dogs and your spouse has the Tigers!

Cats can play ....

This is Franklin on my lap as I entered my 2011 picks. 

Dogs can play ....

USC or UCLA ... which kibble looks tastier?

Heck in 2011 we had a fetus enter the game. He finished 19th. The next year after he was born, he played again and finished first!! (I hope to have more from last year's winner, "Thomas the Train," next week.)

Last year we had a TMMPF-record 60 entries. The more the merrier, so share the info with friends, co-workers, your bookie, whoever you think would enjoy.

PRIZES! Every year I give a kitchsy, college-football themed prize for first place. The last few years have been memorabilia for teams from the Southeast, which is ironic given I live in Big Ten/Notre Dame country. But along with the glory, you could walk away with a prize valued at up to TEN WHOPPING DOLLARS.

You don't have to know anything about football. You don't even have to be sober.

DO I NEED TO DO RESEARCH? If you want to ... whether you are online ...

...or prefer old school newspaper.

IT'S TIME TO ENTER! To play, simply submit your six teams and a name for your entry. If you submit picks without a team name, I will pick one for you. That can be dangerous. If you played last year, you can keep your name or choose a new one.

Send your picks to (at) gmail dotcom. Any advice, decision angst you felt, or pictures of kitties/dogs/babies making picks is always welcome, and in fact is a key component of the game.

Call your friends...

Send an email ...

tell them to get their picks in!

DEADLINE: The deadline is Thursday, August 29, 4:55 pm Central, which is five minutes before the first game of the season. No I don't know why North Carolina vs. South Carolina (and Kent State) felt it necessary to start at 5pm.

Every Sunday (God willin' and the Creek don't rise), I'll post a recap on Saturday's games and an updated scoreboard.

QUESTIONS? Reach out to me at my email address if you've got it, the email address above if you don't, or leave a comment here on the blog if it's general.

Thanks and good luck to everyone!

If the sight of this doesn't make you retch, congratulations on giving up on twenty years of hate. You've just identified your Group A pick.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

It's Coming

The coaches poll was released on Thursday. Which is meaningless, except for serving as a milestone that we are that much closer to the Associated Press poll. Which means:

August 17, people. Mark your calendars. Get out your Post-It notes and dog food bowls. We'll be back with more details then.