To kick things off on this Triple F post (Freezing F*#%ing Friday), I'm gonna be a little self-indulgent. Indeed, why else do I have a blog?
Yesterday I was browsing the bowl schedule, and lamenting the fact that it's impossible to get psyched for the earlier games between schools like Troy and Central Florida without a single player I could name and whose records barely top .500. The clear option, of course, was to find something else to do with my life for two weeks, but that sounded pretty extreme. So I started brainstorming, trying to invent an artificial way to boost my interest, and hit up on an obvious answer: gambling. Gambling makes everything more fun, from lame sporting events to watching two ants amble toward a crack in the sidewalk. And putting my own money on the line and possibly kickstarting a dangerous lifelong habit that leaves me destitute and pathetic is too exciting to pass up.
I'm sure it's been done before in history, but I've never heard of or been involved in a College Football Bowl pool. So I got the old pen and paper out, drew up some plans, threw some crumpled pages in the wastebasket, grabbed my hair in agony, had a few epiphanies (the song to this montage was "It's Raining Men") and, long story short, came up with this format:
1) Everyone picks the winner of all 33 bowl games. You can find the games listed here, and I'd send a spreadsheet for easier formatting once I know this thing is officially on.
2) Along with picking the winner (straight up, no spread), you’ll assign a point value to each game, from 1-33. The point value you assign to each game will be the points you receive if you pick it right! So if you pick Florida to beat Cincinnati, and assign that 33 points, you’ll get 33 points if correct. If you only assign it 2 points, you’ll get 2 points. If you pick incorrectly, no points. Pretty straightforward.
3) The person with the most points at the end will be the winner. I’m hoping for 50 people, and the entry fee will be 10 dollars. I’ll handle the scoring and money (paypal) and such, but I promise not to make a profit. I’m thinking the winner’s share will be $300, with $150 to second place and $50 to third. I’ll also send everyone a spreadsheet with the games to make it easier to follow along. I’ll update the leaderboard daily.
4) The games start December 19th, so we’ll say you have til gametime that day to submit your picks.
So, that's the deal. Like I said, I'm hoping for 50 people. I came up with this idea yesterday afternoon and sent it out to some people, and at this point the response has been tepid at best. Luckily, I've never been able to take a hint (13 restraining orders and counting), so an early bump in the road isn't gonna slow me down. If you're interested, whether we've met in person or not, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I do believe this will at least make it fun to follow the games, and if you're the sort of person who digs college football or just making picks, jump aboard. YOU COULD WIN 300 DOLLARS FOR ONLY 10! WHAT A DEAL!!!!
Okay, time to move on and get serious:
This Sunday night, the Eagles come to the Meadowlands for what will be the most important game of the season. Bar none. If the Giants win, they'll take the NFC East. Dallas has already begun their Texas Two-Step December Fade, and the Eagles are only one game ahead. Our schedule for the remainder of the year is as follows: Washington, Carolina, Minnesota. Easy, Easy, and Easy-because-they'll-be-resting-everyone. At least that's the optimistic analysis. But just give us a share of that lead, please. If it happens, I'm convinced we'll hold on tight and maybe even earn a home playoff game.
Lose, and I don't see us even taking the Wild Card. Maybe that's extreme thinking, but all the sudden that Monday night game in Washington looks awfully tough. The Skins just took the best team in football to overtime, lost by 3 to Philly and by 1 to Dallas (both games on the road), and will probably be coming off this weekend's win against Oakland. Huge trap game. If we lose to Philly, confidence will be shot and we'll be vulnerable to a crappy outcome. That would make us 7-7, and the troika of Green Bay, Philly, and Dallas would occupy the final 3 playoff spots.
Sunday night isn't officially do-or-die, but it's close as hell enough. Here are the two main obstacles in our way:
1) Just like we own the Cowboys, Philly has our number. In the past two years, they've won three of four, including a playoff game. That was last January, and it was probably among the top 5 worst sporting experiences of my life. I really, really hate the Eagles, and I made the mistake of getting pretty drunk while watching the game, anticipating a celebration. What happened instead was a lot of me shouting at the television, getting pissed off at my roommate's girlfriend (who was innocently trying to make breakfast and obviously very uncomfortable with my antics), and eventually slamming my bedroom door sometime early in the fourth quarter and brooding in the dark at my desk. I may or may not have proceeded to send a shameful e-mail or two unrelated to sports. Who can remember? But since then, I don't get drunk for big games.
2) Our defense is putrid, especially the secondary. This fact, above all others, is why I feel that the absolute ceiling for this year's Giants is the NFC Championship game. I don't see any way in hell that we could possibly beat the Saints. Minnesota in round 2? Possibly. But not the Saints; not in their dome. It would take a miracle. Even last week, Tony Romo threw for almost 400 yards against us, and the Dallas offense isn't that spectacular. Westbrook being out will help, but I still expect McNabb to have a field day. This game, and probably the rest of our season, comes down to whether we can outscore the enemy. Cuz we sure as hell ain't gonna out-D 'em.
Sunday night is going to be intense. I might do a live blog and post it on Monday. In fact, I think that's likely. But even more important, ladies and gentlemen, is this Saturday's
312TH ARMY-NAVY GAME!!!!
Just kidding. I don't care about that. But speaking of the army, if you dig on movies you should make every possible effort to see The Messenger (Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster). It's about two soldiers, both combat veterans, who are assigned to notify families when their next of kin dies in battle. Check out the reviews if you want to, or just take it from me: this movie is un-friggin-believable. It'll rip your heart out, put it back, and repeat the process, and while it's happening there will be times when you actually laugh. I'm really, really into '70s American cinema, and the highest compliment I can give The Messenger is that it reminds me of the army-themed gems from that decade like Coming Home and The Last Detail. It's by far the best movie I've seen this year, and I doubt any of the December oscar-bait releases will come close.
That's it for the week! Have a great weekend and e-mail me if you like to gamble.