-I'm on Twitter. Please follow me here. I need you.
-Derek Jeter is a gamer, not a cheater. I didn't get to talk about this yesterday since Nick E.'s awesome Duke schedule analysis went up, but anyone griping about this needs to get some perspective. In basketball, players flop to draw charges. In football, punters dive to draw roughing penalties. In soccer...well, we all know about soccer. And in baseball, as the Yahoo article points out, outfielders fake catches, fielders apply phantom tags, and pitchers cheat for any small advantage. Professional athletes are trying to win, not serve as self-censors. That's the umpire's job.
-Floyd Mayweather is on a baddddd trajectory. He's going to have to fight Manny Pacquaio for money in like six months after he's forced to pay his ex-girlfriend millions, and he's going to get murdered. And I will enjoy that.
ENOUGH PREAMBLE. YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS!
The Friday Pick Six is an original SCSD! game where six people make six predictions for six weeks. Along with their picks, they're allowed and encouraged to submit a 'sound-off' on any topic, sports or otherwise. When it's all done, the winner earns great honor among the people, while the two losers are exiled in shame. To learn more about the rules, and about the current contestants, read the Week One entry here.
As I mentioned last week, the lowest two finishers after six weeks will be demoted from the competition. This week, I've decided that the winner will be inducted into a Hall of Champions (better name pending). He or she won't continue to play, but will be eligible for a Tournament of Champions (better name pending) down the road. So only three finishers, #2-4, will continue. They'll be in what we call 'purgatory.' One contestant can play up to 3 Pick Sixes in a row, provided they never win and are never demoted. After the third chance, they either win or get demoted. Done.
Let's have a look at the standings after Week One:
1. Jill - 5 Points
2. Tom - 4 Points
2. Carrie - 4 Points
4. Nick - 3 Points
5. Spike - 2 Points
5. Shane - 2 Points
Despite Spike's head games (see Week One entry), Tom came out clutch and shot an 83 in his Saturday club championship round. That was Jill's exact prediction, so she earned 2 points and vaulted to an early lead. It was almost a perfect week for the hard-charging New York attorney and former Dukie; she only missed the Miami-OSU game, taking the Canes. Tom was the only one to pick OSU, in fact, and he finds himself in second. Carrie went 3-4 in football picks, and Nick kept himself out of demotion ranks because of his gutsy Djokovic-over-Federer call. Meanwhile, Spike and I limped out to a poor start and have some ground to make up.
This Week's Docket:
1. Georgia Tech at UNC, College football
2. Nebraska at Washington, College football
3. Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns, NFL
4. New England Patriots at New York Jets, NFL
5. Florida at Duke, Women's Soccer - A match-up of Nick's alma mater versus mine!
6. Friday night, Spike will be attending the Mariners-Rangers game. Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez is the starting pitcher. Predict how many innings he'll last (Felix, not Spike...Spike only stays for 3 innings, then he gets bored and cranky).
Time for the picks and the sound-offs. Have at it, gang, starting with this week's leader.
Georgia Tech at UNC: GT. I explained my loyalty rule last week, but there is an equivalent: let’s call it the animosity, or teams I hate with the burning passion of one thousand STDs so I will cheer for their opponent no matter what, rule. Only the Red Sox and UNC exist in this category. Although GT has a weak passing game, UNC still has a depleted and academically challenged roster. I don’t particularly like Georgia Tech (losing to Kansas = lame), but I still hope UNC gets humiliated at home.
Nebraska at Washington: Nebraska. Washington had an impressive win over Syracuse last week. But really, is that anything to celebrate? As much as I respect Greg Paulus, a former Duke point guard was the most exciting thing about Syracuse’s football team last year. Nebraska has a high-octane offense, and everyone can run the ball, including freshman QB Taylor Martinez; Washington has the opposite of a stellar defense.
Chiefs at Browns: Chiefs. They had a pretty solid win last week. And I like Cassel over Delhomme. Delhomme is the true King of the Pick Six, and not in a semi-amusing internet competition sort of way. Throw in his injured ankle, and god only knows where he will throw the ball (if he even plays). I think it will come down to turnovers, and the Chiefs eke it out.
Patriots at Jets: Patriots, reluctantly. I like Rex Ryan’s all talk-no walk Jets. That said, I watched The Sanchize’s performance in Monday night’s debacle (73. F-ing. Yards). I cringed at 14 penalties for 125 yards; 1 for 11 on third downs; Dustin Keller stepping out of bounds one yard short on fourth down; and any land mass not named Revis Island. Tom Brady lives for the fourth quarter, Belichick is an evil genius, and the Patriot’s young defense was impressive last week. I have little confidence in the Jets, although I hope they prove me wrong.
Florida at Duke: Duke. I know practically nothing about women’s soccer, and frankly don’t care enough about it to do any research, but I’ll always take Duke. [My curiosity won out: Florida is ranked #6, Duke is ranked #14, you’re welcome, whatever, go Devils].
Felix Hernandez: 7.1 innings. Since the All-Star Break, King Felix has pitched 103.3 innings over 14 starts, for an average of 7.379 innings per start. With the Cy Young looming, Felix could either step up his game or wet the bed. He is pitching against C.J. Wilson, who didn’t exactly blow me away last week against the Yankees. I think King Felix brings his A-game, handing the ball over in the eighth.
Ga. Tech, Nebraska, KC Chiefs, Pats, Duke, 7 innings.
In about 48 hours I will be faced with a major dilemma. At my age life isn't suppose to be hard, except for health issues, political opinions and debate, suggestions and guidance for our kids, four foot putts, and playing golf in the wind. Now this, for in 48 hours I will be in the UNC campus bookstore deciding on which hat and sweatshirt to purchase. Why the dilemma? I am a Dukie. Proud as I am of my stepson's graduate program at UNC, his undergraduate degree is Duke blue! I am a Dukie. I will be packing my Duke clothes in just a few hours. Saturday afternoon we will be sitting in Wade Stadium watching the Blue Devils make jello out of Mark Ingram and the Tide, while wearing all the clothes I packed. Life will be grand! But prior to that event, I will have to wear the UNC clothes I will purchase to celebrate the stepson's "new" school. Why didn't he pick East Tennessee State for grad work?
1. Much as I love a good controversy-courting football team (see:UMiami), I am going to play it on the straight and narrow this week with Georgia Tech, who in addition to avoid the recent stink-eye of the media have also - as far as I know - not had their live mascot reincarnated for the past six decades.
2. I would like to stick strong with the West Coast, but I love the idea of husking corn. Though when it comes to actually eating corn, it gets all stuck up in my permanent retainer (yes.) and so I am hesitant. Also, I don't think corn is particularly rich in vitamins like real vegetables should be. I mean, you never really hear about the nutritional value of corn... What's that? Right. Nebraska.
3. I like that there are two Kansas Cities and I don't know out of which the Chiefs are based and who doesn't enjoy a little dramatic intrigue, so Chiefs? Good on you.
4. This is a really tough call for me. The Jets have my absolute favorite uniforms in the entire NFL and my friend Jasmine has a really excellent Jets cap of which I am perpetually jealous. Buuuut, particularly THIS week, in the name of ladyhood and solidarity sister-ness (and probably not super great journalists) worldwide, it seems necessary that I not go with the Jets. Uh, also because I may have been personally responsible for Tom Brady getting into a car crash the other day and I am still feeling sort of guilty about it. I solemnly swear never to take an interest in a professional athlete again, lest they too get into a potentially career-threatening accident. Promise. So, Patriots, if that wasn't clear from the verbal diarrhea above.
5. I know it's hip to be into soccer right now, but I could not be less into soccer right now. Wait. I could be less into soccer if it is women's soccer (goodbye, solidarity sister.) Doing a quick check of the rankings, I see that Florida is ranked higher. Doing a quick check of each team's home page, I see that there is a really obnoxious-looking girl on Duke's team (I won't say which one, because it's bad enough that that's the actual criteria I'm using, but if you go to the website, I bet you can figure it out for yourself.) Do I have to choose a score? Eh... Florida:3, Duke:1.
6. I know Felix (first name basis) will pitch 7 innings even. (I am giving brazen confidence a try. How does it look on me? Sort of awkward? I thought so. Wait. I KNOW so.)
When do I get to pick the rigged category of my choice, by the way?
Some people may say making this weekend's picks on a Wednesday is lazy. Not this guy. I call it being ahead of the curve. Also, its Gators-Devils week and I'm not here to fuck around.
1. Georgia Tech.
I win either way.
Can I bet Nebraska twice?
They'll fix what's broken, or at least use enough band aids to get them past the Chiefs - who didn't really look THAT good.
Sanchise has his best game as a pro.
Not a fair fight, I knew some of those girls back in Gainesville - and they played prison rules.
Oy oy oy oy oy. I don't know why I am incapable of picking against the Dawgs. But I am. I tried to type Nebraska. But it came out all squiggly.
It's weird being a huge fan of the local college team when you didn't go to that college. I lived in Seattle as a kid during the Entman years. My dad was a USC fan and I was an antagonistic little 6 year old. The Huskies were the only team worth rooting for in the city and I fell hard (including throwing homemade purple and gold confetti at my dad after the Huskies beat the Trojans one year. That went over great.)
I held onto my fandom to the point where I in part picked my Division III college based on the colors and letter being the same as Washington's (purple and gold W on a Williams hat looks a lot like a Washington hat). I watched 9 of our 12 losses in our 0-12 year. But now that the team is on the rise, and I'm back in the city I feel weird getting super excited about Huskies football at a bar. Half the people in this city are Huskies, and my excitement will lead to the question, "what year were you," and I won't have an answer.
All that to say, if I get relegated out of pick six, I'm probably going to apply for grad school there. To justify my fandom to the world.
1. Hmmm...don't really know about this one. Maybe UNC?
2. Gosh, I'm drawing a blank. I guess I'll go with Washington.
3. Ugh, NFL. Aren't the Cleveland Browns good?
4. I don't know anything about the Jets, so I guess I'll take the Tom Brady team.
5. OKAY, here's the deal. This game is going to be a classic. Florida is a great, great team. You won't hear me take anything away from the 6th-ranked women's soccer team in the entire country, not on this blog. Brooke Chancey is one of the strongest players in the country, and in my book she was born for stardom. This is a girl whose dad used to make her kick around a cardboard box for an hour every day before she was even allowed to touch a real soccer ball. Goals are her destiny. She's already got 8 of them this season, and when she and Ashlee Elliott are pressing the defense, they're almost unstoppable. Speaking of Elliott, she might be the best female athlete to ever come out of Arkansas, and I have a special attachment to her because her older sister was a solid goalie for Purdue during their Elite 8 run in '06. And is it just me, or does anyone else love reading about the annual Elliott Family Thanksgiving soccer game in Florida media releases? I mean, those people are intense! But here's the thing about the Gators: their goalie, Kelsey Kern, is overrated. There, I said it. Yeah, she made that famous save in the tourney last year on the so-called bicycle kick, but if you look closely at the film, there was a lot of placement luck involved. And honestly, stack her up against other top 25 goalies using Ultimate Goalie Zone Rating, one of the more reliable goalie statistics going (don't get me started on how much save percentage just sucks). Really, do it. I'll tell you this much: you won't like what you find. I'm not saying she's Aimee Eiderwall bad, but she's not lighting any fires.
And that's exactly where Duke will make her pay. Carey Goodman and Maddy Haller are two of the more dangerous weapons in Division 1. It's no surprise, either; Haller's aunt was Denise "Butterfly" Haller, who would have been on the Women's World Cup Team back in '86 if not for a tragic knee injury a few days before competition. But when Haller and Goodman hook up, it can be devastating. You know they'll be attacking the wings all day, and despite the fact that Coach Robbie Church likes to slow things up because he's a FUCKING INCOMPETENT IDIOT AND NEEDS TO BE FIRED, DUKE, FIRED LIKE RIGHT THE FUCK NOW...well, even a clown like Church can't put the brakes on Haller.
Anyway, I think this one is going to be a real nail-biter. If it was down at the swamp, I'd pick Florida. But Duke's record at Koskinen over the past 5 years is 65-4. And two of those losses were during the mono season, when most of the team was running on fumes, so I don't even count them. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking the Devils acquit themselves well at home. I'm predicting a draw.
6. 8 innings. I don't really like baseball.