Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Niners Dodge a Bullet

In the end, the best course of events happened for the San Francisco 49ers. They signed Alex Smith. That was what they were expected to do after last season, and that is the direction they'll be heading in 2012.

I have to admit, I really wanted Peyton Manning. When word came out that the 49ers were one of the three finalists for Peyton, everyone instantly labeled them the favorites because they had the best team out of the contenders. But when Peyton signed with Broncos yesterday, 49ers nation nearly suffocated. Alex Smith was visiting the Miami Dolphins. we had just been spurned by the Great One himself, Peyton Manning. We were going to have to start Colin Kaepernick. After losing out on Manning and considering our interesting but dangerous situation, I think any fan would've been happy with Alex Smith.

And the 49ers dodged a bullet today when they officially announced the signing of Alex. I am overjoyed that he came back. Which is not something you normally say when a just-about-average QB with one good season under his belt resigns with your team for $8 million a year.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Today begins the round of 32, when everyone starts to shun their bracket and just root for the underdog in every game. By now, nobody has a perfect bracket (the best brackets on ESPN and Yahoo! Sports have 2 picks wrong at the least). Norfolk State and Lehigh took care of that for us. For me, my national champ lost in the first round. And I've gone 21 of 32. I'm definitely out of the running here.

But what I am happy about is the fact that my post about my bracketology prediction method for the most part worked. All the #1 and #3 seeds advanced just like I said. Yes, two #2 seeds were upset, but that's a once in a blue moon occurrence. 3 of the 4 #4 seeds advanced (Michigan lost to Ohio, start of a new rivalry?). There were two #5 vs #12 upsets, one of which I predicted correctly. And then the rest of the games are tossups, of which the wrong side of the coin came up for me. I am ashamed of the Gonzaga pick, but the rest bode no shame.

So where do we go from here?
The tournament just got a lot more interesting, with two #2 seeds losing. This gives the #1 seeds in those regions, Kentucky and Michigan State, easy paths to the final four. In the South region (Kentucky's region), #3 Baylor looked shaky against South Dakota St, and then #5, 6, 7, and 9 are out. The biggest tests for Kentucky will be #8 Iowa State and then presumably #4 Indiana. The Indiana game would be the biggest challenge, seeing as Indiana already beat Kentucky earlier this season. If Kentucky doesn't falter there and then gets past the winner of the bottom half of that region (which is expected), the Wildcats are Final Four bound.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bracket's out!

Alright, so those pesky play-in games are over and I can finally create my bracket. I spent a good hour contemplating the matchups and this is what I came up with:

Note: The bracket will only be viewable starting tomorrow after the first game of the tourney begins.

I am a very methodical bracketologist, at least for the first round of predictions. I have a list of steps that I follow to fill out my bracket. The most important rule in these steps is to never have preconceived notions that a team is going to win. Instead of writing in the winner first, I consider each matchup individually. This ensures that each game is given the proper consideration and the most likely winner moves on in the prediction.

I have a protocol that I follow for the first round. First, I always pencil in all the #1 and #2 seeds as victors; there's almost never an upset there. Then, I pencil in all of the #3 seeds, unless I strongly believe that a #14 can beat one of the #3s. I was very tempted with Belmont this year but I decided against it in the end, even if I do think that Georgetown is a perennial choker. If Iona had won, I would've penciled them in against Marquette, but they didn't and I ended up without a #14 over #3 upset, which is ok. Then I move on to the #4 seed games. Unless I have a strong feeling that a #13 has what it takes to knock off a #4, I write in all the #4s in the second round. This year, I believe Davidson has the best chance to pull off the victory, but I have them losing to Louisville still.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Play-In Games

I hate play-in games. Or as the NCAA likes to call it: The First Four. I hate them. They're holding up my bracket. I can't complete it quite yet because I'm reduced to racking my brains over whether BYU or Iona is going to win to face Marquette.

These play-in games are a huge inconvenience. They used to not matter when there was only one play-in game between two 16-seeds. Back then, when the tourney field was just 65, the winner of the play-in game in Dayton did not matter, because they were going to lose to whichever #1 seed they ended up facing anyway. Now, these play-in games have a huge impact on the brackets and are making life very difficult for bracketologists  and fans (like me) everywhere.

The two play-in games that are keeping me awake at night are Cal vs. USF  for the right to play Temple and Iona vs. BYU for the right to play Marquette. These games have serious implications for the rest of the tournament. If Cal beats USF, then I believe they will lose to Temple. However, if USF wins, I think they'll beat Temple. A similar situation occurs in the BYU vs. Iona game. If BYU wins, they're gonna lose to Marquette hands down. On the flip side, if Iona wins, I have them beating Marquette and then Murray State (for now - subject to change)  much like VCU made their run last year.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Peyton Saga

Where will Peyton Manning play next season? That's the question every football fan across the nation is asking themselves right now. That's the question every ESPN pundit has been trying to break down since the Colts locked up the #1 overall pick in January. Peyton is the most polarizing free agent since LeBron James. And we're all awaiting his Decision.

There are few frontrunners in this one. I have heard people telling me that Peyton's gonna play anywhere from Miami to Minnesota, but it's yet to be seen what Peyton himself wants to do. Early on, the favorite was Washington. Now, Miami's fans are making a big push through a PeytonToMiami campaign to try to lure the QB. Here's a breakdown of all 32 teams and their likelihood of landing Peyton Manning:

Arizona Cardinals - One of the likely destinations that has been thrown out there, the Cardinals would be a good fit. They have a clear #1 receiver and have made it to the Super Bowl before with an aging veteran quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons - Next to no chance Peyton lands here. The Falcons have a legit QB already in Matt Ryan.

Monday, March 5, 2012


It's alright, guys, we made it through February. The most uneventful month of the sports calendar is over. After the NFL season ends and before March Madness starts, we as sports fans have got nothing. 2012's edition of February brought us Jeremy Lin.... and that's about it as far as intrigue in the month of February. But here, in March, it all starts over again for a whole 'nother year of sports.

The headliner of course is the NCAA tournament. After the conference championships conclude this week, the NCAA selection committee will get together this Sunday (selection Sunday) and pick the teams for this year's bracket. We've already seen some great games so far this championship week, including Tennessee St vs. Murray St, Creighton vs. Illinois St, and the one I watched today: St. Mary's over Gonzaga.