Monday, March 31, 2008

5 Words You Don't Often See Together:
F1, President, Nazi, Hooker, Orgy


Any two or, hell, maybe even 3 of those words you might see together, but not all five.

I'm not much into auto racing, but I couldn't not investigate this headline further:

F1 President in Nazi Hooker Orgy


Some of the better lines from the story:

At one point during the video, the man yells "she needs more of ze punishment!" while brandishing a leather strap over a woman's bottom before striking her with it and counting in German, as other women in Nazi-style uniforms look on.

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said the sport shouldn't be affected by the report.

"Assuming it's all true, what people do privately is up to them," Ecclestone told the Times in a story posted late Sunday on its Web site. "Knowing Max it might be all a bit of a joke."

Of course, what a funny joke! I was just thinking the other day that nothing says comedy quite like doing and orgiastic Nazi role play with 5 hookers. Now that's funny!

To recap: ummm, Wow.

College Hoops Rumors: Get 'Em While They're Hot

These tidbits from a pretty well placed source that I consider legit and whose word I respect, but still take them however you like:

1. One main reason for UConn's late season meltdown was that a few weeks ago agents "got to" 7'3" center Hasheem Thabeet and that he decided back then to turn pro after the season. Up until that point he was the Big East defensive player of the year and a defensive force. Since the alleged decision, apparently he has not been focused and Calhoun could not get him to stay focused on the job at hand. Subsequently UConn was outrebounded in a loss to West Virginia in the Big East tournament, then outrebounded in a loss to San Diego, and HT underperformed in both games. Look for him to declare for the NBA draft any time now.

1a. Allegedly UConn point guard and best player AJ Price had decided that if Thabeet was coming out, then he was going to as well, as he didn't want to carry the load all by himself next year. His knee injury means that he now does not have a choice in the matter, and will have to rehab and try to make a comeback at the college level.

2. Allegedly LSU is going to throw a lot of money at USC head coach Tim Floyd to move to LSU, and if this happens than USC's 1st choice is Jamie Dixon of Pitt, who like Ben Howland at UCLA is a California native and extremely successful coach in the Big East. If it plays out like that then it's another step up for the PAC10- having Howland and Dixon in LA is such a massive improvement over just a few years ago when it was Lavin & Bibby running things.

3. Many of the coaches not just in the Big East but around the country were rooting hard for Georgetown to win the title this year, so that they could then go back to kids and say "see- unselfish team basketball works", as in recent years the me first 1 on 1 game has taken over college basketball to a large degree. Now that G'town is out apparently many are wishing UCLA wins it for the same reasons.

Oh, and don't feel too bad for Stanford's Robin Lopez that his team got dumped out of the tournament on Friday by Texas. Apparently he's dating Michelle Wie, so that's something nice to fall back on. No worries about not being able to eat well when your college freshman girlfriend is a multimillionaire.

What Can Big Brown Do For You?

Saturday was the Florida Derby, the final derby prep for the Florida circuit. The rest of the final major derby preps are this weekend and next weekend. Anyhow...

Before Saturday the 2 main favorites were WAR PASS and PYRO, with PYRO assuming the favorite mantle in everyone's rankings after WAR PASS completely ate it in his last race and came in last. Each will have one more chance to show what they are capable of before the Derby. Anyhow II...

Before Saturday, a relative unknown newcomer named BIG BROWN was getting alot of attention: he was extremely lightly raced, with only 2 career starts, but in each one he completely romped by more than 10 lengths. The caveat was that it was against lesser competition, so the Florida Derby would be a significant step up in class and tell if Big Brown was legit or a flash in the pan fluke.

BIG BROWN is legit.

What can BIG BROWN do for you?

Saddled with the far outside post of 12, things did not look good for BIG BROWN. In fact, in the 3 years since Gulfstream Park was resurfaced, only three horses have won any race of any kind from the 10, 11, or 12 post at the track {one of them being BARBARO in the 2006 Florida Derby}.

Forced to either gun it for the lead or lay way back to save ground, Desormeaux gunned BIG BROWN out of the gate and went for the lead, which he eventually got. Still he was 3 to 4 wide around the first turn, and by the 2nd turn he found himself on the front of a furious pace, :22 for the first 1/4 mile. Follow that with a half mile in :45 and in 99 out of 100 horse races the horse on the lead of such a blistering pace is going to get cooked and falter. But amazingly BIG BROWN wired the field and drew off easily to win under a hand ride. I don't know that I have ever seen a horse win from the outside post in wire to wire fashion off such a blistering pace.

See for yourself:

This is not something you see every day,or even once
in a while {outside post, sizzling pace, easy win from the front}

So BIG BROWN is for real. His next race will be the Derby, another massive step up in class. But there are some who think the horse is a superfreak and nothing else matters, including the fact that no horse with only 3 career starts has won the Derby in 93 years, not even CURLIN, who came close last year in the Derby after only 3 career starts, went on to win horse of the year, and Saturday won the Dubai World Cup to cement his standing as the best horse in the world.

We'll see in 5 weeks. Either way BIG BROWN has thrown down the gauntlet to PYRO, WAR PASS and everyone else that he will be a factor to be dealt with at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

With the Florida Derby in the books, the remaining final Derby preps are:

Saturday April 5
Santa Anita Derby {California}
Wood Memorial {New York}
Illinois Derby

Saturday April 12
Arkansas Derby
Blue Grass Stakes {Kentucky}

WAR PASS is starting in this weekend's Wood Memorial, and PYRO is starting in next weekend's Bluegrass Stakes. Right now those two and BIG BROWN are most everybody's top 3.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kentucky Derby 101

You're a sports fan. You know that The Derby is a big deal, only because you have always been told that it is really important. But what's the big deal? You don't really get it - to you it's just a horse race like any other, because no one has ever taken the time to explain to you WHY it is so celebrated by the horse racing masses. That's where I come in*.

Kentucky Derby 101.1: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Kentucky Derby 101.2: Easily The Most Difficult Achievement In All Of Sports

Kentucky Derby 101.3: Into The Unknown

Kentucky Derby 101.4: Into The Unknown II: Field, Style, Pace

Kentucky Derby 101.5: Why The Jockeys Are Total & Complete Badasses

Kentucky Derby 101.6: Why Martha Burk Loves The Derby

Kentucky Derby 101.7: Why Kentucky Goes Completely Apeshit For Derby

Kentucky Derby 101.8: Why The Derby Is The Most Fun Sporting Event You Will Ever Attend

Kentucky Derby 101.9: A Guide For Derby Virgins

*note that parts 101.1 -101.8 were originally written in 2006, and thus contain time references that are no longer current.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Feel Good Friday: "Can I Kick It?" Edition

Work/life kicking my arse last couple of days, but there's a lot in the pipeline for next week...

There are lots of classic hip hop songs out there, as well as lots of great songs that are remakes of other songs, but rare is the combo of great original and multiple great remixes of said classic.

Anyhow, today's Feel Good Friday comes courtesy of G Love, who in addition to being a total badass musician also blogs and uploads tons of impromptu vids to youtube when he's on tour.

Here's a homemade version of "Can I Kick It" made a few days ago in Brisbane, Australia with Slim Kid Tre from the Pharcyde {and currently Ozomatli}, and featuring a sweet outro of G. Love's alter ego, Spoonie G, tearing it up on a pair of plastic spoons on the tour bus:

It's not enough that dude invented his own
genre of music {the hip hop blues}, can slay the guitar
and the harmonica, but now we learn that he can beat box
and play the spoons as well. Bow down.

As an added bonus, here's Slim Kid Tre rapping a verse from Pharcyde's "Passing Me By" while on stage with G. Love doing another rendition of "Can I Kick It?" during last summer's amazing Summer Haze tour {Ozomatli, G Love, Slightly Stoopid} when they were in Costa Mesa {night before I saw them at The Greek in Bezerkeley}:

And since it's March Madness {yeah I said it, fuckers. sue me}...

Double Bonus:

Although vey low-fi, this is G. Love and Slightly Stoopid together doing the finale to G. Love's set on the Summer Haze tour stop in Boca Raton, FL last year, which started off as G. Love's song "Blues Music" then morphed into "Walk On The Wild Side" and then finally "Can I Kick It?". Low quality sound, but high quality muzak, and the horns are tight:

Oh, yeah, if you're not down with Tribe, here's the original:

Classic. Timeless.

And to complete the theme, the outstanding "22 Twos" by Jay-Z:

Sometime Jay-Z hits, sometimes he misses.
This was a stand up triple.

However you kick it, have a rocking good weekend, whatever you get into.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Left My Lung In Vegas:
Orson Swindle Be Pimpin' Dem Hoes

If you ever thought to yourself, "I bet Orson Swindle is the kind of guy that would wear an off-white leisure suit with a pink shirt and cream colored low cut Chucks, then gather up some of the miniature ho advertising cards and start pimping dem hoes himself to passers by on Las Vegas Boulevard right outside the pink walled entrance to Casino Royale..."'d be right.

Further proof that as awesome as you think Orson Swindle is, he is even more awesome than that.

Last Night In Vegas: Georgia v. Georgia Tech, A Study In Contrasts

On the penultimate night in Vegas, Saturday, both Swindle and Kanu managed to get in a massive 2 hours sleep, with each going to bed at 6 am and rising at 8 am, Swindle to work, Kanu to catch a cab to Crown & Anchor to witness the end of Arsenal's 2008 EPL title challenge.

After another long day of sportsbooks, drinks, and dangerously low oxygen levels in the brain, both were pretty knackered and both had flights out of McCarran between 8 and 9 the next morning. A wakeup call was arranged for 5.45 a.m.

The man with the Masters degree from Georgia Tech went to bed at 8 p.m., intending to wake up at 4 a.m. thereby not only giving him a full night sleep but also proactively re-acclimating to Eastern Standard Time, where said sleep was the equivalent of a normal 11 pm - 7 am night's sleep. The Georgia Tech grad was smart, calculating, and responsible.

Swindle checks out of the IP, somewhat rested and
refreshed after a full night dreaming of Reggie Nelson

The man with the Masters degree from Georgia went to dinner to catch up with a friend who lives in Las Vegas, then at 11 p.m. decided that he wanted 1 final gambling session, so out into the night he went. A beer pong garden, a walk to Caesars sports book to see if he could get down on some Sweet 16 action, and several gaming sessions later, including a final 3 hour journey to Surrealsville flanked by wasted Irish girls at a single deck blackjack table at O'Sheas, the Georgia grad looked up at a TV and the bottom right hand corner of ESPNNews informed him that it was in fact 5.42 a.m. and that his wakeup call back at the IP was in 3 minutes. The Georgia grad was impulsive, carefree, and irresponsible, especially when you consider that upon landing at SFO on Monday morning he had to go straight to work for a full day at the office.

At approximately 6 am the Georgia grad rolls back to the room beyond both loopy and exhausted, where the Georgia Tech grad is up, looks relatively fresh, and is already packing his bags and preparing to iron his shirt. The door opens, the Georgia grad wearily smiles, and the Georgia Tech grad laughs out loud.

7 hours sleep in 3 nights; has to be at work in another city in 5 hours

The Georgia grad wins $400+ in gaming on the weekend, whereas the Georgia Tech grad loses approximately the same amount, completing the UGA/GT metaphor whereby the dumb, impulsive, raging partier defeats the smarter more responsible and rational planner.

But in the final completion of the metaphor, I fully acknowledge that one day I most certainly will work for Swindle Industries*.

*side note: yes it really does say "Swindle Industries" on his credit card, as personally witnessed at the conclusion of a good but massively overpriced breakfast {to give you an idea: bowl of Lucky Charms, $4.59} at the diner in the Hard Rock Casino at 5.30 a.m. Sunday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Walker Atrice III, Damn Good Dawg. RIP.

AJC article about Walker Atrice's death
Knuckle Up Fitness profile of/interview with Walker
HT: Paul Westerdawg

Walker literally gave me the shirt off his back once.

In my closet at home sits a 1996 Georgia football #31 jersey, signed in sharpie by Walker Atrice III, which he gave to me one late night in Panama City on spring break, as a party in the Luckie triplets' room was dying down about 3 a.m., after I drunkenly asked him if I could have it and he said "sure, man. I'll say I lost it and I'll get another one. Hold on, let me find a Sharpie and I'll sign it for you". That night he and I and the triplets went out and they were all so fun and nice, happily playing along with my story as we chatted up girls, who became interested that they were talking to football players at UGA, that I was in fact the field goal kicker.

Walker was a hell of a nice guy, and although I wouldn't say that we were close friends, we did hang out a good bit in 95-96. He was a living example of the rejection of the tired football player stereotype: kind, confident but not arrogant, intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, a true student athlete who took school seriously and spoke of one day becoming a doctor, just a great guy all around.

At Georgia games from about 96-2000 I would wear my WA31 jersey, and invariably random people would come up to me and tell me that they knew Walker and how he was such a great guy and they knew him from Lakeside or wherever, so I know that it wasn't just me who had this impression of him.

My heart is filled with sadness today as I learned of his bizarre death after collapsing immediately after participating in a golden gloves boxing match. Apparently Walker was 23-4 as an amateur and dreamed of turning pro.

My thoughts are with him and his family. If anyone who reads this knows how to contact his family, I would love to write them and offer to give them my signed jersey, it would likely mean much more to them than to me.

Rest in peace, Walker.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Left My Lung In Las Vegas: Indicies


Last Night In Vegas: Georgia v. Georgia Tech, A Study In Contrasts

Orson Swindle Be Pimpin' Dem Hoes

UT Fan Singlehandedly Re-Enacts title of largely forgotten Tupac song "Representin' 93"

The Mirage Race & Sports Book Backstage Pass

Biggest Shitpile of a Sports Book: Strip Edition

Things To Do In LV After Losing $300+ in Approx 1 Hour at Casino Royale's "Blackjack Switch"

Ecoutez Y Repetez: Le picnic es tres jolie

Custom Made Split Fan Garments: Big XII Edition

Standing Pumping Fist of the Mountaineer Nation

Things Observed & Overheard: 12:01 a.m to Sunrise

Happy Easter: An Alternative Take On Worship

Biggest Shitpile of a Sports Book: Downtown-A Whole New Level Edition

Loopy Napkin Drawings At Mandalay Bay

Profiles In Courage

The Last Dance: One Final Cold, Unemotional Swift Kick to the Nuts of Orson Swindle

CFB Playoff Epiphany While Exhausted, Waiting in PHX Aeroporto

One Last Toast

In Case You Wondered: UGA Beats Tech Again

I Knew We Were In Trouble 1

I Knew We Were In Trouble 2

I Knew We Were In Trouble 3

I Knew We Were In Trouble 4

I Knew We Were In Trouble 5

I Knew We Were In Trouble 6

I Knew We Were In Trouble 7


I Left My Lung In Las Vegas: Prologue

***Warning: by the time of the next sunrise, there will be in all likelihood be a picture of me, in the Mandalay Bay sports book, face down in a turkey and avacado sandwich somewhere on the internets. Proceed with caution...

I am currently sitting at my desk, wearing totally smoked out seersucker pants with orange drank stains on the left leg, an unused lounge lizard shirt {smoke free!}, dirty dress socks, and very scuffed borderline fancy dress shoes {thank you, impromptu after midnight Fremont Street "visit"}: this is the closest I can get to the office dress code given the contents of my 1 checked bag, which is passed out on the cubicle floor to my immediate left. Only a razor's edge separates me from complete immobility as the work piles up around me like a construction project in Fraggle Rock. The last time I went this long without sleep, Ray Goff was the head football coach of The University Of Georgia, and Hines ward was a fresh faced college kid who was not yet the sporting hero of an entire nation in the Pacific Rim.

What circumstance resulted in this current state of affairs? 72 hours in Las Vegas with Orson Swindle, King Of The College Football Blogosphere, and his merry band of assorted friends, foes, and hangers on. I'm not sure exactly how I came to be a part of this whirling dervish of amistad, but once you are in you stop asking questions, hold on, pray to the Gods of multiple religions {just to be safe and cover all the bases}, and enjoy the ride.

The basics:

- hours slept last night: 0
- hours slept Saturday night: 2
- hours slept Friday night: 5

Totals: 7 hours out of 73, which if it was a batting average would be .096.

3 new career bests set in: least amount of sleep in a 24*, 48**, and 72** hour period.

- packs of cigarettes second-hand smoked: approx. 137

- bottles of orange drank consumed: 3 in Vegas, 4 in last 7 days

Orange Drank: official multi-symptom cold relief
syrup of Dodgy At Best since mid-March 2008

"I be on that orange drank,
straight up on that orange drank,
I be on that, straight up on that,
I be on that orange drank"

- 5.45 a.m. morning of departure wakeup calls missed because I was still out gaming: 1

- number of blackjack hands personally witnessed where drunken and hopelessly clueless Irish girl sitting directly to my left is dealt a pair of aces, chooses not to double down but to hold, and then proceeds to win hand after dealer busts out: 1***
***within 60 seconds of this happening, dealer admits that in 14 years of dealing blackjack this indeed was the first time she has ever been defeated by a hand totaling 2.

That's all the energy I can summon right now. Some of the other details of this epic adventure weekend are beginning to bubble to the surface courtesy of Miss Holly and a still flying back to Eastern Standard Time as we speak Swindle himself. I will likely hibernate for a few days while they provide a solid first 8 innings of revealed incidents, then I'll stumble out of the bullpen for my 1 inning of half-assed mopup work.

I'm off to the house and the prospect of head on soft pillow for the first time since Georgetown were still alive in the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament {aside: Princeton offense with talent + 17 point 2nd half lead + #1 field goal % defense in the nation + scrappy yet undersized and far less athletic opponent = 5 point loss is the new gold standard of MASSIVE FAIL}.

I'll be back once my vital signs have returned to even borderline safe levels and I finish trying to wrap my head around the concept that the last 72 hours of my lungs' life = everyday life for people living in Beijing. But trust me, the animated GIF of Swindle in an off white leisure suit, pink shirt, and cream colored low-cut chucks attempting to himself pass out high gloss finish photo index cards for on call whores to Las Vegas Blvd. sidewalk strollers will be worth however long a wait it ends up being: trust me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday Peep Show

Received email with subject line "Peep Show" from Bonita, and it must be shared, so here you go.

How ballin' ass semi toxic marshmallows celebrate the resurrection.

Happy Easter for those that are so inclined.

p.s.- if you are offended by this, the best course of action would be to leave these parts and never return. Apologies and Godspeed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Weekend

I'm off to Vegas to take in the madness and hang out with the cool kids in school, Swindle, P Bizzle, Miss Holly, and whoever else rolls through. Should be interesting, as I have been sick all week, and Vegas wears you down to a raw nub in about 48 hours when you go there at 100%; it's about the worst place I can think of in the {first} world to be sick. Oh well, I'll just have to man up.

No updates, but we're all Twitter dorks so the sidebar on the left should be happening {if you click on the header you get me and them, not just me}.

Oh, and Happy Easter to those who are so inclined to celebrate, whether it be by giving thanks and praise or racing down Lombard Street on a bigwheel with all your friends, which sadly is having to move away from Lombard after 7 years there because it has gotten too big.

2007 Bring Your Own Big Wheel race down Lombard St.

Have a great weekend, whatever you get into.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Using The Past To Submit A Sensical Bracket

I posted this last year- here is the same info updated to include the 2007 tournament.

This is a little extremely wonky, so some of you will be interested and some will not, but what the hell. As a former hard core college basketball junkie and wonk, I figured the best I can offer this year is to share some of this info with you, as it may help you tweak your bracket before you submit it.

Disclaimer 1: this data should never be used to fill out a bracket; the bracket should always be filled out first using whatever methodology you use. This data can be helpful in perhaps going back and tweaking a few picks here and there to ensure that what you picked falls with the normal range over time of what has actually occurred, so that you don't submit something whose odds of happening are minuscule, thus reducing your chances of taking your co-workers money.

Disclaimer 2: As you will see when we get into the numbers below, 2007 was quite an anomaly; what in horse racing handicapping might be referred to as a "throw away" race because its result was such an outlier compared to the rest of the data. Anyhow, it can be looked at two ways: (1) that it makes all the rest of the data null and void and shows that truly anything can happen, or (2) that it was an anomaly and that over time the trends of the rest of the historical data will largely hold true.

Now then...


First Round Upsets

Year 15v2 14v3 13v4 12v5 11v6 10v7
2007 0 0 0 0 2 0
2006 0 1 1 2 2 2
2005 0 1 1 1 1 1
2004 0 0 0 2 0 1
2003 0 0 1 1 1 2
2002 0 0 1 3 2 1
2001 1 0 2 2 2 2
2000 0 0 0 0 1 2
1999 0 1 1 2 0 4
1998 0 1 1 1 1 3
1997 1 1 0 1 0 2
1996 0 0 1 2 1 2
1995 0 2 1 1 1 1
1994 0 0 0 2 1 2
1993 1 0 1 1 1 0
1992 0 1 1 1 0 2
1991 1 1 1 1 2 2

Now look over your brackets and just compare the numbers that you have with this historical data. There is no need to adjust anything unless what you have is waaaaay out of range. I just try to make sure that I'm not way out of bounds. Last year was very unusual in that it was only the 2nd time that all of the 2, 3, 4 and 5 seeds advanced to the 2nd round since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, so in 21 of the past 23 years there have been upsets over 5, 4, 3, and 2 seeds and we should expect them in any given year.

As most folks know, a 16 has never beaten a 1 seed. A 2 seed has only lost 4 times in the last 17 years, and never 2 in the same year, so for example if you have three different 2 seeds losing to 15 seeds, then you might want to adjust your picks and play the percentages. The 5/12 games get alot of publicity, but don't forget that a 13 seed beats a 4 seed more years than not, and the 11 seeds do pretty well against the 6 seeds. The 8v9 games are not listed because to me a 9 seed beating and 8 seed isn't really an upset. Again, just be sure that you are somewhere in the ballpark, or even on the edge or just a little out of bounds, but if you have all four 11 seeds beating the 6 seeds you may want to adjust. Hell it may happen this year, but if I was in an office pool I would want to maximize my percentages against the others and save the totally wacky-ass bullshit for talk at the sportsbar.

I typically compare my filled out bracket to these historical numbers to make sure that I am in/near the realm of what has happened on each matchup column.


#1 Seed Losing In The Second Round
Year Number
2007 0
2006 0
2005 0
2004 2
2003 0
2002 0
2001 0
2000 2
1999 0
1998 1
1997 0
1996 1
1995 0
1994 0
1993 0
1992 1
1991 0

All four 1 seeds get through to the 2nd weekend more often than not, so if you have this then there is no need to worry. But if you have one, or even have the stones to pick two #1 seeds to lose to the winner of the 8v9 game then the data says you are not crazy and to rock on with your bad self. If you have 3 or all 4 #1 seeds going out in the 2nd round, you may want to think about adjusting your picks.

#2 Seed Losing In The Second Round
Year Number
2007 1
2006 2
2005 2
2004 2
2003 2
2002 1
2001 2
2000 3
1999 3
1998 1
1997 2
1996 0
1995 0
1994 1
1993 2
1992 1
1991 1

As you can see, the #2 seeds fare much worse than the #1 seeds. I won't get into why I think this is so, but you may want to think about having a 2 seed eat it in the second round, as all four haven't made it through to the Sweet Sixteen in over a decade.


Seeds Below 5 In the Sweet 16
Year Number Seeds
2007 2 6, 7
2006 5 6,7,7,11,13
2005 6 6,6,6,7,10,12
2004 5 6,7,8,9,10
2003 4 6,7,10,12
2002 5 6,8,10,11,12
2001 6 5,6,7,10,11,12
2000 8 6,6,6,7,8,8,10,10
1999 7 6,6,10,10,10,12,13
1998 5 6,6,8,10,13
1997 6 6,6,6,10,10,14
1996 3 6,8,12
1995 3 6,6,6
1994 4 6,9,10,12
1993 5 6,6,7,7,12
1992 5 6,6,7,9,12
1991 3 10,11,12

Look at your brackets and count up the number of seeds below #5 seeds that you have in the Sweet Sixteen. Last year was extremely chalky with top seeds advancing, and only 2 seeds below 5 made it to the 2nd weekend. In the 16 years before last year this number has always been between 3 and 8, so ideally you would want to be in this range, but if you have 2 or 9 then I wouldn't worry too much. I also have listed the breakdown of the seeds that advanced each year in addition to the number of teams that made it this far.

The main trend to notice in this set of data is how well the 6 seeds do, as well as the winner of the 7v10 game {more on that in the next section though}. Historically 6 seeds have had success in the 2nd round against the winner of the 3v14 game, which by and large boils down to the fact that 6 seeds often upset 3 seeds in the 2nd round. In fact, every single year since 1991 at least one 6 seed makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, and often more than one do- the vast majority of their 2nd round wins come over 3 seeds. If I didn't have any 6 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen I would strongly consider going back and picking at least one of them to make it to the second weekend. The trick, of course, is picking the right one...

Bottom line at this point you don't want your bracket to be too chalky {you have all the top seeds advancing}, nor do you want it to be such an upset-o-rama that it is way outside the norm.

Double Digit Seeds In The Sweet 16
Year Number Seeds
2007 0 n/a
2006 2 11, 13
2005 2 10,12
2004 1 10
2003 2 10,12
2002 3 10,11,12
2001 3 10,11,12
2000 2 10,10
1999 5 10,10,10,12,13
1998 2 10,13
1997 3 10,10,14
1996 1 12
1995 0 n/a
1994 2 10,12
1993 1 12
1992 1 12
1991 3 10,11,12

Look again at your Sweet 16: do you have any double digit seeds {10 seed or lower} in there? Again, last year was an anomaly but even including it, in 15 of the last 17 years at least 1 double digit seed has made it to the 2nd weekend.

Notice the trend here of how well the 10 seeds are represented. What does this mean? It means that if a 10 seed beats a 7 seed and matches up with a 2 seed in the 2nd round, that 2 seed should be on upset alert, because in 10 of the last 17 years at least one such 10 seed has gone through to the Sweet 16. For all the hype that the 12 seeds get in beating the 5 seed in the first round {the media always point out the the "classic 12 over 5 upset"}, the 10 seeds do even better than the 12 seeds in the 2nd round. Also, if you look back up at the data set before this one, and look at all of the 7 and 10 seeds, that tells you that the winner of the 7v10 game has a great shot of getting past the 2 seed and onto the Sweet Sixteen. I always pick what I think the weakest 2 seed is to lose {or if I think a 7/10 winner is especially strong, or if a 2 seed is a team that I hate and really would love to see go out}.


Seeds Below #3 In Elite Eight
Year Number Seeds
2007 0 n/a
2006 2 4, 11
2005 4 4, 5, 6, 7
2004 2 7, 8
2003 1 7
2002 3 5, 10, 12
2001 2 6, 11
2000 5 5, 6, 7, 8, 8
1999 3 4, 6, 10
1998 1 8
1997 2 6, 10
1996 2 4, 5
1995 2 4, 4
1994 1 9
1993 1 7
1992 3 4, 6, 6
1991 2 4, 10

Many beginners get to this point and have all #1 and #2 seeds. This is starting to sound like a broken record, but last year was an anomaly as it was the first time in 17 years that no team below a 3 seed made the Elite 8. Check your bracket for the number of teams seeded 4 or below in your final eight. You probably should have at least one, and if the data is an accurate predictor, not more than 5. Personally, I would be comfortable with between 1-3.


Seeds Below #2 In Final Four
Year Number Seeds
2007 0 n/a
2006 3 3, 4, 11
2005 2 4, 5
2004 1 3
2003 2 3, 3
2002 1 5
2001 1 3
2000 3 5, 5, 8
1999 1 4
1998 2 3, 3
1997 1 4
1996 2 4, 5
1995 1 4
1994 1 3
1993 0 n/a
1992 2 4, 6
1991 1 3

Once again, last year was rare, and in 15 of the last 17 years, at least one of the Final Four participants has been lower than a 2 seed. Also in 3 of the last 5 years at least 2 of the spots have gone to 3 seeds or lower. I would just make sure that you didn't have zero here {all four spots being either a 1 or a 2 seed} or a four{all 4 slots being 3 seeds or worse}

The Seeds Of The Final Four Participants
Year Seeds Total of Seed #s
2007 1, 1, 2, 2 6
2006 2, 3, 4, 11 20
2005 1, 1, 4, 5 11
2004 1, 2, 2, 3 8
2003 1, 2, 3, 3 9
2002 1, 1, 2, 5 9
2001 1, 1, 2, 3 7
2000 1, 1, 5, 8 15
1999 1, 1, 1, 4 7
1998 1, 2, 3, 3 9
1997 1, 1, 1, 4 7
1996 1, 1, 4, 5 11
1995 1, 2, 2, 4 9
1994 1, 2, 2, 3 8
1993 1, 1, 1, 2 5
1992 1, 2, 4, 6 13
1991 1, 1, 2, 3 7

If you have all four of the #1 seeds in your Final Four, then you are brave, for it has never happened. On the other hand, 2006 was the first time ever that none of the #1 seeds made it, so you never know.

I have seen the final four seeds wonked thusly: add up the seed #s of your final four members. In 15 of the last 17 years the number would be between 6 and 13, with wacky year 2000 having a high number of 15 and 2006's wackiness being an extreme outlier with at total of 20.


Seeds Of The Championship Game Participants
Year Seeds
2007 1, 1
2006 2, 3
2005 1, 1
2004 2, 3
2003 2, 3
2002 1, 5
2001 1, 2
2000 1, 5
1999 1, 1
1998 2, 3
1997 1, 4
1996 1, 4
1995 1, 2
1994 1, 2
1993 1, 1
1992 1, 6
1991 2, 3

Basically, the data says that you should have at least one #1 or #2 seed in the title game. If you have a 4 seed against a 6 seed here, then I applaud you for your moxie but the numbers say you won't win your office pool. In fact, then numbers say anything 3 v 3 or lower will not happen even though that sounds pretty feasible.

Seed Of The NCAA Champion
Year Seed
2007 1
2006 3
2005 1
2004 2
2003 3
2002 1
2001 1
2000 1
1999 1
1998 2
1997 4
1996 1
1995 1
1994 1
1993 1
1992 1
1991 2

The outlier here is one of my favorite teams ever, the 1997 Arizona Wildcats, who amazingly beat three different #1 seeds en route to their championship, making them the only team to ever accomplish that feat and establishing a record that can only be equaled but never surpassed. Every other year the champion has been a 1, 2, or 3 seed, with a 1 seed winning it all in 11 of the last 17 years.

So there it is, by the numbers. Again, I am not saying to fill out your brackets to meet these requirements, but to fill out your brackets and then cross check them against this data, which should not be viewed as requirements but as a guideline or baseline or whatever you like.

I like this information because I find that it helps to know basically the number of upsets that likely will happen in each round. The trick, of course, is choosing where to pick your upsets and where to have the favorites advance. That, my friends, is what separates the office pool contributors from the office pool collectors.

Happy Brackets and best of luck. Unless you have Dook winning the national title that is - then I hope that you fail miserably.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why College Football Fans Should Put Their Macho Pride Aside And Sing

Imagine welcoming a big rival into your house with this, and note that this is a 55,000 seat stadium whereas most major stadia in the South are nearly double that.

Then once the game starts, you step it up a notch:

Slightly more intimidating that the "Geor-GIA! Bull-DOGS!" back & forth

Remember, that's a 55,000 seat stadium, so such things are theoretically possible at places like Vandy, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Ole Miss. At the "big boy" stadia it's scary to consider the possibilities.

It's safe to say that this would intimidate the living hell out of 18-22 year olds. Can you imane a hotshot freshman quarterback trying to play on the road with 90,000 opposing fans doing this shit? He would most likely shit his pants, but we can be sure that he would be rattled.

Of course, flares can also be intimidating- if only fireworks were legal in Georgia like they are in South Carolina

Makes a place with the name "Death Valley" seem like candyland

If all else fails, and you really need to pull out all the stops against a big rival, just set your own stadium on fire, that should do the trick.

We needed this against Tennessee in the 90s

Those vids are of the famous fans of Fenerbache, one of the "big three" of Turkish football. The trick is to not go over the line and become the notorious "Delije" fans of Red Star Belgrade, the most feared soccer hooligans in the world. Forget chants, pyro, or rioting, they started a freaking war. No, really, they started an actual war.

So sack up, college football fans, let go of your macho pride, and embrace the power of group song.

Champions Leage Quarterfinals Set

Here's the result of the Champions League quarterfinal draw held this morning:

Arsenal v Liverpool
Chel$ea v Fenerbache
Manchester United v Roma
Barcelona v Schalke 04

1st legs to be played April 1 & 2
2nd legs to be played April 8 & 9

Arsenal host Liverpool Sat April 5 in the EPL, so they will face each other three times in a week. Here's hoping that Arsenal draw the EPL version of Liverpool rather than the European Liverpool.

Manchester United fans will be thrilled at the prospect of returning to Rome, where they were treated so hospitably last year, first by Roman 'ultra' fans and then by the Roman police.

Chel$ea get to go on one of the least fun road trips there is. Witness this, this or this.

Schalke will be given no chance by anyone outside of Gelsenkirchen.

So there it is. There will be no re-draw for the semifinals; the winner of the first two quarterfinals listed above will meet in the semifinals, as will the winner of the last two, so Arsenal could theoretically win the Champions League without facing foreign opposition after the round of 16 {Liverpool in QF, Chel$ea in SF, ManUtd in final}; the same is true for The Pool. Funky, but that's what happens when 4 of the final 8 are from the same country {first time ever byt he way}.

Semifinal 1st leg April 22 & 23
Senifinal 2nd leg April 29 & 30

Final: Moscow, May 21

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Democrats And College Football

I try not to bring up politics on here, but this is pretty light.

I had a bit of an epiphany last night while driving around looking for a parking space:

The Democrats have turned their nomination into college football: objectivity is out, subjectivity heavily influenced by persuasion, pundit argument, and narrative is in!

Hearing the Hillary camp's arguments reminds me totally and completely of the teams sitting just outside the BCS title game spots rationalizing why they are more deserving than the team to be selected by the process, while the Obama camp's argument reminds of the team in one of the BCS title game spots justifying why they are there.

There's a million more comparisons to be made {superdelegates:poll voters vs. will of the people, ESPN pundits:cable news pundits vs making sense, not sensationalizing, creating the narrative, and on and on}, but I'll leave it at my initial lightbulb over my head thought above.

By the time the nominee is actually picked we will likely have descended to this:

Where we're probably headed...

Champions League Quarterfinals Set

Here are the remaining 8 teams in the Champions League:

Arsenal {England}
Chel$ea {England}
Liverpool {England}
Manchester United {England}
Schalke 04 {Germany}
Roma {Italy}
Fenerbache {Turkey}

All 4 English teams made it, and they compose half of the remaining field, setting up the possibility of the first all-English final in history.

The draw for the quarterfinals is Friday morning in Nyon at 1 p.m. CET, which is 5 a.m. PST and 8 a.m. EST. The draw can be followed live at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eight Is Enough

Thanks to a scheduling quirk where both Milan team cannot host UEFA matches on consecutive days, today the Champions League will shrink from 9 to 8 and the quarterfinals will be set.

Inter Milan-Liverpool
ESPN2, 12.45 p.m. {maybe}

Liverpool bring a 2-0 lead into this 2nd leg, but something tells me that Inter are going to get it done today, either 2-0 and get to extra time or 3-0. Just a hunch. Of course Torres is completely en fuego at the moment for Liverpool, and 1 goal on the road will pretty much sew it up, as it would necessitate no less than 4 goals from Inter. And no one scores 4 goals against The Pool {except Arsenal's B team of course}.


Inter Milan 0-1 Liverpool.
Liverpool advance 3-0 on aggregate.

Very similar to first leg. Inter create chances but can't finish them off, then have a dude sent off kind of harshly for 2 dodgy yellow cards, and are forced to play damn near all of the 2nd half with 10 men. Liverpool score a goal that arguably wouldn't have been conceded if it was 11v11.

Tough not to feel bad for Inter. I think they were pretty hard done by in both legs with the sendings off, and had to play 100 of the 180 minutes a man down. This after going out in 3 of the previous 4 years on the away goals rule {getting knocked out of a competition when you don't technically lose is a kick in the balls in any year, but 3 in 4 years is startling}. But, such is life.

As for The Pool, not sure what to make of them. They looked pretty impotent in both legs when both sides were at full strength, and had the benefit of playing 100 of 180 minutes a man up. But full credit to them, they did what you have to do when you get such an advantage: they put their opponent to the sword.

They are so tricky- so average in the EPL, but when that Champions League hymn is played something Pavlovian happens with them and they turn into a a club that just gets it done, no matter the opposition. Bizarre.

Monday, March 10, 2008

John Daly Is A Butt Man

People often lament not living in the same era as Babe Ruth, and that we'll never see someone like him again.

Well, John Daly is probably about as close as we'll ever get.

After missing the cut in Tampa over the weekend, JD hung out in the Hooters tent, drank lots of beers, mingled with the people, and had himself a good time. The next day. How many golfers miss the cut on Friday afternoon, then go back to the tournament on Saturday to hang out, mingle with the fans, drink beer, and watch a little golf? The answer is now apparently 1: JD.

Oh, and he also signed a girl's ass, while revealing himself to be a "butt man". As a butt man and Sharpie aficionado myself, I can certainly appreciate that.

Well from one butt man to another, JD, forget all the haters and just keep doin' what you do. You are already a legend, now even more so in these eyes of mine.

Play on playa {on the golf course as well}

My Weekend In 9 Pictures

{click pictures to enlarge}

Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach, Marin

Sunset at Muir Beach, Marin

Pacific Coast Trail at Pirates Cove

FC Red Stripes back for the attack

Ocean Beach {Mt. Tam in background}

Chillin' at Ocean Beach

O.G. Dawg Blanket: still rockin' after all these years

Palace of Fine Arts & Alcatraz from Inspiration Point, SF

What $282 of groceries looks like

Full set of pictures can be seen here.

I hope you had a great weekend, whatever you got into.