I know that now, officially, I am starting to get old. I know that in one of the past two years, my bracket did extremely well in the first round; I got 31 of 32 games correct. In the other year, I didn’t do so well. I also know that in one of those years, I spent several days researching each team in the tourney, with an eye towards which had the capability of causing/suffering major upsets. I looked at the scores from each game, paid extra-close attention to how they did in their conference tourneys to see if they choke in big games. The other year, I just went with my gut based on the information provided on the bracket. I don’t remember which method led to the incredible accuracy.
Oh, and when I say “research,” keep in mind that I haven’t watched a full game all season long. I watched maybe ten minutes of an Indiana vs. somebody game. And sometimes glanced at the screen at work. So I’m not the guy to listen to about any of this.
So this year, I filled out two brackets, and am informally pitting them against each other. Here are the key differences for the first round:
#8 Indiana vs #9 Arkansas; my gut said Indiana, my research says Arkansas
#6 Oklahoma vs #11 St. Joseph’s; my gut said St. Joe’s, my research says Oklahoma
#7 Butler vs #10 South Alabama; my gut had Butler going to the elite eight; my research has them getting knocked off in the first round
#4 Vanderbilt vs #13 Siena; my gut had Vanderbilt, my research says Siena
#8 Mississippi St. vs #9 Oregon; my gut had Mississippi St., my research says Oregon
#5 Michigan St. vs #12 Temple; my gut had Michigan St; my research says Temple
#3 Miami (FL) vs #14 St. Mary’s; my gut had St. Mary’s; my research says Miami
#8 BYU vs #9 Texas A&M; my gut had Texas A&M; my research says BYU
#4 Connecticut vs #13 San Diego; my gut had Connecticut; my research is gambling on San Diego
And the one upset both agreed on was #10 Arizona knocking off #7 West Virginia.
Both brackets have Duke going to the Final Four, and that’s the only team in both; probably because everyone’s talking about UCLA having the Final Four handed to them and I want to see them get knocked off. My gut had UNC, Wisconsin, and Stanford as the other teams, with UNC winning it all; and my research somehow ended up with Pittsburgh, Kansas, and Louisville, with Pitt taking the honors. I don’t know why my research is so upset-happy, but there you go. Let’s see what happens.
And now, football.
Boston College’s pro day has happened, and it doesn’t have everyone going slack-jawed drooling over Matt Ryan. Thank God. I’m sick of these arm strength shows. But I remain unsold on Ryan. I saw him play twice, and both times, for most of the game, I was thinking “This guy’s an incredible passer.” Then, both times, at the end he went to crap and threw inconceivable interceptions. And I became instantly disenchanted. Brett Favre can get away with that (Packer fans, I’m agreeing that he can, not trying to be caustic), but I doubt another quarterback ever will for the length of an entire career. Those picks make him too much of a risk as a top three pick if I’m a GM. I also think it’s interesting that Kansas City is the only team who sent their head coach.
The other notable face at the workout was William Green, who has found Jesus and is looking to make a comeback after a troubled past. “Finding Jesus” is a phrase I’m skeptical towards when it happens on the witness stand, but when it comes accompanied by a renewed sense of vigor and work ethic that the player never had before, I’m convinced. Even if you don’t believe that in “finding Jesus” you’ve tapped in to some sort of supernatural power, you have to believe that at least Green is psychologically affected by his belief, and it can change him. He’s in peak condition, and has been working like mad to get himself NFL-ready. Bears, pay attention – this is your guy. Strong, hard working, almost as fresh as a rookie, but with more experience and, presumably, maturity. It’s like getting a barely-used 2006 Jeep for half the price of a 2008 Kia. Some team is going to take a chance with him – if nobody else, Denver – and he’ll be a strong front-runner for Comeback Player of the Year.
I don’t understand why the Raiders are changing up their secondary so much this offseason. Wasn’t that, like, the thing that worked? What now, you’re going to draft an ILB to compete with Kirk Morrison? Spend that money on getting some blocking for Russell, for concussion’s sake!