Saturday, January 31, 2009

And The Winner Is ....?

There’s only one thing worth talking about this week, of course: The English Premier League!

Oh, maybe it’s that other passion of Phil’s. Go Steelers! Send your picks along. — John

Wake beat Duke!!!! (Had to get that out of the way before I exploded.)

We all remember back to October when Liverpool broke Chelsea’s non-loss streak at Stamford Bridge. This week it’s the Blues chance for revenge. Will they get it? Chelsea’s riding their longest win streak of the season, but I don’t expect it to continue at Liverpool. I’m looking for a draw.

And now on to American Football ... too nervous to elaborate ... Steelers get their sixth! — Phil

Will the Steelers be able to get their running game going again? Will the Steelers corners be able to contain Fitzgerald and Boldin? Clearly, the Cardinals have shown an ability to stop the run and get the ball to their playmakers, so there are some interesting match-ups.

But, I think the big intangible—experience—will begin to come into play in the 2nd half. After a close 1st half, the Steelers take control in the 3rd and 4th quarters and win by 10.

But what do I know … I expected Pitt to beat ‘Nova last night by at least 15. — Kurt

Super Bowl time!!! Five-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers face off with the 0-time Super Bowl Champion Arizona Cardinals. Anyone else feel like they are playing on the roulette wheel? Steelers = black, Cardinals = red, and I guess a tied game = green. We can ask Donovan McNabb what happens if the Super Bowl is tied at the end of overtime—I’m sure he has had quite an education since the week of the Cincinnati/Philadelphia tie.

In a mid-football-season discussion at a regular monthly meeting I had with a group of friends, I expressed my opinion that I thought the Steelers were a really good team—certainly one of two that would contend for the AFC representation in the Super Bowl (the other being the Colts—a little off on that one). The Steelers are sporting their traditional lockdown, hard-hitting defense, and as you know, defense wins playoff games.

And the Cardinals—playing very well in the playoffs, and appear to have a defense that has the ability to play well. Add in Fitzgerald, Warner, Boldin and James, and you have some offensive opportunity. Let’s not forget the ex-Steeler coaching staff that has elevated the lowly Cardinals game.

Should be interesting to see if this coaching familiarity will have any effect on the outcome of the game. They are the underdogs, and deservedly so, as they finished the season at a paltry 9-7. There is no doubt this team needs to come out firing on all cylinders to even compete with the Steelers this week.

I’m going to make two predictions. First, I’ve spun the roulette wheel and the ball has fallen on red. It’s a tough pick, but the methodology is sound—I’m going with the Cardinals to win their first Super Bowl. My second prediction: With the exception of the commercials and the halftime show, this will be the least viewed Super Bowl in history. — Troy V. of Yardley

Um, excuse me—don’t you people have work to do? And how the heck did I end up on these long, boring e-mails?

You all clearly have spent a long time thinking about this stuff, reading about this stuff, and watching it on TV—and then additional time pouring all of that into beautiful essays worthy of a six-page spread in a sports magazine. Who knew you were all so eloquent???

MY PREDICTION FOR THE WEEK IS THIS: When you get home tonight, your wives will ask you how your day was and attempt to engage you in an actual conversation, and you will barely grunt as you walk to the TV to do more studying for next week’s predictions. Because, sadly for the wives, even when the Super Bowl is over, there will be MORE sporting match-ups on which to pontificate.

My other prediction: I will never be included in these prediction emails again. :) — Gray

I believe Gray is 1-0 (or 7-0 if she gets a point for each individual) in predictions. — Troy V. of Yardley

Yesterday was great news when I learned that St. Joe’s won its 7th straight game and that Wake beat Duke. However, the night ended on a down note as I attended the Nova-Pitt game in the last college hoops game ever played at the Spectrum.

I was one of the few in attendance cheering for Pitt and my dislike for Nova is as strong as ever. The wine-and-cheese crowd that makes up the Nova Nation makes my stomach churn. With them constantly arguing every call (Pitt got whistled for 23 fouls, Nova 13), I found myself arguing with just about everyone in my section.

One idiot wanted Pitt called for 3 seconds until I informed him that the Pitt player was standing in the NBA lane not the college lane. Anyway, years after I attended the greatest college hoops game ever played at the Spectrum (Duke 104 Kentucky 103), I had to sit through last night.

Super Bowl prediction: Pittsburgh 38, Arizona 17. Sunday noon basketball tip-off: St. Joe’s beats 18-2 Dayton at Dayton to make it 8 in a row. Sunday noon basketball tip-off: Cincinnati upsets Nova at Nova. I HOPE. — Dave

Who let Darlene in the “Our Gang” clubhouse? I think it was Alfalfa (Phil).

I'm tempted not to pick Pittsburgh to spite Alfalfa, and to be different from Buckwheat (Dave Mink, based on his Vanilla-nova rant). But you can’t go against the obvious.

Phil’s teams just keep on winning as the Steelers win in a rout. Their d-backs lock down Arizona’s receivers and Pittsburgh’s backs run wild. Another world championship for the state of Pennsylvania! — John

Thanks for the inside scoop on the Pitt vs. VU game and cheering for the good guys, Dave. So the fix was in, eh? — Kurt

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