In case nobody noticed, the date is November 13th, 2011. We are still here. We survived the lynching. But before you return to your canole platters, 11/11/11 did remember to wreak its astrological havoc on the sporting universe.
NCAA basketball took prime advantage of a day almost no other sport desired to touch for fear of what may or may not have happened. They seized control over an inaugural weekend lacking in NBA action. Unfortunately, we spent so much of our attention on the impeding lockout, we have no idea what to expect out of the college season. Who are the favorites? Which marquee names are left? Did Carmelo Anthony go back to the Orange for graduate school? Completely in the dark here, and the fact that only ONE GAME was televised didn’t improve matters. Strike 1.
That solitary showdown on ESPN did its best to additionally remind us of Veteran’s Day – you know, the meaningful footnote of the calendar – rather than focusing on the superficial time phenomenon when ten ones are in perfect alignment (personally, I was waiting for the Titans to escape from Zeus’ clutches and help me clean my apartment). #1 powerhouse North Carolina and rebuilding mainstay Michigan St tipped off on the active aircraft carrier associated with the defeat of Osama Bin Laden, of all perennial arenas…my remote should not have switched over to shambled Big East football on ESPN2 for a single instant, let alone for a half hour before contemplating clicking back. Football is STILL laughably superior! Strike 2. And I didn’t even pick the game correctly: Syracuse laid a citrus egg against slumping South Florida. Strike 11.
In an apocalyptic letdown responsible for eleven hundred people terminating cubicle careers, dumping vegetable spouses and purchasing that Justin Bieber movie on DVD, what else was the fate of this weekend tampered with?
-All Top 25 programs dodged the curse with opening conquests and rightfully so…well…except for #17 UCLA…versus Loyola Marymount. And I prefer to place credit on the fortune cookie from my Chinese supper, not my 11:11 A.M. wish.
-#6 Duke played its damn hardest to join the Bruins in irreverence, only clipping Mid-Major dark horse Belmont by one point. But when Coach K notches his record-breaking 903rd win sometime next week, which route of exit will he take: Bob Knight or Joe Paterno?
-The wake of Penn St’s national substance and moral virginity resulted as suspected in a hard-fought loss to Nebraska. Enter distasteful “end-zone” joke here.
-Unsuccessful upset predictions of Florida over South Carolina, Iowa over Michigan, and Texas A&M over Kansas St were further exacerbated by the dropped balls that were Missouri over Texas and West Virginia over Cincinnati. Reaching for the Palestinian alarm clock in my closet…
-Called this before the season started: #5 Boise St would again not go undefeated and claim legendary BCS status, and their sole blemish would be at the feet of departing TCU. If only I delved deeper and foresaw the reason being another late missed field goal.
-Besides my national championship matchup being tarnished for the third time this year, now that Oregon has manhandled Stanford, who’s to say they cannot secure their second consecutive berth (pending a potential Oklahoma St downer against injured Oklahoma)? The Ducks’ only loss was to #1 LSU back in Week One, and fans would much favor that evolved rematch opposed to a superfluous SEC finale with Alabama.
-Of course, the USC Trojans finally appear to have regained their form of the preceding decade and could shockingly de-bill the mallards next Friday (Friday?), making the Cowboy-Sooner victor the likely opponent of those LSU Tigers in January. As for college basketball, expect the March bracket to pin the Eleven-casualty and last Big-East-as-we-once-knew-and-loved representative (Connecticut or Louisville) against those experienced UNC Tar Heels.
-About them Trojans…you neuter the Washington Huskies 40-17…and primary playmaker Robert Woods registers 3 touches for 9 yards? Really? Do my fantasy football travesties make you smile, Lane Kiffin? Well, probably not.
-The “Miami” Marlins are in business, courting Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes in an ultimate attempt to force Florida into caring about baseball. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies – who NEVER spend money in the offseason (…) – have stolen closer Jonathan Papelbon from the Red Sox, so we need to rebut by either signing Ryan Madson…or yanking Keith Foulke out of retirement.
So will a wild sports Friday and Saturday that was destined to implode the Earth trickle into Sunday’s supposed halfway point of the NFL C-section season? More importantly, can I be concise enough to get to bed at a decent hour for once? Here are my Week 10 11-word predictions:
1. *(5-3) New York Jets over (5-3) New England Patriots*
Sunday Night replay furnishes Pats’ third straight debacle, fueling Rex Ryan.
2. *(6-2) New York Giants over (7-1) San Francisco 49ers*; *(5-3) Buffalo Bills over (4-4) Dallas Cowboys*
Two months after tenth anniversary of 9/11, New York conquers all.
3. #(5-4) Oakland Raiders defeated (4-5) San Diego Chargers#; *(8-0) Green Bay Packers over (2-6) Minnesota Vikings*
Bolts’ demise sets tone; Pack prevails on Monday…is that Favre?
4. *(4-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers over (6-3) Houston Texans*
Some upsets just happen for no reason – and despite Albert Haynesworth.
5. *(5-3) Chicago Bears over (6-2) Detroit Lions*
Chicago’s momentum will stifle breakout Matthew Stafford off of his bye.
6. *(6-3) Pittsburgh Steelers over (6-2) Cincinnati Bengals*
Bengals regress to Bungle standing after first real test for Dalton.
7. *(6-3) New Orleans Saints over (5-3) Atlanta Falcons*
Brees and Sproles march towards their week off and division crown.
8. *(2-6) Carolina Panthers over (4-4) Tennessee Titans*; *(1-7) Miami Dolphins over (3-5) Washington Redskins*; *(1-7) St. Louis Rams over (3-5) Cleveland Browns*
Inferior franchises gain ground in chaos; are you happy, Peyton Hillis?
9. *(2-6) Jacksonville Jaguars over (0-9) Indianapolis Colts*
Colts, on the contrary, have Luck to be thankful for, ironically.
10. *(3-5) Philadelphia Eagles over (2-6) Arizona Cardinals*
Kolb revisits Philly after abysmal trade; Vick praise is 11/11/11 miracle.
11. *(4-4) Kansas City Chiefs over (3-5) Denver Broncos*; *(6-2) Baltimore Ravens over (2-6) Seattle Seahawks*
Tebow better not win another terrible AFC West matchup; Ravens…c’mon.
Discrediting this “Eleven” inch by inch…as my inner Al Pacino.