1-9-09: Bowl Mania - The Final Analysis

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of the first full work week of 2009. I don't know about you, but I'm still having trouble writing "'09" instead of "'08". Generally I get over that sometime around the end of January, but I'm hoping to speed up the process a touch this year, since I have to make a note of it close to 15 times a day!

Last night we had the final bowl game of this season. It wasn't the "all-time classic" that I thought it might be, but it still was an excellent college football game. So today, I've got to break down the final pick of the season and give you my thoughts on Sports Take Bowl Mania as a whole. So let's begin!

"The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of the ages, may be preserved by quotation."
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British conservative statesman and literary figure

Just in case any of you were wondering why I always include a quote, there you go!

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So to start today's column, I've got to officially post-mortem the final pick of Sports Take Bowl Mania.

FedEx BCS National Championship Game: Florida -4 vs. Oklahoma

ST Pick: Florida -4
Hammer's Pick: Oklahoma +4
Dark Star's Pick: Florida -4

Final Score: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14

A nice way to finish the season for yours truly. My bowl picks didn't go as well as I'd hoped (more on that later), but I got the big one right!

As I mentioned in the preamble, this wasn't the "classic" game that I thought it could be, but it was still a good game.

I think the relatively low score was probably part of that. The total for the game at game-time was 69 (for those of you who aren't degenerates, that means when you combine the scores of the two teams, you can wager on whether it'd be over or under 69). Most people thought this was going to be a shoot-out, and instead we got a big time defensive-struggle in the first half. That led to a lower score than predicted.

And it's not that defensive battles can't be good games, but I think when most people envision the "classics", they're more offensive than defensive in nature.

The Oklahoma defense played surprisingly well, but in the end the Florida Defense made more key plays.

And how good is Percy Harvin? Playing on an ankle he described as 85-90% recovered from a sprain, he had several runs of 30+ yards. You know a guy's a big-time athlete when he makes other guys look like they're moving in slow motion. Harvin's one of those guys.

Tim Tebow played a whale of a game as well. Even though he threw 2 picks (he had only thrown 2 total this season coming into the game), he made some huge plays running and passing to lead his team to victory. And while I counted myself amongst those who though wondered if Tebow's skills would translate to the NFL prior to this game, I saw Tim make several throws over linebackers and in between defensive backs that convince me he's got a good shot.

So here's the final tally:

Hammer: 18-16
Sports Take: 14-20
Dark Star: 12-22

Congratulations to the Hammer on earning the first ever Sports Take Bowl Mania title! Enjoy the honor while you can Hammer, I'm coming for you next season!

As I mentioned earlier, 14-20 wasn't the result I was looking for when I began this 34-game expedition through the college football bowl season.

But I learned a few things.

First of all, though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun. In the past, I'd have paid no attention what-so-ever to the "magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl". But this year, not only did I watch it, I actually put some thought in to who was going to win it before hand, giving me a horse in the race. Mind you, my horse broke down somewhere around the quarter-pole and had to be put down, but you get the general idea!

Second, although I had a notion of how teams sometimes mail it in when they're playing in a bowl game they feel is "beneath" them, it was interesting to me to learn how "hit-or-miss" that concept really is. How do you predict that a Boston College will roll over and play dead, while a Maryland comes out like gangbusters? I haven't figured it out, but it's something I'm going to strive to understand.

Third, how anyone can bet sports on a regular basis is beyond me. Yes, there's a thrill involved with correctly analyzing a game, and watching your break-down bear fruit. But I'm not at all convinced that the thrill of that kind of victory counteracts the gnawing, bile-ridden ache in the pit of your stomach as you suffer through the closing moments of a game, praying that a coach decides to kick a superfluous field goal just so you can cover the spread on your wager.

I mean I had zero money bet on any of these games, and I still got a taste of that agony. How anyone with significant funds dependent on the outcomes of these games maintains any sense of sanity is something I guess I may never understand.

So in the final analysis, Sports Take Bowl Mania was a success for me, even if the outcome of my predictions was less than the plus-.500 standard that I set during the regular season.

How can I call 14-20 a success? Easy. I enjoyed the bejabbers out of getting there. And I hope you did as well. I've tried out several ideas over the course of the not-quite-a-year that the blog's been in existence. Some have worked, some not so much. But Bowl Mania scratched me where I itch, so I fully intend to give it another go this coming December. After all, I have to redeem myself after 14-20!

(That number's going to be tattooed in my brain for the next 11 months, I swear.)

So as I said, I hope you had fun too. I tried to keep it from getting too dry. If any of you have thoughts or suggestions on how I can do it better next year, I hope you'll send them my way!

That's all for this week. I'll be back on Monday with... well, I have no idea what I'll be doing on Monday. This "no more college football" thing has me a bit thrown! But rest assured, I'll have something to help you waste time at work, or distract you on the throne. Whatever works for you! Until then, thanks for reading!

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