The Dads on Sports Preview All the Bowls Again!

The Junkies, or if you prefer, Dads on Sports (follow us at @DadsOnSports) are back for the fourth year in a row to preview every single bowl matchup we’ve got. It’s our grandest (and really, only) tradition. Last year, A-Rob housed Bizzle in the bowl picks, which A-Rob brings up only because he doesn’t get to brag about much of anything in regards to sports predictions. Can he do it again? Only one way to find out…

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/16, 1 pm, ESPN 
North Texas vs Troy

Our first bowl game isn’t usually a great one, and man oh man is that ever true here. I literally have never heard of a player in this game, not a one. I do know that Troy has a pretty good team. They waltzed through the Sun Belt Conference and more importantly they beat LSU; you might remember LSU as the best team Alabama defeated in 2017, not that that stopped them from reaching the playoff.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Troy A-Rob: Troy


AutoNation Cure Bowl
12/16, 2:30 pm, CBS Sports Network
Western Kentucky vs Georgia State

I’ve got to be honest and up-front here. I wish I could leave this bowl off the list the way Mike Sanford left Auburn off his top 25 coaches ballot. You had the nerve to say it was an oversight​ leaving the Tigers off? I don’t believe that for a second. I’m not sure why you have so much hate for Auburn is it because you only put up 7 points against a crap Illinois team? Could it be your no-show against Vanderbilt? It couldn’t be more clear that you have something against Power 5 schools seeing as to how you can’t seem to beat any, the two you played combined for 7 wins and you still lost to them. Thank God the bowl you are playing​ in is against another Group of 5 team because you probably would just vote to not play the game if it was against a Power 5 School.

Georgia State, don’t think for one second you are off the hook. You flat-out don’t deserve to be here. You lost to FCS Tennessee State and had the game against Memphis not been canceled, we all know you would have gotten embrassed. You lack any win by more than 10 points, and nope I am not counting Charlotte, but you can if you’d like.

If it was up to me I’d place a rule in that said if you lose to a FCS school you shouldn’t be allowed in a bowl game. So, Panthers, you’d be at home if it was up to me but since Shawn Elliott didn’t leave Auburn off his ballot (or so I think) the Panthers will win their first bowl game in school history.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Georgia State A-Rob: Western Kentucky


Las Vegas Bowl
12/16, 3:30 pm, ABC
Oregon vs (25) Boise State

It’s our first “We Don’t Have a Coach” game! As much as I’ve grown tired of Oregon’s success over the past decade or so, I did feel bad for them for losing Willie Taggart after just one season. He appeared to have things going the right way until QB Justin Herbert busted his collarbone — and looked to be back down that track once Herbert came back. How could anyone have known that the Florida State job would come open? Can’t blame Taggart for taking it but it’s a bad break for the Ducks. Boise State isn’t the destroyer of lower-conference worlds they used to be these days but they’ve had a fine season, and they’re plenty good enough to justify my continued strategy of picking against coachless teams.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Boise State A-Rob: Boise State


Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/16, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Colorado State vs Marshall

Fun fact about the Colorado State Rams: They put up the second-highest point total (23) in a loss to Alabama​ this year. Only Mississippi State, putting up 24, beat out the Rams. Hell it’s the third-highest total if I include Auburn’s 26 in their upset over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Yeah I’m 2-2 in mentioning Auburn in my previews, come at me bro.

So where am I going with this? Well, it could be argued that the Rams were one of Alabama’s​ toughest opponents this season…..wait. If that’s true how in the hell did Bama get into the playoffs? Bama, in theory, struggled with the Rams’ high-octane offense. The Tide had an easy time with the likes of Tennessee, LSU and Florida State. How insane is that?

Sorry Marshall but Chad Pennington and Matthew McConaughey ain’t walking through that door. If you don’t lose your last two games against UTSA and Southern Miss you might not be running into one of Alabama’s toughest opponents which helped put them into the playoff. Yeah, I said it: If it wasn’t for Colorado State the Crimson Tide wouldn’t be in the playoff.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Colorado State A-Rob: Colorado State

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/16, 8 pm, ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs Arkansas State

I clicked on the Camellia Bowl website because I thought I remembered last year’s game being really good here (and it was, App State beat Toledo by 3). What I found was a picture of Rosa Parks. Outside of the fact that they take place in the same city, there is absolutely nothing that Rosa and her bravery has to do with a low-level bowl game between teams no one knows anything about, but I appreciate the hustle, Camellia Bowl. As for the matchup, Arkansas State seems to do well in these games so I’ll pick them.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Arkansas State A-Rob: Arkansas State


Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
12/19, 7 pm, ESPN
Florida Atlantic vs Akron

I’m not going to do what everyone thinks I’m going to do and bash Lane Kiffin. I’m going to do the opposite. Sure, his tenure didn’t start off so hot. He signed troubled QB and Last Chance U star De’Andre Johnson. Then decided it would be a great idea to make this train wreck of a video. Well, then, of course, was the 1-3 start.

So how does my boy Kiffin respond to all that? By winning 9 straight to go undefeated in conference play and capture the Owls’ first C-USA title. The Owls went 3-9 last season with whatever his name was at head coach. If you can tell me who it is, you are a better man than I am, because I flat-out didn’t care one bit about Owls football before Big Daddy Lane and probably won’t care after he leaves unless they hire Johnny Manziel or something. Not only is Lane rolling in his first year at FAU his also been doing a lot of trolling too. Basically calling out Tennessee for not hiring him back after he set that program ablaze in one season. Then telling the world he bets Nick Saban misses him after the Tide fall to Auburn, but yet still make the playoffs.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t think Lane Kiffin is a national treasure, well, we can’t be friends. This guy is great for the sport and unless he does something completely off-the-wall wrong, I hope he never leaves the college football game. As for the Boca Raton Bowl, he knows damn well it’s in his best interest to win the game and give the Owls an 11-win season for the 1st time since 2003, back when good ole Lane was coaching at USC as the wide receivers coach while more than likely doing beer bongs and shots with his boy Sark.

Well, Zips fans, what are you going​ to do when the Lane Train is coming down the track? It will probably look something like the scene in Major League II when Jack Parkman flattened Rube Baker’s bitch ass. Change your name to the Akron LeBrons already because that’s all anyone thinks about when they hear the word Akron is King James, and just like the King’s hairline, there is no chance you will ever be prominent. Nice win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff you jackwagons, enjoy Florida.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Florida Atlantic A-Rob: Akron


DXL Frisco Bowl
12/20, 8 pm, ESPN
Louisiana Tech vs SMU

If you’re looking at this page wondering what the hell a Frisco Bowl is, that’s what I’m here for. The Frisco Bowl was moved from Marlins Park, where it was previously known as the Miami Beach Bowl (a game that will now only ever be remembered because Memphis and BYU had it go DOWN there once). It’s called the Frisco Bowl because it takes place in Frisco, TX, which I believe also hosts the FCS championship game. Why they decided to bring on a bowl on top of that I don’t know, but here we are. SMU lost coach Chad Morris to Arkansas, which means you know which way I have to go.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: SMU A-Rob: Louisiana Tech


Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
12/21, 8 pm, ESPN
Temple vs Florida International

Guys, this bowl is officially called the “Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl”. What in the hell is that? Of course I had to look into this, and its a lawnmower,  a goddamn lawnmower. This is the Lawnmower Bowl, folks.

How in the hell can you sponsor a bowl game in which the field it will be played on isn’t actual grass, so your stupid $3,500 Bad Boy Magnum MZ Zero Turn Mower can’t actually mow? I’m sure if I thought long enough about it, there is something about how sponsor can just sponsor anything and everything to make the NCAA money, but Baker Mayfield can’t make money off signed pictures of himself grabbing his junk against Kansas en route to the Heisman Trophy.

I’ll just go with this: Being a lawnmower company who sponsors a bowl game which is played on a field that isn’t made of real grass is like Temple getting blown out by Notre Dame but beating Navy, which almost beat Notre Dame, or FIU hiring Isiah Thomas as their basketball coach, knowing he’s a team-killer in every aspect of basketball except being a player. It doesn’t make any sense.

What does make sense is FIU finished 2nd in C-USA behind Lane Kiffin which is like finishing first if FAU wasn’t in the conference, which makes about as much sense as a lawnmower company sponsoring a game that is played on its archenemy​, fake grass. Temple, congratulations​ on 3 straight bowl games with 3 different coaches; while that’s super impressive to me, I did watch you look like ass against Notre Dame and that’s enough for me to take FIU in this one. That said, next year, if Bad Boy Mowers wants to sponsor a damn bowl have it make sense. Cut some awesome designs in the field like they do at baseball games or something. I mean, how am I supposed to pull the trigger on the ZT Elite Mower, starting at a cool $4,499 if it’s not cutting the field in which your game is played on? I mean, Bad Boy Mowers, I have my credit card ready to make this sweet purchase but I’m questioning your commitment level with this sponsorship.

Lucky for you, there is no Thursday Night Football that week and I’m intrigued by your Maverick Mower, which I can only assume is what the ladies call Dirk Nowitzki, if you catch my drift. So I’m all in on this bowl game.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: FIU A-Rob: FIU


Bahamas Bowl
12/22, 12:30 pm, ESPN
UAB vs Ohio

This is the official bowl game of Dads on Sports. It never matters who is playing or who is favored or who wins because two teams get a free trip to the freaking Bahamas. There’s nothing better. Adding to the happiness this year is the UAB Blazers, who DID NOT EXIST A YEAR AGO! How in the world has a big-name program not grabbed coach Bill Clark yet? First he went 6-6 in 2014 even though everyone knew the program was being shuttered, and now he’s taken them to a bowl after not playing for two seasons! A ridiculous accomplishment. Cheers to you, Bill, and cheers to the Blazer fans. Hope you can make the trip south.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: UAB A-Rob: UAB


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/22, 4 pm, ESPN
Wyoming vs Central Michigan

Dear Josh Allen,

Hi, you don’t know me, but if you are reading this, well that’s awesome, that means we are huge in Wyoming. Anyway, if you are reading this I have one question for you and I’m going to steal it from Marshall Eriksen, “What the Bleep are you doing dude?” (This is from the Lily Kicks Korean Elvis in the Nards episode.)

I’m seeing stories floating around that you are not 100% due to a shoulder injury, but are hoping to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Not the Orange Bowl, not even the Foster Farms Bowl, or at least the Michael Imus Bowl. (More on that later.) Why are you risking further injury to play in this game? As of this plea being written you are the #3 QB off the board according to SI and ESPN. So what do you gain by playing this game? Sure, you won’t look like a dick to your teammates but they aren’t in line to make the money, you are. To put on the Wyoming uniform one last time? Well, luckily for you the Browns have a similar style brown uniform you can wear. Really think long and hard about the decision you are about to make, cashing in potential 1st round money for the chance to hoist a Potato Bowl. Hasn’t Wyoming’s​ nutritionist told you that carbs are bad? So stay home and prepare for the biggest day of your life.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Central Michigan A-Rob: Central Michigan


Birmingham Bowl
12/23, 12 pm, ESPN
Texas Tech vs South Florida

Why does the state of Alabama need three bowls in the period of 72 hours? I have no idea. But with the game in Montgomery, this one and the one in Mobile, it has them. This is actually a pretty fun matchup. You’ve got USF, who played one of the season’s most fun games at UCF and sadly fell just short, facing off with Texas Tech, who made the smart decision to keep Kliff Kingsbury as coach after a 6-6 season. (Kudos for knowing who you are. You’re Texas Tech. You aren’t going to compete for Big 12 titles regularly. Don’t overthink this.) We should see a lot of offense in this game. My money’s on Tech cutting it loose with the knowledge their coach will be back and coming up with the victory.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Texas Tech A-Rob: Texas Tech


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
12/23, 3:30 pm, ESPN
San Diego State vs Army

Anyone else think Rocky Long is is just butthurt that Jimbo Fisher got mother effin’ paid? 75 million dollars over 10 year is absurd, but did you have to jump on your high horse about it? Isn’t there some type of code among coaches that you don’t talk about other coaches’ salaries? If Texas A&M called and offered you 75 million dollars, you would have jumped ship in a heartbeat​ and Jeff Horton would be coaching the Armed Forces bowl. I understand that at 67, you probably aren’t on the top of many top programs’​ head coaching lists but let’s say for one second you were and you decided to make the comments you made. You flat-out just hindered your negotiations. School X just heard you say Jimbo Fisher’s new contract is absurd so why are you asking for so much? So what purpose does it serve? Better yet, were does Long draw the line at too much? His salary this year was $826,000 while Army’s head coach is going to make $932,000, so does Jeff Monken make too much?

What I see is a team who had high expectations to be in a New Year’s 6 bowl but couldn’t close out the deal and a coach who’s on the tail end of his career butthurt that he never got 75 million dollars to coach a mid-tier SEC team. So with all that, and the whole “if I picked against Army I’d somehow be disrespecting the military and America” thing, I’m taking the higher paid coach and his crew to put it on the Aztecs, and even though you aren’t winning this bowl game, you still have Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Strasburg. In comparison, all the Army alumni have done is fight for your freedoms……oh wait, that’s awesome, and we couldn’t be more thankful for all their services. Without them I wouldn’t be able to write this preview every year.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Army A-Rob: San Diego State


Never​ Forget!!

Dollar General Bowl
12/23, 7 pm, ESPN
Appalachian State vs Toledo

Like the previous game being played in Alabama, this matchup should be pretty entertaining. It’s a rematch of the aforementioned Camellia Bowl last season, so I guess if these two fan bases really want to explore all corners of the state of Alabama, they have a chance to here. Toledo was easily the class of the MAC this season led by QB Logan Woodside, and App State has consistently been a very good team since moving up from FCS. I expect this game to come down to the end like last year, but with the Rockets on top this time. #MACtion!

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Appalachian State A-Rob: Toledo

Hawaii Bowl
12/24, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Houston vs Fresno State

Ah yes, the Hawaii Bowl, which is probably one of my top bowls to watch​. Admittedly, I’m usually a few adult beverages in to try to power through a subpar game, but at least there are points being scored. Only one time in the bowl’s history has the winning team failed to score 30 points. So if you decide, while hanging out with family members you may or not be able to stand, to turn this contest into a drinking game, the rules are simple:

Every turnover, take a drink. Every score, take a shot.

Every time they show a picture of Hawaii, down a beer bong of whiskey because​ you are trying to forget the fact that 19-year-old kids get to spend Christmas in Hawaii and you are stuck hanging out at home listening to your 3rd cousin talk about how his new Vape Shop is going to take off. No, Grandma, I haven’t met a nice girl yet, I’ll settle down when I’m good and ready. *Here’s a beautiful view from The Bulldogs’ hotel* @#$?!@#& Grandma grab the beer bong. “Honey, I think you’ve had enough.” Listen, lady, you don’t tell me, I ain’t no quitter. I committed to playing this damn game just let me be.

Well, this ends the 1st Quarter of action, Fresno St. 27, Houston 24, and now a view​ from today’s pregame luau. Grandma, I’ll fight you and these cops! I ain’t no tired.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Houston A-Rob: Fresno State


Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/26, 1:30 pm, ESPN
West Virginia vs Utah

Do teams actually want to play the day after Christmas? I sure wouldn’t. I’ll be damned if I’m getting up early to play a football game after opening up my presents and gorging on ham and mashed potatoes at the family holiday gathering. I really don’t know much of anything about Utah. They seemed pretty bad whenever I watched them but they stubbornly continue to make bowl games even when they’re not good. So pretty impressive work by coach Kyle Whittingham, I guess? I’ll roll with the Grier/Sills combo in this one.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Utah A-Rob: West Virginia


Quick Lane Bowl
12/26, 5:15 pm, ESPN
Northern Illinois vs Duke

If you are a Blue Devil fan, this Quick Lane bowl means one thing and one thing only: YOU GET TO STOP PRETENDING YOU CARE ABOUT THE FOOTBALL TEAM AND FOCUS SOLELY ON THE BASKETBALL TEAM. Which is funny, they just lost to Boston College, who went 2-16 in ACC play last season. Take that, Grayson Allen, you crybaby. Just like Grayson Allen, you’d be tripping if you tried to convince me that most of you reading this, and probably even Coach K himself, have any idea who Daniel Jones is. Well that’s what I’m here for. Jones was a Pre-Season 4th team All-ACC selection at QB for Duke.

Let’s break that down for a second. Jones was a 4th team selection which means he has zero shot of ever cracking an NFL roster and will be calling Duke games on a fill-in basis every other home game on the radio (when the normal guy is sick) for the sister station of the normal brodacast team. And believe me, he has a face for radio.  If this was the basketball team being 4th team anything means you are a surefire lottery pick in the next year’s draft.

As for NIU, does anyone care that you finished 2nd in the MAC West? I’m going to assume no, based on the lack of NIU talk this past season but then again I was too distracted by all the Saquon Barkley is better than Josh Adams talk, which is outrageous. Josh Adams is BAE!! The only time NIU mattered this season is when you streamrolled Ball State which made my boy Nick cry himself to sleep, which we thank you for, because that guy deserves nothing but heartache and sadness, and I mean that in the nicest, sweetest way possible. Nick is an alright guy but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: NIU A-Rob: Duke


Cactus Bowl
12/26, 9 pm, ESPN
UCLA vs Kansas State

Think Josh Rosen thought this is where his hot takes would land him? To think we spent a lot of the summer talking about Rosen and his anti-Trump takes and his anti-NCAA takes and the hype surrounding where he’d be picked in next year’s draft. It looked like it was all coming up Rosen after his insane comeback against Texas A&M, but it didn’t turn into much, though it was enough to land him in Phoenix for Christmas. What do you think the chances are of him staying to play for Chip Kelly next year when Kelly’s system is basically opposite of everything Rosen does well as a QB? I figured as much.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: UCLA A-Rob: Kansas State

Walk On’s Independence Bowl

12/27, 1:30 pm, ESPN

Florida State vs Southern Miss

I’m so excited to be able to preview the 1st College Football Playoff game. What a great season for Florida State en route to a playoff berth….what’s that, A-Rob? It’s not 2015? This isn’t a playoff game?

Well, I’m an asshole then. It feels like just yesterday that Jameis Winston was leading FSU to the big dance, even if he was screaming obscene things in the lunch room​. Ask any Florida State fan and they will tell you, hands down, they miss those days and would do anything to have them back. Fast forward to today and Jimbo Fisher is gone, and Willie Taggart bailed on Oregon to come be the coach at FSU for not even a third of the cost Fisher is now making. Every preseason publication said this was FSU’s year with all the player losses that Clemson suffered, but yet they are dancing and FSU is rescheduling meaningless games to just become bowl-eligible. Isn’t college football great? Raise your hand if you think for 1 second a 10-1 or 11-0 Florida State team plays that game against UL-Monroe if there was a playoff game on the line? I’m assuming everyone not rocking garnet and gold has their hand down.

On the bright side, Florida State fans, some things haven’t changed. Jameis Winston is still a piece of trash who gets accused of misconduct and eats his fingers when they are shaped like W’s before getting eliminated from playoff contention.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Southern Miss A-Rob: Southern Miss


New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/27, 5:15 pm, ESPN
Boston College vs Iowa

Sometimes I wonder if teams actually want to get picked to play in this game. On the one hand you’re going to NYC, which is a cool enough place, and Yankee Stadium is fun and all. Then again, you’re going to freeze your nards off and play in a meaningless game that just rubs in that you didn’t have the season you wanted to have. Both the squads playing here had crowning achievement routs of blue-blood teams this year, and Iowa’s actually kept their victim (Ohio State) out of the playoff. Congrats on the impressive scalps, guys, but I’ll roll with the team that started slow and finished strong behind a stud freshman running back.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Boston College A-Rob: Boston College


Foster Farms Bowl
12/27, 8:30 pm, FOX
Arizona vs Purdue

I don’t care what anyone says, this isn’t a prestigious bowl by any stretch. You may have seen a few of our #ImusHotTake tweets. The only thing hotter than an Imus hot take is the locker room at Ross-Ade Stadium. Are you guys that bad that you have to resort to cutting off the A/C in the visiting team’s lockeroom? I like Jeff Brohm a lot as your head coach, but don’t expect him to stay at a school that isn’t even top 4 in the state behind: Notre Dame, Indiana, Indiana State, Ben Davis High School, then we can start talking about Purdue. Once Brian Kelly gets canned at Notre Dame I’d put my money down on Brohm being on Notre Dame’s wish list. How’s that for a Hot Take, Imus!!!

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Arizona A-Rob: Arizona


Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl
12/27, 9 pm, ESPN
Texas vs Missouri

Home field advantage for Texas! This isn’t really where Tom Herman wanted to end up in his first season in Austin, but the Longhorns do appear to be on the right track. His team nearly knocked off both USC and Oklahoma, and often that’s the first sign and up-and-coming coach has his team going where it wants — those close losses to teams they have no business beating. Once Herman gets his guys in there, I’d be wary of the Horns. I certainly would be in this game because I think Missouri is just flaming garbage.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Texas A-Rob: Texas


Military Bowl
12/28, 1:30 pm, ESPN
Virginia vs Navy

I got to be honest here fam, I’m struggling to find a passionate angle to take in this game, I mean, it’s a Thursday game that kicks off at 1:30 pm, yeah I don’t know about you, but I won’t be home hanging out on the 28th of December. That’s no holiday, it’s a normal day of the year for us normal folk. Are you seriously​ telling me that Russillo needs that day off? For what. so he can go get blackout drunk and do something​ stupid? That’s all most of these bowl games are, is holiday filler so dudes like Stephen A. Smith can take a day off from hating everything. Actually, I bet ESPN makes him take days off just so they can recover from his nonsense and the constant headaches he provides. I’m pretty sure Max Kellerman is a robot because no normal person could listen to Stephen A. Smith yell at them all day without wanting to wring his neck.

So what am I to do? I have to preview something, it’s in my contract, but I can’t bash Navy because Lord knows the backlash I’d receive. Navy in fact does have a decent team this year that almost upset Notre Dame, and I was there in person during the monsoon, at least the first half (the half ND didn’t score in), so thanks for that Navy. I could trash Virginia but the entire ACC does that year in and year out for me so it’s almost too easy. Seriously, the basketball team laughs at your inability to score points; they are generally one of the lowest scoring teams in the nation. How you beat Boise State still to this day blows my mind.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Navy A-Rob: Virginia


BEAT THAT HAIR, I DARE YOU!!

Camping World Bowl
12/28, 5:15 pm, ESPN
(22) Virginia Tech vs (19) Oklahoma State

Our first ranked-on-ranked matchup comes a little later than usual this year (or maybe it just seems like it). Maybe I’m overrating Oklahoma State but they just terrify me. Had Ohio State made the playoff, Notre Dame would’ve been lined up for this game (don’t ask, it’s a complicated Citrus Bowl tie-in thing) and I would’ve put 8 million confidence points on the Cowboys. That offense is a handful for anybody, just ask Oklahoma. They have no defense, but I don’t think the Hokies are quite the team that can take advantage of that minor problem.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Oklahoma State A-Rob: Oklahoma State


San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
12/28, 9 pm, FS1
(18) Washington State vs (16) Michigan State

Mike Leach is a national treasure, and needs to be treated​ as such. Mark Dantonio is the best coach in the state of Michigan by far and is criminally underrated nationally. So no doubt in my mind, these coaches will have their teams ready for the ranked matchup. On ESPN the coaches’ poll has MSU 19th and Washington State ranked 21st. Hmm, why does the number 21 stand out? Ehat deeper meaning does it have? I did some research and came up with the answer. Back in 1987-88 a gentleman by the name of LaVar Ball suited up for the Cougars’ basketball team and averaged a robust 2.1 ppg. What he has done since has been mind-blowing, and up until his recent decision to ship his kids overseas to play pro ball, I’ve been a supporter of the cause. I’m not one to tell anyone how to raise their children, and I hope it works for them, but you are seting a terrible example by saying it’s ok to steal and not accept the punishment. “I’ll just pull my kid out of school.”

That dude is changing the game, for better or worse, he’s changing it, and we will look back one day and realize he got a lot of it right, but in this case the former Cougar is dead wrong. So back to 2017, and why would I talk about LaVar Ball in a college football preview? Well 1) clearly you haven’t caught on to what we do and 2) could you imagine being a fly on the wall while Ball and Leach have a conversation? That would be 200 times better than anything I could write about MSU’s YAC vs the DBs for WSU. If you don’t believe that conversation would be next-level good here’s a video of Leach’s best quotes of his career. You’re welcome.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Washington State A-Rob: Washington State


Man did the Big East Miss out on TCU hoops. 

Valero Alamo Bowl
12/28, 9 pm, ESPN
(13) Stanford vs (15) TCU

There’s always one bowl that’s the clear best matchup outside of the New Year’s 6, and often it’s this one. No different this year as two really good teams will meet up. Stanford continues to operate at its absolute ceiling as a program (it’s incredibly impressive that this 9-4 campaign marks a down year for them). TCU would probably have ended up in a New Year’s 6 game themselves if they just had managed to compete at all with Oklahoma either of the 2 times they played. I don’t have a clue what to make of this matchup, but the Cardinal seem to have found a QB again in KJ Costello (if the ND game is any indication), so we’ll go with them.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: TCU A-Rob: Stanford


Miss you Johnny Football! 

Belk Bowl
12/29, 1 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M vs Wake Forest

If you are a Wake Forest fan, just know this preview isn’t for you. Not because I’m going to bash your team, but simply because you aren’t the story here. Spoiler alert, I’m picking you Wake, so you can feel free to move along. For you Aggies fans wondering, what the hell?!?! Well, here you go. Get your heads out of your asses down in College Station. You aren’t Bama, you aren’t Auburn, hell, you aren’t even the most important school in your own state. Why do you feel the need to set the bar so insanely high? Is it because that one time, you had that one guy who threw up money signs, partied so hard he made Charlie Sheen look tame, and won a Heisman Trophy? So you had a good run with Johnny Football. He masked a lot of your problems to begin with. Since the Manziel era went semi-ok you think you should be a playoff team every year?It unfortunately doesn’t work like that.

Ask Notre Dame, who has had far and away more success as a program than most other schools in the FBS. When you go 7-5, what’s the play? Let’s throw 75 million dollars at Jimbo Fisher and hope he can save the program. Should have gone 6-6 and saved you some money. Jimbo is a great coach, but what does it say about him that at the 1st sign of trouble in Tallahassee, he bolted for the huge payday? What exactly is he going to tell recruits when A&M is 2-2 a month in, and that’s only because you schedule some schools that OKC Thunder fans think are softer than Kevin Durant? This partnership is going to end badly. Jimbo Fisher already coached at a school with high expectations, but at least they were reasonable expectations. A&M’s are just flat-out unrealistic.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Wake Forest A-Rob: Wake Forest

Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/29, 3 pm, CBS
Arizona State vs (24) NC State

I have nothing to add to this game except to marvel at the work of Arizona State QB Blake Barnett. OK, fine, he doesn’t play ever and his team is middling at best, but he locked down one of the most beautiful women on the planet, pro surfer Maddie Peterson. (Click this link and try to be cool.) Like, not just locked down in the sense that they’re dating, but they got frickin’ married in the off-season and she’s having a baby boy in a couple of months. (Speaking of, you’ll want to scroll down a bit at that link unless you’re into pregos like a guy I used to work with, which if that’s the case, knock yourself out, pal.) You have to appreciate the hustle by Barnett. That being said, I think his team is going to get creamed here as NC State is quite good and was two really close games against Clemson and Wake away from probably playing in the Orange Bowl.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Arizona State A-Rob: NC State


These clowns have nothing on Bizzle and A-Rob. 

Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/29, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Kentucky vs (21) Northwestern

Acting like I care even remotely about this game is like Mike Greenberg acting like he cares at all about Mike Golic. Another great example is, it’s like John Calipari actually caring about the student-athlete.

This game is the epitome of two medicore schools who will never, and I mean never ever ever ever, win their respective conferences. I’m glad they get to battle it out in the “I Couldn’t  Care Less” Bowl, or as UK and Northwestern fans call it, the Music City Bowl. The game to see who is the best Wildcat in the land would be better played on the hardwood and not at 4:30 on a Friday….I got kids, ain’t nobody got time for that.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Kentucky A-Rob: Northwestern


Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
12/29, 5:30 pm, CBS Sports Network
New Mexico State vs Utah State

This bowl game finally got an actual television partner (although it’s one not many people have) and just in time, too, because New Mexico State is one of the coolest stories of this season. They’re getting kicked out of their conference after this game and are going independent, which means this was probably their last chance to make a bowl, and they did it. This is their first bowl since 19-effing-60! It’s impossible to believe in this age of everyone goes to a bowl that NMSU hadn’t done it in that long, but they hadn’t, and now they get to play in one. With this game being reasonably close to Las Cruces, I expect this one to be a virtual home game for the Aggies in maroon…though it won’t be enough.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Utah State A-Rob: Utah State



Goodyear Cotton Bowl
12/29, 8:30 pm, ESPN
(8) USC vs (5) Ohio State

This is practically a NFL Draft nut’s wet dream. Both schools are loaded with guys who will be playing on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and the occasional Saturdays. Wow, I’m surprised they don’t just have an NFL game every night. I mean, if the other sports can play nightly why not the NFL. I’m kidding, that would suck for fantasy purposes and nothing else. What I would never kid about is drafting Sam Darnold #1 overall, especially if you are the Cleveland Browns. Just don’t do it. The Browns have a track record of taking good players and turning them in to crap. I’m not even saying Darnold is a good player. I personally don’t want to draft a guy as my savior to the franchise that looks like he struggles with simple math equations. Seriously though, I just can’t see how taking Darnold 1st overall ends well, especially in Cleveland. Darnold threw 0 TDs against Western Michigan and UCLA. The Rosen One outplayed Darnold but the only difference is Rosen had a hot garbage team around him. Bear with me, USC fans, but if the roles were switched and Rosen was a Trojan you would be a playoff team and not have gotten destroyed by Notre Dame. If Darnold was a Bruin, he’d be a 5th-round pick that the Patriots​ would flip for a second-rounder in 4 years.

As for you, Ohio State, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS. Should conference champs automatically make it, or is it only when you are champs, because eff Penn State right? Should we not count bad losses because you got billyjacked by an Iowa team who wasn’t ranked but then was magically​ ranked the next week? Is Wisconsin overrated or not? The whole season, people didn’t believe the Badgers were for real. OSU fans, prior to the B1G championship game, thought they weren’t. Then something crazy happened. You got within striking distance of a playoff spot, so now Wisconsin is a quality win. It doesn’t work like that – either they are good or not. Well, Wisconsin was a top ten team all season. Yeah, and if OSU played a similar schedule and was undefeated, they would not have to wait for teams to lose to make it into the top 4. It’s all because of who you are, and the fact that Urban Meyer left when Tebow bounced because he could see what Florida turned into. Can you Buckeyes fans please figure out what gets you into the playoffs? All I know is you have a 12th-year senior at QB. Seriously, JT Barrett has to be 37 right?

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Ohio State A-Rob: USC


TaxSlayer Bowl
12/30, 12 pm, ESPN
Louisville vs (23) Mississippi State

Hello Heisman! This could be the last game Lamar Jackson plays as a collegian if he decides to go pro. If it is, pour one out for one of the most ridiculous athletes we’ve ever seen in college football. It’s also the first game in a long time Mississippi State will play without coach Dan Mullen, who decided to jump ship inside the same conference and go to Florida. The move is understandable for Mullen, who has history with the Gators, but you have to think future MSU teams will be motivated to play Florida. Even though the SEC is dumb and has cross-division teams going half-decades without playing each other, as luck would have it the two teams will match up next year in Starkville on Sept. 29. That should be interesting.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Louisville A-Rob: Louisville


AutoZone Liberty Bowl
12/30, 12:30 pm, ABC
(20) Memphis vs Iowa State

Thanks, first and foremost, to both schools for making this season interesting and not just being doormats like in years past. Iowa State took out Oklahoma and did it without having to watch Mayfield grab his nuts. Then Memphis took undefeated UCF to the edge in the AAC title game, only to come up short. But at least in that moment you had all eyes on you, and almost took down a team whose coach​ was signing with another school at halftime.

So where do we go from here? The best school in Tennessee, without question, vs the 2nd best school​ in Iowa. Well, seeing as how this is a home game for Memphis, and the Tigers don’t lose at home, plus they have already beaten a mediocre Power 5 school in UCLA, I’ll roll with the Tigers. Not to mention​, someone has to win games in the State of Tennessee because Lord knows the Vols can’t do it. It’s a bit surprising that Mike Norvell was never mentioned in Tennessee’s coaching search. I feel like 800 people were mentioned but not the best coach in Tennessee? I guess haters gonna hate and Vols gonna Vol.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Memphis A-Rob: Iowa State


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
12/30, 4 pm, ESPN
(9) Penn State vs (11) Washington

Get the feeling this is the New Year’s 6 game that’s slipping through the cracks? The Cotton has the pseudo-Rose Bowl matchup between the Big 10 and Pac-12 champs. The Orange has “The U” playing at home. The Peach has unbeaten UCF. And then there’s this game, sort of just sitting there, probably because both teams played in big bowls last year and aren’t fresh anymore. My gut tells me because of that, this game will be nuts. And with Saquon Barkley on one side and Dante Pettis on the other, something insane will happen. I’ll predict that right now. Also, PSU wins. I still don’t know how Washington lost to Arizona State.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Washington A-Rob: Penn State


Capital One Orange Bowl
12/30, 8 pm, ESPN
(6) Wisconsin vs (10) Miami

So Miami is back, huh? Are we sure that Miami is actually back or are they more a product of their environment? Outside of Va Tech, the ACC Coastal division had no one else above .500. You played an FSU team that was clearly in shambles and whose coach was all but out the door. If you think for a second Jimbo Fisher to A&M wasn’t discussed until later, please. Sure, you guys waxed what turned out to be an overrated Irish team who must have forgotten to get of the plane that day. Then, all of a sudden is cool to be a Hurricane fan and talk about​ that damn turnover chain. Yes, I’ll admit, I do like it and talked about it too. But then you did nothing to back up that the U is back with swagger, instead you looked sloppy early against Virginia, wet your pants against Pitt and then got steamrolled by the Alabama of your conference. Are you on the right path? Absolutely, but don’t sit there and tell me The U is back. Wait till next season when some of those games are on the road. Better yet, The U won’t be back until their tight end is rapping about his 3rd leg. Is that the Beginning of the U Part 3? Maybe, but it wouldn’t be as good as the 1st two.  Isn’t that how trilogies go?

As for Wisconsin, no one cared about you until you played Ohio State, and that was only because we all wanted to see if a 2-loss Buckeye team could squeeze into the playoffs, not because anyone outside of Wisconsin thought you actually would win. So I’ve decided I’m not going to care now. Play a tougher non-conference schedule and then maybe people won’t think you are a fraud. Same goes for you, Miami, play a tougher non-conference and I may actually think you are back and better than the Nevin Shapiro days. I’m still unsure how you avoided the death penalty, but I digress. I hope to see that chain a lot in this game and I hope like hell the Badgers bring a turnover chain of their own to spice this game up a bit. Oh, maybe Wisconsin brings over a Turnover Cheddar Cheese Wheel…you know what, never mind, Wisconsin, leave the swagger to The U.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Wisconsin A-Rob: Wisconsin


Outback Bowl
1/1, 12 pm, ESPN2
South Carolina vs Michigan

I hope you are ready for next season, Shea Patterson, because the rivalry is back, Notre Dame vs Michigan baby. I hope Harbaugh brings his big boy khakis because the Irish will be ready to take care of business in the Bend.

As far as this game is concerned, this is my preview:

Go Gamecocks, beat the Booger-Eating Fighting Khakis.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: South Carolina A-Rob: South Carolina


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
1/1, 12:30 pm, ESPN
(12) UCF vs (7) Auburn

New Year’s Day in the afternoon is always a weird time in the playoff era just in terms of the TV arrangements. Here you have a big-time bowl matchup on ESPN while on ABC, where you’d normally want the better game, there’s…a worse game. Anyway, I’m actually excited for this one. Two big-time offenses are going to go at it here and I look forward to seeing which one can stop the other. My usual rule is pick against the team whose coach is gone. But apparently UCF is letting Scott Frost coach this game in honor of the work he did to turn the Knights from an 0-12 team to a 13-0 team in just two years. I like that move a lot. That, and the fact that I think the Tigers are disappointed to be back in Atlanta rather than playing in the Rose Bowl, where they could have played, leads me to think we could see yet another Group of 5 team take the victory here.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: UCF A-Rob: UCF


Citrus Bowl

1/1, 1 pm, ABC
(17) LSU vs (14) Notre Dame

Ugh. Bowl season was supposed to be a triumphant time for ND this year and looked like it would be entering November. Even if they had missed the playoff, they’d shown quite clearly that 4-8 was a fluke, that they were back on the scene, that maybe Brian Kelly could actually be the coach Irish fans desperately want him to be.

But he’s not. ND got obliterated by a Miami team that frankly I just don’t think is that good. They got handily beaten by a Stanford team that…again, just not that impressive. Their two ‘wins’ in the month saw them give up 37 points to Wake Forest and narrowly escape a mediocre Navy team. It looked like no different than any other time Kelly’s ND has gotten them to the precipice of something good; they slunk into a hole and turtled. So even though the Irish went 9-3, on paper a perfectly fine season, most Irish fans come into this matchup feeling very let down. It probably doesn’t help that this is the 3rd time in the last 11 years ND will face LSU in a bowl, which is a weird quirk.

I don’t think LSU is very good either, but I just don’t trust ND here or anywhere at this point. Of course, those are usually the times Kelly comes out of nowhere with a big-time performance to get ND a win you wouldn’t expect (see the bowl game against LSU 3 years ago), so who knows.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: ND A-Rob: LSU


You’ve made it this far, fellow sports fans. Let’s preview the playoff.

Rose Bowl
1/1, 5 pm, ESPN
(3) Georgia vs (2) Oklahoma

Why, Baker Mayfield, why? How dare you. I mean, what in the hell where you thinking? You have some nerve grabbing your no-no region and yelling obscene things at the Kansas Jayhawks, you have to use better judgment when it comes to exercising poor sportsmanship.

Mayfield decided, what better place to blow a fuse than Memorial Stadium against a team that would need the last 7 years to get to 12 wins? Yeah Baker, you went all badass big tough guy against a team that is 12-72 the last 7 seasons. I mean, come on Mayfield, you are better than that. Sure, they started it and you finished it but you let a 1-11 team get the best of you. You could​ have saved it for a much better opponent, like let’s say Texas during the Red River Shootout. Now that’s where you do it. It would have been looked at more like competitive fire against a rival rather than being a cocky SOB. Hell, doing that against Baylor is even a better use of your blow-up because that cesspool of a university has shown that kind of stuff doesn’t bother them, not even a little bit.

I’ve said and done some things I’m not proud of on a competitive field, but at least I picked my damn spot and wasn’t trying to get at the Little Sisters of the Poor. I’ve seen a few draft boards that actually have you going #2 to the New York Giants. If little ole Kansas can get your goat, the New York media will eat you alive.

Sorry, Georgia fans, but this game isn’t about you. The Bulldogs had one hell of a season even though they had no business beating ND and are lucky​ Wimpbush was playing and not Wimbush. If you do, I’ll eat my words, but you won’t. All I can hope and pray is that you annoy Mayfield enough that he goes all Grayson Allen on the sidelines with a hint of Mayfield sprinkled in.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Oklahoma A-Rob: Oklahoma


Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/1, 8:45 pm, ESPN
(4) Alabama vs (1) Clemson

Well, here we are. The committee sent their message: Lack of losses trump a superior strength of schedule. Ohio State’s 55-24 loss at Iowa gave them the excuse they needed to send Alabama into the playoff without a single win over a top-15 team. No other squad had ever managed to pull that off. Was it Bama’s fault Florida State sucked? Of course not. But this committee isn’t supposed to care about intent. FSU sucked, so they should be treated as such. Even though I think we all agree Bama is a better team than Ohio State, that’s entirely subjective. The objective schedule facts say the Buckeyes should be in this spot.

All that being said, this should be a good game. Clemson has an incredible defense, but can QB Kelly Bryant summon his inner Deshaun Watson and come up with a victory over the Tide like Watson did? Advanced analytics notwithstanding, I’m just not seeing it from this Bama team. They haven’t beaten a legitimately good team all year (teams that lost to Troy don’t count), and I don’t think they will in this semifinal either. Tigers win.

THE PICKS:
Bizzle: Alabama A-Rob: Clemson


And, to cap it off: Our title game picks!

National Championship Pick
1/8, 8 pm, ESPN

Bizzle: 

What is more Alabama than them being in the title game after they didn’t deserve to be here? They played Colorado State, which I admit is tough, but it was pretty cake after that. What would be more Alabama than destroying Clemson in the semifinal, then meeting up with Heisman nut-grabber Baker Mayfield? What’s more Bama than they would probably be an underdog in that game, just so Vegas makes us think for a second that Oklahoma has a chance. This entire season has been one big troll job by the people who wrote the script. They keep saying​ this is the weakest Bama team in years, yet here they are once again with a shot at a national title based on nothing more than past success. I haven’t felt this trolled since they picked Kelly over Justin on American Idol Season 1.

So why do we do this to ourselves every year? Sit through countless weeks of previews, then 13 weeks of games, and then a million bowls, most of which mean absolutely nothing to anyone, just to have Alabama make the playoff? The committee needs to take a hard look in the mirror and just call this what it is. It’s the College Football Playoff sponsored by Alabama. That means they get a sponsors’ exemption like Joel Klatt’s crazy ass was talking about, so ultimately there are only 3 spots up for grabs, not 4. We do this because we are crazy, insane and somewhere deep inside our heart, wish our team was as successful as Alabama is, or at the very least got the benefit of the doubt the way Nick Saban does. This game is borderline unwatchable, because, well, it’s a foregone conclusion that Bama wins and Baker Mayfield isn’t going to do something crazy (well, he might). The only reason I’m watching is to hold out that sliver of hope that Oklahoma sneaks out a victory so I don’t have to Roll Damn Tide for the next 9 months leading up to the 2018 season.

A-Rob:

Yet again, Bizzle and I differ on the title game. He has Bama/Oklahoma, I have Clemson/Oklahoma.

I really want it to be Clemson/Oklahoma, if only because I’m tired of having rooting interests in these championship matchups when my team isn’t involved. I just want to sit and watch a good game, and yet Super Bowls, title games, NBA Finals, etc. just keep rolling in and I have a clear team I want to see lose. If Clemson takes on Oklahoma, I’ll have two teams I enjoy watching, that deserve to be here, and that I have no problem with seeing hoist the trophy.

If it is Clemson/Oklahoma, I really don’t know who I think will win. Defense vs. offense would be the story, of course, as well as Nut-Grabber vs. The Heir Apparent. Clemson would have a gigantic home field advantage (the best reason to root for Georgia in the Rose Bowl is to witness the madhouse Atlanta would be if it were Georgia vs. another southern team in the title game). The Tigers have their fair share of weapons too, though. Travis Etienne is a house on fire. Deon Cain has speed to burn. And you might have heard that Hunter Renfrow tends to play ok in these title games. Sure, Oklahoma has a better offense. But Clemson can hang in. And their defense is just so damn good. So, with apologies to Heisman Ball-Grab, I’ll take Clemson to repeat as national champion.

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The Dads on Sports Preview All the Bowls Again!

Did You Guys Know Notre Dame Football Went 4-8 Last Year?

Because in case you didn’t, the amateur comedians at SB Nation are only too happy to remind you, in any possible way — even if it’s completely irrelevant to the sports topic du jour.
Yes, I’m wading into this territory yet again. I already wrote an article like this last year, targeting mostly the same people. I think it’s safe to say I have something of a vendetta against SB Nation and their acolytes.

Anyway, we all saw Notre Dame football go 4-8 last year. It was a complete disaster that resulted, at least publicly, in a complete reshuffling of how things had been getting done in the program. We shall see what, if anything, changes on the field. Personally, I’m skeptical, but then, I’ve been on-and-off wanting Brian Kelly to be replaced since late October of his first season, so my opinion probably isn’t valid.

But this latest hot take isn’t about my opinion of the Notre Dame football program. It’s little more than a rebuke of the SB Nation portion of sports Twitter and their repetitive and unfunny jokes about ND’s 4-8 record. There was a quick resurgence of them this weekend, given St. Patrick’s Day and especially the Irish basketball team’s loss to West Virginia in the NCAA tournament.

You don’t need to take my word for it. Just do a Twitter search for “Notre Dame went 4-8”, with quote marks. You’ll get results all over the place going back months — some of them might even have been sparked by an actual occurrence related to the subject. Amusingly enough, just about everyone you’ll see in the results column, if you click their timeline, has an SB Nation retweet pretty close to the top. Some of the Tweets even @ SBN writers themselves, as if they are clinging to hope that THIS 4-8 joke will be so good that they too will be able to score highly-paying jobs as professional trolls.

Look, I’m not completely humorless. Making fun of ND for having a bad season is…whatever. If you want to do it, that’s your prerogative. I’m on record thinking you’re a giant stinking hypocrite if you constantly insult ND for not being good at football while also (as so many of these people do) calling its fans delusional if they want to throw out the coach that’s putting out the product you’re using as so much fodder for jokes. But hypocrisy has never been much of an issue for this particular group of sports fans.

In any case, either way, I get why ND’s poor season would be an easy punchline for a month or so following its conclusion. I’m on the thin-skinned side (this article wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t), but I at least understood a brief period of getting poked on social media.

Beyond that time frame, it became very obvious very quickly that the constant 4-8 jokes — many of which, again, have been devoid of any connection to Notre Dame or even college football — were symptomatic of the fact that these people despise the program. Very few of these trolls (except Spencer Hall, who I guess should get points for honesty while being a hate-spewing asshole) actually own up to the fact that this is the case, continuing to cling to their self-appointed position as the irreverent class clown of college football Twitter.

Of course, I have many, many problems with SBN even beyond their ridiculous treatment of ND football. I worked for their ND sub-site, One Foot Down, for 18 months or so, which is to say I crapped out a couple dozen articles for them. That’s really all they want out of anything — posts, regardless of their quality. After all, while you pay your writers $3 per post, you have to pressure the hell out of them to have content rolling in 24/7. That way, you can churn out those clicks and afford to pay Spencer Hall and his cohort of jokesters to embarrass themselves with pathetic attempts at ‘journalism’. Heavily, heavily ironic, too, that this business model of theirs — labor force doing a spectacular amount of the heavy lifting for peanuts while the guys at the top rake in all the money — sounds an awful lot like…hmm…what does it sound like? Oh, that’s right! The very organization that runs college sports, whom you hate and trash at every opportunity!

They now have a low-rent moron making a fool of himself in an attempt to run that ND sub-site, which is serendipitous for them because I’m sure they enjoy having such a person representing ND fans, whom they unanimously hate. (It would be a wonder they even allow ND fans a place to congregate on their holy site given their opinion of them, but that would require having some semblance of conviction rather than churning every cent they can out of people.) I doubt it was intentional that it worked out that way, but certainly a nice side effect.

As I said in my previous article on the subject, too, I don’t have a problem with people disliking ND football per se. Even aside from their rivals, there are reasons to hate them if you want, some better than others. I just have a huge problem with the people who despise the people that prevent college athletes from being rich turning around and lambasting a school that actually puts forth an effort to provide a meaningful version of the compensation the rules currently permit — an education.

Meanwhile, guys like Hall slurp their SEC schools that win a lot and don’t bother to muse on why that league provides so many of the worst graduation rates in the country, thereby performing a far larger disservice to their athletes (my opinion, anyway) than not paying the tiny fraction of them that have major market value beyond their scholarships. The major football powers yank scholarships from people whenever they want, leaving them forced to make decisions they’re ill-equipped to make, but as long as they win, no one — even Hall, champion of the marginalized — gives a rip.

While SB Nation lobs grenades at ND for everything from playing “three true road games” (if I had a nickel for every time I saw/heard that phrase in 2014 and ’16) to, yes, going 4-8 in football, they’re posting Graduation Success Rates of 98/100 in the category of black student-athletes. (I know you’re all sick of the talk of ND ‘doing it the right way’, and I wouldn’t bring it up if the people lambasting the school weren’t also attacking the NCAA constantly for not, in their view, ‘doing it the right way’.)

You’d think the champion of paying players and the kings of arguing for the marginalized would care about something small like equipping young minority student-athletes for success in life, but nah. Notre Dame went 4-8 in football and it’s funny (despite the fact that we consider them an irrelevant program for whom going 4-8 shouldn’t be unexpected) so let’s make jokes about it for the next 8 months! And by all means, no one say a word about the schools that actually do chew up and spit out their black athletes without preparing them in any way for the real world! I guess SB Nation’s desire to carry the flag for the most vulnerable in our society doesn’t extend far enough to intrude on their desire to hate, and make silly non sequitur cracks about, an institution basically because it exists.

Well, congratulations, SB Nation. You got the rise out of me and sparked me to write this probably incoherent response to your trolling. I’m probably not the only one. I’m sure somewhere in your little pamphlet on “How to Be a Complete Joke of a Sports Site but Who Gives a Shit, We’ll Get Paid”, there’s some small subsection on openly being dicks to entire fan bases for no reason other than to score social media points. This article is proof you’ve hit that section right on the nose.

Did You Guys Know Notre Dame Football Went 4-8 Last Year?

The Junkies Break The Bracket Down! 

Midwest:

In my opinion this is the most boring of the four regions and headlined by the most fraudulent one seed. The Kansas Jayhawks have a talented roster, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed more often than not I was getting the “Close Game” alert on my cell phone when they played. Kansas also proved without Josh Jackson they are suspect, losing to the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Tournament. We are big fans of TCU basketball around here –  if only they would have stayed in the Big East, imagine the powerhouse they’d have become. I digress from my point and to help further it, a potential second round  matchup with Michigan State does Kansas no favors. I know MSU is down but you never sleep on a Tom Izzo-coached team in the Big Dance. The Midwest region is probably the most up in the air, especially if Kansas can’t make its way out of it. Louisville doesn’t really scare anyone and Oregon is banged up. Caleb Swanigan is a monster but is he good enough to help Purdue make a Final Four run? Lots  of intrigue in the Midwest.
Best Round One Matchup:

No.4 Purdue vs No. 13 Vermont
I got to be honest here, I was picking going pick  the 8/9 game but that’s a chump move. So I’ll take the game with the All-American Caleb Swanigan. The sophomore forward is in my opinion the best player in the region. So can the best player take down the best 13 seed in the tournament? According to ESPN Vermont has the best chance of advancing to the round of 32 for seeds 13-16. It’s not like Vermont is a stranger to pulling off major upsets. The Catamounts haven’t played many close games this season, pretty much destroying everyone in the America East Conference. It’s about time they get a challenge. I’m not saying they will pull off the upset, but damnit they sure will try.

Double Digit Seed With The Best Chance to make a run:

11 Rhode Island

The Fighting Lamar Odoms are hot right now – winners of their last eight games, including an A10 Championship. They matchup with Creighton, the Fighting Kyle Korvers, in round 1. The 3rd place finishers in the Big East regular season will be a tough out. That said, if the Fighting Odoms make it to the round of 32, a matchup with a banged up Oregon Ducks team is possible, and who knows how well the Ducks will play without Chris Boucher. Going on that magical Sweet 16 run isn’t that far fetched. Full disclosure, I have no clue how good Rhode Island is. I just wanted to mention Lamar Odom because #NeverForget. Plus, if I call this run I’ll look like a genius.

Potential Matchup I want to see:

1 Kansas Vs 9 Michigan State
MSU had a very un-MSU type season, but that’s what happens when you schedule as tough as Tom Izzo does –  which in part is to get his team’s ready for March. It’s nice to see out of a “Power 5”. Playing big schools anytime anywhere can hurt you if you don’t win those games, and the 9th seed is proof – they almost missed the dance. Injuries to their frontcourt have also been a big factor, especially to Eron Harris. On a positive note, Kansas lacks size, and Izzo can match up better with Kansas’ small lineup, which would make for a great game. Plus, l I’ll say it again – KANSAS IS A FRAUD! Honestly, Arizona had a better case than the Jayhawks for a #1 seed. Call me LaVar Ball but I’m standing by that.

West Region:

It was inevitable that whatever region housed Gonzaga as the 1 seed would roundly be considered the weak spot in the NCAA Tournament, and sure enough, here we are. It also doubles as the home for the Northwestern Wildcats in their very first tournament ever, which is a really cool story no matter how sick you are of hearing Mike Wilbon and his cohorts talk about it. Intrigue abounds in this West, because it has all the makings of a busted-up bracket once we reach the second weekend.
Best round one matchup:

3 Florida State vs 14 Florida Gulf Coast
THE RETURN OF DUNK CITY! You can’t not be excited to see Florida Gulf Coast back in the bracket. They were here last year too, of course, but this team actually has the looks of one that can do some damage. I watched some of the Atlantic Sun final and these guys are long and athletic, much like the Eagles that captured our hearts four years ago in wins over Georgetown and San Diego State. FSU will be the heavy favorite, of course, but the Seminoles have not done very well outside their own building and FGCU will be the sentimental favorite if they get going (it doesn’t hurt that they’re actually a few minutes closer to Orlando, where the game will be played, than FSU is).

Double digit seed with the best chance to make a run:

11 Xavier

I don’t really like any of the double-digit seeds in this bracket, but if the Musketeers can recapture their form from early in the season, the bracket lines up pretty well. I don’t think anyone is scared of Maryland in a 6/11 game, and Florida State (if they survive DUNK CITY) isn’t all that frightening either. The problem for Xavier is that they basically haven’t beaten anyone besides DePaul in like a month and a half. However, no program has accomplished more under the radar than Xavier in recent years, so maybe they have the ability to sneak up on us all once again.
Potential matchup I want to see:

Even setting aside my Notre Dame fandom for a moment — if I were to answer this question honestly it would be ND vs North Dakota in the Elite 8 — that potential second-round battle between ND and West Virginia does look pretty tasty, doesn’t it? The Irish and Mountaineers had some real battles in the few years Bob Huggins and Mike Brey were in the Big East together. Their styles align for an intriguing matchup, as WVU is all about trying to take the ball away and the Irish do a better job of taking care of it than just about anyone. And between the Mountaineers’ physical style and the attitude Bonzie Colson has been playing with of late, this game might just be the most likely of any to result in players getting in each other’s faces and chirping a little bit. As an ND fan I don’t want to see this game happen because it would be tough, but the hoops fan in me is kind of excited for it.

Final Four Pick: 

A-Rob: Arizona, over Notre Dame. But let the record show that I thought very hard about taking the Irish to the Final Four, which I’ve never done. ND got underseeded at a 5, but couldn’t have asked for a much more navigable path on paper. I’m excited to see where it goes

Bizzle: Arizona (He’s so long winded^)

South Region:

Even in a region with One and Done U and Paper Class Institute at the top of the South Region, they pale in comparison to the hurricane that has become the Ball family dynamic. In my opinion there is not bigger story than what the hell LaVar Ball will say next. With each passing round I hope the claims get crazier and crazier. The only story that would be bigger than Lonzo Ball being able to make.good on his dad’s claims would be if Texas Southern can pull off the first 16-over-1 upset in March Madness history. Speaking of Texas Southern, they are by record the best 16 seed in the field, so Roy Williams better not sleep on the Tigers the way his players sleep through classes.

Best Round One Matchup:

10 Wichita State vs  7 Dayton
This game has been decided by everyone who gets paid to make decisions. They all have picked Wichita State and I get it. The Shockers won 30 games, and I don’t care what league you play in, that’s mighty impressive. They beat Illinois State in the Missouri Valley finals, knocking them off the bubble. Got to love a team with a chip on their shoulder in the most unpredictable tournament in sports. This team is no slouch, as they beat 5 teams in this tournament.
Double Digit Seed With best Chance to Make a Run:

12 Middle Tennessee State
Holy crap did the bracket set up nicely for the Blue Raiders. Sure Minnesota had a great year in the B1G, but they arent the cream of the crop. When Minnesota loses, it isn’t pretty, but when they win, they win convincingly. I know, that’s a cheap take on Minnesota, but it’s Minnesota. Only people in Minnesota think they are Final Four bound, so if Joe Mauer wants to come at me that’s fine. After the Gophers, MTSU gets either Butler or Winthrop, both mid-major schools themselves. Sorry Butler, but Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens ain’t walking through that door. A date with North Carolina in the Sweet 16 is very possible, and who doesn’t want to root for a kid named Giddy Potts? That name alone is worth a Sweet Sixteen berth.

Potential Matchup I want to see:

Easily, it’s Kentucky vs UCLA potentially meeting in the Sweet 16, and if I can be corny, what a sweet matchup that would be, with two of the most storied programs in college basketball history. This matchup would feature 5 of the projected top 16 picks in the upcoming NBA draft according to NBADraftNet.com, with Ball leading the way as the #2 prospect in college. I would pay good money to hear LaVar Ball and John Calipari have a conversation. I’m sure LaVar thinks he’s a better coach that Cal. I mean, this is the same guy who thinks he would have killed MJ one on one back in the day. If you call yourself a hoops fan and don’t get even the least bit pumped for a Malik Monk vs Lonzo Ball Sweet 16 matchup, you need to check your pulse, because it’s going to be a classic….If it happens.
Final Four Pick:

 A-Rob: North Carolina Bizzle: UCLA

East Region:

Every region can claim to be the toughest in this year’s NCAA bracket (well, ok, probably not the West), but only one boasts the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats: The East Region.
The East has teams that were arguably overseeded (hi, South Carolina!) and underseeded (tough break, Wisconsin), but it appears to be one of the easiest on paper to predict because everyone is going to have Villanova vs Duke in the Elite 8. Which means this is the odds-on favorite to be the bracket that jacks everyone up like the Midwest regional did last year. (I still haven’t forgiven Michigan State for losing to Middle Tennessee and setting off a chain reaction that resulted in freaking Syracuse, who had no business in the tournament, making the Final Four.)
Best round one matchup:

5 Virginia vs 12 UNC Wilmington
Damn right I’m picking a 5/12 as the best matchup of this bracket. Wilmington has the pedigree – they went 15-3 in the Colonial (29-5 overall) and last year they hung right with Duke in a 3/14 matchup. Four starters are back from that team. And this year, they have an offense ranked in the top 20 for adjusted efficiency by kenpom.com (I’m bringing analytics to the party, baby). UVA, meanwhile, is one of the most dramatically underseeded teams in this tournament by kenpom, which has the Cavaliers ranked 7th, and we all know how tough it is to score against that defense. However, UVA has been floundering a bit lately. They struggled down the stretch in the ACC, they barely escaped last-place Pitt in the ACC tourney, and then Notre Dame, which they’d owned for years, handled them. I don’t like the way the Cavs are trending, and this matchup looks like it could be very exciting. I picked the Seahawks to pull the upset.

Double-digit seed with the best chance to make a run:

12 UNC Wilmington
This is no surprise given what I just said about UNCW. I’m generally not sold on SEC schools that aren’t Kentucky, so if the Seahawks beat Virginia, I like their chances against Florida too. Keep an eye, though, on 11th-seed USC. The Trojans have talent, but haven’t gotten many chances to prove it in a top-heavy but not deep Pac-12. SC draws a good but beatable SMU team in round one, and in the second round they would likely get a Baylor team that dropped a deuce in their most recent game and has become accustomed to flaming out in March.
Potential matchup I want to see:

It almost feels like cheating to pick Villanova vs Duke in the Elite 8 for this answer, but no other potential showdown intrigues me even close to as much as this one does. The last two national champs taking the hardwood in Madison Square Garden, defending champs versus the team most believe to be the most talented in the field. Coach K and Jay Wright are two of the most respected leaders in the game. It’s too good to be true, right? Which is again why I say someone will probably screw it up.
Final Four Pick: 

A-Rob: Villanova Bizzle: Duke (Damnit)

The Junkies Break The Bracket Down! 

Bizzle’s Dumb Idea: NBA All-Star Game Edition

Leave it to the NBA to botch its All-Star voting process. Some new rule where player voting matters has left a guy averaging a triple-double out of the starting lineup. Seriously, how do the players in the league not vote for Russell Westbrook? He’s not the one who left his team to join a 73-win team. He is the one that signed a 3-year extension with a team where he’s really the only true option; but yet players seem to hate Westbrook for whatever reason. Stephen Curry is All-Star worthy, sure, but he has spent all season either adjusting to KD’s arrival or trying to duplicate his back-to-back MVP success (probably the latter). Having him start over Westbrook is a crime, and just proves the All-Star voting system is a big joke.

I think it’s time we end the madness and adopt some new ways to pick the All-Star game. I propose that the NBA adopt MLB’s ‘every team must be represented’ rule. The math on that is simple you have 15 spot and 15 teams in each conference it’s too perfect. Just think how interesting picking the sides becomes. For instance, would the Warriors’ All-Star be Durant, Curry or Thompson? Tthat’s a tough call. The coaches with the best records as of Feb. 1 would get the opportunity over a week or so to pick the 15 players for their rosters. This season it’s Tyronn Lue and Steve Kerr. With the loaded roster each of them possess, imagine the intrigue on having to pick one of your guys over the others. That adds to the drama of it all. It could be televised. They televise the draft lottery and Al- Star selections, with my forma,t would be must-see in my eyes. The biggest questions with this would be, do you just go the 15 best players or do you construct a roster? With nothing riding on the game, I’d just go the best 15 and watch it play out over 48 minutes. This also helps reduce the chances of injury with a deeper bench. With all teams being represented, it gives some player in Atlanta or Denver a shot at MVP honors; I can’t remember the last time that happened.

I can’t make this outlandish proposal without giving you who would be my All-Star 15 from each team and I’ll let you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds due to everyone trying to team up to bring home a championship. Who knows  maybe some players would start valuing All-Star chances over titles. I’m kidding, but, want to join a superteam? Enjoy missing the big game from All-Star weekend. You’d better hope you can dunk or shoot threes.

Eastern Conference All Stars: 

Atlanta Hawks:PF Paul Millsap 

He’s not flashy or a household name but he gets it done. Just like my assessment of Millsap it wasn’t flashy but got the job done. 

Boston Celtics: PG Isaiah Thomas

Having the best season of his career thus far. Having Al Horford around has really helped. The 5’9 point gaurd is leading the Celtics to there best season since the Paul Pirece Era. 

Brooklyn Nets: C Brook Lopez 

The Nets are the Philadelphia Phillies of this exercise. We only invite you because we have to. So why not grab the big man? Even if he’s an awful rebounder at 7 feet tall and I do mean awful for his size. 

Charlotte Hornets: PG Kemba Walker 

I almost went Cody Zeller here. Just kidding, it’s obviously Kemba. He’s probably the most popular Hornet since Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues. It doesn’t hurt that he’s good. Wlaker is putting up career numbers and is becoming one of the best back court players in the game. 

Chicago Bulls: SF Jimmy Butler

I could have gone Dwyane Wade here because he’s at the end of his career and you have to honor the greats of the game, but that can wait till next season. Butler wanted to be the man in Chi-town and he is. Plus it’s not everyday you get an All Star who enjoys shit talking his teammates publicly.

Cleveland Cavaliers: SF LeBron James 

What does Tyrone Lue do? Kyrie Irving, under the old system, is an All-Star but for this you have to take the most popular player in the game. Do you think this Eastern squad is enough player makers for the King? Probably not he’s still gonna bitch isn’t he. 

*Side Note: The Chicago Cubs are World Champs baby!!

Detroit Pistons: C Andre Drummond

Sure, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson are leading the team in scoring, but Drummond is this teams backbone, averaging a double-double. Now if only he could get his free throw shooting to even be slightly below average. Drummond needs to work of his Free throws the way Donald Trump needs to work on not being so Twitter happy….Like I’m one to talk. 

*Side note spent a lot.of time trying to find Drummond at a Tigers game. Apparently he is too good for the Tigers.

 Indiana Pacers: SF Paul George

Again, clearly the best player on the Pacers, even with Jeff Teague having a nice season after coming over from Atlanta. George is a household name and NBA 2K17 cover athlete. With the whispers of him leaving Nap-town, don’t be shocked if it becomes Myles Turner’s All-Star spot in the future.

Miami Heat: PG Goran Dragic 

Here’s where if I’m Tyron Lue I make the strategy move and take Dragic over Hassan Whiteside. I’m already fairly deep in the frontcourt and with all the guards the West is bringing to the table, I need someone who can keep up with them. Whiteside is flashier, but Dragic helps me win the game, even if it doesn’t ultimately matter. Plus the likelihood of Whiteside doing something stupid in New Orleans is high.

Milwaukee Bucks: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo 

The Greek Freak is a stud and he’s only 22. As long he’s with the Bucks he will always be their representative for the All-Star game. Plus, being able to guard all five positions is a big help.

New York Knicks: PF Carmelo Anthony

This spot should be Kristaps Porzingis’ spot. He’s slowly becoming the face of the Knicks as Melo and the front office are seemingly at odds with one another. You’d have to think in this spot to keep Melo happy, Lue would pick him in an effort to maybe work out a trade later down the road? Sure it’s just an All Star game but snubbing Melo could hurt the Cavs in the bigger picture. 

Orlando Magic: SG Evan Fournier 

Not exactly much to choose from in Orlando. Aaron Gordon was supposed to take that next step this season but hasn’t. So hopefully he enjoys that dunk contest for another season. I’ll take Fournier and his scoring ability here. Just whatever you do, DO NOT Google his last name. You have been Warned.

Philadelphia 76ers: C Joel Embiid 

Who else would it be? Not only was Embiid worth the wait, he’s funny as hell too. Plus, I can’t remember the last time the Sixers had an All-Star. Who better than Embiid to break the strea? Not to mention an All Star bid whould almost certainly help his DM game, where it all goes down.

Toronto Raptors: SG DeMar DeRozen

DeRozen can score from anywhere on the floor and has slowly built himself into one of the more underrated superstars in the NBA. If he played in a bigger market, we would never shut up about him but you know, Canada.

Washington Wizards: PG John Wall

Averaging a double-double and leading the Wizards to a current 5th seed in the East. Wall might just be the fastest player in the NBA. You take Wall over Beal in this spot so Lue wouldn’t have to rely so heavily on Dragic. Plus it’s John Wall look at that Swag.

Now on to the Western Conference All Stars: 
Dallas Mavericks: SF Harrison Barnes

He’s the best player on a bad team, so I think Kerr goes with Barnes especially given their Golden State connection. Not to mention had Barnes stayed in the Bay Area he would never make an Star game. Interesting thought, I could see Cuban paying off Barnes to defer the spot to Dirk given their bromance.
Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic

I know what you are saying “Oh that’s what he looks like.” Almost went Gallinari here but Jokic is having a better overall season for the surprisingly decent Nuggets, who are currently in the playoffs. Nuggets fans should expect him to play on this West roster.
Golden State Warriors: SF Kevin Durant

This is were this MLB idea gets interesting. You have Kerr coaching and picking the team. Kerr has to choose between the two-time MVP who won him a title, or his hot new All-Star who is the second-best player in the NBA. Of course you go with Durant. he hasn’t missed a step ànd has became even more efficient in Kerr’s Offense. Tell you wouldn’t tune into an All Star Selection show and watch Kerr sweat out this decision.

Houston Rockets: PG James Harden

The Beard is having one of his best seasons of his career. Harden has not only improved offensively but he’s making everyone around him better while leading the lead in assists. It wouldn’t be an All-Star game without Harden. He may be the first athlete to survive the Kardashian Kurse, because obviously you spell it with a K in this situation.

Los Angeles Clippers: C DeAndre Jordan

Sure he’s the team’s 6th-leading scorer, but he dominates the glass and the paint. His 13-plus rebounds a game is stellar. He’s been the most consistent Clipper this season and this All-Star nod is well deserved. Plus those alley oops will look filthy.

Los Angeles Lakers:  PG Lou Williams

The Lakers are full of young potential but it’s the veteran Williams who has been the best player on the bad team, so he gets the Lakers’ spot. Lucky for the Lakers under this format they even get a player. Side note, this would be the first non-Kobe All-Star for the team since forever.
Memphis Grizzlies:  PG Mike Conley Jr.

Can I pick an All-Star based on a contract? Sure I can, it’s my fantasy. Conley is the highest-paid player in the NBA. Sure, Marc Gasol is overall the best player on the team but in this game quick players matter with all the star power on the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves: C Karl-Anthony Towns

One of the best young players in the game, if not the best. Should have been an All-Star already, but under the old format it’s hard to break though. The T-Wolves are a team on the rise in my eyes and it starts with Towns. Should be an All-Star for years to come just like former Wolves Great Kevin Garnett. 

New Orleans Pelicans: C Anthony Davis

This is possibly the easiest player to pick for a team. Poor Davis has hardly anything around him and still puts up monster numbers. If there is ever a possession in which Davis doesn’t touch the ball, the coach should be fired on the spot. Hell, I’d throw him the ball while he is on the bench like Daffy Duck did in Space Jam.

Oklahoma City Thunder: PG Russell Westbrook

Should be starting in the actual game. He’s averaging a triple-double. Let me repeat that, A DAMN TRIPLE DOUBLE! Yes, he’s the best option on the Thunder after KD bailed for Golden State. If he can somehow continue this pace and make the playoffs, he will be winning more than my All-Star vote.

Phoneix Suns: SG Devin Booker

The young and exciting Booker is on the rise and regarded as one of the best young players in the game. His shooting touch would be awesome for the All-Star game.

Portland Trail Blazers: PG Damian Lillard

I’ll do something the NBA couldn’t this season and make Damian Lillard an All-Star. At the time of writing this, Lillard is averaging 26 a game and not to mention he is a very popular player throughput the league.

Sacramento Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins

Boogie, love him or hate him, is the marquee player on the Kings. He should be an All-Star every season, as he is hands down the best center in the league, but his basket case like tendencies rub a lot of people the wrong way. It’s time for him and Sac-town to part ways, so Boogie better be picky with his next team as this format only allows for one All-Star and you know Boogie loves his shine. As you can see Boogie isn’t pleased.


San Antonio Spurs: SF Kawhi Lenoard 

With Duncan gone and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker on the decline, this is now his team and he has filled the role perfectly, averaging 25 points a game. Just like his predecessor Duncan, Kawhi let’s his game do the talking for him, which is a nice change of pace in this look-at-me era of the NBA.

Utah Jazz: SF Gordan Hayward

For you casual basketball fans, if you haven’t noticed, the Utah Jazz are good! I know, crazy right? But check the standings. The baby-faced Hayward got paid big bucks and has been enjoying a career year. Proof that a beard and a hair cut can change a man(see below) but Heyward will always be the guy in the picture above to me. 

Well there you have it Bizzle’s Dumb Idea in its entirety!

Which side would you take in this format? Do you think I overlooked a player more deserving than the one I picked? Well, let us know!

Bizzle’s Dumb Idea: NBA All-Star Game Edition

The Junkies Pick Super Bowl 51

The time has come for the Super Bowl, and with it the Junkies’ annual tradition of picking the game.
This year, for the seven billionth consecutive time, we have the New England Patriots representing the AFC, but the Super Bowl will feature a dash of new blood as the Atlanta Falcons represent the NFC. The Falcons being in the game makes the NFC South the first division since the NFL realigned in 2002 to have all four teams play in a Super Bowl. Of course, outside of Atlanta, which is making its first post-realignment Super Bowl (in 1999 the Falcons were still in the NFC West, which is still hysterical), the only South team not to win is…my team, the Carolina Panthers. Pause for crying.
But you didn’t come to this preview to see me introduce the teams or cry about my own team’s failures. You came to get the Junkies’ Super Bowl take and their pick. I don’t know what Bizzle is going to do with his pick, outside of knowing he will reference The Bachelor several times, but I’ll make mine very simple: The Patriots are going to win. They’ll win by two touchdowns. Let’s call it 37-23.
I hate it, because I’m just sick of the Patriots, but they are going to win. They have the better team, even with tight end Rob Gronkowski sidelined with an injury. New England has a far better defense. They have the better coach, as they have in every game they have played the last 16 years. Atlanta’s only advantage is offensive weaponry; the Falcons possess one of the game’s best receivers, in Julio Jones, and maybe its top running back tandem, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
This win will put to bed any remaining debate about the greatest quarterback of all time. Some of you may have read my post a couple of years ago basically whining that Tom Brady had now surpassed Joe Montana in my eyes, and he’s now advanced to his seventh Super Bowl, more than any player in league history. Whatever you might say about the caliber of competition in his division, the good fortune he has enjoyed (stupid Tuck Rule), and whatever else — and believe me, I have — you can’t argue the results. Brady’s the only quarterback to make seven Super Bowls, and he’s about to be the only one to win five. He can also tie Montana with three Super Bowl MVP awards if he wins this one — and it seems hard to believe New England will win without him winning that.
With that, hopefully New England will go away soon. Much like my feelings toward Alabama, I have nothing in particular against the Patriots other than the fact that I’m just tired of them. There comes a point where there’s no utility in even rooting against a sports dynasty because of the inevitable outcome, and New England surpassed that point some time ago. I know Brady will not retire after this game (in any case, I have him locked up to a keeper contract in my fantasy football league for next year, so I guess I hope he doesn’t), but hopefully that day will come soon. I’d like someone else to have a turn.

With that, I’ll turn it over to Bizzle, who surely has Bachelor, WWE and fiancee-related thoughts about this game.

A-Rob is just Jealous of the love I have for The Bachelor, mainly Corinne, the WWE, that Rumble was weak but Cena/Styles put on the match of the year and it’s only February. I failed to make mention of the WWE and my fiance in this Preview because I can’t be distracted as I give out my final NFL rose of the season. So A-Rob, you shut your mouth when your talking to me! 

As we sit here today, 20 weeks since the start of the NFL season, I’m completely torn between two teams. Who gets my final rose? Sure, I didn’t pick these two teams at the start of the season but this isn’t the Bachelor, it’s real life. I don’t get to chose who I watch in the Super Bowl. So here I am with one final prediction of the 2016 NFL season and as torn as I am, I must only choose one. The New England Patriots and I have had a long relationship built on lies and sure, there has been a little bit of cheating – or at least one of us has defined it as cheating. All that said I know what I’m getting with Tom Brady. Sure, his balls are a little underwhelming but he’s as reliable as they come. He and the Patriots are hands down the best modern dynasty and when every season rolls around, you know you’ll find yourself here in the playoffs hoping this team fails because of all the times they hurt you in the past. So you fight it every day, even when people say you’re wrong for going back to the Patriots because *insert hot new NFC team* will finally take down your unhealthy relationship.
People just don’t understand when I say the Patriots are good for football and Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Yeah, sure, I’ve been let down in the past – the Matt Cassel year, Eli “Bleeping” Manning (twice), the Peyton Manning year, Spygate, Deflategate, and a certain former tight end out of the University of Florida who loved murdering people. You guys just wouldn’t understand. They are great for football and most certainly will not let me down in Super Bowl 51 and deny me and the rest of the world  what will go down as the most awkward trophy ceremony ever between the Patriots and Rodger Goodell. Even with all that said, I’m just not sure the Patriots can get it done because there is that new, sexy and exciting team in the Super Bowl and they are a lot of fun. The Falcons play fast and score often. The Atlanta Falcons are the type of team that keeps you out drinking until 3 a.m. and is back up at 11 a.m. day drinking the day away. Julio Jones and company have a way to keep them on your mind, you can’t help but think about leaving  the Patriots for an explosive offense that was number one in the NFL, a quarterback that doesn’t wear Uggs but does wear lingerie (see photo).

I don’t know the context of that photo but all I know is Tom Brady would never do that for you. Sure, he’d get you rings but would he ever make it about you? They also have a head coach in Dan Quinn who was the defensive coordinator of the last sexy team the NFC produced, only this time he’s got the studs that team didn’t have, or at least that’s what you are telling yourself.
As I ramble through this insanely tough decision, the final decision of the NFL season, what’s a boy to do? Two very interesting choices who can end your season on a high note but who can also make you the laughingstock of the Internet community. New England, you’ve been here before and I know what to expect day in and day out. Atlanta, new and exciting – I have no idea what to expect, greatness or a train wreck, but you’re new so I’m so very interested. As I drop to one knee for the final time, in hopes of going into the 2017 season knowing I know more than my colleagues. Will you, the New England Patriots, marry me in this Super Bowl 51 venture and accept my final rose for the final game of the season? Sure, you’ve done some stuff and I’ve done some stuff, but we both know how right this feels and I’d like to keep feeling this way forever, or at least until baseball season begins and I can get back with my first love, the Chicago Cubs aka your World Champs. #NeverForget.

Patriots 37 Falcons 24

MVP: Tom Brady aka GOAT
The Baldness is out of this Preview due to an illness that has sidelined him indefinitely but still want to give you guys his prediction: Patriots 31 Falcons 21 get well Baldy and to help you get through the sickness here’s a picture of Giselle.

Alright #Junkiesnation let’s hope it’s a good game either way. Glad A-Rob could stop on by to give you guys some actual football knowledge and not the nonsense Bizzle spits out. Can’t wait to hear A-Rob cry, whine and hopefully write another Tom Brady Rant after the Patriots win. For Bizzle he will much like the halftime preformer be caught in a bad romance with his pick. As for Baldy he’s probably just hoping to not be puking his brains out come game time! Now on to Spring Training!!

The Junkies Pick Super Bowl 51

Bizzle’s Royal Rumble Preview! 

Sure, wrestling is scripted and considered fake to most of the world, but so is every single show on TV (outside of The Bachelor, of course). That said, to the WWE universe it’s as real as it gets, and the Royal Rumble is no exception. When it comes to the Rumble, there is just something different and special about it. Sure, the outcome is predetermined, but it’s the one time a year where you never know what is going to happen or who just might walk down that ramp and enter the Rumble. Call me crazy, but unless your name is Heath Slater, you have a shot a winning the Royal Rumble and headlining the biggest event in sports entertainment, WrestleMania. Or at least that’s what Michael Cole wants you to believe.

This is the first year in a while where there is not a single clear-cut favorite as the WWE is pulling out all the stops and part-timers galore with names such as Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and The Undertaker headlining the Rumble. They are even kicking the tires on the Big Show; hopefully the ring is getting some extra support for all the big men. It’s shaping up to be the biggest and baddest 30-man roster and with the brand split taking place last year, the field is wide open. Intrigue and Internet rumors are running wild these days. Everyone, myself included, is going to attempt to figure out what the hell is going to happen while answering the five most intriguing questions I have heading into the 30th annual Royal Rumble.

1. What happens between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg?

Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are entering the Rumble first and second or at least that’s how it should be booked. They could care less about the other 29 Superstars. Ask Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker how that worked out in 2008. After Brock was famously disposed of by Goldberg in a minute and change, expect these two to mainly focus on one another for most of the Rumble. I see a scenario similar to the 2008 Rumble when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker focused so much on one another that some random Superstar ended up eliminating them. Unless Goldberg is in talks to make a semi-full-time return it makes little sense to have either win and challenge for the title.

2. Will a SmackDown or Raw Superstar win the Rumble?

Plain and simple it’s going to be a RAW Superstar. Sure, SmackDown is the better show and it’s shown in the ratings. The only way they put a SmackDown guy in the driver’s seat for Mania is if Cena loses to AJ Styles, then decides to enter the Rumble and wins, which would mean the Styles match ended in some sort of foul play. Don’t forget the Club will be in there as they are going for the Tag Team Titles that night. Could we see a reunion of sorts? Well, if we do, expect Cena to be hell-bent on getting even with Styles as Cena has been a bit edgier of late. That all said, it’s a bit of a fantasy book on my part. It’s going to be a RAW guy and they will certainly go for the Universal Title in an attempt to make us believe that is the stronger belt.

3. Who will be your surprise entrants this year?

This is what the Rumble is all about, the element of surprise. Sure, 22 of the 30 spots are spoken for, but we have no clue as to when those 22 Superstars will walk down that ramp. For the other eight open spots, they usually include a legend or two, such as the Boogeyman or Bob Backlund, as well as an NXT call-up. For that slot, this year my money is on Samoa Joe. It’s his time; he’s done all that he can at NXT and with the WWE billing this as the biggest Rumble ever, Joe’s size alone makes him a perfect call-up candidate. The WWE also loves to throw in a fall guy, as I like to call it, similar to a Santino, whose entrance would taking longer than his time in the Rumble. You can always look to injured Superstars to make a comeback. Finn Balor is a possibility; there’s a hot rumor floating around that he has been testing out the injured shoulder to see if it’s ready, and if rumors come true, that makes the Rumble even bigger with Balor in the fold. What I expect to happen is the losers of the Universal and WWE Title Matches to enter. Kevin Owens makes that move a perfect fit. Roman Reigns makes sense because it’s an excuse to shove him down outlets’ throats more, Styles for a similar if not exact same reason as Owens, and Cena, well, because it’s John Cena and he never gives up. Whatever the WWE decides to do with the last eight spots will be interesting. Don’t expect a Ricky the Dragon Stream Boat. If it’s the biggest and most open Rumble of all time we can’t have a bunch of out of shape over the hill wrestlers weakening the field, now can we?


**Update** Kenny Omega has been a hot rumor as of late but I don’t see it happening, sorry Internet wrestling community. 

4. Who are the dark horse options to win the Rumble?

Everyone loves that dark horse bet don’t they? It’s a chance to make yourself look like an expert among friends. Well I’ve got my eye on two excellent options for this honor. Ignore the chances of Axel winning it even if I don’t think he’s still been eliminated for the past 2-3 years. 

On the RAW side, it’s Braun Strowman! I know what you are thinking, “Way to go out on a limb there.” I know, Braun is massive and looks absolutely unstoppable, but had I told you 3-4 years ago that Braun Strowman would win a Royal Rumble with the likes of Orton, Lesnar, Goldberg and so on, you’d say I was nuts. He’s very green in the ring still but we all know how much Vince loves a big guy. Remember when he put Big Cass in the title picture while Enzo was out? “How You Doin!” Plus he has authority lackey written all over him, especially once this Triple H/Seth Rollins feud really starts cooking – but more on that later. So it’s simple, you put Braun over by beating the best Rumble feild in history, then flank him with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to hide some of his microphone flaws, and boom, you have a monster heel heading into Mania and Triple H and Braun dismantling 2/3 of the Shield, if Reigns wins, of course.

On the SmackDown side it’s Baron Corbin. At first I thought, “Who is the balding long-haired tattooed guy with an undefined gimmick?”. I hated the Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner because I figured, here we go again, another Cesaro, let them win a ‘meaningful’ trophy and bury them after that. Well, something amazing happened to the career for Corbin; the brand split happened and he got drafted to SmackDown, the ‘secondary’ show. Corbin was able to work on his craft and define his gimmick a bit more, which is the beauty of SmackDown. They know it’s not the flagship program so they are willing to take a lot more risks instead of going by the same routine every week. Which brings me back to Corbin and how far he’s come. He is a bona fide main event player on SmackDown, having insanely good matches with Cena, Ziggler and Styles. He’s got the “it” factor and the size. He’s going to be a future champion, mark my words.

5. What do you do with Seth Rollins?

I love Seth Rollins, and for his status to be up in the air is frustrating, but interesting at the same time.

As most of you know, Rollins lost his Rumble spot to Sami Zayn after Triple H’s music hit and the distraction caused Rollins to lose. That was this past Monday which means Rollins currently doesn’t have anything to do at the Rumble. But don’t think for one second Seth “Freakin” Rollins won’t be playing a major part Sunday. Maybe Rollins just enters no matter what anyone says, maybe he comes out and just starts tossing people out of the Rumble – remember this is a no-DQ match. Maybe Triple H makes an appearance and gets this Mania feud going by taking Rollins out of the picture. It’s most likely going to come down to two options. One being, he’s not allowed in the arena and makes it back in time for the Rumble, which has been done countless times. The other option is, he will be asked to beat some stacked deck in an impromptu match at some point to get in. Which has also been done before but has a lot more options and gives other Superstars something to do. However they chose to use The Man, expect it to have a major impact, as the architect is too good to do nothing.

Well there are my five questions going into the Royal Rumble that I’m most interested in. Now on to the other matches on the card, and I will be brief in picking the winners of these matches. It’s tough because I get going with my “booger-eating”, at least that’s what that wacko Colin Cowherd thinks we do as wrestling fans (screw you pal). Alright guys, here’s the picks for Sunday’s card with a  Rumble winner prediction.

Cruiserweight Title

Rich Swann (c) vs Neville

Winner: Neville

Let’s see what Neville can do as top dog and heel of the 205 Live Crew.

Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks

Winner: Nia Jax

If Jax doesn’t win, does that destroy everything they have built her into? Plus, this feud is tied to the Bayley/Charlotte feu,d so maybe a ‘fatal four’ at Mania is in order.

Tag Team Titles

Two Referees

Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs The Club 
Winner: The Club

It’s time to break up Sheamus and Cesaro and see what Gallows and Anderson can do as champs. They have earned that chance.

AJ Styles vs John Cena

Winner: Styles

I was heavily leaning Cena because it opens up more interesting WrestleMania opportunities, but with Elimination Chamber a few weeks away and Cena most certainly in that. You have Cena win it there, boost that PPV rating up and give Styles a big time signature win in front of 70k at the Rumble.

Woman’s Title

Charlotte Flair (c) vs Bayley

The rich privileged woman vs. the underdog, a classic WWE booking. This to me isn’t close to the Banks/Charlotte feud but you can’t have them wrestle every week at a PPV. So Bayley steps in, and she will lose to the queen of PPV but not without controversy, setting up a rematch at some point.

Nikki Bella, Naomi and Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss, Natyla and Mickie James

With most of the roster involved in the Rumble, it’s a nice filler match for the card. Let’s have all the Face women take on all the Heels on the SmackDown roster. All I know is it’s an excuse to watch more Mickie James. I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with her, she’s got some crazy to her. I don’t really remember the Mickie James days but it is an interesting move bringing her back, possibly to help out a very young roster on the SmackDown side.

Winner: Team Bliss 

WWE Universal Title

Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns

No DQ/Jericho in Shark Cage

Winner: Roman Reigns

Please believe that Shark Cage will be in play at some point. This is a perfect opportunity to have KO and Y2K breakup. As much as I love the pairing, Y2K has Fozzy tour dates coming up after Mania, and he’s going to be unavailable, so do it now. Have him cost KO the title and boom, done. Plus I’m sure Vince is past the whole Reigns suspension thing and thinks he’s suffered enough and will probably put the title back on him, even if we, the fans, don’t want it. But screw us right?

Royal Rumble

Winner: The Undertaker

He’s going to enter 30th because of that goddamn five-minute entrance at any other spot in the Rumble and he’s getting passed on the ramp like a slow driver on the highway. Anyways, Taker wins because he is the only guy that can win the Rumble, challenge for whatever belt or opponent he chooses and go to Wrestlemania and win that title one last time. He can retire the next night on RAW and not one person would have a problem with that. He’s that over fans and management. The Dead Guy will hand pick his final match in WWE. Calling it now!

We have made it to the end, How you doin?

Alright guys enough of my babbling!  Thanks for checking this out and let’s hope your number hits in your Rumble pool! Enjoy the Rumble, you booger-eaters!! This has been Awe….Some( I just did that so I have an excuse to post a picture of Maryse…Ooo la la) sorry honey. 


Bizzle’s Royal Rumble Preview!