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Friday, August 01, 2014
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Hobbs Column: Picking from the shallow end of the pool

Last Modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 6:43 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Believe me, this wasn’t my idea.

But all you people — and you know who you are — who have made such sport of my silly weekly college football picks over the years, are going to love this.

It’s the American Press’ venture into the Great American Office Pool, aka, the NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

And if you don’t have an office or a pool — or even if you’re blessed with both — we’re here to help you out.

You could even win a brand new Kindle Fire HD.

Very nice, I’m told.

But wait ... there’s more!

Ordinarily for this low price — Absolutely, 100-percent free! No cash down! No monthly payments! No money of any kind accepted — you’d think that would be it.

That, of course, should be incentive enough ...

But no.

Yes, there’s much more.

For this contest, there will be not one, not two, but 10 specially designed T-shirts awarded to the next 10 bracket pickers who do not win the Kindle.

Hmmmm, you’re thinking.

Oh, but yes, there’s a catch. There’s some fine print here where the radio commercial would start talking real low and really fast.

The T-shirts are limited to the top 10 brackets — and this is important, read carefully —that ALSO beat somebody named Scooter Hobbs, the noted football prognosticator.

My idea for the T-Shirt was “I beat Scooter in the American Press Bracket Challenge and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt and Somebody Smarter (Luckier) than Me Won the Kindle.”

But, hey, it’s 100-percent cotton ... I think. It will say something clever and tasteful.

Whatever it says, you’ll be the envy of all your friends. It should be the perfect conversation piece for that special crawfish boil or squirrel hunt, even bar mitzvahs and your finer tractor pulls.

And I’m thinking we’re going to have leftover T-shirts. I don’t think there’s 10 out there that can top me. Maybe we’ll send the extras to Haiti, to join all those “Super Bowl Champion Buffalo Bills” T-shirts that were never needed.

If you think you’re up to it, you’ll find the details and instructions at americanpress.com.

Scoff, if you will.

But you think it’s easy picking those games?

Yeah, it’s easy to ridicule from afar.

Don’t be naive.

You have to understand that those football picks are strictly for entertainment purposes, not to be attempted at home without adult supervision.

In other words, truth be told, I’d rather get a chuckle than get the Ugly Uniform Game of the Week score right on the nose.

But, with this, I’m serious. You’ll find my picks at the bottom of this essay, and be forewarned that I spent the better part of 15 minutes on it.

OK, confession time. Recently I did take a serious stab at something I’ve only marveled at from afar.

Curiosity got the best of me last December when a group of (so-called) friends wondered aloud if I might wish to join their annual college football bowl pick-em silliness.

Pretty simple. Basically, you pick all the bowl games and add up the damage at the end.

“Oh, I always thought y’all never let me play in your little reindeer games because it wouldn’t be fair, you know, a seasoned and professional sports writer with inside information taking advantage of rank amateurs.”

“No, no, we’d LOVE to have your five dollars ... uh, or, uh, have you join us, we mean,” they answered in a capella unison that would have rivaled the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

So I took the plunge, and let’s just say the results were mixed.

Bottom line, I trailed all but three contestants, which included three house pets, one of them a three-legged dog, another, I was told, a hamster.

Note to business office: “Do we have a T-shirt that will fit a three-legged dog?”

This time it’s going to be different.

You’ll find the winning bracket there under “Scooter’s Definitive Bracket.”

But my money is on Jeanie, the three-legged dog.

For the technologically challenged or the computer illiterate — and you know who you are — here is the start-to-finish bracket that everybody and their hamster will be shooting at:

SECOND ROUND

• MIDWEST: Louisville over play-in; Missouri over Colorado State; Oregon over Oklahoma State; Saint Louis over New Mexico State; Memphis over play-in; Michigan State over Valparaiso; Cincinnati over Creighton; Duke over Albany.

WEST: Gonzaga over Southern; Wichita State over Pitt; Ole Miss over Wisconsin; Kansas State over play-in; Arizona over Belmont; New Mexico over Harvard; Notre Dame over Iowa State; Ohio State over Iona.

SOUTH: Kansas over Western Kentucky; North Carolina over Villanova; VCU over Akron; Michigan over South Dakota State; UCLA over Minnesota; Florida over Northwestern; Oklahoma over San Diego State; Georgetown over Florida Gulf Coast.

EAST: Indiana over play-in; N.C. State over Temple; UNLV over Cal; Syracuse over Montana; Butler over Bucknell; Marquette over Davidson; Colorado over Illinois; Miami over Pacific.


THIRD ROUND

MIDWEST: Louisville over Missouri; Oregon over Saint Louis; Michigan State over Memphis; Duke over Cincinnat.

WEST: Gonzaga over Wichita State; Ole Miss over Kansas State; Arizona over New Mexico; Ohio State over Notre Dame.

SOUTH: Kansas over North Caolina; VCU over Michigan; Florida over UCLA; Georgetown over Oklahoma.

EAST: Indiana over N.C. State; UNLV over Syracuse; Butler over Marquette; Miami over Colorado.


SWEET 16

MIDWEST: Louisville over Oregon; Michigan State over Duke.

WEST: Ole Miss over Gonzaga; Ohio State over Arizona.

SOUTH: VCU over Kansas; Georgetown over Florida.

EAST: Indiana over UNLV; Miami over Butler.


ELITE 8

MIDWEST: Louisville over Michigan State.

WEST: Ohio State over Ole Miss.

SOUTH: Georgetown over VCU.

EAST: Miami over Indiana.


FINAL FOUR

Louisville over Ohio State; Miami over Georgetown.


NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Louisville 63, Miami 51

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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