Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sportz' Bubble Watch (3/11)

Okay. I've been doing my whole Sportz' Bubble Watch for a few years now and I think it is time to start back up. With only a few weeks left in the season before conference tournaments, let's see how the bubble looks.

So, here are my locks ... yes, by conference. Locks are teams that I think are in no matter what.  Looking good are teams that are in, barring a total collapse.  I split the bubble teams either In or Out; self explanatory.  Also there's a spot for teams that need a miracle.  No more losses and maybe a deep conference tournament run.

I figure there are 21 conferences who are one-bid leagues and 11 conferences that could net multiple bids. So who should be going?

LOCKS:  Virginia, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech
LOOKING GOOD:  Florida State, NC State
BUBBLE OUT:  Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame
The ACC will get 8 in ... but can they get more? Syracuse likely has no shot. Louisville probably is out as well. Their losses at the end of the season, albeit to really good teams, kills their chances. Notre Dame is a trickier deal. On paper, they don't get in. But they missed Bonzie Colson for much of the season. He's back now, making them a different team. Now comes the question of if the committee believes they deserve to be in off of a projection more than a resume.  I think not. 


  Villanova, Xavier, Creighton, Butler
LOOKING GOOD:  Seton Hall, Providence
BUBBLE OUT:  Marquette

The Big East is pretty much set. The only thing up in the air is if Xavier can nab a No. 1 seed, giving the conference two. 


Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State
BUBBLE OUT:  Nebraska, Penn State, Maryland

There will be a lot of huffing and puffing about Nebraska ... who went 13-5 in the Big Ten ... not getting in. That's one of the issues with these new super conferences. With the lack of a round robin and the fact that there can be even more dead weight at the bottom of the standings, this kind of stuff happens. The Big Ten was down, but they've got four teams locked in. Show us what you got. 


Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU
BUBBLE IN:  Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma
BUBBLE OUT:  Oklahoma State, Baylor

The Big 12 is a great league and the fact that only Iowa State (who, ironically, won the league's automatic bid last year) is the lone school not in consideration for a bid. That bubble line is so tough. Oklahoma was such a lock early on but has stunk it up over the last two months that including them would almost be insulting. Oklahoma State beat Kansas twice (they are a No. 1 seed) and may not get in. K-State looks alright and Texas will probably get in but with this weird bubble you can't be too safe. 


BUBBLE OUT:  Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, Washington

The Pac-12 is down. Only Arizona is a lock, though the two Los Angeles team should be able to wiggle in. The fact the league is bad puts Oregon, Utah and Washington as long shots to get in. Then there is Arizona State who, like Oklahoma, has stunk up the joint since the calendar switched to 2018. The Sun Devils have beaten Kansas and Xavier ... two No. 1 seeds ... but may miss.


Kentucky, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M
LOOKING GOOD:  Alabama, Arkansas
IN BUBBLE:  Missouri
OUT BUBBLE:  Mississippi State

The SEC seems to be cut and dry. Even the "Looking Good" and "In" teams look pretty solid.


Cincinnati, Wichita State, Houston

Nothing to see here.  These three are in and no one else was close .


Gonzaga, San Diego State, Marshall, Davidson
LOOKING GOOD:  Rhode Island, Nevada, Saint Mary's
IN BUBBLE:  St. BonaventureOUT BUBBLE:  Middle Tennessee, Boise State

Let's look right here for the bubble issues. San Diego State, Marshall and Davidson were bid stealers. None of them were going to get bids if they didn't win their conference tournaments. Since they did, Rhode Island and Nevada will nab at large bids while Middle Tennessee State will end up sitting at home. St. Bonaventure will probably still be in the dance. But these surprises really sting those on the bubble.


OHIO VALLEY: Murray State
BIG SOUTH: RadfordMISSOURI VALLEY:  Loyola Chicago
MAAC: Iona
SOUTHERN: UNC Greensboro
HORIZON: Wright State
SUMMIT: South Dakota State
PATRIOT: Bucknell
AMERICA EAST: Maryland-Baltimore County
BIG SKY: Montana
MAC: Buffalo
MEAC: NC Central
SOUTHLAND: Stephen F Austin
SWAC: Texas Southern
BIG WEST: Cal State-Fullerton
WAC: New Mexico State

IVY LEAGUE: Pennsylvania
SUN BELT: Georgia State

Monday, February 5, 2018

Looking Back at the "52 Stops to Super Bowl LII"

Super Bowl LII is over and the Philadelphia Eagles are champions. So let's see what hit and missed on my stats for the "52 Stops to Super Bowl LII":

#47-SUPER BOWL SQUARES:  I had mentioned that there were 15 different combinations that never came up in the 204 quarters in Super Bowl history.  Well,

The first quarter numbers of 9-3 happened for the first time.
The halftime numbers of 2-2 happened for the first time.

Now there are 13.

#46-FEBRUARY LOVES THE AFC: The AFC fell to 10-6 in February Super Bowls.

#45-SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN: The team that scores first is now 35-17. The Patriots became the third team to score at least 30 points to lose a Super Bowl. In fact, the Pats set a record for most points scored by a losing team. Teams who score the first TD is now 38-14 and teams leading at the half are now 38-11.

#44-PATRIOTS AND EAGLES ARE BACK: Patriots tied to Broncos for most Super Bowl losses with five.

#38-DIVISION ALL IN:  The NFC East became the first division to have all its members as Super Bowl champions.

#37-NFC EAST TOPS THEM ALL: The NFC East extended its lead by winning its 13th Super Bowl ... five more than the AFC East and AFC North.

#32-CHAMPIONSHIP CITIES:  Philadelphia joins New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston with Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Championships.

#27-BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: The Super Bowl newbie quarterback has now won five of the last seven Super Bowls against the veteran quarterback.

#25-STICK WITH THE FAVORITES: The underdog Eagles won, meaning the favorite is now 33-19

#23-NFC OWNS THE COIN TOSS: The AFC won the coin toss for just the third time in the last 21 Super Bowls.

#22-MAKING SURE YOU SCORE: There have been successful field goals in 50 of 52 Super Bowls.

#21-NFC EAST VS AFC EAST:  The NFC East is now 9-3 in Super Bowls against the AFC East. That includes the Colts win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V when the Colts were in the AFC East.

#19-WEARING WHITE IS KEY:  The white team lost?  The team wearing the white jersey lost for just the second time in the last 13 Super Bowls.

#12-PASSING FANCY: Tom Brady set a Super Bowl record for passing yards in a game ... and lost.

#11-DON'T TRAIL BY DOUBLE DIGITS: Teams who trail by double digits in a Super Bowl are now 4-44.

#9-STILL HAVEN'T WON ONE: The Eagles are now officially off that list.

#7-MVPS WINNING SUPER BOWLS: Brady lost, meaning Kurt Warner in 1999 is still the last NFL MVP to win a Super Bowl in the same season.

#5-ALL TIME SERIES: The Eagles are now 8-6 all-time against the Patriots.

#2-BELICHICK AND SABAN: Those two still haven't won a championship in the same season since 2003.

#1-WHO WINS:  I was wrong. Again.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

52 Stops to Super Bowl LII

Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 52 Stops to Super Bowl LII and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.
#52-PATRIOTS AND EAGLES DO IT AGAIN:  The Patriots and Eagles will play in their second Super Bowl against each other. This will be the sixth pair to have a Super Bowl rematch and the seventh game to be a rematch.

These two met in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville with the Pats winning, 24-21.

Other Super Bowl rematches are the Dolphins-Redskins, 49ers-Bengals, Cowboys-Bills, Giants-Patriots and Steelers-Cowboys. Only the Steelers-Cowboys have met three times in the Super Bowl.

History doesn't tell you much about who will win. The 49ers beat the Bengals twice, as did the Cowboys over the Bills and Giants over the Patriots. The Steelers beat the Cowboys twice before Dallas beat Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX. The Redskins would win their rematch with the Dolphins ten years after their first meeting.

 As I've said, I've done these "Stop to Super Bowl" since Super Bowl XL. Most of the stats stay true year to year. Well. Super Bowl LI simply broke the mold.

The record for largest comeback in a Super Bowl was 10 points, which was done three times. The Patriots overcame a whopping 25-point deficit.  It was also the first overtime Super Bowl ever. The Pats were also the first team to win a Super Bowl despite throwing a pick-six.

Records were set for most passing yards (442), completions (43), pass attempts (63) and first downs (37) by a team and a player.  The Patriots became the only team to win a Super Bowl despite having the lead for zero seconds.
#50-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick heads to his eighth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach. Belichick's eighth appearance and five Super Bowl titles are best all-time.
Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. That's eleven Super Bowls he's coached in.
Amazingly, in his 18 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 12 AFC Championship games including a current streak of seven in a row.
Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson has Super Bowl experience as well, though not as a coach. He was Brett Favre's backup during their Super Bowl XXXI championship season (beating the Patriots) as well as on the team that lost Super Bowl XXXII.