Spooky Action Predicts - A Bit of Sports Prognostication
A friend of mine from Milwaukee writes:
OK, prediction time:
1) What will happen with NL Central – name the top three teams at the end of the season.
2) How will the Badgers do this year?
3) This isn’t even worth asking – how will the Pack do?
It's almost time for another installment of "Wrath of the Football Gods", isn't it?
Geez, try asking me for stock tips next time. That'd be easier.
NL Central - top three teams at the end of the season will be the top three today. The other three are nowhere near as strong. As for the final standings, based on schedule the Cubs should be able to cruise to the title. They have one series with the Cards, but other than that it's a steady diet of NL Central bottom-feeders and Carmelite nuns. Somebody up there likes Lou Piniella! The Cards have a tougher schedule, because they're at AZ this weekend (in a tight pennant race with SD), and have to play the Cubs and Brewers. The Brewers' schedule is no easier. The last homestand vs. St. Louis and then San Diego will either break them or galvanize them for a great playoff run! My gut reaction is that the Cubs will take the division and that the second place team in the NL West will get the wild card.
I watched the Badger game on Saturday. They will be able to score on everybody. The defense looked porous at times; that will be the big concern. They should cruise until November, when they get Ohio State and Michigan back-to-back, but how long has it been since they played in November with that much on the line? I believe they will win the Big Ten. Whether they end up in Glendale or Pasadena, who knows? Even if they slip somewhere during the regular season, they'll finish ranked in the top ten and their bowl game will be played in 2008.
Your last question is the true head scratcher. After watching the third quarter of last night's game, I don't think it much matters who wins the NFC North, or the NFC title itself. The real super bowl will be the AFC Championship game! That said, the NFC North is ALWAYS up for grabs. Bob McGinn's article where he quotes non-NFC-North scouts resonates with me. Except for how good everyone thinks the Bears are. I think the Pack's thrashing of the Bears at the end of the season was no fluke. Everyone thinks the Bears' defense is so good, but the Packers and Colts spanked them pretty good, and New Orleans should have as well. I think last night's game showed just how weak the Saints really are - and they're one of the prime contenders for the NFC title! Unfortunately, I can't see how Ted Thompson could have done LESS to help the Packers improve! He does seem hell-bent on making Favre do it all by himself. The scheduling gods were not kind to the Pack, either. September could be as unkind as last year, but I believe that the Packers will end the season at 10-6 or 9-7. Week 2 vs. the Giants will tell the story. Unfortunately for the good folks of Wisconsin, the curse is still in force because Harlan is still at the helm; no playoff victories again this season, though they might get to play in the postseason.
So there you have it. Call your bookie and get those favorable early rates!
posted by Mike at 6:50 AM