2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 13

Greetings Manoverse. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with food, family, & football. For a variety of reasons I decided not to include any of the plethora of gridiron goodness on Thursday & Friday in this week’s picks. However, even without those games there’s still a ton of tremendous action on Saturday. It’s Rivalry Week in the NCAA, and a few games even have meaning above & beyond the tradition of the rivalry itself. Heck, there are so many great matchups that we are able to once again focus exclusively on college football and still give y’all bonus picks. You’re welcome. Last week was another poor showing for both myself & Zach as we each went 1-4. We both whiffed in picking Texas A&M, UCLA, & the Indianapolis Colts. I correctly picked Oklahoma St. over Baylor, while Zach got the win with New England defeating Denver. That brings the season records to this:

                Your Humble Potentate of Profundity  =     30-31

                Zach  =    27-34

Zach is running out of time to take the season lead, while I have now fallen below .500. We’ll see what we can do about that.

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Ohio State (-16)            at              Michigan

Wmichow…where do I begin?? 2013 certainly hasn’t been a banner year in Ann Arbor. I mean sure, they will finish with a winning record and go bowling, but 7 or 8 wins and some December bowl Ohio_State_Buckeyesgame that no one watches against a mediocre team that no one cares about doesn’t match the high standard that the Wolverines aim at & usually achieve. Meanwhile, there is a very good chance that Ohio State could finish the season having won 25 straight games and still not get a whiff of the national championship, which is a perfect example of why the BCS sucks. Having said all that, I am still a bit surprised at the rather robust point spread. Sure Michigan is a bit down…but are they that down?? Is there a legitimate chance that they will get throttled by more than two TDs in The Big House?? Three of Michigan’s four losses thus far have been away from home. Their one loss at home was 17-13 to Nebraska…far from an epic beatdown. I suppose there are some that might say that the Buckeyes need (and are aware that they need) “style points” in case Auburn upsets Alabama, which would cause ‘Bama to fall out of the national title game but could also mean Auburn would leapfrog Ohio State in the BCS standings, but I honestly don’t think it’ll matter whether they win this game by 1 point or 100 points. So while I think it is likely that the Buckeyes get the victory I would be really surprised if it was by more that 7-10 points. Surprisingly Zach…a diehard Michigan fan…thinks Ohio State wins in a blowout.

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Clemson           at              South Carolina (-5)

South Carolina still has an outside shot to play in the SEC title game should Missouri fall to Texas A&M. Clemson needs Florida St. to lose its finale to the Florida Gators to sneak into the ACC title game, and Gamecocksthat simply isn’t going to happen. Given those circumstances plus the home field I have to give the nod to the Gamecocks. Zach concurs.

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Notre Dame             at               Stanford (-14.5)

Things have been pretty quiet in South Bend even though the Irish are clinging to a Top 25 ranking. Conversely Stanford has already booked their spot in the PAC 12 title game and had a really impressive win NotreDame1over Oregon a few weeks ago. I don’t think there is any doubt that Stanford gets the victory, but will they cover the points?? They have won only 4 games by more than 14 points, and only one of those victories was over a ranked opponent. The Irish have more to play for, and Stanford hasn’t really blown too many teams out this season, so the vibes are telling me that this will be a close game. Zach feels the same.

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Texas A&M              at              Missouri (-4.5)

a&mThese two teams used to be Big 12 opponents, but both are now in the SEC. Not that it matters…I just find it mildly interesting. I went with the Aggies and Johnny Football last week and Missouri_Tigers_Helmetpaid for it, so I am a bit hesitant to pull that particular trigger again. They looked absolutely atrocious against LSU. The only blemish on Missouri’s record is an overtime loss to South Carolina. They are a lot better than people (including me) have given them credit for. I think this may end up being one of the more entertaining games of the weekend, and it’s a total vibe game. The Voices are telling me to go with A&M again even though it doesn’t really make much sense. Zach, being a bit more…practical…than his old uncle, is going with Missouri.

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Arizona                            at             Arizona State (-11.5)

Arizona_State_logo_blanketIn 2012 the Arizona Wildcats finished with a rather pedestrian 8-5 record. The Arizona St. Sun Devils did the exact same thing. With a victory in this game the Sun Devils will get their 10th college_arizona_90victory and head to the Pac 12 title game. The Wildcats have pretty much the same record as last year but are on everyone’s radar after a notable beatdown of Oregon last week. I don’t think they can do it two weeks in a row though, so I am picking State to win and cover the points. Zach, however, was really impressed by that Wildcat win over the Ducks and is riding that wave.

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UCLA                 at              USC (-3)

USC_Trojans2Who would have ever thought at the end of September, right after the Trojans fired head coach Lane Kiffin, that they would be in the mix for their division lead at the end of the season?? They ucla_bruins2won’t win the division due to that loss to Arizona State that led to Kiffin’s ouster, but the fact that they are riding a 5 game winning streak and have won 6 out of 7 under the leadership of interim head coach Ed Orgeron is impressive. Just a few weeks ago no one thought that Orgeron had a snowball’s chance to land the permanent gig, but now a lot of folks seem to believe that a win this week will almost certainly clinch the job for him. Conversely, after beginning the season 5-0 the Bruins have gone 3-3 in the latter half of the campaign. This feels like two teams going in opposite directions, and who am I to go against momentum (or as my Dad calls it “Big Mo”)?? Zach is a rebel though and scoffs at momentum while picking UCLA.

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Alabama (-10.5)           at              Auburn

auburnEven though these two teams have been playing each other since 1893 the game has only been known as The Iron Bowl since 1980, with the name ostensibly referring to BAlabamaCrimsonTide2irmingham, Alabama’s standing as an epicenter of iron & steel production. A year ago ‘Bama won this game 49-0, but a year ago Auburn was a 3-9 football team. They are significantly better this season. Are they good enough to pull off the upset?? The Tide has barely broken a sweat so far in 2013. The only game they haven’t won by double digits was a second week 7 point victory over Johnny Football and Texas A&M. However, Auburn is probably the best team they have faced. Plus the game is at Jordan–Hare Stadium. If I am being honest I am really trying to talk myself into Auburn having a legitimate shot to win because I’d really like to see a little BCS chaos. It’s just really hard to go against Alabama given their recent history of dominance. Having said all of that though I am going to roll the dice on Auburn atleast making this a very close game. Zach sees the game being competitive in the first half but thinks the ‘Bama defense will take over and help the Tide secure a 3 TD victory.

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2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

Occasionally I feel a little frisky. And when that happens citizens of The Manoverse are the winners because you get bonus picks!! Last week I rolled the dice on a couple of my choices and things didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. I didn’t think Florida would cover 13 points against Kentucky…they won by 17. I thought Ohio State would only beat Wisconsin by 1-3 points…they covered the spread, winning by 7. Both Zach & I picked Notre Dame, who fell to Oklahoma by two TDs. I did a little better with my NFL choices, where Buffalo defeated Baltimore and Seattle covered against Houston (barely…in overtime). So that made me 2-3 for the week and Zach 3-2. For the season at this point this is how it stands:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity    =       13-12

Zach          =       12-13

None of the games this week really jumped out at me. I think that is partially because I feel like I’ve already said all I can say about several teams, and a little bit because I have a scratchy throat and am praying I don’t actually get sick in the next day or two. At any rate there are several games that I find mildly yet equally intriguing, and thus the bonus picks:

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-7)   at         Northwestern

The Buckeyes are rolling along at 5-0, although Wisconsin did give them just about everything they had last week. Meanwhile, the Wildcats,Ohio_State_Buckeyes who I projected as a Top 25 team, are doing just about as well as I expected but this will be their first serious test. As much as I would love to give the nod to the underdogs I just can’t pull that trigger. Ohio State is merely biding their time until the end of the season when they’ll play at Michigan, and then likely meet either Nebraska or Michigan (again) in the Big Ten championship. And what they are really hoping for is that either Alabama or Oregon stumble, leaving a spot open in the national title game. Zach thinks Northwestern is a good team…but Ohio State is better.

My Pick          Ohio State

Z’s Pick           Ohio State

 

 

Georgia St.    at         Alabama (-56)

Look at that spread!! There is no doubt that ‘Bama will win this game. Georgia St. is an 0-4 I-AA team that has certainly filled their coffers this10a rat road kill clipart - merged season with trips to West Virginia and now Alabama. I think Nick Saban will take this opportunity to rest a lot of his starters, atleast after the first half. And while Saban isn’t the kind of milquetoast that’ll genuinely take it easy on a lesser opponent I think he’ll play this one smart, with the main goal being not to have anyone get hurt. I am envisioning a 52-7 kind of game…which would mean the Tide wins but doesn’t cover. Zach concurs.

My Pick          Georgia State

Z’s Pick           Georgia State

 

 

Washington   at         Stanford (-7)

Stanford is 4-0 and kind of getting overlooked. The talking heads will spout off all day long about Oregon, Ohio St., Notre Dame, and the entirephoto.stanfordtree SEC, but they barely talk about the #5 team in the country. I suspect that is just fine with the folks in Palo Alto. Sometimes flying under the radar can be advantageous. Meanwhile, the Huskies have garnered a bit of attention with victories over Boise St. and Arizona. This could be the sleeper game of the weekend, but I think that Stanford will take control in the 4th quarter and win by double digits. Zach likes Stanford’s defense and thinks that’ll be the key to victory.

My Pick          Stanford

Z’s Pick           Stanford

 

 

Maryland        at         Florida St. (-15.5)

The Terrapins are looking like the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. They are 4-0 and have somewhat impressive victories over WVU,university-of-maryland-terrapins Florida Int’l, & UConn, yet are passed over by 8 one loss teams in the Top 25. Clearly they need to make a statement in Tallahassee…but will they?? The Seminoles are 4-0, haven’t been tested at all, but have only played one 1-AA cupcake. Florida St’s freshman QB Jameis Winston looks like the real deal and will probably get some Heisman love next season before bolting early to the NFL. I think Maryland is atleast as good…and probably much better…than the Boston College team that Florida St. defeated a week ago by 14 points. So while I believe that Florida St. will get the victory I think it’ll be by about 10 or so points. And once again Zach & I are in complete agreement.

My Pick          Maryland

Z’s Pick           Maryland

 

 

New England            at         Cincinnati (-2)

I am shocked that the Bengals are favored in this game. Yes they have the home field, and Tom Brady has expressed some frustration with the New_England_Patriots_Helmetyoung receivers he’s had to coddle this season, but the Patriots are 4-0 and will likely just gather steam as the season moves along…especially when tight end Rob Gronkowski and WR Danny Amendola return from injuries. The Bengals are 2-2 and just lost to the Cleveland Browns. I don’t get the spread at all, which is why I’m going against it and picking New England. Zach would rather…and I quote…watch Dancing with the Stars or Teen Mom 2 than this game”. Wow. Anyway, he also thinks the Patriots will win.

My Pick         New England

Z’s Pick           New England

 

 

Seattle (-2.5)             at         Indianapolis

seattle-seahawks1The Colts are 3-1 and recently made headlines when they traded for RB Trent Richardson. Quarterback Andrew Luck is Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetstill a youngster but seems to have a tremendous veteran-like presence and maturity. However, the Seahawks have been the hottest thing in sports for the past month and have cruised to a 4-0 start, including a slightly surprising beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers. I think Indy is the team of the future, but Seattle is the team of the here & now and should win this one pretty easily. Zach disagrees and is picking the Colts to win. Interesting!!

My Pick          Seattle

Z’s Pick           Indianapolis

 

 

New Orleans             at         Chicago (-1)

This is another spread that surprises me just a tad. The Bears are 3-1 and QB Jay Cutler seems to finally be coming into his own under the 10_new_orleans_saintstutelage of head coach and quarterback guru Marc Trestman. However, the Saints have been an absolute machine thus far. QB Drew Brees has already thrown for over 1400 yards and 10 touchdowns, a record setting pace that is being overshadowed by Peyton Manning’s phenomenal start. I see no reason to start doubting New Orleans now. Zach is a big believer in Brees and tight end Jimmie Graham and thinks New Orleans will roll to a victory.

My Pick          New Orleans

Z’s Pick          New Orleans

   

 

Detroit            at         Green Bay (-7)

Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetIf you would have told me a month ago that the Lions would be tied for first place in the division and the Packers would be Detroit_Lions_Helmet1-2 I’d have said you were nuts. But that’s exactly what has happened. Detroit has looked pretty darn good, while the Packers have not fared so well against a tough early season schedule. But as you can tell by the spread folks haven’t quite given up on Green Bay and certainly haven’t bought into Detroit quite yet. I think both perspectives are pretty fair. The Pack is far from done, and the Lions will have to win a few more games before people start believing they’re for real. That process would certainly go a long way with a big win on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field…but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m still rooting for Detroit to have a solid season, but the cream rises to the top and I think this is the week Green Bay starts to figure things out. Zach thinks the bye week may have been helpful to Green Bay but is picking Detroit to pull the upset.

My Pick          Green Bay

Z’s Pick          Detroit

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

Damn you Boise State!! The Broncos were the only thing standing between me & my first ever perfect week with these picks, but when they scored a touchdown with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter last Saturday I knew both Zach & I were doomed. Fresno St. had enough time to come back and win the game with 2 minutes remaining, but they weren’t able to cover the 3 points. Oh well…c’est la vie. I did win a head-to-head matchup in which I picked Stanford and Zach chose Arizona St., so that provided some measure of comfort. For the week I ended at 4-1 and Zach ended up 3-2, making our season look thusly:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity  =  11-9

Zach  =  9-11

Now on to the task at hand.  At this point the season is beginning to take shape. Most teams…both college & pro…have shown us just enough so that it’s becoming clear who is good and who’s going to have a tough road. Theoretically that should make these picks a bit easier, but I know from experience that that is a little too optimistic. At any rate, there are atleast 9 or 10 games that pique my interest this week so I had a tough time narrowing the choices to just five, but I am really making an effort to spread the love and not pick games involving the same teams all the time. Enjoy!!

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Florida  (-13)                      at            Kentucky

florida gators imageThe Gators just lost their starting QB for the season to a broken leg and a key defensive tackle due to a torn ACL. Against better competition those Kentucky-Basketballlosses might be a killer, but with this week’s opponent being the Wildcats I doubt if Florida has too much to be concerned about…except, for our purposes, covering the points. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Kentucky gives a spirited effort, meaning they lose the game but not by two touchdowns. Zach doesn’t think Florida’s personnel deficiencies will be a big deal and believes that Kentucky will only be competitive in the first quarter.

My Pick          Kentucky

Z’s Pick           Florida

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Oklahoma (-3.5)               at            Notre Dame

This might be one of the best games on the NCAA schedule thus far in 2013. The Irish come into the game 3-1 but I think many people might say they have been the NotreDame1more impressive team. The Sooners are 3-0 but struggled to beat my WV Mountaineers, a team that can’t seem to score a touchdown most of the time. I am shocked that the Irish aren’t favored. Zach thinks both of these teams are overrated but believes Oklahoma is the more overrated of the two.

My Pick          Notre Dame

Z’s Pick           Notre Dame

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Wisconsin                            at            Ohio St. (-7)

WisconsinBadgersI’m really looking forward to this one. Good old-fashioned smash mouth football with the occasional big play and lots of solid defense. The Badgers Ohio_State_Buckeyesare 2-1 but really should be undefeated (remember the incompetent refs screwed them at Arizona St.). The Buckeyes are 4-0 but really haven’t played anybody. This game is in Columbus, which is a huge advantage. I picked Ohio St. #2 in my pre-season rankings, and if they continue winning that may just be where they end up. But my vibes are telling me that this is going to be a very close game. Ohio St. may or may not win, but if they do I think it’ll be by the slimmest of margins. Zach is a Michigan fan and thinks that Ohio State hasn’t played anybody yet (he’s right), but is willing to overlook the pain it causes him and pick the Buckeyes.

My Pick          Wisconsin

Z’s Pick           Ohio State

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Baltimore (-3.5)                                at            Buffalo

Buffalo_Bills_HelmetThe defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens are 2-1 but have clearly regressed since last season, although last week’s 30-9 demoliotion of Baltimore_Ravens2the Houston Texans was impressive. Meanwhile, the Bills are an impressive 1-2…if there can be such a thing. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has been solid and will continue to get better. Buffalo could easily be 3-0 if a few balls had just bounced their way. I’m going against the grain one more time and picking the underdogs to finally put it all together. Zach thinks the Bills will keep the game close in the first half but eventually Baltimore will pull away for the victory.

My Pick          Buffalo

Z’s Pick           Baltimore

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Seattle  (-3)                         at            Houston

Not only did the Texans get beaten handily by Baltimore last week, but they really didn’t look that spectacular in their two wins. It took a 17 point 4th quarter seattle-seahawks1comeback to beat the San Diego Chargers and overtime to get past the Tennessee Titans. Conversely the Seahawks have barely broken a sweat in going 3-0. Houston will almost certainly put forth their best effort of the season, but I just don’t think it’ll be good enough. Zach concurs.

My Pick          Seattle

Z’s Pick           Seattle

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The Madness Begins…..

The Madness is back!! It’s time once again to immerse oneself in caring about a whole host of basketball teams that we’ve never heard of or atleast pay little attention to, all so that in a few weeks the best teams that everyone loves or hates will rise to the top anyway. It’s time to match wits with talking heads, i.e. experts like Dickie V., Doug “Credit Card” Gottlieb, Clark Kellogg, & Seth Davis. It’s time to face the bracket challenge, whether there is money & prizes at stake, or just plain ol’ macho pride.

 

Before I dive in allow me to share a bit about my methods and some things I have learned over many years of doing this.

 

I do not analyze, study, and stress out about my brackets. I simply fill them out on the fly. My picks are based on what I know as an average fan and on my vibes. My choices have no basis in scientific investigation of any facts or figures.

Will there be upsets?? Yes. But don’t go crazy. The first round has 32 games. Out of those there might be a half dozen upsets. The 5/12, 6/11, & 7/10 games are where to look for upsets. #1 seeds never…ever…lose in the first round, and #2 seeds very rarely lose. Atleast one #12 beats a #5 each year…I don’t know why. 8/9 games are pretty much dead even, so a #9 beating a #8 is only an upset in the most technical roundabout way. After the first round it’s a free for all, although that 11, 12, 13, or 14 that got thru one game is unlikely to make it much further.

I am usually a sucker for the underdog, but in all honesty power conference teams have an undeniable advantage. I put major weight on being battle tested. Strength of schedule is an important factor. The games a team played in November & December…whether they were wins or losses…can serve as great “conditioning” in March.

I take into consideration where the games are taking place. If a team is playing close to home and has a bunch of fans in the stands that is important. But it’s not that important, so I consider it yet don’t obsess over it.

 

So, having said all that, here is what my vibes are communicating to me about 2012’s Big Dance:

 

East

1 Syracuse                16 UNC Asheville

2 Ohio St.                 15 Loyola (MD)

3 Florida St.            14 St. Bonaventure

4 Wisconsin         13 Montana

5 Vanderbilt               12 Harvard

6 Cincinnati           11 Texas

7 Gonzaga                   10 West Virginia

8 Kansas St              9  Southern Miss.

Lots of talking heads seem to be bailing on ‘Cuse, believing that they’ll fall short of The Final Four. Not this humble Potentate of Profundity. My vibes are telling me that one of the annual 5/12 upsets will occur when Harvard…alma mater of NY Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin…defeats Vanderbilt. Actually I think it’d be more fun to see those two teams match up in a Quiz Bowl or in the Jeopardy college tournament, but I guess we’ll take what we can get. I also have Harvard beating Wisconsin in the 2nd round. The only other first round upset I foresee in this region is my Mountaineers over Gonzaga. WVU gets a virtual home game less than 100 miles away in Pittsburgh, and I just don’t think the Zags are quite as good as in years past. I like Cincy over Florida St. in Round 2, as well as the ‘Eers getting by Ohio St. But ultimately Syracuse will make it to not only The Final Four but also the title game.

 

 

West

1 Michigan St.        16 LIU Brooklyn

2 Missouri                15 Norfolk St.

3 Marquette          14 BYU*

4 Louisville              13 Davidson

5 New Mexico         12 Long Beach St.

6 Murray St.         11 Colorado St.

7 Florida                   10 Virginia

8 Memphis                 9  St. Louis

I’m just not sold on Michigan St. as a top seed. I give them credit…they always always always seem to be in the conversation each & every year…but I’m not buying it this season. I’m pretty much going chalk in the first round, with the lone exception being St. Louis over Memphis. Typically I wouldn’t consider a 9 over an 8 all that much of an upset, but several “experts” have been saying that Memphis is seeded way too low and is a legit potential Final Four team, so I guess it’d be more of a surprise than usual. By the way, a billiken is a charm doll created by an art teacher from St. Louis  in 1908 who saw the mysterious figure…an elf-like creature with pointed ears, a mischievous smile, and a tuft of hair on his pointed head…in a dream. Fascinating. At any rate, it’s chalk all the way after that until the regional semifinal where I have Louisville taking out the Spartans, with Missouri then getting the Final Four spot.

 

South

1 Kentucky              16 Miss. Valley St.*

2 Duke                       15 Lehigh

3 Baylor                    14 South Dakota St.

4 Indiana               13 New Mexico St.

5 Wichita St.              12 Va. Commonwealth

6 UNLV                     11 Colorado

7 Notre Dame        10 Xavier

8 Iowa St.                    9  Connecticut

I have two first round upsets here. I just think that defending champions UConn won’t bow out so easily, and surely not to an 8th seed like Iowa St. And I have another 5/12 special, with 2011 tournament Cinderella VCU recapturing that magic one last time and beating Wichita St., who is only the third best basketball team in their own state. The second round in this region should be awesome, although I am only picking one upset. I think Notre Dame will defeat Duke and then beat Baylor, making it all the way to the regional final before going down to Kentucky.

 

Midwest

1 North Carolina     16 Vermont*

2 Kansas                      15 Detroit

3 Georgetown           14 Belmont

4 Michigan                 13 Ohio U.

5 Temple                     12 South Florida*

6 San Diego St.            11 NC St.

7 St. Mary’s                  10 Purdue

8 Creighton               9  Alabama

The voices are speaking to me about two upsets here. First, I am picking NC St., a battle tested ACC team, to beat San Diego St., who is probably seeded a couple of spots too high. The same logic applies in choosing Purdue from the Big 10 over St. Mary’s. I’m also picking the Wolfpack over Georgetown in the 2nd round. In the regional semis I’m taking Michigan to upset North Carolina, with Kansas ultimately securing the last Final Four spot.

 

So my Final Four is Kentucky vs. Missouri and Syracuse vs. Kansas. I’m not exactly venturing out on a limb with those choices. I was kind of surprised to be honest, because this has seemed like kind of a wide open season with lots of parity. However, at the end of the day I just think there are about a half dozen teams that, while probably not elite in the “we’ll remember them 20 years from now” sense, are just that much better than anyone else. So while all fans can enjoy the first & second rounds and there will undoubtedly be several exciting games & some upsets, ultimately few will likely be surprised at who is in the race near the finish line. I’m picking Kentucky & Syracuse to meet in the final game, with the Wildcats cutting down the nets and being crowned national champions.