08 December 2009

Tuesday football (13/2009)

The FIFA World Cup isn't gridiron, but it is football, so I've changed the title for this week. Last Friday saw the draw for South Africa 2010, so I'll briefly comment on the three finalists I follow most closely.

Don't cry for me, Argentina Brazil: The Sele├žao ended up in the latest version of the Group of Death. They're in Group G with Portugal, Cote d'Ivoire and North Korea. Portugal has to be ticked after needing a playoff to make the field. Korea DPR probably isn't much good, but that was also true in 1966, when it beat Italy and nearly eliminated Portugal. Save your pity for Ivory Coast, which also fell into one of the two 2006 Groups of Death.

Group of Cake: The other 2006 Group of Death included the United States, which promptly fell flat, managing only a bloody draw with Italy. This time, the Stars and Stripes could have hardly wished for an easier group. There's no telling how well Algeria and Slovenia will perform, as neither side has met any of its Group C opponents. That's about the only excuse either the US or England can offer for not advancing, though.

¿Viva Aguirre?  When Mexico brought back coach Javier Aguirre to revive its flagging qualifying campaign, I thought it was a gimmick.  Surely the Tricolores would be stuck at home, and Mexican fans would spend South Africa 2010 complaining about this latest Yankee imperialist plot.

It was close, but El Tri rallied its way into the field of 32.  Like their northern neighbors, the Mexicans are struggling.  If they weren't playing the opener against South Africa itself, I'd fancy their chances of getting through easily.  As it is, France should be a light favorite to advance, with Uruguay completing a competitive group A.

Speaking of advancing to the next round:  In fantasy football, the object is to make fewer mistakes than your opponent.  Failing that, winning requires that your mistakes be less serious than his/hers.  For the second time in as many weeks, I faced an opponent who left his quarterback spot open.

This time, it mattered.

Wooden Shoes kept injured Matt Ryan in despite the facts that (a) the Falcons had declared him out all week and (b) he had two solid backups.  With Anquan Boldin, Maurice Jones-Drew and Cedric Benson, I'm sure he felt he didn't need a quarterback.

That Bill Belichick-like mistake cost Wooden Shoes his postseason.  I spent Sunday watching helplessly as first LeSean McCoy, then Greg Olson, then Brett Favre, then (finally) the Minnesota defense all crapped out.  Meanwhile, Boldin went for 98 receiving yards and two touchdowns.  Had he filled his QB spot, Wooden Shoes would have advanced, while at 6-7, my season point total would have been too low to qualify.

As it was, I led all day, though the Vikings' blunders reduced my lead to just 1.18 points at the two-minute warning.  Favre's last-minute touchdown drive didn't help the Vikings, but it did secure me a 70.1-60.7 win, a playoff spot and a final regular-season record of 7-6.  As for the Shoes, they're done, with too many losses and not enough points.

Are you listening, Smoking Popes, my quarterfinal foe?  Make sure you actually start a quarterback, because you're going to need one.  Actually, I'm not worried about this guy.  He showed good judgment last July when he married my niece; and not surprisingly, he's been the best decision maker in the league.  I'm going to have to match that just to stay with him.

1 comment:

Matty Boy said...

Good luck in your fantasy league. Like you, I'm going to have to make very few mistakes to win my first playoff game.