Friday, November 04, 2005

Week 9 picks

Week 9 is upon us, the midpoint of the 17-week NFL season. My record to this point: 74-42, a shruggable 64% correct. Yet I'm tied with five others for sixth place (out of about 30) over at The Writers' Picks. So I'm not the only one stumbling along this season. TMQ's latest hobbyhorse is that trying to predict the outcomes of NFL games is a pointless exercise, that simply by picking the home team you can guarantee yourself something like 60% success. But what he and others don't understand, apparently, is that this isn't about being "right" so much as it's about having fun. Why do sports publications, websites and TV shows issue predictions? To generate conversation. To get readers and viewers involved ("Can you beat our experts?"). I think TMQ has done a lot to get casual football fans thinking about "hidden" aspects of the game -- line play, coaching strategy, stuff the broadcast teams ignore -- but damn if he doesn't suck a lot of the fun out of the game in his desire to be right. As I've written, sometimes a team does need to kick a field goal when down by 28. Sometimes it does make sense to punt when trailing by 7 with 2:45 left. And TMQ's inconsistency between condemning teams for playing hard when up by 30 and condemning teams for not playing hard when down by 30 now has him tying himself in knots.

Anyway, picks are up at the link above. I'm always interested in seeing how I stack up against other sites, particularly FO's Scramble for the Ball, Breakaway Beach, CHFF and Monsters of the Midway. Check 'em out.

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