Good thing I’m not a betting sports fan.
My picks for the 2013-2014 college football bowl season was going swimmingly, with spot-on picks for about two-thirds of the games and slim losses in several other games. The only grievous miscalculations were in (oddly) three match-ups involving Pac-12 schools and a game in which I severely underestimated Utah State’s ability to shut down Northern Illinois.
And then we hit New Year’s Day. I lost all six bowl picks to ring in the New Year, starting with an abnormally solid Nebraska defense shutting down Georgia and finishing with Central Florida keeping pace with — and eventually out-gunning — an explosive Baylor squad.
An Oklahoma win against Alabama the next day ran my losing streak to seven and put me at.500.
Going into Monday night’s championship game pitting Florida State against Auburn (results were too late for this edition; I picked FSU by a touchdown), my overall mark was dead even at 17-17.
Yikes. If there were licenses for sports writers, I’d imagine mine would be revoked.
Perhaps my picks for the NFL postseason will go better:
• Sunday, Jan. 12Matchup: San Francisco at Carolina
AFC• Saturday, Jan. 11
The skinny: For big quarterback matchup geeks, the AFC really has a pair of great ones starting with Indy’s Andrew Luck and the Pats’ Tom Brady. Luck proved last week that playoff experience can be overrated as the Colts edged Kansas City. But Indy will be on the road, the Patriots are rested and Brady has juuuuust enough options at his disposal for the victory.
• Sunday, Jan. 12
• Jan. 19
The skinny: Clash of the Titans? Pretty much. Manning versus Brady also seems a bit predestined, but it’ll be key defensive stops in the fourth quarter by the Broncos that help Manning back to the Super Bowl — after a three-quarter, gunslinging shootout.
NFC matchup: San Francisco at Seattle
The skinny: It almost seems inevitable, doesn’t it? The players, the coaches, the fans … nobody particularly likes each other. Finally, a game to let all the Forty-Whiners and the Shehawks (yes, those are two of the most common online putdowns for this rivalry) settle their differences. As expected, it’ll be a slugfest, with Earl Thomas sealing the win with a fourth quarter interception-and-score off Colin Kaepernick, sending the 12th Man into a seismic frenzy.