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The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the 15 finalists for the Class of 2020, with first-time eligibles safety Troy Polamalu and receiver Reggie Wayne leading the way.

They’ll be joined by five other first-time finalists and a collection of other greats. From this list, the selection committee will then choose five honorees from the remaining finalists. The Class of 2020 will be officially announced on Feb. 1 – the day before Super Bowl LIV.

Published in Sports

That’s it. I did it.

Despite Stella’s best efforts – a stellar 12-4 in Week 17 – I have managed to finally win another Kibbles and Picks title.

After winning in 2014 (the feature’s second year), I spent the next four years being shut out by my dog. This is all in good fun, of course, but I’d be lying if I said the streak wasn’t wearing on me a little. It’s ridiculous and I know it’s ridiculous, but on the other hand – my dog was better at picking football games than me.

But now, finally, courtesy of a respectable 10-6 final week, I am the Kibbles and Picks Champion. It was close – Stella cut my four-game lead in half with her performance – but ultimately, I came out on top. Sure, it was far from a dominating win, but it was a win. After too many close calls over the past four years, I’ll take what I can get.

Final regular season records

Allen: 161-93-1

Stella: 159-95-1

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But now, we’re in the playoffs; the slate is wiped clean. Stella will seek her revenge over the course of the next month as we attempt to pick our way through the postseason.

Published in Sports
Saturday, 28 December 2019 01:31

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 17

It’s so close.

The end of this whole embarrassing stretch is within reach. With just the season’s final week to be played, I have a solid four-game lead on Stella, a lead that carried forward from the previous week thanks to the matching 10-6 marks Stella and I put up.

Obviously, it’s all in good fun, but let’s be real – consistently being slightly worse at picking football games than a dog is something wears on you. Particularly when knowing about football is a part of your job. A small part, sure, but still – part of the job.

So to be this far along in this grand experiment, to have gone through six seasons prior to this one, and to have come out on top exactly once (and that was in the second year – I’ve lost the last four) is both hilarious and sad. But with a four-game lead, my victory seems imminent.

But a loss isn’t impossible, with Week 17 yet to be played. And there’s room to move, with Stella and I differing on seven of the week’s contests. It would take a borderline miracle for her to pull enough to move ahead. At worst, she’s have to go 6-1 to seize the win. Basically, as long as I’m right on at least two of those seven games, I win for the season.

So let’s see what we’ve got.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 19 December 2019 23:25

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 16

Holy s—t – I might actually win this thing.

It’s not that Stella is underperforming – her 10-6 record in Week 15 was solid – so much as that I am on fire, putting up a 13-3 to add three more games to my lead. This action puts me at four games up with two weeks to play; I don’t believe that I have had this kind of advantage this far into the season since Year Two of this grand experiment (better known as the one year I actually won the damned thing).

I’m not counting my chickens though – there’s still plenty of time for me to blow it. And with us at odds on six of the weekend’s contests, Stella could certainly erase some or all of my lead with some good Week 16 luck.

Published in Sports

Can you believe I’m doing this again?

Once more, college football’s bowl season is upon us. And once again I, glutton for punishment that I am, embark on my annual Quixotic quest of picking the winners of every single bowl game. You’d think I’d get sick of tilting at this particular windmill, but no one ever accused me of being sensible.

As always, this feature comes with the standard caveat: while I've had some success in the past, I absolutely do not have any real idea what I'm doing.

But bowl season can be fun regardless of your level of knowledgeability. It's an opportunity to watch a bunch of college football teams about which you know nothing. It’s a wonderful dice roll; you never know if you might happen upon a game where something unprecedented takes place. I personally have a bit of a history of stumbling onto wild and unexpectedly entertaining bowl matchups. I’m hoping that tradition continues this year.

And with that - let's go bowling.

Published in Cover Story
Thursday, 12 December 2019 16:08

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 15

And the pendulum swings back.

It’s definitely starting to look like this season’s Kibbles and Picks is going to go right down to the wire. In Week 14, Stella repeated her solid 9-7 from the previous week, but I managed an 11-5 record. This means that what was once a one-game lead for Stella has once again become a one-game lead for me. And with just three weeks left, it couldn’t be any tighter.

Of course, considering we differ on fully half the schedule again this week – eight games – there’s still room for one of us to make a big move. My expectation, however, is that the tightly-contested back-and-forth continues.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 05 December 2019 15:11

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 14

And just as quickly as I took back the lead, I bid it farewell once again.

Week 13 was not kind to me; I managed a subpar 7-9 record on the week. Stella didn’t have her best showing either, but her 9-7 was enough to turn my one-game lead into a one-game deficit. She’s on top again … and I haven’t got much time left to rectify that.

Of course, weeks like Week 14 certainly help. We’re once again at odds on fully half of the slate; eight games on which we disagree. Hopefully, that will serve to help my case this time around; if not, I could be looking at a tough hill to climb in the season’s final stretch.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 03 December 2019 13:56

Patriots Progress Report - Third Quarter 2019

Safe to say that the New England Patriots team of the past four weeks isn’t quite the dominant force it was over the season’s first half. 2-2 isn’t the worst thing in the world – especially if it puts you at double-digit wins – but there’s no disputing that the Pats have come back to the pack.

Much of the onus for that regression has to be laid on the offense – the team has struggled to score and things seem just a bit … off. The defense has largely maintained its high level of performance, though they did show glimpses of what this team might look like if that D struggles.

Still, New England remains comfortable atop the AFC East, with a two-game cushion over Buffalo. This stretch did see them cede their spot as overall top seed in the conference, however. Regardless, this is a playoff team, even if their general performance this last month wasn’t quite up to par.

Let’s look at the month that was, shall we?

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announces the list of semifinalists for their Class of 2020 last week.

Leading the way among the first-year eligible are safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis. The trio is joined by 22 other hopefuls looking toward induction.

The list of 25 is to be trimmed to 15 in early January; after that, the selection committee will then choose five honorees from the remaining finalists. The Class of 2020 will be officially announced on Feb. 1 – the day before Super Bowl LIV.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 27 November 2019 22:13

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 13

And look at that – I’m back on top!

Granted, it’s just one game, thanks to my 10-4 week. Stella did just fine at 9-5, but it wasn’t quite enough. And so I’ve regained my lead. Again – good weeks for both of us … just slightly better for me.

That could all change pretty quickly here in Week 13. Stella and I are at odds on eight games – fully half of the full 16-game slate. That’s a lot of room for one of us to make a move, although with the even number, we could just as easily wind up with another push.

Published in Sports
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