The Events of January 6, 2013 (and NFL Divisional Round Picks)

I have an announcement to make. Yesterday, as of 8:00pm CST, Sportstradamus has been terminated from The Back Page. He blew the Wild Card picks he defended so feverishly, and effectively made not only himself, but The Back Page, look bad. To fully understand the reasons for Sportstradamus’ termination, we take a look at his NFL Wild Card picks made on January 2, 2013.

Home teams in CAPS.

Cincinnati (+7) over HOUSTON
Minnesota (+6) over GREEN BAY
Indianapolis (+14) over BALTIMORE
WASHINGTON (+3) over Seattle

The actual results from this weekend’s NFL Wild Card match-ups.

HOUSTON (+6) over Cincinnati
GREEN BAY (+14) over Minnesota
BALTIMORE (+15) over Indianapolis
Seattle (+10) over WASHINGTON

I will say, in his defense, he did okay predicting the spreads, but going 0-4 in the first batch of predictions doesn’t necessarily equate to good tenure here at The Back Page. Granted, his defenses of his picks made sense, even though he bet against a Seattle team that has run through their last five opponents of the regular season with an automatic rifle (averaging 38.6 points per game against giving up only 12 points per game) and a Houston team that averaged 132.7 rushing yards per game.

For the record, we here at The Back Page are thoroughly frightened of the Seahawks right now.

When we received a call from Sportstradamus three weeks ago asking if there were positions available for NFL Playoff predictions, I said “fuck yeah, there is!” and immediately fired Walter, one of the NFL analysts, to make room. Everyone knows about Sportstradamus’ success rate and his employment would have brought insane credibility to our publication. On December 27, 2012, I showed Sportstradamus his desk and tools, without even so much as an employment history or background check. This is absolutely my fail.

While watching Sportstradamus’ picks lose all of their integrity over the course of the weekend, we began digging a little deeper into his claims of being a sports psychic. We found startling information.

Before we employed him, our Sportstradamus was known as Hubert Milton, a sports writer in Kennebunkport, Maine who contributed to his high school newspaper. During his senior year in 1993, he predicted his school’s football team would compile an unbeaten season and win the Maine State Championship. When the team went 1-9 and averaged a 29.6 point per game loss for the season, he was laughed out of the school paper. He enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and studied journalism, graduating in 1997 and quickly accepting a job with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as a sports writer. When Hubert Milton correctly picked the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl in both the 1997 and 1998 NFL Pre-Season’s, he began to accumulate public interest in his predictions of upcoming sports events. After fervently denying rumors he owned a copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac, Milton was briefly employed by Fox for the 1999 NFL season, making predictions during the Fox NFL Sunday broadcasts. For reasons unknown, he abruptly quit before the first week of the season, and was quickly replaced by Jimmy Kimmel.

From 1999 to the Spring of 2001, Hubert Milton wrote for Pro Football Weekly, under the moniker The Sports Guy. In the summer of 2001, he faced a lawsuit from writer Bill Simmons for using his moniker. Milton relinquished the moniker, quit his job at Pro Football Weekly, and went under the radar, writing for assorted publications and working odd jobs until being hired by us a couple of weeks ago. Calling himself Sportstradamus, he wowed us with years of dead-on predictions ranging from NFL football to the National Jump-rope Competition, and we quickly hired him, because, damn, wouldn’t you? As it turns out, the man who we thought was the great Sportstradamus was an impostor, the aforementioned Hubert Milton.

The real Sportstradamus is currently not interested in employment at The Back Page, so fuck you Sportstradamus! We don’t want your skills anyway.I hope you get attacked by crazy bugs with face guns.

We found a history of failed predictions that Hubert Milton has made, dating back to the turn of the millennium. According to previous employers, Hubert Milton also made the following predictions.

1. Brett Favre would be legitimately retired after the 2008 NFL season.
2. Brett Favre would be legitimately retired after the 2009 NFL season.
3. The Detroit Lions would follow up their 0-16 season in 2008 with a Super Bowl win.
4. Avatar would win Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards.
5. The Chicago Cubs would win the World Series (predictions made in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2009)
6. Chinese Democracy would be a huge success.
7. Ryan Leaf would make a comeback in 2001 while with the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s only a few of a comprehensive list over seven pages long.

We also discovered that he was once attached to both Miss Cleo and John Edwards (of the show Crossing Over), as well as having served as a writer for the ABC television series FlashForward. We here at The Back Page apologize for any money you may have lost in bets or any discouragement you may have obtained from the post made by Hubert Milton — or who we thought was Sportstradamus — last week. We, too, were victims of his fraudulent skill-set.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Franklin
Editor-in-Chief and Certified Dumbass

With all that taken care of, we take a look at next weekends playoff games. Remember, home teams in CAPS.

DENVER (+10) over Baltimore

I’m going to say this right now. With Ray Lewis’ retirement looming at the end of the season, it’s hard for me to bet against the Ravens. With that in mind, I don’t think the team has enough strength on either side of the ball to legitimately compete with Denver. Basically, the Broncos are the best team in football this year. The Ravens gave up 288 passing yards to rookie Andrew Luck, so imagine what a legendary veteran like Payton Manning would do to this bandaged Raven’s defense. It’s also important to note that the Ravens haven’t beaten Manning since 2001, when they were the defending Super Bowl champions and Ray Lewis was reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Since Manning’s last loss to the Ravens, he’s won four NFL MVP Awards, appeared in two Super Bowls (winning one of them), and compiled a 131-49 record (counting playoffs). Before Manning’s last loss to the Ravens, he was 30-30. That loss to the Ravens came during a doomed 6-10 season, after which Jim Mora had his famous rant and was subsequently fired, paving the way for Tony Dungy to come in and create the Colts dynasty with Manning.

SAN FRANCISCO (+5) over Green Bay

The last time these two teams met, San Francisco won and Alex Smith was still the quarterback. Now, Green Bay will have to contend with Colin Kaepernick, who I think is the x-factor in this game. Green Bay’s defense doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with scrambling quarterbacks this year, and Kaepernick is one of the best in the league when it comes to options and designed roll-outs. Frank Gore is also one of only two other running backs to top 100 rushing yards against the Packers this season (Adrian Peterson being the other). If the Niners win the turnover battle and run it down Green Bay’s throat, they’ll be looking at another playoff victory for the Jim Harbaugh Era.

SEATTLE (+7) over Atlanta

As I stated before, we here at The Back Page are terrified of the Seattle Seahawks. Despite the obvious differences in playoff ranking and season win-loss records, Atlanta is a fraud. Matt Ryan and Mike Smith are 0-3 in playoff games, including a horrific 24-2 loss last year to the New York Giants. Sure, the Ryan-Smith regime is 33-5 in the Georgia Dome, but that 0-3 playoff record leaves so much room for doubt, especially since the teams Matt Ryan has had during his tenure include the likes of Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Julio Jones — some of the biggest receiving threats in the NFL. If I can make one case for the Falcons, it’s that they’ve had a week off to make sure defensive end John Abraham, cornerback Dunta Robinson, and strong safety William Moore are healthy.

NEW ENGLAND (+10) over Houston

Despite the win over Cincinnati, I’m still not sold on Houston. In their previous meeting, New England routed the Texans 42-14, having as much as a 28-0 lead in the third quarter. It goes without saying that the Patriots have the edge in nearly every position breakdown on the field. The projected weather forecast (as of today) for Foxboro is mid-30’s with a 20% chance of rain around game time. Despite a win in Soldier Field against a Bears team that is in no way as threatening as the Patriots, Houston has played pretty poorly in crummy conditions this season. This is where that 1-3 finish at the end of the season could bite Houston hard.

I would like to make a quick note, if I may. The NHL lockout ended yesterday. In response, a friend of my wife’s, Amir, posted the following thought on the news. I thought I would share it with you.

“Today is like Christmas! Except if Christmas was three months late because Santa and the elves were fighting about how much the elves should get paid for building toys while children everywhere cried over the lack of joy and excitement that they normally get from Christmas. Then finally after the three months, Santa and the elves came to an agreement but the children had become bitter and cynical because they knew that Santa and the elves cared way more about how to divvy up milk and cookies than spreading joy and happiness and goodwill towards men. Man. I’m glad Christmas is happening, but you have to admit, it’s still pretty crappy. Also, screw Bettman.”

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

NOTRE DAME (+4) over Alabama

Our final order of business, the BCS National Championship. As I said before, Notre Dame was questionably the top team in the country  but I was looking forward to Notre Dame playing Alabama, if for no other reason than to hopefully observe the collapse of the SEC stranglehold on the BCS. If Alabama wins, that’s three national championships in four years, and definitely worthy of the term “dynasty”. If the Irish win, especially as 9 1/2 point underdogs, they could deliver a critical blow to the SEC, and I will concede that they were worthy of being ranked No. 1 in the country. The problem is that Notre Dame’s defense, while arguably the best in the country, does have to contend with Alabama’s offensive line. If they can, this dance just got harder for Saban and the Tide three-fold. Notre Dame’s offense will have to capitalize on any chances their given, which goes without saying, but is especially important against a team like Alabama. Another interesting factoid is that in the BCS Championship, teams making their first appearance are 7-1. That really is a staggering statistic. Also, Alabama has not forced a lot of turnovers this season and the Irish are definitely not a turnover prone team. The Irish also sport one of the best goal line defenses we’ve ever seen.

As hard as this game is to analyze, I have to give the edge to Notre Dame. They’re opportunistic  excited, and have the necessary weapons to exploit the holes in Alabama.

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About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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