Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cupsets Revisited

With March Madness just around the corner, it seems an appropriate time to discuss upsets. Not basketball-related upsets, of course, since that would actually relate to my opening sentence in some way. I had this same problem in my university papers:

"Few people hated small theatres more than my Uncle Hank, who railed against movie houses for packing many screens into a single cinema rather than providing one singular viewing experience. Someone with the same idea was Bertolt Brecht, who was a proponent of Epic Theatre..." --- excerpt taken from Mark's seminal essay "I'll Have Fries With That Dialectical Theatre: The Character of Mack The Knife in Brecht's Threepenny Opera and Late-1980's McDonald's commercials." It received a D-minus from Professor Lockett. Talk about a biased grade. He's had it in for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog. Well, replace the word "kinda" with the word "repeatedly," and the word "dog" with "son."

Anyway, back to upsets. This post has proven to be one of the most prescient I've ever written. Even though Havant & Waterlooville came up short in their Cinderella run, this year's FA Cup ended up being the most topsy-turvy in recent memory. The final eight included four Premier League teams, three second division teams, and one third division team. Going into the semi-finals, the field is now down to the three second division sides and only one Premiership side --- and it's not even Chelsea or Man U, who both got shellacked by Barnsley and Portsmouth, respectively. In North American sports terms, this would be like a continent-wide open basketball tournament coming down to three D-League teams of varying quality and, say, the Nuggets.

It's great since, if you go back to that original post, this year's FA Cup ended up being basically a direct F-you to my friend Kyle's comment about how since first division sides almost always win, then nobody should care about the Cup. It's like the FA directed the EPL teams to throw the matches purely out of spite. I attribute this to the fact that Kyle is engaged to an Irish woman, and thus is now party to the long-standing tradition of the English screwing over the Irish.

Even if Portsmouth, the last Premiership club standing, wins the FA Cup, they haven't won anything in 60 years, so it'll be fresh. Basically as long as Liverpool, Man U, Chelsea or Arsenal don't win, I'm happy. I made a severe miscalculation when picking a favourite Premier League team two years ago --- it's way more fun to root against the Big Four than it is to root for any one of the Generally Mediocre Sixteen. This is more natural for me as a fan since I've already spent years rooting against the Big Two in the American League East. I may yet come up with a preferred EPL team that I love, but in the meantime, it's much easier to just hate.


So, March Madness. See, this part of the post should've come after the intro paragraph. Instead of writing up a massive preview of the tournament, I'll just lazily reprint last year's. It doesn't involve actual analysis in any way, so it doesn't really matter. Does anything I write matter? Man, that's a depressing thought. Time to drown my sorrows in apple sauce and cookies. Am I the only one in the world who dips the cookies into the apple sauce? Or am I just crazy?

Part One
Part Two


Kyle Wasko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle Wasko said...

Goddamn you, Shuk! Portsmouth is still the favorite (at 4/5) going into the semis. ( I stand by my ill-conceived earlier rantings.

Also, since I am doing a March Madness preview, do I have permission to steal some of your material?

Mark P said...

Steal away!

And dude, lay off the Doublemint gum before you hit the post button.