Colts over Saints, and I'm doubting it will be close. Indianapolis just looks like too focused and machine-like of a team to lose to New Orleans, who have looked good in exactly one of their last six games (the Arizona win). Obviously I'll be pulling for the Saints to win with all of my heart and soul given how lovable their team and situation is and how much I dislike the Colts, but let's face facts --- Indy is just a better team. The only weakness would be if Dwight Freeney doesn't play, but then I'd just expect Robert Mathis to step up even more and have a big game.
I was talking about this with my dad earlier today, however. What if this is the year of the underachieving franchise in pro sports? Bill Simmons recently wrote a column listing the most cursed franchises in sport, leading several fans of other teams to angrily write in complaining that their woeful club was left off the list. It was notable that some of the teams on Simmons' and his readers' lists have distinct shots at a title this year. Wouldn't it be something if the Saints won the Super Bowl, the Cavaliers won the NBA title, the Capitals/Canucks/Sabres/Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and the Mariners won the World Series? That's four franchises with significant baggage who would be able to get the monkey off their backs all in the same year. It would be almost the opposite of 2009, when the major sports championships all went to established winners like the Yankees, Lakers, Steelers and Penguins (the Pens don't quite this tableau as neatly, but they're certainly a team that has won Cups recently and has a very notable history). A Colts win, however, would doom us to a year of been there-done that winners --- a Spurs NBA title, a Devils Stanley Cup, and a Cardinals or Phillies World Series.
You can tell just how much I'm counting the Saints out of this game from the fact that I've spent the majority of my Super Bowl preview talking about some crazy pie-in-the-sky theory that Sunday's game will somehow determine the rest of the year's sports champions. And if Clint Session wins the Super Bowl MVP award, that will indicate an MLS Cup for the Kansas City Wizards.
UFC 109 picks!
* Matt Serra over Frank Trigg, decision. I don't think many people really care about this fight, aside from history buffs. (It's a little like the main event in that sense, but we'll get to that later.) Neither of these guys are anywhere near even the top 15 UFC welterweights. Georges St. Pierre could probably take down of them at the same time. Hopefully the winner decides to retire after the fight and end his career on a victorious note. As for the loser, he'll just retire a loser. Man, that sounds harsh. But then again, I hate both of these fighters, so harsh it up!
* Demian Maia over Dan Miller, submission, round two. Poor Maia. He was building up quite a rep as the submission king of the middleweight division before suffering a humiliating, one-punch knockout just 20 seconds into a fight with Nate Marquardt last August. I still think Maia is a top-tier fighter and should beat Miller, who isn't a slouch by any means but lacks the elite striking that Marquardt needed to beat Mr. Ground Game. Maia takes this one with yet another impressive sub.
* Paulo Thiago over Mike Swick, decision. This is a heart over head pick simply because I hate the welterweight version of Mike Swick that rarely does anything interesting in his fights. Thiago is at least interesting because he kayoed Josh Koscheck and kind of has a unibrow. I'll predict a pretty dull fight here and a Swick loss.
* Nate Marquardt over Chael Sonnen, knockout, round two. Not a Chael Sonnen fan. If you've read any interview with the guy, he has a pretty inflated opinion of himself that is a bit much even for a sport that requires confidence in your ability. To hear Sonnen talk, he would take Anderson Silva down and out if they fought tomorrow. As it happens, Sonnen will get to fight the second-best middleweight in the world instead of Silva, but the result should be about the same: Sonnen getting his brains beaten in. Marquardt wins and then faces the winner of the SIlva/Belfort fight in April (psst, it'll be Silva).
* Randy Couture over Mark Coleman, decision. The UFC has been hyping this match as the first-ever meeting between two Hall-of-Fame fighters, which is true but a bit misleading. Imagine if old-timey barnstorming baseball teams still existed and some promoter advertised a meeting between the 1989 Oakland Athletics and the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, all reunited and playing each other at a ballpark near you. It could be hyped as the 'first-ever battle of two World Series champions,' but...is that something you want to watch in the year 2010? A winded Carney Lansford trying to beat out a grounder as Chris Sabo bends his aching back to try and properly field a ground ball that would've been routine for him in his prime? A Couture/Coleman fight would've been a big deal even five years ago, but now, it won't account for much. Couture can still tentatively hang with upper-level fighters if he can hold them against a cage for long enough, but it's not like he's causing a lot of damage in there. Coleman damn near died in the cage against an out-of-shape Shogun Rua last year and then somehow managed to beat Stephen Bonnar in the clearest indication yet that Bonnar needs to totally revamp his training and lifestyle to get his career back on track. There's even a rumour that the winner of this fight will get a title shot at the Shogun/Machida rematch winner, which would be beyond absurd. Couture has more left in the tank and should win, and hopefully he'll challenge an opponent he'd stand a better shot at beating (the Liddell/Ortiz winner, for instance). Whoever loses this fight should retire.
* Tim Hague over Chris Tuchscherer, submission, round two. Go Canadian fighter! * Brian Stann over Phil Davis, decision. Stann has won his last two fights, why is he facing a UFC rookie? * Rob Emerson over Phillipe Nover, knockout, round one. Basically a loser-gets-cut fight. * Justin Buchholz over Mac Danzig, decision. Another loser-gets-cut. This will be four losses in a row for Mac. * Rolles Gracie over Joey Beltran, submission, round two. I'm obligated to pick Rolles on last name alone. * Ronnys Torres over Melvin Guillard, submission, round one. BJJ ace vs. a guy who always taps out? Easy call.
Seven Nation Army, Audioslave The Mermaid, Great Big Sea Fred Jones Part Two, Ben Folds A Little Less Conversation, Elvis vs. JXL Halloween, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Flower Child, U2 Fell In Love With A Girl, The White Stripes Out Of Control, The Rolling Stones My List, The Killers This Year's Love, David Gray One Note Song, Tenacious D Lies, Elton John Closing Time, Semisonic I'm Bound To Pack It Up, The White Stripes Tucker's Town, Hootie & The Blowfish Time, Pink Floyd Disillusion, Badly Drawn Boy