BoPo 3 (2010) Playoff Preview

So, things have kind of quieted down around BowlPortland. I haven’t been doing writeups, the smack talk board has been limited to Dr. Thunder and Uli trading barbs with an occasional Knuffi appearance, postgames have dried up to around 12-15 people (bringing me closer than ever to Pud’s Taxi).  It’s eerie.  That is, if you aren’t a BoPo vet.  For those of you new to this scene, I promise this is the calm before the storm.

Starting next week, the writeups will return, and with few remaining dates, people will begin coming to postgame to experience the family (bonus note – beginning next year, postgame is at Bayside Bowl every time!)  As for this week, rather than look back, in the spirit of the NCAA blather, I will do some “bracketology” and playoff predictions.  No offense intended to the teams at the bottom.  Heeeeeeeeere we go!

We have a 31 team, single elimination tournament.  Like the NCAA basketball tourney, there are only a handful with a real shot at the title, but some of the most fun stories are the darkhorse teams that pull a big upset or two (Bucknell over Kansas equals Three Fingered Willies over Urban Achievers sort of thing).  So, here’s how I think it breaks down.

The Favorites

Binga’s Ringas and Off Constantly: So what else is new?  Last year they ended up in the same half of the bracket, allowing DHD to reach the finals (and make a very strong showing).  This season they appear headed for the 1 and 2 (or possibly 1 and 3) seeds, setting them up for a finals match.  Binga’s has relied on the golden arm of Jamaican Jerk.  He has led the league all year, and posted an amazing 9 200+ games.  No one else has more than 4.  Danny Diesel has had a few big games, but overall played below expectations.  Hot Mango Mike had a strong stretch, and Buffalo Booth picked up when he needed to.  The real strength has been the emergence of Chernobyl Lane and Valley Girl Jess.  Lane was a late addition, who is now rolling as well as any woman not named La Gatita.  Jess has been a constant.  Binga’s has been sleepwalking a bit lately, but for them that means rolling around 600 as a team and winning 13-2.  They step it up when they think they have a big game.  Them not reaching the finals would be a huge surprise, and if they are going to lose, I think it would have to be an upset in the quarters when Binga’s is taking it easy.  Odds to reach finals: 90%

Off Constantly had a shot at Binga’s earlier, and got handled.  Oz is the clear #2 in the league, and has had only one off week.  Right now, OC is in a little trouble but they have time to recover.  Dick Liquor is nursing a wrist injury and will probably wait til the quarterfinals to reappear.  Tron is near the top 10, but has been slowly fading, as his mulberry ball is difficult to control, an untameable stallion.  Honey Bunny and Knuffi have the potential for big games, and are definitely consistent, but haven’t turned it on yet.  All these concerns stated, however, this team lives for the playoffs.  They are like the anti-Saucy Posse.  I pity their first playoff opponent, because the OC is rolling with a chip on their shoulder.  Odds to reach finals: 75%

The Darkhorse

Urban Achievers: J Hammer is one of the nicest captains in the league, so I’ll forgive the drama of DRMA.  Last year this team got lambasted for being too guy heavy.  They were kind of like the old Pistons Bad Boy teams.  This year, in a totally unpredicted twist, they have remade the team as they “attack with the estrogen, [bowl] against the best of men.”   La Gatita is the runaway choice for Rookie of the Year, and is tied with Oz for second with 4 200+ games.  Pinky, one of last year’s strongest lady-bowlers, has almost been lost in the glare, but has been a consistent force.  Moose Knuckles is rolling well in spite of his unorthodox approach of hurling the ball half-way down the lane in the air.  I can already imagine me wincing every time he tries that throw in my new alley, smashing my precious lanes to pieces.  And then DRMA, he of the uncontrolled rage, is playing really well.  J Hammer just needs to keep that rage focused.  These guys are on a 7 game win streak since their opening week loss, but that loss was to OC, and OC and Binga’s are the gold standard.  So, until they knock off one of those teams, they are locked into this third place limbo.  Odds to reach finals: 10%

The Formidable Opponents

Dirty Half Dozen, B.E.E.R., Livin’ On A Spare: These teams all have shown the ability to put together the type of game it would take to knock off one of the favorites, but have yet to prove they can do it consistently.  In the playoffs, however, you only need to pull it together once to upset a far superior team (think 2007 Giants).  Let’s start with DHD.  They may be pissed to find themselves in this category, as they have reached the finals in both years of BoPo.  They have a nose for the playoffs.  Pirate has been the only constant for DHD this year, and Riggs has played well below his capabilities as he deals with dad-hood.  That said, you never know when Jeltz, Riggs or Harlyn P will throw a 200 game.  When they do, they know Pirate will be there to take 2nd.  Then throw in Lil’ P, one of the most clutch playoff performers in BoPo history (her last frame split pickup against Binga’s in the finals, with her team facing elimination, was exhilirating).  I guess DHD reaching the finals would be the least surprising surprise.  Livin On A Spare has the talent, but they have a short bench, and have yet to prove they have playoff mettle.  Precious burst on to the scene a few weeks back, but has a tendency to follow monster games with strangely bad ones.  Shithawk has learned to fly this year, and could be a dangerous playoff roller.  Then there’s last year’s PDA award winning couple Coco and Natro.  Coco has been incredibly consistent this year, with a 140’s average, and occasional 170-190 scores.  Natro has been on a long steady decline all season, but he has the ability to lead this team on a run.  Alley-Lujah will have to keep this team from getting down after a bad game.  B.E.E.R. has the drive, and they have the Big Cheese.  Cheddar has been a consistent top 5er since his arrival in the league.  He’s the BEER security blanket, but until this year didn’t have the right running partners.  This year Hungus has shown flashes, particularly against the top teams, and is in the top 20.  With his game getting shakier in the last few weeks, Filthy McNasty has come into his own.  If those two get hot in the playoffs, watch out.  Fern and Slow Roll who joined BEER this year, have rolled well in limited appearances.  Then there’s the Bishop and Tom Richards.  One thing that can be said of them is that they have no reaction to pressure, which could serve them well in the playoffs.  Hell, you never know what you’re gonna get from the Hacksaw.  The team will likely try to fuel him with Margaritas for a deep tourney run.  Odds to reach finals: 5% each

The Lottery Tickets

Saucy Posse, Gutterballs, Young and the Bowled: Your chances of winning Powerball are pretty infinitesimal, but you can’t win without a ticket.  This group all has that $1 chance.  They each have the following formula that makes them dangerous.  An ace at the top of their rotation who has the ability any week to put up a 190 avg (Walter, Rusty Nail, Pistol Pete, respectively), a Top 20 woman (N Sauce, Lolo, RR) a number two bowler that can have big weeks (Redonk, Big Ed, Senator ITZ) and a great motivator at the helm as captain (Special Sauce, Daddy TL, and Lou Dawg).  It would take some magic, but as Lloyd said, “so you’re saying there’s a chance!”  Odds of reaching finals: 2.5% each

The Scratch Tickets

Sweet Rolls, Huevos Rancheros, CB O’Nutz, Incredibowls, Pinups: Also playing the lottery, but with a much lower prize if they win.  I won’t break it down too much, but each of these teams is missing one or two of the pieces of the formula that the ‘Lottery Ticket’ teams have, in most cases, the ace at the top of the rotation.  However, these teams all have depth and consistency, so are sitting there if any teams slip up.  The Pinups would be a Lottery Ticket if Chunk hadn’t retired.  The Incredibowls have the confidence born of a long playoff run last season.  O’Nutz has the intensity, Sweet Rolls has the child-like innocence and pure joy, and Huevos has the A-Frame/Barry combo, with the motivation of Bubbles spurring them on.  Odds of reaching finals: 0.5% each

So, that’s 14 teams that won’t be angry at this writeup.  That leaves 17 that might be.  TDYOB certainly will be – I know Dr. Thunder will insist he’s coaching a Scratch Ticket.

The George Masons

TDYOB, ICBING, Strikes of Hazzard, Roll Another: I’m not saying these guys are facing the internal contradictions of a founding father who owned slaves but opposed slavery (huh?), I am saying they are a little like the unheralded school that made an inspiring run to the NCAA Final Four.  These teams would have to shock the world to reach the final four, but at least it is almost imaginable.  ICBING’s Fabio and the Strikes’ Uncle Jesse have both shown flashes of brilliance.  TDYOB is just rolling on sheer determination in the face of overwhelming odds, and Roll Another has been to enough playoffs to maybe surprise a newcomer team.  That said, I’d give you 100-1 odds on any of them reaching the Semis.

The Princetons

Wrecking Balls, Pud’s Taxi, Happy Hands, No Pins Intended, 3 Livers, Bowlderdash: These teams would all have to consider the postseason successful if they could pull a first round upset.Wrecking Balls, No Pins and Three Livers are certainly a little more dangerous than the others, thanks to Swing/Dude, Oolie, and Wilma.  If Bernie or Wut What turned it on, a 3L or NPI win wouldn’t be totally shocking.  I don’t really see a way for the other three here to win a game, but noone could see a way that Princeton could beat Georgetown either.  I’d probably give you 750-1 odds on these teams reaching the semis,  maximum bet, $.01.

The Happy To Be Heres

The Who?, UREA!, Splits Happen, Madbotts, Lesbowlians, Three Fingered Willies, Great Lost Spares: The good news for these teams is that six of them will be matched against each other in one-game play-in matches, so each may experience the euphoria of a playoff win.  They also prove that it’s tough to be an expansion team.