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Easier said than done

Preseason predictions tougher to make than criticize

Posted: Friday August 31, 2007 11:26AM; Updated: Friday August 31, 2007 12:15PM
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Selecting the Saints to win the Super Bowl next February is not a decision Dr. Z made without predicting every game first.
Selecting the Saints to win the Super Bowl next February is not a decision Dr. Z made without predicting every game first.
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I was wondering when we were going to get into the topic of how the 2007 season will play out. It's not that I don't like discussing dogfighting, especially now that a religious commitment seems to have entered the picture, but we can get to that later. For the moment, let us recognize the hard work and dedication shown by ... are you ready? The envelope, please. Shown by my E-mailer of the Week, Aaron Knoll, representing the great city of Buffalo, N.Y. The NY part being important, since my ex-wife lives in Buffalo Creek, Colo.

I see many hours of Aaron at work, poring over records of league standings going back nine years, calculating trends and anomalies. To summarize his keynote observations, distilled from 29 densely packed lines of statistical analysis, we have:

• Seven or eight teams will not repeat as division champions

• At least one team will go from first to last place

• The overall No. 1 seed in the playoffs is unlikely to repeat

• Only three divisions in the last seven years have looked the same the following season

His conclusion comes more in the way of advice to what he terms, and I did catch a bit of sarcasm here, Aaron, which should not be part of a researcher's repertoire ... to what he terms "so-called experts" (ooh, that hurts because I assume that you feel I am part of that class) -- mix it up, step out and make bold predictions, show some class.

I couldn't agree more. "Bold Paul," that's what they used to call me in grade school. And that's exactly what I did last year. I picked a Miami-Carolina Super Bowl. Is that bold enough for you? And another thing, Aaron. Where, ahem, are your own predictions, based on your hours of research? In the course of my travels, I spent some time with an ancient people living on the border of Albania and Macedonia. They had this old saying, going back many hundreds of years, and I'll translate it for you as well as I can. The saying was, "Put your money where your mouth is."

I handicapped the '07 season by playing it out week by week, game by game, and then going with whatever record came up. You can do better? Let's see it. Name the wager, and mail your picks in to Andrew, marked IMPORTANT, preferably in different colored inks.

Kurt of Westlake Village, Calif., and Mark of Chicago are both barking up the same tree, and we know what this is about. Gentlemen, I couldn't agree with you more. What we're seeing now in the passion play called Vick Redeemed is an overload of bullsh--. I mean the kind of stuff dished up by a battery of well-paid PR employees.

Say you're sorry. I'm sorry. See that, he's sorry.

Say Jesus has come into your life. Jesus has come into my life. See that, he's deeply religious.

Can you find it in your heart, your grace, your lordship, to punish this deeply religious, sorrowful sinner?

I could NOT read this stuff when it surfaced. The Flaming Redhead had to read it to me, in summary form, and I couldn't take even that. The league only has itself to blame. In searching for language to forgive even the most egregious felonies, clubs have mentioned "immaturity" and "bad advice," and being involved with "the wrong crowd," especially when the player involved is a super-star. Vick IS the wrong crowd that other people are involved in. He's the one giving the bad advice. And this thing has been going on for six years, on the record, and probably a lot more on top of that. Immature ... ? Hey, I've got to break it off. I can't keep going with this nonsense.

Thanks to Bill of Glen Carbon, Ill., for his words of encouragement. And thank you for mentioning my prospective book. These are the things I'm trying to convince the agent to pitch to the publishers, the fact that there are readers out there who actually care about me and what I have to say about my life. So far that's been a lesser consideration.

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