Tag Archives: Rankings

What We’ve Learned: The Baseball Power Rankings at the All-Star Break – The “Haiku” Edition

So, if you are one of the six regular readers of this blog, right now you are asking yourself just what in the hell is Haiku? In short, traditional Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterized by a very restrictive format consisting of 17  syllables in phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.

This restriction forces a juxtaposition of imagery or ideas and generally mixed with what the Japanese call kireji, or “cutting.” It isn’t “cutting” as you would normally think of it; it isn’t really something slicing through something else, but at the same time it is just that. To make a long story short, it’s a lot of that artsy-fartsy shit like “a crystal clear picture painted with a vague brush’ that’s only appreciated  those hipster-doofuses who smoke clove cigarettes and hang around the liberal arts building at (insert your local college here) when they are working part-time at Barnes & Noble.

In fact, I had just such a doofus explain this “cutting” thing to me as “the juxtaposition of two images or ideas with a kireji word between them acting as a verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colors the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.”

I tried figuring out just what the fuck that meant until some brown stuff started leaking out of my ears, then it dawned on me. It’s exactly the same undefinable reason why baseball is a great metaphor for life while at the same time being a shitty metaphor for life.  It’s why the colloquial American lexicon is full of baseball terms, and yet anybody who uses more than two of them in any one sentence is likely a sub-literate.

After that revelation, I thought why should I wrestle with this alone? Why not do one of my Power Rankings entirely in Haiku? Why not make some baseball fans’ brains bleed as well?

1) Washington Nationals ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Best starters in league

Team pitching stats are crazy

Bats awakening

2) Texas Rangers ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Texas bats don’t fail

Texas pitching often fails

This year is just same

3)  Los Angeles Angels ↑ 6

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Weaver and Haren

Awesome one-two starting punch

Pujols is Pujols

4) New York Yankees ↑ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Pitching Staff Falling

Sabathia Pettitte hurt

Ivan Nova is best left

5) Chicago White Sox ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Smoke and mirrors

Houdini made this mirage

Contender won’t last

6) Pittsburgh Pirates ↑ 15

What We Said Originally:

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Pirates no surprise

Tons of young talent living

In bad division

7) Los Angeles Dodgers ↓ 6

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Matt Kemp Clayton Kershaw

Ethier on the list too

Why Dodgers contend

8 )  San Francisco Giants ↑ 6

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Pitching carries team

Even though Lincecum sucks

Melky keys offense

9) Baltimore Orioles ↓ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their off-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Baltimore baseball

Loves meaningless history

Two decades of proof

10) Tampa Bay Rays ↓ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Six-man rotation

Yet none of them really suck

Yet Rays kind of suck

11) New York Mets ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

The Mid-Season Haiku:

When R.A. Dickey

Is by far your best pitcher

Your life is mirage

12) Cleveland Indians ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get ba They also have the best home record in all of baseball.ck into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Somehow not shitty

Can pitch but have no offense

Shin-Soo Choo Korean sneeze

13)  Cincinnati Reds ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Great American

Ballpark holds team powered by

Mostly foriegners

14) Atlanta Braves ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Chipper’s last hurrah

While team disintegrates like

Chipper’s ligaments

15) Detroit Tigers ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Slugger’s paradox

Cabrera and Fielder

Yet team lacks power

16) Boston Red Sox ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Worst .500 team

Valentine captains a ship

Which hit iceberg twice

17) Miami Marlins ↓ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Guillen loves Castro

As he not as huge asshole

As Ken Williams

18 ) St. Louis Cardinals ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Lance Lynn lifted staff

Lance Berkman’s big lefty bat

Replaced by Beltran

19) Toronto Blue Jays ↓ 3

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Canada’s baseball pride

Needs pitchers who are not in

Intensive Care Unit

20) Arizona Diamondbacks ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Arizona snakes

Swallowing their own venom

No playoff repeat

21) Oakland Athletics ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

A’s have Cespedes

Ryan Cook and little else

At least no Manny

22) Milwaukee Brewers ↑ 3

What We  Originally Said:

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

The Mid-Season Haiku:

No Prince Fielder

Leaves Ryan Braun alone with

His tainted sample

23) Philadelphia Phillies ↓ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Phillies make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Team can’t be a winner

When it can’t even get right

Roy Halladay doll

24) Kansas City Royals ↑ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

The ghost of George Brett

Cries when sees yet another

Great player leave town

25) Minnesota Twins ↑ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Willingham and Plouffe

Deserve shampoo ad more than

Overpaid slap hitter

26)  San Diego Padres ↑ 2

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Diego baseball

Much in common with Bigfoot

Rumored to exist

27)  Colorado Rockies ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Even Yoda knows

Tulowitzki and Car-Go

The whole of team is

28)  Seattle Mariners ↓ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Felix Hernandez

Can only pitch, but team needs more

More of everything

29) Chicago Cubs ↑ 1

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Cubs under Ricketts

Like bad date when one wants sex

Gets only hand-job

30) Houston Astros ↓ 10

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

The Mid-Season Haiku:

Houston, we have a

Problem of epic status

Football months away

What We’ve Learned: The Dubsism Memorial Day Baseball Power Rankings

1) Los Angeles Dodgers ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and neither of those two are the reason headline reason right now this team is the currently best in the National League.  Matt Kemp is hurt,  Kershaw is doing what Kershaw does, but check out these pitching facts:

  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 50 strikeouts
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 5 wins (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had three starters with Batting Averages Against under .210 (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the only member of the Dodgers’ rotation without at least 40 strikeouts is Ted Lilly

Ted Lilly…really?

2) Tampa Bay Rays ↑ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

What Actually Happened:

The Rays have 4 grand slams this season, which leads the major leagues.  They also have the best home record in all of baseball.

3) Washington Nationals ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

What Actually Happened:

The pitching has been tremendous, with the exception of the recent flame-out of Ross Detweiler, and this team is getting healthy. Chien-Ming Wang is slated to take Detweiler’s rotation spot, Ryan Zimmerman is back and starting to take on his $100 million form,  and Michael Morse is on a rehab assignment at Class-A Potomac.

4) Texas Rangers ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

What Actually Happened:

Prototypical Texas Ranger baseball…massive lumber and quasi-shaky pitching.  Josh Hamilton continues to torch American League pitchers, and Nelson Cruz is also on a hot streak. But the pitching is showing some cracks with the injuries to Neftali Feliz, the aging Roy Oswalt is supposedly the savior coming from the minors, and it’s never a good sign for the bullpen when a reliever is second on the team with five wins.

5) Baltimore Orioles ↑ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their off-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

What Actually Happened:

I still don’t buy this team long-term; I just don’t think they have the pitching to stay in a race.  However, right now they have the best road record in baseball, and they have five hitters with at least 20 RBI in 40 games played.

6) Chicago White Sox ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

What Actually Happened:

Earlier, I said this team was a “smoke and mirror” job. Then, the Mighty Whiteys were riding a perfect game tossed by a nobody and an 340 performance by Alex Rios, both of which I knew wouldn’t last. What I didn’t see coming was the resurgence of Adam Dunn and an MVP-esque performance from Paul Konerko. which won’t last.

7) New York Yankees ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

What Actually Happened:

This team gives me more reason to rate them lower than higher, yet somehow they are winning with mediocre pitching and a lot of bats who are not performing up to the usual standards.

8 ) New York Mets ↑ 12

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

What Actually Happened:

It must be a New York thing. Just like the Yankees, I have more reasons to downgrade this team. Like the Yankees, the Mets pitching is weak. Just like the Yankees, this team keeps winning and I don’t really understand why.

9)  Los Angeles Angels ↔ 

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

What Actually Happened:

Since the last time I did this ranking, the Angels plummeted and have re-risen. Albert Pujols is clearly back to his expected form, and he looks to be leading a general resurgence of the Angels offense.  But it is the pitching that has carried this team so far; two starters have a batting average against under .200, and three have at least 54 strikeouts.

10) Miami Marlins ↑ 13

What We Originally Said:

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

What Actually Happened:

The Marlins could be a Florida version of the Angels in the sense they came into the season with big expectations, then struggled early, and are now starting to look like the team we thought they might be.

11) Cleveland Indians ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get back into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

What Actually Happened:

Please refer to my comments on this team from the previous rankings.

Don’t even tell me about this team being in first place.  I bit on the Indians last year, and I’m not about to do it again.  This team in many ways could be a mirror image of the Orioles, and they will be a memory by July…

Here’s why they are where they are. They have suprisingly not-shitty pitching, but they can’t hit.

12)  Cincinnati Reds ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

What Actually Happened:

The Cincinnati Reds formula: Johnny Cueto + passable decent starting pitching + a solid bullpen + Jay Bruce and JoeyVotto – reasonable divisional competition =  barely above .500. Luckily, this happens to be good enough for first place in the NL Central.

13) Atlanta Braves ↓ 9

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

What Actually Happened:

This team looked so solid a month ago, then the problems hit.  Chipper Jones is going to the DL, which will cripple this offense because they can’t hit without him.  Brian McCann seems to have the western hemispheres first case of the bubonic plague in decades, David Ross strained his groin on a checked swing, Freddie Freeman needs to find a an optometrist better than the one at Wal-Mart, and they’ve yet to realize Tyler Pastornicky sucks.

14)  San Francisco Giants ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

What Actually Happened:

In a Bizarro World twist, the Giants who are known for thier pitching are oddly enough staying afloat on hitting. As for the pitching, the usual recipe for success ({insert starter here} for six innings, then some combination of Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, and/or Sergio Romo, then Brian Wilson in the 9th) hasn’t been in place all season. But that not the weird part. That is reserved for this little fact…Since 1960, the Giants have only had two seasons in which a player collected 200 hits (Bobby Bonds in 1970 and Rich Aurilia in 2001).  With 64 hits in 44 games played, Melky Cabrera is (wait ofr it…one of my favorite phrases ever…) is on a pace for 225 hits (assuming he plays 155 games).

15) Philadelphia Phillies ↓ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Phillies make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

What Actually Happened:

At one point, I said this team was a wild-card because you really couldn’t tell which way they were going. Now you can, and it isn’t the good way.  Forget the injuries, forget the pitching, and forget everything else. This is a team that can’t even get a Roy Halladay bobblehead correct.

16) Toronto Blue Jays ↓ 6

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

What Actually Happened:

This isn’t so much a descent as it is a return to earth. This team has a future, but that future isn’t necessarily today.

17) Detroit Tigers ↓ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder, yet still sucks. You explain it to me so we’ll both know.

18 ) St. Louis Cardinals ↓ 10

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

What Actually Happened:

Remember when I said for the Cardinals to have any hope, Lance Berkman needed to get healthy and Matt Holliday had  to bat better than .215? Well, one of those things happened, but the loss of Berkman likely dooms this team.

19) Boston Red Sox ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

What Actually Happened:

Yet another case where there is precious little change from what I originally thought. Bobby Valentine took a soap opera and made it into one those really cheesy drama you see on Telemundo. Plus, this may be the worst .500 team I’ve ever seen.

20) Houston Astros ↑ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

What Actually Happened:

The Astros are the .500 photo negative of the Red Sox…they prove you don’t need big contracts, drama queens, and a dipshit manager to be mediocre at best. At least for Houston, this is a dramatic improvement.

21) Pittsburgh Pirates ↑ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

What Actually Happened:

See the Houston Astros, except the Pirates actually have a few honest-to-goodness major leaguers. This, of course, does not include A. J. Burnett.

22) Arizona Diamondbacks ↓ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

What Actually Happened:

The offense went south; Justin Upton might well be on a milk carton and this team sorely misses Stephen Drew. Plus, the pitching clearly is not going to repeat last year’s performance.

23) Oakland Athletics ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

What Actually Happened:

How the A’s have won 9 games all while being last in the league in average, slugging percentage, and hitting with runners in scoring position is a minor miracle.

24)  Seattle Mariners ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

What Actually Happened:

To quote Dennis Green…They are who we thought they were. Jason Vargas and King Felix to give the Mariners a solid 1-2 combination, but to say this team has little else is like saying Oprah Winfrey has a “little bit” of a weight problem.

25) Milwaukee Brewers  14

What We  Originally Said:

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

What Actually Happened:

So much for Wily Peralta…he got shipped back to the minors. So much for Mat Gamel…he tore an ACL and is done for the season. Maybe Ryan Braun can get this sample of a season tossed.

26)  Colorado Rockies ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

What Actually Happened:

There’s only three reasons to pay any attention to this team: Carlos Gonzlaez, Troy Tulowitzki, and the on-going Jamie Moyer saga.

27) Kansas City Royals ↑ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

What Actually Happened:

Image from Royales With Cheese

This is clearly not a case of this team improving; this team couldn’t suck more if you gave them a fully-automated, electrically-powered, full-on sucking machine.  Rather, it is a case of the three teams below the Royals got worse.

28)  San Diego Padres ↓ 1

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

What Actually Happened:

It’s not really that hard to meet expectations when nobody expects anything from you.

29) Minnesota Twins ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

What Actually Happened:

When does Ron Gardenhire become Ron Garden-fired? Forget it, it won’t matter because firing Gardy to improve the Twins is like curing a bad case of syphilis by chopping off your junk.

30) Chicago Cubs ↓ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

What Actually Happened:

The Cubs are usually finished once the ivy blooms. Thanks to an unusually warm spring in Chicago, that happened early this year. While this may not be the worst team the Cubs have put on the field in my lifetime, they are certainly trying to get there.


What We’ve Learned: The Dubsism Baseball Power Rankings After 10% Of The Season

1) Washington Nationals ↑ 13

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

What Actually Happened:

The pitching has been exceptional; the starters have an ERA of 1.72. Nobody in the lineup is tearing the cover off the ball, but this team only needs to score three runs to win. Even though it’s early, it is time to get worried about the injury factor – Elvin Ramirez, Chien-Ming Wang, Cole Kimball, Drew Storen, Chris Marrero, and Michael Morse are already on the DL, and we are waiting MRI results on Ryan Zimmerman.

2) Los Angeles Dodgers ↑ 16

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

What Actually Happened:

Two words: Matt Kemp…and getting rid of Frank McCourt didn’t hurt either.

3) Texas Rangers ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

What Actually Happened:

Josh Hamilton is still playing like the MVP-caliber player he can be, Yu Darvish is showing signs of being the “real deal,” and this team is leading the league in runs scored and team ERA. That’s a tough combination to beat.

4) Atlanta Braves ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

What Actually Happened:

The Upside? The Braves are first in the National League in runs scores and second in home runs. The Downside? The Braves are twelfth in the National League in team ERA.

5) New York Yankees ↓ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

What Actually Happened:

It’s not like the Yanks don’t already have enough offensive weapons, now all of a sudden Nick Swisher is leading the American League in RBIs, and Derek “Retirement Home” Jeter is hitrting .400.

6) Detroit Tigers ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

What Actually Happened:

The rib cage injury to Doug Fister hurts, and they will need him back and healthy before October, but this team should be just fine until then. Nobody else in the AL Central is legit, and that includes the smoke and mirror job known ans the White Sox.

7) Tampa Bay Rays ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

What Actually Happened:

The Rays have five guys with a slugging percentage north of .550, and they have three starters with ERA under 3.50.

8 ) St. Louis Cardinals ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

What Actually Happened:

Seven guys batting .320 or better, five guys slugging .500 or better, and four starters with ERAs under 2.50.  But this team needs Lance Berkman to get healthy and Matt Holliday to bat better than .215.

9)  Los Angeles Angels ↓ 8 

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

What Actually Happened:

Albert Pujols has yet to happen. This team has far too much talent both on the hill and at the plate to not be in the top ten despite their slow start. Raise your hand if you think this team won’t be a factor come October…

10) Toronto Blue Jays ↑ 5

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

What Actually Happened:

We stand by the original statements. It really isn’t Jose Bautista’s fault everybody quit pitching to him; but it will be a while before opposing pitchers fear his protection enough to pitch to him again.  But that will happen given the rate at which Toronto’s young talent is developing. Thios team has a future, but that future isn’t necessarily today.

11) Milwaukee Brewers ↑ 5

What We  Originally Said:

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

What Actually Happened:

So much for Wily Peralta…he got shipped back to the minors on Monday.  Somehow, this team is 2nd in the National League in home runs considering Corey “Wears his sunglasses at night” Hart leads this team in the triple-crown categories (.286/5 HR/12 RBI).  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m the first who made that joke.

12) Philadelphia Phillies ↓ 9

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Phillies make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

What Actually Happened:

This team is a complete wild-card. Between, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley, this team has $56 million on the disabled list.  If they get healthy soon, they can still be a contender just on the pitching staff alone. But if they don’t, they could be an afterthought by the all-star break.

13) Chicago White Sox ↑ 10

What We Originally Said:

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

What Actually Happened:

Earlier, we said this team is a “smoke and mirror” job. This team is where it is now based on a perfect game tossed by a nobody and an early .340 performance by Alex Rios, which won’t last.

14)  Cincinnati Reds ↓ 6

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

What Actually Happened:

Thanks to the “Ligament Shredder,” Ryan Madson has already been through the “Tommy John” surgery. You know this won’t be the only damage Dusty does.   This team will hit, which will keep them in contention in a weak division, but Dusty will once again turn the bullpen into a graveyard.

15)  San Francisco Giants ↓ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

What Actually Happened:

The loss of Brian “The Beard” Wilson may be fatal. The Giants’ recipe for success has been (insert starter here) for six innings, then some combination of Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, and Sergio Romo, then Wilson in the 9th. Without Wilson, and worse yet, with Lincecum and Cain unable to reliably deliver the first six, this team can’t win.

16) Baltimore Orioles ↑ 6

What We Originally Said:

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their off-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

What Actually Happened:

OK, so the O’s have won ten games so far, so why are they ranked so low? Because they are the O’s. The best this team can hope for is mediocre, and they haven’t looked all that good in winning.  You can count on this team to fade soon; they just don’t have the horses to stay in a race.

17) Arizona Diamondbacks ↓ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

What Actually Happened:

Just what we thought…the starting rotation has two guys with ERAs north of 6.00. Without a repeat of the pitching performances from last year, this team can’t rely on inconsistent bats.

18) Cleveland Indians ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get back into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

What Actually Happened:

Don’t even tell me about this team being in first place.  I bit on the Indians last year, and I’m not about to do it again.  This team in many ways could be a mirror image of the Orioles, and they will be a memory by July as well.

19) Boston Red Sox ↓ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

What Actually Happened:

The starting pitching sucks, the relievers aren’t much better…and…wait for it…there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine.  The Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards are coming soon.

20) New York Mets ↑ 4

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

What Actually Happened:

We’ll keep this simple…the Mets still suck, just not as much at first as we thought.

21) Oakland Athletics ↑ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

What Actually Happened:

How the A’s have won 9 games all while being last in the league in average, slugging percentage, and hitting with runners in scoring position is a minor miracle.

22)  Colorado Rockies ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

What Actually Happened:

Moyer is the best pitcher in a starting rotation consisting of guys all young enough to be Moyer’s kids. Despite that, none of the youngsters can do better than an ERA of 2.28 and a WHIP of 1.35.

23) Miami Marlins ↓ 14

What We Originally Said:

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

What Actually Happened:

Could this be…I hate to say this…but could this be yet another “dream team” that fails to perform?  How long before Jeffrey Loria is wiring the blasting caps to blow this thing up?

24)  Seattle Mariners ↓ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

What Actually Happened:

Jason Vargas and Blake Beavan joined with King Felix to give the Mariners a reasonable front three in a rotation. The trouble is the lumber is still in a slumber; no Mariner has gone deep more than twice.

25) Pittsburgh Pirates ↔

What We Said Originally:

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

What Actually Happened:

A.J. Burnett bunts a ball into his face literally within the first five times he handles a bat. This may prove to be a blessing, but the reality now is the Pirates are lousy.

26) Chicago Cubs ↔

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

What Actually Happened:

The Cubs are usually finished once the ivy blooms. Thanks to an unusually warm spring in Chicago, that happened early this year.

27)  San Diego Padres ↔

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

What Actually Happened:

It’s not really that hard to meet expectations when nobody expects anything from you.

28) Houston Astros ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

What Actually Happened:

Wandy Rodriguez has respectable numbers for a pitcher.  In Houston, that makes him one of a dozen.

29) Minnesota Twins ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

What Actually Happened:

When does Ron Gardenhire become Ron Garden-fired? The Twins haven’t canned a manager since the same year Jamie Moyer made his major league debut (yes, every single baseball time reference on this blog will orbit around Planet Moyer). The last manager to be fired by the Minnesota Twins was Ray Miller on September 12th, 1986.  Let’s be honest, Garden-fired’s success came from players developed by Tom Kelly, and Garden-fired’s 6-21 play-off record makes him one of the worst post-season mangers ever. However, to be fair, it isn’t like he is going to get a chance to change those numbers anytime soon.

30) Kansas City Royals ↓ 13

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

What Actually Happened:

This team couldn’t suck more if you gave them a fully-automated, electrically-powered, full-on sucking machine. This team couldn’t suck more if you crossed them with Linda Lovelace and the Vietnamese “Me love you long time” girl from Full Metal Jacket.  It all starts when you have to say Bruce Chen is your Opening Day starter. For every other team in the league, that’ s an April Fools’ joke. For the Royals, that’s a fucking sucking reality.

The Dubsism 2012 Pre-Season Baseball Power Rankings

1)  Los Angeles Angels

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

2) New York Yankees

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

3)  Philadelphia Phillies

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Philles make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

4) Atlanta Braves

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

5) Texas Rangers

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

6) Detroit Tigers

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

7) Tampa Bay Rays

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

8 )  Cincinnati Reds

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

9) Miami Marlins

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

10) St. Louis Cardinals

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

11)  San Francisco Giants

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

12) Boston Red Sox

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

13) Arizona Diamondbacks

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

14) Washington Nationals

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

15) Toronto Blue Jays

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

16) Milwaukee Brewers

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

17) Kansas City Royals

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

18) Los Angeles Dodgers

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

19) Cleveland Indians

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get back into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

20)  Colorado Rockies

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

21)  Seattle Mariners

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

22) Baltimore Orioles

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their of-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

23) Chicago White Sox

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

24) New York Mets

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

25) Pittsburgh Pirates

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

26) Chicago Cubs

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

27)  San Diego Padres

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

28) Minnesota Twins

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

29) Oakland Athletics

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

30) Houston Astros

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

- Dubsism is a proud member of the Sports Blog Movement

The Dubsism “Anti-Kiper” 2012 NFL Draft Board

Now that we are finally past the Super Bowl, it is time to address the needs of your team heading into the NFL Draft. So, while you are spending today erasing that fog in your head made of far too much cheap beer and delivery pizza, take a few moments to look forward so that your team can give itself a better shot to be where the Giants find themselves today.

Everybody has a NFL Draft “Big Board.” But unlike the ones you  get from the “professionals” at ESPN, we here at Dubsism offer a draft board based on the fact we actually have watched college football at some point in our lifetimes. This means we don’t care about how much we love to hear our own bloviation, there isn’t another blog out there taking shots at us yet (so we don’t have that whole “Mel Kiper/Todd McShay thing happening), and we aren’t worried about how much face time our increasingly oddly-shaped pompadour gets.

Rather, we would rather put out rookie  draft “shopping list” that we feel is our best effort to help you, the NFL fan who knows almost nothing about college football beyond Andrew Luck. We also won’t give you any flowery summaries of these players; there’s eight billion other sites doing that. Our model is you peruse the lists, both overall and by position, and decide which of these guys may help plug the numerous holes your favorite team has. However, we don’t bother with kickers and punters, largely because they are literally a “dime-a-dozen” and if you think a kicker is all that separates your team from a Super Bowl, you likely need a psychiatrist more than a draft board.

After the Super Bowl, we will revisit this list with some advice on what your sorry-ass team needs to do in order to improve itself, and this board will play a large part in that counsel. The one thing I would caution you against is that we here at Dubsism are firm believers in the “Mike Mamula” rule; meaning we don’t put much stock in the witchcraft that are the NFL Combines, so don’t expect this board to change significantly.

The Top Overall “Yes You Do Need Me, You Better Draft Me” 64:

  1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford
  2. Matt Kalil OT USC
  3. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
  4. Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina
  5. Trent Richardson RB Alabama
  6. Morris Claiborne CB LSU
  7. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
  8. Riley Reiff OT Iowa
  9. Devon Still DT Penn State
  10. Vontaze Burfict ILB Arizona State
  11. Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
  12. Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers
  13. Melvin Ingram DE South Carolina
  14. David DeCastro G Stanford
  15. Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
  16. Whitney Mercilus OLB Illinois
  17. Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi St
  18. Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College
  19. Zach Brown ILB North Carolina
  20. Mike Adams OT Ohio State
  21. Peter Konz C Wisconsin
  22. Jonathan Martin OT Stanford
  23. Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska
  24. Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
  25. Mark Barron S Alabama
  26. Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma State
  27. Nick Perry DE USC
  28. Michael Brockers DE LSU
  29. Chris Polk RB Washington
  30. Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame
  31. Andre Branch OLB Clemson
  32. Robert Turbin RB Utah State
  33. Dontari Poe DT Memphis
  34. Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama
  35. Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
  36. Bobby Massie OT Mississippi
  37. Kendall Wright WR Baylor
  38. Lamar Miller RB Miami (FL)
  39. Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma State
  40. Bruce Irvin DE West Virginia
  41. Nick Foles QB Arizona
  42. Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech
  43. Kelechi Osemele G Iowa State
  44. Chase Minnifield CB Virginia
  45. Ronnell Lewis OLB Oklahoma
  46. Dwayne Allen TE Clemson
  47. LaMichael James RB Oregon
  48. Juron Criner WR Arizona
  49. Brandon Thompson DT Clemson
  50. Zebrie Sanders OT Florida State
  51. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
  52. Markelle Martin S Oklahoma State
  53. Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina
  54. Jared Crick DE Nebraska
  55. Brandon Washington G Miami (FL)
  56. Andrew Datko OT Florida State
  57. Coby Fleener TE Stanford
  58. Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State
  59. Dwight Jones WR North Carolina
  60. Ben Jones C Georgia
  61. Coryell Judie CB Texas A&M
  62. Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington
  63. Brandon Mosley OT Auburn
  64. Josh Chapman DT Alabama

The Top 15 By Position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford
  2. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
  3. Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma State
  4. Nick Foles QB Arizona
  5. Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
  6. B.J. Coleman QB Chattanooga
  7. Brock Osweiler QB Arizona State
  8. Kellen Moore QB Boise State
  9. Ryan Lindley QB San Diego State
  10. Kirk Cousins QB Michigan State
  11. Jacory Harris QB Miami (FL)
  12. Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin
  13. G.J. Kinne QB Tulsa
  14. Patrick Witt QB Yale
  15. Dominique Davis QB East Carolina

Running Backs

  1. Trent Richardson RB Alabama
  2. Chris Polk RB Washington
  3. Robert Turbin RB Utah State
  4. Lamar Miller RB Miami (FL)
  5. LaMichael James RB Oregon
  6. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
  7. Doug Martin RB Boise State
  8. Bernard Pierce RB Temple
  9. Cyrus Gray RB Texas A&M
  10. Terrance Ganaway RB Baylor
  11. Isaiah Pead RB Cincinnati
  12. Dan Herron RB Ohio State
  13. Ronnie Hillman RB San Diego State
  14. Vick Ballard RB Mississippi State
  15. Tauren Poole RB Tennessee

Wide Receivers

  1. Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina
  2. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State
  3. Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers
  4. Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame
  5. Kendall Wright WR Baylor
  6. Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech
  7. Juron Criner WR Arizona
  8. Dwight Jones WR North Carolina
  9. T.Y. Hilton WR Florida Int’l
  10. Nick Toon WR Wisconsin
  11. Marvin McNutt WR Iowa
  12. A.J. Jenkins WR Illinois
  13. Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma
  14. Jeff Fuller WR Texas A&M
  15. Jarius Wright WR Arkansas

Tight Ends

  1. Dwayne Allen TE Clemson
  2. Coby Fleener TE Stanford
  3. Orson Charles TE Georgia
  4. Ladarius Green TE Louisiana-Lafayette
  5. Michael Egnew TE Missouri
  6. Brian Linthicum TE Michigan State
  7. Rhett Ellison TE USC
  8. Kevin Koger TE Michigan
  9. David Paulson TE Oregon
  10. George Bryan TE North Carolina State
  11. Josh Chichester TE Louisville
  12. Deangelo Peterson TE LSU
  13. Anthony Miller TE California
  14. Beau Reliford TE Florida State
  15. Nick Provo TE Syracuse

Offensive Tackles

  1. Matt Kalil OT USC
  2. Riley Reiff OT Iowa
  3. Mike Adams OT Ohio State
  4. Jonathan Martin OT Stanford
  5. Bobby Massie OT Mississippi
  6. Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma State
  7. Zebrie Sanders OT Florida State
  8. Andrew Datko OT Florida State
  9. Brandon Mosley OT Auburn
  10. Nate Potter OT Boise State
  11. Mitchell Schwartz OT California
  12. Tony Bergstrom OT Utah
  13. Matt McCants OT UAB
  14. Landon Walker OT Clemson
  15. Tom Compton OT South Dakota

Interior Offensive Lineman

  1. David DeCastro G Stanford
  2. Peter Konz C Wisconsin
  3. Kelechi Osemele G Iowa State
  4. Brandon Washington G Miami (FL)
  5. Ben Jones C Georgia
  6. Cordy Glenn G Georgia
  7. Kevin Zeitler G Wisconsin
  8. William Vlachos C Alabama
  9. Amini Silatolu G Midwestern State
  10. James Brown G Troy
  11. Quinton Saulsberry C Mississippi State
  12. Senio Kelemete G Washington
  13. Brandon Brooks G Miami (OH)
  14. David Molk C Michigan
  15. Lucas Nix G Pittsburgh

Defensive Tackles

  1. Devon Still DT Penn State
  2. Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi St
  3. Dontari Poe DT Memphis
  4. Brandon Thompson DT Clemson
  5. Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State
  6. Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington
  7. Josh Chapman DT Alabama
  8. Cam Johnson DT Virginia
  9. Marcus Forston DT Miami (FL)
  10. Hebron Fangupo DT BYU
  11. Jaye Howard DT Florida
  12. Mike Daniels DT Iowa
  13. Brett Roy DT Nevada
  14. Mike Martin DT Michigan
  15. Nicolas Jean-Baptiste DT Baylor

Defensive Ends

  1. Melvin Ingram DE South Carolina
  2. Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
  3. Nick Perry DE USC
  4. Michael Brockers DE LSU
  5. Bruce Irvin DE West Virginia
  6. Jared Crick DE Nebraska
  7. Vinny Curry DE Marshall
  8. Kendall Reyes DE Connecticut
  9. Chandler Jones DE Syracuse
  10. Kheeston Randall DE Texas
  11. Jonathan Massaquoi DE Troy
  12. Jake Bequette DE Arkansas
  13. Billy Winn DE Boise State
  14. Matt Conrath DE Virginia
  15. Trevor Guyton DE California

Outside Linebackers

  1. Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
  2. Whitney Mercilus OLB Illinois
  3. Andre Branch OLB Clemson
  4. Ronnell Lewis OLB Oklahoma
  5. Bobby Wagner OLB Utah State
  6. Lavonte David OLB Nebraska
  7. Travis Lewis OLB Oklahoma
  8. Brandon Lindsey OLB Pittsburgh
  9. Emmanuel Acho OLB Texas
  10. Keenan Robinson OLB Texas
  11. Tank Carder OLB TCU
  12. Nigel Bradham OLB Florida State
  13. Tyler Nielsen OLB Iowa
  14. Julian Miller OLB West Virginia
  15. Josh Kaddu OLB Oregon

Inside Linebackers

  1. Vontaze Burfict ILB Arizona State
  2. Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College
  3. Zach Brown ILB North Carolina
  4. Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama
  5. Sean Spence ILB Miami (FL)
  6. Audie Cole ILB North Carolina State
  7. James-Michael Johnson ILB Nevada
  8. Terrell Manning ILB North Carolina State
  9. Mychal Kendricks ILB California
  10. Nathan Stupar ILB Penn State
  11. Chris Galippo ILB USC
  12. Jerry Franklin ILB Arkansas
  13. Max Gruder ILB Pittsburgh
  14. Adrien Cole ILB Louisiana Tech
  15. D.J. Holt ILB California

Cornerbacks

  1. Morris Claiborne CB LSU
  2. Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
  3. Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska
  4. Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
  5. Chase Minnifield CB Virginia
  6. Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina
  7. Coryell Judie CB Texas A&M
  8. Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech
  9. Brandon Boykin CB Georgia
  10. Casey Hayward CB Vanderbilt
  11. Trumaine Johnson CB Montana
  12. Shaun Prater CB Iowa
  13. Leonard Johnson CB Iowa State
  14. Josh Robinson CB Central Florida
  15. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

Safeties

  1. Mark Barron S Alabama
  2. Markelle Martin S Oklahoma State
  3. Aaron Henry S Wisconsin
  4. Antonio Allen S South Carolina
  5. Trenton Robinson S Michigan State
  6. Harrison Smith S Notre Dame
  7. Brandon Taylor S LSU
  8. Eddie Whitley S Virginia Tech
  9. George Iloka S Boise State
  10. Winston Guy S Kentucky
  11. Tysyn Hartman S Kansas State
  12. Duke Ihenacho S San Jose State
  13. D’Anton Lynn S Penn State
  14. Janzen Jackson S McNeese State
  15. Kelcie McCray S Arkansas State

The Dubsism 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Recap: My Wife Did In Fact Know More Than I Do

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original predictions that were made here back in August were based on an assumption the NCAA will would rule Ohio State, Miami (FL), and Auburn ineligible for post-season competition. These picks are noted, despite the fact that never happened; only Miami (FL) took itself out of bowl consideration. That’s not an excuse for my atrocious prognostication, but it’s what I’ve got.

As previously mentioned, since my wife gets to listen to most of these rants before they ever hit the interwebz, she thinks she actually knows more than me when it comes to college football. Of course, this meant a bowl-picking challenge…and she won.

Not only did she win, but like a typical joyless woman, she starts adding victory conditions after she knew she was likely to win. First, she tried to con me out of a dinner, one whose cost escalated with her increasing odds of victory.  Then, I had to listen to hour upon hour of her cackling crap, most of which was simply a lot of misplaced chatter compensating for her lousy fantasy football team. Then to top it off, there came demands to fill this post with images of glitter, unicorns, and some other stuff that was never going to happen.

And she wonders why she got slapped.

The Totals:

  • Dubsism: 23 correct picks out of 35 total
  • Mrs. Dubsism: 26 correct picks out of 35 total
The last week’s worth of gory details are shown here; previous lists detailing my epic domestic failure are here and here.

BCS Championship:

  • Monday, January 9th, New Orleans, Louisiana,  Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: BCS #1 vs. BCS #2 – Alabama (#1 SEC) vs. Wisconsin (#1 Big Ten)
  • Payout: $18,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: LSU (BCS #1, SEC #1) vs. Alabama (BCS#2, SEC #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: LSU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Alabama
  • The Actual Outcome: Alabama 21, LSU 0

Fiesta Bowl:

  • Thursday, January 5th, Glendale Arizona, University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 Champion/BCS vs. BCS At-Large – Oklahoma (#1 Big 12) vs. Boise State (#1 MWC)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup:  Oklahoma State (#1 Big 12) vs. Stanford (#2 Pac-12, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oklahoma State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction:  Stanford
  • The Actual Outcome: Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38

Rose Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Pasadena, California; Rose Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  Big Ten Champion/BCS vs. Pac-12 Champion/BCS – Oregon (#1 Pac-12) vs. Nebraska (#2 Big Ten)*
  • Payout : $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Wisconsin (Big Ten #1) vs. Oregon (Pac-12 #1)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oregon
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Wisconsin
  • The Actual Outcome: Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38

* I thought Nebraska would replace the Big Ten Champion (Wisconsin) which would be in BCS Championship. Didn’t happen.

Orange Bowl:

  • Wednesday, January 4th; Miami, Florida; Dolphin Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC Champion vs. Big East Champion/BCS – Florida State (#1 ACC) vs. West Virginia (#1 Big East)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Clemson (ACC #1) vs. West Virginia (Big East #1, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Clemson
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Clemson
  • The Actual Outcome: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33

Sugar Bowl:

  • Tuesday, January 3rd; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC Champion BCS vs. Big East Champion/BCS –  LSU (#2 SEC)* vs. Oklahoma State (#2 Big 12)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchupt: Michigan (Big Ten #2*, BCS at-large) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC #2, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Michigan
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Michigan
  • The Actual Outcome: Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20
*I thought LSU would replace the SEC Champion (Alabama) which would be in BCS Championship. Half-right…Michigan ends up here because of two SEC teams being in the BCS championship game.

Capital One Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Orlando, Florida; Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC #2 vs. Big Ten #2 – South Carolina (#3 SEC) vs. Michigan State (#4 Big Ten)*
  • Payout: $4,600,000
  • Actual Matchup: South Carolina (SEC #3) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction:  South Carolina
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction:  South Carolina
  • The Actual Outcome: South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13

*I thought Michigan State would replace Ohio State since we assumed the NCAA would rule them ineligible. Total whiff. I’d like to thank the NCAA for getting my back on that one.

Cotton Bowl Classic:

  • Friday, January 6th; Dallas, Texas; Cowboys Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #3 or #4 – Texas A&M (Big 12 #3) vs. Arkansas (SEC #4)
  • Payout: $3,625,000
  • Actual Matchup: Kansas State (Big 12 #2) vs. Arkansas (SEC #4)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Arkansas
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Kansas State
  • The Actual Outcome: Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16

Outback Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #3  vs. SEC #3 , #4, or #5  – Penn State (#5 Big Ten) vs. Mississippi State (#6 SEC) 
  • Payout $3,500,000
  • Actual Matchup:  Michigan State (Big Ten #4) vs. Georgia (SEC #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Michigan State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Michigan State
  • The Actual Outcome:  Michigan State 33, Georgia 30

Gator Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Jacksonville, Florida; Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 10 #4 or #5 vs. SEC #6 – Michigan (#7 Big Ten) vs. Florida (#8 SEC)
  • Payout: $2,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Ohio State (Big Ten #6) vs. Florida (SEC #7)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Ohio State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Florida
  • The Actual Outcome: Florida 24, Ohio State 17

TicketCity Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Dallas, Texas, Cotton Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #7 vs. C-USA #2 – Illinois (#9 Big Ten) vs. Tulsa (#2 C-USA)
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Actual Matchup: Penn State (Big Ten #7) vs. Houston (C-USA #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Penn State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Penn State
  • The Actual Outcome: Houston 30, Penn State 14

BBVA Compass Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 7th; Birmingham, Alabama; Legion Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #5 vs. SEC #8 – Connecticut (#4 Big East) vs. Alabama – Birmingham (C-USA #5*)
  • Payout: $900,000 SEC; $600,000 Big East
  • Actual Matchup: Pittsburgh (Big East #5) vs. SMU (C-USA #4*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: SMU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: SMU
  • The Actual Outcome: SMU 28. Pittsburgh 6
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

GoDaddy.com Bowl

  • Sunday, January 8th; Mobile, Alabama; Ladd Peebles Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC #1 0r #2 vs. Sun Belt #2 – Toledo  (#1 MAC) vs. Troy (#2 Sun Belt)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Northern Illinois (MAC #1) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Northern Illinois
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Northern Illinois
  • The Actual Outcome: Northern Illinois 38, Arkansas State 20

The Dubsism 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Recap: Did My Wife In Fact Know More Than I Do? The Second Week’s Results

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original predictions that were made here back in August were based on an assumption the NCAA will would rule Ohio State, Miami (FL), and Auburn ineligible for post-season competition. These picks are noted, despite the fact that never happened; only Miami (FL) took itself out of bowl consideration. That’s not an excuse for my atrocious prognostication, but it’s what I’ve got.

As previously mentioned, since my wife gets to listen to most of these rants before they ever hit the interwebz, she thinks she actually knows more than me when it comes to college football. Of course, this meant a bowl-picking challenge…and not only is she winning, she’s kicking my ass.

I may have to get a divorce.

Here’s the gory details.

The Totals:

  • Dubsism: 6 out of 7 games week one,  9 out of 16 games this week, fifteen total correct picks (33 total)
  • Mrs. Dubsism: 7 out of 7 games week one,  12 out of 16 games this week, nineteen total correct picks (33 total)

Insight Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; Tempe, Arizona; Sun Devil Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #4 vs. Big Ten #4/5 – Missouri (#4 Big 12) vs. Iowa (#6 Big Ten)
  • Payout: $3,350,000
  • Actual Matchup: Oklahoma (Big 12 #4) vs. Iowa (Big Ten #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oklahoma
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Iowa
  • The Actual Outcome: Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14

Chick-Fil-A Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Dome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #2 vs. SEC #5 – Virginia Tech (ACC #2) vs. Georgia (SEC #6)*
  • Payout: $3,967,500 ACC; $2,932,500 SEC
  • Actual Matchup: Virginia (ACC #3) vs. Auburn (SEC #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Auburn
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Auburn
  • The Actual Outcome: Auburn 43, Virginia 24

* Again, I had Georgia here as I thought Auburn would be ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Fat chance.

Alamo Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 29th; San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #2 vs. Big 12 #3 – Stanford (#2 Pac-12) vs. Texas (#5 Big 12)
  • Payout: $3,175,000
  • Actual Matchup: Washington (Pac-12 #3) vs. Baylor (Big 12 #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Baylor
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Baylor
  • The Actual Outcome: Baylor 67, Washington 56

Champs Sports Bowl:

  • Friday, December 29th, Orlando, Florida; Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #2 vs. ACC #3 – South Florida (#2 Big East) vs. North Carolina (#4 ACC)*
  • Payout: $2,325,000
  • Actual Matchup: Notre Dame (Big East #2**) vs. Florida State (ACC #4)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Florida State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Florida State
  • The Actual Outcome: Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
* I had North Carolina in this spot replacing Miami (FL) as I assumed the NCAA would rule them ineligible. The fact the ‘Canes committed the bowl equivalent of seppuku didn’t really help me.

** The Champs Sports Bowl can select Notre Dame instead of a Big East team once in the four-year period stretching from 2010-13.

Holiday Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 28th, San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  Pac-12 #3 vs. Big 12 #5 – Arizona State (#4 Pac-12*) vs.  Baylor (#6 Big 12)
  • Payout: $2,150,000
  • Actual Matchup: California (Pac-12 #4) vs. Texas (Big 12 #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Texas
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Texas
  • The Actual Outcome: Texas 21, California 10

* Normally, this is where I would have put USC, but since they actually are ineligible…

Sun Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; El Paso, Texas; Sun Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #4 vs. ACC #4 –  Utah (#5 Pac-12) vs. Maryland (#5 ACC)
  • Payout: $2,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Georgia Tech (ACC #5) vs. Utah (Pac-12 #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Utah
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Georgia Tech
  • The Actual Outcome: Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27

Music City Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th; Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #6 vs. SEC #7 – Boston College (#7 ACC) vs. Tennessee (#9 SEC)
  • Payout: $1,837,500
  • Actual Matchup: Wake Forest (ACC #7) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #8)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Mississippi State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Mississippi State
  • The Actual Outcome: Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17

Pinstripe Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; New York City, New York; Yankee Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #4 vs. Big 12 #7 – Notre Dame* vs. Texas Tech (#7 Big 12)
  • Payout: $1,800,000
  • Actual Matchup: Rutgers (Big East #4) vs. Iowa State (Big 12 #7)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Rutgers
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Iowa State
  • The Actual Outcome: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13

* Notre Dame is eligible for any Bowl spot contracted to the Big East conference.  How was I supposed to know the Big East would be so lousy the Irish would get snapped up first? On second thought, don’t answer that…

Belk Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 27th; Charlotte, North Carolina; Bank of America Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #5 vs. Big East #3 – Clemson (#6 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (#3 Big East)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Louisville (Big East #3) vs. N.C. State (ACC #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: N.C. State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Louisville
  • The Actual Outcome: N.C. State 31, Louisville 24

Liberty Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; Memphis, Tennessee; Memorial Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #1 vs. SEC #8 – Houston (#1 C-USA) vs. Kentucky (#10 SEC)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Cincinnati (Big East #4*) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC #9)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Vanderbilt
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Cincinnati
  • The Actual Outcome: Cincinnati 31, Vanderbilt 24

*There’s a whole explanation for why there is a Big East team here instead of C-USA #1. The best one is here. In a nutshell, if there are eight SEC bowl-eligible teams, the Liberty Bowl matches Conference USA versus the Big East, but if there are nine SEC bowl-eligible teams, then it’s SEC versus Big East.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas:
  • Saturday, December 31st; Houston, Texas; Reliant Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #6 vs. Big Ten #6 – Northwestern (#8 Big Ten) vs. Kansas State (#8 Big 12)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Northwestern (Big Ten #8) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12 #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Northwestern
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Texas A&M
  • The Actual Outcome: Texas A&M 33, Northwestern 22

Independence Bowl:

  • Monday, December, 26th; Shreveport, Louisiana; Independence Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #3 vs. ACC #7 – Air Force (#3 MWC) vs. North Carolina State (#8 ACC)
  • Payout: $1,150,000
  • Actual Matchup: Missouri (Big 12 #8*) vs. North Carolina (ACC #8)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: North Carolina
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Missouri
  • The Actual Outcome: Missouri 41, North Carolina 24

Military Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 28th; Washington, D.C.; RFK Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  ACC #8/MAC #4 vs. Army/C-USA #6 – Miami (OH) (#4 MAC) vs. Southern Methodist (#6 C-USA)
  • Payout: $862,500
  • Actual Matchup: Air Force (MWC #3)* vs. Toledo (MAC #4) 
  • The Dubsism Predicition: Air Force
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Toledo
  • The Actual Outcome: Toledo 42, Air Force 41

* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Armed Forces Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; Dallas, Texas; Gerald J. Ford Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #3/Army vs. MWC #4 or #5 or BYU –Southern Mississippi (#3 C-USA) vs. San Diego State (#4 MWC)
  • Payout: $600,000
  • Actual Matchup: Tulsa (C-USA #3) vs. BYU 
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Tulsa
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: BYU
  • The Actual Outcome: BYU 24, Tulsa 21

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; San Francisco, California; AT&T Park
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #6 vs. Army or WAC #1 or #2 – Washington (#8 Pac-12) vs. Army
  • Payout: $837,500
  • Actual Matchup: UCLA (Pac-12 #7) vs. Illinois* (Big Ten #10)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: UCLA
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Illinois
  • The Actual Outcome: Illinois 20, UCLA 14

*The Big Ten fulfilled all of its contractual obligation, but had an extra team that was bowl-eligible, hence Illinois gets a trip west. Which means if there were ever a game which proves we have too many bowl games, this may be it. After all, don’t you think that teams making it to the post-season would have performed well enough they did not fire their coaches? Well, both these schools made the post-season, and both gassed their coaches.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 27th; Detroit, Michigan; Ford Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC  #1 or #2 vs. Big Ten #8  – Northern Illinois (#2 MAC) vs.  Fresno State (#1 WAC)*
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Western Michigan (MAC #2) vs. Purdue (Big Ten #9)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Western Michigan
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Purdue
  • The Actual Outcome: Purdue 37, Western Michigan 32

*Replaces Big Ten spot as the team normally available for this spot will already have been selected by another bowl

Stay tuned for the next update to see who is ahead in the House of Dubsism of Challenge. Hell, tune in to see if there is still a House of Dubsism. Anybody know a good divorce lawyer? Maybe I’ll just send her to the moon

The Dubsism 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Recap: Did My Wife In Fact Know More Than I Do? The First Week’s Results

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original predictions that were made here back in August were based on an assumption the NCAA will would rule Ohio State, Miami (FL), and Auburn ineligible for post-season competition. These picks are noted, despite the fact that never happened; only Miami (FL) took itself out of bowl consideration. That’s not an excuse for my atrocious prognostication, but it’s what I’ve got.

As previously mentioned, since my wife gets to listen to most of these rants before they ever hit the interwebz, she thinks she actually knows more than me when it comes to college football. Of course, this meant a bowl-picking challenge…one that she is in fact winning at the time.

Bitch.

Here’s the gory details.

The Totals:

  • Dubsism: 6 out of 7 games this week (33 total)
  • Mrs. Dubsism: 7 out of 7 games this week (33 total)

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 22nd; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sam Boyd Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #1 vs. Pac-12 #5 – TCU (#2 MWC) vs. Arizona (#6 Pac-12)
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Actual Matchup: Boise State (MWC #1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Boise State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Boise State
  • The Actual Outcome: Boise State 56, Arizona State 24

Hawaii Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 24th; Honolulu, Hawaii; Aloha Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: At-Large  vs. WAC #3 or Hawaii – UCLA (#9 Pac-12) vs. Hawaii (#2 WAC) 
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Nevada (WAC#2) vs. Southern Miss (C-USA #1*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Southern Miss
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Southern Miss
  • The Actual Outcome: Southern Miss 24, Nevada 17

Idaho Potato Bowl (Humanitarian Bowl):

  • Saturday, December, 17th; Boise, Idaho; Bronco Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: WAC #1 or #2 vs. MAC #3 – Idaho (#3 WAC) vs. Temple (#3 MAC)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Utah State (WAC #3) vs. Ohio (MAC #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Ohio
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Ohio
  • The Actual Outcome: Ohio 24, Utah State 23

New Mexico Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 17th; Albuquerque, New Mexico; University Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #7 vs. MWC #4 or #5 – Oregon State (#7 Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (#5 MWC)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Wyoming (MWC #4) vs. Temple (MAC #5)*
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Wyoming
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Temple
  • The Actual Outcome: Temple 37, Wyoming 15
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 2otht; St. Petersburg, Florida; Tropicana Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #6 vs. C-USA #4 – Central Florida (#4 C-USA) vs. Cincinnati (Big East #5)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: Marshall (C-USA#5) vs. Florida International (Sun Belt #3*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Marshall
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediciton: Marshall
  • The Actual Outcome: Marshall 20, Florida International 10
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Poinsettia Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 21st; San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Navy vs. MWC #2/WAC #4 OR MWC #2 vs. WAC #5 –  Navy vs. Nevada (#4 WAC)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: TCU (MWC #2) vs. Louisiana Tech (WAC #1)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: TCU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: TCU
  • The Actual Outcome: TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24

New Orleans Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 17th; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Sun Belt #1 vs. C-USA #5 – Florida International (#1 Sun Belt) vs. East Carolina  (#7 C-USA)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt #1) vs. San Diego State (MWC #5*) 
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette
  • The Actual Outcome: Louisiana-Lafayette 32, San Diego State 30

* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Stay tuned for the next update to see who is ahead in the House of Dubsism of Challenge. Hell, tune in to see if there is still a House of Dubsism.

Bitch.

The Dubsism 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Matchups: I Was So Wrong Now My Wife Thinks She Knows More Than I Do

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original predictions that were made here back in August were based on an assumption the NCAA will would rule Ohio State, Miami (FL), and Auburn ineligible for post-season competition. These picks are noted, despite the fact that never happened; only Miami (FL) took itself out of bowl consideration. That’s not an excuse for my atrocious prognostication, but it’s what I’ve got.

And for “that guy” who wants to yell at me about how screwed up the bowl system is…Yeah, I get that, but it is also what we’ve got for now. If you wnat to talk about a college playoff, read this first then you can argue with me. And before you yell at me about the numbers associated with each team, remember those are not indicative of  finishes and/or conference standings. Rather they reflect the order in which teams were selected from a conference. Don’t forget bowl committees are allowed to select who they want in their games, within certain contractual commitments.

For example, bowls game outside of the BCS which has a Big East tie-in have a conditional option under which they can select Notre Dame instead. This is why you will see the Irish listed as Big East #2.

The Big East also has an unusual relationship with the Liberty Bowl, which is why Cincinnati is headed for a game traditional slated as an SEC/C-USA matchup.

Lastly, there”s the whole Boise State situation…I understand they might feel like they got jobbed, but they knew the rules going in. It’s not like they couldn’t have eliminated this problem by joining conference. Maybe this is why they’ve announced they are joining the Big East in 2013.

Now, for the fun part. since my wife gets to listen to most of these rants before the ever hit the interwebz, she thinks she actually knows more than me when it comes to college football. Of course, this means a bowl-picking challenge…

Bowl Championship Series:

BCS Championship:

  • Monday, January 9th, New Orleans, Louisiana,  Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: BCS #1 vs. BCS #2 – Alabama (#1 SEC) vs. Wisconsin (#1 Big Ten)
  • Payout: $18,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: LSU (BCS #1, SEC #1) vs. Alabama (BCS#2, SEC #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: LSU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Alabama

Fiesta Bowl:

  • Thursday, January 5th, Glendale Arizona, University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 Champion/BCS vs. BCS At-Large – Oklahoma (#1 Big 12) vs. Boise State (#1 MWC)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup:  Oklahoma State (#1 Big 12) vs. Stanford (#2 Pac-12, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oklahoma State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction:  Stanford

Rose Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Pasadena, California; Rose Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  Big Ten Champion/BCS vs. Pac-12 Champion/BCS – Oregon (#1 Pac-12) vs. Nebraska (#2 Big Ten)*
  • Payout : $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Wisconsin (Big Ten #1) vs. Oregon (Pac-12 #1)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oregon
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Wisconsin

* I thought Nebraska would replace the Big Ten Champion (Wisconsin) which would be in BCS Championship. Didn’t happen.

Orange Bowl:

  • Wednesday, January 4th; Miami, Florida; Dolphin Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC Champion vs. Big East Champion/BCS – Florida State (#1 ACC) vs. West Virginia (#1 Big East)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Clemson (ACC #1) vs. West Virginia (Big East #1, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Clemson
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Clemson

Sugar Bowl:

  • Tuesday, January 3rd; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC Champion BCS vs. Big East Champion/BCS –  LSU (#2 SEC)* vs. Oklahoma State (#2 Big 12)
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Actual Matchupt: Michigan (Big Ten #2*, BCS at-large) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC #2, BCS at-large)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Michigan
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Michigan
*I thought LSU would replace the SEC Champion (Alabama) which would be in BCS Championship. Half-right…Michigan ends up here because of two SEC teams being in the BCS championship game.

Other:

Capital One Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Orlando, Florida; Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: SEC #2 vs. Big Ten #2 – South Carolina (#3 SEC) vs. Michigan State (#4 Big Ten)*
  • Payout: $4,600,000
  • Actual Matchup: South Carolina (SEC #3) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction:  South Carolina
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction:  South Carolina

*I thought Michigan State would replace Ohio State since we assumed the NCAA would rule them ineligible. Total whiff. I’d like to thank the NCAA for getting my back on that one.

Cotton Bowl Classic:

  • Friday, January 6th; Dallas, Texas; Cowboys Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #3 or #4 – Texas A&M (Big 12 #3) vs. Arkansas (SEC #4)
  • Payout: $3,625,000
  • Actual Matchup: Kansas State (Big 12 #2) vs. Arkansas (SEC #4)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Arkansas
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Kansas State

Insight Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; Tempe, Arizona; Sun Devil Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #4 vs. Big Ten #4/5 – Missouri (#4 Big 12) vs. Iowa (#6 Big Ten)
  • Payout: $3,350,000
  • Actual Matchup: Oklahoma (Big 12 #4) vs. Iowa (Big Ten #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Oklahoma
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Iowa

Chick-Fil-A Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Dome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #2 vs. SEC #5 – Virginia Tech (ACC #2) vs. Georgia (SEC #6)*
  • Payout: $3,967,500 ACC; $2,932,500 SEC
  • Actual Matchup: Virginia (ACC #3) vs. Auburn (SEC #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Auburn
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Auburn

* Again, I had Georgia here as I thought Auburn would be ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Fat chance.

Outback Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Tampa, Florida; Raymond James Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #3  vs. SEC #3 , #4, or #5  – Penn State (#5 Big Ten) vs. Mississippi State (#6 SEC) 
  • Payout $3,500,000
  • Actual Matchup:  Michigan State (Big Ten #4) vs. Georgia (SEC #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Michigan State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Michigan State

Alamo Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 29th; San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #2 vs. Big 12 #3 – Stanford (#2 Pac-12) vs. Texas (#5 Big 12)
  • Payout: $3,175,000
  • Actual Matchup: Washington (Pac-12 #3) vs. Baylor (Big 12 #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Baylor
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Baylor

Gator Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Jacksonville, Florida; Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 10 #4 or #5 vs. SEC #6 – Michigan (#7 Big Ten) vs. Florida (#8 SEC)
  • Payout: $2,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Ohio State (Big Ten #6) vs. Florida (SEC #7)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Ohio State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Florida

Champs Sports Bowl:

  • Friday, December 29th, Orlando, Florida; Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #2 vs. ACC #3 – South Florida (#2 Big East) vs. North Carolina (#4 ACC)*
  • Payout: $2,325,000
  • Actual Matchup: Notre Dame (Big East #2**) vs. Florida State (ACC #4)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Florida State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Florida State
* I had North Carolina in this spot replacing Miami (FL) as I assumed the NCAA would rule them ineligible. The fact the ‘Canes committed the bowl equivalent of seppuku didn’t really help me.

** The Champs Sports Bowl can select Notre Dame instead of a Big East team once in the four-year period stretching from 2010-13.

Holiday Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 28th, San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  Pac-12 #3 vs. Big 12 #5 – Arizona State (#4 Pac-12*) vs.  Baylor (#6 Big 12)
  • Payout: $2,150,000
  • Actual Matchup: California (Pac-12 #4) vs. Texas (Big 12 #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Texas
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Texas

* Normally, this is where I would have put USC, but since they actually are ineligible…

Sun Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; El Paso, Texas; Sun Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #4 vs. ACC #4 –  Utah (#5 Pac-12) vs. Maryland (#5 ACC)
  • Payout: $2,000,000
  • Actual Matchup: Georgia Tech (ACC #5) vs. Utah (Pac-12 #5)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Utah
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Georgia Tech

Music City Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 30th; Nashville, Tennessee; LP Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #6 vs. SEC #7 – Boston College (#7 ACC) vs. Tennessee (#9 SEC)
  • Payout: $1,837,500
  • Actual Matchup: Wake Forest (ACC #7) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #8)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Mississippi State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Mississippi State

Pinstripe Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; New York City, New York; Yankee Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #4 vs. Big 12 #7 – Notre Dame* vs. Texas Tech (#7 Big 12)
  • Payout: $1,800,000
  • Actual Matchup: Rutgers (Big East #4) vs. Iowa State (Big 12 #7)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Rutgers
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Iowa State

* Notre Dame is eligible for any Bowl spot contracted to the Big East conference.  How was I supposed to know the Big East would be so lousy the Irish would get snapped up first? On second thought, don’t answer that…

Belk Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 27th; Charlotte, North Carolina; Bank of America Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: ACC #5 vs. Big East #3 – Clemson (#6 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (#3 Big East)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Louisville (Big East #3) vs. N.C. State (ACC #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: N.C. State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Louisville

Liberty Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; Memphis, Tennessee; Memorial Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #1 vs. SEC #8 – Houston (#1 C-USA) vs. Kentucky (#10 SEC)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Cincinnati (Big East #4*) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC #9)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Vanderbilt
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Cincinnati

*There’s a whole explanation for why there is a Big East team here instead of C-USA #1. The best one is here. In a nutshell, if there are eight SEC bowl-eligible teams, the Liberty Bowl matches Conference USA versus the Big East, but if there are nine SEC bowl-eligible teams, then it’s SEC versus Big East.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas:
  • Saturday, December 31st; Houston, Texas; Reliant Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big 12 #6 vs. Big Ten #6 – Northwestern (#8 Big Ten) vs. Kansas State (#8 Big 12)
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Actual Matchup: Northwestern (Big Ten #8) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12 #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Northwestern
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Texas A&M

Independence Bowl:

  • Monday, December, 26th; Shreveport, Louisiana; Independence Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #3 vs. ACC #7 – Air Force (#3 MWC) vs. North Carolina State (#8 ACC)
  • Payout: $1,150,000
  • Actual Matchup: Missouri (Big 12 #8*) vs. North Carolina (ACC #8)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: North Carolina
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Missouri
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

TicketCity Bowl:

  • Monday, January 2nd; Dallas, Texas, Cotton Bowl
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big Ten #7 vs. C-USA #2 – Illinois (#9 Big Ten) vs. Tulsa (#2 C-USA)
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Actual Matchup: Penn State (Big Ten #7) vs. Houston (C-USA #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Penn State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Penn State

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl:

  • Thursday, December 22nd; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sam Boyd Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MWC #1 vs. Pac-12 #5 – TCU (#2 MWC) vs. Arizona (#6 Pac-12)
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Actual Matchup: Boise State (MWC #1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 #6)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Boise State
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Boise State

BBVA Compass Bowl:

  • Saturday, January 7th; Birmingham, Alabama; Legion Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #5 vs. SEC #8 – Connecticut (#4 Big East) vs. Alabama – Birmingham (C-USA #5*)
  • Payout: $900,000 SEC; $600,000 Big East
  • Actual Matchup: Pittsburgh (Big East #5) vs. SMU (C-USA #4*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: SMU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: SMU
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Military Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 28th; Washington, D.C.; RFK Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup:  ACC #8/MAC #4 vs. Army/C-USA #6 – Miami (OH) (#4 MAC) vs. Southern Methodist (#6 C-USA)
  • Payout: $862,500
  • Actual Matchup: Air Force (MWC #3)* vs. Toledo (MAC #4) 
  • The Dubsism Predicition: Air Force
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Toledo
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Armed Forces Bowl:

  • Friday, December 30th; Dallas, Texas; Gerald J. Ford Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: C-USA #3/Army vs. MWC #4 or #5 or BYU – Southern Mississippi (#3 C-USA) vs. San Diego State (#4 MWC)
  • Payout: $600,000
  • Actual Matchup: Tulsa (C-USA #3) vs. BYU 
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Tulsa
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: BYU

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 31st; San Francisco, California; AT&T Park
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #6 vs. Army or WAC #1 or #2 – Washington (#8 Pac-12) vs. Army
  • Payout: $837,500
  • Actual Matchup: UCLA (Pac-12 #7) vs. Illinois* (Big Ten #10)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: UCLA
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Illinois

*The Big Ten fulfilled all of its contractual obligation, but had an extra team that was bowl-eligible, hence Illinois gets a trip west. Which means if there were ever a game which proves we have too many bowl games, this may be it. After all, don’t you think that teams making it to the post-season would have performed well enough they did not fire their coaches? Well, both these schools made the post-season, and both gassed their coaches.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 27th; Detroit, Michigan; Ford Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC  #1 or #2 vs. Big Ten #8  – Northern Illinois (#2 MAC) vs.  Fresno State (#1 WAC)*
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Western Michigan (MAC #2) vs. Purdue (Big Ten #9)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Western Michigan
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Purdue

*Replaces Big Ten spot as the team normally available for this spot will already have been selected by another bowl

GoDaddy.com Bowl

  • Sunday, January 8th; Mobile, Alabama; Ladd Peebles Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: MAC #1 0r #2 vs. Sun Belt #2 – Toledo  (#1 MAC) vs. Troy (#2 Sun Belt)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Northern Illinois (MAC #1) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt #2)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Northern Illinois
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Northern Illinois

Hawaii Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 24th; Honolulu, Hawaii; Aloha Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: At-Large  vs. WAC #3 or Hawaii – UCLA (#9 Pac-12) vs. Hawaii (#2 WAC) 
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Nevada (WAC#2) vs. Southern Miss (C-USA #1*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Southern Miss
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Southern Miss

Idaho Potato Bowl (Humanitarian Bowl):

  • Saturday, December, 17th; Boise, Idaho; Bronco Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: WAC #1 or #2 vs. MAC #3 – Idaho (#3 WAC) vs. Temple (#3 MAC)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Utah State (WAC #3) vs. Ohio (MAC #3)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Ohio
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Ohio

New Mexico Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 17th; Albuquerque, New Mexico; University Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Pac-12 #7 vs. MWC #4 or #5 – Oregon State (#7 Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (#5 MWC)
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Actual Matchup: Wyoming (MWC #4) vs. Temple (MAC #5)*
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Wyoming
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Temple
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl:

  • Tuesday, December 2otht; St. Petersburg, Florida; Tropicana Field
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Big East #6 vs. C-USA #4 – Central Florida (#4 C-USA) vs. Cincinnati (Big East #5)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: Marshall (C-USA#5) vs. Florida International (Sun Belt #3*)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Marshall
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediciton: Marshall
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations.

Poinsettia Bowl:

  • Wednesday, December 21st; San Diego, California; Qualcomm Stadium
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Navy vs. MWC #2/WAC #4 OR MWC #2 vs. WAC #5 –  Navy vs. Nevada (#4 WAC)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: TCU (MWC #2) vs. Louisiana Tech (WAC #1)
  • The Dubsism Prediction: TCU
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: TCU

New Orleans Bowl:

  • Saturday, December 17th; New Orleans, Louisiana; Superdome
  • Traditional/Contractual Matchup: Sun Belt #1 vs. C-USA #5 – Florida International (#1 Sun Belt) vs. East Carolina  (#7 C-USA)
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Actual Matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt #1) vs. San Diego State (MWC #5*) 
  • The Dubsism Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette
  • The Mrs. Dubsism Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette
* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its obligations. 

The Dubsism Baseball Post-Season Preview: A Look Back at Yesterday and A Look Ahead To October

I’m just going to come right out and say it…if you didn’t find last night’s baseball drama to be one of the most exciting things you’ve seen since discount warehouse liquor stores, you either don’t like baseball or you have no pulse.

I’m such an old codger that I can remember first-hand the days of Charlie O. Finley, the chain-link outfield fence at Candlestick Park, and Bucky F–king Dent, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that last night was the single-most exciting four hours of baseball I’ve ever personally witnessed.  Being that old geezer, you have to understand this includes Game 6 of the ’75 World Series, Reggie Jackson hitting three homers on three swings against the Dodgers, the ’78 Red Sox-Yankees playoff (hence Bucky F–king Dent), Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, the 1987 World Series (preceded by the August weekend in Milwaukee in which Kirby Puckett supplanted Rod Carew as  my lord and personal savior), Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, and all things Bartman-esque.

But none of those things – not a single damn one of them – involved four games occurring simultaneously which held the structure of the post-season in the balance. The Cards took their game out of the mix early by drubbing the Astros, and it seemed the Yankees had done the same on the grand slam by Mark Teixiera. When Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox in front of the Orioles with his homer, I don’t think anybody in America saw what was coming in the next few hours.

Except me.

If you are a follow of @Dubsism on Twitter, you saw the prophecy in action.

9:30 P.M. ET

Okay, so I missed on the playoff thing, but after Jon Lester somehow managed to get out of the 6th inning without giving away the ball game despite his complete inability to throw a strike, all you had to do was look into the Sawwwx dugout to see they knew they had just used up their miracle.

Again, the Orioles just won’t go away, and here comes Jonathan “I can blow that save, Terry” Papelbon.  But just moments before Papelbon has his soon-to-be-infamous meltdown, Dan Johnson has his moment in Tampa.

That’s right, the hero of the moment is a guy who was hitting south of .130 and hadn’t had a major league hit since April. Toss in the fact that he looked completely overmatched on pitches prior to that home run, and one couldn’t help but be reminded of Bernie Carbo.

Next comes the Papelbon catastrophe (raise your hand if you didn’t see it coming…by now it was painfully apparent). This left the only hope for the Sawwwx in a Rays extra-inning loss.

Then it happened.

12:00 A.M. ET

Evan Longoria stroked the Red Sox into the off-season, all while propelling us into what promises to be an incredible post-season. But it also will push us into a discussion about just what happened.

While the Braves collapse is just as embarrassing as that of Boston’s, it simply is more fun to rub some salt in the collective wounds of the Sawwwx nation. See, as an Angels fan, I’ve hated the Red Sox ever since the Dave Henderson homer in the ’86 ALCS.

You should understand that for the rest of us, those of us not fans of the Yankees or Red Yankees, those of us whose teams have spent a decade playing the Washington Generals to east-of-the-Hudson, bloated-payroll Globetrotters…when either team fails, it is the same sort of soul-filling pablum that makes people watch soap operas. We all love to watch the rich and famous stumble.

And after all that, here we are; another October full of post-season baseball. Let’s be honest, most of the crap I said about these teams six months ago was wrong, so why not go for month number seven proving I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Indeed, how many of those things turned out true? Remember when I said the Yankees and the Red Sox were mirror images of each other, and it would be a race between the two to see which collapsed first? Well, the Red Sox waited until September before they folded faster than Superman on laundry day, allowing themselves to get run down by a Rays team that could be this years answer to the San Francisco Giants.

But enough of looking back…let’s look ahead to the post-season. Here are your eight participants and their odds of coming home with a title.

1) Philadelphia Phillies – (Pre-season Rank #1, 102-60, NL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 2.5-1

This team is all about the pitching staff, with just enough offense to make it work. It worked to the tune of 100+ wins, and this is the proverbial “team to beat” until somebody does just that. The biggest concern is that in the National League, the team to finish with the best record hasn’t won the World Series since the 1986 Mets, and since the Phillies obviously won’t have the luxury of facing the Red Sawwwx…

2) New York Yankees (Pre-season Rank #4, 97-65, AL East Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 4-1

The Yankees are the photo-negative of the Phillies; they sport a monstrous line-up and a pitching staff made up of CC Sa-fat-tia and a lot of “not much else.”

Now, it’s time for some equal-opportunity hating: Are you now, or have you ever been a Yankees fan? Are you under the age of 45? Have you ever said “The Yankees sucked when I was a kid, so I’m not of one these new Yankee fans that came along when we started winning again”? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are pretentious douche-nozzle and you would be doing the world a favor if you stuck a shotgun in your mouth.

There’s soooooooooo many reasons to hate the Yankees. First, there’s the aforementioned loyalty-less assloafs who think just because the Yankees sucked in the 80′s means they aren’t some dickhead who needs to be on the winning side.  But least there is one less reason to hate them, since that piece of deep-fried monkey nuts known as George Steinbrenner is dead. At least he has a burn-in-hell worthy legacy, like sodomizing New York City out of a billion dollars to build a replica of a 90-year old mausoleum of decency, then filling it with insufferable dickweeds who are now actually proud of their Ruthian douche-baggery.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you have no idea how much it pissed me off that after Steinbrenner assumed room temperature that I kept being told “You didn’t have to like him, but you had to respect him.”  Eat me. The same people who said this are the same people responsible for the impending death of America.  George Steinbrenner was a criminal who deserves the same respect a dog pays to a fire hydrant.

3) Tampa Bay Rays (Pre-season Rank #18, 91-71, AL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 5.5-1

This is clearly a reactionary pick. Last year I picked the Giants as the least likely team to win, and I’m not making that mistake again. This team plays just like last years champions. They get big hits when they need them, and they get enough pitching to make those hits stand up. Not to mention, if you believe in momentum AT ALL, you can’t bet against this club.

4) Milwaukee Brewers (Pre-season Rank #12, 96-66, NL Central Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 7-1

This is the first appearance the Brew Crew has made in the post-season  since Harvey’s Wallbangers in 1982. The Brewers finished with a 57-24 record at home, which was both best in the major leagues and a franchise record.  Since they will host the Diamondbacks in the first round, that should bode well for the boys from Beer City.

5) Arizona Diamondbacks (Pre-Season Rank #11, 94-67, NL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 8-1

Don’t look now, but this is a franchise that wins with pitching. They won the 2001 World Series with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, and Arizona moundsmen have earned five Cy Young Awards in 13 seasons.  This year, the D-backs sport right-handers Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, as well as left-hander Joe Saunders who have all racked up 200 innings.

With all those innings-eaters at the top of the rotation, the D-Backs always more often than not have a fresh bullpen, which means manager Kirk Gibson often can get desirable individual late-game matchups. This also means Arizona tends not to get far behind in ball games, which is part of the reason for the team’s big-league-high 48 comeback victories.

Oh, and as a life-long Dodger-hater, I’m obliged to bring up the quintessential Kirk Gibson post-season moment…I may need a bucket…

6) St. Louis Cardinals (Pre-Season Rank #16, 90-72, NL Wild Card) – Odds of Winning World Series: 9-1

Only the Yankees have won more World Series titles than the Cardinals, and both have won in the last five years. This means the Cardinals are a team with plenty of post-season experience.

They also have that momentum factor I mentioned with the Rays. The Cardinals got hot in September after being 10 1/2 games behind the Braves on Aug. 25.   This means they won 23 of their last 32 games.

7) Texas Rangers (Pre-Season Rank #13, 95-66, AL West Champs) – Odds of Winning World Series: 12-1

Texas hit .320 in September, the highest batting average after September 1st, which is the best since this statistic has been kept beginning in 1946. We all know this team can hit, and even though the Ranger pitching staff has the fifth best ERA in the American League, I’m not sure a Cliff Lee-less rotation scares anybody.

8 ) Detroit Tigers (Pre-Season Rank #14, 91-71, AL Central Champs- Odds of Winning World Series: 14-1

Like the Brewers, the Tigers are another team showing up in October after a long absence. The last time the Motor City Kitties graced October with their was 1987. Of all the great moments in my own personal baseball history I listed earlier, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Game 4 of the ALCS, when Tiger third baseman Darrell Evans became the goat to end all goats.

As far as this year’s Tigers are concerned, you can’t argue that Justin Verlander is the most dominating pitcher in the league, and Miguel Cabrera is the most potent offensive weapon, but the Tigers have some thump in the lineup beyond that. They have a supporting cast to go along with Verlander. The trouble is I simply don’t think they can beat the Yankees.

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