So, here’s the music plan for the rest of the season. Atomik will be playing tonight. All 8 teams that advance tonight can submit 5 songs. I will put all 40 of those songs on a shuffled playlist for Thursday. You can have your Sheryl Crow, or Herb Alpert or AC/DC. You win, you choose.
If your match is already decided after two games, you are welcome to play a third game but do not have to.
One last rule thing before the previews, and everyone probably knows this but a reminder anyway. If the ball comes out of the gutter and knocks some pins down, please fix the score and have the pins set up again – it doesn’t count. Now, on to it.
#1 Walkaways (-9) vs #17 Gutterballs: The Walkaways were built to win a title, and they are so close now they can taste it. Natro has been sketching pictures of the BoPo Cup with his name engraved on it all over his trapper keeper. If only they could get Booth to buy in. He has made up some cockamamie story about a ‘homebuyers’ class’ (who even buys homes anymore?) and will miss several games. What’s the real story? Danny Diesel is the only Walkaway with a championship so the team will look to him for leadership. He has done the job all year, putting up big scores in big games. La Gatita and Coco better bring their iron-arms as they will be playing a lot.
Give the Gutterballs this – they are game for the fight. This team bonded in the pressure of “anonymous-gate’ and has a real us against the world attitude working for them right now. Watch their fist pumps and air humps and you know they mean business. Big Ed will be the punching bag tonight getting beat for top point most times, but he needs to keep those battles close while the rest of his teammates scratch out some points. Gigi and Lolo need to hang int he 150’s and Rusty Nail has to channel 2010. It likely won’t be enough but maybe they can force a game three.
#2 Team Michaela (-7) vs #18 TDYOB: There is a rumor floating around the lanes that Stevie Strikes will be leaving town on Thursday, thus missing the quarterfinals and any further games. I can not conform or deny that rumor but I can elevate it to an internet rumor. If true that could be a big blow to Micaela’s black and pink clad assassins. Bama played back to back games Sunday to get to the Restaurant league finals, and it would be a tall order to have to play 7 matches in 7 days. Maybe Gutter Boy, whose team lost in heartbreaking fashion in the restaurant league semis on Sunday, will channel his energy into BoPo and help make a run.
Unfortunately for TDYOB, this is just Tuesday. Stevie Strikes will be here tonight for sure and the Dr’s incessant trash talk has him fired up. TDYOB pulled off a stunning comeback victory in the first round, winning 8-7 after trailing 5-0 and 7-3. Roy Munson set the tone with a dominating game three in the leadoff spot, and Stone Cold held off all challengers for the fourth point. It was impressive stuff. Stone Cold and Sneaky Pete have been putting up solid numbers, but Roy and the Dr would have to steal a few from Stevie and Bama to make this one close. That and the Sheriff needs to have the game of his life.
#3 Binga’s (-3) vs #19 Saucy Posse: Game of the week. It seems like BoPo has waited four years for SauPo to break out. They always seem to have talent, but never pull it all together at the right moment. Last year they finally got a playoff win. This year they could go a lot further. If they could pull the upset in this one they would be favored to reach their first Final Four. What’s all the hype about? New Papa Walter looked lights out in his return from paternity leave. Hot Sauce has been excellent every other week, and after a down week last week, that puts him on pace to go off tonight. Redonk is the hardest player to figure in the whole league. No one would be surprised if he averaged 180 tonight, but a 120 wouldn’t shock anyone either. Kathy Nash looked excellent last week and hopes to build on it. They will need Special Sauce and Tallywagger to have career games if they play. It could be done, but SauPo will need to be at their best.
Binga’s has the feel of a team that will do what it needs to do to win and not show anything more than they have to. Jerk will battle Walter all night, and I’d pick him to take two out of those three battles if he goes three. Hot Mango has been here before and doens’t mind the spotlight. Same for Chernobyl. Now is the time for league rookies Cookie, General Tso and PB &J to make their mark. Cookie had 3 league 200 games. Tso is a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. PB & J has been climbing the ranks, throwing her world domination ball. I think they will survive a serious test and advance 9-6.
#13 Nuts (-7) vs #4 No-Eye-Deer: After seeing all the prognosticators penciling them in for the final 8, Nuts may have forgotten they had to actually earn it. They ran into a determined Shambles team that had them rattled at 5-5 in the first round, but ultimately survived it and now are fully focused on the game at hand. Bustah played well, losing 220-206 to Gutter Slut in an epic battle, but averaging around 190. Salty Nut was the surprise, rolling well over his average. Herbie La Nut is a strong #2 behind Bustah, while Sugar and Peanut form a potent one-two ladies’ punch. Smokey also played well in his one game, but I don’t know how the rotation will work this week. They should be fine.
Shifter Pawl has led his ragtag bunch to a division title and the Sweet 16 in their first season. So what if it was the NFC West of BoPo, a title is a title. They will be heavy underdogs tonight against a seasoned Nuts squad that played a brutal schedule. Shifter Pawl will have to roll strikes and avoid getting hurt in any Bustah sleeper holds between frames. After him it’s anyone’s guess. Disillusioned former Nuts owner Deez Nuts should play with extra motivation. Hello Kritty has been getting a lot of nines…she’ll need a little luck to get that last pin down. I think this is the end of the road for No-Eye-Deer, but an excellent beginning for the franchise.
#5 Off Constantly (-3) vs #21 Young and the Bowled: After watching the six o’clock games, I suggest holding onto your seats for this one. Everyone on both teams thinks they are winning, and that can’t happen. What can happen is thrilling BoPo playoff action. Off Constantly crushed Y&B early in the season, but then Y&B went out and signed The Truth. He has been a revelation (except on ass-slash night). He also has become the poor man’s Dr. Thunder with his look at me post-roll screaming. He teams with Pistol Pete to form one of the better 1-2 tandems in the league. Pistol is coming off a devastating collapse in Restaurant league which would impact his confidence. Captain Lou Dawg will have to keep him loose. Senator ITZ picked up the game deciding spare in the 10th frame last week and has been consistently hovering around 160 – a solid three. All-Star lucky leads the ladies, and the bench is stacked with R R, Anya Caboose and the Irish Scotsman. Lou Dawg has them believing.
Off Constantly has faced many teams over the years that thought they had a chance, only to rip their hearts out. Oz never shies away from new challengers and he looks to battle The Truth all night. McQueen has been the forgotten hero of this team quietly posting their second best average. Dick Liquor and Number One trade off as the three, and Tron is trying to get himself back in bowling shape after missing a lot of the season. Last week the OC lovelies, Coucou and Honey Bunny, played very well. They’ll need to repeat that to keep the door shut on the hard charging challengers. OC is not sleeping on this opponent, and in the end that should be the difference. They have the experience and talent to advance, 9-6.
#6 I.B.S. (-3) vs #22 Incredibowls: Everyone keeps taking shots at IBS, but they are still alive, and even favored again. Captain Wut What and team Face Oolie have thrived on the critics’ attacks, and are playing with an ‘us against the world’ mentality that is serving them well. What is concerning is the precipitous dropoff of the controversial Killer B. The late season addition came into the league with a big splash, but has been in decline ever since. Maybe he’s just playing possum. Maybe he hated, on this team especially, being thought of as #2. The Ram Bros. are always good for a big game or two, and perhaps this is the week one of the IBS women makes a name for herself.
The Incredibowls are at it again. This team underperforms in the regular season but are becoming known for unlikely playoff runs. They survived a mid-match lane change and a 6-4 deficit to reach the Sweet 16. Now they are very confident going up against IBS. Sweet Baby Lou is their leader, and is generally good for a 170 playoff average. That may not be good enough for top point, but they have the potential to pick up a lot of the lower points. Boston needs to rediscover the throw that got him a league 200 this year. Red Hot Hands Ryan, Shibbs and Leave Blank are playoff proven. Poops and Boobs were out last week, so not sure what to expect from them. If they play this right, the Incredibowls have upset potential.
#7 B.E.E.R. (-3) vs #10 Sweet Rolls: The absences keep mounting for B.E.E.R. First the Bishop (baby), then Cheddar (elbow) now Tom Richards (town council meeting in Massachusetts) all out. That leaves four, and Hungus, Filthy, Queen Bee and newcomer Coco Lopez will have to keep the title defense alive on their own. Luckily for B.E.E.R. fans all are rolling pretty well recently. That said, having only four players could be tough against a very game Sweet Rolls crew.
The Sweet Rolls opened some eyes last year when they were tied with Binga’s 5-5 in the quarterfinals. They are not afraid of the big stage. They look to have their full complement of players – and can roll an imposing lineup of Candy Man, Hot Tamale, Swiss Cake and Frenchie. That is a dangerous quartet. This game could be surprisingly close. If it is, expect to see the very injured Cheddar pleading to enter the match.
#9 Still L.O.S. (-9) vs #8 Roll Another: Roll Another survived. Facing what looked like a sure tie and roll-off, Bones picked up a game winning spare in the tenth frame of game three to advance. An elated Chupacabra quietly said “cool”. Now they advance to play an angry powerhouse, and will try to ride that surface calm to a big upset. Uncle Buck has gathered a lot of attention (though he doesn’t want any) for his fascinating release. He will have to come up huge to keep this one close. Chup will need his 170’s, not his 105’s and all-star Smutty will need to step up. Bones and the Package just need to pretend it’s game three, tenth frame every frame.
Still L.O.S. just has to keep from looking ahead to a possible Thursday showdown with the Walkways. As much as they’d love it, they need to take care of business here first. There’s not a lot to break down for the heavily favored squad. This is another chance for Double Cheese and Speedboat to get some more playoff experience. I think they will cruise.