So now we have a lot of busted brackets. Many of the submissions had SOD in the finals, and a good number had them playing OC. If they can go down on opening night anyone can, so with that in mind here are the Thursday lines.
#16 Irritable Bowl Syndrome (10-2) -1 vs #17 Ball That (9-3): By seed this is the closest game of the first round, though by average Ball That has a clear advantage. That said this is the first year for Ball That and their first trip to the postseason. I.B.S. has been here before, and they feel like this is a year of destiny for them. They had the greatest turnaround in BoPo history from 0-12 to 10-2, and now want to extend their dream season. The winner of this one gets a date with Back In Black and a chance for the new biggest upset in BoPo history. I think Oolie, after perhaps being tight in game 1, will put on a retro show and handle the best shots of Samsquampch and Twinkle Toes, and Lucky will have to play her best to hold off Gutterlicious. Ram Rod is the sleeper in this one – his pin killing is the difference in this line.
#4 L.O.S. (9-3) -3 vs #29 Incredibowls (7-5): If anyone has their guard up after Tuesday’s upsets it’s L.O.S. This team has had their share of playoff close calls and even losses to unheralded teams in the early rounds. They may be a little tight given that history but I think they’ve learned from it and the Tuesday craziness may actually take some pressure off of them. There was some speculation Precious would miss this game, and at that point I had this on serious upset watch, but now it appears he will be there. The Incredibowls have a long franchise history of playoff success, but the franchise is hardly recognizable. They have a new Captain, God of Thunder, trying to make this a ‘crazy, crazy night’ and ‘dance all over your face’, ‘beth’. Then there’s rookie Spidey, who is an all-star and 1 of only 2 people (Stevie Strikes the other) with an 800 series at Bayside Bowl. They have one holdover in Sweet Baby Lou, with BoPo playoff experience (though Spidey and GOT both have Media League titles). If they can keep it close early LOS may have flashbacks, but I think LOS will jump on them in game 1 and advance.
#10 B.U.I. (5-7) -1 vs #23 Nutz (3-9): Well now. With the SOD loss in the first round the winner of this one will actually be the higher seed in the sweet 16. BUI just beat the Nutz last week, though as the Binga’s-UREA! playoff game proved sometimes that helps the team that lost. No word yet on Snapshot’s possible return, but he has ditched the crutches. Hexy just won a thrilling 2v2 semis match so has the playoff feel, and The Duke is capable of some big games. Newcomer Scarbelly has been a solid fixture for these busy as well. The Nutz have ridden the big right arm of Bustah, but have lost six straight (a streak that started when he made his Hawaii trip). The good news for them is that the slate is clean, and if they win here they’ll at least have a chance to keep advancing. Peanut is a rock for these guys as their only lady. Salty, Rochambo and Herbie are the wildcard trio, all capable of big games but unpredictable. Generally in a game this close I just go with the top player, in this case Bustah, but I feel like BUI may want it a bit more, so I’ll take them in a squeaker.
#6 Guns of Brighton (8-4) -1 vs #27 I.C.B.I.N.G. (9-3): GOB enters the playoffs in a decent spot – 8-4, the #6 seed etc. – but they don’t have a winning feel about them right now. They seemed really down on themselves the entire last night of the season even as they were winning 12-3. Invisible Hand really will need to breathe some life into these guys for them to make a run in the tourney. They have all the talent they need. Mr. Pickles is as consistent as they come, E-Minor is a really good bowler (until he misses a shot then decides he’s terrible) and Jon Moon has been a good pickup with a veteran demeanor. The Hand has bowled better than ever and Seatown and Hootie are high end lady bowlers, Seatown actually their leading roller in the last week. They just need to shake the doldrums. I suggest shots, and maybe some pre game reggae, but that’s just what works for BEER. ICBING is the exact opposite. They aren’t overly stacked with high rollers, but they treat every game like an amazing kegger. They invented pitchers of shots at Bayside. They will be loose, and that could really snowball for them in this one if they get off to a lead. Clarified has been killing it in doubles, Peanut Gutter has made a 2v2 finals, Gutterball Turkey is improving at a crazy pace and Fabio is capable of a 600 series. I wonder if they will do their rhythmic ‘Zack clap’ even though he’s playing them instead of working? This is one to watch.
#14 Young & Bowled (4-8) -1 vs #19 Slaughterhouse 7 (8-4): Hmm. This one is interesting. Y&B has a much higher average, but they did find a lot of ways to lose this year in spite of themselves. Pistol Pete enters the game as the highest average roller, and Senator ITZ has had his standard solid year. Rookie Nugget has been a strong competitor as well. They should cruise, right? Well Slaughterhouse 7 has a proud playoff history. They’ve knocked off higher ranked teams, they’ve made 2 finals. New Captain Coco Lopez has been to the finals with another team. Fern and Riggs have also made it to the finals. Ishmael seems to rise to the occasion, too. I like this matchup a lot, and really am only picking Y&B because they played a tougher schedule. I wouldn’t bet on this game.
#21 B.E.E.R. (4-8) -1 vs #12 Yay-pigs? (5-7): The Yay/Slampigs have really gotten themselves worked up into a frenzy about this game. Their game three cheer, against LOS in Week 12? “Fuck Beer”. Their proposed one-time only custom playoff shirt design? BEER, with a line through it. They are hurling the trash talk, however uncreative. Is it coming from a place of confidence or, like most braggadocio, from a deeper insecurity? On Sunday, Natro and Hungus beat Probie and Jewdy in doubles playoffs by 218 pins. While this is not doubles, and Jewdy and Probie get to bring their big brothers Yao and Bombpop to this one, the results give BEER something tangible to have some confidence about. Yao is the key for Yay, a consistent all-star who is having a down year but could turn it around at any minute. Yay rolled below average often, but in big games against Leisure Rolls and GOB turned it on and even posted an 800 game, something BEER has yet to do. But BEER are veterans at this, and should have the experience to weather the insults and likely fast start from Yay. It will be tight, and Mona Laudley could shake things up if she’s averaging 170s, but BEER has been gelling, and playing in the Sunday Shootout actually was a good experience for them.
#8 TDYOB (7-5) -1 vs #25 Saucy Posse (2-10): Not that they ever lacked for confidence, but TDYOB’s confidence level now is sky high after knocking off the #1 team in the final week of the season. That game wasn’t handed to them, they grabbed it in game three with a 245 from Farmer and a 220 from Munson. Pretty heady scores. They will get a very tough opponent in round 1. Saucy Posse is a lot better than their 2-10 record would indicate. They have two guys in Walter and Wing Sauce who are threats for 600 series every week. Hot Sauce is wildly unpredictable, and their girls may have a hard time keeping up with Spooky and Sneaky Pete, but they enter this game with confidence of their own. Dr. Thunder has his team playing well and will have to figure out how and when to reincorporate the returning Shifter Pawl. Expect a lot of noise in this one, and probably some extended parking lot breaks.
#2 Leisure Rolls (9-3) -5 vs #31 Granola Bowlahs (7-5): This is the only game of the night that looks like a blowout…on paper. Leisure has had a stunningly successful first season and are looking to pull a Turkey Club, running all the way to the finals in their BoPo playoff debut. That SOD loss really opened their bracket up and they will be heavy favorites all the way to the semis if they keep winning. It’s hard to pinpoint a top bowler for these guys but they have amazing depth in Magic, Gatch, Sloppiness and Capt. Insanal. Anyone of them may be the guy who puts up a 200, but they’ll all be right there above 170. Then there’s Space Cadet who has been amazingly consistent and carries an excellent average. The Bowlahs overcame a final week disappointment that sent them to the Sunday Shootout by rolling well on Sunday and advancing. They certainly won’t fear this matchup. Rick Vaughn has got his team really together and having a good time on the lanes. They won’t feel any pressure and if they could keep it close early that will really pay off for them. They have nothing to lose. Colucci Kid, Ricky V and Razor all have had big nights, and Bijou may have adjusted to bowling while quite pregnant. It’s a longshot but this team believes in itself and is loose, so they are still dangerous.