Any Given Thursday

by Rich Shen and Austin Lim | 10/15/14 2:24pm

Every great athlete has to pass on the reins. Sometimes stars try to hang on to their waning moments of glory (see: Brett Favre), and, though we love these athletes for what they’ve given us, we also realize that it’s time to call it quits. Earlier this term at the Hop, Joe Clyne ’16, aka Fish, sat across the table from me. You could see it in his eyes — he was done. After years of wear and tear from the game he loved, exhaustion had consumed his body. I knew what was coming before he even spoke — it was a proverbial passing of the torch. The wily veteran was ready to spend his remaining years wasting away on a golf course (or editing the sports section), and the up-and-coming star was prepared to take his place. And so begins a new era of “Riding the Pine” which henceforth will be called “Any Given Thursday.”

We think a few introductions are in order. We are both ’17s with limited experience writing a column. We’ve been at the same school for more than seven years now, and first started talking about sports and sports statistics around three years ago after joining the same fantasy football league. What we lack in experience, however, we make up for in fandom. What began as a simple fantasy league soon spread to other areas of interest: the MLB, NBA, PGA, the CFL and the ICC (International Cricket Council for the uninformed). Now that we’re both at Dartmouth, the two of us can often be found watching whatever sport is currently in season on the Collis TVs.

Now that you know who we are and understand why we’re doing this (for the girls, right?), we’re ready to reveal our first topic. Drumroll please. After scrolling through our predecessors’ work and discovering one of the most, let’s call it “interesting,” predictions we’ve seen in a while, we’ve decided to right their wrongs. Prepare for our NFL Super Bowl predictions!

I’ll admit, we have an advantage over poor Hank and Fish: we’ve watched the teams play. Having said that, the Bears? Really? Jay Cutler has thrown as many games with multiple interceptions than games without.

Unfortunately, Rich was unavailable this week, so this prediction is solely mine. I wanted to go bold — after all it’s not fun if you don’t — so I decided to avoid the top five teams in ESPN’s recent NFL power rankings. For you numbers geeks, here are some stats (if numbers make your eyes glaze over skip this paragraph). This team ranks first in passing yards per game at 328.7 and first in total offense, averaging a whopping 444 yards per game. It also ranks first in total points, at 31.5 points a game (which is almost double what the Jets are averaging. J-E-T-S. JETS, JETS, JETS, or something. Ha, they’re awful. We may be Patriots fans). The most important stat is the team’s field goal percentage. When it comes down to the wire, you need a kicker who can come through in the clutch, similar to that EBA’s guy who shows up at your door at 2:15 a.m. This team has a 100-percent conversion rate (which is higher than what even EBA’s can claim). Have any guesses? If you said the Patriots you’re an incredibly biased New England sports fan! The correct answer was the Indianapolis Colts. Note that Rich objects to the Colts choice, but since he was too lazy to write this week, we’re going with it.

While admittedly the team’s defense leads much to be desired, we all know that offense wins championships (see Super Bowl XLVIII Seahawks v. Broncos). After a tough opening two weeks against two of the best teams in football, the Colts have bounced back with four straight wins, averaging 34.5 points per game, while allowing just 18.75. They have a veritable star in quarterback Andrew Luck, who seems to always find a way to get the Colts in the game with two minutes left, and an emerging talent in T.Y. Hilton, who shattered the hopes of some fantasy owners this week by posting a ridiculous nine-catch, 223-yard performance. While the Colts’ defense may not be the best in the NFL, the team ranks fourth in turnovers, which come playoff time could be a decisive factor.

This team is poised to win some big games and, I believe, the Super Bowl. We hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe Homecoming, and if you happen to flip on the Colts game this Sunday, don’t be surprised to see them succeed.