Recipe for winning: Hare of the dog … and cat | PostIndependent.com
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Recipe for winning: Hare of the dog … and cat

Collin Szewczyk
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The Chinese Calendar recognized 2011 as the Year of the Hare. For me, it was the year of defeating Jeff Caspersen.I bested the Post Independent sports editor not only in the GSPI football picks (110-45 to 102-53), but also in fantasy football and baseball.In the final weeks of fantasy baseball, the unmatched skill of Jeff Francoeur escalated me into second place in our league, knocking Caspersen into third, and cutting his winnings in half.In fantasy football, aided by the long leg of David Akers, I clobbered Caspersen – and Shonn Greene – in the first round of the playoffs on my meteoric run to first place, taking the money for the second year in a row.Now I understand what Charlie Sheen meant by “winning.”It probably helped that it wasn’t the just the Year of the Hare, but rather the Year of the Metal Hare.According to chinesezodiac.com, metal gives the Hare more strength, resilience and determination.And I love metal.I imagine a small furry rabbit cheering me on to victory to the sounds of Metallica (pre-Load) or Guns & Roses.But enough about my dominance, there were several others that gave the GSPI football picks the college try in 2011.Ron Milhorn made a huge leap during the bowl games this year, finishing in second place (105-50).He played football at USC, and much like the Trojans, was in contention for most of the season, only to fall in the end.Post Independent reporter John Stroud began the season challenging the pets for last-place infamy, but turned it around and made a respectable run late, finishing in fourth place (99-56), with numbers that would have won in 2008 and 2010.But it’s not 2008 or 2010, and fourth place is about where a White Sox fan belongs.Which brings us to beloved Post Independent columnist April E. Clark.If April’s life is filled with comedy, then her football picks surely were a tragedy. She finished fifth (97-58).The GSPI champion in 2008 and 2009, April’s glory days, like those of Peyton Manning, are in the past.Perhaps the Boilermaker’s focus on football has moved on, much like her alma mater’s.The Three Rivers Football kids had a great showing this season, finishing sixth, but compiling a 91-64 record.They would have finished with a better record if they didn’t pick the Broncos to win each week.I have some advice for you guys, don’t pick with your heart, as it will break in the end.Trust me … I’m a Cubs fan.And following up in last place were Wadsworth and Ranger, the GSPI football pet picks (86-69).And while it’s impressive that our pets could finish 17 games over .500, I still hoped for more.To Ranger : bad dog!To Wadsworth: hisssss!All kidding aside, they just need a third animal for next season … to take the pressure off.Perhaps we need to throw a prognosticating octopus in the mix … or a venerable rainbow trout.Maybe if we had a wise marmot on the payroll, they could beat Clark.In the end, my guess is that I’m embarking on a storied run of football picks glory, with several strong seasons ahead.As Carl Wollarski of Bill Swerski’s Super Fans once said, “We’re talking a minimum eight peat.”It was the Year of the Hare in 2011, and Caspersen surely ripped some of his out questioning why he got me into the GSPI football picks, not to mention fantasy football.It was a fun year in football.In the NFL we saw the steady rise and abrupt fall of Tim Tebow (told you), the end of Terrell Owens’ career and the retirement of Mike Martz (for now).We won’t talk about Jay Cutler’s injury derailing the Chicago Bears’ season. It still makes me cry at night.In the college ranks, Georgia showed the world how to lose, giving Michigan State every opportunity to beat them, and Alabama rolled past previously undefeated LSU to win the confusing BCS Championship.For next season, 2012 is the legendary Year of the Dragon, and dragons symbolize dominance and ambition. Guess that doesn’t bode well for the junior college-like Broncos offense.I wish all well in the new year, it should be a great one.And the only way we’ll see the apocalypse is if the Cubs win the World Series. … Smart money is on the world continuing.I hope to see everyone back next season, and I congratulate the real winners: our families and significant others. The football season is almost over, so thanks for putting up with this nonsense.- Collin Szewczyk is a copy editor at the Post Independent. He grew up in Chicago and had to live through the Broncos-Bears game in December. He’s still seeking closure. … Perhaps another 20-20 season by Jeff Francoeur can provide just that. Szewczyk’s favorite website is http://www.jefffrancoeur.com.


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