A Seat in the Bleachers: Predictions produce mixed results

The report card is in on last week’s predictions:

The report card is in on last week’s predictions:

As far as the Colts beating the Saints in the Super Bowl, because Peyton Manning is so cool and precise . . . wellll . . . that course was Pass/Fail, and one Pass by Peyton meant one Fail for me.

I don’t buy the theory, though, that he can’t win the big one.

It’s fashionable to say — now — that he doesn’t have the chutzpah or charisma or whatever to get his team over the hump in championship games, but I’m pretty sure he’s done that already, and you can’t take that away.

Manning is 9-9 in playoff games, but if it was so easy, why don’t more quarterbacks have multiple Super Bowl victories? It’s supposed to be difficult. And rare.

I get an A+ for predicting that I wouldn’t watch any Super Bowl commercials (but an F for not performing, as predicted, any vacuuming. Unless inhaling a bag of pretzels counts).

In the horse racing course, I’ll take an incomplete, because I predicted that Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta wouldn’t face each other in the Apple Blossom, but the curriculum changed after the term started.

It looked like I was going to ace this one when owner Jess Jackson said this week that Rachel Alexandra wouldn’t have enough time to be in peak racing form for the Apple Blossom, but he switched gears after Oaklawn Park did some fiddling with the schedule.

Now, it appears that they will race each other in the Apple Blossom, racing gods willing, but it’s happening only because Oaklawn Park moved the date of the race from April 3 to April 9.

That gives Rachel Alexandra’s connections time to schedule a prep, which will be the March 13 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds, where Rachel Alexandra worked for the third time on Friday, despite the fact that there was standing water on the track. She was one of only two horses who worked at Fair Grounds that day, and she gave trainer Steve Asmussen what he was looking for, a 1:03 breeze for five furlongs.

Here’s a new prediction: I’m leaning toward Zenyatta winning this race.

Oaklawn Park is striving to ensure that there’s as close to a full field of 10 as is possible.

The distribution of the $5 million purse will include $100,000 available to places six through 10.

Oaklawn Park spokesman Terry Wallace told the Thoroughbred Times that the purse breakdown would allocate 50 percent ($2.5 million) to the winner, 20 percent $1 million) to the runner-up, $500,000 to third, $300,000 to fourth and $200,000 to fifth.

The track has also begun talking to ESPN about televising the race, which will be an invitational at a mile and an eighth.

If they get a big field, it seems to me at least one or two of them will pressure Rachel Alexandra early and forcefully enough to set it up for the freight train finish of Zenyatta. One thing that might work in Rachel’s favor is that the stretch at the one-mile oval in Hot Springs, Ark., is rather short.

But that’s a long way away.

Finally, I won’t crow about correctly predicting that the Siena men’s basketball team wouldn’t go undefeated in the MAAC.

That really wasn’t difficult, because winning all your conference games is, in fact, very difficult.

Facing questions about a potential undefeated conference season and the 15-game winning streak on a daily basis had to get old for the Saints, but they patiently answered all of them, and now that both the undefeated season and winning streak are over, I’m not buying the theory that there might be some untold benefit to getting knocked off at least once before the MAAC Tournament starts at the beginning of next month.

Siena has a mature group — three seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup— that doesn’t fold under pressure, and whatever pressure might have existed from going 18-0 in the MAAC, well, they’ve been getting everybody’s best shot all season.

I know I didn’t hear any sighs of relief in the locker room after Niagara clobbered Siena on Friday night.

“Some people might say it’s good to get a loss out of the way, but that’s not how we think,” jun­ior center Ryan Rossiter said. “We want to win every game. We work just as hard after we lose as after we win, so either way, we’re still going to be in the gym going as hard as we can.”

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