Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Tuesday Day: Bowl Game Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

To our mind, the only thing wrong with the Champions League is its outmoded method of determining the best of the final 16 teams through a two-legged, single-elimination knockout tournament.

Far superior is a method we've developed here in America: Using complicated algorithms and the arbitrary opinions of a tiny subset of people to determine who the real champion is. Luckily, UEFA has us around to apply this method to its premier competition. Today we bring you the Champions League Bowl Series.

1. Champions League Championship Game: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

A rematch? In the championship game? Are we crazy? Possibly, but you'd have a tough time making a case for another team as superior to either of these two. With this much offensive firepower on the field at one time, the game might even finish 9-6.

2. European Cup Bowl: AC Milan vs. Chelsea

This Great Uncle of Them All always matches up the champions from England and Italy. Unfortunately, one of those teams ended up ineligible, so the game had to reach and take Chelsea.

3. Beckenbauerbowl: Bayern Munich vs. Inter

Like any good bowl system, our formulas favor interesting rematches from years prior. That the Beckenbauerbowl grabs Bayern is just an added bonus.

4. Cruyff Bowl: Arsenal vs. Napoli

A fascinating clash of styles manufactured by our selection committee. Arsenal overcame Udinese, but can they pull a similar feat against Napoli's three-pronged counterattack?

Forget the cup, now
he's got his own Bowl.
5. Maldini Bowl: Benfica vs. CSKA Moscow

With both Milan teams off the board, the Maldini Bowl gets stuck with an unappealing matchup between two teams with fanbases who will have quite a ways to travel to watch the game. Plenty of cheap tickets are likely to be available for this one.

6. Di Stefano Bowl: Zenit vs. Marseille

A clash of teams on opposite trajectories, Zenit on top of their league, Marseille closer to the tenth place team than the first.

7. Platini Bowl: Lyon vs. Bayer Leverkusen

When in doubt, we select for historical drama that our announcers can hype during the game.

8. Diego Maradona's £10,000 Bidet Bowl: APOEL vs. Basel

Better luck next time, boys. We just won't know if you're ready to play in a big-time game until we see that you've won a big-time game.

And a pair of extra, bonus bowls:

9. Best Bowl: Manchester United vs. Borussia Dortmund

Winners of their leagues last year, narrowly in second this year, early flame-outs in the big one. A perfect match-up for one of our bonus bowls.

10. Blatter Bowl: Juventus vs. Dynamo Kiev

A fitting matchup between a pair of teams who have faced sanctions in the recent past.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff
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