A loss is a loss is a loss in poker and in football

The older I get, and the more I watch football the more I think it is much like poker. Some of what I'll say will probably get me in trouble with some LSU fans and some ardent Saints fans but I do think it's true, so sorry. It's kind of small point that I'm making but bare with me.

In the LSU game, Auburn beat them by but seven points but I'd argue LSU was beaten by the better team and should be less happy than the Saints. I know LSU lost by seven and the Saints lost by 13. I know Auburn is now the number one team in the BCS and Cleveland is still... well... Cleveland, but both games illustrate what a swing sport football is. I mean it's kind of like Omaha poker online.

In poker, one hand can cripple a chip leader and pump up a short stack. Doesn't matter if the chip leader has played brilliantly all day and the short-stack terrible. Hell, the chipleader can do everything right on the hand and the short stack get incredibly lucky and the short-stack can prevail.

I'd argue, LSU didn't do much at all against Auburn. They certainly didn't stop the quarterback or his running backs. Their best offense came in the form of a trick play and they were mostly stymied by a defense nobody thinks is all that good. Contrast that with the Saints. Drew Brees threw 4 interceptions, as he said afterward, he doesn't do that.

On that day he did. Two of them were for pick sixes meaning the Saints offense gave up 14 points, which turned out to be more than the margin of Cleveland's victory. Then, the Browns most effective plays were three trick plays. That's it.

You can boil that game down to that. I know that kicking and special teams are a facet of a team and a game. Yet, LSU dominated the kicking game by shoving Auburn on their goal line time and time again, but just like Cleveland's fake punt that isn't something you can build a season on. It might win you a game or two in the pros but it won't win you 10 games. It's kind of like being able to win all your races in poker, if you suck you are still going to lose those chips. Who cares if you've won a tournament you shouldn't have.

Long run, as angry as Saints fans are about the game on Sunday, it looked like a one off. Drew Brees isn’t giving too many opponents 14 points. Not too many opponents are going to get lucky enough to complete a batch of trick plays. Credit to Cleveland but that victory was down to a special blend of luck more than anything else.

I took the Saints in a survivor pool and I was fine to go out that way. Far better, than wrongly picking a team that got dominated on the field. Turnovers and trick plays were required to beat me? I’m good with that.

Still on the face of it, I have some LSU fans tell me they were a play away from winning the game against Auburn. Yes, just as Cleveland pulled off some doozies, LSU could have won, but the team (helped by home field advantage) that was the better team prevailed. The stats bare it out. Yes, it was a close game on the scoreboard but that’s really a tribute to the resolve of LSU. You could say the game winning touchdown was a swing play for Auburn, but even without it you got the feeling they were going to find a way to put points on the board.


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