My College Basketball Top 25 – MLK Edition

So many of the teams lost games this week, that my usual process of moving teams up and down isn’t going to work.  Instead, I’m going to start from scratch and rank them just on who is playing best right now.  If I’m torn, I’m going to think about who would win head to head on a neutral floor.

  1. Gonzaga (20-1)
  2. Baylor (15-1)
  3. San Diego State (19-0)
  4. Florida State (16-2)
  5. Oregon (15-4)
  6. Duke (15-3)
  7. Kansas (14-3)
  8. Kentucky (13-4)
  9. Louisville (15-3)
  10. Michigan State (14-4)
  11. Memphis (14-3)
  12. Butler (15-3)
  13. West Virginia (14-3)
  14. Auburn (15-2)
  15. Maryland (14-4)
  16. Villanova (14-3)
  17. Arizona (13-5)
  18. Texas Tech (12-5)
  19. Dayton (16-2)
  20. Penn State (13-5)
  21. Colorado (14-4)
  22. Arkansas (14-3)
  23. Wichita State (15-3)
  24. Seton Hall (14-4)
  25. LSU (13-4)

Watching The Debate So You Don’t Have To – Last Debate Before Iowa

Even though my political brain is caught up with my own campaign, I will always have time to watch the debates and give my commentary.  Some observations and then my ranking of the six candidates on the stage tonight.

I thought the format didn’t do enough to let the candidates actually debate.  The candidates were cut off too quickly, especially by the moderator from Iowa.

The choice of topics were OK.  I was fine with a return to the healthcare debate, since the number of candidates was only six and they haven’t addressed it much in the last couple of debates.

Tom Steyer seemed to be aligning himself with the progressives against the moderates, so that it was a 3 on 3 kind of thing.

I didn’t really not a lot of “good” answers, as I’ve done in the previous debates.  I had Warren with two, Pete with two, Klobuchar with one and Sanders with one.  I also noted throughout how Biden had a lot of rambling answers.

I thought Warren had the strongest closing, followed by Pete and Biden right behind her.

On to the ranking…

  1. Warren – Since Elizabeth has been top of my candidate ranking for a while, I have gone out of my way not to seem biased with my debate ranking for her.  But she had some good moments and was the most consistent in her answers throughout the debate.  Also, the immediate reactions from the CNN post debate commentary seemed to agree with me that it was Warren’s night.
  2. Buttigieg – Mayor Pete was pretty solid, but missed some opportunities to really shine.  He had some good applause moments (bone spurs) and a good closing.
  3. Sanders – Bernie was Bernie.  He kept turning back to his issues and he does that well.  He lost the mini-battle with Warren on women candidates and it felt like he was a little on the defensive in that area.  He also got a front-runner like attack on paying for his Medicare For All program, similar to how Warren got it in the Fall.
  4. Biden – Biden had a good closing, which saved an otherwise mediocre night.  He falls into rambling when he gets a question he isn’t totally prepared for.
  5. Steyer – I liked that he’s trying to align with the Progressives.  He also made some good points on climate change.
  6. Klobuchar – I like Amy.  But she’s just trying too hard to be pragmatic.  She swung and missed on all of her opportunities.  I may still have her more highly ranked in my overall ranking, but she wasn’t great tonight.  And that’s bad, since she really needs to overachieve in Iowa to have any chance to move on.

My College Basketball Top 25 – Mid January Edition

Time for another Top 25 update.  We’re getting to two games a week territory, so we might see some movement.  Not in the top 5, though.

  1. Auburn (15-0)
  2. San Diego State (17-0)
  3. Duke (15-1)
  4. Gonzaga (18-1)
  5. Baylor (13-1)
  6. Butler (15-1)
  7. West Virginia (13-2)
  8. Kentucky (12-3)
  9. Florida State (14-2)
  10. Maryland (13-3)
  11. Kansas (12-3)
  12. Louisville (13-3)
  13. Villanova (12-3)
  14. Oregon (14-3)
  15. Wichita State (15-1)
  16. Dayton (14-2)
  17. Arkansas (13-2)
  18. Colorado (13-3)
  19. Penn State (12-4)
  20. Memphis (13-3)
  21. Texas Tech (10-5)
  22. Ohio State (11-5)
  23. Michigan State (13-4)
  24. Seton Hall (12-4)
  25. Arizona (11-5)

My College Basketball Top 25 – Post New Year Edition

[Update – MadZee has surfaced and I’ve added his below.  He’s a Kentucky hater, putting them down at 19]

I’m a day late in getting this out and MadZee is still off the grid.  I’m doing this before the AP comes out, but that doesn’t really matter since my Top 25 is nothing like that one.

  1. Auburn (13-0)
  2. San Diego State (15-0)
  3. Duke (13-1)
  4. Gonzaga (16-1)
  5. Baylor (11-1)
  6. Kansas (11-2)
  7. Butler (14-1)
  8. Kentucky (10-3)
  9. Michigan State (12-3)
  10. Maryland (12-2)
  11. Florida State (13-2)
  12. West Virginia (11-2)
  13. Dayton (13-2)
  14. Louisville (11-3)
  15. Ohio State (11-3)
  16. Virginia (11-2)
  17. Memphis (12-2)
  18. Texas Tech (10-3)
  19. Villanova (10-3)
  20. Oregon (12-3)
  21. Arkansas (12-1)
  22. Arizona (11-3)
  23. Penn State (12-2)
  24. Xavier (12-3)
  25. Wichita State (13-1)

MadZee’s much worse Top 25

  1. Kansas
  2. Duke
  3. Gonzaga
  4. San Diego State
  5. Baylor
  6. Florida State
  7. Auburn
  8. Butler
  9. Michigan State
  10. Oregon
  11. Ohio State
  12. Dayton
  13. Penn State
  14. West Virginia
  15. Maryland
  16. Villanova
  17. Wichita State
  18. Colorado
  19. Kentucky
  20. Louisville
  21. Seton Hall
  22. Arizona
  23. Virginia
  24. Arkansas
  25. Michigan

My December Political Donations

It’s about that time.  The emails and texts are coming in hot and heavy from all of the candidates to whom I’ve previously donated, especially because it’s the end of a quarter.  You can go back and see my previous monthly posts, if you want.  Last month’s is here.

It’s a little different this time, since I’m running for County Commission.  I’ve given myself a donation (about which I’ll write soon at fro4knox4.com).  And in my platform (more on that soon too), I’m coming out strongly against the big checks and PAC money in my local race.  So that skews my thoughts a little on this donation thing.  But, the small dollar donations I’m making here are the kind that I will consider accepting at some point down the line.  So, I think I’m safe from claims of hypocrisy.

Anyway, I’m giving $10 to Elizabeth Warren.  She’s still #1 on my ranking and I’ll keep giving to her until she’s not viable or something else changes.  I’m going to give my other $10 to the Knox County Democratic Party (the one here in Tennessee if you’re wondering).  I may try to give some money to some races for House or Senate seats down the line, but it’s so fluid at this point, I’m going hang back and wait to see how things shake out.

By the time I do another one of these posts, Iowa caucus is going to be upon us.  Real voting is coming soon.  See you then.

 

Top Ten Candidates for the Democratic Nomination – End of Year Edition

I did my ranking of how the candidates did in the debate and then didn’t immediately do my Top Ten ranking overall, as I’ve done in the past.  The holiday has gotten in the way.  And, to be honest, thinking about my own campaign has also taken up much of my political brain over the last two weeks.  I’m up late on and Sunday night, though, so why not do a quick update before 2020 hits us right in the face.

There hasn’t been much news in the horserace.  I see lots of texts and emails from campaigns – asking for donations before the end of the year.  And I’ll do my monthly post with donations tomorrow or on New Year’s eve.  Because that’s how I like to party ;-).

  1. Elizabeth Warren – Staying steady.  I’m rolling with Warren at least until the voting starts.  Let’s see how Iowa treats the candidates.  I’m getting vibes that Warren has lost all momentum and may end up with a disappointing finish in Iowa.  I hope not, but if she’s anywhere but first or second, she’s probably done for.  On a related note, I’ve recently been adding friends in my local area to help with the social media aspect of my campaign for County Commission.  I ended up friending some die hard Kamala fans who were NOT ready to let go of her candidacy.  They didn’t really want to hear my defense of Warren when they went negative on her.  And, evidently, to some in the pro-Kamala circles, Warren and Bernie are basically the same.  All you have to do is look at my rankings here to see that I am decidedly not a Bernie fan, but I guess I get lumped in with the Bernie bros all the same? They also seem to hold some ill will toward Warren because of how she’s fundraising and how that undermined Kamala’s ability to fundraise.  It was a unique experience for me.  I figured we’re all on the same let’s get rid of Trump team.  But I guess not.  Anywho.  On with the ranking.
  2. Amy Klobuchar – up 2 spots.  I’m still concerned about the reports of how she treated her staff.  And she’s more moderate than I would like.  But I really hope a woman can win in 2020 and, if not Warren, Klobuchar is the next best option.
  3. Pete Buttigieg – down 1 spot.  I think Mayor Pete has a problem with the left wing of the party.  He’s going hard after everyone now.  I still think he has a good chance of generating enthusiasm in the general, but if he fades in Iowa, he’s destined for the DoD job in a Democratic administration.
  4. Cory Booker – down 1 spot.  If Cory can get back on the debate stage before the vote in Iowa, maybe he has a chance.  If not, he’s not getting the nomination.  I think he’d beat Trump, but don’t think he will get the chance.
  5. Joe Biden – holding steady.  His last debate performance was pretty strong.  That guy will demolish Trump.  Do a good job with the VP pick and cabinet and that’s a really good presidency.  Can he be consistent?
  6. Andrew Yang – staying steady.  I like Yang, but he’s not going to be the nominee.
  7. Bernie Sanders –  staying steady.  I worry that he’s going to do just well enough to hang around, but not well enough to win the nomination.  Makes for a messy convention.
  8. Michael Bloomberg – new to the list. I don’t necessarily like him as a candidate, but I’m intrigued by his strategy.  He’s building a massive campaign infrastructure all over the country.  If he works to use that infrastructure to hammer Trump, then maybe he should stick around a little while.
  9. Julian Castro – down 1 spot.  I keep getting fundraising texts from Julian, so I know he’s still a candidate.  He must have a lean operation to still be running.  I like his message, so go ahead and stay with us for a little while longer, Julian.
  10. Tom Steyer – down 1 spot.  How long will he stay in?

My College Basketball Top 25 – Post Christmas Edition

My last Top 25 before the New Year.  MadZee has dropped off the face of the Earth, since he’s back in Virginia for the break from college.  But I’m going to keep at it, you can rest assured.

Non-conference games are pretty much over.  Now into the slog of the conference.  Before that, though, a ranking.  Teams who lost must move down.  This is the way.

And, also, time to start putting Kentucky where they deserve to be, rather than punishing them for losing.  I don’t punish the other big teams with huge drops when they lose.  And, favorite team bias aside, I still think they have top 10 or even top 5 potential.  So, from here on out, Kentucky gets my objective-ish ranking.

  1. Auburn (12-0)
  2. San Diego State (13-0)
  3. Duke (11-1)
  4. Gonzaga (13-1)
  5. Memphis (11-1)
  6. Baylor (9-1)
  7. Oregon (10-2)
  8. Kansas (10-2)
  9. Butler (12-1)
  10. Louisville (11-2)
  11. Ohio State (11-2)
  12. West Virginia (11-1)
  13. Kentucky (9-3)
  14. Villanova (9-2)
  15. Virginia (10-2)
  16. Maryland (11-2)
  17. DePaul (12-1)
  18. Arkansas (11-1)
  19. Florida State (11-2)
  20. Dayton (10-2)
  21. Arizona (10-3)
  22. Michigan State (10-3)
  23. Penn State (11-2)
  24. Xavier (11-2)
  25. Colorado (11-2)