And on Friday, when the line was San Diego plus four at Kansas City, the Times predicted a final of Bolts 20, Chiefs 17. It wasn't necessary to forecast a San Diego victory in order to send Times readers an encrypted message to sell their Chagalls and bet on the Bolts; predicting that San Diego would lose by less than four would have encoded the same hidden command. Projection of a Bolts straight-up win was unattractive as a cipher because the chance of being wrong was very high: Kansas City has the league's best home record in the last decade, while San Diego is in such dire straights, it started the great Moses Moreno at QB. As we now know, San Diego not only failed to win straight-up but failed to cover the spread by 29: If this is betting code, Times readers had best grab hold of their wallets. Thus TMQ believes the only rational explanation for the Times prediction was that the paper actually believed San Diego would win. (Wait, we said "rational" explanation.)
Of course, perhaps as part of the conspiracy, the Times deliberately inserts a few misleading calls such as the San Diego projection, in order to throw naïfs like TMQ off the scent. Or to steer bettors way from games the Israeli government is wagering on.
TMQ Trivia Challenge: Last week, Tuesday Morning Quarterback offered a trivia question he was sure would send readers scurrying to the darkest recesses of sports archives, if not flying to London to hop the Tube to the British Museum. Instead the first correct reply came in with scorching Rams-like speed a mere 23 minutes after the column posted.
Here was the question:
Below are the names of four small colleges that have sent only one player to the NFL, followed by the names of four NFL athletes from single-player schools. Match each player to his alma mater.
Schools: Brockport State, Isothermal CC of North Carolina, Mount Senario, Shippensberg. Players: Rob Davis, Percy Howard, Craig Jay, Mike Jones.
Some readers questioned whether an "Isothermal Community College" actually exists. It's there, in lovely Spindale, N.C.: Check out its Web site, which offers no explanation of why the school is named after a feature on weather charts. Maybe there was once a great man named Jeremiah Isothermal.
Others wrote in to question the existence of Mount Senario. It's "on the banks of the Flambeau River in Ladysmith, Wisconsin," as its home page declares.
TMQ just loves the name of this school, which sounds like an objective in a Pentagon war game: "Blue team will assault Mount Senario at oh five hundred hours."
With his Rams-like blistering speed, Bill Peterson, who declined to publish his hometown (or to say whether he is a member of Homo sapiens—given the response time, TMQ suspects the involvement of an experimental AI), was first to give the correct matches:
Brockport State—Mike Jones
Mount Senario—Craig Jay