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March Madness in September

We had a little vacation, but a new season has started and we are back in the blogging saddle. Two weeks into the Premier League and it looks like the trend is to score six goals. Gone are the days when you would win 1-0 or 2-0. 2010 is all about 6-0. But the best part about the start of the Premier League is that it is just like the first rounds of the March Madness tournament. Anything can and does happen.

Chelsea came right out of the gate like a #1 seed and thumped West Brom 6-0. That result wasn't too surprising. Chelsea is the defending champion and West Brom was promoted to the Premier League this season. But then Chelsea matched the impressive debut and beat Wigan 6-0 yesterday. Again, Wigan isn't exactly the toughest foe, but six goals is always impressive. Especially when it comes in back to back weeks. Two weeks in and they have a +12 goal differential. That's good or something.

Blackpool is the low-seeded team full of white boys that comes out in the first round and pulls off a huge victory by raining threes. Blackpool was recently promoted from the League Championship. Not much was/is expected of them this season. But then they opened up against Wigan and won 4-0. An impressive debut in the Premier League. Granted, again it was Wigan so it wasn't like David slaying Goliath. But it made Blackpool look like a legitimate team. That was until they met Arsenal on Saturday. Any excitement or confidence Blackpool may have gained about their team this season was quickly squashed as Arsenal came out and put them in their place by thumping them 6-0. Blackpool turned out to be the Cinderella team that isn't really a Cinderella team because before they can even think about winning it all a Kansas or North Carolina thumps them by 35 in the second round. The Arsenal game wasn't even that close. Arsenal dominated from the kickoff.

Newcastle is the intriguing 8 or 9 seed. No idea what to make of them. A storied history. They fell on bad times and were relegated two years ago. Last year they finished at the top of the League Championship division and they were promoted back to the Premier League. They struggled against Manchester United and looked like they might not be ready for the Premier League, but then they came out in the second week and crushed Aston Villa. Final score: 6-0 of course. Losing to Man United is understandable. But 6-0 against Aston Villa? That's impressive and makes them all the more intriguing. A classic 8/9 seed. You feel good about them against some teams, but would struggle picking them against a 1 or 2 seed, like Man United.

Anyways, what does this all tell us and what do we know after two weeks? Just like the start of the March Madness tournament, we know nothing. Chelsea is good and Wigan blows. They are likely the top and the bottom of the league, but everything in the middle is still a crapshoot. Which is great. Anything can and does happen at the start of the season.

In the end Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal (the #1 seeds) will likely finish in the top 4. Tottenham, Man City and Liverpool (#2 seeds) will then follow in some random order. It may end differently, but that's how it will probably be in May. Like the end of the March Madness tourney. It's fun to predict the underdogs and Cinderellas, but in the end, it always the #1 and #2 seeds. Somewhat predictable and expected. Not that it's a bad thing since the end of the season and race to the finish is always exciting. But there is plenty of joy to be had in the journey. We may know how it will end, but it will likely be chaotic and unpredictable getting there. Arguably the best time of the season. March Madness in September.
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