McCain Mavericks (+6% pts) v. Obama Changers (-17 electoral votes)
It's been a long road to this matchup - will it be worth the wait? Let's take each section piece by piece.
The Mavericks' strength is always offense and firepower, and there's been the usual amount of trickeration from them this season. But we've seen these plays before - there's nothing new in the majority of them. Their biggest surprise, starting the freshman Palin at RB two-thirds of the way into the season, gave them a much needed shot in the arm and energized the fans. But Palin's effectiveness has been dropping lately - do the Mavericks have enough left in the tank for one final surge?
The Changers' offense is as plain vanilla as you get, coming from their midwestern "three votes and a cloud of dust" philosophy. But their effectiveness comes from being able to rotate quality players in seemingly at will. They cover so much ground it's as if they sometimes have 12 or 13 on the field out there. They're not going to score a lot of points, but they're sure to control the ball for the majority of the game.
The Mavericks' defense has a ton of history, dominated by a line that took severe punishment in the early years but never broke. But things haven't necessarily gone their way lately, and they've blown some huge opportunities when opposing teams looked shaky handling the ball.
The Changers' defense is of the bend-don't-break variety - you might gain some yards and score some points on them, but you're not going to get any big plays or beat them by three TD's. They're steady and organized, even in the face of withering attacks, which should help them against the Mavericks. At the same time, they're not likely to cause too many turnovers or sack the QB much.
3. Special Teams
The Mavericks' have been running uphill lately, mainly because their conference, the RNC, is the weakest it's been in years. They've had to work twice as hard to just stay even lately, and defending their own turf has used up a considerable amount of their energy. Constantly having horrible field position is going to come back to haunt them sooner or later.
Sure the Changers' special teams play has been solid, but a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that they play in the DNC, which is seen as the strongest conference this season. They're constantly shifting the game to their opponents' side of the field, and the DNC's momentum has allowed them to play looser and more freely.
I'll be the Mavericks' QB wishes he'd stuck to his guns and demanded he be allowed to call the plays, since that's what got him this far in the first place. Sure the Maverick coaches have a solid winning percentage, especially the last fifteen seasons, but their playcalling has been too predictable and doesn't seem to work like it once did. If they'd been more solid with the playcalling throughout the whole season and let the QB continue to gallop with his express, maybe they wouldn't have to be calling so many Hail Mary's right now...
Quickfire Question - who's the Changers' head coach? Offensive coordinator? D-line coordinator? You can't exactly say, can you? That's because they know they have a phenomenal natural athlete at QB running the show. They understand that the best thing to do is just get out of his way and let him be himself, ala Vince Young at Texas or Tim Tebow at Florida. If he can win the game on his own, why not let him?
The Mavericks' playbook is seemingly endless, and you know they're gonna pull out all the stops - they have to at this point. When the ball takes some weird bounces, and you know it's going to, I see the Mavericks' capitalizing and trying to get more out of it than the Changers, who will play it more conservative, ironically.
The Changers know they're in a better position right now than the Mavericks, and they're not going to do anything stupid or take any risks whatsoever. If they just play the game they know they're capable of, they'll be fine.
The Call: the Chargers win and cover the electoral votes, but the Mavericks cover the % spread, 52%-48%. Defense wins championships.
The Result: Obama 338-163 (+/-), 52%-47%