Monday Morning Locks

Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Monday Morning Locks by Alex Sibley

A crazy thing happened to me last night at the end of Super Bowl XLV.

Throughout the game, I was receiving text messages by the dozens from Pittsburgh Steelers fans who continually told me to ‘wait for the comeback’ or ‘it’s going to be nice to win this one, especially with turning the ball over three times.’

But as Ben Roethlisberger’s fourth-and-5 pass to Mike Wallace hit the turf, sealing the game for the Packers, my phone went silent. There wasn’t another text the rest of the night.

I know what you anti-Steeler fans are thinking, just another way of showing that followers of the Black and Gold can talk a lot of junk when things are looking up, yet disappear faster than a sock on Rex Ryan’s nightstand when things go south.

Normally I would think the same thing, being a Browns fan and all. But I felt the same disgust as most Pittsburgh fans when the confetti started falling in Dallas. Not because Mike Tomlin and his crew lost, I loved it. Yet, I picked the Steelers to win and Hines Ward to be named MVP, both of which obviously didn’t happen, which dropped my record to 3-2 on the week.

After a 1-4 week 14 days ago, I need all the wins I can get. So, for the first time in my life, I guess I was actually silently rooting for Pittsburgh.

I can taste the bile in my mouth.

Moving on after that comment that will no doubt open the doors for criticism from my friends who, like me, adore the Cleveland Browns, it’s a new week, which means five more picks to get my 17-13 overall record out of the teens and into the twenties.

Lock No. 1 – The Duke Blue Devils.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Last week, Duke gave me a win when it defeated Maryland on the road, one game after being embarrassed in Madison Square Garden by St. John’s.

On Wednesday, the Tobacco Road rivalry between North Carolina and the Blue Devils gets renewed at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Tar Heels are on the verge of entering the ESPN Top-25 poll after quietly winning five in a row, while sitting in second place behind Duke with a 7-1 ACC record.

But Duke is Duke. And at this time of the season, as they are gearing up for another long run in the NCAA Tournament, the Blue Devils are hard to bear this time of year at home.

North Carolina is getting back to being a good program, but right now, Duke is a great program.
Take the Blue Devils.

Lock No. 2 – The Syracuse Orange

Looking for something to watch Wednesday before the Duke-North Carolina tilt? Tune into ESPN at 7 p.m. for what has the makings to be another great game in the Big East.

Georgetown will take the trip to the Carrier Dome to battle with Syracuse.

These two teams have taken much different paths this season, with Syracuse starting hot before fizzling out the last month, while Georgetown has been on a tear lately, winning six straight, three of which came over ranked opponents – Pitt, Villanova and Louisville.

I went with the Hoyas last week, but something in my gut is telling me that Syracuse it about to go on a tear and gain back some respect it may have lost this season in the Big East.

Take Syracuse and expect a close game.

Lock No. 3 – The L.A. Lakers

On Thursday, The Celtics and Lakers will meet up in Beantown for another rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.

I’ll make this plain and simple, I bet against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers four times last season in the playoffs, and lost all four times.

If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s you pay taxes, you’ll eventually die and you never, under any circumstances bet against Kobe Bryant.

Take L.A.

Lock No. 4 -- The Washington Wizards

I’ll throw up the same waiver as the NFL Pro Bowl, the following game you may not want to bet, because you’d be forced to watch it, which could cause mental harm.

With that being said, and I don’t think this sentence will ever escape my lips again, but bet the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.

Sitting at 0-25 on the road this season, the Wizards will travel to Cleveland in an attempt to win its first game outside of the Verizon Center this year.

Sounds a little better now, right? I mean, they’re playing the Cavs.

Cleveland hasn’t won in what seems years and by all accounts have quit.

Pop the bubbly, D.C., your Wizards will finally board the plane after a game with the sweet feeling of victory.

Lock No. 5 – Jeff Gordon

An avid reader of the Erie Reader told me at the Erie Otters game he loved Monday Morning Locks, then simply told me he had a lock for this week.

He simply winked and pointed at his hat, which was a ripped, camouflage thing that appeared to be hanging on by its final thread.

The hat was one he bought at Daytona years back of his favorite racer – Jeff Gordon.

With the first race of the season Saturday in the Daytona Shootout, he told me Gordon was going to win.

I know nothing about NASCAR, but what the heck, Erich looked pretty confident.

So, bet Gordon…but blame my buddy Erich if this one doesn’t pan out.

~Alex Sibley covers sports for the Erie Reader. You can contact him at, or you can follow him on Twitter @ErieReaderSport.

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