PSAS Open Forum #occupyPR

Friday, November 17, 2017

Week 11 Picks: Five AIs that could replace Roger Goodell

By now Roger Goodell's demands for a $50 million salary and a private jet have been widely reported and roundly mocked in sports media of all stripes. Of course, the joke's on us--motherf*****r already makes a cool $30 million a year! And Jerry Jones's willingness to play the black hat among NFL owners notwithstanding, the smart money says that Goodell comes back on a contract that's obscene by any reasonable (read: non-sociopathic) standard.

That said, we can always dream of a world where Goodell is out of a job. Following the fashionable paranoia of the age, let's make it a world where Goodell has been automated off his perch as NFL commissioner, replaced by an AI. And since we're cynical even in our dreams, let's thumb through the pop culture racks for an AI commissioner that might be able to satisfy the NFL's requirements for the job, which apparently include high aptitudes for authoritarianism, capriciousness, and cruelty.

Without further ado, our candidates:

Hal 9000 ("2001: A Space Odyssey")

Pros: willing to dole out harsh punishment to those who defy his will; uber control freak

Cons: too much self-reflection and "inner depth"; disciplining the merchandise by killing it is a bridge too far/bad for business

Ash ("Alien")

Pros: pathological disregard for worker safety; healthy respect for violence

Cons: bleeds milk; British accent

GLaDOS ("Portal")

Pros: caprice is her middle name; keeps sadism fun

Cons: identifies as cis-female; see previous Con

The Tabernacle ("Zardoz")

Pros: extensive experience managing a population of "brutals"; enjoys enforcing arbitrary social rules

Cons: designed by vegetarians; unfamiliar with money

SkyNet ("The Terminator")

Pros: relentless in its pursuit of domination; capable of time travel, so no need for private jet

Cons: cyborg bodyguards creep out owners; wants to destroy humans and thus market for football

Now on to the picks....

Nauts vs. TTM

The Nauts hold the early edge in this face-off of the league's resident postpunk aficionados after Brown's Thursday night explosion. But Hopkins's ridiculous target percentage and Kamara's dynamic role in the Saints' offense mean this one is far from over. 

Trichs vs. Pelicans

The Trichs just keep rolling over the rest of the league like a tank, and this week looks like it will be no exception (the two tight end package adds some spice to the dominance). Meanwhile, the Pelicans will hope Pats-Raiders turns into a shootout, with Gronk and Amendola as the beneficiaries.

BDT vs. Ferries

With the Heideggerians turning ever inward--nary a peep on the waiver wire from its erstwhile-masters--the Ferries are a good bet to prevail in this west coast clash. Look for Russell Wilson and breakout RB Kenyan Drake to provide the winning margin. 

Hanging w Hooper vs. psych dog

Despite a trio of Thursday night lowballs, Hooper still looks primed to defeat a psych dog squad that has lost steam during the bye weeks. With Hurns out and a depleted WR corps, the dachsunds will hope for Brees and McCoy to turn back the clock in this one.

Dijonnaise vs. Polk High

Bloodz vs. Girlz

With Julio Jones facing a countertitration special in Matt Ryan and question marks all over the Bloodz's RB slots, the Girlz are primed to extend their four game winning streak, good for second longest in the league behind the Hair Pullers' reign of terror.

Picks record to date: 17-13

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Week 9 Picks

The AEthernauts franchise apologizes for last week's radio silence; we were in the middle of relocating to sunny southern California, but now we've finally made it to our new headquarters in Burbank, where Jules and Vincent famously cleaned poor Marvin's exploded head off their car in "The Bonnie Situation." Good times!

Now on to some lightning picks (predicted winner in bold)...

Nauts vs. psych dog

With psych dog facing a rash of byes at the skill positions (and no doubt occupied by the duties of fatherhood), Tyrod Taylor's solid Thursday night performance should be more than enough cushion for the aerial explorers to land on their first victory in three weeks.

 Trichs vs. Ferries

The rampant Trichs have the magic touch right now, yanking hair into gold. Case in point: Matt Forte turned back the clock in a Thursday night spot start, going for over 20 fantasy points and putting the hair pullers in the driver's seat against the Ferries. Barring another week of Russell Wilson heroics, look for the Trichs to consolidate their hold on first place.

BDT vs. Polk High

The Heideggarians hold the early edge in a matchup of reeling franchises, with Polk High already locked into to a goose egg with Kelvin Benjamin sitting out his first game as a Bill. With theoretically favorable matchups for Carr, Evans, and Martin, look for BDT to be thrown-into victory this week.  

Hanging w Hooper vs. Girlz

While the Girlz have been plagued by inconsistent production from their star receivers and Matty Ice's mammoth Super Bowl hangover, they should still pull out the win this week against a Hooper squad kneecapped by Cousins's matchup with the Legion of Boom and Fuller's downgrade from Deshaun Watson to Tom Savage at the Texans QB slot.

Dijonnaise vs. Bloodz

Even without the injured Leonard Fournette, the Bloodz are a good bet to spin their way to victory against a Mustards roster ravaged by a mix of injuries, byes, and underperforming draft busts. Take the under on this one, gentlemen.

TTM vs. Pelicans

Look for the Pelicans to clear the Mountain in this week's marquee matchup; although the Yahoo bots have this pegged as a practical tossup, TTM's main man Hopkins figures to regress without Watson under center, and the Pelicans arguably hold the edge at every other skill position.

Picks record to date: 12-12

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Week 7: Football in the year 17776

Gentlemen, the AEthernauts franchise's relocation to the left coast is heating up, so there are no picks this week. Just to keep the content rolling, here's a piece from SB Nation on what football will look like in the distant future...enjoy:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Week 6 Picks

Gentlemen, your humble blogger was feeling refreshed after a week off from squinting into the PSAS crystal ball. Then I went and saw "Blade Runner 2049," which, while visually stunning and frequently thought-provoking, was also a straight-up bummer. In place of Rutger Hauer's charismatic, gleefully satanic Roy, we get Ryan Gosling's downbeat Officer K as our resident replicant in the throes of an existential crisis. [SPOILER ALERT] And unlike Roy's cathartic death in the original "Blade Runner," which was the poignant climax of his agonistic-yet-joyful struggle for life, K's death has the depressing implication that it's just as well that he sacrifices himself for a higher cause (here, reuniting Harrison Ford with his long-lost replicant daughter). After all, what does K have to come home to? A hologram wife and old jazz standards in a closet-sized apartment in the slums?

Even more depressing--Las Vegas in 2049 has been abandoned, with nary a soul nor sports book in sight. (It does fare better than San Diego, which is now Greater LA's landfill.) On the plus side, Future Vegas does feature Harrison Ford as a grizzled badass, his probably-synthetic dog, and all the whiskey you can drink. If the Sigma Derby horse racing game from the D was still around, we'd be set.

Now on to the picks (predicted winner in bold; two thunderbolts to account for Week 4 and Week 5's high scorers)....

Nauts vs. Bloodz

The phrase of the day is "irrational exuberance" around Nauts headquarters; we'll keep riding ourselves in spite of serious concerns about Stafford's health, Hunt's return to earth amidst a multipronged Chiefs attack, and the potential for Julio and Fournette to take us for a spin in the centrifuge.

Trichs vs. Girlz

Look for the Girlz to feast this week, with the Trichs WR corps decimated by A.J. Green's bye, Diggs's injury and uncertainty at the Minnesota QB position. And on top of it all, Matt Ryan faces a Dolphins squad ravaged by the cancer that is Jay Cutler.

BDT vs. Dijonnaise

The Mustards have the horses on their bench to make this one a contest, especially with Smallwood living down to his name with a Thursday-night oh-fer. But we'll take BDT and Brady on the hunch that Dijonnaise will continue to function, on the whole, like a pre-Nexus model replicant.

Hanging w Hooper vs. Pelicans

The projections favor the Pelicans, and they're flying with the two studs of this matchup in Gronk and Devonta Freeman (given Le'Veon Bell's underwhelming start to the season). Look for this year's unluckiest team through five games to make a statement.

Polk High vs. TTM

Per the Mountain's own analytics, TTM's performance should get shaky now that we've moved out of September and into the season of ubiquitous pumpkin flavor. But their first loss will have to wait at least one more week as they get a Polk High team helmed by a dead Roethlisberger walking.

psych dog vs. Ferries

This week's marquee matchup, going by the projections. We like Brees at home against Detroit and Cooks against a Jets squad due for a regression to the mean. But rookie sensation Deshaun Watson should help make it interesting as he faces off against the hapless Browns at home.

Picks record to date: 9-9

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 5: Adult Swim

No picks this week gents...we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming in Week 6.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Annual Early Fall TTM Dominance Analysis

Image result for tiger bomb
Apply directly to September games

This year like every other year in recent memory the Tigers walked away with crazy results from the pre-bye week part of the season.  Theories abound from good draft to drifting manager attention as the season progresses. The fact remains that for whatever reason the Tigers play extremely tough  in the beginning of the season and dip somewhat to extreme as the season progresses.   The upshot is it puts the Tigers in the playoff picture more times than not. The downside is that there have been losing records in a majority of years bye-games.

The People's Democratic Committee of TTM leadership issued a statement that they would require the team to stay within the top five in waiver moves as the season progressed, with a five year goal of making even more moves that the reactionary states of Trichs and psych dog.

                          First 4                      Final Record

2011        -            4-0                                10-3
2012       -             3-1                                9-4
2013       -             4-0                                7-6
2014       -             4-0                               9-4
2015       -             4-0                               10-3
2016       -             3-1                                6-7
2017       -             4-0                                ?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week 4 Picks

"Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal." - Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulations"

"Well before I get too carried away with all these phenomena which you can see around you every day, you have got to remember that even in that hotel in Atlanta, in the winter, the poor still crawl into the postmodern cracks and sleep at night. So I mean it is not as though that turning the world, as it were, hyperreal has somehow done anything other than make our situation more extreme vis-a-vis those people who have fallen, as it were, out of the loop altogether." - Rick Roderick, "The Self Under Siege, Lecture 8: Fatal Strategies"

We are living in the age of peak hyperreality in the NFL. At the risk, or rather certainty, of bastardizing Jean Baudrillard's thought, there was no better image of a simulation without a referent than NFL owners linking arms with players in response to the First Heel's latest outburst of race-baiting vitriol. With this empty gesture of solidarity, Colin Kaepernick's original protest went the way of all signifiers in our complexity-besotted world, engulfed in the noise of responses and recontextualizations from a million traditional and social media platforms. The result has been a series of political gestures that, in the moment, carry with them the ecstasy of the hyperreal--the giddy sensation of an event being meaningful because everyone is looking at it--followed by the enervating, "Rashomon"-like fragmenting of political perspectives.

But as the Roderick quote above attests, at the core of this hyperreality, like bad loans leveraged to the hilt by the financial sector, are the people "who have fallen, as it were, out of the loop altogether"--in the case of Kaepernick's protest, people who have fallen to police bullets, and in the case of the NFL, people who have fallen (or will fall) to CTE. When it comes to pro footballwe'll see how long the simulation can sustain itself before it collapses into the black hole of exploitation at its core. And when it comes to the good ol' U.S. of A., well....[cue national anthem].

On to the picks....

BDT vs. Pelicans

Look for the Pelicans to swoop down and rudely disrupt BDT's dwelling in this countertitration special, with Gronk potentially offsetting Brady and weakness plaguing BDT's RB department.

Bloodz vs. TTM

The intra-draft class showdown of Winston vs. Mariota headlines this battle of Bushwick expats, but we predict that Jones and Fournette will pace the Blood Spinners as they knock TTM off the undefeated pedestal.

Girlz vs. Ferries

A combination of lingering injuries and tough matchups at the skill positions point to lean times for the Girlz this week, while the Ferries look to keep chugging on the backs of a resurgent Wilson and workhorse backs Cook and Ajayi.

Nauts vs. Hanging w Hooper

Signs of life from Cousins and OBJ last week have Nauts Corporate Headquarters leery of HwH, but we're still betting on rookie phenom Hunt to carry us through.

Polk High vs. psych dog

As psych dog's running backs gain steam, Polk High's blue chippers have been nothing if not erratic. Plus the hindsight provided by Ty Montgomery's lowball make it hard to pick against the PSAS's canine flagbearers.

Trichs vs. Dijonnaise

Despite Rodgers and Nelson relighting the romantic spark in a big way against the lowly Bears, we like the thunderbolt-wielding Todd Gurley and the Trichs to keep rolling this week.

Picks record to date: 5-7