Ray Ratto

Ratto's AP Top 25 Poll (1023)

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Ratto's AP Top 25 Poll (1023)

Every week, Senior Insider Ray Ratto votes in the Associated Press College Football Poll. Here is this week's stab at perfection.

RANK TEAM LAST WEEK THIS WEEK COMMENT 1 LSU BEAT AUBURN, 45-10 Idle, with a very good reason Winner takes all at Alabama next week . . . 2 ALABAMA BEAT TENNESSEE, 37-6 Idle, with the same reason . . . While the loser lives a winter of impotent rage 3 BOISE STATE BEAT AIR FORCE, 37-26 Incredibly Idle Best positioned yet for late November screwing 4 STANFORD BEAT WASHINGTON, 65-21 At Southern California Whatever happened to that Luck fellow? 5 OKLAHOMA STATE Won at Missouri, 45-24 BAYLOR Solid win after solid win after solid solid win 6 CLEMSON BEAT NORTH CAROLINA, 59-38 At Georgia Tech Some people think they're in the title race, and I'm not unsympathetic to their bleatings 7 OREGON Won at Colorado, 45-2 WASHINGTON STATE They should have been dropped for giving up the 2; later events intervened 8 ARKANSAS Won at Mississippi, 29-24 At Vanderbilt More of a struggle than it should have been 9 KANSAS STATE Won at Kansas, 59-21 OKLAHOMA As close as ESPN will ever come to Game Day in Manhattan 10 OKLAHOMA LOST TO TEXAS TECH, 41-38 At Kansas State One more minute, and they might have cheated the reaper 11 MICHIGAN STATE BEAT WISCONSIN, 37-31 At Nebraska Ann Arbor has never wept so much 12 WISCONSIN Lost at Michigan State, 37-31 At Ohio State Hell of a game, hell of a fall 13 VIRGINIA TECH BEAT BOSTON COLLEGE, 30-14 At Duke Only one troublesome game left, at Georgia Tech 14 TEXAS A&M Won at Iowa State, 33-17 MISSOURI Lost a bit of ground, but the right place for Ags 15 HOUSTON BEAT MARSHALL, 63-28 RICE Boise State South 16 TEXAS TECH Won at Oklahoma, 41-38 IOWA STATE Second win over winning team a beauty 17 PENN STATE Won at Northwestern,. 34-24 ILLINOIS Rapidly . . . Losing . . . Will . . . To . . . Care 18 NEBRASKA Won at Minnesota, 41-14 MICHIGAN STATE From the ridiculous to the sublime 19 SOUTH CAROLINA Dedicated Bye Week to Ron Morris At Tennessee This was the week that was; did nothing, gained a spot 20 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Won at Notre Dame, 31-17 STANFORD Someone goes down hard this weekend 21 MICHIGAN Cursed loudly and repeatedly at Michigan State PURDUE Watching Sparty steal from Wisconsin must have stung good 22 SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI BEAT SOUTHERN METHODIST, 27-3 At Texas El Paso The Neptune of the FBS solar system; as far as you can go without losing interest 23 CINCINNATI Won at South Florida, 37-34 Exhausted after all that Big East worry No impressive wins, but only one loss 24 TEXAS CHRISTIAN BEAT NEW MEXICO, 69-0 BRIGHAM YOUNG (FRIDAY) Punching way below their weight Saturday 25 ARIZONA STATE Didn't play; that's how bereft of teams we are COLORADO I was this close to voting for Georgia Southern

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

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AP

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
 
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
 
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
 
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
 
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
 
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
 
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”