Ray Ratto

Ratto's AP Top 25 Poll (925)

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Ratto's AP Top 25 Poll (925)

Every week, our intrepid jackass . . . sorry, senior insider Ray Ratto votes in the Associated Press College Football Poll. This is this weeks repeated stab at perfection.

RANKTEAMLAST WEEKTHIS WEEKCOMMENT1Louisiana StateBeat West Virginia, 47-21KentuckyBig win on the road should open an eye or two2AlabamaBeat Arkansas, 38-14FloridaOne more swing through the grinder3Boise StateBeat Tulsa, 41-20NevadaLast year, this one killed a title. This year, no4OklahomaBeat Missouri, 38-28Ball StateThe Fightin' Lettermens are 3-1, could be big. But won't be5Virginia TechBeat Marshall, 30-10ClemsonProbably the biggest game on the card next to Duke-FIU6Oklahoma StateBeat Texas A&M, 30-29Beer PongBig comeback at A&M will linger awhile7StanfordYardworkUCLABruins scuffled with Oregon State, not a good sign8WisconsinBeat South Dakota, 59-10NebraskaConference season begins with a bang9ClemsonBeat Florida State, 35-30at Virginia TechWinner takes the conference10South CarolinaBeat Vanderbilt, 21-3AuburnEventually, it catches up to them11OregonBeat Arizona, 56-31Fixing rain guttersFixing rain gutters Coming from off the pace impressively12Texas A&MLost to Oklahoma State, 30-29at ArkansasA nice traditional SEC test13South FloridaBeat UTEP, 52-24at PittWatch the Big East . . . well, wither and die14NebraskaBeat Wyoming, 38-14at WisconsinCovering the W schools as best they can15FloridaBeat Kentucky, 48-10AlabamaAll-in in Gainesville16Georgia TechBeat North Carolina, 35-28at NC StateNC State got whipped by Cincinnati; you be the judge17MichiganBeat San Diego State, 28-7MinnesotaA conference breather right away18TexasPlotting to rename Big XIIat Iowa StateTwo unbeatens, for awhile19ArkansasLost to Alabama, 38-14Texas A&MCould kill the season if it doesn't go right20West VirginiaLost to LSU, 47-21Bowling GreenTrust me, it won't feel the same21BaylorBeat Rice, 56-31at Kansas StateThe Fight For No. 20; makes your blood boil, don't it?22IllinoisBeat Western Michigan, 23-20NorthwesternASU beating USC was better for the Illini than this23Arizona StateBeat USC, 43-22Oregon StateNice reward after big performance24Texas ChristianBeat Portland State, 55-13SMUThat early loss to Baylor is healing nicely25UtahPut up storm windowsWashingtonGood litmus test for down the road

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?”