Ray Ratto

Ray's Top 25: Luck of the Irish


Ray's Top 25: Luck of the Irish

Every week, our Senior Decider votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, which of course makes all other opinions both superfluous and valueless (hey, dont say you never get your moneys worth here).

So here, after Week 11, is the world of college football, whether you like it or not. And if you dont, theres a new one next week you might like better.

RELATED: Ratto's Week 11 rankings

1 NOTRE DAME They cut it fine, even against a mopey team like USC, but 0 losses are 0 losses. 2 OHIO STATE Jim Tressel decided to take the last few years off so they've been invisible, but 0 losses, etc. 3 ALABAMA Beat Georgia, and they are a double-digit favorite in the title game. 4 GEORGIA Beat Alabama, and all hell breaks loose. 5 OREGON They spent awhile trying to decide what to do with Oregon State. 6 FLORIDA The BCS likes these guys more than Georgia, which beat them. Ahh, BCS. 7 STANFORD If they play their cards right, they can envy Notre Dame from Pasadena. 8 KANSAS STATE No, we still don't know how Baylor did it. 9 LOUISIANA STATE No speech from Les Miles equals no fun for America. 10 TEXAS A&M As it turns out, they may have beaten Alabama for nothing. 11 SOUTH CAROLINA I wish they played Clemson twice in two weeks like Stanford and UCLA. 12 OKLAHOMA No, still have no idea what they do or how they do it. 13 FLORIDA STATE Couldn't hang with Gators late, which is its own punishment. 14 KENT STATE The MAC title game ought to be quite the drunken piefight. 15 NORTHERN ILLINOIS What we said about the MAC title game? We mean it. 16 BOISE STATE Ultimately, they should be a BCS wildcard team for overcoming a tough early loss. 17 CLEMSON Somehow, this school must survive the conference bloodletting of the next few years. 18 NEBRASKA Beat Iowa in a game that made both states wish they were basketball powers. 19 OREGON STATE Waxed twice by the two Pac-12 teams better than them. 20 UTAH STATE Gary Anderson made himself a lot of money this year, which as we all know is the reason college football exists 21 NORTHWESTERN All the teams look alike at the end of the poll. That said, they lost 3 games and not 4, so they're in. 22 TEXAS Looked wildly uninspiring and uninspired against TCU. 23 UCLA Having lost to Stanford, they travel to Stanford. All at once, yippee! 24 SAN JOSE STATE They lost to Stanford and Utah State. Now that's worth a 24th. 25 RUTGERS Falling fast at the end.

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


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?”