2014 World Cup Preview

As 2013 comes to a close, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil looms closer. At the beginning of the year, the only country assured a spot was Brazil since they are the hosts.

In Africa, there were 52 teams that were fighting for five spots. The tournament to qualify consisted of a 24-country playoff of the lowest ranked countries that played two games, home and away. The 12 winners joined the top 28-ranked countries and split into ten groups of four. The ten winners of each group then played another playoff similar to the first round. The five winning teams qualify for the World Cup.

The five teams for Africa are the exact same as the last World Cup. South Africa was also in the field but weren’t part of the five teams from Africa since they were hosting the World Cup. In the final round, Ivory Coast beat Senegal, Nigeria beat Ethiopia, Cameroon beat Tunisia, Ghana beat Egypt, and Algeria beat Burkina Faso. The five winning nations will once again represent Africa in the World Cup.

The Asian qualifiers consisted of a field of 43 countries. The first leg consisted of the bottom 16 ranked countries that played a home and away playoff. The winners moved on to the second round that had the sixth to the twenty-seventh ranked countries along with the winners of the first round. The winners of the second round continued to the third round that split up the winners and the top five ranked countries into five groups of four. The top two teams from each group were then split into two groups. The top two teams of each group qualified automatically and the two third place teams played another home and away playoff. The winner of the playoff must win another home and away playoff game against a team from another continent in order to qualify.

The countries that qualified automatically by placing first and second in their group are Iran, North Korea, Japan, and Australia. North Korea, Japan, and Australia all qualified for the last World Cup as well. Uzbekistan and Jordan each placed third and played two playoff games. Jordan was the victor and needed to win an intercontinental playoff in order to advance.

In Oceania, there were 11 countries with a chance to play in the World Cup. The qualifying for the World Cup began with a four-team playoff of the four lowest ranked teams. The winner of that playoff joined the top seven teams, which then split into two groups of four. The top two teams in each group then became a single group and played another playoff.

Samoa won the first playoff and joined the top seven teams. In the two groups, the countries that advanced were Tahiti, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands. New Zealand won every game they played in that last playoff and got an opportunity to qualify for the World Cup for the second year in a row if they won an intercontinental playoff.

The South American qualifier is the same as it has been for the past few World Cups. The only difference for the 2014 qualifier is that Brazil didn’t participate since they are hosting the event. The nine other teams played two games against all the teams in a home and away playoff format. The top four advance automatically and the fifth place country needs to win an intercontinental playoff.

Automatically joining Brazil in the World Cup is Argentina, Columbia, Chile, and Ecuador. Argentina and Chile both qualified for the 2010 World Cup as well. The fifth place country, Uruguay, had a chance to qualify if they won an intercontinental playoff. This was the second straight time Uruguay needed to win a playoff to get into the World Cup after coming in fifth in qualifying for the last World Cup, too.

In North and Middle America and the Caribbean, known as CONCACAF,35 countries entered the qualifying tournament. The first round had the bottom ten ranked teams play a home and away playoff. The winners joined the seventh to twenty-fifth ranked teams and split into six groups of four. The winner of each group continues on along with the top six teams and split into three groups of four. The top two teams of each group then become a single group. The top three teams in the final group qualify automatically, and the fourth team gets an opportunity to qualify if they win an intercontinental playoff.

After the third round, the final six teams were the United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. After playing the final games, the United States was top of the group, followed by Costa Rica and Honduras. Mexico was eliminated until late in the United States game when Graham Zusi scored and changed the goal differential, moving Mexico into fourth ahead of Panama. That meant that Mexico had a chance to qualify if they won an intercontinental playoff.

Europe is the most competitive conference with 53 entrants and 13 possible spots for countries to qualify. It is also the simplest to qualify. The teams are separated into eight groups of six and one group of five. Each team plays two games against the other teams in the group and the nine winners automatically qualify for the World Cup. The top eight second place teams are split and then play a playoff with the winner also qualifying for the World Cup.

The winners of the nine groups were Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, England, and Spain. The top eight second place teams are Greece, France, Portugal, Ukraine, Sweden, Iceland, Romania, and Croatia. The final qualification spots were taken when Greece beat Romania, France beat Ukraine, Portugal beat Sweden, and Croatia beat Iceland.

The international playoff games were the last games that decided the final two countries that would qualify for the World Cup. It was decided before the teams played that South America would play Asia and Oceania would play North America. Uruguay represented South America, Jordan represented Asia, New Zealand represented Oceania, and Mexico represented North America. Each matchup was a home and away playoff. Each playoff was won easily by the winners, Uruguay and Mexico, and they both qualify for the World Cup.

All 32 teams were finally decided, and on December 6, the brackets for the World Cup were drawn. All the teams were separated into four pots that randomly determine which group each country would play in. The 32 countries are split into eight groups of four for the World Cup. After playing each team in their group once, the top two teams are then inserted into a 16-team bracket to determine the World Cup Champions. Johnny Hilbert and I predicted how we thought the tournament would play out and our brackets are in this article.

Group A always has the host nation, so this group only really had three teams picked to be in it. Group A consists of Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, and Cameroon. I would honestly be shocked if Brazil does not come out of this group on top. Brazil has some of the most prolific players and arguably the best player in the world right now, Neymar Jr. As for the other three spots, I can see Croatia getting out of the group, but Mexico and Cameroon definitely have a fairly good shot too. Croatia is without one of it’s best players, Mario Mandžukić, in the first game it plays due to a red card in Croatia’s last qualifying game. The first game they play is against Brazil though, so Croatia had a slim chance of winning anyway. Cameroon is very quick, but I think the other teams in the group will overpower them. Mexico is the wildcard. If they play the way they did against New Zealand, they may have a shot of making the Round of 16. If they play like they did in CONCACAF qualifying, however, they may model their 2014 World Cup like Italy did in 2010, winning no games and coming in last in their group.

Group B was a very extreme coincidence. The finalists from the last World Cup in the same group provides a huge matchup for the third game of the tournament. In the group made up of Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, and Australia, Spain and the Netherlands are the teams that Johnny and I picked to make it out. However, we take different sides on who will make it out on top of the group. I took the Netherlands as the top seed, while Johnny took the last World Cup champs, Spain. I see the Netherlands-Spain game ending in a tie, then each team winning its next two games, but the Netherlands getting the top seed on goal differential. No matter what happens, one of them will have to play Brazil in the Round of 16. I do not see Chile or Australia making a big impact in this group, although one of them may have a chance to escape the group if the Netherlands repeats their Euros performance from 2012, losing all three games.

Group C is a relatively weak group compared to the rest of the field, comprised of Colombia, Greece, Côte d’Ivoire, and Japan. This group could have any four of the teams come out on top. Each country is led by their own superstars, Falcao for Colombia, Samaras and Mitroglou for Greece, Drogba for the Ivory Coast, and Honda for Japan. Japan proved how good they were in the 2010 World Cup, and were top in Asia in qualifying, which led me to give them the top seed in the group. Johnny disagreed and put the second place team in my bracket, Colombia, in the top spot in his bracket. Johnny’s second place team is the Ivory Coast, although if Greece can find the form they had in the 2004 Euros when they won it all, they could shock us both.

Group D has Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, and Italy, which makes it one of the most powerful groups of this tournament. Again Johnny and I picked the same two teams, but switched who would get first and second. I picked England to win the group with Italy coming in second, while he picked Italy to win and England to come in second. Uruguay is not a bad team though, and stands a very good chance to beat out England or Italy to make it to the next round. It will be interesting to see how England reacts after coming in second in their group in the last World Cup to the United States. I also don’t think Costa Rica stands a chance against three world power teams. They will most likely lose all three games and end up at the bottom of the group.

Group E has Switzerland, Ecuador, France, and Honduras. Switzerland and Honduras are matched up once again, since they were in the same group in the 2010 World Cup. France and Switzerland both look to be the countries that will advance out of the group. France nearly did not make it into this World Cup, just edging out Ukraine in their final qualifying game. Despite this, Johnny still believes in France and put them as the top seed in the group with Switzerland coming in second. I flipped those two teams around for my bracket, since Switzerland had such a strong qualifying campaign. Although Honduras is in two consecutive World Cups, I think they will also come out of the group in last place for the second consecutive World Cup too, leaving Ecuador to take third.

Group F is a diverse group, comprised of Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria. While both Johnny and I selected Argentina to come out of the group on top, we each picked different teams to finish in second place. Johnny took Nigeria while I picked Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite the different selections, we both put our respective second place teams into the quarterfinals over the first place team from Group E. Although Nigeria’s team is stuffed with talent from some of the best teams in the world, I think Bosnia will overpower them with their impressive ball handling. As always from Asia, three good teams seem to get in as well as one team that is a little bit of a surprise. If they compare at all to North Korea, the surprise team from 2010, then I wouldn’t expect much from Iran.

The group that elicits the most buzz, especially here in the United States, is Group G, made up of, brace yourselves, Germany, Portugal, Ghana, and the United States. Fans of the U.S. were clutching their chests when the groups were selected, as getting out of that group is going to be a challenge for the Americans. While Johnny and I picked the same teams, there is quite a bit of bias going into our selections. Germany is the strongest team in the group by far, but neither of us could leave the United States behind, as they come in second place in each of our brackets. It is very likely that Ronaldo’s team—I mean, Portugal—or even Ghana will beat out the United States for the second place spot. Group G is especially tough since all four of the countries made it into the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup, which even had Ghana and the United States matched up. This group is very hard to predict, and only once the games are over will the dust settle on the arguments over who will make it out.

Finally, Group H, which is another weak group, made up of Belgium, Algeria, Russia, and South Korea. It is pretty clear that Belgium is the strongest team on paper thanks to their young talent, Romelu Lukaku, and the Belgians were the first seed in each of our brackets. Algeria is Johnny’s pick for the second place team, which strikes a nerve in me, as I think Algeria does not even deserve to be in the World Cup after their final qualifying game against Burkina Faso. The goal that punched the ticket for Algeria was scored by a player who was somehow not sent off after an insane tackle earlier in the game, that he only received a yellow card for. Putting that conflict aside, I picked Russia as my second place team. One person that will disagree with both Johnny and I is one of Prep’s exchange students from South Korea, Leo. He says that South Korea is going to win the group, and while I don’t know if I can see that happening, I think they definitely have a fair shot of coming in second.

Now that all the group round games are out of the way, the tournament is much easier to understand; just a simple 16-team bracket. The first place teams from Groups A, C, E, and G play the second place teams from B, D, F, and H on one side of the bracket, and on the other side the first place teams from B, D, F, and H play the second place teams from A, C, E, and G.

To see the picks Johnny and I made for the Round of 16, check out both of our brackets:

Hilbert's predictions (click for full size)

Hilbert’s predictions (click for full size)

Signorino's predictions (click for full size)

Signorino’s predictions (click for full size)

The quarterfinals is essentially the same as in every bracket, as is the semifinals. On my bracket, the four semifinalists are Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, and Argentina, while Johnny picked Brazil, Germany, Italy, and the United States.

As for the finals, we both picked two different teams to compete in the biggest game in soccer, and play for World Cup. In my bracket, I selected Brazil to face the Netherlands in the finals. And although it crushes me to do it to my favorite team, the Netherlands, I selected Brazil to hoist the trophy in front of their home crowd.

Johnny selected two different teams, and put Italy and Germany into the finals. I’m sure Italy hopes a player from the opposing team does not head-butt one of their players like in the last World Cup final they played in against France in 2006. Johnny does not see a repeat of 2006 either, as he picked Germany to beat the Italians and win the World Cup.

Although it is not pictured on our brackets, there is a third place game in the tournament as well. My third place game pits Germany against Argentina, in which I picked Germany to win their third consecutive third place game. Johnny’s third place game matched up Brazil against the United States, a rematch of the 2009 Confederations Cup final. He switched up the winner though, and picked the United States to claim the third place game in his bracket.




2013-14 College Football Bowl Season Preview

The Rambler’s own Connor Van Hove and Joe McCafferty break down all 35 bowl games this season. Games begin this Saturday, Dec. 21, and the bowl season culminates with the BCS national championship game on Jan. 6, 2014. Agree? Disagree? Compete against The Rambler staffers and others by making your selections in the first ever Cathedral Prep College Bowl Mania Contest.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Washington State
Washington State is led behind QB Connor Halliday who holds nations fourth rated passing attack with 4,187 yards and 28 touchdowns, and this is exactly why Washington State will win.

Pick: Washington state 38, Colorado State 35

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC
Fresno St. is led by QB Derek Carr, who leads the FBS with 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns. USC had a rough start to the year, firing head coach Lane Kiffin five games into the season. USC overcame obstacles and finished with the 21st ranked scoring defense. However, USC’s defense will not be enough to stop the Fresno State passing attack.

Pick: Fresno State 31, USC 17

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
San Diego State started out 0-3 then won 7 of the next 8. Buffalo does not have the defense to stop the streaking San Diego State team.

Pick: SDSU 30, Buffalo 21

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana-Lafayette is coming off of two losses to two mediocre teams. Tulane, on the other hand, plays their home games in the Superdome where they went 5-1 despite having one of the worst offenses in FBS.

Pick: Tulane 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 21

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg: East Carolina vs. Ohio
East Carolina is ranked 10th nationally in scoring with 40.4 points a game. They are led by QB Shane Carden who has thrown for 3,866 and 32 touchdowns. Ohio had a late three-game losing streak, and I don’t think QB Tyler Tettleton will be able to lead them to a third straight bowl win.

Pick: East Carolina 38, Ohio 21

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon State
Boise State is making its 12th straight bowl appearance. Oregon State made it to the postseason despite losing their last give games. Oregon State still has the nation’s third best passing attack with QB Sean Mannion.

Pick: Oregon state 28, Boise State 24

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Bowling Green has the nation’s fifths best defense in terms of scoring per game by just allowing 14.8. Pittsburgh has late season wins over Notre Dame and Syracuse which allowed them to make the bowl.

Pick: Pittsburgh 24, Bowling Green 21

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois was hoping for a BCS bowl bid. However, they lost the Mid-America title game. Northern Illinois is led by Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch. Utah State is ranked 7th nationally in scoring defense at 17.3 points per game.

Pick: Northern Illinois 28, Utah State 17

Northrop Grumman Military Bowl: Marshall vs. Maryland
Marshall fell to Rice in the Conference USA title game giving them a much better matchup with Maryland. However, dual-threat QB C.J. Brown is hard to contain with 2,583 yards of total offense and 23 total touchdowns.

Pick: Maryland 28, Marshall 21

Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse
Minnesota is looking for its first bowl win since beating Alabama in 04. Their defense kept them in many games despite an inconsistent offense. Syracuse offense is ranked 104th in passing and 99th in scoring and I don’t believe they will be able to keep up with Minnesota.

Pick: Minnesota 24, Syracuse 7

Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington
BYU won seven out of 9 games from the start of October. Washington will not be coached by their coach from all season and not their coach for next season.

Pick: BYU 37, Washington 34

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Notre Dame had a tough season after their embarrassment in last year’s national title game. Rutgers did not qualify for a bowl until they beat South Florida.

Pick: Notre Dame 35, Rutgers 20

Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
Cincinnati had a solid season out of sixth year QB Brendon Kay and a good defense. UNC rebounded after a 1-5 start to win five straight and become bowl eligible.

Pick: UNC 27, Cincinnati 24

Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami (Fla.)
Louisville was hoping to hop into National Championship discussion if it wasn’t for one late season loss. Miami started 7-0 but then lost three straight. Teddy Bridgewater and his offense will be too much for Miami to handle.

Pick. Louisville 28, Miami 17

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs. Kansas State
Michigan had a rough start to the season then almost beat Ohio State in a thriller. Kansas State was 2-4 before winning 5 of 6 down the stretch.

Pick: Michigan 31, Kansas State 28

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy
Navy’s third best rushing offense in the nation (320.1 yards per game) will be too much for Middle Tennessee’s defense.

Pick: Navy 35, Middle Tennessee 21

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss
Georgia Tech is now in a bowl for 17th straight year. Ole Miss lost its last two games of the season.

Pick: Georgia Tech 30, Ole Mss 27

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas
Texas was 1-2 before winning its first 6 conference games. Oregon had a late season melt down which kept them for reaching the BCS for the fifth straight year.

Pick: Oregon 40, Texas 21

National University Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Texas Tech started out this year strong but skidded out towards the end due to stiff competition but first year coach Kliff Kingsbury can take away a success from this year. Arizona State is kind of disappointed to be in this game after being shellacked by Stanford in the PAC-12 championship game. However, Taylor Kelly and crew should take care of business in San Diego.

Pick: Arizona State 48, Texas Tech 34

AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College
This bowl features quite possibly the two best running backs in the entire country in Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Boston College’s Heisman Trophy finalist, running back Andre Williams. Look for a lot of ground game in this one.

Pick: Arizona 23, Boston College 13

Hyundai Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech
Brett Hundley and the Bruins look to avenge an up and down season against the disappointing Hokie team led by Logan Thomas. Virginia Tech is very capable of pulling an upset but looking for the Bruins to handle them fairly easily.

Pick: UCLA 31, Virginia Tech 14

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Rice
Now before you start going on about how this is disrespectful to the SEC dominance, Mississippi State really has not done anything warranting themselves of a win here. Rice has played tough all season long and has a very efficient running game. Look for the Owls to pull the “upset” here.

Pick: Rice 26, Mississippi State 20

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Duke
This could quite possibly be Johnny Football’s last college football game with the growing speculation that he will turn pro. Duke is coming off the most impressive season ever for the football program. That being said, Texas A&M should roll in this one.

Pick: Texas A&M 52, Duke 28

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska
Although Georgia’s once promising season has been decimated by injuries, the Dawgs still have fight in them. Nebraska is a mess of a program right now with the weekly explosions by Bo Pelini becoming more and more of a distraction. Georgia. BIG.

Pick: Georgia 34, Nebraska 7

Heart of Dallas Bowl: North Texas vs. UNLV
This is a matchup of two good, up and coming football teams. I think I am going to have to give the upper hand here to North Texas since this game is being played in Texas.

Pick: North Texas 20, UNLV 17

Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
This is the premier non-BCS bowl matchup. This game displays a notoriously hard-nose football team in Wisconsin against another tough, physical football team in South Carolina. With Jadeveon Clowney most certainly going to the draft, look for him to have a big game.

Pick: South Carolina 24, Wisconsin 20

Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU

With Zach Mettenberger tearing his ACL in his last game against Arkansas, the Tigers will be leaning on quarterback Anthony Jennings to pick up the slack. The Hawkeyes have been up and down all season, but for the most part have held a pretty steady offense.

Pick: LSU 27, Iowa 17

Rose Bowl Game: Michigan State vs. Stanford
In the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl Game, you have two conference champions going to battle in Pasadena. Michigan State earned their way in here by winning nine straight games and earning the Big Ten Championship. Stanford has done the same, and if not for two upset losses, they could be in the National Championship.

Pick: Stanford 17, Michigan State 13

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. UCF
This matchup fixes the champions of the Big 12 against the newly formed American Athletic Conference champions Central Florida. This game is probably the biggest mismatch in the entire bowl season. Baylor is going to slaughter the Golden Knights

Pick: Baylor 56, UCF 21

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
This year’s Sugar Bowl matchup features the mighty Crimson Tide and the Sooners. Alabama does not want to be in this game. That is simply just a fact. Look for the Sooners to pull off this legendary upset.

Pick: Oklahoma 27, Alabama 21

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
This game features two conference runner ups in the SEC and Big 12 respectively. Missouri has dealt with a multitude of injuries to string up one of the most impressive seasons in school history. Oklahoma State’s firepower at the offensive level has led them to this prestigious bowl. Look for this to be one of the closer bowl games.

Pick: Missouri 31, Oklahoma State 28

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Ohio State’s dreams were crushed by Sparty when they took the L in the Big Ten championship. Better than Clemson, however, whose National Title hopes were crushed early in the season after getting humbled by Florida State. There is a lot of offensive generals in this game so look for it to be high scoring.

Pick: Ohio State 45, Clemson 31

BBVA Compass Bowl: Houston vs. Vanderbilt
This game should be one that is highly watched but will go under the radar. With James Franklin possibly coaching his last game at Vandy because of him becoming a hot commodity, look for the Cougars and Deontay Greenberry to pull the upset

Pick: Houston 34, Vanderbilt 20

GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State
This game features two good football teams. After Ball State nearly upset Northern Illinois, they fell off just a bit. Look for them to regroup in this matchup here.

Pick: Ball State 21, Arkansas State 13

BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn
With the season coming down to this game here, I do not think they could have picked a better matchup. Florida State’s combination of proficient offensive play and stout defensive play makes them a matchup nightmare for any team. Auburn, however, has Lady Luck on their side by winning two games in the last second of the game. Tre Mason also boasts the Tiger running offense which happens to be one of the best in the country. This should be an awesome game.

Pick: Florida State 37, Auburn 34




The Rambler’s 2013-14 College Bowl Mania Contest

The 2013-14 college football bowl season kicks off this weekend, and The Rambler is hosting its first ever bowl mania contest, open to current Cathedral Prep students, faculty, staff, and administration. Entry is free, limited to one entry per person. All submissions are due by Saturday, Dec. 21, at noon Eastern time.

To enter, fill in the form below (or use this link) to select your picks for each of the 35 bowl games. You will receive one point for each correct pick. The person to amass the most total points will earn a $35 iTunes gift card. Additionally, second and third place will each take home $10 iTunes gift cards.

In the event of a tie, the procedures below will be followed until the tie is broken:

1st tiebreaker: Person closest to guessing total points of BCS national championship game.
2nd tiebreaker: Person to correctly select the winner of BCS national championship game.
3rd tiebreaker: Person to correctly select the winner of Rose Bowl.
4th tiebreaker: Person to correctly select winner of Orange Bowl.
5th tiebreaker: Person to correctly select winner of Sugar Bowl.
6th tiebreaker: Person to correctly select winner of Fiesta Bowl.

Good luck!




Who or what won 2013?

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Final Update 12/20/13: Thanks to all 46 people who cast their votes in the final round. The votes have been counted and the question, “Who or what won 2013?” has finally been answered.

Jennifer Lawrence is the winner, defeating The Iron Bowl 30 votes to 16 to take home the championship with 65% of the vote.

Semifinal Results: Thanks to all 55 people who cast their votes in round three. The results are as follows:

The Iron Bowl (52.7%) defeated Gilly (47.3%).

Jennifer Lawrence (56.4%) defeated The Chive (43.6%).

Quarterfinal Results: Thanks to all 60 people who cast their votes in round two. The results are as follows:

The Iron Bowl (61.7%) defeated the Cathedral Prep Football Team.

Gilly (61.7%) defeated Justin Timberlake (21.7%) and A$AP Crew (16.6%).

The Chive (60.0%) defeated Snapchat (40.0%).

Jennifer Lawrence (53.3%) defeated Mrs. Kim (46.7%).

Semifinals voting is now live (VOTE HERE) and will be open until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, Dec. 19.

1st Round Results: Thanks to all 56 people who cast their votes in round one. The results are as follows:

The Iron Bowl (87.5%) defeated NCAA Freshmen Basketball (12.5%).

The Cathedral Prep Football Team (55.4%) defeated Bryan Sienerth (44.6%).

A$AP Crew and Justin Timberlake remarkably split the vote with 28 votes apiece. And because this is our bracket and head-to-head matchups are our own construction, we’re advancing both contestants into the next round.

“Gilly” (75%) defeated “Bobby D” (25%).

Snapchat (51.8%) defeated Twerking (48.2%).

The Chive (66.1%) defeated Candy Crush (33.9%).

Jennifer Lawrence (69.6%) defeated Superhero Movies (30.4%)

Mrs. Kim (66.1%) defeated Shaun Evans/Shevans 2400 (33.9%)

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As every year draws to a close, lists are made up that claim to determine who or what was the best in the previous 365 days. There are the classic “Best Movie” and “Best Album” lists, but The Rambler wanted to do something more. The staff of The Rambler wanted an all-inclusive list to determine who or what had the absolute best 2013. Originally, it was thought this was a task that could be completed by a few aspiring young writers, but as the argument of “Who won 2013?” was opened to the full staff, said young writers soon realized that, due to many different opinions, it would be beneficial and very entertaining to open the argument up to the entire school.

“Competitors” were selected that we thought had a successful year. In an attempt to better organize this competition, those entrants selected were categorized into four groups: music, sports, phenomena, and miscellaneous. To keep it interesting, there are competitors that had big years on a national scale as well as competitors that are local and found success here at Prep. The biggest criteria we ask that you think about when determining which competitors had a better 2013 is which was more significant during 2013 alone; please try to ignore anything that the competitor may or may not have had going for them in 2012 or before. All 16 nominees getting the nod to participate in this year’s end-of-the-year bracket could easily win, but there can only be one winner. We are asking you to sit back, relax, and tell us who you think won 2013. May the best nominee win.

Over the final four days of school before Christmas break, we will open the polls to you to vote the winners in pairings from the original 16 down to the eventual champion. Check back daily to vote in the next round.

The Nominees

NCAA Freshmen Basketball Class
This year’s NCAA freshmen basketball class is headlined by two future NBA studs. Andrew Wiggins (Kansas guard) and Jabari Parker (Duke forward) are the next best thing in college basketball and in the NBA. There were high hopes coming into the season, and both of these young studs have delivered. The surprise freshman has been Julius Randle (Kentucky forward). Wiggins is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Parker is averaging 22.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Randle is averaging 17.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. It is safe to say the ceiling is high for these young men, and hopefully they will excite fans for years to come at the next level.

Iron Bowl
Nov. 30, 2013, shaped the BCS and college football landscape entirely when the Auburn Tigers defeated the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama in an epic football game that ended with quite possibly the greatest ending of any college football game ever. It should be considered the best of 2013 for just the historical significance this game had and could lead to in the future. This back and forth contest featured the number one ranked and defending BCS champion Alabama team going against archrival Auburn who just happened to be ranked number four in the country. With time expiring, Alabama was driving down the field to try to attempt a last second field goal to win the game and secure the SEC West and a spot in the SEC title game. The Crimson Tide made it down to the 40-yard line, and much to the dismay of the Auburn faithful, had 0:01 left on the clock. Alabama, who had previously missed three field goals, lined up for the 57-yard try. Adam Griffith went out and did not have the leg to power it through the uprights. Although he missed the kick, Auburn had a punt returner by the name of Chris Davis awaiting the try. Davis retrieved the kick and proceeded to run back the kick 100 yards to secure the victory for the Tigers by the score of 34-28, giving them the aforementioned SEC West title and spot in the SEC championship game. This game was one of the best college football games of all time and has to be put in the greatest game of the decade talk. I think the choice for best of 2013 is easy here. I do not think you have to look any further than this battle of hated rivals in Auburn and Alabama.

Cathedral Prep Football Team
The 2013 Cathedral Prep football team had many great accomplishments this year. This year’s team pleasantly surprised many fans and so-called experts with how far they advanced in the playoffs this year, only to fall seconds short of an opportunity to defend their state title in Hershey. Not only that, but the football team set a record in the Erie area for most consecutive wins. The Ramblers ended their streak at 28 wins in a row. Most of these 28 wins came with ease as the Ramblers blew out almost every single one of their opponents. This year’s team averaged around 50 points per game this year. If that is not impressive, then I do not know what is. The football team did not win it all this year, but they do deserve recognition for the feats that they have accomplished. They deserve to win.

Bryan Sienerth
Bryan Sienerth is Mr. 2013. This past year he has been dominating his current hockey league, putting up career high numbers and becoming the star on the team. Not only has he been tearing up his own league, but in spring he was drafted to the South Dakota Sioux Falls USHL team, which is considered by many as one step below the NHL. On top of all of this, he has recently verbally committed to the current number 8 team in the nation, Miami of Ohio, for the 2016 season. This has been Bryan’s year and he deserves to win the title of Mr. 2013.

Justin Timberlake
Two words and two numbers: The 20/20 Experience. Justin Timberlake hasn’t brought it like this since 2006 when he brought “SexyBack,” one of his many hit singles. 2013 was a busy year for JT; he came out with his first album in seven years and another one a few months later, both of which were number one at one point this year. He also performed at various award ceremonies, had gigs at the White House, performed during Super Bowl weekend (better than last time if you ask Mrs. Jackson) and went on tour with Jay-Z. Timberlake also hosted SNL and received an Emmy nomination for it. Plus, my favorite, he reunited with ‘NSYNC at the VMAs this year. I’m not trying to have “Tunnel Vision,” but let’s just say he was on his “Suit and Tie,” and when he looks in the “Mirrors” he can say to himself, “I “TKO’d” the competition this year. I’m gonna “Take Back the Night” because I should win everyone’s end-of-the-year bracket and get my “Holy Grail.”  The point is, Timberlake had a very busy workload this year, and he executed each one to the highest degree of performance. “Cry Me A River” if you don’t want JT to win. “Ain’t No Doubt About It” he should win. If this doesn’t help his case that he should win 2013, I don’t know what will.

A$AP Crew
A$AP Crew is the truth. Building on the acclaim garnered for member Rocky’s mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, the collective spent the year reestablishing the necessary dominance of New York rap, revolutionizing old ideas with new sounds. Rocky and second banana A$AP Ferg both released very good records this year, Long.Live.A$AP and Trap Lord, respectively. The whole crew slayed at the BET Cyphers and is primed in the year to come to really solidify their control over East Coast rap. Then, the world.

Bryan “Gilly” Gildone
Picture yourself walking throughout the hallowed halls of Cathedral Preparatory School. You look up to see a well-built, scruffy-faced, hearty Italian man dropping nasty rhymes on fools. Who is this mysterious Italion stallion with chest hair that would leave even David Hasslehoff himself jealous, you ask? Why, it is none other than our beloved senior Bryan “Gilly” Gildone. Gilly has been making music since freshman year and has most likely been writing rhymes for the better part of his life. He has earned the respect of Prep students and a vast variety of other kids who have enjoyed his constant bars. A couple of his songs include “Brooklyn Zoo Remix” and “Mandible ft. CC.” Gilly has proved his cleverness with lines such as “I make it spooky B / hope you wore your rosary / the boogeyman check under the bed for me before he goes to sleep” and “I’m swerving lanes of you lames in the game. This that a-bomb, napalm, Gilly spit flames.” Gilly also has a mixtape dropping soon titled Boom Bap and Real Rap, and I know it’s not going to disappoint. This is why Gilly should win “Best of 2013.”

Bobby “Bobby D” Dugan
I went around the school to find the biggest Bobby D fans. I talked to Mr. Scharrer, and all he had to say was “I want that Ohio kid.” He was talking about either Gilly or Kid Cudi, but I think he got his states mixed up. Bobby D is the best rapper at the school. He is super rad.

Twerking
Twerking is a type of dancing in which the dancer dances to popular music in a provocative manner. It involves thrusting hip movements, and a low, squatting stance. The term “twerking” is of uncertain origin, although common assumptions include a contraction of the words “twist” and “jerk”. Since the beginning of 2013, twerking has been widely associated with modern hip hop culture in the United States, as well as many celebrities, incuding Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj.

Snapchat
Snapchat was introduced to users in the second half of 2012 but has experienced continued success through 2013. The app, available both in the Android and Apple app stores, is a messaging device that allows users to converse through images alone, but most notably, images of themselves. The pictures that are sent are deleted after a maximum of ten seconds. Some say the company has a large database of all snaps ever sent, though this is pure speculation. Nonetheless, be careful with what it is that you do snap, as you never know what snap of yours may receive the screenshot treatment. Snapchat looks to continue to be very popular through 2014, and the company’s decision to turn down a $3 billion offer from Facebook in November is indicative of this.

The Chive
I think we all know about the app that raided the school last year known as The Chive. Its popularity remains in 2013. The Chive is an app (and website) in which you are able to look at pictures of anything, usually of something funny. Everyone at Prep should know what Chive is because there are pictures of everything for everyone. Chive is the answer to everything. Downtime between classes? Chive. Bored in class? Chive. Sick of that game you’re playing? Chive. So therefore I think we can all agree that Chive takes the award for “Best of 2013.”

Candy Crush
Candy Crush Saga certainly is the app of the year. Just by looking at the App Store charts, Candy Crush is almost always within the top 10, and it never budges from the first spot on top grossing apps. While Snapchat had its time on the top of the charts—for iPhones only may I add, not iPads—its initial “wow” factor has worn off, it and has become just another app that we use sometimes. I don’t think I have ever seen Chive at the top of App Store rankings, so I would say that speaks for itself. Candy Crush is also one of the best apps at pushing out updates with more and more levels being added every month. There are always new levels to play, and the feeling that you get when you finally beat the level that has been holding you down can barely compare to the feeling any other game gives you when you beat a level. There is no doubt that the app that took over the world this year, and will most likely continue to encapsulate iOS users into 2014, is Candy Crush Saga.

Jennifer Lawrence
The Tribute from District 12 is on every man’s mind nowadays. She is the woman all the boys want to marry. She is the actress all directors want in Hollywood. She has survived The Hunger Games not once but twice. Jennifer Lawrence is not a supermodel with the stereotypical long legs, perfect smile, and skinny waist. This is why many guys find her perfect. She is attractive, and she has won the hearts of men of all ages with her looks, attitude, and personality. She can pull off blonde hair, brown hair, probably even purple hair. She does her own thing, and she does not follow the guidelines of how an “actress” should look. Additionally, Lawrence is a hot commodity for all movies lately because she is a phenomenal actress and draws attention anywhere she is. Although she broke out in 2012, 2013’s Catching Fire, the latest addition in the Hunger Games series, and American Hustle, an Academy Award nominee, have been her best performances yet. She has captured the eyes of many in her films, and these films create a landmark statement as to why she deserves the award of best of 2013. And if she doesn’t win, be careful because Katniss does not miss.

Superhero Movies
We have had a good year in the world of superheroes with movie titles being released periodically throughout the year. Titles such as The Man of SteelWolverine, and even Thor 2 drew the attention of all of the superhero fans dotted around the globe. With powers ranging from the ability to fly to wielding magic hammers, what else could be better in Hollywood? Nothing sticks out like a good superhero, and this year the business had a great number of heroes off to save the world again!

Shaun Evans (Shevans 2400)
The most amazing thing that happened in 2013 was Prep senior Shaun Evans scoring a perfect 2400 on the SATs. This is so incredible because out of the 1.66 million students who took the SAT this year, only 494 of them scored a perfect 2400. That means only 0.03 percent of test takers scored perfect. What is even more commendable is the way in which Evans handled this accomplishment. Shaun is a very humble person, and this was evident after his perfect score. He refused to brag about this amazing feat and instead shared the reasons for his success so that other aspiring students could perform well on the test. This was a truly amazing moment in the life of a brilliant and honorable student.

Mrs. Kim
With the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year came the question of who would replace Mrs. McKean. That answer was found in Mrs. Kim. While reaching the status of Mrs. McKean is a process that will no doubt take more than a few semesters, Mrs. Kim may be well on her way. Arriving at Prep from Fairview, Mrs. Kim possesses both the professional prowess required to be an excellent teacher as well as the personality to connect with students. Mrs. Kim has already made multiple appearances at numerous a Prep sporting events and has fully embraced Rambler Mania.




Prep senior Bryan Sienerth has sights set on bright hockey future

Arguably one the greatest athletes to ever attend Cathedral Prep is among you gentlemen right now. He is not a football player, basketball player, or even a baseball player. He is a hockey player, and for those of you who don’t know him already his name is Bryan Sienerth.

Sienerth.BryanBryan has been playing hockey since he was 3 years old, starting his career with the Cubs. Then when he was 6 he played for the Minny Mites, and as he became older he worked his way through the Erie Lions Organization. After he tore up the league and began making a name for himself, Bryan and his father made the decision for him to play travel hockey in Pittsburgh.

At the tender age of 12 Bryan tried out for the Junior Penguins, coached by Mario Lemieux and easily made the team. He was only a Junior Pen for three years, but in that time he posted tremendous numbers and was the best player on the squad. It was at this time in his life when his coaches started to see his true potential and began to realize he was good enough to play in the NHL one day.

However, that time was still years away, and when Bryan turned 16 he had to switch leagues and joined the Pittsburgh Hornets. The following year the team switched its name to Pens Elite and got a new coach, Mario Lemieux. Bryan is currently the starting center for Pens Elite and is undoubtedly their best player.

Sienerth.Bryan2One year ago, as many of you already know, Bryan was drafted by the Erie Otters in the 13th round. And although he would’ve been a key contributing player he turned down their offer so he could play college hockey. For those of you who are not familiar with how hockey works, if Bryan would’ve played for the Otters he would have been ineligible to play hockey in college. This is because only amateurs are permitted to play in college. By signing with the Otters he would’ve received a salary and been considered a semi-pro.

The following spring Bryan entered the USHL draft, the top junior league in the Untied States, and was picked by Sioux Falls in one of the later rounds. However, in order to play on the team he would’ve needed to move to South Dakota and transfer from Cathedral Prep. Thankfully, he decided to stay in Erie one more year and get his high school diploma.

After high school, Bryan plans to take one year off from school to play in South Dakota. After that he will attend the number one school in the nation for hockey, Miami University of Ohio. He has already verbally committed to the RedHawks starting in 2016. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of one of our football players being recruited to Alabama or Oregon.

Although he has not received a lot of hype, Bryan’s number don’t lie. His skill set is impeccable, and the possibility of him making it to the pros is very likely.

Many admirers and lovers of the game have great things to say about Bryan and can’t wait to see how his future pans out. Brandon Gotkin, a long time hockey player has said, “I’ve played with and have seen a lot of good players in my day, but Sienerth is without a doubt better than all of them. There is no doubt in my mind this kid will go pro.”

The Rambler caught up with senior Sienerth to ask him a few questions.

Q: Do you ever wish you played a different sport when you were little?
A: No, hockey has always been my first love.

Q: Did you ever think you would be this good and Miami of Ohio would recruit you?
A: No, up until last year I didn’t have much respect from scouts, which probably helped me strive to play at the level I am now.

Q: Has it always been a dream of yours to go pro?
A: Yeah, I think that’s why we all play.

Q: Why didn’t you ever play for Prep?
A: I have nothing against the Prep hockey team. I go and watch as many games as I can. I just want to avoid a stupid injury that would hurt my overall hockey career. Playing with Brandon Gotkin has always been a dream of mine, but I just can’t risk anything.

Q: How do you balance school with your future career in hockey?
A: I try as hard as I can in school. It is essential that I keep my grades up.In the college hockey world they take their grades very seriously, and I do too.




2014 CYO Preseason Power Rankings

Another CYO season is fast approaching and Prep students again make up a large percentage of the rosters. Here now is our preseason power rankings heading into the 2014 season.

1. Our Lady Christian (St. Jude)
OLC has a real chance at going to states this year. They have an impressive backcourt consisting of Tony Chiarelli and Jordan Sauers. You can compare them to the “Splash Brothers” of the Golden State Warriors, but they will need to find scoring from other places too.

2. Saint George
St. George is the only team that will really compete with OLC. They have a solid all around team. Sam Riley and Ryan Dill will be the anchors for this team, and they will make a legitimate run at states this year at well.

3. Blessed Sacrament
B.S. is lead by superstar captain Sean Reed. With Anthony Achille and Jon Fiske providing some well-needed energy and intensity, and twin towers Caleb Futscher and James Fleming locking down the paint, this team might have a shot.

4. Our Lady of Peace
OLP has something going for them. They have superstar coaching. Their coaches are Prep teachers Mr. Pituch and Mr. Hubert. These two have run the faculty game at Prep for the last year or two, and hopefully with their guidance this team won’t be too bad.

5. Saint Luke
They lost a Division I-bound athlete in Felix Manus-Schell. Without the all-star, I don’t have high hopes for this squad. They will need a miracle or a breakout star to do anything this year.

6. Saint Peter
They won’t be awful, but they don’t really count because they have kids from every single parish.

7. Harborcreek Youth Services
These kids play in our league to take their mind off of the struggles they face because of their situation.

8. Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Anyways




Power outage nearly cancels school day

Today, Friday the 13th of all days, was not an ideal day at Cathedral Prep. Upon my arrival into school, it was unusually dark. At first I did not think much of it, until I heard my fellow peers cheering and screaming in excitement. I immediately came to the realization that this was a power outage, and school was slowly starting to come to an end for the day.

A few things were taken into consideration in order to actually cancel school for the remainder of the day. First and foremost, the health and safety of the students is considered. There were three categories this was broken down into: visibility, sanitation, and food. All of these were possible somehow. Although the power was out, Prep has a generator which was allowing some lighting to be working. Since there was no running water, drinking fountains were not working, but some of the bathrooms were running by battery power and were fully functioning. Lastly, the food in the cafeteria is prepared on gas stoves and ovens which worked fine in the power outage.

With that being said, Prep still was considering canceling school for the rest of the day. The administration talked to Penelec and were informed that power SHOULD turn on at around 10 a.m. The school decided that if power was not on by then, they would begin to get ready for a dismissal. At 10 a.m. the power was still not on and administration began to get ready to dismiss the students. To our disappointment, the power resumed at around 10:20 a.m., right as we were about to be dismissed. Now we are here, still in school. A tear runs down my face as I write about what was almost an early dismissal, and an early start to the weekend. Maybe next time.




The End of Something Great: Rambler football team loses in state semifinals

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThis past Saturday, the Cathedral Prep Ramblers competed in the Class AAA semifinals in Dubois, Pennsylvania, against Bishop McDevitt. Coming into the game, Prep held the longest active winning streak at 28 straight games. The football team was only 56 seconds away on Saturday from not only adding another win to the streak but punching their ticket to return to the state finals for the second year in a row.

The semifinal game started out fast paced with each team scoring on their opening drives. Each team’s offense scored at will without a punt in the first half. But, with Bishop McDevitt missing one of their extra points wide to the right, Prep held the lead going into half 28-27.

Prep received the ball to start out the second half. Just two plays into the series, Cathedral Prep scored on a long rushing touchdown. After forcing McDevitt to punt on their first series of the second half, Prep scored again to jump out to a quick 15-point lead.

GE DIGITAL CAMERABut with a quick turn of events, Bishop McDevitt jumped back into the game with a blown coverage touchdown and a pick six. Once again, McDevitt missed their extra point making the score 42-40. Prep was clinging on to their lead. In the fourth quarter, no one could score. Bishop McDevitt missed two field goals deep in Prep’s territory, and the Ramblers failed to move the chains with any consistency. Then, with just 56 seconds left, on a 3rd and 16, McDevitt’s quarterback dodged some tacklers and heaved the ball into the end zone. The wide receiver made a great catch in the back of the end zone. It was a heartbreaker to everyone. The game ended with taking a knee after Billy Fessler threw an interception on a desperation pass to save the game.

This loss ended a great season for a team to remember. This year’s team should be proud of their accomplishments. Many people doubted that they would make it as far as they did. The Ramblers deserve all the respect in the world, and they shall receive it for their actions.

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Best Albums of 2013

Deafheaven-Sunbather11 10. Sunbather by Deafheaven
I normally don’t go for metal, in any of its many guises. Heavy, Death, Black, Stoner, Speed, Thrash, none of it does it for me. A little bit too much of the old “(tuneless guitar riff) VIOLENT LYRICS (tuneless guitar riff) SATANIC LYRICS.” It just doesn’t jive with me. However, this album, the debut LP of San Francisco’s Deafheaven, is beautiful where most metal is uproarious and melodic where most is gnarly. It’s truly something pretty.

NothingWasTheSame9. Nothing Was the Same by Drake
I usually don’t go for Drake. His whole over-emotiveness thing strikes me as fake, and his narratives of struggle contrast heavily with his firmly middle class life. However, on this album, I found his normal incorrigibleness mildly lessened, which allowed me to enjoy his party anthems as the successes they are.

 

LORDE-PURE-HEROINE

8. Pure Heroine by Lorde
If only for “Royals”.

 

 

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7. Cerulean Salt by Waxahatchee
A great, moody, singer/songwriter album. She sings with a melancholy hopefulness that will always brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

 

YoureAlwaysOnMyMind

 

6. You’re Always on My Mind by A Great Big Pile of Leaves
Pretty, autumnal, pleasant. One of my most spun albums. I definitely dig what these guys do. The leading band of the emo revival, they twist wistful, heartfelt lyrics with pop melodies, dropping the occasional power chord in here or there.

asap-ferg-trap-lord-album-cover

 

5. Trap Lord by A$AP Ferg
My preferred member of the A$AP Mob, Ferg weaves haunted, pulsing, mysterious beats with impassioned, energetic lyrics detailing the lives of those that suffer in the “Trap” or cocaine houses of the inner city. His flow is one of a kind.

haim-days-are-gone-400x400

 

4. Days are Gone by Haim
This trio of Californian sisters plays Fleetwood Mack Style pop. This album hit me in a sweet spot. I adore it, particularly the track “Falling”.

acidrap

 

3. Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper
Fun, joyful, energized, and better than anything else coming out of Chicago, the enigmatic Chance continues to prove he is the next Kendrick Lamar, combining insanely catchy and interesting lyrics with one of the most endearing and versatile deliveries in recent memory.

modernvampires

2. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
The pinnacle of indie pop: sophisticated, sweet, with lyrics of unbridled cleverness.

 

 

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1. Yeezus by Kanye West
Vicious, angry, disgusting, energized, and very, very dark. The sound of Kanye West breaking down. This record will get spins from me years from now. I have no doubt. The singles aren’t bad on their own. “Black Skinhead” still takes my lunch money.




A final farewell to Mr. Burger

Mr. Burger, who may have been Cathedral Prep’s next great legend has taken a new job and will not be back at Prep. Primed to be the next Mr. Achille, Mrs. Mullen, Mr. Scharrer, Mrs. McKean, Mrs. Stosh, (and the list goes on and on), Mr. Burger is leaving us with today, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, scheduled as his last day.

Hmm… Friday the 13th? Coincidence? We think not! This is going to be one of the worst days of our lives, ranking up there with when we found out that Santa Claus lived in the North Pole instead of the South Pole, or when we found out the Tooth Space Cowboy was actually a Tooth Fairy. On behalf of the students of Cathedral Prep, all we have to say to Mr. Burger is we will miss you.

mrburgerMr. Burger has been at Prep since halfway through our sophomore year (2011-12), taking over for the late and great Mrs. Mullen. The shoes he had to fill would be a daunting task for most, but not Mr. Burger.  He took on the task like a fancy bull in a China shop, calm and collective at first, taking his time to get into the swing of things and carefully examining everything. But as soon as he had a feel for how things worked, he saw red and exploded into becoming one of the student body’s favorite teachers. I’ve never met a teacher with more nicknames than Mr. Burger. Almost everyone—if not everyone—would tell you they like Mr. Burger. Sure, there are times when you might complain about him or his class, but what class has anyone not complained about?

Mr. Burger is leaving the private school system for the public school system in his hometown of West Middlesex, Pa., a small town in Mercer County. When asked about the move, Mr. Burger said he is definitely going to miss the intelligence level of the students at Prep.

At the beginning of his year, Mr. Burger really started to settle in. He had just finished his first full year of teaching, and the students began to feel comfortable with him. He even created a Quizup account, therealdburg, and he will “pwn” anyone in the Math:Hard category. This year he also became a wide receiver coach for the football team and, even though he’s changing schools, he will probably eventually continue coaching football there.

The biggest question we asked DBurgz (as he is affectionately known to many), is who will be replacing him? Female or male? Experienced or new to teaching? But Mr. Burger has no idea who will be taking his place. As far as who he will miss the most, Mr. Burger said he’ll miss his students, the seniors first of all, and secondly everyone else. He will miss the conversations in Calc class the most of all. He also added in typical Burger sarcasm that he won’t miss [Mr.] Hubert at all, including being called Mr. Hubert mistakenly or otherwise by those who called them “twins” and “lookalikes.”

Some parting words about Mr. Burger:

Jeremiah Ordos
I remember meeting DBurgz like it was yesterday. It was in the semifinals of the NHL ‘12 tournament. Jake (my younger twin brother) and myself were the New York Rangers, the eventual champions of the tournament, playing Mr. Burger and his teammate as the St. Louis Blues. It was a great game with a lot of talking between the two teams, but I think I really made the difference with getting in their heads, especially Mr. Burger’s, when I scored the go-ahead goal and got up on the table and did a celebratory dance. We eventually won the game in overtime fashion, and I haven’t let him live it down since. I’ve had many more memorable moments with DBurgz, which I could probably write a book about and win the Pulitzer Prize award for.

“The Juicy Burger” has many memorable quotes just like every teacher at Prep. In fact, there are simply too many to list on here. Maybe I’ll add them in my book about the memorable moments, or even write a series of memorable DBurgz things. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this yet, seriously?  People would read that for real.

Steve Bretz
The first time Mr. Burger and I ever crossed paths was the first day of school junior year. We didn’t say much to each other, but I could just tell that this guy was alright. As the year went on, me and DBurgz started to grow a good teacher-student relationship. Over the years, Burger has said some of the funniest things I have ever heard one human being say. There have been classes where my colleague and I, Jonathan Fitzmaurice, were on the ground laughing. The memories I have from his class will never be forgotten. Although Prep is going to try to replace him, they never will.

—————

We went around Prep asking students if they had any great memories from class with Mr. Burger. Here are the students’ responses when we asked them the question, “Do you have any memorable moments from class with DBurgz?”

Bryan Sienerth: He always makes fun of me.

Matt Wolf: Having to do the ultimate sit-up.

Carl Baumann: Last year in class we took a poll on “the classic stand or sit.”

Joe Marin: It was number 12 on the homework, and I got it wrong, so I wrote above it “stupid” with an arrow down towards the work. Not 30 seconds later we were going over it, and like 15 Indonesian priests came in to observe our class. And he goes, “Alright class, number………uh 12.” And all of the priests look in awe wondering what is written on the board means exactly, while at the same time taking pictures.

Julian Lombardi: When the sub broke his clock and bought him a new Steelers clock over break without him knowing.

Anthony Paollela: Jordan Vroman was crawling around in the back of the classroom for some unknown reason, going back and forth. Mr. Burger stood up and yelled at him for the first time.

Lucas Buseck: The description he gave about his reaction to the lights shutting off at the McDowell vs. Prep basketball game.

Greg Coppola: Every class is so fun, I can’t pick one day.

Zach Miller: My favorite memory was when Connor sincerely asked Mr. Burger how his break was, and Mr. Burger never answered. He still has yet to answer.

Mr. Burger’s final message to Prep students before he leaves is, “Me love you long time. Roll Ramblers. I will miss you all.”

Mr. Burger, we will miss you too.