Wednesday, December 25, 2013

College Football - Bowl Game Preview ... Sorta

Ok, I admit it ... I've been lazy. I haven't really touched my blog in awhile (several months actually) and I'm sure my millions thousands hundreds ones of fans out there are missing my wit, humor, and incredible sports insights. But, have no fear, I am here to treat you to my College Bowl Game Preview!

Kinda. I mean yeah, I'm going to preview the games that are left, but I'll also give you my prediction/analysis of the games that have already been completed (yes, I promise I will tell you who I honestly picked to win those games even though I couldn't get up off the couch to write my thoughts down on "paper").

Let's start with what I've already missed:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
My Pick: Washington State over Colorado State

Alright, I was wrong in the first game of the bowl season. But, in my defense, the Cougars led by like 80 points in the second half before choking in the 2013 bowl opener. So my pick was almost correct.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
My Pick: San Diego State over Buffalo

Personally, I'd like to know which potato in Idaho is considered the famous one. From a state that exports millions of taters a year, they all look pretty similar to me. Or are they trying to say that Idaho is famous? Because it's not. Unless you really like French fries. Either way, I got the pick right.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
My Pick: Tulane over ULaLa

Nothing like making a team from Louisiana play a bowl game against another team from Louisiana ... in the state of Louisiana. Really stretching our markets here, aren't we fellas? I picked Tulane for my friend Ariel because she went to Tulane and reminds me every week that so did Matt Forte. But she beat me in our Fantasy Football Championship Game, so I'm glad the Ragin Cajuns won (for the record, best nickname in all of collegiate athletics ... except maybe the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes ... no I'm not making that up).

Beef O Brady's Bowl
My Pick: East Carolina over Ohio

The name alone makes me want some wings. No, not steak. For anyone who didn't live in Central Florida like myself, this is actually a sports bar and not a competitor of Outback. Go figure. But congrats to the Pirates for capping off an impressive season. So far I'm 2-2.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
My Pick: USC over Fresno State

I think this was the first game of the bowl season where I actually knew something about one of the teams playing. After the turmoil at head coach this season, the Trojan players had something to prove and they definitely took it out on a team that almost busted the BCS this year. Oh, and I hear they were also pissed off because the buffet at the Mirage ran out of shrimp. What a shame. USC showed they'll be a contender again next year.

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
My Pick: Boise State over Oregon State

When I made my pick for this game, I forgot that Coach Peterson was leaving the program and wouldn't be leading the team onto the field in Honolulu. Plus, this game was played on a GREEN field and that probably confused the Broncos. Oh well, even with this swing-and-a-miss I'm batting .500 through the first few days of bowl season.

Ok, enough reminiscing about the past. Let's take a look at all the action yet to come this December and January:

Little Caesars Bowl
My Pick: Pittsburgh over Bowling Green

The Little Caesars Bowl, where the winning team receives a one year supply of crazy bread! I think Pittsburgh was better than their record indicated this year (6-6) and quite frankly I don't know a thing about Bowling Green. If I was a fan of irrelevant football games, I'd be really excited for this one.

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
My Pick: Northern Illinois over Utah State

This is one of those rare occurrences where the name of the game is more interesting than the matchup itself. How in the world do you put the name of a bank and a flower in the same bowl title?! Either way, I'm not terribly familiar with these teams. I do remember last year when Utah State had an exciting early season game when they may or may not have beaten a national powerhouse. Unfortunately I couldn't tell you if they won the game or who the team was they were playing, so that tells me they've done nothing special since then.

Military Bowl
My Pick: Maryland over Marshall

My brother is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, so that's pretty much the only reason I'm picking them. Well that and the fact that this season they were able to make it through their schedule with 5 fewer starting quarterbacks than last year. Sadly for them, they come into this game without their top 2 WR's and could be in a battle against a school that had a movie made about their football program's airplane crash 30 or so years ago. So that's something. Good luck to the Terps in their last game before bolting to the Big Ten ... traitors ...

Texas Bowl
My Pick: Syracuse over Minnesota

Syracuse is in the ACC. I went to a school in the ACC. That's all I got.

Fight Hunger Bowl
My Pick: Washington over BYU

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the athletes and staff members who attend bowl games get showered in gifts by the host committee of the bowl's sponsors. The NCAA allows participants to receive up to $600 in giveaways and most individuals walk away with luxury watches, electronics, sunglasses, bags, and other assorted goodies (a couple of games are even giving away leather recliners ... no really, Google it). Each team is allowed roughly 100 representatives, so all together that represents over $100,000 in stuff. Wouldn't it make more sense if they took that money and used it to actually FIGHT HUNGER?!?!

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
My Pick: Notre Dame over Rutgers

Naturally, the gimmick of turning Yankee Stadium into a cramped football facility must continue. I think this was the stadium where every time the possession arrow changed the teams switched sides of the field because one end zone was too small so everyone had to drive the same direction. Or I could be confusing this with the game played on the White House lawn because that makes as much sense as this. I expect the Irish to win easily against a disappointing Rutgers squad.

Belk Bowl
My Pick: North Carolina over Cincinnati

As a proud alumni of UNC, I am obligated to pick my Heels in this year's bowl game. Unfortunately, I don't have the highest confidence in our team pulling out the W. Our star QB is out for the season, our star TE is already counting the millions he'll be making in the NFL next year, and our defense isn't quite as solid as it has been the last couple of years. If we show up ready to play, we'll win by 3 touchdowns. If we don't, it could be another poor performance in Charlotte like season's past.

Russell Athletic Bowl
My Pick: Miami over Louisville

I would like to call this game the Irony Bowl. When Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater was considering schools, he committed to Miami before turning his back on "The U" and moving to Kentucky. Isn't it appropriate then that his last collegiate game will be against the team he ditched? Don't think this situation will be lost on the Hurricanes .... I expect Teddy to spend considerable time with his back on the ground in Orlando. I'll take the Canes by a bunch.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
My Pick: Michigan over Kansas State

This game earns HUGE bonus points if they find a way to interrupt the action the same way they do in the BW's commercials. Pulling off pranks like those could earn this game a place in bowl game immortality. On the off chance that doesn't actually happen, expect an athletic Michigan team to take out the Wildcats and their aging head coach.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
My Pick: Navy over Middle Tennessee

I'm pretty sure it's illegal for Navy to lose a game called the Armed Forces Bowl. If Middle Tennessee jumps out to an early lead, watch out for the game changers from the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl mentioned above.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
My Pick: Ole Miss over Georgia Tech

Once again, a financial institution and something completely unrelated to money are marriaged in the title of a football contest. So, basically, the winner gets to mortgage a house and then apply that money to buying some songs on iTunes in the city? I don't get it. What I do get is that Ole Miss should be athletic enough to stop the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense. Tech has no passing threat and this single dimension approach shouldn't work against a middle-of-the-road SEC team.

Valero Alamo Bowl
My Pick: Oregon over Texas

I don't care where this game is being played. Mack Brown knew what was about to hit San Antonio and that's the real reason he quit his job when he did. At least this way it's understandable when he doesn't show his face again after meeting the Ducks. Now that Oregon has had a few weeks to heal some lingering injuries, this one is going to be ugly. Like, a pretty girl crying ugly. I'll take the "O" by at least 30.

National University Holiday Bowl
My Pick: Arizona State over Texas Tech

This could legitimately be a very entertaining game. Both of these teams feature high powered offenses and I would expect it'll take at least 40 points for one side to win this game. I'm taking the Sun Devils because I lived in Arizona for 7 years and I think Sparky is a super cool mascot.

AdvoCare V100 Bowl
My Pick: Boston College over Arizona

I wanted to pick the Wildcats, I really did. In fact, I almost typed their name in the winner's spot above. But I've watched a lot of Arizona football this season and one thing was clear: Arizona plays really well against good teams. Unfortunately for them, Boston College sucks (other than their Heisman candidate running back). For that reason, I think the Eagles soar over a lethargic Tucson squad,

Hyundai Sun Bowl
My Pick: Tie

Yes, I know a college football game can't end in a tie. But this is a really difficult game to choose a winner because it really could go either way. If forced to pick a side, I'll take the Hokies in Logan Thomas' last game, but I don't feel great about it.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
My Pick: Mississippi State over Rice

I'm a noodles guys.

Chick-fil-a Bowl
My Pick: Texas A&M over Dook

 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, sorry, had to get that out of the way first. Genuinely speaking, if this game was played about a month ago I think it could have been close. At least for the first half. But after the spanking that Dook took by the (SPOILER ALERT) soon-to-be National Champions (SPOILER ALERT OVER) in the ACC Championship Game, I think the Blue Devils are coming back down to Earth. They have to come to an SEC city and face Johnny Football in what will likely be his last college game, and quite frankly they don't have a chance (unless Manziel shows up drunk from his New Years Eve party). The Aggies should bring home the biggest blowout of the bowl season and end 2013 in style. Gator Bowl
My Pick: Nebraska over Georgia

I live in Georgia. Many of my friends are Georgia fans and/or graduates. This game is being played only a few hours from UGA's campus. So naturally ... I'm taking Nebraska. Some of you may remember that Georgia was one of my two pre-season picks to play for the National Championship this year. Unfortunately, injuries have decimated the 'Dawgs and they never really stood a chance. They come into January without Aaron Murray and I'm just not sure they have enough decent healthy players to beat the Cornhuskers. I won't be surprised with a Georgia victory, but I'm certainly not putting money on it. Did I mention this is a rematch from the bowl season last year? Who can say rubber-match in 2014?!

Heart of Dallas Bowl
My Pick: North Texas over UNLV

Who cares? No really ... who cares? Anyone ... anyone ... anyone? Crickets? Ok then.

Outback Bowl
My Pick: LSU over Iowa

I like the Tigers here in the battle for the Bloomin' Onion. LSU wasn't as good as usual, but they should still have no problem handling a mediocre Big Ten team. Maryland should be taking notes ... Iowa might be the only team they stand a chance against next season.

Capital One Bowl
My Pick: South Carolina over Wisconsin

The lasting image from the 2012-2013 football season was Jadeveon Clowney knocking the teeth out of the Michigan QB in his first bowl appearance. Since then Clowney has been largely non-existent as many believe he's been playing it safe while waiting to hear his name called in April's NFL Draft in New York. I suspect that #7 will come out of hiding in Orlando on New Years Day just to put his name back at the top of the draft board. Expect a big performance from the 'Cocks defense in a relatively low scoring game.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
My Pick: Stanford over Michigan State

I am going on record to say that this will be the most boring bowl game in the history of college football. When the matchup was finalized, I called my brother and told him I expect the final score of the game to be 3-0. He reminded me that such a score would require one team to get in scoring position, and that's not going to happen. So, we agreed that 4-2 would be a much more realistic outcome. Expect Stanford to win the game with a ground-rule double in the top of the seventh with men on second and third. Err ... a safety in the fourth quarter ... yeah ...

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
My Pick: Baylor over UCF

If anyone was wondering why I'm so excited that the BCS is going away, please see the fact that UCF is playing in the Fiesta Bowl. No disrespect to the team from my former hometown, but you have no business playing in a major January game. Ok, I suppose that WOULD be disrespect to them, but still. Baylor should roll in a high scoring performance against the Knights. I'm thinking 56-3 sounds about right. Oh wait, they'll have to play the second half too ...

Allstate Sugar Bowl
My Pick: Alabama over Oklahoma

The "experts" are going to tell you that this game will be a blowout in favor of the Crimson Tide. As Lee Corso might say ... "Not so fast!" This could play out as the best BCS matchup of the season. Bob Stoops is no pushover and he'll have the Sooners ready for a fight on the Bayou. 'Bama pulls away in the 4th quarter but I won't be surprised if it's a single digit margin of victory.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
My Pick: Oklahoma State over Missouri

Before the BCS came around this was one of the major bowl games in the country. And starting next year, the battle for Jerry's House will be on the national radar once again. I think the Tigers were a little over-hyped this season thanks to a relatively weak SEC East. Don't let the SEC Title game fool you ... they played a great game against another team who had no business being there and Missouri is not as good as you probably think they are. The high powered Cowboys offense will put up big points in the home of the ... wait for it ... Cowboys! Watch the big screen above the field if you don't believe me.

Discover Orange Bowl
My Pick: Ohio State over Clemson

Ohio State was never ranked #1 this season in the BCS standings, but they should have been. I would have been drooling for a matchup between the Buckeyes and Seminoles in the title game. But I do have to say that this game in Miami should be a close second. Clemson has been one of the most impressive teams in the country for a couple of years and that should create a very exciting Orange Bowl. This game should bring big plays, trick plays, and a very close 4th quarter finale. Look for the poisonous nuts to win it in the final minute. Because that's how Clemson rolls.

BBVA Compass Bowl
My Pick: Houston over Vanderbilt

I refuse to provide commentary on a January bowl game between two un-ranked teams that takes place AFTER all of the other BCS bowl games.

GoDaddy Bowl
My Pick: Ball State over Arkansas State

See: BBVA Compass Bowl

Vizio BCS National Championship Game
My Pick: Florida State over Auburn

If ever there was a team who wished the National Championship was played the week after the conference championships, it's the Auburn Tigers. Auburn may be the luckiest team ever to play for a national title and don't think they don't know it. If the miracle Hailmary against the Bulldogs wasn't enough, Auburn went on to produce the "Field Goal Return Heard Round the World" against the Tide. Now don't get me wrong, those may have been the two best moments of the entire 2013 season. But here's the funny thing about luck ... eventually it runs out. After a full month of not capturing the magic, this game is ultimately going to come down to actual skill and football abilities. Sadly for the SEC Champion, they just don't have enough to compete with Florida State. Jameis Winston is going to show that his rookie campaign was not a fluke and the Seminoles will easily win the final BCS National Championship. And, when the final whistle blows, we can all be glad that the BCS beast is finally dead! Bring on the playoffs!!!

There you have it, my entirely too-long analysis of this year's bowl program. I hope you enjoyed the thoughts, but more importantly, I hope we all enjoy the games!

- Fishy

Saturday, August 24, 2013

College Football - 2013 Season Preview

Remember that feeling you had when you were in school and it was the last day before summer vacation? Sitting there with all of your friends, watching movies on the crappy classroom television, wondering why in the world you were wasting your time since tests were done and you wanted to go outside and play? Summer was so close you could taste it, yet you still had to agonize through a day that would have been a gift of gold 2 months earlier. Welcome to my world.

Today, my friends, is the last Saturday before the start of football season. And while it's amazing to say that, it is painful to sit here on my couch and long for the game I love oh so much but can't quite have yet. All I have to hang on to is the promise of what's to come ... 6 months of seclusion from the outside world every weekend with television romance as my heart melts with every touchdown, field goal, and bone breaking hit. As Forrest Gump might say: "Football is like a box of chocolates ... a delicious, gooey, sweet, silky, luscious ..." Wait, where was I going with that? Oh well, it wasn't that important anyway. What IS important is that 5 days from today my North Carolina Tar Heels officially kick off the College Football season in Columbia, SC and I cannot wait!!! I have never been so excited to see a group of grown men play with a bunch of 'Cocks ...

And with that, I give you my official predictions for the 2013 College Football campaign:

BCS Conference Champions

ACC - North Carolina Tar Heels
Big 10 - Ohio State Buckeyes
Big 12 - Texas Longhorns
Pac Insert Number Here - Oregon Ducks
SEC - Georgia Bulldogs
Big East - I can't make a prediction here because I have no idea who's even in this conference anymore.

Potential BCS Conference Upsets

ACC - None. It will either be Clemson, North Carolina, or Miami and none can be considered an "upset."
Big 10 - Nebraska Cornhuskers
Big 12 - Can you count Oklahoma as an upset? Don't count on seeing Kansas State at Number 1 again.
Pac Insert Number Here - UCLA Bruins
SEC - Florida Gators
Big East - Everyone

National Championship

Ohio State Buckeyes over Georgia Bulldogs

Other Honors and Dubious Distinctions

Heisman Trophy - Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Heisman Trophy Runner-Up - Jadeveon Clowney, DE/Beast, South Carolina
Heisman Trophy Winner If He Survives Jadeveon Clowney in Week 1 - Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina
Disappointment of the Year - Johnny "Football" Manziel (*If he plays)
Most Likely to Crash the BCS - Boise State Broncos
Pre-Season Top 25 Most Likely to Finish Outside the Top 25 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Pre-Season Unranked Most Likely to Make the BCS - North Carolina Tar Heels
Game of the Year - Red River Shootout - Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Worst Game of the Year - Insert Alabama Cupcake Opponent Here
Upset of the Year - Army over Stanford - September 14th
Surprise of the Year - NCAA officials declare that Tim Tebow has not played enough games in the NFL to be considered a professional athlete. Urban Meyer convinces Tebow to enroll in a Masters program at Ohio State where Tebow proceeds to lead Ohio State to the National Championship.
Wishful Thinking of the Year - Florida over Ohio State in the National Championship Game
First Overall Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft - Jadeveon Clowney
Alabama's Record on the Season - 10-3, Winner of the SEC West, Loser of the SEC Championship Game
Vegas "Prop Bet" of the Year - Number of Colors on the Maryland Uniform vs. Number of Starting QB's at Maryland
Over/Under in Alabama/LSU Game - 5.5
Over/Under in Oregon/USC Game - 187
Guarantee of the Year - North Carolina will Defeat Dook - Victory Bell Returns to Chapel Hill
Guarantee of the Year #2 - The student section of at least 10 schools will rush the field after defeating a school that most of the country has never heard of.
Guarantee of the Year #3 - The SEC will NOT win the National Championship. Yep, I said it.
Guarantee of the Year #4 - Nobody will miss the BCS when it's gone. Expect controversy in the final year.
Guarantee of the Year #5 - Sometime in the next 6 months I will scream "I hate football" out of frustration, but it won't be true. I love football.

Hark the Sound ... Go Heels!

- Fishy

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pro Football - 2013 NFL Predictions

It's that time of the year once again friends! That magical time of the year that makes all of us feel warm inside, smile on the outside, and grab our loved ones. No, I'm not talking about the winter holidays ... it's football time!!!

This evening in Canton, Ohio, the Dallas Cowboys will be taking on the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game ... the unofficial kickoff to the NFL season. This pre-season tradition signals the beginning of competition and gives guys like me an excuse to start thinking about America's most popular sport (curling excluded, of course).

With that said, what better way to kickoff the NFL campaign than with my "Official" predictions for the 2013 season? Here's a list of everything I expect to happen this season once the league officially begins in a little over a month ...

Division Champions (And Projected Records)

NFC East - Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
NFC North - Green Bay Packers (12-4)
NFC West - San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
NFC South - New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Wildcard - Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
Wildcard - Detroit Lions (11-5)

AFC East - New England Patriots (12-4)
AFC North - Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
AFC West - San Diego Chargers (12-4)
AFC South - Houston Texans (13-3)
Wildcard - Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
Wildcard - Denver Broncos (10-6)

Super Bowl Prediction

San Francisco 49ers over Houston Texans

Individual Player Accomplishments

League MVP - Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Offensive Rookie of the Year - Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills
Defensive Rookie of the Year - Manti Te'o, LB, San Diego Chargers
Comeback Player of the Year - Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bold Predictions and Ridiculous Distinctions

Coach of the Year - Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
Worst Team in the NFL - Tampa Bay Bucs
Star Player Most Likely to Disappoint - Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
Team Most Likely to Go Winless - Tennessee Titans
Team Most Likely to Go Undefeated - San Francisco 49ers
Most Fun Team to Watch - Philadelphia Eagles
Player Most Likely to Die on the Field - Tony Gonzalez
Player Most Likely to Die off the Field - Titus Young (Does he count as a player anymore?)
Kicker of the Year - Who Cares?
Team With Most Starting QB's - NY Jets
Worst Rookie QB - Geno Smith, NY Jets
Surprise Moment of the Year - Early Season Tom Brady Injury Leads to Ryan Mallett Becoming a Star
Surprise Moment of the Year #2 - Ryan Mallett Injury Leads to Tim Tebow Bringing the Patriots in to the Playoffs with Back-to-Back Miracle Wins
Feel-Good Moment of the Year - After Second Miracle Win, Tim Tebow Jumps in to the Stands at Gillette Stadium and Delivers a Baby
Longest Run of the Year - Adrian Peterson, 99 Yards
Shortest Run of the Year - RGIII, -26 Yards
Longest Reception of the Year - Victor Cruz, 88 Yards
Shortest Reception of the Year - Chris Johnson, -11 Yards
Aaron Hernandez Verdict - Not Guilty, After the Trial he Signs with the Raiders and Gets OJ Simpson's Old Number
Strangest Injury Off the Field - Fred Jackson Breaks Both Legs After Fans Attack Him in the Parking Lot so CJ Spiller Can Finally Start
Strangest Injury On the Field  - Mark Sanchez Sprains Neck in Whiplash From Running in to Center's Butt ... Again
Biggest Fine - Cam Newton, $100,000 for Wearing Full Superman Costume Instead of Team Uniform in Game Before Halloween
Worst Average Attendance - Jacksonville Jaguars, 17 People/Game
Chad Johnson's Last Name at the End of the Season - Abdul-Jabbar-World-Peace-Cena-Phelps-Bieber
Funniest Moment of the Year - Aaron Rodgers Attempts Lambeau Leap, Pants Fall Down on Way in to the Stands
Odds That All Predictions Above Come True - 17:1

Happy Football Season Everyone!

- Fishy

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fantasy Sports - Who's Fantasy Is This?

When was the last time you went into a hospital, looked through a list of nurses working in the ER, and said to yourself: "Wow, Melissa is 24 of 25 on catheters this week and she hasn't missed a shift since the ice storm of 2010 ... I'm taking her in the 5th round?!"

Let's face it ... you probably haven't. But, if you had statistics like that available to you, you'd probably pay a lot more attention when selecting your medical staff. Or at least have a lot more fun sitting in the waiting room while grandpa is going through a triple bypass surgery.

Today's Americans are living in a world where no information is too much information and it can't possibly get to us fast enough. We want to consume more and more and there's no way we'll be happy until our heads literally evolve into a 360 degree mega-sphere that can take in every little detail around us. Back in the day (aka when my parents were kids) the sports experience involved listening to a commentator on a small, static-filled radio and picturing the athletes and action in your mind. Can you imagine hearing Babe Ruth hit home run number 714 without ever seeing the ball leave the bat?

Now it's 2013. You have 80" high definition televisions with 3,487 channels (did you catch the underwater basket weaving medley on the knitting channel last night?) ... you have an internet that can pretty much stream any event in the world live, if you're willing to pay for it ... and in most cases you can watch sporting events right on your cell phone at the touch of a button (how different would Saved by the Bell have been if 20 minutes every episode was Zack Morris watching the collegiate sand volleyball championships on his handheld?). Yet with all this technology, it's still not enough! We need more interaction, more information, more stress!!!

Enter the world of Fantasy Sports. For those of you who are not familiar with this breed of game, it has nothing to do with a team of centaurs battling for victory with a gang of aliens on a floating island somewhere. Rather, fantasy sports allows real people to take fake ownership of their favorite athletes. In an effort to further enhance the sports experience, fanatical viewers (like myself) "draft" real sports stars on to an imaginary team in order to put together a squad with the most talent and production. Then, each week, owners compete against other owners to see who's group can compile the most impressive statistics. This goes on throughout the season until finally one person reigns victorious. Which sport you ask? Well, pretty much all of them when there's an interest ... the most popular are football, baseball, and basketball ... but go ahead and check out Fantasy Golf. I wish I could say I was making that up.

I'll be the first to admit, it can be a lot of fun to partake in the fantasy games. It's like Dungeons and Dragons for the kids who used to beat up anyone playing Dungeons and Dragons. It adds a unique aspect to watching sports and actually further engages the casual fan in the action on the field. I've got to imagine the real athletes and teams love it too because the more a fan knows about the game, the more likely they are to buy tickets, jerseys, and the used tissue Albert Pujols is selling on Ebay with proceeds going to at-risk youth at the corner of 4th street and Smith Avenue in downtown LA.

Here's my problem ... some people take this stuff WAY too seriously. And I'm not just talking about the people who play in leagues that actually collect and distribute money as a way of upping the anti. I'm referring to people who think that they really own these teams and make decisions as though their future is on the line. Let me give you an example ...

I'm currently in a fantasy baseball league with some friends and family who enjoy watching baseball but aren't spending $50,000/year for season tickets to the Braves. One person had to drop out of the league before the season even started and he was replaced by a friend of our league commissioner. The new guy comes in and immediately isn't thrilled with his team because we had already drafted our players. He decides he's going to make the best of it though and through the first 1/4 of the season he's in around 9th place out of 10 teams. Well, at this point he decides the season is lost (really, already?) and goes on a fire-sale with his roster. He tells the team owners in the league that all of his players are available for trading and he's looking for draft picks for next season.

Seriously??? Besides the fact it's a little early to be throwing in the towel, he's looking for draft picks for next season?! I can barely figure out what I'm going to have for lunch next HOUR and this guy wants fake draft picks to use in an imaginary game that won't start again until March 2014. Think about this for a minute. When was the last time you were sitting around playing a game of Monopoly with friends and after 20 minutes shout out "Well, I'm off to a crappy start. I'll trade you Boardwalk, Baltic, and the Reading Railround for a bite of your chicken sandwich, an extra rook in October's chess tournament, and 30 minutes of DVR space for the season premiere of American Idol in January."?!?!

What's my point? Fantasy Sports are intended to be fun. This isn't real life, we aren't actually playing for a world championship, and I promise you that victory in your league isn't going to land you the hot blonde that just moved in to the apartment next door. So, my fellow sports fans, take a deep breath and enjoy the game for exactly what it is ... a cool enhancement to something many of us love already.

Unless of course you're really into chess, in which case I'll trade you Mike Trout and Justin Verlander for a queen and two knights ...

- Fishy

Pro Baseball - I Love My Diamondbacks!

Let me start off this post by clarifying ... I'm not exactly an Arizona Diamondbacks fan. I have nothing against them, but they're not my team of choice. So why title this entry as though they are my boys? Well ...

I lived in Phoenix for 7 years in my younger days, right around when the D-Backs began their inaugural season. In the Valley (that's what us Phoenix people call it), there was an ever-present media campaign to push the new team and ballpark. Everywhere you went, you could hear and see the catch phrase "I Love My Diamondbacks!" That's actually rather irrelevant to the nature of this post, but everyone likes a good back story.

The real reason I'm loving the D-Backs right now is for an incredible display of humanitarianism earlier this week. During the annual MLB Draft, Arizona selected outfielder Cory Hahn from Arizona State University in the 34th round. This, by itself, doesn't seem significant (other than asking yourself why in the world there are 34 rounds in a player draft). However, there is a big reason this selection is special: Hahn is paralyzed from the chest down. Hahn was, at one point, a top Major League prospect while in high school who likely could have gone straight into a contract after graduating. Instead, he chose to attend college, a rare decision for an 18 year old with outstanding potential. Unfortunately for him, he was injured in just his third collegiate game while sliding head first into second base and colliding with the defender. My point is obviously not that a budding sports star skip college ... rather I am impressed that a professional sports team actually took the time to do something good in a landscape of sports negativity.

Now, other sports teams have done similar publicity stunts in the past with the idea of making money and generating positive press. But this time, I actually think there's a genuine intention behind the move. First off, the D-Backs spent enough time planning this pick to conveniently select Hahn in the 34th round ... the same number that he wore at Arizona State. Second, and more importantly, the Diamondbacks intend to actually employee the young man. While Hahn will not be able to pursue his dreams on the diamond, it looks like he'll still be wearing D-Backs colors in a "real job" working for the club.

Kudos to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a job well done. And best of luck to Cory Hahn as he begins his career in Major League Baseball, even if he's not wearing a glove and cap while he does it. Sometimes dreams do come true in the most unlikely ways possible ...

- Fishy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pro Basketball - Jason Collins Likes Men

If you haven't heard yet, Jason Collins is gay. Ok, let me take a step back ... in an article released by Sports Illustrated yesterday, NBA player Jason Collins revealed that he is homosexual. With this proclamation, Collins becomes the first male athlete in major American sports to openly express that he is anything other than heterosexual.

Before we continue, I'm going to take this rare opportunity (thanks to the integration of sports and social norms) to express my stance on the "issue" of sexual preference. I will be very clear on this ... I 100% support Jason Collins. I support his right to be gay, I support his decision to be open about his sexuality, and I support his decision to be the first male athlete in major American sports to state that being gay doesn't change who he is on the court. I think Collins is brave and courageous (certainly more than most), I think he is admirable, and I think he's just another athlete regardless of who he is sleeping with. I'll even say that if he wants to get married one day to another guy, nothing trumps love and I hope he and his partner find a lifetime of happiness together.

With that said ...

- There is going to be backlash. Anyway you like it, we still live in a homophobic America where the majority (outspoken or not) are still against the idea of homosexuality. Most of the celebrities who share this point of view are going to stay quiet about it, but not all of them. In just the first couple of hours after the story was released, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace tweeted his thoughts on how he can't understand a guy being gay when there are so many beautiful women in the world. And let's face it, he's not the only person thinking that way (maybe just the most public right now). Think about it ... if Justin Bieber came out of the closet tonight, half the people in the world would say "No Sh*t" and the other half would say "Who Cares?!" But, Jason Collins is a professional athlete ... and everyone "knows" that pro athletes are incredibly masculine guys who couldn't possibly be in to dudes. Unfortunately, if/when Collins is signed to an NBA team (he's currently a free agent) there are going to be PLENTY of fans at road games that want to remind him just how "wrong" his lifestyle is.

- There is going to be support. We've seen it already, and most of those who are going to be [peacefully] outspoken will get behind Collins' decision to come out and live the way he chooses. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Michael Strahan, even former president Bill Clinton ... all expressed their support yesterday for Collins in an overwhelmingly positive way. One can only hope that someone in the public eye coming out will help to advance gay rights, or at least the discussion that can one day lead to equality in this area. Homosexuality needed a spokesperson, and Jason Collins has proudly taken the podium.

- There are going to be more. Someone had to have the guts to be first, and now that it's out of the way, I suspect 2nd, 3rd, and 4th aren't too far away. But what will happen when the flood gates open? One can hope for support, love, and open debate. I'm not saying everyone is obligated to share my viewpoint on the topic. My concern is those who are radical about the "right" way to live making decisions that can severely harm others. With the abundance of gay pride events nationally in the United States, my biggest concern is for the safety of those involved. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we can rely on the protection of the men and women in uniform and the common sense of all to make sure things stay peaceful when those passionate about the topic choose to express themselves.

It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out moving forward. Sexuality is a very sensitive topic and one that almost everyone seems to have an opinion on. There might be some who read this post and don't want to have anything to do with me because of my stance ... and while I would certainly be disappointed, that is there right. But more important than anything, I believe Jason Collins just let one huge skeleton "out of the closet" ...

- Fishy

Friday, April 19, 2013

Running - Attack at the Boston Marathon

I think it is fitting to say that I never expected to be writing a blog post about running. I don't enjoy running, I think long distance running is silly, and outside of Forrest Gump I believe running should be reserved as a form of exercise for those looking to improve their fitness.

However, I need to share a view thoughts on the events that took place earlier this week in Boston. As I am sure you know, 2 bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, one of the premier distance running events in the world. As we've since learned, the two suspects apparently responsible for the destruction were brothers of Russian decent who had been living in the US for many years but originally from an area tied to terrorist organizations overseas.

First of all, let me express how disappointed I am that any human could find this act of terror acceptable. I have taken ethics courses that suggest different cultures share the same values and just have different beliefs as a way of reaching those values. Unfortunately, I fail to see how anyone can justify mass murder or the attempted assault on innocent parties. It's sad, disgusting, and depressing.

With that said, the events of this week have brought to light a fear I have had since 9/11. Despite my love for sports and athleticism, sporting events are prime targets for terrorist attacks. As far as I can tell, those interested in killing for the sake of killing typically target large audiences where the impact will be as great as possible. And what better place than a giant gathering of people at a known time and location? I don't say this to discourage anyone from attending sporting events. I simply suggest taking caution when doing so and keeping your eyes open for anyone, or anything, that looks suspicious. I also recommend that security measures at these events continue to be tightened in order to keep out anyone looking to cause trouble and allow in those looking to truly enjoy themselves. I know that in the case of a marathon it is very difficult to patrol every inch of a 26.2 mile course, but hopefully this will serve as a reminder that we need to continue protecting those who are innocent and unsuspecting of such inappropriate acts.

So, the next time you're heading to a ball game and you get annoyed that a security officer asks you to turn out your pockets, just remember Boston, April 2013.

- Fishy

Golf - The [Next] Tiger Woods Scandal

I knew that some people didn't like Tiger Woods. He cheated on his wife, he slept around with some random women, and he hid it from the world. He's made some really poor personal choices and that has undoubtedly affected his public image. I get it. But last week at the Masters, it was taken to a ridiculous new level. On the 15th hole of the second round of play, Tiger ran into an unfortunate circumstance where a stroke of bad luck landed his golf ball in a water hazard requiring him to drop a new ball to play his next shot. Well, several hours after this all happens we come to find out that a television viewer called in to the tournament officials to alert them that Tiger did not drop the ball exactly as rules specify he should have.

Really? I mean seriously? Someone at home actually took the time to find the phone number for a tournament official, call the official, explain the rule and complain that it wasn't followed, and request that an inquiry be made so that Tiger's tournament status and chances of winning could be questioned. First of all, who does that? Second, who has that kind of time? And third, why do you even care that much? Wouldn't your time be much better spent watching porn and dreaming of all the women Tiger's been with that you could never have (for any kids reading this post, porn is a type of adult documentary that old people like to watch without any type of real story line or car chases ... it's really boring, you wouldn't like it)?

Aside from the fact that the dropped ball was even investigated to begin with, I do have some thoughts on the outcome for those who are golf savvy and enjoy the sport:

- The rules were interpreted, and applied, correctly in this situation. Quit whining and complaining that Tiger wasn't kicked out of the tournament for signing an incorrect scorecard. Per the rules, any infraction that was discovered due to television will result in a 2 stroke penalty instead of disqualification. Like it or not, the only reason the mistake was discovered was because they could review it on TV. Don't hate the application, hate the rule.

- Tiger didn't cheat. You heard me. Yes, he did fail to properly adhere to a poorly written rule governing the dropping of the golf ball and he received the appropriate penalty for doing so. However, had Tiger intentionally broken the rule for the purposes of gaining an advantage, do you really think he would have openly admitted to it during a post-round interview? Unprompted mind you. Not even Tiger would make that kind of mistake.

Unfortunately, controversy or not, Tiger Woods did not win the Masters and we will never know how this "scandal" altered the outcome of the tournament. On the bright side, if/when he goes on to break Jack Nicklaus' record for most career majors, nobody can say that the victories were tainted.

I do have one piece of advice for Tiger though ... next time you're trying to figure out the appropriate place to lay down your balls, make sure you don't get caught putting them where they don't belong ...

- Fishy

Sunday, April 7, 2013

College Basketball - March Madness

I need to apologize to all of my loyal followers out there (thank you Daniel and Jenny) ... this post has been a long time coming. We are now at the afternoon before the National Championship Game and I still have not written anything about the NCAA Tournament. Well, that's about to change.

Now that I have the benefit of hindsight, here are my feelings about this year's Big Dance:

- As expected, the tournament this year was completely up for grabs. In a season that featured an unbelievable number of top ranked teams losing (often to opponents outside the Top 25), you had to figure that brackets were going to look like Kevin Ware's leg when all was said and done ... mangled, ugly, and waiting for another chance next year. And we have not been disappointed. Georgetown (2 Seed) lost in the first round, FGCU (aka Dunk City) made it to the second weekend of the dance, and only 1 team ranked better than 4 made it to the Final Four. There have been upsets left and right and you never really knew who was going to win on any given night. Which makes it even more improbable that ...

- Both of the teams in the National Championship Game were ranked #1 in the country at some point during the regular season. Ironic isn't it? Sure, Michigan came into the tournament ice cold with a 4 seed, but only a couple of months ago they were at the top of the heap. After all the hype, the upsets, the mid majors, the matching basketball courts in 16 different cities ... we're left with 2 teams that have been near the top all season.

- Have you noticed that despite all the upsets, there have been an unusually SMALL number of buzzer beaters in this year's tournament? As I sit here typing, I can really only remember one game-winning shot being made, and I couldn't even tell you which game it came from. This has been one of the best tournaments in recent memory, yet there is a noticeable lack of heart-stopping moments to end games. Many of the contests came down to the last minute ... but barely any came down to the last second.

- I started thinking a couple weeks ago how I would make the tournament better. What rules would I change or what format adjustments would I make to improve March Madness? Here's a couple of things I came up with:

1. Get rid of teams 65-68. Seriously ... is this really necessary? I get that the tournament is all about revenue and these schools want a chance to shine on a national level, but isn't 64 teams enough? It was bad when they expanded to 65 and decided to have the "play-in game" (how do you really determine the 65th best team in the country) but now we're getting absurd. And what makes it even worse? It's not like the 8 worst teams play and then get stuck against the 1 seeds in the next round ... oh no, that would be too sensible. Instead, they randomly put the "first four" anywhere in the bracket they want! In one game it's a battle of 16 seeds, in another it's 12, 10 in another ... I mean come on. If you're going to do it, just make some sense. Which brings me to my next change ...

2. Stop calling the "first four" games Round 1! It's not Round 1! All it is is a chance for the NCAA to make some extra money with a gimicky tournament start. Call it what they are: Play-in Games!

3. No more ranking the Number 1 seeds or declaring that any one of them is the "Number 1 Overall Seed." What this implies (and sometimes is said directly) is that the region with the overall Number 1 seed will have the weakest of the 2 seeds. That's a lovely thought except for one small problem ... that's not how it works. This year, Louisville was the top seed, and deservedly so. Which means of all the 2 seeds, they should be playing the weakest in their bracket. The issue here is that Dook was the 2 seed in the Midwest. How is this possible? Up until the day before Selection Sunday, Dook was expected to be a 1 seed. Even on Selection Sunday many thought it would go to them instead of Gonzaga. So how in the world do they drop from a 1 seed to the worst 2 seed (which implies they are the 8th ranked team in the country). I could even see trying to make the argument that the 2 seeds are ranked geographically so they don't have to travel as far ... and that would be fine ... except that Dook isn't in the Midwest! So stop with the nonsense already ... declare your four 1 seeds and leave it at that. Everything else will play out on the court.

4. Stop favoring mid-majors with NCAA at-large tournament bids. Yes, I get that mid-majors make everything more interesting and everyone loves a good upset. And I know that over the last few years their overall tournament performance has been improving. But here's the problem ... when was the last time any team outside the BCS Conferences actually won March Madness? What, you can't remember? Here's your answer ... UNLV ... in 1990! That was 23 years ago. And before that? Texas Western (now known as UTEP) in 1966!!! Everyone needs to get a clue ... mid majors don't win championships! And it's not because they don't have the opportunities ... they just can't get it done. Yes, Butler was close to the miracle 2 years ago against Dook. But close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and my chances of hooking up with Mila Kunis the first time I meet her.

5. Luther Vandross sings One Shining Moment when the final buzzer sounds. No offense to Jennifer Hudson, stop messing with a good thing. Luther wasn't the first, but he was the best. Leave it alone.

Before this season started, I picked Louisville to win it all (don't believe me ... ask my Dad ... he's the 64 year old man living in South Florida ... you can't miss him). Tomorrow night, we find out if I was right. Don't be surprised if the game goes to overtime either ... Michigan is no push over. When the clock hits all zeroes though, I like my prediction to be cutting down the nets (even Kevin Ware, broken leg and all) ...

- Fishy

Professional Wrestling - Showcase of the Immortals

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me begin by saying that yes, I am aware professional wrestling is not "real." Yes, I am aware that the outcomes are scripted and very few of the performers are actually getting hurt during their show. And yes, I am aware how incredibly obnoxious it is that non-wrestling fans feel the need to continually point this out to those of us that love the entertainment. It's kinda like saying to a female fashionista "how do you walk in those 5 inch heels, it looks really painful?!" The answer is the same to both situations ... we don't care, we do it because we love it. Even though wrestling may not be pure competition, the athletes have real ability and that's why I have no issue discussing "Sports Entertainment" in a sports blog.

Ok, now on to business. The irony of my little rant above ... I'm here to actually complain about professional wrestling. Ok, maybe complain is the wrong word. Perhaps "express my disappointment" is a better way to put it. And why am I disappointed you might ask? I'm frustrated with the complete inability of the WWE (the business' top franchise) to grow and cultivate young talent. Ponder this for a moment ... who were the top sports stars 10-15 years ago? Ken Griffey Jr., Dan Marino, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky. All of these men have had great careers and are now happily retired watching the new breed of sports stars (Mike Trout, RG3, Lebron James, Sidney Crosby). Now let's take a look at professional wrestling ...

Tonight is Wrestlemania 29 (aka The Showcase of the Immortals) from Metlife Stadium in New York. That means ten years ago was Wrestlemania 19. Let's take a quick look at some of the big winners from the event that night ...

WWE Championship - Brock Lesnar (defeating Kurt Angle)
World Championship - Triple H (defeating Booker T)
Handicap Match - The Undertaker (defeating Big Show and A-Train)
One on One Match - The Rock (defeating Stone Cold Steve Austin)
One on One Match - Shawn Michaels (defeating Chris Jericho)

Now let's take a look at the 3 signature matches for tonight's card (the only 3 matches being promoted on various WWE advertising mediums):

WWE Championship - The Rock vs John Cena
Career Match - Triple H (with Shawn Michaels in his corner) vs Brock Lesnar
One on One Match - The Undertaker vs CM Punk

Do we see a pattern here? All of the stars are the same! In the last 10 years, the WWE has only developed 2 young performers to a level that is worthy of marketing promotion (Cena and Punk as mentioned above). As far as those "other guys" that lost their matches 10 years ago ... more than half of them will have a roll in tonight's show and only one has retired (Stone Cold, due to medical issues).

My point is this ... Vince McMahon, I know one night you're going to be home with the lady friend and you're going to be bored. You're going to be flipping through cable channels and Pawn Stars just isn't going to hit the spot. You'll grab your iPhone 78 and accidentally stumble upon my blog. You're going to read this post and here's the message I need you to take: please, for the love of wrestling's future, get some better writers that can actually create good new characters and turn them in to something. And if you don't have any writers on staff that can handle the job, I'm just a phone call away.

If you smell, what The Rock, is cookin ...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sports Drafts - 2013 is a Crazy Year

Right now I am sitting on a train heading north through the New York wilderness to visit my brother in Saratoga Springs. And what better time than now to write a post on the topic he recommended? So, let's talk for a few minutes about the drafts of 2013.

Let's start with the NFL Draft, or as I like to call it, the year of the Niners. It was bad enough that San Francisco was 5 yards away from winning the Super Bowl. Bad enough that the Niners had already accumulated 14 draft picks for this upcoming annual spectacle. But then, San Fran went and traded it's now backup quarterback, Alex Smith, for yet another 2nd round draft pick (this one the first of the round as they sent Smith to the QB-needy Chiefs). Now, I can debate all day long who the better QB was for the California gold squad, but there's one thing I can't debate: the scariest team in the NFL is about to get a whole lot scarier. Talk about a holster full of bullets and no hesitation to fire. The Niners are already the favorite to win next year's big game and now they can either trade picks for an established player (cough Darrell Revis cough) or maybe they can just go hog wild on prospective talent. Like, how about Marcus Lattimore, the broken but still volatile running back from South Carolina. Here's a kid that many teams might be afrad to pickup because of the uncertain recovery in his second major knee injury. But how bout San Fran? If they grab him in the second round and he lives to his potential, you could be looking at a Hall of Fame back to bolster an already incredible backfield. If he's a bust ... oh well! Pretty good odds that one or two of the other FOURTEEN guys they pick up will turn out to be decent. Not bad for a team that could run the table this year without using a single pick, huh?

And speaking of the Alex Smith trade, let me tell you one person who is NOT happy: Geno Smith. The [overrated] star QB out of West Virginia was all set to be taken first overall by the Chiefs and then this bombshell hits. You know what that means? Geno is going to lose a lot of moolah over this trade. Not only will he not get #1 pick money, who knows when he'll actually be drafted? How many teams are going to roll the dice on a guy who fell flat the second half of his senior year. Geno could be going from a $40 million first contract to significantly lower than that.

But, enough football for now. Let's turn our heads to the NBA draft that will take place later this year. Depending on who wins the Draft Lottery (perhaps the most ridiculous concept in sports history), the chances are very good that the first overall pick will be Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky. Now, 2 months ago I might have agreed with the assessment. But a major ligament tear to his knee later, I really have to question this pick. But maybe that just goes to show how weak this year's draft class will be. Think about this ... right now both Mason Plumlee and Alex Len are projected as lottery picks. And why you ask? Probably because they both stand 7 feet tall and the NBA is starving for quality centers. Unfortunately, I don't think either of these guys will get the job done. Mason has simply benefitted from being taller than his peers in college and that has made him look much better than he actually is in Coach K's system. As for Len ... earlier this week against a North Carolina team that starts 4 midgets and a small forward, Len couldn't even manage double digit scoring. In a game where you have that kind of size advantage (let alone knowing a win likely secures an NCAA tournament birth for your school) I would have expected a much better performance out of the kid. He's what they call a "project" and in my opinion, this project won't work. Toss him in a stack with all the other International players who were supposed to be basketball geniuses just because they were tall. How's that working out for Darko Milicec?

All this goes to say ... it's going to be a very bizarre year in the world of sports drafts. I'm looking forward to surprises, drama, and a 49ers team that collectively can bench press Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

- Fishy

PS: If you were wondering how I felt about the MLB Draft ... ask me 45 rounds from now and we'll talk.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pro Basketball - MJ Turns 50

I'm going to keep this short and sweet ... I don't like Michael Jordan. I've never met the guy, probably never will, and for all I know he's the greatest dude ever to walk the planet. But I grew up a Knicks fan, and even more a Patrick Ewing fan. And, thanks to MJ, Patrick never won an NBA Championship and also lost an NCAA Championship. For anyone else who has ever had a hero, it's really hard to like the person who prevented your idol from being successful. When was the last time you heard Iago singing a song about how much he loves Aladdin? It just doesn't happen.

With that said, I respect Jordan's accomplishments and what he did as a professional athlete. So instead of singing his praises myself, I refer you to an excellent article written by Michael Wilbon, sports writer and TV personality for ESPN. Enjoy ... Wilbon on Jordan

He's still no Patrick ...

- Fishy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

College Basketball - Praising the Enemy

[I would like to start this post by pointing out that many fellow Tar Heels will find it sacrilegious to say anything positive about the Dookies. With that said, I am prepared for the consequences of my actions.]

Coach K has been reading my blog. Ok, probably not, but if you carefully watched the end of last night's Carolina-Dook game, you may see why I have drawn that conclusion.

For all of my loyal readers (thank you to both of you), you probably recall that this past weekend I wrote an entry discussing the practice of rushing the court in college basketball venues. I pointed out that the practice was over-done and not being reserved for those truly special and unexpected moments of joy.

Fast forward to last night. After a hard fought and close rivalry game, Dook ended up besting the Tar Heels on their home floor. At the final buzzer, a handful of Dookies poured out of the stands and bolted towards center court. At that moment, Coach K took control and immediately stopped the students and scolded them back into the stands. He shook his head in disgust as the students retreated and then proceeded with the traditional post-game handshake ritual with Roy Williams and the rest of the Carolina squad.

I would like to officially take my hat off to Coach K for what he did last night. Regardless of my personal opinions, biases, and feelings on the Tobacco Road Rivalry, Coach K understands that his school should EXPECT to beat Carolina everytime they play. Whether or not that happens is a different story, but it is not a game you ever go into with question marks about what will happen. The same goes for the Heels. Coach K also knows that defeating a Carolina team who is unranked and may or may not get into the NCAA Tournament is only significant because it's a rivalry game, not because it was an impressive victory. It is for this reason that the head Dookie guided the students away from the court and prevented them from making a juvenile and unnecessary public celebration display.

I may not like Coach K, he might be the leader of the enemy, he might look like a weasel, he might speak like a whiny 4 year old girl, he might hug men in an uncomfortably passionate way, and he might be the most obnoxious figure head in all of collegiate sports, but for now, I would like to say THANK YOU for doing the right thing last night. I appreciate it.

- Fishy

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Soccer - Hitting the Net

Over the last couple of years, I have really started to enjoy watching soccer. I am not sure how that happened considering I found the sport to be boring and slow throughout most of my childhood. Like most Americans, I preferred sports where the scoring was high and the action was non stop. But I suppose as I mature, I have come to appreciate the psychology and precision that is football to the rest of the world.

There is one thing though that I cannot appreciate. As I sit and watch the Barclay's Premier League on Saturday mornings (England's top pro league) it astounds me how many soccer players miss wide open shots. And I'm not talking about the guys who take the ball out of mid-air and miss the goal by 2 feet on either side. I'm talking about the star players who line up wide open shots off a fairly stagnant ball and miss the net by more than 10 yards. I mean, these kicks aren't even close!

Now, I know I'm not a soccer player and I've never personally scored a goal. However, these men are getting paid millions of dollars to play a game where they are expected to be the best of the best. To me, missing a shot that badly is the equivalent of Bill Gates walking into Best Buy and asking the Geek Squad to take a look at his computer because he's having trouble getting Windows to boot up. It just shouldn't happen. If you want to be an international superstar who gets to travel the world, have the girls, and live the life of luxury ... then play like it on the field.

The kicker for the San Francisco 49ers, David Akers, was receiving death threats earlier this year because he missed 10 kicks over the course of the NFL season. 10 kicks! And they were all close misses. Can you imagine if we applied the same standard to Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, and Van Persie? They would all be living in bunkers every second of the day fearing for their lives! Now I'm not saying that Akers was treated fairly, but I do believe we can expect our top-level athletes to play like top-level athletes.

So please guys, do me a favor, just get the ball close. You don't have to put it in the back of the net every time, but I promise you, it's very difficult to score goals when the ball is landing 30 rows up in the stands on the lap of a grandmother who's had a few too many pints. That's not the kind of easy scoring we're paying you for.

- Fishy

College Basketball - Storming the Court

Over the last few weeks, Men's College Basketball has been some of the craziest and most compelling regular season sports that I can ever remember. Every week thus far in 2013, the number 1 team in the country has lost and many of those were to unranked or poorly ranked opponents. In addition to that, quite a few other top 5 and top 10 teams have gone down which has created all kinds of chaos and uncertainty in the weekly Top 25 polls.

With all of these upsets comes excitement. And recently, it has also come with student sections across the country storming the court. Just last night, the students at Notre Dame rushed the floor after defeating #11 Louisville in 5 overtimes. Let me repeat that ... they rushed the court after beating the number 11 team in the country even though they were ranked themselves. Why?

I'm sorry to say this, but it's starting to get ridiculous how the students are acting. It's not bad that they are excited and pumped up after a big win ... I understand the desire to celebrate. But back in my day (10 years ago), you only rushed the court after pulling off something truly spectacular. If you're a horrible team that happens to knock off the number 1 team in the country who was favored to beat you by 58 points, that's an excuse to storm the court. But when I turn on the TV to see college students rushing their team after beating Creighton, I know something is wrong.

Why am I having issues with this trend? There's 2 reasons:

1. It's dangerous. Yes, I know that makes me sound like an 85 year old man. However, a few weeks ago in Raleigh my point was proven. After the NC State Wolfpack defeated the Dook Blue Devils (yes, that's how us Tar Heels spell the name of the University located 8 miles down the road in Durham) the student section decided to storm the court. In the process, several students ran over and trampled a kid in a wheelchair!!! Luckily there were not major injuries to that student (that I am aware of) but it was not the first time that students have been injured in similar celebrations.

2. It sends the wrong message to your team. As I mentioned above, storming the court should be saved for major and unexpected accomplishments. When you storm the court, you are admitting to the world "holy crap, I expected us to lose and we didn't." Show more respect for your team and their abilities. Just because you beat a team ranked #7 doesn't mean it was a miracle ... especially when you're in the Top 25 yourself. When was the last time you saw students at North Carolina, Dook, Kansas, or Kentucky storm the floor? You know why they don't? They EXPECT to win. It doesn't mean you can't be excited about the victory, but winning is a culture, and the spectators help build that culture. Stand up, clap for your team, and tell them "great win, enjoy tonight, then get ready for practice tomorrow and go do it again next week."

I appreciate the enthusiasm of students on and off the court in collegiate athletics. Unfortunately, this is one trend that needs to go away. And since you can't expect 18 year old students to truly understand the ramifications of what they are doing, it's time for the University, the coaching staff, and the floor security to take a stand. It's not a bad thing to stay in the stands, it's the right thing.

- Fishy

Pro Football - Super Bowl Recap

When I think of the NFL Championship game, many wonderful thoughts and memories come to mind. I remember sitting on the couch with my dad during Super Bowl XXV, wearing matching t-shirts, watching our NY Giants win a thriller against the Buffalo Bills (thank you Scott Norwood). I remember living in Phoenix during Super Bowl XXX and having the chance to enjoy the phenomenal event known as the NFL Experience the weeks before the big game. I think of all the great parties I've attended, the food I've put away in my gut, and of course the commercials.

Unfortunately, this year's event will not be remembered by anyone for any of the reasons above. Super Bowl XLVII will simply be known as "The Blackout Bowl." And if you were paying any attention at all to the telecast, you know why.

Early in the 3rd quarter, half of the lights in the New Orleans Superdome lost power and shut off. In addition to the lights, the CBS commentary booth also lost power so we were not able to get an immediate explanation on television of what was going on. At first, the situation was simply perplexing and on some levels a touch scary (welcome to the post 9-11 US mindset). However, over the next 35 minutes, it went from perplexing, to humorous, to annoying, to ridiculous. At one point I was convinced that a 49ers fan had pulled a plug somewhere just to get their team back in the game. After all was said and done last Sunday night, the power outage in NOLA was the #1 topic of discussion.

Oh, by the way, there was a game that night too. And as it turns out, it was a really good one. Had the power never gone out the Ravens might have cruised to their Super Bowl victory, but circumstances as they were allowed San Francisco to make an improbable come back ... one that came up just short of being the greatest turnaround in NFL history.

I would like to say that the Baltimore Ravens played 30 minutes of outstanding football. The first half they put together was close to flawless and they earned their win before the half. Unfortunately for them, they knew it, and they almost blew it for that very reason. Had it not been for some very questionable play calling by Coach Harbaugh (Jim, if you're counting), the Niners would have finished off the storybook ending. And let's talk about that for a moment ... specifically the goal-to-go situation late in the 4th quarter. With only a few minutes left and needing a touchdown, San Fran had the ball inside the Baltimore 10 with 4 chances to put the ball in the end zone. On first down, they ran with Frank Gore to get the ball around the 5 yard line ... conservative but sensible call. However, they proceeded to run the exact same pattern 3 times in a row to get the ball in for a score ... a pass to Michael Crabtree in the right flat. Besides the fact it was ridiculous that no play was called to give Colin Kaepernick the ability to run and use his athletic ability, this was the same pass route that the Niners used to win a close game late in the regular season. Don't you think Jim's brother on the opposite sideline knew this was coming?! The total lack of creativity by the offense was disturbingly poor and ultimately made it much easier for the defense to hold their ground. Oh ... and did anyone else notice on that 4th down play that Vernon Davis was wide open in the middle of the end zone? The Niners can complain all they want about not getting a holding penalty ... had they called a better play it wouldn't have made a difference.

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens on winning their 2nd Super Bowl and sending Ray Lewis out as a winner. But honestly, will anyone remember the final score? It's only a week after the game ended and I couldn't tell you right now what the margin of victory was. I know it was close ... but more importantly I know that half the stadium couldn't see their beer cups for 35 minutes. And if I ever forget that, last night's opening skit on SNL will always be there to remind me ... SNL Super Bowl Skit

- Fishy

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pro Football - Super Bowl Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday!

For me, this statement is more than just the declaration of a game or 24 hour period ... it's more like a religious experience. The Super Bowl is not just a championship matchup ... it is a holiday that celebrates the culmination of 5 months of sitting on my couch and logging countless hours of football watching. Today, the two best teams in football square off for immortality and a permanent place in NFL history.

Ok, so the "two best teams" piece can be debated, but the rest is pretty much spot on. Before this season started, the 49ers were my pick to win it all. They had the most impressive wide receiving and running back squad in the NFL, they returned a phenomenal defense, and Alex Smith was showing signs of becoming a franchise quarterback. Fast forward to today ... toss out the facts that Brandon Jacobs was a bust and Alex Smith took a back seat to a dynamic young hot shot, and I still think the 49ers are the best team in football.

That brings us to the Baltimore Ravens. I suppose they could be the second best team in football (especially since no other team was consistent enough all year to earn that title) but I still believe they'd be on the couch like me if Ray Lewis hadn't announced his retirement. But, Ray DID announce he was leaving and there is no doubt that Baltimore earned its trip to New Orleans. When you can go on the road in the playoffs to beat both Peyton Manning AND Tom Brady, you've already accomplished something special.

So that begs the question ... who wins today? So far this post season, the team with the most talent has had better luck than the team who wanted it more or who had the more prestigious coach. That hasn't held true for every game, but for the most part that's how we got here. Since the two coaches today are pretty much a wash (unless you root for the Niners or Ravens, you really couldn't tell the difference between the Harbaugh boys), I'm going with talent. And just like I said before the NFC Championship games, watch out for LaMichael James and Vernon Davis (who just happened to score the first 2 TD's for the Niners ...). Now, I don't think they will be quite as influential as they were against the Falcons, but both players have the potential to be difference makers. Today though, the hero is going to be Randy Moss ... just wait and see.

Official Prediction:
27-21 San Francisco 49ers over the Baltimore Ravens
MVP: Randy Moss

At the end of the day, I don't really care who wins. I want a good game, funny commercials, and lots of unhealthy food! Happy Super Bowl Sunday everybody!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Misc. Sports - A Very Odd Week

One of the beautiful things about sports that I love is how they can sometimes be unpredictable. The heavy underdog can upset the favorite, the unknown bench warmer can suddenly become the hero, and the last second finish can leave us all standing in awe. Sports can bring us hope, joy, excitement, and relief all in the same moment. And then you have weeks like this one when things just get weird.

Remember last week when we found out that Manti Te'o's girlfriend didn't actually exist? And we all thought it was a weird and crazy twist to the Te'o saga? Well, it got even more absurd this week. Early in the week we come to find out that Manti's fake girlfriend was actually a guy. The same guy who made up the story to begin with. Apparently he's got crazy good vocal training. And the next day ... just kidding, it wasn't actually him, it was his female cousin! Or was it? Maybe it was both of them ... or it could have been 3 people according to some stories. This whole situation just keeps getting more and more convoluted to the point where I have no idea which way is up and which is down. Does anyone actually know what happened here? At this point I'm left with two possible conclusions:

- Manti was in on the hoax the entire time and his group just keeps making up pieces to the story hoping it will fit together and people will believe that he's innocent.
- Manti is one gullible son of a gun who not only can't decipher whether or not a person is real, but apparently he also can't tell the difference between a dude and a girl.

Either way, I really don't see how this can help the long-term image and career of Manti Te'o. I'm sure we'll find out more information as we move forward, but don't be surprised if it turns out Manti is actually a very sophisticated hologram that was engineered by a group of alien farmers living on the North Pole of Pluto. Which isn't a planet ... sad ...

This wasn't the only crazy story of the week. Enter the Miami Hurricanes. Here's the backstory ... 2 years ago it was revealed that a Miami booster named Nevin Shapiro had been providing improper benefits to Miami football players since the late 1990's. Supposedly. Of course the NCAA needed to get involved and do a full scale investigation to determine the severity of the transgressions. Along the way Miami self-imposed bowl sanctions each of the last 2 years including removing themselves from the ACC title game this season ... all in the hopes that the NCAA would go easier on them when the investigation was over.

Finally this week the NCAA was set to unveil it's findings and subsequent punishment for "The U" ... we'll ignore the fact that it took 2 years to complete an investigation of one man. Anyway, what do we find out? We find out that the investigative team of the NCAA actually broke it's own rules while completing the investigation and there is now an investigation of the investigation team. You following me here? The NCAA has now hired an external party to help complete the review of Miami to decide what punishments actually need to be handed down based on what crimes were actually committed.

If this sounds like a joke ... I wish it were. The NCAA has once again proven it's complete ineptitude to be an effective governing body of collegiate sports. In the last year alone they have made a complete mockery of the Miami case, overstepped their boundary in a legal matter involving Penn State University, and admitted on other occasions to screwing up investigations involving individual athletes. Now, I'm not suggesting that the NCAA doesn't have a place in college sports ... they absolutely do. However, I am saying that it might be time for a change in leadership and direction before the member schools start jumping ship and anarchy returns. It sounds like a drastic measure, but I have a feeling that a mass departure from the NCAA isn't that far away if things continue the way they're going.

So if you take the 2 stories above, toss in the fact that the number one team in Men's College Basketball lost by 27 points this week, 6 of the top 19 in Men's College Basketball lost to unranked teams on Saturday alone, the Harbaugh brothers refuse to talk to each other before the Super Bowl, an entire round of the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open in California was lost due to fog, and Shaun White came in 5th place during a Winter X-Games Competition ... it's been a very bizarre 7 days in sports.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

- Fishy

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pro Football - NFL Conference Championship Recap

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons

Here's a riddle for all you sports fans ... What do you get when you combine a Pro Bowl Quarterback, a dynamic receiving core, and a head coach who doesn't have the balls to step on the throat of his opponent? Give up? You get the Atlanta Falcons sitting at home while the 49ers take their Super Bowl spot in New Orleans.

If you watched the game, you know what I'm talking about. For the second straight week, the Falcons built a huge 1st half lead (17-0 early in the 2nd quarter) and then found a way to squander it. Rather than stay aggressive and put the game away, Mike Smith went conservative and the "Dirty Birds" blew the advantage. And unlike last week, this time they couldn't recover. Once the damage was done, not even the magic of Matty Ice could save them in the end. Many Falcons fans would like to believe that the refs had something to do with the final outcome ... they didn't. Let's be very clear, the Falcons lost this game on their own.

A good friend of mine (you know who you are) told me today that Colin Kaepernick played like crap yesterday. Well, I whole-heartily disagree. In fact, I would say that Colin K was MORE impressive this week than last week. And why? Because this week, he DIDN'T run the ball. In short, he was brilliant. His passes were precise, his decision making was spot-on, and he played the hand that the Falcons dealt him. You can make any great athlete in a unique scheme look brilliant by tossing them in against a sub-par defense and letting them run around. But last night, Colin Kaepernick became a quarterback, and a darn good one if you ask me.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

In an earlier post, I predicted the Patriots would win this game because of brains, not because of talent. What I failed to realize is that John Harbaugh is a lot smarter than I thought he was.

Now don't get me wrong, the coaching call of the game was the 4th down conversion for the Patriots where Tom Brady pretended to call out signals to a wide receiver while the ball was being snapped to the running back. Brilliant play design! But that was the only brilliant thing the Patriots brought to the field last night. Their opponents were more talented athletes than they were, and they did absolutely nothing to compensate for it.

Whereas the Atlanta Falcons lost their playoff game, the Baltimore Ravens absolutely won theirs. By the time the final whistle blew, there was no doubt who the better team was. The Ravens played harder, faster, more physical, and most importantly, smarter than New England. Joe Flacco had the second half of his life and the Baltimore defense once again lived up to its reputation. Congratulations to Ray Lewis ... he gets to enjoy 2 more weeks of employment before hanging up his cleats for good.

- Fishy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pro Football - Conference Championship Predictions

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. Here's my projections for today's Conference Championship Games and the reasons behind them:

NFC Championship Game

San Francisco 49ers over the Atlanta Falcons.

Why: Simply put, the 49ers just have more talent. They were my pre-season pick to win the Super Bowl and I'm sticking with it. Watch out for LaMichael James and Vernon Davis, they could be the difference makers that put San Francisco on top.

Plus, I just enjoy rooting against the home team (sorry fellow Atlantans).

AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots over the Baltimore Ravens

Why: Even though I can't stand the Pats ... they're good. Real good. Baltimore has more talent, but the Patriots just know how to win on this level. Belichick and Brady will put together a game plan that allows New England to win and they will move on to New Orleans to avenge last year's loss to my New York Giants.

Sorry Ray, it's been a magical playoff run, but now it's time to ride off into the sunset.

- Fishy

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hockey - The Return of the NHL

After months of negotiating, news stories, arguing, fighting, debating, proposals, lockouts, changing schedules and anticipation ... FINALLY it is opening night for the NHL! And let me be the first person to say ...

Who cares?

I mean seriously, who cares ... other than the 25 people on my Facebook feed who seem to have unbelievable loyalty to the Boston Bruins or Washington Capitals? Side bar: How is it that a guy who's never lived north of Chapel Hill can possibly have so many friends who cheer for Washington and Boston? I don't get it.

Back to the original story. Tonight ends the second major work stoppage in the NHL in the last 5 years. And honestly, I'm surprised hockey is still breathing in the United States. While the sport continued to thrive in the rest of the world, nobody really seemed to notice in the US that it was even gone. Even ESPN essentially stopped talking about it because nobody was that interested in the return of the sport. How do I know? When was the last time you saw hockey (before this mess of course) on a major television network? I think NBC televised one or two games last season and I'm pretty sure the majority (if not all) of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were available exclusively on Versus.

Since hockey fans are a dying breed here in the States, I thought now would be a good time to recommend a few ways to boost the popularity of the sport. It certainly couldn't hurt. Here are 5 ways I think the NHL could increase it's viewership very quickly:

1. Double the size of the net. Americans love scoring ... a final score of 14-12 sounds a heck of a lot more exciting than 3-1.

2. Bring in the 30 heaviest sumo wrestlers Japan has to offer. Give them the largest pads a goalie can possibly wear and still be able to move. Have them lay down on their sides in front of the net. See what happens.

3. Get rid of offsides and icing. Open the game up a little more and let players have freedom on the ice. As I mentioned in #1 above, Americans love scoring, and this would certainly help.

4. Instead of penalizing a fight, reward it. Most hockey fans go crazy for the brawls so why not increase the frequency? In a fair one on one fight, the winning player is awarded a goal. Everybody is happy!

5. Stop playing indoors. I would be willing to bet that the Canadians don't learn their craft skating around a cozy air conditioned rink in the middle of Phoenix. They are out on a frozen pond in the middle of winter freezing their butts off. And you know what ... there's a reason they are so much better than us. If you want to authenticate the NHL a little more, try playing more than 1 game a season outdoors in the elements. If Tom Brady can play in the snow, so can these guys.

- Fishy

Friday, January 18, 2013

Golf - Nike's New Commercial

For everyone out there who saw the word "Golf" in the subject line of this post and still decided to keep reading, thank you! For anyone who decided to close out the window and turn on a re-run of Full House, you are about to miss 2 and a half minutes of glorious entertainment ...

Everybody and their mother (and my mother for that matter) has an opinion on Tiger Woods. Regardless of what (or who) Tiger has done over the last few years, he still manages to capture moments of greatness that even non-golf fans can appreciate.

Of course, I'm talking about commercials. We all remember this beauty from a few years back, right? Tiger Woods - Bouncing Ball Commercial

Well, this year Nike has once again managed to capture lightning in a bottle. For those of you over the age of 25, you probably recall a very popular series of McDonald's ads from the late 80's and early 90's featuring Michael Jordan in a trick-shot contest with Larry Bird. It was extremely popular at the time and Nike has now created their own version for 2013 ... Tiger vs. Rory.

Between bad press and an aging body, Nike has recognized that it must slowly move away from Tiger Woods as the face of Nike Golf. Enter Rory McIlroy. Rory is one of the most dominant players on the PGA Tour and is still young enough to have many years of success ahead of him. Not only that, but he's a good looking kid so the ladies swoon over him. Which brings us to the commercial. In this one minute masterpiece, Tiger and Rory go shot for shot in a classic battle of young vs old. Nike does a phenomenal job of playing off the building rivalry between the two stars and I believe this is going to be the passing of the torch into many years of Rory McIlroy on our television screens.

I don't want to give away too much, so have a look for yourself ... Tiger vs Rory 2013


- Fishy

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

College Football - Manti Te'o's Girlfriend

Finally, the day has come where I am ready to go public with my big news ... I am dating Manti Te'o's ex-girlfriend! I know it's hard to believe that a relatively unknown guy like myself can find true love with the ex of a Heisman Trophy candidate, but somehow, the stars aligned and we made it work!!!

Let me tell you all about her ... Her name is Lennay and she is one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever met. Well actually, we never met in person, because she lives across the ocean and we actually found each other online. She is smart, funny, caring, warm and pretty much everything I ever wanted in a life partner. I cannot imagine any girl ever touching me the way she has, it was love at first chat.

Wait ... what? What do you mean she died? Today? In September? Wait ... what? What do you mean she doesn't exist? You mean like, ever? I'm so confused ... we were destined for each other ...

If you didn't guess already, I'm making all of this up. Which may very well be what Manti Te'o did as well. If you aren't familiar with the story, Te'o became a national hero of sorts when we found out back in September that both his grandmother and girlfriend died within hours of each other. He was immediately embraced by the Notre Dame community, the college football community, and almost anyone who heard about his story. Well today, the Tide has Rolled (bonus points if you get the reference). As it turns out, Manti's girlfriend doesn't actually exist. Supposedly, this was the brain child of a scam artist who used to go to high school with Te'o. It was all a big joke, and Manti says he knew nothing about it.

For one of the few times since I've started watching sports, I'm absolutely baffled. I really have no idea what to think or which way to turn. My initial gut feeling tells me to believe Te'o and his claim that he had no knowledge of the scam and simply made a mistake with his heart. I want to believe that Manti is every bit as good of a guy as the media has made him out to be over the last few months and that he is the victim in a very cruel situation. But honestly, I just don't know. Everything about this story is so far fetched, so unexpected, that I can't help but feel there are more facts to come. Did Te'o know about the scam and play along to help boost his Heisman candidacy and public image? Or did he really fall in love, online, with a girl he's never met, who doesn't live anywhere close to him? It's not likely, but I'm also a romantic at heart and believe it can happen. If Ariel can grow legs and marry Prince Eric, Manti Te'o can fall in love online. Right?

My guess is we haven't heard the end of this story. It will make media headlines for the next week or two and nobody is really going to know, or believe, the truth about the situation. Then, things will simmer down a bit, we'll move on to the next great sports scandal, and everyone will more or less forget about this crazy situation. Until April that is. Why April? The NFL Draft. As we approach Draft Day, every NFL scout will be digging up as much dirt on Te'o as they can to try and judge his true character. Did he know about the scam? Was he clueless about the scam? Did grammy really die? Did Notre Dame really lose that badly to Alabama? It will all come out someway, somehow. Then, and only then, will we know the truth ...

I am dating Manti Te'o's ex-girlfriend.

- Fishy

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cycling - Lance Armstrong Took PED's

Before we get into details, I would like to make my stance very clear: I am GLAD that Lance Armstrong cheated!

There, I said it. Once your lower jaw returns to its upright and locked position, please continue reading.

As you may have heard, Oprah conducted an interview with Lance Armstrong yesterday in which he was candid about his history in cycling and allegations of PED use (performance enhancing drugs). While this interview won't air on television until Thursday and Friday (on Oprah's network of course), inside information has leaked that Lance did admit to cheating on his way to 7 Tour de France titles. This should come as no surprise since Armstrong has already been stripped of all 7 titles and given a lifetime ban in cycling for positive drug tests.

So then, you might be wondering why I'm happy about this. After all, steroids are a pressing issue in today's sports landscape and nobody likes a cheater. Well in this case, I do.

Lance Armstrong is a cancer survivor. Let me repeat that so it sinks in ... Lance Armstrong is a cancer survivor. That by itself is more impressive than any bike race he could compete in. So, after defeating cancer, Lance decides to continue his cycling career. Can you really blame a man who just fought a successful battle with cancer for trying to get a little extra competitive edge? It's tough enough to be competitive when you're healthy, but even more so after beating a potentially fatal disease. He cheats, he wins, and he becomes a hero because nobody knows the difference. And that's where it gets good.

Ever seen a "LIVESTRONG" bracelet? Unless you live in a Ugandan hut raising 5 children and a goat, my guess is yes. Lance Armstrong brought life to the movement to defeat cancer. Using the celebrity he earned from his Tour victories, Lance has raised millions and millions of dollars for cancer research through his foundation. He has potentially helped to save hundreds of thousands of lives with the money he helped raise and has been the face of cancer research for almost 10 years. The good that Lance Armstrong has brought the world is absolutely immeasurable and far surpasses the supposed "disgrace" that he brought to the already corrupt sport of cycling.

Let's take a look at some other notable cheaters from the world of sports. Jose Canseco admitted to using steroids to hit home runs. His greatest contribution to society: a book that slanders half the athletes in Major League baseball. Pete Rose was caught betting on baseball games (clearly against the rules) and banned from the Hall of Fame. His biggest contribution? He has a new reality show on TLC that follows him as he looks to marry a model. Way to go Charlie Hustle. And it's not just men. Remember Marion Jones? Decorated Olympian and discovered cheater. How has she given back?

The truth of the matter is, Lance Armstrong cheated and ultimately the world is a much better place because of it. While at first it bugged me that he took so long to come clean, I get it now. He had to wait. He knew the second the truth came out, all of the good he had done would be forgotten and the progress he made in cancer research halted. And guess what, he was right. The interview with Oprah hasn't even aired yet and already the internet and social media are filled with hate and disgust for Lance Armstrong. What a shame.

If Lance Armstrong had not cheated, I think it's fair to assume he never would have won the Tour de France even once, let alone 7 times. Had he not won the Tour, he would never have become the icon that he is. His story would have been a tiny footnote that nobody remembered. Who even knows how many other cancer survivors have competed, all because they didn't win? If Lance wasn't an icon there would be no LIVESTRONG, no bracelets, no foundation, and significantly fewer cancer survivors because the funding wasn't there. I'm not prepared to tell someone who has benefited from the money raised that they probably should have died because "cheating is wrong" in sports.

So yes, I am glad that Lance Armstrong cheated. And for the good of society, I hope you are too.