The Route Less Run – An Appreciation of Alternative Fantasy Football Rules

Written by :
Published on : September 3, 2016

 

In terms of being a football nut, I haven’t actually been playing fantasy all that long: only the last five seasons or so. I can’t really remember why I decided to jump in when I hadn’t before, but I’m sure it was something as simple and uninspiring as getting an invitation to join a league run by a friend. “Why not?”

 

It was pretty apparent from the get-go that I was hooked, but it wasn’t until the end of the first season or the beginning of the second season that the league I was so dedicated to, and eager to come back to each year, was very different from the leagues my other friends and coworkers were playing in and talking about.

 

As time has gone on, it’s only become more apparent just how far off the reservation this league’s rules are, and how much fun it is to play against this dedicated collection of lunatics, psychotic geniuses, and unhealthy obsessives like myself.

 

The league at a glance:

 

– Draft type: Auction with $1,000 worth of funny money

– General: PPR Scoring / IDP

– Positions: QB – RB – RB/WR flex – WR – WR/TE flex – TE – LB – DL – DB

– Bench: Four slots

– Roughly sixteen members per season

 

So it’s an auction league with PPR, which is a little unusual, but what really stands out is the use of actual defensive players instead of a team defense. I sat down with my friend, who for purposes of this story we will call “Professor Evin” to get some of his thoughts on alt fantasy options and his league:

 

professorevin

 

“I began Fantasy Football in 2006 and I was in two leagues. One Yahoo and one ESPN. The Yahoo league was begun by a friend of a friend and had a good number of people I knew personally, but the league was as standard as standard could be. There might not have even been a flex position. The ESPN league was by many measures, the polar opposite: PPR, IDP, league dues, home team advantage etc. From the beginning, I remember finding the ESPN league more fun, but that fun was limited because I didn’t really know the guys I was playing with.

 

When I began Members Only Goal Football Club in 2009, I wanted to combine the fun of the ESPN league with a group of owners who knew each other and enjoyed the playful competitiveness of fantasy football.  This was especially important because looking back, I had just become a father, a large number of my close friends lived far away, and I wanted something as fun and intimate as when we were all living closer to each other.”

 

“My first experience with it was identical to that of many people’s with auction. It was long, confusing, with a significant learning curve, but it was undeniably exciting. The auction draft allows for the human element in a way that snake drafts don’t. You enter a snake draft with your rankings. When it’s your turn to draft you take the next player available on your list. While you enter an auction draft with rankings, the team you end up drafting can be wildly different. You find yourself drafting players you never thought you would because they are undervalued and you can get them at a discount. Similarly, if you are too committed to your pre-draft rankings you can risk your whole team because you overpay for a player, cutting into the money your budgeted other positions.”

 

American football field

 

“As far as the rules of our league, they are definitely unconventional, but as fantasy becomes more popular I can’t believe that they are rare. Roster wise IDP and no Kickers are definitely less popular than team defense, and kickers. No one really enjoys picking kickers, if they are on a team, they are usually cut every week, and often their points feel arbitrary. The spirit behind the IDP is to have owners, put more thought into their roster than simply “this is a good defense.” The league is full of good IDPs and if you were doing team Ds you would just be drafting that team for that one player (JJ Watt).

 

IDP gives you more ways to tweak your team week-to-week. But in a way that is more thoughtful than, ‘pick up the D playing the worst team.’ One big weird thing about our league is we have two flex positions RB/WR and TE/WR, as two TE formations become more popular in the NFL it was a way of reflecting that in the league. And finally, I think we value pass TDs equal to rush TDs, which is unique, but I think important considering over the last five years (and before) RBs are less reliable in fantasy and the NFL is a lot more pass happy.”

 

“I think that email I sent about the balance between competitive fun and dickish behavior speaks to the challenges of being in the league and finding new owners. Like I said in that email, at its heart this is just a way for friends to connect over distances. Because of that, when friends decide they don’t want to do the league anymore, it’s a little heartbreaking. Sometimes they give reasons, sometimes they don’t. If they do, it might be because they are busy or don’t have the money, but in the back of my head, I always feel like it’s because they didn’t have fun. I take it more personally than I should but I do my best to run the league like you might host a party, doing my best to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves. I think that’s probably why I do the weekly updates. One of the big challenges with losing and keeping owners is that the league is large. Part of the competitive spirit of the league comes from the fact that is has 16 teams, we could easily run a season at 12 or 14, but I do my best to keep it at 16. But it can be hard to find new owners to keep it there.”

 

Thanks to my buddy, the professor, for answering some questions and for running such a fun league.

 

 


Durant decision screws up fantasy draft strategies

Written by :
Published on : August 6, 2016

 

 

If you pay attention to the NBA in the slightest, then you’d know that the biggest free agent name since LeBron James in 2010 has chosen to take his talents to Oakland, CA.

 

Kevin Durant, the 8-time All-Star, has moved from Oklahoma. His decision conjured up plenty of reactions from fans, analysts, active players and retired players. While some reactions were supportive, others expressed the very opposite.

 


Aside from the beautiful basketball we’ll be tuning in to watch from our couches and some from actual arenas, there may be a slight obstacle frequent fantasy basketball team owners may have to face. With “super-teams” already having a mixed reputation, it doesn’t look to get any better in the fantasy basketball community.

 

The Golden Sate Warriors finished the 2015-16 regular season off with a mind-blowing best regular season record in NBA history of 73 wins and only 9 losses. It included Stephen Curry leading the way with 30 points a night, Klay Thompson‘s 22 and Draymond Green doing pretty much everything else in-between. We saw head coach Steve Kerr and staff maximize the production across the roster. Now, with the signing of Kevin Durant not only do you have a super-team, but a potential dynasty, assuming Durant opts out and signs long-term.

 

Durant

 

On the other hand, with so much fire power from all angles, you may have to reconsider who you take with your first-round draft pick because of the expectation that players like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and perhaps even Kevin Durant’s production may decrease the longer the foursome stays together.

 

Although, nothing’s set in stone and predictions in early August are anything but accurate, it’s best to stay on the safe side and at least explore some other options if you’re entering a competitive fantasy basketball season. That being said, enjoy the Rio Olympics.

 

Go USA!

 

 


World rejoices as Skip Bayless says he is leaving ESPN

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Published on : April 29, 2016

 

ESPN’s resident loudmouth moron, Skip Bayless, has announced that he will be leaving the network once his contract expires in August. This joyous news comes a day after that very sad news that Mike Tirico will also be leaving ESPN. The loss of Tirico hurts, especially to fans of Monday Night Football, but the Bayless departure definitely seems like addition by subtraction for the network.

 

Skip is the most recent in a long line of onscreen personalities that have departed the worldwide leader in sports. They’ve also lost Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd and the intolerant schmuck, Curt Schilling. But Bayless is the only one I’m truly happy about. His opinions have been so ludicrous for so long that it’s getting pretty tired. Let’s take a quick look at some of his Twitter posts as evidence of his high level of clown-ery

 

 

If I was in charge at ESPN, I would be eternally grateful for the departure of someone with so little knowledge of sports. I mean seriously, what the hell is this dudes deal? And if his ridiculously off base sports tweets weren’t enough, he’s also been known to make some pretty tasteless jokes. Like this gem right here:

 

Apparently he also thinks that domestic violence is just hilarious. Good to know. Rumor has it that he’ll be moving to Fox Sports. May the Lord have mercy on their viewers. Maybe I’m being too hard on ol’ Skipper. Let’s see what some other people think about his departure from ESPN.  

 

 

So it doesn’t look like the masses are exactly up in arms about the whole thing. The only sad part is that now Stephen A. Smith isn’t going to have anyone to yell at. And that’s a shame because without an outlet for his aggression, his brain will probably explode. You know what? We should probably just ship Stephen A. off with Skip too. It’s only right.

 

Let’s all be thankful that Skip Bayless is gone and hope that he decides to take a nice, long vacation before he returns to the world of sports broadcasting.

 

 


Going Down in a Blaze (of Glory?): The Johnny Manziel Story

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Published on : April 23, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Heisman Trophy winner.

 

First round draft pick.

 

A complete waste of opportunity.

 

I decided against saying talent when describing Johnny Manziel. Over the course of the past two years, I have had several emotions regarding Manziel.

 

First, I thought “give the kid a break.” When he was at Texas A&M, he was investigated by the NCAA for signing and selling memorabilia. He was also arrested for fighting and producing a fake ID. Being young, dumb, and arrested around the same age as he was at the time, I figured it was all a little overblown. I rationalized that Manziel just needed to mature and I was empathetic to his troubles. Most young men mature at their own pace. Clearly, he would grow up one day, right?

 

 Johnny goes to Coachella.

 

Wrong! As Charlie Murphy once said in reference to Rick James, Manziel is a “habitual line stepper.”

 

Shortly after he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he allegedly was snorting cocaine in Las Vegas. Then came the domestic violence accusations after he and his girlfriend were stopped by police in Ohio. At this juncture, I started to pity Manziel. He had to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. Only a man that was addicted to drugs could continue to make a mess of a NFL career. I figured once he had the opportunity to start he would take the job seriously and there would be no time for his off-field activities.

 

Wrong! Once again, habitual line stepper.

 

Manziel got the opportunity to start a few games his rookie season and was terrible. He also had the chance to win the starting job his second season but decided to party during the team’s bye week. To make matters worse, Manziel lied about partying. Stating that the video evidence that surfaced was from an earlier date. The music that was played in the video, Future “March Madness”, was recently released at the time; not months before as Manziel told the team. At this point, I knew the writing was on the wall. Manziel was going to be released and the humiliation of being cut would help him resurrect his career.

 

 

Habitual line stepper.

 

He did eventually get cut by the team and is currently unsigned. Manziel has continued his partying since being cut by the Browns. Two agents have left him due to his unwillingness to seek help for possible drug addiction. Therefore, even if a team was interested, he does not have representation. He also lost his endorsement deal with Nike earlier this week. What a train wreck.

 

My feelings toward Johnny Football is that I no longer care about anything regarding him. I’ve come to the conclusion that he knows he will fail in the NFL. He does not have any initiative to resurrect his career. He is excelling at the one thing he knows he can do well, partying. The time has passed where we think of Manziel as a kid that will mature and we should just let nature run its course. The drinking and possibly drug use is perhaps his way of coping with the disappointment of a failed NFL career. His parents have pleaded for someone to help. Ironically, both his parents were bartenders when they met each other. You would think that they would know firsthand what alcohol abuse could do to a person. Yet, it seems as if they’re waiting for some divine intervention to save Johnny before age 24.

 

 Manziel seems as lost in life as he was on the field in the NFL.

 

The media has a hand in this as well. Every thing that he does becomes sports fodder. Manziel stopped being relevant in sports long ago. With every news story that is published, it only adds to his rep. Clubs will always welcome him with open arms because somehow they will be mentioned and it will be the easy promotion for their establishment. ESPN has done more damage than good for several athletes that should not be relevant (Tim Tebow), but I guess that’s just what they do.

 

It is the time that everyone let Manziel go. The sooner we stop talking about him the sooner we can forget about him and move on to football players who matter.

 

 


Baseball, Obama, and why I think the visit to Cuba matters

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Published on : March 23, 2016

 

As you know by now, President Barack Obama and his family made a historic trip to Cuba earlier this week. It was the first time in 88 years that a sitting U.S. president set foot on Cuban soil, and it has been met with mixed feelings by those here in the United States. Most people in the U.S. don’t have the personal connection that some of us of Cuban decent have with this whole issue. So by and large, they view this as a good thing. And I understand that. It’s a situation that they don’t fully understand and for them it’s just a forbidden fruit 90 miles from the shore of Key West. But for those of us whose families had to fight and struggle to escape the island, the opinions on the trip are varied and most of them are not positive.

 

Dan Le Batard is an ESPN personality and sports writer for the Miami Herald, and his family is from Cuba. He resides in South Florida and like most people of Cuban decent in that area of the country, he has a strong sense of pride in his heritage and staunch anti-Castro feelings. He raised some valid questions regarding the Obama visit to Cuba and what the potential positive impact of an exhibition match between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team can possibly be. You can view the video here:

 

 

As someone who grew up hearing about the horrors of the Castro-led revolution and grave injustices brought down upon those who did not adhere to the dogma of the communist dictatorship, I can sympathize deeply with what Dan is talking about. But where he has trouble seeing what the positive impact can be, I can see the benefits.

 

I agree that the President of Cuba, Raul Castro and his brother, Fidel, committed many crimes during their 57 years in power. And I by no means condone the imprisonment of political dissidents and silencing of opposition that goes on to this very day. But the fact of the matter is the Cold War is over and for more than a half a century we have isolated the nation, with no benefit to the Cuban exile community or the people still on the island. If anything, our policy of isolation has given the regime in Cuba a scapegoat for the country’s problems that has helped them pull the wool over the eyes of Cuban citizens and perpetuate the system of intolerance and party-led corruption.

 

 

The loudest voices in Miami have always stated that any business between ourselves and Cuba would only help to prop up the regime by putting more money in their pockets. They have said that lifting the embargo and normalizing relations would give legitimacy to the communist government and further entrench their position over the Cuban people. But I ask, could the communist government really be any more entrenched than it already is? The embargo has done nothing but hurt the citizens of Cuba and make the pickings so slim that only high ranking party officials are able to enjoy simple pleasures. Aside from North Korea, Cuba is really the only communist nation to withstand the fall of the Soviet Union and our sanctions and chastising has done nothing to change that. I feel that the best bet for real democratic change on the island comes from the type of of cultural exchanges that we saw with the exhibition baseball match.

 

Before the revolution, Cuba and the United States had very strong ties. We are neighbors after all. Hell, baseball is both of our national pastimes. But it has been so long that people on both sides don’t really know much about each other anymore. I believe that by normalizing relations and lifting the economic embargo, we have the opportunity to show the Cuban people a different way of life that they haven’t known for a very long time. Once they meet more Americans, they will have a chance to see that democracy and capitalism aren’t necessarily the evil drain on society that they have been taught. They can see that there is a way for their brand of socialism to co-exist and perhaps even thrive along side free elections and a more open, sensible economy. President Obama’s trip has already yielded an agreement for Google to expand internet connection and wifi in Cuba, and if the Arab Spring taught us anything, it’s that the internet can help people band together to overthrow a dictatorship.

 

 

As Cuba becomes more connected to the outside world, it’s people can decide for themselves what the best way forward is. I know the exile community is bitter about all that was lost when they were forced to leave. Their businesses, their homes, their families. I feel for them, my family lost a lot too. But we can’t live in the past any longer. It’s time to reconnect with the place that is so close but seems so far away. And I think this baseball game, with Obama and Castro sitting next to each other enjoying something that so many of us, Cuban and American alike, enjoy is the first step in a long process. Baseball can help reunite the American people with those of Cuba, and as we restore our old friendship, we can help show Cubans a new way. But it has to be done together.

 

I will be going to Cuba for my first time next month. It will be the first time my mother has set foot in her homeland in more than 30 years. It will be hard, and emotional, and wonderful. Hopefully, it will be the first of many trips to the land of my ancestors and while I’m there, you can bet I’ll be trying to see some pelota and experience the game I love in a land I love so much but have yet behold with my own eyes and ears. Stay tuned…

 

 


ESPN Airs “Fantastic Lies” Documenting The Duke Lacrosse Case

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Published on : March 17, 2016

 

Sunday night, ESPN aired “Fantastic Lies” which documented the infamous Duke Lacrosse rape case and the controversy surrounding it. First, let me say that it was that it was probably the best ESPN 30 for 30 I’ve ever watched. Given its sensitive subject matter, I’m surprised that ESPN even decided to produce it but I’m so glad that they did.

 

Growing up playing lacrosse and being a (former) DII lacrosse player, this a story I’m very familiar with. Ten years ago, when this story broke, lacrosse was even more of a niche sport than it is now. When people thought of lacrosse, they thought of an affluent, preppy white kid from New England who went to boarding school.

 

Here’s some reference:

 

 

And that was very much the case back then. So college lacrosse players, who most of the general public viewed as spoiled white kids from rich areas, didn’t have the best rep going into the scandal. Obviously, when the media got wind of this, everyone lost their minds. In the eyes of the public (and professors at Duke) the whole team was guilty.

 

Given today’s society, this would’ve been 10x worse if it had happened now. The scary thing is most people don’t even know what happened. I guarantee if you asked 10 people if they knew about this case all 10 would say yes. If you asked those same 10 people if they were proven innocent or guilty, I bet the majority would say guilty. That’s the sad part. People were so quick to condemn these kids because of who they were and where they came from. The accusations stuck in our minds, not the facts.

 

I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty of the case, I’ll leave that job to ESPN because they do an excellent job of telling it.

 

For anyone who is familiar with this case or not, this is a real must-watch. I’m sure ESPN will air it again sometime this week, so be sure to watch.

 

Duke lacrosse has done a good job of putting this whole situation behind them and moving on to big things like this:

 

DukeLacrosse1

 

And like this:

 

DukeLacrosse2

 

 

 


And Justice for Andrews

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Published on : March 9, 2016

 

 

On Monday, a jury awarded $55 million dollars in damages to sports reporter, Erin Andrews, over some illegally captured footage of her naked body. The nearly five minute video went viral back in 2009.

 

For those who don’t remember, here’s what happened: in September 2008, sideline reporter Andrews checked into the Nashville Marriott while on assignment for ESPN. She was followed to the hotel by Michael Barrett, an insurance salesman and serial stalker from Illinois. Barrett secured the room next to Andrews and tampered with her peephole while she was away. Later he used a cell phone to film Andrews while she was naked inside her room.

 

Barrett tried to sell the footage to several media outlets, including TMZ, who all told him to get lost. In 2009, he was arrested by the FBI after uploading the video to the Internet. Barrett was then convicted of interstate stalking and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

 

 The face of a scumbag.

 

During the trial, Andrews gave emotional testimony about how she was treated after the video went live. Most pundits referred to it as a “publicity stunt” and wondered if she had posted it herself. The FBI wouldn’t get involved until she publicly said it was an invasion of her privacy. And ESPN was so concerned about the backlash that her bosses forced her to give a clarifying on-camera interview before she was allowed to return to work. She eventually went on Oprah.

 

Andrews sought $75 million dollars in damages from her stalker and the hotel, whose staff gave away crucial information without her consent. For example, Barrett learned that Andrews was staying there simply by asking the front desk. And they honored his request to be placed in the room next door without consulting her.

 

 

Defense attorneys for the hotel tried to argue that they were not culpable. In fact, they tried to imply that the exposure had actually helped Andrews’ career by elevating her celebrity. And if that sounds like bullshit, that’s because it is. Diverting credit for Andrews’ success away from her hard work and towards some creepy pervert who violated her is ridiculous. That’s like saying the only reason we remember JFK is because he was assassinated. It’s sexist at best, atrocious for real. Luckily the jury didn’t buy that shit and ordered the hotel to pay 49% of the damages. Barrett is responsible for the other 51%, or roughly $28 million dollars.

 

The battle might be over, but the war continues. Andrews claims that she’s reminded of this video on a daily basis, and by fans at every sports game she attends. That’s fucking low. She has every right to put this behind her, but the Internet is a horrible place that never forgets anything. It’s bad enough being constantly reminded of things you’ve willingly posted in the past (looking at you, Facebook) but never being able to escape one of the most horrifying moments of your life is a total nightmare. When you think about it like that, maybe $55 million dollars isn’t enough. But it’s a good fucking start.

 

 


ESPN’s First Take Needs a Fresh Start

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Published on : December 1, 2015

 

 

A few years ago, I all but abandoned casual music radio. As much as I loved to hear Lil Wayne mumble through a 4 minute song or Drake sing me to sleep during rush hour traffic, I had to change my radio preferences. I decided that I would listen to what I love the most, Sports. Now, I listen to at least one hour daily of sports radio during my commutes to work, dropping off the kids to school, or just tuning the wife out from a conversation about her daily gossip (sorry babe!). Sports radio has become my drug of choice.

 

At one point, ESPN’s flagship show First Take was my addiction. When co-antagonists Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith would go at it I would sit for the entire two hours collecting topics for my friends and I to debate. The original show Cold Pizza would feature Bayless sparring against numerous opponents. It showcased Bayless’s wit and candor. Every so often, a young Smith would make an appearance and give Bayless a formidable opponent. Smith, at the time, was extremely hungry and knee deep in gathering intel on the prominent athletes. They soon became quite the team.

 

They’ve made a great team but it might be time to move on.

 

As the years have gone by, so has the chemistry of Bayless and Smith. The show, for a lack of better words, is boring. I believe they fail to captivate the late morning sports fans because the show wildly inconsistent and mundane. Smith has become a top ESPN celebrity and rarely appears on set with Bayless. Even though Bayless is the original torchbearer, Smith has become just as important. Now he is often at a remote location or someone has to fill in for him. Include the fact that Bayless has become so predictable with his stances and segways and we can tell that it’s just not working.

 

The moderator, Cari Champion had a very rough start to begin her tenure with ‘First Take’. She seemed out of place and uncomfortable with the boisterous Bayless and arrogant Smith. and her development seemed hindered by their theatrics. Sometimes she could not interject effectively to move the show from topic to topic. When she did try to speak her mind early on, she was often talked over by the guys. Champion left the show in July and there were many people, including myself, that were extremely happy she escaped that situation to land at a better role with SportsCenter. Now Molly Qerim is left the fend for herself as Champion’s replacement.

 

The 10am to 12pm EST time slot is prime real estate on ESPN, and right now it’s being wasted. There needs to be a serious shake up of the ‘First Take’ team. Here are my top 3 candidates to replace one or more of the members of the show.

 

Moderator: Kate Fagan

Co-Hosts: Ryen Russillo and Bomani Jones

Russillo would thrive on First Take

 

Kate as a moderator is great because she seems to have an unbiased view, but once her teeth sink in, she goes for blood. Russillo had a great run working alongside Scott Van Pelt. They never had a debate type of format but when they did disagree neither backed down. Russillo does have his own show with Danny Kanell and while the two get along great, I think he would do well debating.

 

Jones’ work on Highly Questionable with Dan LeBatard, as well as his show The Right Time, has given him the experience needed to make the adjustment to the debate forum. His Twitter activity is beyond hilarious, as he trolls followers daily. I think Bomani would excel at debating, as well as shedding light on social and racial issues like Smith has done in the past. This pairing would take some time for fans to adjust to but would be a great team.

 

Moderator: Prim Siripipat

Co-Hosts: Michael Smith and Dan LeBatard

Prim would make a great moderator.

 

I first heard of Siripipat this past April shortly after the Spain and Prim show debuted on ESPN radio. The show featured an all female cast and crew. The content of the show was informative and well structured. Siripipat would be a great moderator because she is gorgeous and has serious sports intellect.

 

LeBatard has taken over he radio slot that was once occupied by former ESPN employee Colin Cowherd. He and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner have a rather eccentric show that covers movies, music, and pop culture. Somehow he intertwines sports into his material but to the dismay of his listeners, it’s not enough. He has daily poll questions that range from “Does Stan Van Gundy look like a guy that eats a dozen donuts and then asks for a refund because there wasn’t enough creme in the middle?” to ” Is Dwight Howard a crybaby?” It makes for an interesting show as many of his callers accuse him of race baiting. Nonetheless, LeBatard is curiously entertaining and would present a polar opposite look to the tailored Michael Smith.

 

Michael Smith has been on the ESPN staff for quite sometime. He once was an insider in the same mold as Adam Schefter before transitioning to a television personality. He has honed his skills and you can see his maturation. Smith has a calm demeanor and is concise with his thoughts. I think that LeBatard’s antagonistic undertone would incite the rather nonchalant Smith and would create some great moments.

 

Moderator: Ryan Clark

Co-Hosts: Skip Bayless and various guests

A rotating stable of co-hosts would keep Skip on his toes.

 

To break up the female moderator dynamic, I believe Clark would make a great addition. He has appeared on the show numerous times and seems to be a favorite of Smith and Bayless. Clark definitely has more work to do as an analyst as he is only a year removed from being an active NFL player. He is a little more politically correct than is necessary but he wouldn’t need to be as opinionated as a moderator.

 

Skip Bayless didn’t make Stephen A. Smith a star, but Smith would even credit Bayless for pushing him into national prominence. Now Smith seems to have outgrown their show. The mutual respect between the two men is there but now they often sound feigned. If Bayless had different guests appear on the show he would not fall into a lull like when he speaks to Smith about LeBron James or the Dallas Cowboys. Bayless needs to be attacked verbally and intellectually daily to refrain from being redundant. His debates with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and former NFL player Chad Ochocinco (Johnson) are some of the best you will ever see.

 

Bayless often criticizes the heart and dedication of athletes. It would be great to see some of the players he has ridiculed have the platform to air their grievances to Bayless and attempt to outwit him. This format would also allow Smith to make guest appearances instead of juggling between ESPN NBA lead man and First Take co-host.

 

 

 


For Michigan State, it’s College Football Playoff or Bust

Written by :
Published on : September 19, 2015

 

The college football world took a much anticipated trip to the great state of Michigan last weekend. ESPN decided to broadcast SportsCenter live from Ann Arbor for Jim Harbaugh’s home coaching debut at his alma mater. Since Harbaugh took the job this past winter, much of the attention in college football has been focused towards Michigan as they try to revitalize one of the most glorified programs in the history of college football. While most believe Harbaugh is the perfect coach to get the job done in Ann Arbor, Michigan no longer has the fortune of only having to look South to find their big competition. There is a potential bigger threat some 60 miles Northwest—yes the once thought “Little Brother” has grown up in East Lansing, and he goes by the name Sparty.

 

Sparty himself.

 

Following the SportsCenter broadcast last Saturday, ESPN’s College Gameday kicked off its show live from East Lansing, as Michigan State vs Oregon was the featured game of the week. Part two in a scheduled home-and-home series between these two teams was again expected to have College Football Playoff implications and both teams are expected to compete for a championship in their respective conferences. Last year in Eugene, Michigan State surprised many by hanging with, and in fact leading, Oregon through three quarters of the game. That was before eventual Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the high powered Duck offense began to dominate a tired Michigan State defense on their way to a 19-point victory.

 

Oregon would go on to lose in the NCAA Championship game vs Ohio State, while Michigan State would end their season with a Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor in one of the greatest games of the 2014 season. Heading into the 2014 season, Spartans coach, Mark Dantonio, certainly had his eyes on the inaugural playoff, and while there was no doubt some disappointment when they didn’t make it, it was far from a failed season. Especially when you consider that the only two losses the Spartans had were against the two teams competing for the National Championship.

 

The team celebrates the Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor to close out last season.

 

The bar has been raised in East Lansing significantly. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has won eleven or more games in four of the past five years. They have dominated the in-state rivalry against Michigan, winning six of the last seven. They’ve also appeared in two conference championship games (winning one), and have turned what used to be known as a “basketball school” into a strong, well-rounded athletic program.

 

Heading into this season, Michigan State came in ranked 5th in the nation, and again have their eyes on the playoff and some higher expectations, but first focused on some familiar faces that stand in their way. Having both Oregon and Ohio State on the schedule again, Michigan State knew a win against at least one of those opponents would be necessary if their dreams would eventually come to fruition. On Saturday, the Spartans helped their playoff chances by beating the Ducks and bumping themselves up one spot, to #4 in the polls. I think if Michigan State were to have finished the season 11-1 last season, they would have made the College Football Playoff, and that if they finish with that record this year, they will make the playoff.

 

They’ve already beaten the Ducks, but there’s work to be done yet.

 

Outside of Ohio State, there doesn’t seem to be any clear-cut favorite or obvious choices to win any of the Power 5 conferences like in past years. For that reason, I don’t expect many teams to finish undefeated, if any. In recent years, Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all seemed like shoe-ins for their conference. This year, all three may not even get to their conference championship games because there seems to be a lot more parity, and I think it’s a good thing. I think Ohio State goes undefeated, and potentially a team like TCU or Baylor could as well, (they play each other at the end of November) but that could be it.

 

Ohio State is the only remaining ranked team the Spartans have to play as of right now. The Spartans do still have a couple potential trap games in Ann Arbor and at Nebraska but Michigan State should be undefeated (10-0) heading into Columbus on November 21st. Provided Michigan State can keep that game reasonably close, say within a couple of touchdowns, the “little brother” from East Lansing could be punching a ticket to the Playoff for the first time. With Oregon already out of the way, I think Michigan State needs to be playing in college football’s Final Four on New Year’s Day.

 

The prize that the Spartans have their eyes on.

 

The past few years, Dantonio and company haven’t gotten the attention and respect they probably deserve up in East Lansing. Often taking the backseat to Ohio State and hated rival Michigan, the Spartans always seem to fly a little bit under the radar but Dantonio pushes on, getting them closer to the pinnacle, slightly raising the bar each year while ensuring that the brand is strong. Conference champions, they’ve been there and done that. A Rose Bowl victory, been there too. New Year’s Six? Yup, did that last year. There’s one big step left, and the Spartans control their own destiny the rest of the way. It’s a funny thing about expectations, when you have them, it means your team is pretty good, but when you exceed them, it means you’ve done something great. The College Football Playoff, it’s all Michigan State has left, everything else Spartan fans have already seen.

 

 

 


The Future of Golf is in Great Hands with Jordan Spieth

Written by :
Published on : August 22, 2015

 

While many golf fans remain engrossed in watching the train wreck that has become Tiger Woods’ career, most of us have been fortunate to see the rest of the field perform in some very memorable tournaments this season. For the past few years, it has been inevitable that Tiger’s reign was coming to an end, and Jack Nicklaus’ career major titles record appears safe yet again. That is unless Tiger can pull off a throwback Thursday for the ages by putting together four straight days of consistent golf. In the meantime the question has remained, who was going to capitalize on the opportunity to step into the spotlight, and thus have the torch passed down to them?

 

Tiger Woods

 

Golf, like most sports, needs a poster child or poster children, to snatch the attention of American viewers. During Tiger’s run of dominance, fans first fell in love with the young Master’s Champion. He quickly began to break all kinds of records, and appeared destined to become the greatest golfer ever. Over time, fans tuned in simply to watch Tiger, and golf’s ratings reached its pinnacle. Others began to grow tiresome of Woods, and watched simply to root against him but either way, golf’s ratings skyrocketed. Over the last few years, the ratings gradually began to fall, only to rise a bit when the media would lead you to believe Tiger was back with a new and improved swing, great health, a fresh mentality, a new coach, a new caddy, etc. Now seven years removed from his last major win, we aren’t fooled anymore, and golf fans are yearning for a new champion like devout Catholics awaiting the white smoke announcing a new pope.

 

Rory McIlroy has been a top candidate who appeared poised to take over the golf world, and still remains a contender every tournament, however a torn ligament while enjoying some soccer with friends kept him off the links for the past month or so. American Dustin Johnson cruises out of the gate every tournament lately like a September Heisman hopeful. He leaves his opponents in the dust trail of his mammoth 300+ yard drives only to have his Happy Gilmore like short game cause him to fizzle come the third or fourth rounds. So who will step up to the tee box and be the new face of golf? A 22-year old from Texas named Jordan Spieth.

 

Jordan Spieth

 

This past weekend Jordan Spieth became the #1 player in the world, and he didn’t even win. By finishing second in the PGA Championship to Aussie Jason Day, who also appears ready for stardom, Spieth finished the 2015 major season with an incredible run. Spieth won two majors, finished fourth at the British Open, and then finished second on Sunday. By finishing in the top-four at all major tournaments in one year, Spieth joined exclusive company by being just the third player since 1958 to reach such a feat.

 

While many will say it may be a bit early to compare Spieth to Tiger, Spieth is having one hell of a start on the tour. He tied Tiger’s record at Augusta by shooting 18-under for the tournament, and became the second youngest player to win the Master’s. A year prior, he finished second in his Master’s debut. Only Tiger has reached a #1 world ranking at a younger age than Spieth and by winning the US Open last month, Spieth became the youngest US Open champ since Bobby Jones in 1923.

 

Bobby Jones

 

Already, Spieth seems to have the expectations from fans that Tiger had. Heading into a tournament, both Spieth and the fans seem to know he’ll be in contention come Sunday, and are almost shocked if somehow he isn’t. There haven’t been too many times this season where he hasn’t been near the top of the leader board and I would expect in the upcoming PGA Playoffs, he will be up there again.

 

Tiger Woods currently sits ranked 286th in the world, he has missed the cut at three consecutive majors, and his days of competing for big tournaments are likely over; and that’s ok. He took the golf world by storm for over a decade. Simply shake his hand, thank him for all that he did, and wish him well. But in the mean time, turn all of the attention, yes ALL of the attention (talking to you ESPN) to the new bright star, the new future of golf, Jordan Spieth.

 

 


An Open Letter to Bill Simmons

Written by :
Published on : July 23, 2015

 

Dear Bill,

 

It bums us out that you haven’t returned our calls or texts but that’s ok, we know you’re a busy man. We could have made such beautiful music together if you had just given us a chance. We could have built something special. You had the chance to get in on the ground floor here at ScoreBoredSports, and you acted like we didn’t even exist.

 

Sure, we couldn’t offer you the money or exposure or infrastructure that HBO did. Not yet at least. But we could have built it together; you could have been running this place. Any artistic license you wanted, you would have had. Just name it. Say whatever you want about whomever you want. Hell, we do.

 

Instead you took the easy road; the road with all of the money and the cable TV network. Of course you would go with the big boys because you’ve got big things to say and you need an even bigger stage to get that message out there. ESPN better watch their back, because Billy is coming for ‘em.

 

Anyways, we just wanted to say that we’re sorry that you didn’t take our twitter offer to come work here seriously but we still got your back, and hope you come to your senses eventually and join us here at SBS. But until then, give ‘em hell and keep fighting the good fight. Don’t let Goodell and the NFL back you down like they do to ESPN.

 

Tell that shit like it is and don’t apologize for speaking the truth. That’s what we love about you and it’s the reason that 30 for 30 and Grantland were so damned good. Those two institutions will surely suffer in your absence, but we look forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve at HBO in the coming years. If you ever want to talk we’re here.

 

Sincerely,

ScoreBoredSports

 

 

This letter is satire. Mostly…


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