Utah Fans Claim Big 12 Not A BCS Conference

Is the Big 12 even any good? Is this picture too big?

As rumors swirl about a potential merger between BYU and the Big 12, Utah fans are now claiming that The Big 12 is actually not even a BCS conference.

“It’s a sham!” says self-appointed Crimson Club spokesman and Salt Lake resident Matt Garrity. “I mean, the Big 12 has no credibility anymore. They’re not even a BCS conference. BYU sucks.”

Where does this rumor come from? Despite Garrity’s (and other Utah fans’) assertions, it appears that the Big 12 is still affiliated with the BCS. It also appears that BYU will very likely be announcing their membership in the conference in the coming days, according to multiple sources.

However, Jonathan Hanson, a Cottonwood Heights resident and Utah fan since 1993, is adamant that the announcement is of little importance since the Big 12 is so bad. “Who cares what they’re announcing; the Big 12 isn’t a BCS conference—they’re horrible ….I mean, what has BYU done since Detmer won the Heisman? Nothing.”

When asked to clarify, Hanson said, “Well …are Big 12 teams even research schools? ‘Cause if they’re not … I mean ….Look, two words for you: 54-10. Or how about 34-31?  Just get away from me!”

It is still unclear where this allegation stems from, but Utah fans remain certain of it. So much so that Tyler Dicks, an entrepreneur in Draper, has made good business out of it. He owns an online sticker company, and his most popular sticker makes fun of both BYU and the Big 12.

“It’s bizarre,” says Dicks. “For months our best seller was a red ‘Utah/Pac 12’ sticker. This past week we decided to make some ‘Big 12/BYU’ stickers in case the rumors are true, but our intern accidentally printed them ‘Big 12/YBU.’” Dicks laughed and continued, “He took a picture of his mistake, put it on Facebook, and within the hour we started getting requests by the boatload from Utah fans. Is it boatload or buttload? I never remember.”

Brock O’Connor, a Crimson Club member who proudly claims he’s poured beer on at least two dozen BYU fans offers a unique perspective on conference affiliation. “Disregard any ‘BYU to the Big 12’ rumors. Conference affiliations don’t matter, anyway. Beating your rival matters. Not that BYU is even Utah’s rival anymore, ‘cause they’re not. We’re in the Pac [freaking] 12, we’ve moved on. Big 12 Schmig 12. And if I want a beer, I’m going to drink a beer. It’s a free country, you stupid zoobies!”

Josh Soni, a diehard Utah fan out of Murray is certain that history will confirm that the Big 12 isn’t a legitimate BCS conference, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. “Listen, the last time they even won a national championship was way back in 2006, when Texas beat a USC team that we all know was cheating. So you can’t count that.”

When we pointed out that that very same USC team was the last Pac 10 team to win a title Soni replied, “Yeah, but everyone cheats; the NCAA is so stupid ….BYU is overrated every [freaking] year!”

Again, where are these rumors about the Big 12 coming from? Nobody knows for sure. But Shawn Allen, a Utah alum and editor of the popular Utah football blog “Max Hall Hates My Mom,” is convinced the official announcement that the Big 12 isn’t a BCS conference will come within the week.

“Any day now,” Allen explains. “My sources say the Big 12 is out. It’s over. I mean, BYU beat a super weak Michigan team in the ’84 Holiday Bowl. You can’t honestly say they were the national champions. Come on.”

As of this posting neither rumor has been confirmed.

***

Bryson Kearl likes to make fake news.  Go here to find out how to see him perform stand up on October 22.

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Posted in College Football | 7 Comments

Why You Should And Shouldn’t Root For The Sox/Rays

(Editor’s note: The following is an actual email correspondence between two of our writers)

Hey James,

Can you please explain to me why people want the Rays to take the Wild Card spot from the Red Sox? The Rays can’t even fill their seats during this stretch run. Do their fans really deserve another playoff run (let alone a team)? What am I missing here?

Bryson

****

Dear Red Sox Fan Bryson,

If you were not aware, the Red Sox are the new Yankees. When the Red Sox were bad, stuck in their “we haven’t won a world series in 300 years” and “everything goes against us” period, the average baseball fan couldn’t build up enough derision to dislike them. Times have changed. They’ve won a couple of series. And now, there are more Red Sox fans than ever, and plenty in any city in America. And their payroll? It’s in Yankee territory. So, the question is not why America would root for Tampa, but why they would instead for Boston.

However, if I had to come up with a reason for people rooting for Tampa, a group to which I belong, I would guess it has to with the religious undertones when the team dropped “Devil” from the nickname a few years ago and finally began to prosper. They are like the prodigal sons of the modern sports landscape.

Sincerely,

James

****

Dear Stereotyper James,

That’s not fair. The Red Sox were left with little choice but to compete with the Yankees, and that unfortunately meant they had to spend some money. I mean, they were given two options: The Yankees route and the Rays route. The Rays route comprised of sucking for years, compiling early draft picks, and then cashing in. I call it Welfare Baseball. That can work for teams like Tampa Bay (and the Marlins), but Boston has fans that will come to the game year in and year out. I mean, it’s not their fault they can afford to spend with the Yankees. Even though they still spend a less than the Yankees.

All this winning surely can’t be good for the Rays. Look at the Marlins. They won it all after cashing in their welfare checks, and then when they refused to pay their players, went back into suckapalooza. So their fans stopped coming. A few years later they cashed in again, won another title, and then went back to suckapalooza. Meanwhile, good honest teams, like your A’s were stuck in mediocrity. Is that really fair? Do you really want to support such behavior?

Regarding your pseudo religious reason for cheering for the Rays, I won’t disrespect your beliefs. Even though they’re stupid.

Bryson

****

Athiest Bryson,

Just because the Red Sox were “forced” to go that route does not mean I have to root for it. Would I have done the same thing if I ran the Red Sox? Obviously, but that does not mean I like it. Do I get pleasure seeing the big boys fail? Of course I do. Do I enjoy asking myself questions? The answer is: yes. I like underdogs. I root for people on welfare. When the Rays ($41 mil payroll) can compete with the Red Sox ($162 mil), I smile.

There is a larger question here: does spending bring wins and thus fans —or— does winning bring fans which then bring the revenues to spend? I don’t care enough about that question to answer it though.

But since you bring up the Marlins… there are probably worse things than being a Marlins fan. They have existed less than 20 years and have won two world series titles. Compare that to the Cubs, who do spend money and have, well…. we all know how to finish that sentence. In baseball, the draft is such an inexact science, I really don’t think tanking is rewarded, but I do think drafting well is rewarded, which is why some small-market teams are perennially bad (Royals, Pirates) others are up and down (Rays, Marlins) and some are usually pretty decent (A’s, Twins). Am I bothered by teams like the Marlins? No. However, I do feel bad for people living in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, and not just for the baseball they have to watch.

— James

****

Dear Hater-of-all-things-Middle-America Littlejohn,

I would argue that being a Marlins fan is the worst of all. Where are you, “Marlins Fans”? Go to the game, prove you’re a fan. See, that’s the big issue for me. I don’t just root for teams, I root for fans. Certain teams have better fans, and those fans often influence which team I feel deserves to win. For example, I started rooting for the Sox in 1999 when I first learned that they had such devoted fans despite their inability to overcome the “curse.” Plus, I couldn’t stand the Yankees and their fans.

Which brings us back to the Rays. Their fans stink. They have this team which, by your standards, is super rad, and yet they continue to leave them unsupported. How ridiculous are they? I remember when the Braves started to have a hard time filling seats for big/playoff games. But that was after they had gone to the playoffs for like ten straight years (losing agonizingly every time but once). What is the Rays fans’ excuse?

Conclusion: Don’t root for the Rays. Unless they go all the way and change their name to Jesus Fish. Then all bets are off. Go Sox.

Heart,

Bryson

****

Bryson,

I believe you are confusing the size of the fan base with the quality. Every team in every sport, whether large or small-market, has fair-weather fans. If every person who professed to be a Yankees fan went to one game every three seasons, the Yankees would still sell-out all their games. With the Rays, it is not so. If every Rays fan went to three games every year, they still wouldn’t sell out. The Rays fans could be nine times more into their team than Yankees fans, and it would still not appear to be the case. So, basically, you dislike the team because there are a large number of people in that region that are apparently uninterested in baseball? If that’s what makes sense to you…

— James

PS — if fan quality is what matters, switch your NBA allegiances from the Jazz (whose idiotic fan base is only surpassed by Lakers) and start rooting for the Warriors or Knicks, who have a long history of atrocious performance and fantastic attendance.

****

James,

Do you mind explaining the “quality” that Rays fans supposedly possess? People in Florida like baseball less than people elsewhere? I doubt people there like the game less than people in, say Seattle, or Denver. And what’s more qualitative than at least showing up for big games? Sure, maybe an April game against the Blue Jays won’t sell out, but September games against the Sox and Yankees? Really? Besides, an inability to sell tickets is a pretty good reason to believe that maybe you shouldn’t have a team …

And leave the Jazz out of this. Also, WHERE’S THE FOUL?!?! ARE YOU BLIND?!?!

Bryson

****

Bryson,

The quality is self-evident. Rays play in a bad stadium, have no history and in their first ten seasons, their BEST record was 70-91. The quality is in the 15,000 fans they still averaged during said period. But I don’t think the Rays have better fans or even average fans, they don’t… and the lack of quantity is equally self-evident; my point was they, as all teams, have some good fans and some bad fans and that I could care less — I don’t root for teams based on the fans.
In fact, let’s face it…. most fans are annoying… so maybe I prefer a team with fewer fans, and thus fewer annoying fans. Long live the Expos! Long live the Expos! Long live the Expos!

****

Brought to you by the Gmail inboxes of Bryson Kearl and James Littlejohn

Posted in Baseball | 2 Comments

Angriest Tennis Players — A Graph of Flaring Tempers

Ranking the Rage

In scaling volatility among pros, one must start with two names: John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. McEnroe is the epitome of anger. His tantrums are legendary and (because of modern technology that makes arguing calls obsolete) will never be topped. His long-time rival, Bjorn Borg, was the epitome of cool, and thus, no player can achieve a calmness score below him.
On the graph above, McEnroe and Borg are at opposite ends. The frequency of tantrums are represented by the size of the dots, while the overall explosiveness is represented by color, with red being the hottest. For the frequency and explosiveness of his tantrums, McEnroe is the standard bearer.
Marat Safin may hold the all-time record for most broken rackets. This Russian was once quite good. Even when he stopped being good, he kept on being angry. If you like broken rackets and bad music, you’ll enjoy this highlight reel:
Andy Roddick is the modern heir of American anger on the men’s side. While he can usually make it through a match without a freakout, when he does go off it can be quite memorable. Nobody is more condescending to chair umpires than Andy:
One of the most underrated tantrum throwers has to be Lleyton Hewitt. That dude’s got some rage. Thunder from down under if you will, minus the stripping. Hewitt once accused a Black linesman of favoring James Blake because he was Black, but he got mad at White linesmen too sometimes, as evidenced here:
Andy Murray is not particularly explosive, but he spends a considerable amount of time on the court pissed off. Sometimes he stews entire matches, mumbling and scowling, watch him give this ballboy an eff you:
Last, but certainly not least is Serena Williams. When she gets pissed, she tops the scales here, just absolutely loses it. Even John McEnroe can’t top this rage. Or in Serena’s words: “@#$%@#$@#$ up your @##$@#$%#$% you @#$@$%@#%$# little @##$23$%!!!!!!!!!!” Serena’s like anybody else, she puts her pants on one leg at a time… but once her pants are on, she threatens to kill linesmen.
****
James Littlejohn is the author of the The Pusher, which he does not hesitate to call the greatest tennis novel he has ever written.
Posted in Tennis | Leave a comment

BYU Will Always Be The Underdog: How Tecmo Super Bowl Explains Utah’s Dominance

(Editor’s note: Bryson Kearl is a diehard BYU fan, but as he was ramming his head into a New York hotel wall this past Saturday night, the following article came to him. It is a hard truth, but to him it is truth, nonetheless.)

I am really good at Tecmo Super Bowl. So good that I have won the Super Bowl in Tecmo with every single NFL team (in existence when the game was made). I have two advantages in the game. The first is experience. I have played thousands and thousands of games on Tecmo. The second advantage is that I am a human being. In other words, I am the Utah Utes of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Let me explain.

For those of you unaware, Tecmo Super Bowl is a football video game from the original Nintendo (NES). It was released in 1991, around the time when teams like the 49ers, Giants, Redskins, and Bills dominated the league. For me, TSB on NES is the GGEP (greatest gaming experience possible). That tells you both how much I love the game, and also how little gaming I’ve done in the last decade. (Note: Tecmo could be replaced with games like Madden for the sake of the following argument. I am using the example of Tecmo simply because it is my personal favorite.)

I used to play Tecmo for countless hours when I wasn’t in school, or when I was sick, or when the sun came up that day, etc. etc. I oftentimes played against friends or my brother, but more times than not, I played against the computer (CPU). I even had a friend who would come over to my house to watch me play the CPU for hours at a time. Occasionally I would turn to him and say, “Brian, are you sure you don’t want to play?” He always said no; I was that good. When I was a freshman in college I told someone how good I was and they told me they could beat me. He talked up a big game, and he even had the game ready in his apartment when we went straight there. By the time we kicked off I was legitimately nervous. I beat him by a score of something like 35-0.

The great thing about the CPU was that it never got sick of playing me. It never said, “I’m tired of this,” or “Let’s go do something else,” or “Wanna’ play Mario instead?” Accordingly, I developed a real rivalry with the CPU. There probably isn’t a single bad thing that a BYU or Utah fan has said to each other that I didn’t say to the CPU over the years of our rivalry. (And did I throw my controller from time and time and kick the Nintendo in disgust? You betcha’. But I always followed my tantrums by giving the NES a good blow.) But there is one thing I never called the CPU that this week I realized is an accurate thing to call it: BYU.

BYU is possibly the most unique school in the country. Obviously the honor code plays a big part in their uniqueness, but the fact that they try (and on occasion succeed) to compete in major sports like football despite the honor code is truly peculiar. Here they take athletes that could go to other schools and do virtually anything they want, and they convince them to come to Provo, UT and live what the outside world views a monastery lifestyle.

How do they pull this off? Well, for starters, they convince their athletes to—if I may steal a Mormon term—turn off the “natural man.” They teach them to maintain discipline in every aspect of their life. They attempt to turn their athletes into (what the outside world views as) something like a religious robot. Or, for the sake of my analogy, computers. The outside world views BYU as people who walk and talk in blind faith, almost as if they were programmed to do so. And in order to preserve a competitive sports program their teams kind of have to do that. Otherwise, they can’t play (read: Brandon Davies). True, some players frankly ignore the honor code, but only an outright hater would argue that the honor code doesn’t affect most players’ psyche.

It’s said that teams take on the character of their coach. Let’s look at an actual quote given by BYU’s football coach Bronco Mendenhall. As you read this ask yourself, “Does this sound like a football coach, or some sort of advanced robot, programmed to coach football?”

“We have a baseline established. Now there’s a clear reference point on truly where we are after working against someone else besides ourselves. It’s my job now, with this coaching staff, to diagnose exactly what the areas are that need improvement, the players that need improvement, the areas of game management that can be handled better.”

Thanks Bronco; couldn’t have said it better myself. If BYU athletes (and teams) are comparable to computers, this has never been as true as it is right now. And Bronco’s job security is far from in doubt, so it’s safe to assume the team will maintain this identity for the foreseeable future.

Enforcing and reinforcing discipline and focus, and diagnosing reference points and baselines works fine to a certain point, as evidenced by the success that Mendenhall has enjoyed to this point in his career. But clearly rivalry games are different from other games.

In Tecmo, the CPU clearly understands the game better than me. It clearly has skills I’m not even aware of, and it should certainly beat me more often than I beat it. And yet it almost never does. Why is that? Well, for starters, it is always conservative. To the extreme. It plays a certain, lifeless, yet calculated game with exactness regardless of the opponent or the conditions. It lacks the ability to match my hatred, determination, and blood lust that I clearly have for it. And how could it? It’s a computer. It simply lacks a killer’s instincts. And it can’t just all of a sudden acquire that instinct. It’s like the dork in Saving Private Ryan who knows both the English and German language with fluency, but doesn’t know the first thing about how to survive in a war when suddenly thrust into it. Book smarts—er—computer smarts are not street smarts. Football requires both.

Real life BYU players are not actually computers, true. But they come pretty darn close sometimes, or at least they put on that façade. They have to. And when you’re programmed one way for so long, and all of a sudden you’re facing somebody like Utah who has bloodlust at all times for you, it can cause you to freeze (yes, just like a computer). Sure you may appear to be amped and excited (and bloodlusty) on the outside, but inside you’re on unfamiliar grounds. We all saw that in the first drive of this past weekend’s game (and the second, and the third).

We also saw a complete lack of killer’s instincts the past two years (and in 2006) when BYU got ahead early. Rather than go for the kill, they played the numbers games like any computer would, all along not realizing that this was not a time for probabilities and conservatism. It was time to go for blood. The BYU football program trains computerized athlete missionaries, but rivalry football requires killers.

Utah gets that. When they get ahead on BYU, they don’t let off the gas. They jet into a higher gear and point the vehicle straight for Cosmo’s face. They simply aren’t constrained like BYU is. They are encouraged to let their instincts (their natural man) take over. To harness and manipulate the hyper-emotion that comes with a rivalry game. And as much as I hate to say this, they are very good at it. I know because I play the exact same way in Tecmo.

Anyone familiar with Tecmo can explain what it means when the CPU goes into “Hell no mode.” Hell no mode (HNM) is where the computers seems determined to beat you no matter what: Forcing multiple fumbles from you, all of a sudden becoming twice as fast as you (or going into “Bo Jackson speed”), calling your play five times in a row, and so forth. Sometimes the CPU is just too good.

Sometimes when the CPU goes into HNM, I can’t avoid losing. There are limits on how much my human advantage can do for me. And so it is with the BYU-Utah rivalry. Sometimes BYU is just too good for Utah to beat, regardless of the natural advantages Utah has in the game.

Quick, think of the last time BYU beat the Utes even though Utah was the favorite. Okay, what did you come up with? You probably couldn’t think of anything, could you? When BYU is better than Utah, they have a chance. When they are either even or Utah is better, Utah will win (and has won for two decades now). Just like in Tecmo.

The last time BYU blew out Utah was 1996. That year BYU went 14-1 (best record in the nation), and finished the season ranked #5 in the nation. The time before that was when Ty Detmer hailed as the singular most dominant QB in the nation. And before that BYU was always way better than Utah.

Here’s where the bad news comes for BYU fans. The bridge between BYU and Utah that once existed is gone. With Utah’s recent success, and with their Pac 12 residence, they are probably never going to be that much worse (or worse at all) than BYU. In other words, BYU may never blow out Utah again, but Utah is certainly in a position to repeat 54-10.

Utah’s program is built to beat BYU. The Utes put out a team of fast athletes, while BYU has talented, disciplined—yet rarely fast—players. If you’ve played Tecmo, you probably know all too well about Bo Jackson. The makers of Tecmo (partially accurately) made Bo Jackson way faster than everyone else on the field by a lot, giving anyone who picked the Raiders as their team a real advantage. Well, like in Tecmo, the speed issue causes real problems for BYU.

Add it all up and the future “Holy Wars” look bleak for BYU. With Utah’s emergence as a national power, the natural human advantages Utah has (that BYU desperately lacks), and Bo Jackson, BYU will always be an underdog against Utah under the current regime. BYU, like my dusty old NES, has seen its best days come and go. Sad, but true.

***

Bryson Kearl is a BYU alumnus. His favorite team to play with on Tecmo is the Buffalo Bills. Like his Cougars, the Bills have mastered the art of ripping their fans’ hearts out at the most inopportune times.

Posted in College Football | 10 Comments

BYU Vs. Utah – How To Insult Your Rival

Let's get classless!

I wrote a long article about the BYU-Utah game this week. It was a well-thought-out piece all about momentum, and what role it would (or wouldn’t) play in this week’s rivalry game. But it was garbage. Why? Because I was trying to make logical points about something that is entirely illogical. So I decided to scrap it in favor of something far more juvenile. After all, what does logic and maturity have to do with the BYU-Utah rivalry?

Here are five pot shots at both BYU and Utah fans, designed to illustrate how to insult  your rivals. See if you can tell which team I support without looking down at the end of the article. (Remember: These are not to be taken seriously. The minute you take this rivalry seriously is the minute you lose.)

Pot shots towards BYU fans:

  1. Hey dork, why is your T-shirt tucked in? I realize that may have been cool in 1984, but move on already. You seriously have got to let it go. I take that back, tucking in your T-shirt was never cool.
  2. And are you seriously wearing a braided belt? I’m guessing it has something to do with a time in your life when things were better. Let’s see here, braided belts were last acceptable (in some circles) back in the mid-90s …Oh, okay. I get it. The last time BYU blew out Utah was in 1996. Is that what this is about? You are so pathetic. And overrated. You are always overrated.
  3. Looking at you, I’m guessing you don’t get invited to many parties. That would probably explain why you didn’t get invited to the Pac 12. Kind of like you’ve never been invited to a BCS bowl. Also, you are not invited to my house to tell me all about your new MLM scam. Stop asking me to let you come over to “practice” your new sales pitch. I’m not interested. Creep.
  4. Truthfully, if I didn’t hate you so bad, I’d feel sorry for you. We’re playing USC, UCLA, and the rest of the PAC 12, and you’re in the WAC? That’s just sad. On the bright side, you always did fare well in the WAC.
  5. Zoobies suck. You think you’re better than everyone, when really you’re just a bunch a prissy, self-righteous, little dweebs without spines. Deal with it.

Pot shots towards Utah fans:

  1. Hey tough guy, we get it. Your Pac 12 T-shirt was enough for us to know you’re proud of your new conference. The hat, flag, bumper sticker, camper, cigarette lighter, and neck tattoo are a bit much, don’t you think? Seriously, how must the other teams in the conference feel? Don’t you think you’re coming on a little strong? If the Pac 12 were the movie Social Network, you’d definitely be the crazy Asian girlfriend.
  2. You’ll always be our annoying little brother. Actually, as I typed that last sentence I caught a picture of Jordan Wynn. Maybe I should say you’ll always be our little sister. Our bitter little sister with typical small girl throwing motion and ratty facial hair.
  3. It’s amazing you can be so cavalier with what you do with your beer. How can you afford to be pouring your beer on innocent BYU fans when you apparently can’t afford to hire a personal trainer to get rid of your extra 50 pounds, or a dentist to take care of your tobacco stains? And are you required to have a goatee? I don’t get it.
  4. Regardless of what happens this weekend, we’ll always have the time Jimmer knocked down a half courter in the Hunstman Center and stone-faced you into submission. Admit it, you like Jimmer. Just admit it.
  5. We have our honor code to differentiate us from the rest of the country. What do you have? Nothing. You’re just a boring, less likeable, less watchable version of Boise State. Deal with it.

 Now that we have that behind us, let us all move on to this weekend with a little dignity, and not put our feet in our mouths too often. May the best team win. Unless the best team is Utah.

***

Bryson Kearl grew up with a dad who is a Ute fan. His brothers were BYU fans like him until the mid-90s when they conventiently decided they like Utah (around the same time the Utes started winning). The example of his brothers helps to understand how Bryson perceives Utah fans. He loves them, but they’re full of crap.

Posted in College Football | Leave a comment

Five Fantasy Football Predictions

He just doesn't look right

(Editor’s note: The title says five predictions, but in order to make Marcus Webb happy, we added five more after first posting. Hope you enjoy the additional five, Marcus.)

It’s finally upon us. The wonderful sport that opens the door to the common fans’ wildest dreams, and gives each and every one of us a glimpse into the agony and ecstasy of sports on the biggest stage: fantasy football. 
  
Fantasy football is one of two things. It is either the most enjoyable fall time hobby ever, or it is the ultimate waste of time. You either love it, or you’re my wife. But since you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you love it. To you lovers of the great sport, I say this: Hold strong. Don’t let others look down on you for being true to fantasy football. They don’t understand, probably never will, and it doesn’t matter. Okay? Okay. (And by the way, yes it is a sport. I have pulled multiple muscles and nearly broken both of my knuckles watching my fantasy teams play. If it involves the word “football” and there are injuries, it’s a sport.)
 
Now here are my five predictions for the 2011 fantasy football season:
 

1.            In Week 1, Aaron Rodgers will have a massive fantasy game, but he won’t score as many points as Drew Brees. However, the Packers will come up with the win after the Saints fail to score from the one yard line at the end of regulation. (What?)

2.            There will be no Arian Foster in the 2011 season. Now, I’m not saying the actual Arian Foster won’t exist this year. Even if he dies, he’ll still exist (in our hearts). No, I’m saying there won’t be any players that come out of obscurity to be a top fantasy performer. Will there be some pleasant surprises, and starter-quality players who come out of nowhere? Absolutely, but no Arian Fosters. To quote Bill Simmons: Continuity.

3.            Peyton Hillis will disappoint. There are a few reasons to think he won’t live up to the hype he garnered after a solid first year inCleveland. Things like injury concerns, an emerging Colt McCoy, and perhaps most notably the Madden curse comes to mind. Those things are all useful points to back up my case, but my reasoning for thinking he’ll regress is far more simple than that: He looks weird. Am I right? The dude just doesn’t look like a fantasy football stud. (Look, in a sport as arbitrary and random as fantasy football, I can use his looks as proof he’ll stink.) In related news, Marshawn Lynch is straight up ugly.

4.            This year will mark the first time an NFL player will be caught throwing (as in unfairly manipulating) a play or game in favor of his own personal fantasy team. I’m not sure what the circumstances will be, but it will happen. Some possible candidates to star in this scandal: Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, Matt Hasselbeck, Reggie Bush, and anyone on the Carolina Panthers (including Cecil Newton).

5.            Jahvid Best’s entire body will self-destruct by Thanksgiving. His remaining organs will be donated to local hospitals. The doctors who transplant them into various patients will all agree the organs have tons of upside.

6.            Terrell Owens will be picked up by some desperate team by Week 4. What’s worse, some guy in your league will defile everyone (and everything) by picking him up off the waiver wire.

7.            Greg Jennings will be the first NFL player in history to miss a game for something called a “smile strain.” When reporters ask why he doesn’t just stop smiling, he will bust out a big grin. Confused fantasy owners will regrettably start Jennings anyway, assuming the whole thing is a joke. Man, that guy is so happy, right?

8.            Bored of watching his team lose game after game, Peyton Manning will start following Eli Manning around, giving him pointers (which he calls “Tennessee Tidbits”). Noticing his natural ability to coach especially slow players, the Giant’s ownership will offer Peyton the head coaching job. Peyton will initially accept, but upon seeing the contract offer, he will throw an audible, drop back and chuck his pen into the garbage. The national media will call it the best pen chuck of all time even though he actually threw it into the recycling bin. Eli’s fantasy numbers will still suck.

9.            By the end of the season, Tim Tebow’s stats will look like this: 15 Games, 5 Starts, 8 TD passes, 13 INT, 8 VTD (vulture touchdowns), 4 WUC (weird underwear commercials), and 45,765 BGA (Bible giveaways). (By the way, don’t bank on getting much from Knowshon Moreno this year. Between McGahee and Tebow, there’s a lot of touchdowns getting vultured this year)

10.        None of my predictions will have panned out by Week 8. I will get desperate and cut them in favor of some other predictions I pick up on the waiver wire. The next day, all of the predictions will be picked up by my archenemy blogger. Shortly afterwards they will all come true. (Side note: Fantasy Blogger sucks; don’t play it.)

Some additional predictions: Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant will be the #1 and #2 fantasy WRs this year. Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice will be the #1 and #2 fantasy RBs. Also, “Peyton Manning’s Neck” will be a popular fantasy team name. “Eli Manning’s Butt” will not.

***

Bryson Kearl is currently in five fantasy football leagues. He’s bound to blow it in all five. Also, he’d like to make a shout out to Tyler Richards for coming up with the best fantasy name he’s heard in a long time: “Cobra Kai.” Tyler, your team sucks this year, but your name has tons of upside.

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All In The Family

Five Familiar Steps to Help You Become a Professional Athlete:

1. Be Conceived Around Christmas*

The older you are in your grade, the bigger and better you will be early in your career against your peers. Most important, this will afford you more playing time and more opportunity to increase your skill.

*Time of year can depend on country/school schedules/cut-off dates, etc. So do your homework — this date suggests a September month cut-off, not unusual in the USA public school system

2. Have Older Brothers

Siblings are more valuable than coaches or trainers because unlike the latter, they are always there. The difference in size, and thus skill, challenges the younger siblings to get better faster.

3. Have Once-Athletic Parents Who Never Made It Big

If your parents were too good at sports, there’s a good chance your athletic journey will be too easy. If your parents were almost great, you likely will inherit both good genes and the intense desire to train like a mad person, making up for your parents’ shortcomings.

4. Come From a Lineage of Tall People, Fast People… or Be Black

Preferably all three. Obviously.

5. Come From a Family That Cannot Afford Recreation

It will be helpful if the only thing you can afford to do is play the sport you like. No going to the movies, or taking music lessons, or playing video games. This step does not apply to the expensive sports, such as golf, tennis, or fencing, for obvious reasons.

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James Littlejohn is not a professional athlete. He also did not meet any of these steps. jameslittlejohn.blogspot.com

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