Friday, September 25, 2009

Fantasy Football "Warps" the NFL

Fantasy football has increased my interest in the NFL all while ruining the NFL for me. Does that sound like a paradox? Let me explain.

I have been a long time Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Charges fan and I loved rooting for my teams. All while growing up I liked watching my teams play as well as watching key matchups week to week. I had little interest in watching the meaningless games and I even paid little
attention to the highlights and even less attention to the stats. However, since I started playing fantasy football a few years ago my view of football has been ruined. I always say that fantasy football “warps” my view of football. Now, instead of just cheering for my teams, I find myself in scenarios where I’m cheering for my team to score but only if Antonio Gates scores because he is on my fantasy team and if Ladanian Tomlinson scores then I will lose my fantasy game. I guess I have personalized my fantasy team and have put more emphasis on me winning my game than my team winning its game. Sure, I’m happy if my teams win but I’m happier if my teams win AND I win my fantasy game.

I now have to pay attention to the meaningless teams like the Detroit Lions because I have a player playing for them or against them. Or maybe I should play a lesser player because he is playing against the Lions. I also want to know the stats for players of all games while I’m watching the key matchups, even the meaningless games. I pay attention to not only scores but who scored them and I have to follow injury reports before and after games so I know who to play on my fantasy team for the week. So, my overall interest in the NFL has increased because now I pay attention to the meaningless games as well as the marquee matchups.

The saving grace of the fantasy football league that I’m in is that my fantasy league ends before the actual NFL playoffs start. Therefore, if my teams can make it to the playoffs then I can cheer them on without a “warped” view of the game.

Has Fantasy sports given you a warped view of sports? Do you watch more football, basketball, baseball, because you play on a fantasy team?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sportsmanship Weekend

This past weekend in college football was named "Sportsmanship Weekend" and teams were asked to shake hands at mid field before the game. I thought that this would be a disaster because it is hard to manage so many people and make sure that nothing breaks out between teams that are ready to punish each other. I couldn't be more wrong. I even saw the likes of Miami (FL) and Florida State meet at mid field to shake hands. If they can do it without incident then I believe that any well coached teams can do it.

On a more personal note, I also deemed this weekend "Sportsmanship Weekend" in my own life. After all of the games were over on Saturday I went to the store to buy groceries. After loading the groceries in my trunk I started to take my cart to the cart drop-off in the empty parking lot and as I did I picked up several pieces of garbage and even put away a couple of extra carts. On Monday afternoon we decided to go to lunch with some of our family who had come into town. After getting ready, I looked all over the place and couldn't find my wallet. I retraced my steps in my mind and thought that I had left my wallet in the cart in the parking lot. We drove back to Wal-Mart and I asked the customer service manager if my wallet had been turned in. Sure enough, my wallet was there with all of my credit cards and cash in place. I asked if I could reward who turned it in and he told me that he didn't have any idea who turned it in. I ran out of the store so I could make it for lunch and I saw a lady trying to lift up a heavy cart (the kind with the car seat in it) that was laying down flat next to her car. I stopped, helped her pick it up, and took it to the cart drop-off for her.

I doubt the reason I found my wallet was because I had picked up garbage and put away extra carts but maybe Karma or Sportsmanship was looking out for me. Anyway, I would like to publicly thank all of you out there that have found and turned in things of value. Thank you!

Anyone have any similar stories they would like to share?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Glass Ceiling of College Football

I love this time of year. The weather starts to cool down, the leaves start to change color, and most importantly, football season is finally here. I like NFL football and I play fantasy football, but college football is my favorite sport in the world to follow. I think I’m more excited for this year than in years past with the three Heisman finalists all returning to action, top 25 match ups the first week and even a top 10 matchup the first week.

Tonight marks the first games of the year and tonight’s games have me excited like a kid in a candy store. I’m especially excited to watch the matchup between Oregon and Boise State at Boise. I’m excited because I typically cheer for the underdog non-BCS qualifying conferences because I played for one of those teams and it is fun to see the “big boys” get beat. With that being said, I have to give props to Oregon for actually scheduling a home and home series with one of the better non-BCS qualifying teams in the country. Most automatically qualifying teams schedule a powder puff for their openers and IF they schedule one of the teams like Boise State, they usually only agree to do it if they get home games. Boise State is starting the season ranked #14 and if they win they should move up. If you look at the rest of Boise State’s schedule, they should be favored to win the rest of their games and they could end up in the National Championship game right? As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”

I believe there is a glass ceiling in college football for all of the non-qualifying conferences and there isn’t much anyone can do to get past it. The University of Utah went undefeated last year beating BCS automatic qualifying teams like Michigan and Oregon State and even beat two other teams in the Mountain West that ended up ranked in the top 15 in the final BCS poll and they weren’t even considered for the National Championship game. Many of the voters for the all important Harris Poll, that is a crucial factor in the BCS, admitted to the fact that they hadn’t even seen Utah play. Hence, it was a shock to the world when Utah showed up to the Sugar Bowl and dominated an Alabama team that had been ranked #1 for a large portion of the season.

It is extremely hard to go undefeated in football no matter what the competition is. Even what many consider as the greatest NFL team of all time, the ’85 Bears, didn’t go undefeated. Many analysts and sports writes say that the conference schedule is too easy for the non-qualifying conferences and even if Boise State beats Oregon, they would be expected to blow out all of the teams in their conference because they are lesser teams. What the writers and analysts never
point out is that the conference games are usually more difficult no matter what conference you play in because the conference coaches play each other year in and year out and have a better feel for what the opposing team would like to do. I’ll give you the fact that the WAC or the Mountain West or Conference USA isn’t as good top to bottom as the SEC, Big 12 etc. However, conference games, no matter what conference, are more difficult because of the knowledge of the coaching staffs that prepare for the conference teams year in and year out. Therefore,
those games shouldn’t be discredited just because they aren’t blowout wins but they often do and the non-qualifying conferences pay for it in the rankings.

I don’t think the current BCS will put a non-qualifying team into the National Championship game because they are scrutinized at another level and penalized too greatly for their conference. Even if BYU were to beat #3 Oklahoma to start the year and go on beat Tulane, and
Florida State they would be penalized in the polls each week that they didn’t blow out a conference foe and they would eventually hit the glass ceiling that exists in college football. I’m not saying that these teams can’t play in the BCS, that has already been proven. I’m saying they can’t make it to the National Championship game.

What do you think? Is there a glass ceiling in college football? Could Boise State, TCU, BYU, or Utah ever get past the glass ceiling that exists and play for a National Chamionship?