Hello, people. I’ve been banding about fifty half-baked ideas and writing for the past few weeks, and felt that returning to this format would be a good way to clear my head of at least some of these demons. I used to write a column called the Friday Night Pimpslap, and I’m going to continue this here, new name, same crap. Since this is going to be new to some of you, I’m going to start off with a bit of my fan history, then get into the topics of the week. Don’t expect award-winning writing — just expect award-winning thoughts, OK? This is a clearing house for me… and if I get Zach to look over these, he’d really be looking for mushrooms on his bike ride home.
ITEM I: Fandom
Shall we begin with college basketball? OK. I grew up in North Carolina — and at the time there were few, if any, Duke fans during my formative years. You either were a UNC fan or a State fan. There was no middle ground — and unless you were an alumnus, there were no Demon Deacon stickers. So how did I pick what team to root for? Easy… my brother was, and is, a State fan. Tada! I became a Tarheel. I will admit, I think I’ve received the better end of that deal over the years. I will admit, unlike most people, I hope Duke goes 26-4 every year — of course losing to UNC all four times. I remember the days of UNC being the only legit contender, and it makes for bad basketball. So I pull for all the ACC teams after Carolina. *(Next week, I’ll go over my college football fandom.)
ITEM II: March “Mad”-ness
Speaking of basketball, how about that “national title” game? Holy crap. I had to TiVo that mess and I’m scared I might have offended my DVR. People can claim good defense, and on some of it that might be true, but about 80% of that game was just cruddy play. I bet EVERY coach watching that game was thinking the same thing: “Where was this when we played them?” U-CON played like the 9th best team in the Big East, and Butler played like a Mid-Major is SUPPOSED to play. I’ll be honest with you, I’m having a HARD time giving a crap about March Madness. I watched only a half of UNC/WASH and the last 5 minutes of Duke/Michigan — and th
at only because I was waiting on my wife at the casino and it was on at the bar. But before you start… 1) I’m a UNC fan, and they are still alive. I got up for the 3 UNC/Duke games, but not this March. 2) I’m a ACC hack, and there are three teams in the Sweet 16. Plus I will root for Duke against anyone but Carolina. 3) I loves me some NBA Draft, and March Madness has always been prepwork for this armchair draft expert. Notice I didn’t say anything about my bracket.
I might be the only person in the United States who can find where Bulter and VCU play on a map who isn’t tweeting constant updates on how I’m doing. I did pretty well, actually. Problem is, I don’t have any online — I wanted to wait until the BS round was over before putting in my picks, since I was going to take Clemson to win the round of 64 (which they did) but not their opponents. It was kind of meaningless to the big picture — but hell, I Iost the writers’ bracket we always put together by ONE point last year. So since I had no online bracket to brag on, I have to keep it up the old-fashioned way — with a pen and a USA Today. Has that hurt my Madness? I think so. It’s hard to give a crap when I picked Pitt to lose in the round of 32 and Pitino to lose in round 1, when I can’t prove it. I had UConn in the Final Four — but no bragging rights here. It’s like everyone talking about Avatar — even though I saw Pocahontas (which is the same story) I missed out. I put the bigger blame on the NCAA and ESPN. The problem is the quality of games stink. Way too many teams are like video games now, iso plays and three-ball. It’s dull. It’s almost monotone. Dribble dribble shoot board run dunk. Dribble shoot. Lather rinse repeat. I think even marginal teams from ten years ago could walk through this tournament. And don’t give me that tired argument that the NBA has all the talent. Corliss Williamson was the only guy to have more than a cup of coffee in the NBA and his 93-94 Razorback team would kill any squad in this Final Four. Combine these four teams and I’ll still give the Razorbacks a shot here. The coaches are still there — Roy, Self, K, none of them have forgotten how to coach. Rick Barnes is still losing a round before he should, and Pitt is still losing early as well. But while ESPN is still plugging away about the greatness of March, I just don’t see it. The play is watered down. There’s just too much three-ball. And even though guards have always ruled March, these past few years we have watched as power forwards have started jacking 3s and not following the misses. It makes for sloppy ball. It stuns me that the NCAA wants to cram as many teams as they can in their basketball tournament — but won’t expand the ONE sport 99% of fans, media and players WANT THEM TO CHANGE.
ITEM III: NFL
OK, that’s enough about basketball. Let’s move onto football. Here are my NFL thoughts of the week. I don’t want Cam Newton. Period. I’ll even take either of the the DTs from Alabama/Auburn or even A.J. Green over Cam. Here is the bottom line if we don’t take him.
Worst-case scenario for the Panthers: We get another year of crappy QBing, we go 3-13 in one of the hardest divisions in the NFL, and take a top 3 pick into a DEEPER QB class — hopefully with a rookie salary cap. Plus Patrick Peterson blows his lower leg off getting off the plane in training camp and we get an injury settlement on the cap.
Best-case scenario: Matt Moore returns to the form that led Carolina to a 5-1 record and/or Jimmy becomes the QB we all thought he was going to become as he was headed into his final year at Notre Dame. Patrick Peterson completes year 1 of a decade long career as Champ 2.0
As a Carolina fan, I can live with the worst… and the best-case scenario is feasible. Patrick Peterson is not going to be a bust, period. I know I have a record of projecting busts that only Hugh Hefner can touch. But PP is going to play in the NFL for a decade and — at worst — make four Pro Bowls. At WORST. I have watched this kid a TON. Being married to a HUGE LSU fan, this is the first guy that is a first-round pick that I have said, “I want this guy on my team.” The only other one was LaFell… and I wanted him in Round 2 at best. I did think Quinn Early was worth a 3rd rounder, but still.
ITEM IV: NBA
The NBA playoffs are starting. Teams I’m most interested at looking at?
- Oklahoma City and Portland in the West.
- Chicago in the East.
Durant is a star, and I want to see if they can be legit contenders. I have seen Chicago five times this year, and they never seemed like a contender — let alone a favorite. But the one team I REALLY want to see is Portland. Not only because they have LaMarcus — who blossomed into a STUD this year after teetering between “lazy” and “bust” for a while — but for Gerald Wallace. I have said for YEARS he was the second-best SF in the NBA, and the best defensive one. Durant has since passed him, but to think this guy is probably the third-best at what he does in the ENTIRE NBA and he was traded for a backup center?! F* you Jordan. Anyway. Imagine if Roy can give you what he did his second year. Imagine Oden gives you what Noah gives Chicago — plus 2.5 bpg. What does that do to the NBA? Even if Wallace’s rebounds drop to 8rpg is there any team really going to crash the boards better than LaMarcus, Greg and Camby?
Zuffa presents Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley. I got Gilbert, Mousasi, and Nick Diaz — all winning EASILY. Next!
I’m going to start something a little new this time around, I’m going to attempt to have a weekly interview segment. My first guest is fellow writer Dan Vachalek, Wisconsite and Packers stockholder. Having just got his drivers license at 16. He’s kind of an interesting generational sounding board for me, since I got him by 20 years.
1. OK, a space alien just landed. Explain to him/her/it the attraction of baseball, and why he shouldn’t wipe it off the face of the earth.
Baseball, while some consider it boring, has so much history and so much behind it. To truly like baseball, you need to have an understanding of the game first. Once you get an understanding of the game, and know the history, you’re going to be in better shape for watching it and starting to love the game. Baseball is America’s Pastime, and that’s the way that it is going to stay for a long time. No reason to wipe a complete sport that most people love off of the face of the earth. Just watching each game, there is something new to watch and something new to see. What’s so great about baseball to me is that I have a good understanding of the game, and I like to dig deeper into the game when I’m watching. I like to scout out the players that are playing, and look at weaknesses/strengths they have.
2. You are the commish for one act. You can do anything you want. What ONE act do you do?
I would choose to be the commish for the MLB. The one and only thing that I would do with the sport would be to institute a salary cap. Why? Well, if you just look at the payrolls of the teams, you’ll see that the Yankees have a payroll of over $200 million, while the Pirates have a payroll that is hovering around $60 million and most likely under that. If you want the MLB to give all teams a chance to win, it does need a salary cap. The main reason, is that a lot of teams just don’t have the ability to bring in money like other teams do due to the market that they are in and the attendance that they draw. If they aren’t a good team, they aren’t bringing in many fans and they aren’t making much money from that. Ticket sales, merchandise sales, etc is what makes the cash for the teams as well as revenue sharing.
3. Rank the Packers winning the Super Bowl in greatest days of your life.
I would probably put the Packers winning the Super Bowl as the greatest day in my life, just because I’m only 16 years old and haven’t really lived too long yet to get to have a lot of great days and because I can’t remember when I was little and watching the Packers win the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots back in the late 1990s. I also can’t remember the day of my birth, which would be the greatest day of my life. But from memory, the Packers winning the Super Bowl in 2011 would be the greatest day in my life, followed by getting my driver’s license on April 5th, 2011.
4. You are alone, walking out of a McDonalds, and Brett Favre, also alone, walks in. What do you do?
Run him over with my car.
5. you are driving your car. You are rear-ended by a limo with George Soros, The president of China and the king of Saudi Arabia and thier 3 male “freinds”. To shut you up, they offer to buy you one of your hometown teams: (The Bucks, Brewers, Packers or the incoming freshmen class of the Badgers) Who do you take? (And no DQing the Packers)
I`m taking the Brewers. I would pick the Brewers because baseball is my favorite sport and my dream is to one day own the Milwaukee Brewers. I would probably end up making myself general manager and just running the team myself. That would be awesome. I would like nothing more than that and my life would be complete if I owned the Brewers and was able to run the team to my liking.
6. You are 16. When I was 16, the NBA was Magic vs Larry and some dude in Chicago trying to get past the pistons, and the heights of Marino, Elway,Montana, and Barry Sanders.
what are your thoughts on the 80s and just missing that “era?”
Well, I wish that I was in that era to be able to see the basketball stars and the greatness that was then, but I would rather be in this era than that era . . .
7. Do you think baseball can regain it’s place as “America’s pasttime”?
It still is America’s pasttime!
8. Where do you see baseball in 20 years?
I see a sport with a new “greatest player of all-time in Pujols and I see a sport not having to deal with any steroid scandal as well as having a salary cap instituted throughout the league, with a floor as well.
9. Will Hockey ever be more than a distant 4th sport?
I think Hockey is actually to end up passing basketball soon, actually. Hockey is just missing a a big TV deal, and I think they get one when the Versus contract is up.
10. With sports like MMA and XGames being so heavily marketed to your age group, plus the “established” sports; what do you see your generation watching in 20 years?
I honestly see some completely different sporting event being shown. Maybe cliff diving is a professional sport in 20 years. Who knows?
Bonus Question: Being in Wisconsin, how much cheese have you eaten today? (Round to nearest Metric Ton)
I had 3 slices of Cheddar Cheese on my sub for dinner and had 1 string cheese.
Well, that does it for this week, See you in 7 days, and If you have comments, please leave them below.