Jay, love your online column and read everyday.
If I recall it correctly, did you think the spring football thing could work? And does the run of failures make you see any way this new USFL could flourish?
Thanks and keep up the great work sir.
I did think there could be a viable spring football market, especially for the original XFL, which appeared well-heeled and well-organized.
But they were not well-heeled enough and they went belly up.
I thought there would be way more interest in the spring FCS than there was. Whether that was the pandemic or newness or the indifference/unwillingness for a lot of programs such as UTC to compete in the spring and then play again in the fall is anyone's guess.
(Side note: The future of FCS football in my mind is murky at best. No TV deal. Expensive as heck for programs already on tightened and penny-pinching budgets. There will be fewer and fewer money game chances against the power players. Hard to see where expanded revenue will come from to be honest. That was one of the reasons I thought they should have made a strong push for a spring spot on the sporting calendar.)
I'm not sure this USFL has a chance to be honest, but I understand blaming the shortcomings of last year on the pandemic.
If the league wants to succeed in the spring, it has, Has, HAS to do three things sooner rather than later.
First, embrace every gambling app possible. In states that do not have legalized gambling, find free games viewers can play.
Two — or sub-set 1A if you prefer — embrace fantasy football in every possible way, and that includes the players.
Three, and this one may be the most important, set aside your biggest contracts for current college stars not eligible to enter the NFL draft and five-star high school players. Draft those kids — set a max number of rounds — and try to lure the kids who are opting out or just finishing their time in college because they have to.
Not sure about you, but if I'd watch Arch Manning throw to a Ja'Marr Chase for the New Orleans Breakers if that were to materialize.
Thanks for reading Travis and for the kind words.
From Matt H
Take that LeBron Lover. He's so overrated by A-kissing media dorks like you. He wouldn't even be all NBA in the 1980s.
You gonna be OK without your boyfriend in the playoffs?
Thanks for reading, and you may want to consider switching to decaf.
There's a lot to get to in this email that interests me, even if I would rather sit through an insurance seminar while getting a root canal than be the type of fan Matt is. Seriously, is there a team or player you hate so much that the most enjoyable fan experience you can think of is their failure rather than your team's success? If that happens to me as a sports fan, then I'm turning in my card. That's no way to live.
Where to start pulling back the layers on these Lakers and LeBron.
First, for clarity: Uh, Matt, LeBron's a top-five all-time player of all eras. He's going to be an All-NBA player in whichever decade you pick. He's a much more athletic, same-sized and better-shooting Magic Johnson. How is that not going to translate? And if you take a young LeBron, he was as good an athlete as MJ, as good a passer as Johnson and could defend all five positions. I'll ask again, how is that not going to translate.
But LeBron's place in history is the easy part of this conversation.
The Lakers — and accordingly LeBron's — place in the current NBA power structure is intriguing.
The Lakers — and LeBron — pushed all their chips to the table to win the bubble-wrapped title. In no way can anyone take that away from them.
But those sacrifices — and the short turnaround — made this year an injury-plagued grind. And not just for the L.A. LeBron's. Of the last four standing in the bubble last year, three of them — Lakers, Heat, Celtics — are out of this tournament this spring, and injuries — LeBron, AD, Jaylon Brown, Jimmy Butler, to name but four — played a big part in that.
It also points us to the macro question of whether that title was worth what the Lakers sacrificed to get it. Anthony Davis is one of the five most-skilled players in the league when he can stay on the floor. Staying on the floor is a huge issue.
Know this: AD strained his groin 48 seconds before halftime in Game 4. From the moment AD left, Phoenix outscored the Lakers by 277-227, and the Lakers had a lead for a little more than four minutes of the final 10 quarters of that series.
It also asks whether the Pelicans got the better of the Lakers in the AD deal. I don't think so, but the Lakers messed up mightily by including Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball while refusing to part with Kyle Kuzma, who was little more than a role player in the first-round dismissal.
So what are the Lakers moving forward, and are they in a place where the traveling veteran willing to play for the minimum will go to have one more run at a title?
The Andre Drummond experiment failed miserably — he got a DNP, Coach's decision in last night's season-ender — and the rest of the roster other than AD is very Cleveland 2008. Yes, a 24-year-old LeBron could lift a roster that flawed. A 36-year-old LeBron? Yeah, no.
So, for the group, true or false on a Friday, LeBron James will never win another NBA title.
(And Matt, please keep up. My sports flings can change unannounced as LeBron and I broke up. I only have eyes for Luka now. Sweet Luka. Heart emoji. Heart emoji.)
So who will get to be the target of the F bombs Mrs. Coach K hurled at the refs from behind the bench all those years? The mailman? The Amazon Prime driver?
Such a great question, and you have to imagine the shop owners and business leaders have had multiple secret meetings to make sure Mrs. Coach K's stuff is done right and on bleepin' time for the foreseeable future.
(Cut to a Durham business block, early morning and the lights flicker as one car with the personalized tag "Mrs. Coach K" waits in the drive through.)
Dry Cleaner: "Uh, hi, Mrs. Coach K, how's retirement?"
Mrs. Coach K: "Where in the (bleep) is our pick-up? I told your phone call taker I'd be here at 9 sharp. You should fire her."
Dry Cleaner: "Uh, that's my wife, Mrs. Coach,"
Mrs. Coach K: "SO (bleepin') WHAT! Do you think Mike would have accepted this type of incompetence and excuse making? Give me a lap around the building and think about your commitment to being worthy to steam clean our clothes. I TOLD her I would be here at 9."
Dry Cleaner (tying his shoes and stretching for his lap): "Uh, Mrs. Coach K, it's 6:45 a.m. We just opened the"
Mrs. Coach K: "ENOUGH. For (bleep's) sake this is unacceptable. Un-bleepin-acceptable. You're worse than that Teddy bleeping Valentine."
And from the back seat comes a screaming, Dickie V: "Uh-oh, baby. Someone better change their diapers, dandy, because Mrs. Coach K is a PTPer, Baby. She's like the General, Robert Montgomery Knight, but more intense, baby."
Mrs. Coach K: "Shut up Dick."
That said, I hope Coach K follows the Dean Smith way. Fade into the background. Appear at a couple events a year and get the 5-minute standing Os.
Because, despite the huge number of former Duke players working at the mothership, I think Coach K will be dreadful as a studio analyst. Maybe I'm wrong. I thought Saban was going to struggle, but in his limited exposure on TV sets and in studio shows, he's aces.
From David C
Jay, why did you stop posting your picks? I was getting in a really good groove picking the opposite of whatever you picked.
I got kids in private school, Jay. Think of the children.
OK, fair point, and my run of picks were, shall we say erratic. If by comparison we were to say that Shaq's free throw shooting was erratic and Rick Camp's hitting was erractic and Charlie Sheen's decision-making a few years ago was erratic.
We found hard times, for sure, and finding someone to follow or someone to fade, as was the case with my picks last month, can be equally as beneficially.
In truth, though, we've found some betting success in NBA playoff games with "Who scores first" props.
First, look at the dudes in the middle. For instance, Atlanta and Clint Capela won a vast majority of the opening tips in the Hawks' gentleman's sweep of the Knicks. (Side question: Term 'Gentleman's Sweep' — meaning taking a best-of-7 in 5 — friend or foe? I say friend. You stay classy, San Diego.)
So the Hawks got a vast majority of the first looks of the game. So if you cut the options in half and pick one or two Hawks (Trae Young is always the favorite at +550 — bet $100 to win $550 — and then a John Collins at +900 or a Capella at +800 or more) at $10 each and make a nice return.
The other area in which I have found success is in-game wagering.
Take last night's Lakers debacle for example. L.A. was favored by 3 or 4 depending on where you looked, with that logic being a) LeBron carries a lot of public money, b) AD was back in the lineup, and c) the Lakers were on the brink.
But less than five minutes in, as AD aggravated his groin and Devin Booker was riding a heater that made the blackjack dealer in Vegas Vacation look lukewarm, the line dropped and if you were paying attention midway through the first quarter there was a window to make sizable wagers on the Suns at even or minus-2.
As for getting more picks, well, we got some things working on that. Stay tuned.
Agreed that mental health and mental health issues are nothing to take lightly. But most of those pre-tourney, pre-match and post-match pressers lob more softballs than can be found during the summer at Mill Creek Regional Park. I wonder if Ms. Osaka just isn't projecting on the press. Whatever is troubling her I hope she finds some relief.
Rushmore of Lous. Because Gehrig has to be so far left on this as to not need inclusion in the list, right? Lou Brock. Lou Diamond Phillips. Lou Boudreau. Lou Hudson. Former Atlanta Hawks great. Also saw him play golf when I was about 6 or 7 about 50 feet from our quarters. He was in the National Guard and doing his two weeks annual training at Fort Stewart, and we lived near the 18th tee box.
Could have asked for a ruling on Lew Burdette, former Milwaukee Braves pitcher. Or submitted Blue Lou, the Muppets' saxophone player. Wasn't Lou also the name of the sax player in the Blues Brothers band? Left out Lou Rawls, Lou Holtz, Lou Costello, Lou Ferrigno.
Well said my man. Well said.
This leads us to the business end of our show.
First, you know the rules. Here's Paschall on the SEC making the decision to allow intraconference transfers to be immediately eligible.
Second, be on the lookout today as I wrote a column yesterday for today that got delayed and lost in the system but will hit the interwebs at some point that our local Cumulus affiliates have lifted the Morgan Wallen timeout.
Now for the Rushmores.
Rushmore of Lou. Sports version, Gehrig, Mary Lou Retton, Lew Alcindor and Lou Brock. Non-sports: Lou Costello, Lou Reed, Skip to My Lou and the Lou-vre Museum, although Blue Lou from the Muppets was tempting.
Rushmore of baseball unis: Dodgers whites; Pirates 'We Are Family' unis of Pops Stargell and Dave 'The Cobra Parker, Braves throwbacks (with the lower case cursive 'a' hats) and sorry to Spy, the Card's powder blues and the great Phillies swirls, but the Yankees pinstripes have to be on this list.
Rushmore of Robinsons: Jackie, Mrs., The Admiral and Cursoe. (Never big into Swiss Family Robinson, although the Robinsons — Danger, Danger Will Robinson — from Lost in Space were pretty awesome.)
Rushmore of Walt/Walter: Disney, Johnson, Payton, Whitman.
Enjoy the weekend friends, and thanks for a strong week of good back and forth.
5-at-10: Coach K to walk away, Derby dare for gambling sites, Nice gesture or exploiting mental issues