Posts Tagged ‘Guesties’


By Rich Jensen
Guest Blogger

Have you seen the NBA standings lately?

If you have, you already know where I’m going with this.

Why is the Eastern Conference so bad?

Well, let’s take a team-by-team and city-by-city look at the Eastern Conference, featuring the tremendous drawbacks of each city along with each team’s attempt to deal with those drawbacks. Because, let’s face it. If you’re a free agent, and you have your choice between Cleveland and Los Angeles. Or San Francisco. Or Portland. Or Denver. Or Dallas… Well, you get the picture…..

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By Rich Jensen
Guest Blogger

Did you know ESPN has this show called First Take? Okay. It’s on ESPN2. ESPN2 is a channel whose existence is predicated on the notion that ESPN has so much stuff you should see that they can’t fit it all onto one channel. This is difficult to comprehend, because having two ESPNs does not double the amount of hours in my day, so I still have to make choices, and if I choose what’s on ESPN2, then I can’t also watch ESPN, unless I stop watching ESPN2. And what if I have to go to the bathroom, people? Or have to eat? I worry that they haven’t thought this through because they also have ESPNNEWS and ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes and ESPNU. Clearly, I can’t watch all of these channels at once. I’m not Elvis. And Elvis didn’t have enough TVs to watch all these channels at once. I also do not live in a sports bar.

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A felon, a college president and a mascot walk into a bowling alley…

By Rich Jensen
Guest Blogger

The NCAA wrote a letter to a bankruptcy judge on behalf of convicted felon Nevin Shapiro. In this letter, the NCAA said that they would consider hiring Shapiro in the future.

Predictably, this revelation has drawn outraged commentary and sarcasm.

It has undoubtedly made this woman angry — this woman in ill-fitting clam-diggers ogling a fifty-thousand dollar check in a bowling alley. This woman was a cabinet secretary under Bill Clinton. She holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse. She was the chancellor at the University of Wisconsin. She is now the president of the University of Miami. This is what college athletics has done to her. Here she cavorts with a soon-to-be-convicted felon and accepts $50,000 in stolen funds. Later she will accuse Mark Emmert of failing to act responsibly when the briefest of inquiries into Shapiro’s background and habits would have been sufficient to render him persona-non-grata at any respectable university.

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By Rich A. Jensen
Guest blogger

Editor’s note: The following is a fictional account of something that may or may not happened  in real life. Think of it as a written episode of “Law & Order.” Again, this is complete and total speculation. Not real. Got it? (Fiction.)

“That’s not what the money was for,” muttered A, even though there was no one in the office to overhear him. Not that he was worried about being overheard. The people he allowed into this office, he thought, were people that he paid too well, that he treated too well to betray his trust.

He had just spoken with Lance Thomas, the basketball player he’d sponsored for the past four years. There was no written agreement, of course, just an understanding between himself and a handful of other Duke alums. ‘We’ll take care of these guys.” (more…)


(Last week, when I wrote about my travails in one-on-one basketball, I mentioned my uncle Emilio DeGrazia, who routinely defeated me on the court when I was growing up. Emilio, a retired English professor from Winona State University in Minnesota, still plays ball. As I noted in the piece, he’s probably the best over-70 player in the world. Emilio is currently writing a memoir about his connection to basketball — or, to be more accurate, his addiction to the game. Below is an excerpt from the book. Emilio, 71, is the author of several books, including the highly acclaimed Billy Brazil, Enemy Country, Seventeen Grams of Soul and A Canticle for Bread and Stones. He’s also the poet laureate of Winona. If you’re ever in Winona, stop by his house and spend an evening with Emilio and my aunt Monica. They’ll welcome you to their porch, provide great food and better company. And if you face him on the court, look out for that jump shot — it’s a killer.)

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By Dan Frasier
Guest blogger

Dear football players, past and present:

Stop digging! You have put the NFL and the future of the game we love in a giant hole, and you can’t seem to stop yourself from digging. We think it’s heinous and pervasive. We don’t believe you, and this sport will go away if it doesn’t change.

The recent revelations about the Saints bounty program and all the topics it has spawned has opened up a line of discussion that football didn’t want to have. Moreover, the people that are front and center in leading the NFL’s side of the discussion are ex-players who seem to have little to no understanding of the implications of their remarks. Worse yet, they don’t grasp the massive ramifications of these remarks. They are putting the sport at risk of becoming irrelevant or even extinct. (more…)


By Rich Jensen
Guest blogger

The NCAA tournament selection and seeding process will never be perfect. There is simply no perfect way of evaluating teams that play only a small subset of each other, and especially when the difference in resources available to teams enables some teams to barely stir from home arenas for months at a time while others end up traveling more than the Harlem Globetrotters.

However, there is a clear and simple way to remove a significant source of bias in the selection process:

Use a blind.

In clinical tests, doctors are not allowed to know whether they are administering drugs or placebos to patients, because knowing this would affect the way patients are treated and would taint the data. (more…)


By Dan Frasier
Guest blogger

In your last post, Mr. TV, you posed some interesting and pointed questions. The article used Bill Simmons’ tendency to discuss betting lines as a jumping-off point for wondering about gambling as a whole. As a person who has spent a good deal of time thinking about lines and odds, I wanted to offer you some insight. So here goes:

In 2010, the NFL reported revenue for the league of $9 billion. That’s a nice little pile of dough, and it is clearly a significant industry. Games spawn talk-radio shows, non-NFL merchandise sports-related sales (think buying your kid a football) and economic benefits to communities that surround sports venues. In all, the $9 billion, when coupled with these other economic effects, is clearly a substantial part of our culture. But, when measured in relation to gambling … this is a pittance. Over $335 billion was legally gambled (in all forms, not just sports betting) in the world in 2010. More to the point, Vegas casino’s alone took in over $1 billion in betting revenue on only the NFL. When you start adding non-Vegas casinos, off-site betting, online sites and illegal bookies, the revenue wagered on the NFL is almost certainly greater than the total revenue the NFL produces. Millions of people bet on games last year. This is a HUGE industry. (more…)


By Dan Frasier
Guest blogger

Tens years ago this bowl season, my Nebraska Cornhuskers rolled into the Rose Bowl ranked fourth in the country. That year, they’d beaten a good Notre Dame team and a No. 2-ranked Oklahoma to be ranked as high as second themselves. However, they were coming off of a blowout loss at the hands of Colorado in Boulder and had fallen to No. 4. Still, a good win over the top-ranked Hurricanes and they would seal up a fourth national title in eight years. Sadly, they hit a buzz-saw.

I remember a few things from that game, but one of that stands out the most is some of the names on the back of the Canes jerseys that year. Names like Portis, Johnson and Taylor. I have heard some vague references to the strength of the Canes team as time has passed, but I couldn’t really get my mind around the enormity of it. So I started digging. The following stats are totally complete and comprehensive. I know this because I personally typed the names into Wikipedia and included both touchdowns AND tackles as categories. OK, so an encyclopedia it is not, but it is all of the players that were on the Canes roster in 2001 that I could find pro stats for and a few of those stats. (more…)


What is David Stern thinking?

By Rich Jensen
Guest blogger

“They must often have recollected the instability of a happiness which depended on the character of a single man.” – Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. III

During his 27-year tenure as commissioner of the NBA, David Stern has done little to build the NBA as an organization independent of his forceful personality.

The NBA he inherited was weak, and the NBA that he will leave behind is also weak. It is Stern himself that has provided whatever strength the NBA has had during his reign. Along with that strength have come serious lapses of judgment. Two of these lapses have turned the NBA into an unpopular powder keg. (more…)