Only a week til Christmas, so its a little late for wish lists. I won’t be asking for anything extraordinary from my family and friends at this point. Get me the sweater, the book, the DVD, and I’m a happy guy.
But let’s pretend for a moment there is a sports Santa Claus. A sports version of St. Nick who is very interested in making the wishes of sports fans come true. Well Mr. Claus, I’ve been pretty good this year and I have a few requests.
Here is what I want for Christmas:
I WANT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
I know Santa, you get this one a lot, but I’m never going to stop wishing for this. I’m thrilled with an Oregon/Auburn matchup in the title game, but the BCS continues to get lucky and that can’t last forever. I’ll even admit TCU probably isn’t as good as Oregon or Auburn, but shouldn’t that be decided on the field? The Horned Frogs did absolutely everything that was asked of them, but won’t get a sniff of a championship simply because of discrimination toward smaller schools and non-traditional powers. I don’t care how big or small the playoff is, I just want a level playing field here. And spare me the excuses of extra games, protecting student-athletes, and preserving the bowl system. The bowl system is a middling mess of mediocrity. You mean we might miss out on Florida International vs. Toledo in the Little Caesar’s Bowl? Good, I’d rather watch curling anyway. Trust me Santa, if you want to stop receiving these letters, you’ll find a way to make this happen for me and the countless fans who hate seeing this sport’s champion be crowned by ignorant human voters and soulless computers.
I WANT THE NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT TO STAY AT 65 TEAMS
College football may get it wrong, but college basketball gets it right. There is no need to expand March Madness to 96 teams as is being discussed by the NCAA. 65 teams means the little guy still has a shot and that’s all the little guy is asking for.
Okay, maybe it isn’t totally fair that a school can win it’s conference regular season and still get left out of the dance if it doesn’t win the conference tournament. Fore some schools, the season comes down to winning three straight games in early March. It’s compelling, it’s pressure-packed, and it’s darn good entertainment to see which mid-majors rise to the occasion. Their regular season still means something for conference tournament seeding and NCAA tournament seeding.
Then, there’s the bubble teams. These are programs from major conferences with average records that don’t get in. Guess what? They shouldn’t get in. Expansion means watering down the brackets with more teams who would be 8 or 9 seeds at best. Those team have little or no chance of a Final Four appearance, so why should being average be something to reward? It shouldn’t Santa, so please keep this amazing tournament just the way it is.
I WANT BRETT FAVRE TO GO AWAY
This drama has gone on long enough. Isn’t there anything else out there worthy of airtime? I fail to understand why this media hog continues to dominate headlines.
It’s not because of greatness, I know that much. The man is a walking interception. His time has long since passed and if he’s not careful, he’s going to wind up in a wheelchair. I’m so sick of him, his streak (finally over, thank goodness!), his injuries, his sex-ting scandal, and his camo hat. You were washed up years ago Brett. Save your body the brutal beating, save your teammates from the distractions and the turnovers, and save the rest of us from this weekly dose of deja vu. Is Favre playing or not? How bad is the injury? Is he coming back? Will the NFL suspend him? Whatever! He’s hung on too long and he’s done irreparable harm to his legacy.
Santa, I think Brett needs a dose of reality and humility. Put him on a tractor back to Mississippi and let’s move on.
I WANT CAM NEWTON HOOKED UP TO A POLYGRAPH
I don’t have any problem with Newton winning the Heisman Trophy because I do believe he’s the best player in the country. I guess I’m just a little curious as to how much he knew of his father’s dealings and how much he really benefited from them. The NCAA completed its investigation and cleared Newton to play. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but could that have had anything to do with Newton and Auburn being on the verge of a national championship?
Newton’s past isn’t so squeaky clean, which makes me somewhat suspect of his character. While attending the University of Florida, Newton was caught for academic cheating three times and faced possible expulsion. I know he’s just a kid, and kids make mistakes. I really want to believe him, but truth is, Newton seems just as gifted at dodging questions as he does dodging tacklers. So, since he won’t talk, and his father, Cecil, won’t talk, let’s let the polygraph do the talking.
I WANT OU AND OSU TO WIN THEIR BOWL GAMES
I’m getting kind of selfish here Santa, but bear with me. Oklahoma State has a chance to win 11 games for the for the first time in school history and a chance to snap a 2-game bowl losing streak. The Pokes missed out on a Big 12 South title by the slightest of margins and they deserve a win to cap off this season full of exceeded expectations. Mike Gundy’s team can prove to the country that the regular season was no fluke by beating an Arizona squad that is much better than it’s 7-5 record would indicate.
While his brother tries to corral the Cowboys, Bob Stoops has a monkey to get off his back. It’s actually more like a full-grown gorilla by now. Since winning the national championship in 2000, Stoops is 1-5 in BCS games. Two of those losses came in the Fiesta Bowl in the very same stadium where OU will take on Connecticut. I feel for Bob and the Sooners because this is Boise State all over again. Oklahoma will be a massive favorite against a team with absolutely nothing to lose. Meanwhile, OU has nothing to gain. Win, and it’s expected so you get no credit. Lose, and suffer nationwide humiliation. Santa, Stoops needs a dominating, convincing performance against the Huskies. Here’s hoping you can help him exorcise some BCS demons.
I WANT THE NFL TO BEND IT’S PLAYOFF RULES
Santa, do you have any idea what’s going on in the NFC West? All four teams have sub-.500 records, yet one will make the playoffs for winning one of the worst divisions in league history. These are bad football team that don’t deserve a berth in the postseason. The Rams (6-7) or the Seahawks (6-7) will likely take a spot away from a truly worthy team like the Packers or Buccaneers. Is there a way, just for years like this, we could take six teams to the playoffs based solely on record? Maybe I’m asking a lot here Santa, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Merit based promotions are part of any business, so why should the NFL be any different? I hate to say this, but the most attractive ugly girl is still an ugly girl. That’s what we’ll have in the NFC West winner. The most attractive ugly girl.
A MANNY PACQUIAO/FLOYD MAYWEATHER FIGHT
I’m not a boxing fan, but I would pay to see this. I haven’t paid for a fight since high school when I chipped in with my buddies to watch Mike Tyson bite a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
The world wants to see Pacquiao/Mayweather and the sport of boxing needs this fight to happen. There have been squabbles between the two men about money, venue, and drug testing. I’m confident all that can be resolved. It comes down to this: How can either fighter call himself the greatest, when he never goes toe to toe against the very best?
It would be a dream matchup. Pacquiao’s power versus Mayweather’s speed. It would easily surpass all pay-per-view records and might even go down in history as one of the greatest bouts of all-time. Pacquiao is the first boxer in history to win ten titles in eight different weight classes. Mayweather boasts an unblemished record and nine titles in five divisions. Pound for pound the two best punchers on the planet, who wouldn’t want to see these two together inside the ropes?
Plus Santa, if you can get Don King to promote this, he might just give you a substantial cut. Don’t tell me you couldn’t use a new sleigh, not to mention all those pensions for retired elves. I don’t know how you stay in the black, I really don’t.
I WANT MORE INTERESTING SPORTS JOURNALISM
I’m demanding more from my sports networks and it starts in 2011. I’m starting to get tired of the same regurgitated highlights, catch-phrases, and excruciatingly, elementary analysis. Wait, you’re telling me that the team that runs the ball more effectively and doesn’t turn it over has a better chance to win? Stunning. Glad I tuned in for that nugget of wisdom.
I like highlights, and they serve a purpose, but I want more access to teams and more stories with depth and meaning. The other night on HBO, I watched a show called 24/7. It follows the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins as they get closer to facing each other in the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The show provides a look behind the scenes like no other program I’ve ever seen. I didn’t stop smiling for the full hour.
As a fan, I want to be drawn into the game by going into meetings, the training room, and the locker room. Show’s like HBO’s Hard Knocks, ESPN’s E:60, and ESPN’s recently aired 30 for 30 series, give me another side of sports. They provide another perspective and I think it’s a perspective fans are thirsting for.
I want fewer talking heads, and more inspiring stories like this one. I can’t get inside the game or get to know my favorite players by voting in an online poll or following a network on facebook. Stop asking me to interact with you, and bring the action to me. Stop televising radio shows and put your technology to better use. I want more truth and less coachspeak. I want players to be wired for sound, I want my footage to be raw, uncut, and uncensored. I want fewer ex-players in suits on a fancy set and more emotion. It can be done, it has been done, let’s keep it coming Santa.
Thank you Santa, for taking the time to read my wish list. All I ask is that you do your best, I promise I’ll be happy no matter what. Merry Christmas!