Friday, October 28, 2011

SOS Pick'em Week 8

After last night's World Series game 6, and tonight's game 7, NFL picks seem kinda irrelevant, don't they? Well luckily I thrive in the irrelevant! Week 7 was a solid week for me as I went 3-1 with 3 points. Ray stayed afloat going 2-2 with 2 points and Fantasy Guru Dan got off to a "Ray caliber" start going 0-4. (Let's hope he managed a little better in his fantasy leagues..)

Can any of these fools catch me? Probably... But for entertainment sake I'll channel my inner Hulk Hogan and say...BRING IT ON BROTHER!
Ahhhhh body grease.
Let's get to the picks.

Student of Sports, @StudentofSports (14-14, 17pts)
Jacksonville (+9.5) over HOUSTON
KANSAS CITY (+3.5) over San Diego
Dallas (+3.5) over PHILADELPHIA (Bye bye, "Dream Team")
And for my upset... Oh yeah I'm doing it.. I take TIM TEBOW AND THE DENVER BRONCOS TO TAKE DOWN THE DETROIT LIONS. Anyone wanna hop on the bandwagon with me?

Ray "Box", @THE_raycalara (12-16, 14pts)
New Orleans (-10.5) over ST. LOUIS
GIANTS (-9.5) over Miami
BUFFALO (-5.5) over Washington (This game is in Toronto, by the way. Ay)
And is there enough room? I think there is... Ray is going to join me on the bandwagon by taking Timmy Tebow and the Denver Broncos to beat the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Guru Dan, @FFootballQA (0-4, 0pts)
New Orleans (-10.5) over ST. LOUIS
Detroit (-5.5) over DENVER (Dan is noticeably absent from the bandwagon.... BOOOOOO)
Dallas (-3.5) over PHILADELPHIA
And for his upset Dan is going to be taking the Redskins to go into Toronto and beat the Bills.

That's it guys. Thanks for reading and remember you can submit your own picks in the comment section. Enjoy the games!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CAM We Do It? Yes We CAM! defines the word argument as a discussion involving different points of view; a debate. I find that in any subject in life which we are prone to forming firm opinions, arguments are important ways to improve our knowledge and solidify our opinions. This is especially true when it comes to sports. Arguments is sports help us to become well rounded sports fans, capable of looking at things from a variety of angles. It allows us to become "students" of sports, if you will. <---see what I did there? (ZING!) 

Yesterday my buddy, Ray @THE_raycalara, and I were having a spirited argument about rookie QB Cam Newton. His take on Cam was that the hype surrounding his reminded him a lot of  Vince Young's hype during his 2006 rookie campaign. He noted the decline of Vince Young in the NFL and wondered if Cam would suffer the same fate. Safe to say I disagreed.
...Oh and I should probably bring up that there is a little spite factor here because I drafted Vince Young to be my fantasy QB after his rookie season. Safe to say it was a disappointment. I do have Cam on 2 of my 4 fantasy teams so I am very much enjoying that.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that they are completely different, because they do have similarities. To name a few similarities, they both are large bodied, mobile, big armed quarterbacks who led their college teams to national titles. They each were the 1st quarterbacks taken in their respective drafts and top 5 overall. (Cam went 1st and Young went 3rd) And big Ray is right somewhat correct in saying that during both players rookie season's they were heavily hyped.

To quote one of the more flamboyant and eccentric ESPN college football analysts.. "NOT SO FAST!"
(Side note: If you can ever quote Lee Corso in a debate, it's almost a guaranteed win.)
(Side note to my side note: Isn't it ironic that my "side" note is below my point and not on the side?)
(Side note to my side note to my side note: I guess at this rate this could go on forever..)

My major issue with Ray's argument was that concerning the hype.

Do you remember why Vince Young was so hyped? Granted his mobility made him exciting, something he shares with Cam. (But if that accounted for anything why haven't guys  like Pat White or Dennis Dixon been so hyped?) Mobility, however, was not the real reason VY got all that hype. With Vince Young it was all about the W's. With Vince Young under center the Titans seemed to find ways to win. People automatically tagged Young a 'winner' and overlooked some of his more not so impressive statistics. I'll be the first guy to admit that when I look for a player, ability to win is very important but it can sometimes be overhyped. I still think Vince Young can be a winning NFL quarterback but statistically nothing greater than average. Vince Young's ability to win was never going to and never will make him an elite NFL passer. Holding such a belief to be true is nothing more than hogwash. HOGWASH I TELL YOU, HOGWASH!!!

So why is Cam so hyped? Last time I checked he's not exactly winning at an overwhelming pace. (Carolina's current record is 2-5, firmly out of playoff contention.) Cam is being hyped because of what he is doing with his arm. The throws he has made in a combination with his size and overwhelming athleticism make him potentially an all time great. Vince Young, although he has a fairly strong arm, was NEVER hyped for the throws and plays he was able to make. He was NEVER compared to John Elway. He was NEVER and will NEVER be able to make the throws Cam can make. Let me throw some stats at you.. (STATATTACK!) In his rookie season Vince Young threw at a completion percentage of 51% and 2,199 yards, 6.1 per attempt, along with 552 rushing yards and 7 tds. Combine that with leading his team to 8 wins and it's a nice season for a rookie. Now let's look at Cam Newtons stats. Thru 7 games, ONLY 7 GAMES, Cam has a completion percentage of 60% with a whopping 2,103 yards, 8.3 per attempt, along with 266 rushing yards and 7tds.


So let's review. Thru half of the games that Vince Young played in his rookie season, Cam Newton has almost as much passing yardage and just as much rushing touchdowns. Along with that he has a completion percentage that is almost 10% points higher! So not only is Cam throwing the ball down the field more for more yardage, proven by his higher clip per attempt and yardage, but he's completing a higher percentage of them! So his big arm, athleticism, size, AND accuracy are what is creating his hype. All four of those things are what make a great, elite if you will, NFL passer. And all four of those things Vince Young never had at the level Cam is currently at. Vince Young had wins, which is great, but Cam has ability, which is elite. 

Like I said before, I think Vince Young can STILL be a winning NFL QB, I really do! The difference is that I think Cam Newton can be an elite, all time NFL QB. Cam can go further than wins and losses and rewrite the record books, rewrite NFL history. What makes this argument great is that I know there is a real possibility that Cam never lives up to his potential and is just an ordinary QB, but that is why we watch. We watch to see if the players who we know can have it all have the same desire that we have for them. I hope Cam Newton becomes as great as he can be because, as a sports fan, it would be a pleasure to watch.

Oh and also, AJ Green would get my vote for rookie of the year.. That's how good I think he has been.

Class Dismissed,
Student of Sports

PS: Follow me on twitter @StudentofSports.

Go For It or Stay Away Week 8

Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte, Micheal Turner, Greg Jennings, and Darren McFadden. What do all of these guys have in common? Well, first of all they are elite fantasy performers at their respective positions, and second they are all on a bye for Week 8. That is a lot of fire power that we do not have to put into our fantasy line-ups. This could make for some tough decisions. I am going to give you a handful of players to Go For It and some that you should Stay Away, to make your line-up decisions easier.

Go For It!


Matthew Stafford Det- Stafford has been a little shaky the past couple of weeks and he did suffer an ankle injury late in the game against Atlanta. That being said, the test results on the ankle came back fine and he is day-to-day. Assuming he plays, I really like his match-up this week against Denver. I look for Stafford to have a big day, just be sure to check and see if that ankle gives him more problems than expected.

Running Backs

Chris Johnson Ten- Before last week, it seemed to me that Johnson was ready to break out and start performing as the fantasy star that he is. Last week, he definitely took a step back. The Titans play Indianapolis this week, who has been one of the worst teams against the run all season. Do not give up just yet Johnson owners, I think he will bounce back nicely this week. When it comes to the Tennessee RB this week, go for it!

Knowshon Moreno Den- Moreno was the starter going into this season, but lost his job to Willis McGahee. With McGahee out this week, I think Moreno will be determined to win his job back for good. On top of that, Detroit has struggled against the run all season, and I think they will use Knowshon to take some pressure off of Tebow. Go for it!

Wide Receivers

Mike Wallace Pit- Maybe a little obvious, but Wallace has been a favorite of mine since draft day. He seems to be good for a long TD catch every week, and against the New England secondary that has given up the most passing yards per game in the NFL this season, I do not see this week being an exception. Love me some Mike Wallace this week.

Anquan Boldin Bal- The Ravens were absolutely embarrassed Monday night against the Jaguars, but Boldin did manage to catch a TD pass. I expect the Ravens to come back in a big way this week against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has been one of the worst teams against the pass, and I do not expect that to change this week. When it comes to Boldin, go for it!

Tight End

Greg Olsen Car- Cam Newton has been great this year. His #1 target has been Steve Smith, but his second target has definitely been Olsen. The Vikings have struggled against the pass this year, but Jared Allen will get some pressure on Cam forcing him to check down. I believe that means a big day for Olsen.

Stay Away


Ryan Fitzpatrick Buf- Coming back from the bye week things may be corrected, but I am not counting on it. After a great start to the year Fitzpatrick has been average the past few weeks. The Bills play the Redskins this week, who have struggled as a team recently, but they still have a solid defense that is led by the pass rush. I see Fitzpatrick having to hurry his throws all day. Stay away from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Running Backs

Steven Jackson Stl- The Saints defeated the Colts 62-7 on Sunday night. This week the Saints play the Rams. This one could very well get ugly early. Forcing the Rams to pass much more than they would like. I just do not think that Jackson will get the touches to make him a good play this week.

Bernard Scott Cin- Cedric Benson finally has to serve his one game suspension, and that means Scott is the guy for one week. The Bengals play Seattle this week, who actually has been pretty tough against the run. I expect him to get 12-15 carries this week, but I doubt he gets the goal line carries. I do not like Bernard Scott this week.

Wide Receivers

Sidney Rice Sea- I will never understand why Sidney Rice went to Seattle this off-season. He is one of the most talented WR in the NFL, but there is just nobody to get him the ball. This week they play the Bengals. The Bengals have played well against pass all season. Stay away from Sidney Rice.

Reggie Wayne Ind- If you have not done so already, it is definitely time to bench Wayne. Curtis Painter does not even seem to look his way. They play the Titans this week, who plays the pass fairly well. I think the Colts will try to run the ball more this week. Stay away from Reggie Wayne.

Tight End

Aaron Hernandez NE- I know, I know. Hernandez has been great this year, and if you do not have any other options, you can start him and I do not mind that. I just do not see many tight ends out there worth mentioning that I would stay away from. The Steelers defense has really improved the past couple of weeks and I think they will give Brady some problems. I do not think Hernandez will have a great game.

There it is, my list of players that I think you should either Go For It or Stay Away. I hope this post helps you make tough decisions on your fantasy line-ups this week. As always if you have specific questions, do not hesitate to follow me and send me a tweet @FfootballQA. I will answer your questions, usually right away. Thanks for reading. Good luck in Week 8!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SOS Pick'em week 7

Once again sorry for getting these up here late but better late than never. Before I get into the picks I have to get something off of my chest..


Ahh Rutgers pride..

Ok so let's see. I only got one pick right, luckily it was my upset, netting me 2 points. Big Ray on the other hand went 3-1 getting 4 points in his best week of the season! This week we're going to incorporate the picks of our fantasy guro, Dan the man (@FFootballQA), as well. Since, barring an insane collapse, we won't be able to count him in terms of total points, we'll see how he does in terms of win percentage against us. SO LET'S GET TO IT!

Student of Sports @StudentofSports (11-13, 14pts) 
Atlanta (+3.5) over DETROIT
Tim Tebow... I MEAN!.. Denver (+3.5) over MIAMI
NEW YORK JETS (+1.5) over San Diego (which of course in German means, a whale's vagina.)
And for my upset I like the Tampa Bay Bucs to take down the Chicago Bears in London. London's Calling! Put it on the board!

Ray "Box" @THE_raycalara (10-13, 12pts)
Denver (+3.5) over MIAMI (Why the Hell is Miami favored in what is pretty much a home game for the Tebows?)
DETROIT (-3.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay (-8.5) over MINNESOTA
And for his upset Ray is going to go with St. Louis to go into Dallas and take down the Cowboys. HOW ABOUT DEM COWBOYS?!?!

Fantasy Guru Dan @FFootballQA (0-0, 0pts)
San Diego (-1.5) over the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS
Baltimore (-7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
OAKLAND (-3.5) over Kansas City
And for his upset Dan the man is gonna be taking the Washington Redkins  and that combo of running backs against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Peace out!

Enjoy the games today guys!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Go For It or Stay Away Week 7

Week 7 is a very interesting week for us fantasy football owners. With teams like New England, Buffalo, and Philadelphia on a bye we are left with some tough decisions to replace some of our best players. On top of that, there have been a couple of quarterback changes that could change the entire offenses for those teams. That is why I write this. To help you make the tough decisions by giving you guys who, when it comes for your fantasy lineups, you should “Go For It!” or “Stay Away.” As I said last week, I believe in the “Start your Studs” philosophy, just because I mention a guy on here does not mean I think you should start him over Aaron Rodgers or Ray Rice. I am just giving you some options to think about. Okay, lets get started.

Go For It!


Tim Tebow Den- Yes, I am buying into Tebow-mania. Well, for this week anyways. He may not be your typical NFL pocket passer, but nobody can deny that the guy makes plays. Tebow showed us a lot in the fantasy world last year, and against the pitiful Miami Dolphins defense I have no reason to believe he wont do the same. When it comes to starting Tim Tebow this week, I say that you go for it.

Running Backs

Ryan Matthews SD- Coming into the season I would have told you that Mike Tolbert is the RB to have from the San Diego backfield. While I do think Tolbert still has some value, it has been fairly obvious that Matthews is the lead guy for the 4-1 Chargers. With Revis and Co. on the outside for the Jets, I expect the Chargers to try and establish the run against a Jets defense that has struggled in that aspect of the game this year. I expect big things out of Ryan Matthews this week.

Demarco Murray Dal- With Felix Jones out, it seems that the Cowboys are ready to give the carries to Demarco Murray. We have not seen much out of him this year, but in short time he has shown flashes. Now, Tashard Choice is still there and will get some of the carries as well, but I think Murray will be the one that ends up being the guy. If you have a running back on a bye, Demarco Murray is a guy that I would consider.

Wide Recievers

Darrius Heyward-Bey Oak- Heyward-Bey finally seems to be turning into the dangerous deep threat that the Raiders had hoped he would someday become. The Raiders traded for Carson Palmer on Tuesday and it looks like he could play this week against the Chiefs. While I realize that Palmer may be a little rusty, I feel that his big arm is a match made in heaven with Heyward-Bey. I think that the Raiders will look to take a few shots down field to Darrius and put this game away early.

Marques Colston NO- Drew Brees has always spread the ball around the field, so it is always hard to predict who he will go to. That being said, there should be plenty to go around against the Colts. Colston was his main target last week and put up some great numbers, I look for this to continue against Indy. When it comes to Marques Colston this week I say go for it.

Tight End

Fred Davis Was- With Cooley out, Davis is the guy. He has been great so far this year, and with John Beck getting the start this week I think he will look to the TE as a security blanket at times. Love me some Fred Davis this week, go for it!

Stay Away


Ben Roethlisberger Pit- Big Ben has been playing well recently, but I do not like him this weekend. Mendenhall seemed to have turned the corner last week, and I feel like the Steelers will have an easy time with the Cardinals and will be trying to run the ball to control the clock. Arizona has actually been okay against the pass this year, not great but decent. I do not expect a terrible game out of Roethlisberger, I just feel like there are many better options.

Running Backs

Steven Jackson Stl- Jackson has been playing alright, and is always an option out of the back field for Sam Bradford. That being said, I do not like him this week. Surprisingly, the Cowboys are best in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The Dallas defense has been much improved, and I could see the Cowboys pulling away early in this one, forcing Sam Bradford to throw the ball early and often. When it comes to Steven Jackson for this weekend, I say stay away.

Maurice Jones-Drew Jax- If you have Jones-Drew chances are that he is a must start for you each week. While I understand that, I am glad I am not a Jones-Drew owner this week. Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL, being particularly stingy against the run holding opponents to 76.6 YPG and only one rushing TD so far. On top of that their offense has been rolling, and could put Jacksonville in a position to pass early and often. Start Jones-Drew if you must, but I would temper expectations, and seriously consider other options this week.

Wide Recievers

Vincent Jackson SD- Jackson gets the pleasure of being defended by Darrell Revis this weekend. I just think that the Chargers are going to attack the Jets more through their running game. There are better options out there than Vincent Jackson for this week.

Mike Williams TB- Going into the season Mike Williams was a very solid WR2 option, but he has not lived up to those expectations. Chicago has defended the pass well all season, and I do not see this as the breakout game for Williams. Stay away from Mike Williams this week.

Tight End

Tony Gonzalez Atl- I do not expect much out of Gonzalez this week, that being said he is always an option for Matt Ryan in the red zone so there is always a chance for a cheap score. There has just been some games the past couple of years where Gonzalez would completely disappear. Against the Lions, I think we will see one of those games. Stay away.

As always, good luck to everyone out there on their fantasy match-ups this week. I hope reading this piece helps you make the tough decisions in your line-up. Losing guys like Brady, Vick, Welker, and McCoy on a bye week can definitely be tough, but remember there are usually guys out there worthy of a start, the trick is finding who those guys are. That is it for this week. If you have any fantasy football questions, do not hesitate to send me a Tweet @FFootballQA. I answer all of the questions asked.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SOS Pick'em Week 6

Hey everybody! Sorry for the delay on this weeks picks but like so many of you, I get busy sometimes. It's been an exciting week here on the blog as Ray Box (@THE_raycalara) wrote his post on college athletics  and we added Dan the Man (@FFootballQA) to give weekly fantasy football updates in his 'Go for it' or Stay away' post. I hope you enjoyed his first post and you can send him a tweet to get more specific info. By the way you can follow me at @StudentofSports.

Last weekend I did alright going 2-2 but getting my upset right netting me a total of 3 points. Ray, on the other hand, did not fair so well going 1-3 and only receiving 1 point. Do better, Ray! So let's dive right into the picks..

Student of Sports (10-10, 12pts)
WASHINGTON (-0.5) over Philadelphia
Houston (+7.5) over BALTIMORE
Minnesota (+3.5) over CHICAGO
And for my upset special let me have Tampa Bay to rebound from a crushing defeat and take down the Saints at home.

Ray "Box" (7-13, 8pts)
It's a damn good thing Ray isn't a gambling man..
Carolina (+4.5) over ATLANTA
OAKLAND (-5.5) over Cleveland
GREEN BAY (-14.5) over St. Louis
And for his upset Ray is going to go with San Fransisco  to defeat those mighty Detroit Lions.

Good luck guys and enjoy this weekend's action!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Go For It or Stay Away

Are you ready for some fantasy football? In this column I will give you information on players who I believe will put up good, high scoring, fantasy numbers, and some that will not. Are these players always going to be the best option? No. I am not going to tell you common knowledge. We all know that if you have Aaron Rodgers, you are going to start him and you do not need me to tell you that. I believe in the “Start your Studs” philosophy. Meaning, start your best players, and do not over think them. If you have Rodgers, Brady, or Brees you are going to start them, unless they are on a bye week. Just because I mention a player that I like, does not mean that you should necessarily start them. These are just a few players, when it comes to setting your fantasy lineups, that I think you should either go for it or just stay away from.

Go For It!


Tony Romo Dal- The Patriots defense has struggled against the pass all season. Miles Austin should be back and that just adds to the weapons already at Romo’s disposal. I know he has been turnover prone, and I would not be too surprised to see him throw a pick or two in this game, but when it is all said and done I expect big things out of the Dallas passing game this week. Go for it when it comes to Tony Romo.

Andy Dalton Cin- Cam Newton is getting all of the attention, and rightfully so, but there is another rookie quarterback having a solid start to the season. Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to a very surprising 3-2 start. While he has not been putting up ridiculous stats like Newton, he has been very serviceable, and I look for him to have a decent game against a weak Indianapolis secondary. In my opinion, Dalton would be a great bye week fill in for this week.

Sam Bradford Stl- Another good bye week fill in is Sam Bradford. The secondary of the Packers has been weak all year, and the Rams will probably be playing from behind from the beginning. I expect solid fantasy output from Bradford this weekend.

Running Backs

Ryan Torain Was- Now, if there is a coach in the NFL who makes it tough on us fantasy players, it is Mike Shanahan. He has switched back and forth on running backs for years, never seeming to make up his mind, so if he ends up giving Tim Hightower 25 carries in this game I cannot say that I will be too surprised. That being said, after the production that Torain put up in week 4 and Hightower not really running away with the job early in the season, common knowledge leads you to believe that he should be the guy going forward. The Redskins play the Eagles this week. It has been very obvious early on that the way to beat the Eagles is on the ground. I expect big things out of Ryan Torain this week. When it comes to Torain, I say go for it.

James Starks GB- The Packers have really split the carries evenly this year so it is always tough to start either Starks or Ryan Grant, but they are facing a Rams defense that has been terrible against the run, and overall just a very bad team. This one could get ugly early and that could mean a lot of carries for both of the running backs for Green Bay. James Starks is another good bye week fill in for this week.

Wide Recievers-

Dez Bryant Dal- As I mentioned above with Tony Romo, the Patriots have really struggled against the pass. Their undersized corners seem to be overmatched by big physical receivers, like Bryant. I look for Dez to abuse the secondary of New England racking up over 100 yards and at least one score.

Victor Cruz NYG- Cruz has been a guy that has come virtually out of nowhere and has turned into one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets. This guy just seems to make plays. New York plays Buffalo this week, and the Bills have been exposed through the air at times this year. Cruz is turning out to be a solid WR2/Flex play week in and week out.

Tight End

Visante Shiancoe Min- Chances are you have better options than Shiancoe on your roster. This one is just if you are struggling to find a bye week fill in. The Bears do not cover the tight end well, in their Cover 2 coverage scheme, and the Vikings have been trying to get Shiancoe the ball. I think we see a TD or two out of Visante.

Stay Away


Jay Cutler Chi- I am not a big fan of Cutler this week. His offensive line is shaky at best, and I can see him running for his life against Jared Allen and Company. There are much better options out there to fill in for the bye week.

Rex Grossman Was- As I said when I mentioned Ryan Torain, the way to attack the Eagles is on the ground. Do I expect a terrible game for Grossman? No, but I think the Redskins will try to run the ball, and keep that Eagles offense off of the field. Stay away from Rex Grossman.

Running Backs

Jahvid Best Det- Best looked great on Monday night, but I do not expect the same out of him this week. San Francisco has been very stingy against the run, and not so great against the pass. I expect a heavy dose of Matthew Stafford and that Lions passing game. If you do not have any other options Best is not a terrible start, but do not expect production like on Monday night.

Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis NE- You might just call this one a hunch, but I am not a big fan of Green-Ellis this week. Dallas has been tough against the running game, and I really think that Tony Romo and that offense could really light up the scoreboard against the Patriots’ defense. This could turn into a shootout, and that could mean the New England running game could be forgotten.

Steven Jackson Stl- I really think that this game gets ugly for the Rams early. That could mean a lot of passing attempts for Bradford and very few rushing attempts for Steven Jackson. Also, the Green Bay defense has been tough against the run this year. You may not have any better options, but if you can help it stay away from Steven Jackson.

Wide Recievers

Brandon Marshall Mia- Stranded on Revis Island, with a backup quarterback. I cannot see myself starting Marshall under any circumstances.

Pierre Garcon Ind- The Bengals are among the league leaders against the pass. Garcon has been great recently, but he cannot keep this up forever, can he? I think we see Garcon come back to earth a little bit this week. Stay away from Pierre Garcon.

Bye weeks are tough in fantasy football, but there are plenty of options out there. This piece is to help guide you to players that can help your team in Week 6, and to steer you away from other players who could ruin your team. Thanks for reading; I hope my advice helps you dominate your fantasy matchups this week. Good luck! If you have any lineup questions, have a trade offer you do not know what to do with, or wondering about a waiver wire pickup, you can contact me via twitter. Follow me @FFootballQA and do not hesitate to ask any and all of your Fantasy Football Questions!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NCAA = No Cash Allowed for Athletes?

Is it time to start paying student-athletes? Yes and No

The National College Athletic Association is a large group of individuals who over see 1200+ schools across the United States. The responsibility of this organization is to regulate scheduling, funding, and ensure an equal level of competitiveness between teams. All 1200 schools are organized into 3 sub divisions mainly known as Division I, Division II, Division III. Divisions I, and II are allowed to give full and partial scholarships to athletes who compete on these levels. With these scholarships, athletes are able to omit the costs of tuition, dining, housing and books, a luxury that the average non-athletic student does not have. However, an athletic scholarship comes with a different more scrutinized territory than non-scholarship students. Student athletes on scholarship have certain rules and guidelines to follow known as permissible and impermissible benefits. The NCAA has been known for their inflexibility regarding these rules relating to what athletes can or can’t recieve. Now more than ever there has been pressure from all sides to let athletes receive money. The term “slaves” has been loosely thrown around when describing the labor the athletes do compared to the multi-billion dollar industry universities as well as the NCAA has created marketing these athletes. The multibillion-dollar question facing the sports world is, should student-athletes be paid? To me its yes and no.

According to the cost of attendance to the University of Florida is about 27,934 taking into account housing, dining, etc. Which means over the course of 4 years at UF a student athlete is avoiding $111,736 in possible debt. Which means that an average scholarship player is worth over 100,000 dollars, much more than an average academic student. Critics who say that athletes cannot make money while universities are cashing in on them tend to forget that the school is paying for a degree for that athlete. There are about 60 players on full scholarship at a large school like Florida, and means the school is paying about 6.7 million dollars for these athletes to get degrees. Debt is a huge problem in the United States right now especially for college students who have just graduated and eliminating the cost of college debt is something that the detractors have overlooked when criticizing the NCAA for their strict benefits rules.

While I support one aspect of the NCAA’s rules I strongly reject another. Even though athletes do get the luxury of free things from schools a majority of student athletes live well below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy things themselves, which is where boosters and street agents come in. Boosters and street agents are notorious around the college athletics scene for being the ones who give athletes all of these improper benefits in return for possibly an autograph, memorabilia, or just simply a friendship. Boosters often give athletes things they could not buy themselves, such as clothes or a simple meal out to dinner. One of the most recent booster athlete relationships is the one involving Nevin Shapiro and the University of Miami Football team. Shapiro a booster for the Hurricanes says that he gave thousands of dollars worth of things to over 70 Miami football players ranging from cars to even an abortion. The NCAA is still investigating this matter but this is why I see no problem with Shapiro’s benefits. First and most importantly of all it is his money he can do whatever he wants to do with it. The fact that it is not coming from the funds of the University should make it okay and should not be looked down upon and punished. If someone wants to throw them a party and pay for their drinks and whatnot go ahead. Same thing with autographs for cash, if Terrelle Pryor makes money for signing a couple jerseys why not let him have it? Ohio State makes money selling #2 jerseys anyway so why not let him bank on his success. Athletes should be able to make money banking on their successes, just like any other student would.

The NCAA has the wrong idea in their head when they think of impermissible benefits. They see corruption in college football and making these rules will create a level playing field. However, in the eyes of athletes, boosters, and everyone else they just see them as tedious. Student athletes should be able to market themselves however they want to in order to make money from people who want their services. Autograph signings, appearances, or just booster payments should be allowed to student athletes. They should be able to receive gifts from outside sources but the school itself should not actually pay them. The NCAA has integrity to protect and should not give into the idea of actually paying student athletes, a solution like that can only create more problems. The NCAA rules and regulations are outdated and certainly need to be changed for this time and era. We can only hope in time that this multibillion-dollar question can be answered with a sensible solution. My answer to the question is simple: Pay the players? No. Let the players take money? Yes.

Ray Calara

PS: Be sure to check out a new facebook page for sports fans and sports bloggers! Sports Blog Community on Facebook

Friday, October 7, 2011

SOS Pick'em Week 5

For obvious reasons I'm not in as witty or chipper of a mood today so we'll probably get through the picks relatively quickly. On a positive note, last night Yankee loss signaled the official start of New York Giants Football! Don't let me down boys.

Last weekend I went an awful 1-3 netting 1 point. Ray managed to go 2-2 and picked up 2 points. He's slowly bu surely closing the gap. And as for this week..

Student of Sports (8-8, 9pts)
Tennessee (+7.5) over PITTSBURGH
Kansas City (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Tampa Bay (+1.5) over SAN FRANCISCO (Loving me some of that road team special!)
And for my upset for this week is for Buffalo to defend their turf and take down those once might Philadelphia Eagles. PUT IT ON THE BOARD!

Ray "Box" (6-10, 7pts)
NEW YORK GIANTS (-9.5) over Seattle (Back to back weeks Ray goes with the Giants. Can you feel the love?!?!)
New Orleans (-5.5) over CAROLINA
Green Bay (-5.5) over ATLANTA (ouch..)
And for his upset Ray likes Denver to defend the home turf against the San Diego Chargers. Maybe he's feeling a little Tim Tebow action this week?

Like I say every week feel free to submit your own picks below in the comment section. Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yankee Fans Unite! Let's Avoid the AJ 180!

Let's be honest, AJ Burnett's tenyer in pinstripes have been less than a romance. Through the highs and the lows he has left Yankee fans hoping there is an express exit off of this ride. And tonight he will start game 4 of the ALDS, an elimination game for the Yankees...

(Oh boy...)

I want him to go out there and pitch a gem, I really do. I want the bats to come alive, I really do. I want the Yankees to win, I really do. But I don't want public opinion on AJ to change if he pitches well tonight, I really don't.

All too often in sports the perception of an athlete can change from one week to the next based on performance in big spots. (i.e. Tony Romo) This really bothers me. And to be honest, frightens me. If AJ Burnett throws a great game tonight and saves the Yankees season there is a legitimate chance he will become the darling of Yankee fans. If this happens, although I will be happy for both him and the Yankees, it will make me sick. He has done nothing but prove to the team and fans that he doesn't have what it takes to be an effective, consistent MLB starter.

So let me make this short and sweet.

Fellow Yankee fans, let us come together in hope that Burnett can save the season for the bombers tonight. BUT! I implore you to not become prisoners of the moment! Don't fall for his flirtations with success. No matter what the result tonight may be, keep your current opinions of AJ and don't fall for the same crush we've been battling with for years now. Yankee fans, join me in hoping AJ is a solid contributor in the immediate future but is NOT part of the not so immediate future. Yankee fans, join me in avoiding the AJ 180. Yankee fans, join me in rational thought!

Class Dismissed,
Student of Sports

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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Piece of Flash Fiction Starring Our Pal, Ray Box

Fat Chance

It was 4th and goal from his opponents 5 with only 1 second left on the clock. Rookie quarterback, Ray Box, had successfully driven the Falcons down the field and needed to get this play into the end zone in order to win the Super Bowl.
This was his moment, his opportunity. It wasn’t long ago that Ray was sitting on the sideline as the back up.
“Billy got hurt, Ray. Go in there and don’t screw this up.” The voice of the head coach was still echoing in his head. Since then the defense had blown the lead and it was up to Ray to win it.
“Don’t screw this up.” Ray said to himself as he broke from the huddle. He could feel beads of sweat creep down his cheekbone and leak off of his chin. The amount of sweat on his face paled in comparison to the amount in his palms. It was a feat in and of itself that he could grip the ball, let alone throw the winning touchdown pass.
He got to the line and stared down the defense. The safeties were crowding the line if he could just avoid the rush he should be able to hit his flanker on a fade. The crowd, that had sounded so loud from his seat on the bench, hardly seemed to be making a sound now. Funny how perception changes once you are thrust in the spot light. He couldn’t hear anything but his own heartbeat, but he could feel the vibrations of the stadium.
“X to the corner!” He shouted, calling the hot route. The flanking receiver looked over and nodded, the two were on the same page.
“52 is the mic! 52 is the mic!” Ray called out the blitzing linebacker. His voice was now trembling.
“Don’t screw this up.” He repeated to himself.
“Hut, hut, hike!” Ray proclaimed as the ball was released into his barely steady hands. 
            Just as he thought the safeties came after him, leaving his flanking receiver single covered. He pump faked to the flat and evaded the first blitzer. As the second safety was preparing the separate his torso from the rest of his body he threw the ball up into the air. It seemed to be up there forever and when the ball reached its highest point, it happened.
            “RAY! RAY! It’s time to wake up! You’re going to be late for fat camp!” His mother yelled as she entered him room waking him up.
            “You’ll never make the varsity football team if you don’t lose all that weight!”
            Ray shook himself to fully wake up. He looked down at his sweaty palms and just said, “Damn…”