I have always lacked self-control. Someone would dare me to try the “24-Alarm Blazing Wings” at 1:00 a.m. and I’d be screaming for a fire hose at 1:04. If given the choice of laying up or trying to hit the best 3-wood of my life I usually find myself dropping a golf ball three minutes later. So I guess it’s no surprise that this go get em style has always followed me to my life as a college fantasy footballer and fan of all things college gridiron action.
In my real life I’ve always utilized New Year’s Resolutions as a way to combat behavior that could use a little tweaking. A couple of years back I gave up red meat for a year because a colleague told me that it takes about a week to digest. This year I gave up all fried foods because I was getting fat, and so far so good, not even one french fried tater in 2010.
And because these have have worked so well, I'm going to apply a set of rules to the 2010 College (Fantasy) Football Season. Self improvement my friends...self improvement and Personal Power!
1. Abstain from any trades during tailgates
Unbeknownest to my wife, we will likely be enjoying ten or more tailgates this season. And while these Saturdays present plenty of opportunities for jolly good fun, they also present an infinite number of opportunities for me to do something stupid. You see, my friends and I like to enjoy a few ginger ales prior to football games. And while I go about 5'9" and 165 pounds, many of my friends look the part of a Big Ten tight end. Case in point was our trip to Cal a couple of years back to see the Spartans tackle the Bears. We're on the subway to Berkeley and an older chap dressed very well and carrying a violin case sits down amongst 10 individuals clad in green and white. He asks if we're heading to an "athletic contest of some sort" and we mention football. He looks at my buddy Tony (about the size of da Gronk) and asks if he's playing in the game. Nevermind that Tony was holding a beer and dressed in khaki shorts...
My point? It's that the laws of inebriation state that when grabbing a beer at the same rate as friends like Tony, I become an idiot much faster. Thus any trade made after the first Bloody Mary will likely not end well for me. Of course well past the first cocktail I begin to consider trades simply to watch a particular player that afternoon. "Hey, you are right...Michael Floyd is on the bye and I can WATCH Mark Dell play...TODAY! Let's shake on this bad boy!"
Not this year.
2. Abstain from any wagers during final hours of tailgates
Ask me about MSU's chances prior to those aforementioned beverages and I'm Debbie Downer. Ask me after 10:00 a.m. EST and the alma mater will run right through a team comprised of the 1985 Bears plus Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus.
3. Hit the mute button when Craig James appears on my screen.
When I want the opinion of an annoying ex-jock, meddling parent I'll drive to any little league field and listen to the helicopter parents have at it.
4. Enjoy every minute of Musburger
One day Brent may decide to ride off into the sunset with his pardner. We must enjoy him while we can. Here is an old piece of drivel honoring Mr. Musburger: The Man: Brent Musburger
5. Make fewer last-minute lineup decisions
Friday night involves buying and cooking for the tailgate and making rational, well-researched lineup decisions in my college fantasy leagues. I eliminate my heart, focus on the numbers and then play the odds.
Then Saturday comes around and I revert back to the moron referenced in points #1 and #2. Now granted, there are many occasions (weather, late-breaking injury information, etc.) when a change is required. However far too often what starts with an innocent question to Alex "Hey, what do you think about starting Jock Sanders today instead of Tandon Doss" becomes an all-out discussion with the old guy at the neighboring tailgate wondering aloud, asking how one plays this college "fantasy" football.
Then I suffer through this horrible turmoil while Alex sits back and laughs at me.
Not this year.
6. I will not taunt my opponents nor will I gloat too much
In real life I'm rather soft-spoken and can actually be quite pleasant to be around. My fantasy persona is something entirely different.
I bring champagne when my weekly opponent will be at the tailgate, so if I'm blowing him out I can shake it up and pop the top after the game. One year I celebrated my championship by mailing "2007 Big Ten Loser" T-Shirts to my league mates. That same year my kicker, Penn State's Kevin Kelly, ran in a fake field goal against my beloved alma mater to clinch a championship over Alex...and I did a little jig in Spartan Stadium, drawing a bunch of angry and confused looks from the people that had sat around me for years.
In recent years premature gloating has come back to bite me. I proclaim my team's superiority after every single draft, and truth be told, the 2007 fantasy title is my most recent fantasy success. Last year my far superior Big Ten squad was stunned in the final by Alex, and I think others were actually happy that he repeated as champ. And that was an eye-opener for me.
This year I'll be humble, hard-working and I won't create any t-shirts, no matter how clever they may be.
7. I will keep Michael Floyd no matter what happens
I've had quite the man crush on Floyd since he first set foot on campus. So I was sure to snap him up in the two leagues that matter to me most: the aforementioned Big Ten (plus Notre Dame) League and a BCS league with two other college football "gurus" whom I know well. Last year, when Floyd broke his collarbone in a September contest against Michigan State (an injury that was supposed to keep him out ALL YEAR), I had to make some choices.
The BCS league places a premium on keepers and has a bigger roster limit, so he was placed on virtual injured reserved and I moved on. However the Big Ten league only allows one non-freshman keeper, and in desperate need of another wide receiver, I let Floyd go, only to pick up...Duval Kamara. And then, as Michael Floyd proved to be a fast healer, I went to nab him on waivers...only to be beaten by Alex, my eventual foe in the finals.
Floyd caught eight passes for over 100 yards, enough to give Alex the championship. This was the most unkindest cut of all. And no matter what happens this year, I'll never let Floyd go again.
8. I will program my DVR a week in advance in order that I don't possibly miss:
Week One: Boise State vs. Virginia Tech
Week Two: Penn State at Alabama
Week Three: Iowa at Arizona
Week Four: TCU at SMU
Week Five: Texas A&M at Oklahoma State
Week Six: Baylor vs. Texas Tech
Week Seven: Texas at Nebraska
Week Eight: Houston at SMU
Week Nine: Texas Tech at Texas A&M
Week Ten: Washington at Oregon
Week 11: Cincy at West Virginia
Week 12: Houston at Southern Miss
9. Say Something I've Never Said at a Tailgate
"You know what guys, this tailgate has been great. But I'm really glad the game is starting in 20 minutes. Another hour would've just been too much."
It's almost here. It's almost here.