I am doing something that I gave up several years ago after realizing that it burned me out and caused me great stress. But I have backslid. I now worry about it when I shouldn't. It interferes with my work. But more importantly, it distorts my views of things.
I'm talking, of course, about fantasy football.
There, I said it.
Fantasy football just isn't healthy. It causes
rational-thinking people to do irrational things. Case
in point: A buddy of mine (in a different fantasy
league) "started" Oakland receiver Jerry Rice on
Sunday. So what happens? Raider Alvis Whitted, a
former NCSU player, is the recipient of a 38-yard TD
pass from QB Rich Gannon - not Jerry Rice. My friend
later tells me that he's cursing up a storm in his
living room, irate that it was Whitted - not Rice -
who caught a TD pass. And when Whitted converted the
two-point conversion, well, it just sent my friend
over the edge.
Did I mention that my friend is a State fan?
Another case study: My stud running back on Sunday was
the Steelers' Duce Staley, who carried Bill Cowher's
team on his back with 91 yards. Three times the
Steelers were at the Raiders' one-yard line after
Staley led Pittsburgh down the field. And three times
off the field went Staley and in came Jerome Bettis,
barreling in for three scores. I was furious. I was
cursing Cowher. How could he do that to me? (Oh, by
the way, there are few players in the NFL I respect
more or pull for harder than Bettis. C'est la vie.)
One final case study: My kicker nailed a 42-yarder
with just seven seconds left to win the game. (Of
course with fantasy football, the wins and losses are
irrelevant.) That kicker was none other than former
Tar Heel Jeff Reed of the Steelers. And I was
ecstatic. Sure it wasn't but three points, but I sure
And this is the problem with fantasy football. If the
St. Louis Rams were to play the Philadelphia Eagles
(my starting defense), then I would have to pull for
the Eagles' DBs to pick off a couple of passes thrown
in the direction of Torry Holt. And that's just not
The fact that I spent basically my entire Sunday
watching NFL games that I normally could care less
about (Jets-Bengals? Jacksonville-Buffalo?) and
pulling for players (Corey Dillon? Jimmy Smith?) I
could normally care less about shows that there's
something wrong here. And it also illustrates why I
would never take part in an ACC-themed fantasy league.
I can just see it now: Hoping that my drafted QB (say,
Bryan Randall of Virginia Tech) can score as many
times as possible against my defense (say, NC
State's). Sure, you can hope that "your team" (State)
wins the game while still allowing "your QB" (Randall)
have a big game. But that's an emotional roller
coaster that I don't want to get on.
My reaction to fantasy football also proves to me why
I should never gamble on sports. It would be even
harder to watch the NFL if I knew my life's savings
was on the line. With fantasy football - at least with
the league I'm in - it's more about pride and
good-natured ribbing among friends (with just a wee
bit of moolah thrown in to make it interesting).
Nonetheless, I'm here to admit it. My name is Matt,
and I have a problem.
And that problem is I can't wait for the weekend to
ACC Rankings - One Man's Opinion
1. Miami: It wasn't pretty, but the Hurricanes - again
- dispensed of FSU.
2. Virginia: Sure, UVa's first two opponents (Temple
and UNC) aren't exactly Miami and Florida State, but
the Cavs nonetheless looked pretty invincible in
3. Florida State: Perhaps Bobby should never ever ever
again attempt a kick against Miami. Ever.
4. Maryland: Terps continue to take care of business.
But this shouldn't surprise us.
5. NC State: Will the off week help or hurt the
6. Virginia Tech: Hokies to host first-ever ACC league
game this Saturday.
7. Georgia Tech: It's just one game, but folks are
standing up and taking notice of the Ramblin' Wreck.
8. Clemson: Only because they barely edged out ...
9. Wake Forest: Deacs will scare the bejeebus out of a
ton of good teams this year - and may even beat a few.
10. Duke: Devils suffered a heart-breaker at UConn.
But, honestly, there's no shame in that.
11. North Carolina: There is shame, however, in not
even showing up or competing against one of your
This Week's Games
Ohio State at NC State: The biggest non-conference
home game in Wolfpack history vs. one of the few
ventures to Dixie for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is used
to big games; NC State is still getting used to big
games (as evidenced by the fact that this is the
biggest non-conference home game in Wolfpack history).
Nonetheless, the denizens of Carter-Finley will be up
for this one, producing a truly special atmosphere.
The difference may be Ivan: the Pack's chances could
be greatly improved if the game has to be won on the
ground. Thus ...
(In the rain) NC State 24, Ohio State 21
(No rain) Ohio State 32, THE North Carolina State
Maryland at West Virginia: The Terps have dominated
the 'Neers in recent years. Some prognosticators have
WVU as a dark-horse national champion candidate; I'm
not one of them.
Maryland 44, West Virginia 35
Duke at Virginia Tech: The Blue Devils don't have the
talent to stay with the Hokies for an entire game, but
this one could go down to the wire.
Virginia Tech 27, Duke 21
Louisiana Tech at Miami: La. Tech has a penchant for
scoring points, but the Canes' defense will put the
kibosh on any such desires this time around.
Miami 34, La. Tech 10
Akron at Virginia: This one won't be pretty. Unless
you're a UVa fan. Or you just like watching violence.
Hoos 50, Zips 14
Georgia Tech at North Carolina: The Yellow Jackets
went into a loud and raucous Death Valley last week
and came out a winner. You think the 25,000-plus in
tranquil Kenan Stadium will faze Chan Gailey's team?
Georgia Tech 28, UNC 17
UAB at Florida State: Chris Rix and the Noles get to
rebound against a solid Blazers squad. FSU's fortunes
for the rest of the season will rely on how their QB
responds after last week's performance.
FSU 27, UAB 17
N.C. A&T at Wake Forest: Aside from Virginia, there
may not be a more confident ACC team right now than
Jim Grobe's Deacs.
Wake 35, 'T' 10
Clemson at Texas A&M: Tommy B's boys were
shell-shocked in the final moments against Tech, and
now must go into one of college football's most
venerable atmospheres. Not easy.
A&M 24, Clemson 21
Prognostication Record So Far (based on picking the
correct winner only):
Lail: The Poisoned Fruit
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