Bateman: Previewing Fall sports is a way of life

By Oliver Bateman

Autumn is almost here, and all of you college sports fans are undoubtedly excited about the… Autumn is almost here, and all of you college sports fans are undoubtedly excited about the rivalry games, backyard brawls and showcase showdowns that will come with it. In the course of getting “amped” and/or “psyched” for these dream matchups, you might forget that the fall sports universe consists of far more than vacated Heismans, academically ineligible players and investigations of John Calipari’s University of Kentucky Wildcats. No, friends, there are all of these other professional sports out there — and it is our duty as The Pitt News’ premier advice column to give you the fall sports 411.

NBA: Considered by discerning viewers to be something of a minor league, the NBA is a basketball association that doubles as a shoe commercial. In previous centuries, the NBA built itself around top “dunkers” and “jammers” like “Air” Jordan, “Sir Charles” Barkley and the Teen Wolf. Today, players like LeBron James and Stephon “Starbury” Marbury compete for the right to get filmed doing all sorts of gravity-defying slams while wearing the latest in brand-name footwear. The NBA regular season lasts well over 200 games, and most of the players have become notorious for sleepwalking through these dull, one-sided affairs. The championship almost always goes to the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that has carved out a niche as Jack Nicholson’s favorite team.

WWE: Once a lurid spectacle heavily dependent on the star power of peroxide-blond behemoth “Hulk” Hogan, the WWE has since lost much of its audience to more competitive sports like Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the World Series of Poker. Nowadays, the WWE limps along as an entertainment outlet for juggalos and the handful of deluded viewers who still believe that this “sport” is real. It also has a division that consists of “divas” who engage in pillow fights and shaving-cream-battles royale, so if a monthly publication like Maxim is out of your price range, this might be a good fallback.

UFC: The UFC is a bone-shattering, skull-busting organization that has gone rogue and as a consequence become popular with people who wear TapouT T-shirts. Some of the top UFC players include that guy from the recent “A-Team” movie, that guy from “Dancing with the Stars” and that guy who knocked out that other guy’s eye in a famous YouTube video.

NASCAR: We think this one’s still happening in the winter. Have you ever watched it before? The cars go round and round the track, there are a bunch of wrecks, and someone wins a handful of points. If you have the most points at the end of the year, you win the Sprint Cup. Nextel Cup? Winston Cup? They change the name of this trophy more often than we change our pants. Judging from the number of times she has appeared in a bikini, Danica Patrick seems to be leading in this category. Based on the same criterion, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is second.

PGA: Here’s one for those of you who enjoy long afternoon naps. The golf season, which runs from 1982 until the present, is built around the idea that Tiger Woods is invincible. There are bunches of no-names who compete against him, but even Phil Mickelson and his magnificent man-boobs — “moobs,” for short — can’t stop this juggernaut. In fact, Tiger Woods was the most important, lovable and marketable person on the planet until it was revealed a few months ago that he makes the same kind of mistakes as the rest of us. Once we learned about this, we asked for a refund from a sporting goods store for our $49.95 Nike Dri-Fit golf shirt. Our request was refused, and the hurt still hasn’t gone away.

Fantasy Football: Because it combines the thrill of football with the painlessness of “fantasy,” the nerds love this one. Although fantasy football doesn’t have one official sanctioning body, there’s no doubt that it has taken the world by storm. For years, procrastinating students and office drones didn’t have anything to do with all of their down time. Keeping track of a backup running back for the Minnesota Vikings just didn’t make a lot of sense when you had paper clips to fidget with and water coolers to stand around. Thanks to the invention of fantasy football, these folks now have a reason to follow the performances of forgettable players and disappointing teams. Every game matters, if only on account of the statistics that game’s participants will produce. Rumor has it that there’s a new version of fantasy football in the works, a “fantasy fantasy draft,” where participants will spend all season updating their draft boards and win points based on how closely their predictions correspond to those of Mel Kiper, Jr.

We know that it’s hard to pull yourself away from a college football game with as much history behind it as Connecticut-South Florida, but do remember that there are lots of other great sports out there. Whereas the NBA can’t compete with the college game in terms of ineligible players, it certainly has produced its share of memorable arrests. The PGA has given us plenty of useful white noise as well as lots of different moisture-resistant garments. Even sports that we didn’t have time to discuss in detail, like beer pong and horseshoes, have their merits. Once you begin to explore all these national pastimes, you will be well on your way to becoming the kind of informed citizen who can stay competitive in any game of bar trivia. And that’s what life is all about, right?

Oliver Bateman is the head coach and athletic director of the Moustache Sports Club of America. The MSCoA is your one-stop destination for steroid investigations, Pittsburgh Pirates coverage and Brock Lesnar fan fiction. If you’ve got a fantasy story involving Mr. Lesnar, you should surf over to and submit it to us. Notwithstanding the effect that Mr. Lesnar might have on you, try to keep it PG-13. We’re a family-friendly website, people!