A Green and “Bold” Prediction

Seems like everybody these days is making reckless predictions that are never correct … I’m looking at you Harold Camping aka “Mr. The World is Ending on May 21st”.  I don’t want to feel left out, so I’m going to make a rather ballsy prediction: The Green Bay Packers will repeat as World Champions by winning the Super Bowl.  Not too bold you say?  Well they are going to win the Super Bowl after an undefeated season.

That’s right; the Green Bay Packers will go undefeated for the whole year and cap the season off by winning the Super Bowl.

The funny thing about this prediction is that I actually believe it might happen (unlike many others’ predictions).  Now I understand that it is a long season and anything can happen, but the Packers remind me of the recent 16-0 Patriots.

Just like the Patriots of 2008, the Packers have an unstoppable passing game led by a quarterback playing nearly flawless football.  The importance of quarterback play in this era is unprecedented which bodes well for Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback.  It’s not simply Aaron Rodgers though, he seems to have a never-ending supply of weapons at his disposal; Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb,  Ryan Grant, and James Starks to name a few.

If you take a peek at the Packers’ schedule then you’ll see that it’s really not too tough.   The Packers will be favored in all of their remaining games, so if they handle their business then a perfect season is not preposterous.  I understand that teams have “off weeks”, but an off week for the Packers would not necessarily result in a loss.

Unlike the undefeated Patriots, the Packers have a legitimate running game and a top-tier defense to fall back on.  The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl without a real running game or a great defense.  This bodes well for the Packers because they will be able to control the ball and grind out victories when they are struggling.

Maybe the most important factor for the Packers is that they are actually healthy this year.  Last year they were without stars Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant, and Charles Woodson in the Super Bowl; not to mention about thirteen other players on injured reserve.

Now I know that a prediction of this magnitude is a recipe for disaster, especially this early in the season, but I got faith in the “cheese”.  Who knows, maybe my head is made of cheese?  If it means anything, Charles Woodson agrees with me.

Written by Hollen O’Kelley
Edited by Saad Rana
Image Sources: http://limitedplaymakers.com

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Roger Federer: A Falling Star

I can only imagine what it would feel like to be the best player in the world in any sport at any given point in time. I can only dream. But for an athlete like Roger Federer to dominate Men’s tennis the way he did is absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, an athlete of his caliber who has accomplished so much will eventually face the harsh fact that he can’t always be the best and dominate the sport of tennis forever.

Federer, a professional Swiss tennis player, has dominated Men’s tennis for years and has forged his own legacy. Many thought that he would be the next Pete Sampras, one of the best tennis players to ever play the game, but perhaps he may be even better. He currently holds 67 career singles titles and the record for most career Grand Slam titles with 16 (he beat Pete Sampras’s 64 career singles titles and 14 career Grand Slam titles). In his prime, Federer held a streak as Men’s Singles World No. 1 for an incredible 285 weeks. Although this is one week shy of tying Pete Sampras’s record of 286 weeks, Federer’s dominance in all aspects of the game, no matter what type of tennis court he played on, is unparalleled.

But how can a champion like Federer deal with losing to players like Novak Djokovic (currently ATP-ranked World No. 1) that he has constantly dominated in his prime? Although Federer is currently ATP ranked No. 3, he is getting older and weaker, and is on the downturn of his career while he competes against players that are younger, stronger, and in their prime performance stage.
I’m sure Federer, as well as any other athlete, would want to be known as the best player in the world as long as possible, but at some point he will have to realize that a new generation of professional athletes will take his place just like he took the place of others. Federer isn’t performing or dominating the way he did in his prime and his body isn’t doing him any favors. The physical nature and extensive athletics involved in tennis take a big toll on his body and along with his age, prevent him from defending his titles.

It must be psychologically and mentally painful for Federer to swallow his pride and accept the fact that he will eventually have to retire from the sport. This brings me to ask this question:
If you dominated for years as the best player in the world in any sport that you fancy, how would you deal with leaving the sport? Would you leave on top as the champion, or drag your career on, suffering from dealing with the pain of losing?

Written by Brandon Lim
Edited by Sarah Gross

Image Source: independent.co.uk

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NBA Lockout

The NBA lockout has left several questions to be answered.  Will there be NBA basketball in October?  Is the league going to be able to retain its top tier players when the lockout ends?  Are the players compelled to play International basketball for the money, or is it for love of the game?  I want to believe that there are still players that play for the love of the game.  The amount of money that athletes can make in this economy, however leads me to believe otherwise.
This lockout is not only going to hurt the players and owners, but it will also hurt the fans.  If the season is indeed canceled, players entering their prime will lose a year in basketball longevity.  This will leave fans deprived of one less year of the NBA’s great players and teams.  Just imagine what Michael Jordan’s phenomenal career would have been if he hadn’t retired.  If he had played in those five seasons he had lost, he would probably have become the all-time scoring leader and would have had more championship rings.  Jordan ultimately left the game because of a loss of passion, but he exemplifies the fortitude of great players.  As a fan, I love watching records being broken and dynasties in the making.  The NBA season finished with such high ratings; I would hate to see it decline because of a stoppage.Kobe Bryant will play his next basketball game at the age of 34 if the NBA season is indeed canceled.  When players play into their 30’s, their athletic ability starts to dramatically decline.  They can’t rely on their athleticism to play at a high level.  The great players are able to work through this, but are never the same.  For example, we may have seen the last of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty.  Manu Ginobili has already stated that he is considering retirement after his contract expires in 2013.  Tim Duncan is no longer the go-to MVP he once used to be.  And Tony Parker has been involved in numerous trade talks.  They are also fresh off an 8th seed upset by the Memphis Grizzlies. Add a year of downtime, and this dynasty is finished.The struggling franchises are going to have a tough time bringing back fans after the lockout.   Some cities were already having a hard time filling out the arena.  Just think about how many fans they will lose when there is a stoppage.  There is also a possibility of teams losing their international players to their national teams.  Another possibility is having marquee players injured overseas or in pickup games.  Just imagine the league starting the year without Deron Williams, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.
Athletes have to make the same decisions that college students have to make.  The players will have to compromise less money and years in their contract for the bigger picture of the NBA. The same can be said for UC students paying more for their tuition to further their careers.  This lockout will definitely hit the NBA market negatively.  The only thing I know is that I will always be a fan of the NBA.
Written by Kyle Higashidani
Edited by Sarah Gross

Image Source: sportige.com

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