Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ask an Expert Responses: Alex Quigley

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question for our first expert, WGN of Chicago radio host Alex Quigley. A big thanks to Alex, of course, for being a good sport and stepping up to the plate here. And without further ado we present the top five questions as voted by you, the readers.

Q: On one hand, fans are willing to grind through obscure statistics to pick the perfect fantasy football lineup. On the other hand, they dismiss computers that do the same thing to pick teams in an algorithmic fashion. What gives?
- Eddie

A: I don't think those are the same fans, necessarily. If anything, those uber-FFL stat grinders would love to have a computer program successfully do it for them. But for the anti-Skynet crowd, I think it's more about being able to "do it themselves"; part of the whole draw of FFL is to become the owner/manager/coach, and building a team that's better than everyone else's in your league is a goal that some people want to take full credit for, instead of a computer formula.

Q: You've been made king of D-IA and the BCS. What do you do? Playoff? Keep it how it is? Kill all the bowl games? If you make a playoff, what does it look like?
- Anonymous

A: I wouldn't have answered this way a few years ago...but I'd keep the system as it is. The intensity of the regular season IS effectively a playoff system...we had a couple of freak years where everyone lost 2 games, it seemed, but generally speaking there's a top 2 teams that are apparent at season's end. At least we get a 1 vs 2 game. (Now, if I'm really King of the FBS, I get rid of a few of the lesser bowls that really don't mean a damn thing to anybody and I start paying players above-board, but I think that's a different question.)

Q: Lots of fans root for teams that have zero chance of ever playing for the national championship. As a long-time Cubs fan, what advice do you have for them?
- Anonymous

A: First: HAW HAW YOU FUNNY MORE LIKE FUNNONYMOUS Second: It's not quite the same. Due to the nature of CFB voting and the huge difference that SOS makes for FBS teams, there really is no way Houston would play for the title this year. Every single team could get 2 losses and Houston still wouldn't make it. The Cubs COULD make it one of these years...dammit, I'm flashing back to that 2008 team. Everyone always eulogizes the 2003 team but to me that 2008 team was a steamroller of awesome. Dodgers hit that grand slam in the FIFTH INNING of GAME ONE...and the series was OVER. So disappointing to see the curse of The Curse get into the heads of professional ballplayers. But they're a big-market team with a new GM (didja hear?), and they'll eventually do it. I may not be alive to see it, but it'll happen. You made me allcaps'ed.

Q: Sure, you're frustrated with fantasy football, but do you think that it has a net positive on the sport?
- Eddie

A: Oh, absolutely from a business angle. So much more attention and more money spent on the product. FFL may not have created more football fans, but it certainly converted more casual fans into intense fans. As for the sport itself, I don't think it's been changed by FFL. Bill Belicheck and Mike Shanahan won't allow it. But I do think there's a Billion Dollar League out there somewhere comprised of the most powerful people in the world, and every once in a while I see a stat line or phantom injury that make me think, "ooh, the BDL got to someone this week".

Q: Illinois hired Ron Zook, and the Bears had Rex Grossman for a while. Does Chicago not get TV channels that carry SEC games?
- TempoFreeGridiron

A: Changing topic because the anger is rising: CBS's SEC football theme = best sports TV theme around. For like, 25 years now, right?