All That and a Bag of Mail

FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

This year I’m participating in the Westgate Superbook NFL contest, where I have to pick five NFL games against the spread every week all season. The best picker, which won’t be me, will win a million dollars. So here we go with my week one picks: I’ve got the Titans +3, the Colts -2.5, the Broncos -4, the Bengals -3 and the Cowboys -6.5.  

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is my mom, who had her hip replaced on Wednesday. Lots of people think they have the best mom in the world, but you’re all wrong, I do. Here’s a quick story on my mom. On Wednesday she had her hip replaced, she got back to the hospital room around three in the afternoon. I left her room and drove to the airport because I left for LA at six. At around 11 ct, I touched down in LA. Two minutes later my phone buzzes with a text, it’s my mom. The night of her surgery she’s been waiting up in bed tracking my flight to make sure I landed safely.

What a mom. (She’s definitely reading the mailbag right now too. So get well.) 

On to the mailbag.  

Before we get going, if you get arrested for public sex in a Denny’s parking lot why wouldn’t you give an interview to explain yourself. 


Cameron C. writes:

“Dear gay, Muslim, liberal, Trump worshipper

Would you agree that deflategate being appealed to the Supreme Court is the worst possible scenario for lawyers/ sports fans? It’s bad enough when sportscaster who never got their undergrad degrees start spewing about reasonable doubt for pot possession, let alone federal civil procedure and collective bargaining agreements. Are Mike and Mike going to being giving us analysis on Scalia and Ginsburg? Is the fact that all nine justices spent at least three years in New England mean they are all biased and must recuse themselves?

Unfortunately you may be the lone national sports commentator whose discussions about legal cases do not drive all attorneys crazy. Obviously looking forward to the amicus curae brief written by the 85% and Barstool Sports.”

You know what’s crazy about this, I actually think this would be a fascinating Supreme Court case. Because it’s really a case about implied and express powers. Does Roger Goodell’s power as NFL commissioner extend to suspending a player for violating league rules when the power to suspend in this instance isn’t specifically given to him?

And here’s the way I would analyze that, what’s the number one responsibility of the NFL commissioner? It’s to ensure that the game is played fairly, right? Everything else derives from that mandate. If you read Judge Berman’s decision he read the commissioner’s power very narrowly. So narrowly that even if Brady had 100% cheated by deflating the footballs himself and 100% refused to cooperate with the NFL investigation, Brady would still have, at most, faced a fine of just over $5000 for deflating footballs.

That can’t be right.

So I think this is a fascinating case. It will certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. Will they take it? Odds are they won’t, but I would love to see it happen if only so Mike and Mike could analyze strict constructionism.  

Sean D. writes:

“Hey Clay,

You know how in some countries the Prime Minister can dissolve Parliament and call for new elections? Well let’s imagine that you’re the SEC Commissioner and you’re tasked with dissolving the SEC and remaking the conference with the teams you feel are the best fits. There are some catches: You have to pick a school from each state in the current SEC footprint, but only one school from each state (pick Auburn or Alabama), and it actually doesn’t have to be any of the current SEC schools (USC or Clemson / Texas or Texas A&M). Finally, you can pick up to 16 schools/states (VA or NC or even Ohio or California). What schools would be your picks to create the most badass conference you can?”

Okay, if I have to pick only one team from each SEC state now, that means I’m going to start with 11 teams instead of 14. So I’d pick Alabama over Auburn, Tennessee over Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss over Mississippi State. I don’t think these are controversial decisions for anyone other than diehard fans of each of these teams. I would stick with every other team that is solo in its state now. Sure, Texas may have more fans than Texas A&M, but Texas is an awful partner and I want an egalitarian mix, a conference of equals. 

I take North Carolina and Virginia from those states. (You can make an argument for Duke or Virginia Tech, but I want the flagship school in each state because my conference is almost exclusively made up of flagship state institutions already. Without Vanderbilt, taking Duke makes no sense because every school would be a state school except Duke). I would then take the Oklahoma and Kansas from the west. That gets me to 15 and all of those picks make pretty good sense. Which allows me to make one really controversial move. 

I take Ohio State to add the state of Ohio to the mix — and also force Ohio State to actually play in a good conference for once.  

Voila, my sixteen team super conference. 

William P. writes:

“Would the SEC ever think it makes sense to poach a Big Ten School?

For example, Purdue. The Big Ten already has a school in Indiana (Indiana), and fights for a piece of the ratings pie with Notre Dame. Market is adjacent to SEC. The SEC would gain access to both Chicago and Indianapolis markets.”

Purdue! You have the entire Big Ten to consider and you come at with Purdue!

Here’s the deal, I’d be stunned if the SEC or the Big Ten ever lose a member. The money from the conference networks is just too substantial to make leaving make sense. Couple that with the long term histories of the conferences and most of their teams and the angry fan base reactions in the event of a move and I don’t ever see any existing Big Ten or SEC school leaving. But if any team did leave the SEC, I think it would be Vanderbilt. Based on academics and location, the Big Ten would love to have Vandy. I don’t think the Commodores would ever leave the SEC, but they’re a team the Big Ten would take and I could see how the Big Ten’s better academics could make sense for Vandy.

If the SEC was going to poach a Big Ten team — which I don’t believe the league ever would because I believe the SEC will one day have teams in Virginia and North Carolina instead — the most valuable SEC addition would be, believe it or not, Illinois. That’s based entirely on the population of the state of Illinois and the belief that the University of Illinois would deliver the SEC Network the entire state’s cable and satellite subscribers. Illinois has 12.8 million people, Pennsylvania has 12.6 million, and Ohio has 11.6 million. So the three most valuable teams in the Big Ten are Illinois, Penn State, and Ohio State. If the SEC were going to poach a team, it would need to be one of these three.   

Stephen M. writes:

“Let me start this off by saying my roommate and I are two proud members of the “15%. While watching the US Open last night, my roommate and I had the following discussion: If we were to both quit our day jobs and focus on becoming a professional athlete in any given sport within a 3 year time frame, which “sport” would be the easiest to obtain a position in the highest league? For example, we cannot simply be on a minor league baseball team; we must make it to the MLB. Same thing goes for all other sports and it must be obtained within 3 years. We are both 25 and consider ourselves to be in good shape for your average 25 year old. We would have access to the best facilities in the world, the best coaches in the world, and could practice everyday from 8 to 5. We both agree that football, basketball, and baseball are absolutely out of the question. I would also argue that tennis is out of the question but he disagrees. I say that bowling is probably the easiest sport to become a professional within the 3-year time frame. His opinion is NASCAR, which, given the fact we are fellow gumps makes sense. It also may actually put him the 85% now that he says that. So, if given three full years to become a professional in any given sport, with unlimited access to facilities, the best coaches, and unlimited practice time, which sport do you think would be the easiest to become a professional?”

You would have a nearly 0% chance of going pro in any sport because you can’t make up the number of hours of practice that every pro has already spent on his sport in just three years of heavy training.

Having said that, bowling is the clear answer. I feel like I could be a professional bowler one day if I committed myself to the sport. I’m pretty good already, it requires almost zero athleticism, not that many people in decent shape play it now.  

I honestly can’t think of any other sport that you could practice for three years straight every day for eight hours and have a remote chance to make it as a pro. 

Rix writes:

“I’m a recent grad of an SEC school. My wife (and her entire family) are big fans of my alma mater’s ACC rival. The two of us were in college at the same time and attended all four rivalry games together.

This year, my new job isn’t going to allow me to be at the game. She’s a big football fan (yes, I outkicked the hell out of my coverage), so I am thinking about trying to score tickets for her and her dad. However, since the game is in SEC country, I’ll be willingly putting two rival fans in the stadium with tickets that would probably wind up going to home fans.

The game isn’t until November, so I’ve got some time to decide what to do. Would appreciate your input.”

Send your wife and her dad to the game. 

Fans don’t change the outcome of a game. Plus, you’ll seem noble this way and your wife will sleep with you for your maturity. (Just don’t tell her you emailed the least mature writer on the Internet to ask for advice about what to do).  

Jacob C. writes:

“My friends and I are in a quandary of sorts and need your help. About a week ago, two of us were having drinks at a local bar. After some group message smack talk, a “drink off” was proposed to see who could consume the most alcohol without throwing up. Today, when the competition was brought up, a few even went as far as to threaten others in our group over the drinking competition, so basically, this shit is going down ASAP. Here’s where you come in: we’ve wrestled with different rules for the competition, but to no avail. What should the basic rules be for the drink off? Obviously, first one to puke loses, but the the details are the concern. What drink should we consume to ensure a fair and balanced competition? (Each of us love anything with alcohol in it) Also, what should the cut off be to make sure no one dies of alcohol poison? (This would happen, as all are fierce competitors and would literally Drink themselves to death over this). What should the time limit be? We need you’re gay Muslim ass ASAP.”

First, drinking competitions are incredibly stupid and you should never do them.

Second, it’s light beer, obviously, and a one hour time limit.  

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.