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Fun bunch (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday May 24, 2006 11:19AM; Updated: Wednesday May 24, 2006 1:00PM
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Which NFL rookie will have the best season: Vince Young, Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart?
-- Christian, East Hartford

My personal favorite for next season is one you neglected to mention: Vernon Davis. He'll be an immediate star, and perhaps be the lone bright spot on the 49ers' roster this year. Expect this tight end to be a major playmaker in the red zone. He's a good choice for you fantasy players, too. Mark my words.

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My girlfriend is pretty hot, but the other day a friend of mine who makes less money than me and is not much to look at showed up with a babe totally hotter than mine. Is it time for an upgrade, or am I just being immature?
-- Mike, Seattle

It never ceases to amaze me how guys use women and money as a means of validating their existence and their place in society to one another. Sheesh. Sometimes men remind me of dogs -- they feel the need to constantly mark their territory to show dominance over one another. (I guess women are fortunate that men don't do it the same way.) Honestly, did you ever think that maybe there is more to women than their looks? Sure, your friend's date could have been hotter than yours, but was said girl the least bit intelligent, or was she strictly a piece of arm candy to elevate his status among the fellas in the group? Your girl may not be as hot, but there had to be something that attracted you to her in the first place, like intelligence, sense of humor, personality? So consider yourself the lucky one, because at least your date can form complete sentences and not spend the entire night contemplating the difference between chicken and fish.

Then again, God could simply think he did you a good enough favor giving you the better job, so the less hot girl is simply a trade-off. You can't have it all, my friend.

I have a little girl who's almost two years old, and I would love it if she grew up loving sports like I do. How did your parents fuel your passion for sports?
-- Corey, Waverly, Iowa

I grew up in family full of jocks and dancers, though I'm as uncoordinated as they come. Playing sports was just not an option for me, so I figured: If you can't be an athlete, be a fan. Two is a very young age to start, but I'd probably approach it from the "good guy, bad guy" concept. It's a fairly common theme in most children's programming, so it shouldn't be hard for her to grasp.

For me, it was, "See those guys in the orange and blue, and the man throwing the visor? They are very, very bad." Or my parents would dress me in cute little outfits adorned with Sebastian the Ibis (I was raised a fan of the "U"). Regardless of your team, it gives your daughter something to cheer for and belong to.

Another option is teach her to like or dislike the mascots. For Florida State fans, the Gators are bad because they drag around a stuffed pony. Florida State has the privilege of having Chief Osceola and Renegade instead of two college freshmen doing embarrassing dances in hundred-degree polyester costumes. Or you can teach her the fight songs and cheers. It keeps her entertained and involved. You can work on the play-calling and strategies later.

Regardless, just make the environment fun, and one that creates bonding time with Dad. Sports will always be the common link between me and my father, so be sure to share the precious memories with her.

What team(s) do you fear the most in the ACC to overtake your Seminoles this season?
-- Jim, Greenville, S.C.

I really expect my Seminoles to have a pretty good season. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we have eight home games this year and that we spent a lot of recruiting effort beefing up our offensive line and finding kids who will hopefully bring new dimensions to the team, like throwing to the tight end.

There are really only a few teams out there that I am a little hesitant about playing. Boston College gave us a little trouble last year but has since lost some of its key playmakers, while somehow managing to keep a very strong defensive line.

The Bowden Bowl brings its own drama to Doak Campbell as the game pits father (Bobby Bowden) against son (Tommy Bowden). With a loss to Clemson last year, the Seminoles will be out for revenge. Expect to see a hungry defense, which could be bad news for new Tigers starting quarterback Will Proctor. He's more mobile than Charlie Whitehurst, but will his offensive line be effective enough to give him time to maneuver? While he is a great athlete, Proctor is still a big question mark for the Clemson offense, although the Tigers will add freshman C.J. Spiller to the mix.

Week 1 is always the most difficult. We play the Miami Hurricanes, and both offenses will still be trying to jell. Last year was the first time the Seminoles pulled out an upset against the Hurricanes since 1999, sacking Miami QB Kyle Wright nine times. (Miami's kicker also reimbursed our missed field goals from previous years.) 

Though the 'Canes suffered some major losses at the end of last season, they are notorious for replacing talent with talent. Both QBs (Wright and Drew Weatherford) made their starting debuts last year and neither found their niche, so expect a dramatic improvement upon last year's performance from both quarterbacks. Week 1 will continue to be the battle of the defenses, until they move the game to a later date in the season, giving the offense more preparation time and experience. Then again, it is probably safe to say that special teams will also get their fair share of playing time. My words of advice: Get your leg ready, Cismesia, it's going to be a long night.

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