Unlike virtually any other vocation, professional sports has a very finite, and for most players a very short shelf life. This makes post career planning (and saving money) a crucially important life skill.
What will I do for work? How will I pay the bills?
For numerous athletes, this transition has been made easier through the vast availability of decently paying jobs in television and radio, to the extent that the Bristol campus of ESPN has practically become a quasi pension plan for numerous former NFL and MLB players, stars and non-stars alike.
So it's not all that surprising that thebiglead.com reported earlier this week that there is a three network bidding war on the horizon to land the services of Tim Tebow, who is reportedly resigned to the fact that this NFL dream may finally be over. Presumably his role with one of these networks would be as a college football analyst.
(Much more surprising than ESPN and company priming the pump for Tebow is that it took the NFL this long to finally stop making phone calls to him about playing quarterback.)
So realistic is this possibility that, yes, bovada.lv is taking action on it! Here are those odds:
NFL WEEK 14 SPECIALS - Which network will hire Tim Tebow first? ESPN 1/2 FOX 2/1 CBS 4/1
These look about right -- ESPN has the resources, the track record (hire everybody!), and the long discussed "Tebow love" (see Sportscenter from mid 2011 through end of 2012). FOX makes the most sense in that it would bring people over to the fledgling FOX Sports 1 network. CBS is a logical third option given how intertwined they are with the SEC, where presumably Tebow would be able to provide the most insight.
Now the next question is "Will Tim Tebow be any good at game analysis, or any analysis for that matter?" For that prop bet, I'd say the odds are something like this:
YES +2000 NO -4000
Lost in the shuffle of Tebow-mania and the networks' tripping over themselves to cover him as a player and potentially sign him as an analyst is that he's, quite frankly, not very interesting. Nor very insightful. Nor reputedly all that bright as quarterbacks go.
His well known convictions spiritually are a huge reason he has his unconditional followers, his success as a college quarterback are a huge reason he has his football fans (largely confined to the southeast part of the United States), and beyond that, the zealousness of his following is why the rest of the world watches, not so much out of admiration but out of amazement.
What's the fascination with this guy? Why am I so fascinated with the fascination?
Logical questions asked to non-religious, non-SEC football fans who find themselves glued to Tebow coverage. If ever there was a guy who the media covered because they thought everyone wanted to see him, and then we all subsequently watched because we were fed him like he was supposed to be a big deal, it's Tebow.
The thing about being an analyst is that he will need to be insightful and entertaining or people will tune out. The same way many of us eventually tuned out when it was clear the NFL had finally realized he sucks at pro football, people will turn on Tebow the second they realize there's not much there in the analysis tank.
I may be wrong, and if I am, good for him. But I'd bet "NO -4000" on Tebow succeeding as a game analyst. My gut feel. Now some quick Best Bets for this weekend, as I try to build off my amazing 6-5-1 record the last two weeks (just enough to pay the vig!)
Missouri +2 over Auburn (SEC Title Game) I think four things work in Missouri's favor here:
1. Auburn is set up for a classic "let down" situation after the way that they beat Alabama last weekend. Final play of the game, greatest Iron Bowl ever, rivalry game, it's all there for a lazy first quarter from the Tigers (shit, they're both the Tigers, I hate that). Lazy first quarter from Auburn.
2. Auburn's strength is its ground game, but Missouri defends the run pretty well (defensively, Mizzou is 14th in the nation in total rushing yards, 23rd in the nation in yards per carry).
3. Auburn seems to be the most bandied about possible BCS title game "gate crasher" in this game, but they've had two wins this month that were of the "miracle" variety, and Missouri has won all but one of their 11 wins by at least two touchdowns. Also, their loss was in double overtime on a missed field goal. So along those lines...
4. I think Missouri is going to feel a little disrespected being an underdog.
Missouri 38, Auburn 24
Texas/BAYLOR OVER 71 1/2 Texas has gone 3-1 on the road but it's been a mediocre 3-1 (blowout loss to BYU, one point win at Iowa State, 30-7 win over 4-8 TCU, overtime win at West Virginia). They haven't beaten a bowl eligible team on the road. Depending on how the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game plays out, this game could be for a Big 12 title. When he's at home, Art Briles right now is like Michael Corleone in the last half hour of The Godfather squaring all family business with other schools who picked on Baylor in years past. Points will be scored.
ARIZONA STATE -3 over Stanford These two teams played early in the season in Palo Alto, and Stanford built a monster halftime lead on their way to a 42-28 win, which was probably karmic rebalancing from the football gods from the week before when Arizona State beat Arizona on the most butchered final 15 seconds of a game you'll ever see. This is a different Arizona State team, though, thats peaking at the right time, and Stanford has been just all right since knocking off Oregon in early November. Home team here.
Raiders +2 1/2 over JETS I'll admit, I'm hoping I'm right on this one just so we get a sequel to this:
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BENGALS -6 1/2 over Colts This is the AFC Intercontinental Title bout for "best division winner who won't have a first round bye in the AFC" (Denver and New England are getting those spots.). Bengals are 5-0 ATS at home this season, and Indy seems to have settled into this malaise where they follow wins with horrifying losses over the last month.
SAINTS -3 over Panthers The Panthers are the hottest team in football (Last eight games: 8-0 SU, 7-1 ATS), and the Saints at home are nails (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) especially in prime time. Irresistible force meets the immovable object, I'll take the home team in prime time.
Last week: 3-2-1 Season record: 33-48-3
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.