Five underreported sports stories in 2013 you’ll be sick of by this time next year.

Friendly animals will all be armed in Sochi

It’s the white-in-salami ‘best-of’ time of year on the internets, and DPB is no exception to the rule of lazy. Actually, it is, because we don’t have enough content to really suss out what’s best. So, instead of recounting what worked for us in 2013 (basically it comes down to a list of incredible NBA Christmas sleeve jersey selections), it’s time to get a sneak peek at (five stories) you’ll never want to hear about again by end of the next leisurely rotation of the earth ’round the sun:

5) The BCS has no idea (still) what it’s doing (rather, it doesn’t care what you think) and a four-team playoff may actually be the one solution that is worse than the current format: Call it the BCS’s version of Obamacare. A great idea (playoff system) marginalized wholly by vested interest of the powers-that-be (in this case, insurance companies and special interest groups are played by the giant nonprofit juggernaut individual BCS bowls and the accompanying NCAA “power conferences” whose top schools get a shot.)

The “fairness’ of a four-team playoff is akin to a dealer-vs.-single-player blackjack game. It’ll move fast and the house will win.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock after Florida State and Auburn were to meet in the final BCS-approved national championship made the surprise declaration that the schools are in fact the two best teams.

Though some Buckeyes fans would disagree and Stanford D could better stifle the ‘Noles, history will show the current BCS system — which only left undefeateds out of a championship twice in its 15-year history (Auburn in ’04 and Cincinnati in ’09) — will have worked better than a half-assed playoff system.

Why? Because four teams and two games is not a playoff. It’s an office pool organized by the annoying guy who quotes ESPN radio where nobody decided to participate.

The only answer is a four-week, 16-team playoff format, where both the Oklahomas, some of Texas, a conference-free but god-laden independent like BYU or Notre Dame and two or three Pac-12 schools, plus a wild card like a Boise or Fresno state can finally get a fair match up against the content-to-hide-on-east-of-the-Mississippi SEC. But a true playoff will never happen as long as the marquee BCS bowls maintain being chosen as a quarterfinal game won’t bring in the same fan base or TV share.

So we’re left with four: And four teams is like waiting to break up with a long-distance partner face-to-face, it’s just delaying the inevitable disappointment by a week. And by late December, even the most artery-hardened college football fan has already moved on to making early bracket predictions, for, you know — an actual tournament.


4) Along with general anxiety and insecurity, Russia will also have security issues at its games: Whether it’s latent homophobia or releasing political foes from prison for PR, Czar Putin has already ginned up plenty of questionable press on the eve of his winter games debut.

…But all of the window dressing takes away from the real question: is Sochi safe?

Sochi, a summer resort built on the shores of the Black Sea at the base of the Caucasus Mountains, is less than 300 miles from the home of the suicide bomber who killed almost 40 in Moscow last January.

The Sochi Olympic podium is within a three-hour drive of Chechnya, where a pair of civil wars and a Muslim population that feels unrest’y’ all the time reside. The New York Times reported three tourists in a neighboring resort were recently killed and the area was shut down while soldiers sought out subjects.

Sochi borders Abkhazia, one of the regions regions of Georgia that set off a brief war between Russia and Georgia in 2008 and Georgian officials have already made clear their want of a boycott of the winter games.

Deputy prime minister Dmitri N. Kozak said though Sochi is a located in the heart of Russia’s powder keg, terrorist groups from around the globe are attracted to mega-events like the Olympics and wouldn’t be afraid to travel, just as its spectators do.

In other words, the advantage host Russia has is the breadth and depth of knowledge when it comes to dealing with insurgents, separatist regimes and ribald Islamic radicals.

As such, look for a heightened Police State vibe for these games which would be a perfect backdrop for a re-boot of the Naked Gun series.

At a recent FIS European Cup event hosted at Krasnaya Polyana, a resort neighboring Sochi, armed security officers were posted on all parts of the ski hill including guarding ski lift towers as well as lining the fences of the course itself.

Unfortunately, the sound of loading a magazine in a semi-automatic weapons does not engender the good skiing spectator cheer as the ringing of cow bells. Then again, Tolstoy never wrote about how filled with mirth the Russian Apres Ski scene was either.


3) America’s Cup runneth empty: …At least when it came to San Francisco’s coffers. Though team USA made a comeback for the ages against the Kiwis in the sport where really only two countries can afford (Spain used to be able to, but, you know — it’s Spain), or deign care to, participate, the host city — Baghdad by the Bay — was left holding the tab.

Seems silly now that San Francisco, a town so fiscally uptight when it comes to financing sport to the point of telling the Giants they could stay if only they built their own park (in this case, an investment opportunity lost) and let the 49ers leave by punting to Santa Clara on fourth and inches, invested well more than a discarded bread bowl’s worth of care into this event that hasn’t shined since Dennis Conner made a zinc-covered nose a fashion icon.

Almost a half-decade prior to the event, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute conducted a study on the expected economic impact of the 34th America’s Cup. Based on previous receipts from America’s Cup tournaments in Auckland, New Zealand and Valencia, Spain about $1.4 billion was expected to flow on black waters to the shores of San Francisco; surely a payday big enough to invest a little public capital city officials said.

Bay Area Council Economic Institute showed a very different picture three months after the event. While researchers showed about $325 million was spent by the City of San Francisco and cup organizers (including almost $21 million from the city’s coffers towards the $180 million tab for improvements to Pier 27).

The America’s Cup Organizing Committee was initially supposed to help the city with costs of up to $32 million, but the group reimbursed less than a quarter of that. Add $6.6 million of tax revenues and San Francisco fell about six million dollars shy of its investment; as for the pier construction — it didn’t even really happen.

While cup-friendly estimates maintain more than $350 million came to the city on the billowy backs of the catamarans, there’s no real way to know for sure if it was all “cup money”.

After all, October was also the same month Twitter went public and 1,600 instant millionaires were minted in the city overnight with nothing but #easymoney to #spend in the #triangle.


2) Floyd Mayweather will never let Floyd Mayweather fight a proper title card: Floyd Mayweather, 36, late in the year eschewed the prospect of a $300 million purse for a bout with Manny Pacquiao, depriving boxing of its last shot at a mega-fight to wrest back UFC fans.

Of course, if the odds got good enough that Mayweather won’t fight Pacquaio, he may just bet on himself doing so, then maybe not follow through depending on how much he wins on OKC that week.

The pound-for-pound No 1 will take out Amir Khan in Vegas on May 3 and says he’ll never work with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum. Pac-man at 35 isn’t getting any younger, or any better fights either, which could be attributed to Arum or the fact his last name isn’t Rousey or Tate.

Pacquiao’s win over Brandon Rios in Macau earlier this year got almost 500k pay-per-view buys, compared with literally all of Mexico (2.2 million buys) for Mayweather’s takedown of Canelo Alvarez in September.

Though Mayweather won’t take a fight with Pacquiao, he will refer to himself in the third person (full name) twice in the same sentence. A feat he hopes to eclipse in 2014.

“Bob Arum gives Pacquiao a date, whereas Floyd Mayweather gives Floyd Mayweather his own date. I will be fighting again in May and September,” the sort-of-undisputed champ said in November.


1) World Cup Stadiums aren’t as ready as Brazil’s excuses: Brazil did a big mea culpa in December admitting all six of its World Cup venues are behind schedule and will not meet FIFA’s New Year’s Eve deadline.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said while the stadiums won’t be ready for the Dec. 31 deadline he was assured by Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo all venues would be ready for kickoff on Sunday, July 13.

Said Rebelo, “Brazil’s stadiums are like its women: Beautiful, mysterious …and always late.”


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