Dave Berri is the General Manager of the Wages of Wins Network. He is a Professor of Economics at Southern Utah University, lead author of both “The Wages of Wins” and “Stumbling on Wins”, and past president of the North American Association of Sports Economists.
When sports economists are asked why they study sports, the answer quickly focuses on the immense data sports provide. Such data allows one to study a host of issues of interest to economists (even those who don’t like sports).
Although such answers are necessary when confronted by economists who don’t like sports (i.e the real nerds in economics), let’s be honest. We study sports because we like sports.
As a sports fan I definitely follow in the “Seinfeld tradition”. What that means is that I definitely root for the clothes (as Jerry Seinfeld once noted about sport fans). And because I have moved a bit in life, there are many clothes I follow.
- I grew up in Detroit so I follow the Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings. I also follow the Michigan Wolverines.
- I spent my teenage years in Nebraska, so I follow the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
- I went to graduate school at Colorado State (where I met my wife), so we also follow the Rams.
- And we chose to come to Southern Utah University a few years ago, so we also follow the Thunderbirds.
Given all these teams, it is likely that on any given weekend during the football season, someone will make me happy and someone will make me sad.
Except for this weekend. This past weekend… well, let’s say it went well.
- The Tigers swept the Minnesota Twins and are now 10 ½ games up in the Central Division (and are tied for the second best record in the American League).
- The Colorado State Rams defeated Northern Colorado (Colorado might proved to be a bit more difficult next weekend).
- Southern Utah defeated Sacramento State. My family attended this game and were worried that Sacramento State – who defeated Oregon State last weekend – would be very tough. But the T-Birds dominated, winning 35-14. Our quarterback – Brad Sorensen – may be drafted by an NFL team in the future.
- Nebraska struggled to defeat Fresno State, but ultimately prevailed.
- Michigan did not look good against Notre Dame. But thanks to an amazing 4th quarter, the Wolverines managed to defeat the Irish.
- And today – while the Tigers were sweeping – the Lions went down to Tampa Bay and dominated the Buccaneers. Yes, the Lions only won 27-20. The final score, though, was not entirely indicative of how the Lions played. After Tampa took an early lead, the Lions seemed to have their way with the Buccaneers.
With the Lions’ victory, my “perfect” weekend was complete.
At least, until I looked up what Nebraska Wesleyan did this weekend. I attended NWU as an undergraduate. And unfortunately, they lost this weekend. I would note, although I had friends on the football team twenty years ago, I never really followed the Prairie Wolves (who were called the Plainsmen when I attended) football team. But if I did, then my weekend was still almost perfect.
By the way, prior to this weekend I always held an irrational belief that all my football teams couldn’t win on the same weekend. So after Michigan won last night, I thought the Lions were doomed. Of course, such a belief is silly. And thankfully, silly got shot down this weekend.
Then again… if I am this happy this weekend, what chance do my teams have next weekend? Yes, irrational thoughts are hard to eliminate.
P.S. I also worked for three years at Coe College, and they also lost this weekend. Like Nebraska Wesleyan, though, I never followed football much at Coe.
One last note… Cal-State Bakersfield – where I worked before SUU – doesn’t have a football team.