Aggies, Texans, LSU: Football! This Weekend's Best Bets, Helping Impoverished Greek Soccer Teams
Ironically, I lead into this weekend's football bets with a story of a poor Greek soccer team trying to stay afloat financially. Courtesy of the Soccernet area on ESPN.com:
Who will have a sad drive home on 290?
Players on a cash-strapped Greek soccer team now wear pink practice jerseys with the logos "Villa Erotica" and "Soula's House of History," two bordellos it recruited as sponsors after drastic government spending cuts left the country's sports clubs facing ruin.
The amateur Voukefalas club -- whose players include pizza delivery guys, students, waiters and a bartender -- has raised eyebrows with its flamboyant sponsorship choice.
"Unfortunately, amateur football has been abandoned by almost everyone," said Yiannis Batziolas, the club's youthful chairman, who runs a travel agency and is the team's backup goalkeeper. "It's a question of survival."
Prostitution is legal in Greece, where brothels operate under strict guidelines. Though garish neon signs advertising their services are tolerated, the soccer sponsorship has ruffled some feathers in the sports-mad city of Larissa. League organizers have banned the pink jerseys during games, saying the deal violates "the sporting ideal" and is inappropriate for underage fans.
Batziolas acknowledges the sponsorship took his team by surprise. "They didn't believe it in the beginning," he said. "But when they saw the shirts printed, they thought it was funny."
Oh, he's right, it's hilarious! But I think it sends the wrong message to the kids. Let's get these guys some money in a cleaner, more conventional way...like gambling! Here you go, Voukefalas. Here are six winners for you. Put those pink shirts away!
LSU -3 over TEXAS A&M
It's easy to get caught up in A&M's 5-1 start as some sort of unexpected surprise, a story of a new head coach instilling a winning attitude and experiencing success ahead of everyone's predicted curve.
And that would be partially true. Johnny Manziel and the offense are well ahead of where many envisioned them, and A&M's ability to close out close games with winning plays is something that was completely foreign to most of this group a year ago. But pumping the brakes slightly, the expectation before the season was that A&M would be 4-2 against the six teams they've played; they're 5-1. Devil's advocates would say that if Bobby Petrino had just been able to keep his motorcycle on the road last April, the Aggies would be 4-2 right now.
My point is that A&M may have further to go still than people think, and they step up in class big time in terms of defensive opposition on Saturday. Taking the Tigers by ten.