Ray Ratto

Ratto: Hypocritical Heisman voters moralize Newton vs. Luck


Ratto: Hypocritical Heisman voters moralize Newton vs. Luck

The obvious question to be raised from the Heisman Trophy voting is this:If Jim Harbaugh was any good at his job, why does he only produce runners-up?A valid point, we can all agree, as Andrew Luck now follows TobyGerhart as Stanford athletes who got a commemorative keychain and aThanks for clapping for the winner note from the Heisman people.RELATED: Stanford's Luck finishes second in Heisman voting

But other than another rash of stupid media moralizing about CamNewtons worthiness to participate in a corrupted enterprise likecollege football, let alone be saluted as one its finest practitioners,the day went as expected. Newton won because he was so clearly superiorto a very good field, and the voting was laughable.Simply put, if you couldnt see your way clear to voting for Newton,why would you send in a ballot at all unless you truly thought therewere three better players in college football? That would be you twopeople there in the corner.Applying moral standards to anything having to do with collegefootball is always amusing, since it runs so efficiently on thenod-and-a-wink system of player procurement. Those who want to buy shopon certain aisles, though who dont shop on others. It is an unequaland dishonest system that seems to work for everyone.And whether Cam Newton got money or not is almost beside the point, Hewas the best player, and even if you dont think he was the bestplayer, he was certainly not the fourth best player.In short, if you want to protest the system, dont participate in itthat year. Otherwise, stop pretending that youre electing a Pope(which opens up its own can of electoral worms we are not interested inengaging) and using your ballot as a feeble cry for a system that hasnever been and will never be tried in big-time college football. Youreeither in, or youre out, and be comfortable with where you stand.I mean, Andrew Luck will never know how many people thought he was thebest player in the game, as opposed to how many thought he was the bestguy whose father was cleaner than Cecil Newton. Now how much fun isthat for a fella?Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”