We make them, bet on them, switch them and swear by them. The Giants will upset the Patriots. The Nationals will win the World Series. The world will end in 2012. Some predictions are reasonable, some are risky and some are obvious.

We try to act smart and confident, but let’s be honest: We have no idea what is really going to happen.

We can analyze all the statistics, read all the history, invent genius mathematical formulas — but in the end it still won’t mean much. We live in a world of chaos, and once the players hit the field, everything is up for grabs. You never know when someone is going to get hurt, fumble the ball or make a bad call — which happens more often than not these days.

Yet we remain transfixed by the “experts.” It’s amazing how much time we spend watching analysts talk about the game and how little we spend actually watching it. For every football game on Sunday, there are six days of reviews of what happened and previews of what is going to happen. The three hours of on-the-field action are stretched into a week-long event.

The entire season feels like a seven-month marathon, extending from training camp in July to the Super Bowl in early February. During the five months in between, reporters make up stories and controversies just to inject the airwaves with our weekly dose of football.

Take Tim Tebow, for example. This summer, hundreds of analysts predicted where Tebow would be traded. They predicted what role he would play, how he would respond to the media, what questions they would ask and how he would respond to those questions. They predicted whether Tebow would ever start, how poorly the starter would have to play in order for this to happen and when we could officially start calling it “Tebow Time.” SportsCenter even set up shop at the Jets’ training camp facility for continuous coverage.

What a terribly exciting story. What could possibly be more worthy of on-the-scene coverage than a bunch of grown-up football players performing a soap opera?

But it indicates a truth fans must face: We are addicted to 24-hour sports coverage. The question is, why do we keep coming back?

Perhaps it is not the stories themselves that are appealing. In many ways, the “ESPN culture” is appealing in its own right. We know all of the analysts by name: Stephen A. Smith, Stuart Scott and Chris Berman on television, Mike & Mike and Colin Cowherd on the radio and Rick Reilly, Matthew Berry and Bill Simmons online. Their outsized personalities can even outshine their subjects.

They are giants, but it is not their genius that keeps us coming back. They are not analyzing anything we cannot understand for ourselves, not predicting anything we cannot predict for ourselves. Sports are not that complicated — we watch the games and react instinctively. ESPN is more emotion than reason, more opinion than fact.

It must be the egos, witty comments, creative sound effects and oversized ties that keep us transfixed by the touted “experts.” No matter what sport is being covered, fans grab the remote or computer and tune in to ESPN. It is a habit instilled in our daily routine, one that holds true 100 percent of the time for the ultimate sports fan. It is our morning coffee, our half-hour lunch break, our 3 p.m. pick-me-up and our late-night study distraction.

It is enough to keep us entertained for six days a week. When Sunday finally arrives, we shift our attention from the desk to the field and hardly notice whether all those prognosticators and analysts turned out wrong.

And after the late game, when Monday rolls around, we hop back on the hamster wheel.

Nick Fedyk is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. MORE THAN A GAME appears every Tuesday.

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