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The Importance of Erin Andrews 

There are a lot of litmus tests for sports fans. There's your Superfan who can tell what years that Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young

There are a lot of litmus tests for sports fans. There's your Superfan who can tell what years that Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young and what his ERA was in each of those seasons. There's The Schwab - ESPN's in house statistician turned game show/freak show on Stump the Schwab - who can tell you well, everything. Then there's your average fan who can tell you, given some time, who won last year's NFC title game, ALCS Championship and BCS Series.

An easier way to differentiate between guys who know about sports and guys who know of sports is to make a reference to Erin Andrews.

(First a word about why this is necessary... Sports is a universal language among men, it's the male equivalent of Oprah, Sex and the City and People magazine all rolled into one.

Unfortunately there is a segment of men out there who, shamefully, fake interest in team sports. These are the worst kind of fakers, undermining the fabric of male society with their thin deceptions. But I digress)

A sideline reporter for ESPN, Andrews is a fixture at college basketball and football games running down coaches for quick and meaningless questions before half time. Reporters have been doing that for years, of course. The difference is that Erin Andrews is a hottie - at least in a girl-next-door kind of way. While, there are certainly more beautiful women out there, and, certainly, on television, the combination of looks and her immersion in the testosterone-driven world of college and pro sports led Andrews to be named Playboy's sexiest broadcaster.

Andrews, who is in the Midwest to cover the Big 10 basketball tourney, chatted with the Chicago Tribune about her celebrity status, Bruce Pearl's half court hug, and more this week in the paper's Out Loud section.

Sports fans should check it. The rest of you can just go on pretending.

- Ric E. James

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