Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday 9/6/06 A.M.: 1 Day 'Til NFL

Today's Hot Stories at a Glance:

*Don't miss your FFL roster deadline!
*Is Jim Tressel just sloppy or really a fraud?
*Why Ohio St will beat Texas
*Blankings remind us how bad MLB pitching has gotten
*Is Lena Girardi the new Suri Cruise?
*Joe Torre: Soft-porn producer?
*More NFL PED-testing? Not if you love the game.
*Brett Favre takes career advice from Phil Simms
*Not-on-Sports: Katie Couric's Evening News debut
*NYC readers: Don't forget tonight's reading!

Don't forget to set your NFL fantasy rosters. (That's it. Hey, can't an item simply be about the public-service for once?)

Jim Tressel: Full of it? This is the intriguing story of the day: Jim Tressel claimed he voted Texas No. 1 in the coaches' Top 25, but it turns out that he had Ohio State No. 1, because his lackey in the athletic department was the one who turned in the ballot.

It exposes a couple of things:

(1) It reinforces my suspicion that coaches don't actually vote in the coaches' Top 25. (And even if they did, I have always wondered how an uber-busy college football coach would have the time to watch the games necessary to make an informed decision about an entire Top 25. The truth is: They don't. (And neither do most AP media voters, but that's another story...)

(2) All coaches' ballots should be published every single week – and not just at the end of the season. Fans and media place so much weight on these week-to-week polls that it's outrageous that there isn't more transparency in the process. Obviously, it can't hurt. The coaches have always been resistant. If they don't want the distraction/hassle of defending their "own" picks, they shouldn't be voting.

(3) USA Today erodes its journalistic integrity by agreeing to keep the ballots a secret. Of course, kudos to them for publishing that Tressel was misleading to the media, but all it does is highlight that USA Today facilitates the shady process by being the poll's "administrator." Are they in the business of covering news or making it? Title sponsorship of the poll is obviously worth more to the paper than its pride in its ethics.

Why Ohio St will beat Texas: UT suspends Tarell Brown. It was the right thing to do, and any other alternative would have brought down such an avalanche of bad p.r. that it would have done more damage than losing the game without Brown.

I think.

We'll see, because without Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. will emerge from the weekend as a Top 3 Heisman finalist, having run roughshod over the UT defense in a huge Ohio St. win.

MLB Wrap: Pitching in general has taken a beating from analysts and fans this season, so it was nice to see at least one day when pitchers ruled. 7 shutouts are the most since '72...

Wild Card Mania: Or maybe it should be "NL West Mania?" The Padres have made their way to 1 GB the yo-yo Dodgers, who lost their 3rd straight...

Johan rules: After racking up his 17th win, I think it's Johan Santana's AL Cy to lose...

Papi comes back, but Papelbon is out indefinitely. And the beat goes on for the Red Sox...

Credit Jays owner Ted Rogers for acknowledging that his team will have to spend even more this winter to compete in the AL East...

Meanwhile, Rangers owner Tom Hicks spent his Tuesday ripping his team for not being mentally tough enough. That's you, Buck Showalter, on the hot seat...

Ken Griffey injured? Say it ain't so!...

"Shadows" update: I think there continues to be a disconnect between the media's built-in sympathy for the "Game of Shadows" reporters and fans' common sense that while it was sensational to learn the Bonds details, the reporters did technically break the law to give those details to us...

I don't know how Joe Girardi could manage the game last night a mere two hours after his wife gave birth. Congrats on Lena Yvonne (7 lbs, 19 inches is just about the same size as Gabe was at birth.) Somehow I doubt pictures will generate as much attention as Suri Cruise's. (See item below.)

Joe Torre: Soft-core porn producer?

NFL: Increased drug-testing? Does the NFL really want to open the Pandora's box of stricter drug-testing? Sure, the Panthers story was an embarrassment, but -- and this is key – it barely made a ripple, despite essentially claiming that the team's championship runner-up was loaded with 'roid-mongering players. Maybe they're just trying to be pro-active to avoid the prying attention of Congress. Story link here.

More NFL: Favre on HBO. Did Brett Favre make his decision not to retire from listening to Phil Simms on a satellite-radio sports talk show? Yeah, he sure is quite the decisive leader.

More NFL: Foley twist. This Foley thing is very very strange. ProFootballTalk.com is all over this, and I'm finding that site is becoming more and more must-read as the season approaches.

Man law? Man law. Some team's recruiting plans have been shot to hell: The Governator signed a bill that convicted violent felons can't play college sports in California. Will probably do more to hurt Pac-10 football than even the mediocre level of league comp. What would be even more interesting is if he signed a bill that no convicted violent felons – from any state – could play within the boundaries of California. There MUST be a legal tripwire in that idea...

Brother Mazone: When they make the "Invincible"-style movie about 31-year-old pitcher Brian Mazone, who was supposed to make his MLB debut last night if not for Mother Nature pissing on his moment, I wonder if they'll gloss over his May suspension for steroid use? Can you imagine the movie pitch? "It's 'The Rookie' meets 'The Program!'"

(Speaking of Mazone, I know that the reference up there was a misspelled play on The Wire's "Brother Muzone," but who else saw that HBO put the season premiere of The Wire on On-Demand yesterday, in a sneak-peek before Sunday's broadcast? Welcome back to the best show on TV.)

Sporting News sold: Excuse me for being underwhelmed. Aside from being mismanaged into worse than oblivion – irrelevance – it simply isn't a player on any level: Print, online or other.

Wie to play in Men's Euro Masters: Quickie readers know that I'm a huge fan of Michelle Wie. You can gripe all you want about a woman playing in a men's tournament, but she's the greatest 16-year-old golfer -- male or female -- of all time.

Here's my favorite follow-up: If 16-year-old Tiger (or, for that matter, 16-year-old Nicklaus) teed up against Wie with her current skill set, she would absolutely obliterate him. It wouldn't even be close. I can only imagine how good she (not to mention some of the other top women's teens) will be when they are Tiger's age now.

(Random guess: Not good enough to put the LPGA on the mainstream map... hell, men's golf is already on the periphery. But good enough to play regularly in men's events... and do well.)

Saturday's OTHER game: Notre Dame vs. Penn State. That's TWO games with national title implications, and when Penn State beats Notre Dame, can we FINALLY stop talking about the Irish? Who's with me that BOTH programs make you want to gag. Penn State is Notre Dame without the religious affiliation. Touchdown Jesus vs. Touchdown JoePa.

What did you think of Katie Couric's debut on the CBS Evening News? I don't watch nightly network news, but I tuned in for her. I thought it was pretty smooth, actually – better than the other two network broadcasts (though admittedly I don't watch them nearly enough to really compare). But not nearly as relevant to viewers as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or even Keith Olbermann.

It's also possible that, as I've argued for years, the network Evening News has simply run its course with viewers my age (and, frankly, 10 years older) and everyone younger. I doubt I'll tune in tonight -- not necessarily because Katie is good or bad, but because she -- like the other two -- are increasingly irrelevant.

As the father of a newborn roughly the same age as Suri, what I was stunned by was her hair. Was it me or did it look sort of dyed? Meanwhile, Gabe had his first day of full-time day-care yesterday -- after three-plus months of being around him 24/7, it was a little strange to be back in the house by myself. (Yes, the idea of me being a full-time "manny" was discussed... and dismissed within about 5 seconds, by both me and my wife. I'd ruin the poor kid.)

Odds and Ends: Apparently, Title VII is the new Title IX. It's a shame that minorities would have to resort to lawsuits to get a fair shot in athletics hiring, but the process remains deeply flawed...

Was Zidane justified in head-butting Materazzi if Marco dissed Zizou's sister? The original rumor was that he dissed his mother to earn the Head-Butt Heard 'Round the World (Cup), but family honor is family honor. Two things: (1) "I did your sister" jokes might be even more of a staple than "I did your mother" jokes -- and far more tolerated. And (2) It still would have been an infinitely more effective comeback for Zidane to wave the World Cup trophy in Materazzi's face.

Reading Series: Tonight! NYC! 8 p.m.! If you're in the city, feel free to come on by. (Details below.)

Bear with me: I'm still refining the format of the blog, whether to split posts up individually (which would help readers who want to comment on a particular topic to have a stand-alone forum for that). I'm also planning to link a lot more to outside stories/blogs. I also have a ton of reader emails to respond to, which I'm slowly but surely getting through. If you've emailed me and I haven't responded yet, please accept my apology for the delay. Your emails have meant a lot to me over the last week (and the last few weeks, too).

-- D.S.

36 comments:

Mike (Xenia, OH) said...

I like Coach Tressel (being a Buckeye fan and all), but I don't think he or any other coach should be voting in the top 25 poll. There is no way that any of them see enough of the teams to know who is really worthy, except when they are reviewing game film in their weekly preparation for that week's opponent.

Mark (Austin, TX) said...

Wow, a coach lied about his ballot? No wonder they want to keep their ballots under wraps (I am convinced its the coaches making that decision, not USA Today). Since the BCS mess started, the polls have been clouded in weird things going on in the polls and the only people who know are those who fill out the ballots and those who compile them.

Seriously, can the Jays spend enough to compete with the Yankees and BoSox? Probably not. Doesn't mean they can't beat them, I just don't know that spending is the way to do it.

Rafael said...

Way too much to comment on!

Tressel - I doubt he's the only one. They should just make a committee that does it fulltime.

I am surprised Mack Brown acted so quickly. Good for him and his program.

I disagree Dan. Penn State is not nearly in the same category as Notre Dame. You don't hear people glorifying PSU that much. Even last year when they were doing well, people lauded Paterno while holding shovels behind their backs, ready to bury them.
And unlike Weis, Paterno has actually done something in the College Football world.
Though Weis does make Mickelson look like Schwarzenegger.

hende said...

Obviously, Tressel either lied or was not responsible for his vote. Do you know what would happen if USA Today released the ballots? Tressel would have either lied or lost responsibility for his vote.

Transparency in poll voting won't change anything, since these coaches have made a career ignoring the screams of fans and the media. I can't forsee JoePa holding a press conference to explain why he voted Penn State No. 2 in the nation, even though they are 0-10. He'd be more apt to explain with a middle finger then with an apology.

A coach not taking his poll vote seriously is about as shocking as USA Today eroding it's journalistic integrety, or that a media outlet might be making news instead of covering it. Did you forget your ESPN experience already? If you just want straight news on the US, watch the BBC.

Anonymous said...

I decided to watch the CBS News last night out of curiosity... I thought the content was pretty good and the new "Free Speech" is a good idea. However, Katie was BORING! If she doesn't bring her personality to the show, it will not improve it's ratings long-term.

DC - (Altoona, PA) said...

Dan,
Good to hear from you again. There are many things here to comment on. First of all, you are correct on the idiocy of the polls and that there is no way the coaches could see every team or study them enough to make an informed opinion on them. They are far to wrapped up in preparing for their next game and keeping their players off the police blotter.

As for your comments about Penn State and Notre Dame, I couldn't disagree more. Now admittedly I am a Penn State alumnus and root for the team but that is the point. Most of the people who root for Penn State have some affiliation to the school (having gone to the school or live near it). So many of the fans of Notre Dame have no affiliation to the school at all (other than religion)and go completely overboard on the importance of Notre Dame to college football. Add that to the absolute fact that PSU doesn't get near the play in the national media that Notre Dame does and I think it is fair to say that there are major differences in the programs and how they are perceived nationally.

Keep up the good work Dan. It's nice to be able to post a message to you, even if it isn't in the MQ. (BTW, since you picked PSU to win Saturday, let's hope your MQ curse doesn't carry over to your blog.)

Jon said...

I just hope the Jays owner knows: It's not how much money you spend, but you how spend it. The last thing the AL East needs is another Peter Angelos.

What's the story behind Joe Torre and his porn? The link brought me to the Tressel story.

Katie Couric's sign off idea was pretty lame. For what she's getting paid she should think of her own signature goodbye instead of relying on the viewers.

Lena Shanoff? Hmmm....set Gabe up.

Tom (Baltimore) said...

Dan - Great to see the Blog up and running. I've loved the DQ over the past few years; it's been as much a staple of my first 20 minutes at work as a cup of coffee. Rarely do you find sports writers these days that can not only entertain you but that you consistently agree with their stance and opinion on issues in sports. Keep up the good work, you're one of my favorites.

That being said, I feel obligated to comment on the Penn State and Notre Dame comparison. Partly because I went to Penn State, partly because I loathe Notre Dame, and partly because I just think you're wrong. Notre Dame is the Yankees, the Lakers, the Cowboys, of college football. They are the team that you love to hate. They have so many followers that DIDNT go to the school that it sickens those that have strong ties to other schools and teams across the country. Penn State doesn't have its own tv deal, they don't receive the over the top media attention that ND does, and, in my opinion, the loyalty and pride showed for PSU is much truer than that for ND (save the fighting irish alums). I think, and again, only my opinion based on personal experience, that outside of the state of PA you don't get a whole lot of PSU talk and attention. I know of some people in Philly and PBurgh who might not have gone to PSU and dislike the school and team, but past that you'll find nothing but genuine respect for JoePa, Happy Valley, and the 110,000 at Beaver Stadium. I don't see that from ND as much.

Eric said...

Maybe a 16 year old Michelle Wie may have been better than a 16 year old Jack or Tiger, but a 16 year old woman is more physically developed than a 16 year old man. That is the product of women entering puberty before men do. So a 16 year old Michelle Wie is the equivalent of a 14 year old Tiger at that stage. But Dan, you have to admit that her saying she wants to play on the Ryder Cup team some day is a bit silly, she can try to win a men's tourney till she is blue in the face and that is fine, but the Ryder Cup is reserved for the best players in the US....which Michelle Wie is not one of them.

David (Omaha, NE) said...

Since this might not get pointed out by anyone else, major props on THe Wire drop. First Simmons, now you. Best show to EVER exist on TV is getting major ESPN personality props and I couldn't be happier.

Anonymous said...

Dan, we see Wie the same. She's a tremendous golfer with the best talent I've seen in a long time. Let's hope she can develop a "head" for the game. I'd love to see her earn her PGA card and compete every week with the men. It's not a far reach to think that she will eventually be one of the best golfers in the USA, despite being just a girl. Go Michelle!

Katie Couric's sign-off should be: "That's all for me tonight, it's ok to wake up now."

Jake C said...

No surprise, honestly, about the coach's poll. Anyone who actually thought the coaches knew about or watched other teams and games were kidding themselves. This simply reinforces the argument against polls weighing heavily on a team's chance of playing in BCS games. In addition, it simply proves moreso we need a tournament style postseason. But alas, these things we know are true...NCAA is ignorant, BCS doesn't work correctly, big money always wins, and you can't fight the system.

Pitching...yes, nice to see and this was my point earlier in the season. It's not a juiced ball being the reason for big offense (even after the "testing"). It's because pitching is watered down these days...and hey, like I've said over and over, pitchers used too. Now, they aren't gassing at 100mph anymore.

Can't we just throw all of the big AL spenders in to one division? Boston, Baltimore, New York, Texas and maybe LAA (?) instead of making Tampa Bay and Toronto suffer (the Blue Jays shouldn't have to turn into the Orioles).

I would love for the NFL to clamp down on PEDs. This would be a revelation to all these narrowminded fans who think MLB is the only sport with this problem.

Lastly, ease up on the hateraid with Notre Dame Dan...you would think they've wronged you in the past somehow.

Brian said...

Sporting News sold: Excuse me for being underwhelmed. Aside from being mismanaged into worse than oblivion – irrelevance – it simply isn't a player on any level: Print, online or other.

Ahem . . . glass houses, Dan. Glass houses.

Chris said...

Roids McGee Mazone will likely pitch a gem and then be sent right down again for the AAA playoffs

CMFost said...

Dan, Again you are wrong about Michelle Wie, she would never beat a 16 year old Tiger or Jack. She is missing one thing both of them already had at that age, The knowledge of how to win when the pressure is on. Until she learns how to compete with pressure and win she is knowing more then a player playing over there head.

Anonymous said...

Fact- over 90% of Notre Dame fans have no affiliation with the school what-so-ever.

They're like Cubs fans- didn't grow in the area, didn't grow up watching the team, but the media hype has sucked (and suckered) them into dropping tons of cash on the team.

The sheep continue to follow each other off the cliff. Go Buckeyes and go Sox.

Dr. Zoom said...

Dan: great to see the Quickie's "reincarnation." I have you bookmarked!

One question: did you oopsie on the Joe Torre link? Even though the "Torre as soft-core porn producer" hook scared me, it hooked me nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Fact - 8000 undergrads a year at ND. Fact - 100,000 undergrads a year at Ohio state - sorry we arent a diploma factory and people outside our alum respect us. Hating ND because people like them is a great reason to hate a football program, unlike say because they blatently violate NCAA regulations such as paying their football players (like say, oh, the buckeyes).

Anonymous said...

PLEASE FIX THE TORRE LINK.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I think ND has had their share of booster pay-offs in the past.

Ohio STATE is the STATE university, not a Catholic or private university....big difference. Hey, if people are earning a degree from a school, who cares if the state U, is a diploma factory.

No need to slam the Buckeyes because they are awesome. I'm an ND fan too, so there is no need to get snippy.


jen

Bobby said...

Shanoff,

I've got to admit, I like the individual headlines for each story. Otherwise, I feel like I blast through it too fast!

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows the NFL testing policy is a joke. Just look at the players. Human beings do no naturally grow to be that size!

Anonymous said...

I like reading the posts as one combined article, ala the Quickie, but commenting seperately may win out.

That law signed by the Governator only prohibits the athlete from playing for public universities and JC's, until their full sentence and probation have been carried out.

So the only Pac-10 teams that are affected are Cal and UCLA.

Fresno State is also luck that Tarkanian is no longer the coach. He had some real thugs on his squads.

RobThomas said...

You're the man, Shanoff. I posted a link to your blog on mine. I've referenced The Daily Quickie in the past and am happy to see it lives on.

Anonymous said...

football coaches rarely turn in their own ballots, don't act like you're the first one to break that story.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Rover said...

Nice call on profootballtalk.com - I love the site, and I check it several times a day. Great info.

And I think you're dead on about the Wie/Tiger comparison - the question is, will playing against pros now help her or hurt her in the long run? Tiger went to school, beat up on kids his age, and learned how to win. Reminds me of the whole "college vs. straight to the NBA" debate.

Dave Somers, CT said...

The site is perfect the way you are doing it. Quickie Style. Which brings me to my question, why did ESPN's Quickie go down? Are you no longer with ESPN?

Love the column.

Thomas said...

Maybe the mcs poll should be given more weight in the CFB rankings.

Anonymous said...

Suri is overrated. I love the name Gabe. Good job not being a manny. Let's go Mets.

Anonymous said...

Looks like your hard on for Favre continues. I guess honesty isn't the best policy. What shoudl he have said? I come back for the love of the game? Someone says something out of the box and you're all over it? It's becasue it's Favre - you've always had one out for him.

Anonymous said...

Stick to sports - you lost it when you mentioned "relevant" and Keith Olbermann in the same sentence.

Errin said...

Amen to Rafael. I am a big PSU fan, and grad. They started last season unranked, and ended at number 3. They start this season at 19. No public outcry, nor should there be. ND, after getting destroyed in their Bowl game, gets ranked 3. UND is so hyped there is no one else even close, except maybe Ohio State (but the hype seems justified).

Anonymous said...

I love profootballtalk.com, its becoming a must read site on a daily basis.

Jeff said...

What's with the constant boner you have for Wie? She's not even the best golfer under 16 in her state. Anyone remember Tad Fujikawa? He did something Wie can't, he made the cut at the US Open as a 15 year old.

Travis said...

All hail I-AA the highest division of Championship football.

Co Wildcats, trounce Northwestern!