Friday, September 01, 2006

Madden 07: $100M!

Just read that Madden '07 sold $100 million in its first week. That is eyes-wide HUGE. I'll hopefully have more to say about that next week, but I just found that total staggering. Not necessarily so surprising -- but just a large, large number that clarifies the significance of the Madden phenomenon.

-- D.S.

Weekend in Gator Nation

I've never really been a sports-gambler, though I respect and admire those who are -- and as a "Wisdom of Crowds" devotee, I appreciate the aggregate wisdom of the betting line.

Last night, I was out with a couple of sports-writing types, and one of them (whose college football opinion I really respect) pointed out that USC was a 9-point favorite at Arkansas. "ONLY" a 9-point favorite, I should say.

This writer was convinced this was the mistake of the week – that USC was going to easily cover.

Again, I'm not a sports gambler, so I'm not endorsing this. I just found it interesting that there seemed to be such a discount toward USC (and apparent inflation of Arkansas).

But what it's done is intrigue me enough to try to pick Top 25 games against the spread – just for fun. I know I've got my "Daily Quickie Readers" College Pick 'Em group on, but that's not against the spread. Maybe I'll just keep track of it on the side.

Meanwhile, I'm off to Gainesville with Margery and Gabe for an in-law family function. The trip wouldn't be complete without going to the Gators' home opener tomorrow night at the Swamp – by far the best college football environment I've ever experienced.

It'll also be Gabe's indoctrination to Gator Nation. Yikes. Hopefully, I'll have a few photos of that next week.

(I'm enjoying the blog so much that I'm going to try to post over the weekend from the road.)

Have a great long weekend, and I can't thank all of you enough for your support this week. (The comments are great.) We're off to a great start!

-- D.S.

USA Oops: What next?

So the only remaining question at the Hoops Worlds is (a) how extensively the US is going to phone it in for the bronze-medal game and (b) if Argentina tanked the semi against Spain specifically to get the chance to beat the US (sorry: beat the US again).

What does USA Hoops need? I'm not even sure that missing players like Kobe or Chauncey Billups are the answer. I've argued since Athens '04 that the USA's best (willing) Olympic player is Michael Redd. But it's obvious that even he won't be enough.

-- D.S.

Friday A.M. Wrap

"Live Sloppy?" The "Lance and Paris" rumors are among the most disturbing I've heard this year. The guy is the pre-eminent sports hero of our generation. She is the pre-eminent "famous for being famous" celebrity of our generation. I guess it makes sense in a completely wacked-out sort of way.

But if you thought it was kind of nasty for Lance to be having Matt Leinart's sloppy seconds, what about Lance having Brian Urlacher's sloppy thirds? (Are there any other athletes rumored to have been with Paris that I'm missing?)

T.O. making his Cowboys debut is so much less important than the fact that Mike Vanderjagt missed two would-be game-winning FGs in OT.

OK, so Rex Grossman doesn't suck nearly as bad as everyone thinks he does. (Doesn't help the grief I took for taking the Bears – behind Griese – to win the NFC title.)

Are NFL preseason records meaningless? I think the Raiders' 4-0 was exposed as a fraud after they were shellacked by the Seahawks. But I think the Redskins' 0-4 is cause for massive concern, simply because the WAY they got to this point is so brutal.

Wow: Marcus Vick is going to make it in the NFL. Take that, haters. (I'm no fan, but the guy went undrafted. Credit Nick Saban for taking a chance on him. I remain convinced that every NFL team will have a dedicated "QB-turned-WR" on its roster within 2 seasons.)

My Bad: I was so so so wrong predicting Agassi would lose to Baghdatis. If that's Andre's final winning match, it was a great one.

If it was "Florida State" instead of "Iowa State" and "Miami" instead of "Toledo," we'd be calling last night's 45-43 3OT thriller the game of the year.

(Less thrilling: Northwestern's 21-3 win over Miami/Ohio. The defense looked OK -- surprisingly OK, actually. The offense looked so-so, but I guess a redshirt frosh QB in his first start deserves a break.)

Papi back Saturday? At this point, he's playing for the AL MVP, 'cause he ain't leading the Red Sox to the playoffs. But, as I've said before, I'm happy to permanently put him at No. 2 on my MVP ballot, but if the Sox don't make the playoffs, there's no way he gets my vote.

(I've already argued that I kind of like Frank Thomas for AL MVP, but there's something to be said for giving it to Morneau or Dye, depending on whether the Twins or White Sox win the AL Wild Card.)

Is there a new "Face of Baseball?" Regular Quickie readers will remember that I totally rejected Derek Jeter as the "Face of Baseball" last season, in favor of Dontrelle Willis. I think the "Face" should be flexible, and I'm ready to change my pick: The NEW "Face of Baseball" is Ryan Howard.

Last thing: Bear with me as I work out what I'm going to write about, how I'm going to say it, etc. Do you like the idea of one topic per post (like USA Hoops or Leinart)? Or do you like the "all-in-one" of this "Wrap-Up"-ish post? Let me know in the Comments area. This morning remains pretty surreal...

-- D.S.

Leinart's Week Gets Worse?

I'm trying to decide what's worse for Matt Leinart this week:

Having it come out that he's a "Baby Daddy" with his ex-girlfriend? Or last night's sprained shoulder?

I have yet to see any coverage where he actually talks about his paternity, let alone says that he's enthusiastic about it. That's kind of sketchy. (If you know of any, put it in the comments section.)

He was happy to talk about his shoulder injury, downplaying it:

"An MRI is planned for Friday, but Leinart said the injury was no big deal. He said the shoulder popped out of its socket when he was hit, then back into place as he jogged off the field."

To sum up: His decision to return for his senior year blew his draft stock; he lost his bid for a second Heisman (he wasn't even the best QB in college football); he lost the national-title game (to that other "best QB"); he was the last first-round draft pick to sign, causing no end of agita with the fans; he had an unplanned pregnancy; and, now, he hurt his shoulder.

At this point, it's piling on. (But, giddily, karmic payback is a beeeeeotch.)

-- D.S.

USA Hoops Stinks!

Chris Sheridan was so wrong: USA Hoops wasn't going to lose in the World Championships title game to Spain and/or Argentina.

They weren't even going to make it that far. Greece! Greece!!!

This is an even BIGGER debacle than the implosion in Athens in 2004.

Why? Because fans were scolded that the USA hoops braintrust knew what it was doing this time, yet the team STILL lost.

(And didn't just lose, but lose to the most random of teams – not an NBA'er among them, a detail which should scare the bejeezus out of anyone who thinks USA Hoops has some birthright to be the world's best.)

USA Hoops fulfilled its destiny all right:

As "USA Oops."

-- D.S.

This just confirms that Coach K is a mediocre game coach, at best. Oh, sure, he's a "leader," not a coach. Actually, now that's blatantly obvious.

P.S. 2: Wow, of all the days to begin without my column on this is precisely the timing of a huge story that would have let me be the first on the site with an obliterating indictment of USA Hoops management.

Now THIS is a little weird...

If it's a weekday morning, this is the first time since December 2003 that I haven't gotten up at the crack of dawn to create and file the Quickie.

I'm still getting used to a couple of things: Not having a strict deadline and not having any space constraints among them.

I can say one thing off the bat: I was overwhelmed by the amount of supportive emails sent by readers. (And by the number of people willing to check out the blog yesterday.) I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Now, back to the writing...

Because, oh, THIS is sort of huge.

-- D.S.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


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