Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday 09/28 A.M. Quickie:
NL Races, NFL Week 4, CFB Mania, LeBron SNL, More!

Names to Know: Mets, Phillies, Rockies, D'backs, Padres, Cubs, Brewers, Brian Griese, Brett Favre, Rudi Johnson, West Virginia, South Florida, Cal vs. Oregon, Hope Solo, LeBron James, Roger Goodell and More!

HUGE weekend ahead in sports: MLB has its final weekend (with pre-playoff playoffs on the horizon for next week), with the NL playoff field still up for grabs... NFL Week 4... CFB with something close to a playoff quarterfinal (Cal at Oregon)...

MLB NL Playoff Racing: Amazingly, there was only one NL game played last night without playoff implications. Here we go...

Aaand we have a tie in the NL East! The Mets collapse is near-complete. After a limp (even resigned?) 3-0 loss to the Cards and a 6-4 win by the Phillies over the Braves, New York and Philly are tied. The Mets are absolutely choking this season down.

NL West: D'backs, Padres, Rockies all win. The Rockies won their 11th straight. The Padres are 1 GB; the Rockies are 2 GB. The Rockies play the D'backs head-to-head this weekend, and thus hold their own fate in their hands.

The D'backs saved ace Brandon Webb for the Rockies series, but Thursday SP Micah Owings had a wild game: He batted 4/4 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI, becoming the first pitcher to have TWO 4-hit games in the same season since 1953 (Whitey Ford).

Still: If you have no rooting interest in this NL race, how can you not cheer for the Rockies? (And I'm not just saying that because I've been to a couple of Rockies games at Coors Field in person this season.) Look: The team just picked up a huge endorsement.

Wild Card: The Padres lead the Rockies, Mets and Phillies by 1 game. The scenario you are rooting for here is as many one-game playoffs as possible: To decide the NL East, to decide the NL West and, after, to decide the Wild Card.

NL Central: The Brewers missed a chance to pick up a critical game on the Cubs; both teams lost. With three to play, the Brewers are down 2, so the Cubs would have to REALLY screw this up to not make the playoffs.

NFL Week 4: It's the first bye week (TEN, NO, WSH, JAX), so manage your fantasy team accordingly. If you have Steven Jackson or Larry Johnson, however, there is no help for you, no matter what you do. For those two, every week is a bye week. The picks:

HOU d. at ATL
NYJ d. at BUF
BAL d. at CLE
CHI d. at DET
At MIN d. GB
SEA d. at SF
At CAR d. TB
PIT d. at ARI
At SD d. KC
PHI d. at NYG (SNF)
NE d. at CIN (MNF)
LW: 6-10 OUCH! (07: 29-19)

Notes: To recap, I'm picking road teams to go 8-6... All eyes on: Brian Griese... Freak Watch: DeAngelo Hall... If the Ravens are going with "McNoller" at QB, I want to see the Browns go with "Anderquinn"... Will the Rams officially take over as the league's worst team?... Is it midnight yet for Brett Favre? Yet, the records will keep falling... Maybe Alex Smith will play better without Vernon Davis bugging him for the ball... Think Ken Whisenhunt is bitter about running the Cards' offense, not the Steelers' offense?... Here's a solid ultimatum: If Norv Turner can't beat the lowly Chiefs (in San Diego!), he should be fired Monday... Speaking of Monday, the Bengals were already in trouble versus the Pats juggernaut – without Rudi Johnson, an upset got even tougher... Navel-gazing: NFL Blog Buzz on (Bush entry)... Gack: 6-10 last week?! Really?! Ugh.

CFB Tonight: One of the most intriguing games of the year -- West Virginia (5) at South Florida (18). Last year, USF earned a signature win (and ruined WVU's season) with a win in Morgantown. As great as the Bulls' story is this season, the Eers are going to take one back.

Game of the Week: Cal at Oregon. The winner of this game rightfully deserves a spot in the Top 5 and earns the opportunity to beat USC later in the season for a shot at the BCS national title game. If Cal's D let Tennessee score on them, they're in a lot of trouble with the Ducks. This is a game that makes me glad I bought GamePlan.

1 USC over at Washington
2 LSU over at Tulane
3 Oklahoma over at Colorado
4 Florida over Auburn
11 Oregon over 6 Cal (GOTW!)
7 Texas over Kansas State
8 Ohio State over at Minnesota
9 Wisconsin over Michigan St (Hmm...)
10 Rutgers over Maryland
UMass over 12 B.C. (UPSET SPECIAL!)
13 Clemson over at Georgia Tech
14 Kentucky over Florida Atl.
15 Georgia over Ole Miss
16 South Carolina over Mississippi St
17 Virginia Tech over UNC
19 Hawaii over at Idaho
21 Penn State over at Illinois
22 Alabama over at Florida State
23 Arizona State over at Stanford
24 Cincinnati over at San Diego St
25 Nebraska over Iowa State

US Women's Soccer Postscript: Solo Freak-Out! If Brandi Chastain's "Bra" Moment was the defining moment of female empowerment of the 1990s, then Hope Solo's post-game tirade against her coach and her teammate was the defining moment of female empowerment of the new decade. The playing field of petulance has been leveled. (But I'm a Solo fan, so I say: "You growl, girl!")

NBA: LeBron will host "SNL" season premiere on Saturday. Sort of like "Anything Peyton can do, I can do better?" I actually think LeBron, based on his "multiple-personality" Nike ads, has a nice little sense of comedic timing. Still, I know LeBron is a huge celebrity among athletes, but... THIS is the best SNL could do for booking a host for its season premiere?

Notre Dame SuckWatch: Former QB Demetrius Jones, forbidden from transferring to Northern Illinois, will transfer to Cincinnati, which is a step up, considering that Brian Kelly has the Bearcats poised as one of the rising programs in college football. (Here's the irony: Kelly is so good that I could see him plucked for a bigger job by the time Jones is eligible to take his first snap for Cincy next year.)

Top 100 Most Powerful in Sports: Roger Goodell leads the list, compiled by Business Week and ESPN Mag. Taken as a whole, the list is a little too stale for my tastes.

(Really: John Madden at No. 81? The most influential sports-media talent? Why: Because he lends his name to a popular video game? Because it sure can't be because of his actual on-air influence. Not to slurp, but I'd argue that Will Leitch or even PFT's Mike Florio is a lot more influential than Madden.)

Anyway, the best analysis of the list comes from Darren Rovell, who – in his own right – probably merits consideration for the Top 100, given his status as the leading pundit of sports business. Here's his take.

NHL Season Opener: Umm...yeah. I leave that up to you hockey fans to fill in.

-- D.S.


David Kippe said...

Don't get carried away by who you think created the success in Cincy. That would be the current coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio. He turned that entire program around, and that is why he got a job at a Big Ten school. and your HMMMM for the Wisconsin game will be justified when Sparty pulls the upset. GO STATE!

David Kippe said...

and no mention of the fact that if the red sox drop 2 of the next 3 and the yanks win 2 or 3 that they win the al east?

pv845 said...

Go Rockies (who cares if Deadspin is pushing them and yes you are slurping Will. I would hazard to guess that at least 75% of sports fans have no idea who he is yet EVERYONE knows Madden)

I want to see the Yankees beat the Sox. Though I am fearful that I will never stop hearing about that from the Red Sox Nation. (Quick thought: if the Indians win the World Series and they have a bunch of new bandwagon fans would we call all of them collectively Indians nation?)

LeBron will crash and burn at SNL. I think Peyton was successful because he is known to put in a lot of work. LBJ has never seemed like that type of guy to me.

I wouldn't get overly excited about a SD loss to KC other than it is another loss. They are division rivals. KC does have a great defense. It wouldn't be that much of an upset.

thistlewarrior said...

Re: Hope Solo-Granted, she should have kept her mouth shut or at least not been so critical of Scurry, but she has every right (as does the rest of team) to be angry. (In Hope's defence, she was
also upset because she had dedicated this World Cup to her dad who passed away in July. So if her emotions carried her away a bit, people should be a little understanding.) Making the switch at keeper less than 48hrs. before the match was the WORST possible
move Ryan could make. If he had been mulling it over since July,
maybe he should have actually played Scurry a bit more in the last 3 months in preparation. Keeper changes for whatever reason affect the chemistry of the team more than any other tactical/personnel move in soccer. Add in the huge controversy that surrounded this and you add a distraction as well.

But this was just another poor coaching move in a series by Ryan.
The entire World Cup the team has looked disorganized and out-of-sync. While the other great teams were either playing for possesion or for blistering counters, the US strategy looked more like just kick it as far up as possible and hope for the best. Relying on goals from set pieces is NOT a viable strategy for the (now former) #1 team in world.

His substitution moves were also questionable the entire tournament. When opprotunities existed to rest some players, he
took his sweet-ass time or didn't sub for them at all. But his most
glaring ones came yesterday when they needed OFFENCE he subbed in
DEFENCE, leaving a number of offensive threats on the bench.

One of the most (for me anyway) telling of Ryan's poor coaching,
however, was when my husband (who absolutely never watches and is soccer illiterate) said before the first half was even over,"Wow, he's fired." If he can tell how bad Ryan is, then he hasn't a prayer (or clue). I really hope that the team as a whole can learn from this, put this behind them & prepare for the Olympics. Otherwise, it could get real ugly real fast.

/end rant

CMFost said...

sparty there is no mention because it does not matter it is not like if the red sox did blow the division they are not going to the playoffs. All the Al teams are set the only thing they are playing for is seeding. In the NL no team has clinched a playoff spot and if the Mets blow the NL east they could be out of the playoffs.

Geoff said...

I am sure if the Sox blow the division (I so hope they do) it will be a big story on Monday morning.

CMFost said...

and Sparty if I am the Yankees I do not want to win the division. Who do you think the Yankees would rather play in the First Round of the Playoffs. The Angels who they are 1-5 against or the Indians who they are 6-0 against. Catch the Red Sox and win the division you play the Angels, stay as the wild card and play the indians. Which do you think the Yankees will do?

Matt T said...

We could be looking at the playoff to get into the playoffs. That would be pretty cool, even though my team finally got eliminated last night.

Micah Owings is a local boy, love seeing him do well.

Joey said...

The Yankees being 6-0 vs the Indians is meaningless as the Spurs being 0-2 vs the Cavs in the regular season. The two teams played when the Indians were at their worst and Sabathia did not pitch in any of those 6 games. In the playoffs, they could end up seeing Sabathia in Games 1 and 4 along with Carmona in Games 2 and 5.

Chris said...

When will the clock strike midnight? I knew it couldn't last, and eventually Dan would have to go back to taking shots at Brett Farve. I'm saying this as a Steelers fan who has no rooting interest in the Packers at all. Rather, as someone who just really respects Farve and the talent and toughness he has displayed over his career.

Of course Shanoff has been saying he should hang it up for years now and for some unknown reason hates Farve. Who knows, maybe it's because he didn't attend his wife's favorite school, you know the one that Dan pathetically says he roots for now, while forsaking his own alma mater.

I'm not sure of why he doesn't like Farve but it can't be from his play on the field. It's amazing how productive a QB can look when he has a good defense and some talent on offense in which to work with. Especially one as gifted as Farve. Instead of having to trying to win the games by himself, Farve can now just concentrate on taking care of the ball and leading his team. Has he made some horrific throws in the past? Sure he has, but I believe it was because he was convinced he had to take chances because the Packer had sub-par talent. The unusual thing is, he was willing to take those risks and the criticism that came with it, all to try and win football games.

All I know is that Farve is revered by teammates and opponets alike for his leadership and toughness. He has been there for the Packers through good times and bad. Which is probably why Dan doesn't like him, since sticking with a team through thick and thin is a concept that is completely foriegn to him.

End of my one and only defense of Brett Farve on this blog and this rant.

CMFost said...

Joey if the Yankees play Cleveland there will not be a game 4/5. It will be a Yankees sweep. The regular season record does matter since it is all about confidence and it also how teams match up. Most people will tell you the yankees do not match up well against the Angels but the match is favorable against the Indians.

Oh and Sabathia and Carmona in the 7 Career Games they have face the Yankees in are 0-6 and the teams is 0-7

David Kippe said...

look, if the Yanks are gonna win the whole thing, it doesn't matter who you play. You win. Period.

David Kippe said...

i would rather see the yanks play the Angels. I like the idea of "we have something to prove against these guys." beat the best to be the best.

Unknown said...

GO USF BULLS =O,-, (my bad bull character)

Tampa is getting a bit crazy over here, you swear we were playing for a National Championship, I mean we have the mayor declaring it Green & Gold Day and a huge flag was revealed.

Dan, I think you should point out in your college football picks that even though FSU might be the home team against Alabama this weekend, they are playing on a neutral field in Jacksonville. (for all the gamblers/bookies out there) They will be home team only by unifroms. (Just like your new found man crush with the gators and there 'biggest cock party in the world'.....errrr I mean 'cocktail'

David Kippe said...

Brett Favre is still great. I love the guy and what he means to football. When he came out and was open about his painkiller addicition, I became a Brett Favre fan. Just showed how honest he was, and how much he wanted to be right when he plays this game.

GoldManGold said...

I'm sure NBC coveted LeBron for SNL so they can cross-promote their NBA on NBC coverage. Wait... What?

CMFost said...

sparty I disagree, a big key to being able to win will be finishing off your first series as quickly as possible in order to set your rotation up better. If I am the Yankees I want to play cleveland in the first round. First becuase you own them and secondly because they have the worst closer. If you sweep the first series which the yanks will do if they play Cleveland then you can get Wang or Pettite going in game 1 of the ALCS on regular rest. If you struggle with the angels then you have either an injured Clemens or an up and down Mussina for game 1. Match ups do matter. Except for Cleveland since they have a losing record against all the other playoff teams.

vs Red Sox 10-9
vs Angels 1-5
vs Cleveland 6-0

Vs Yankees 0-6
vs Angels 3-4
vs red Sox 2-4

vs Yankees 9-10
vs Indians 4-2
vs Angels 5-2

Los Angelas
vs Yankees 5-1
vs Red Sox 2-5
vs Indians 4-3

David Kippe said...

i just do not put much into regular season matchups cmfost, thats all. i know the yanks struggles against the Angels. but whatever.

Erik Tylczak said...

I've never heard of Leitch or Florio. Sooo... no.

It is a fucking travesty that one generally can't watch Cal-Oregon east of the mountain time zone. Total bullshit.

hutlock said...

Um, where exactly are you getting those numbers from? The Indians and the Angels played 10 times this year and split them right down the middle 5-5. Look it up, genius.

hutlock said...

I should add that the Indians own the tiebreaker with the Angels (although it doesn't matter) because they have a better division record.

David Kippe said...

screw the numbers. just like you gotta screw the momentum. it is a whole new ballgame.

Unknown said...

So, if SD loses to KC, the must fire their coach. However, you pick Minny (who last week lost to KC) to beat the streaking Packers. And then you are boggled by the fact you were 6-10 last week. Personal bias should never affect your NFL picks.

Richard K. said...

Micah Owings' success at the plate is not much of a shock. When he played at Georgia Tech (before becoming a traitor and transferring to Tulane) he had over a .400 batting average and played as both the top ace pitcher and the DH.

kirby077 said...

Does anyone even think LeBron is funny? His co-hosting at the ESPY's was downright uncomfortable to watch. I think this SNL appearance is going to be a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Sparty, I love your screw the numbers line after you posted
"and no mention of the fact that if the red sox drop 2 of the next 3 and the yanks win 2 or 3 that they win the al east?"

If the Sox go 1-2 and the Yanks go 2-1 this weekend then the Yanks are still 1 game behind the Red Sox. The Yanks need to go 3-0 if the Sox go 1-2 or 2-1 if the Sox go 0-3.

But like you said, screw the numbers, the Yanks will not get homefield in the first round in any event so division or WC is meaningless.

RT said...

Giving UMass the love! I like it.

Boomhauertjs said...

Typical Yankee/Red Sox "We are the greatest teams ever" attitude. Not hard to be when you have payrolls double and triple of most other teams. I will enjoy watching all their fans make excuses when a team with a $60 million payroll takes them both out.

The heroin sheik said...

That rant by Hope Solo was hilarious. I kept hoping she would pull a Mora and left the f-bombs fly. Thistle is right any idiot can see that coach needs to get the fuck out of dodge. I saw Heather Mitts on some European soccer channel last night and she went off on the coach. Of course I spent the entire time staring at her chest so maybe she said the coach was great and she as happy not to make the team.

Knowing how people in the Bay area love to get behind a winner I can only imagine how crazy it will be tonite at ray-j. If USF can pull a repeat of last year those girls who work across the way in Drew Park and the ones down on Dale Mabry are going to be making a killing.

bmajoras said...

I remember in 1997 when the Yankees tanked the last weekend to ensure a matchup with the Indians because that's who they wanted to'd that turn out for them?

Geoff said...

Yeah, momentum and confidence matter so much heading into the postseason. Remember last year the Tigers limped into the playoffs by blowing the division by getting swept at home by the Royals in the last weekend of the season. They then had to face a Yankees team that no one thought they matched up well against. How did that turn out, I don't remember?

Regular season is meaningless the day the playoffs start.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Erik said...
I've never heard of Leitch or Florio. Sooo... no.

It is a fucking travesty that one generally can't watch Cal-Oregon east of the mountain time zone. Total bullshit.

Completely agree. The fact that ESPN went for a name (USC) in what will likely be a blowout over Cal/Oregon is a great example of how they do things there.

It's a joke that 2 top 15 teams are playing and not nationally televised sucks...

David Kippe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Kippe said...

cycledan, those two posts have nothing in common. i was just pointing out that the divison was not clinched yet by the sox. me saying screw the numbers has to do with who plays who and how the play who. make sure you understand the context of what i wrote. but you are right though that the yanks have to win all three, my mistake as far as that goes. but still has nothing to do with my second post

David Kippe said...

hmmm, kazmir looked good last night against the yanks, right mets fans?

Unknown said...

"If Cal's D let Tennessee score on them, they're in a lot of trouble with the Ducks."

I'm not sure I get the logic behind this, Dan (I mean, besides your Florida homer-dom). Tennessee is 2-2 with their two losses coming on the road against #4 Florida and #6 Cal. They're not in the same league, offensively, as the top teams, but it's not like they're Miami last year or Notre Dame this year.

chitown italian said...

Cal/Oregon is at 3:30 p.m. EST, USC/Washington is at 8:00 p.m. EST so how exactly did ABC/ESPN pick a name (USC) over Cal/Oregon?

Now if the games were at the same time you would have a valid point but since they are not at the same time you might want to rethink your comments.

Steve said...

I have Verizon DSL so I can watch espn360 on my computer even though I don't have cable tv. So I'll be watching the cal-oregon game even though I'm east of the rockies.

David Kippe said...

screw jimmy dolan and cablevision for not letting us watch ESPN360!

The heroin sheik said...

I dont know what games are when tomorrow but according to DirecTv We get mich state at Wisconsin at 3 and USC at 8. Although I would much rather watch Cal Oregon, it makes sense that they would put on a regional matchup. I am just glad that UF on national TV for almost the next month.

BobbyStompy said...

lol, Anderquinn

Brian in Oxford said...

remember about 15 years ago when college teams were only allowed on national TV a specified number of times a year? What was that, the days of the "college football association"?

(i bet if abc had asked, they could have moved the oregon game to prime time, though....)

all the baseball tiebreakers are amusing, but NEVER end up playing out like that. Sure, I'd love 4 teams to finish 88-74, but cheering for sports scheduling anarchy never seems to work.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

chitown italian said...
Cal/Oregon is at 3:30 p.m. EST, USC/Washington is at 8:00 p.m. EST so how exactly did ABC/ESPN pick a name (USC) over Cal/Oregon?

Now if the games were at the same time you would have a valid point but since they are not at the same time you might want to rethink your comments.

Because one is a national broadcast (USC/Washington) and the other is only available regionally out west (Cal/Oregon).

ABC/ESPN went with the name (USC) over the top 15 matchup for their national Saturday Night Broadcast. Instead of Oregon/Cal a monster game that has a lot riding on it I get Clemson/GT at 3:30 in my region.

As a huge college football fan, I'd much rather see the Oregon/Cal game than USC/Washington...It has more riding on the national picture. However, that game is being limited to about 1/4 the country...While EVERYONE can watch the USC game at 8pm...

danwise1856 said...

For those spouting about the Yankees 6-0 record against the Tribe, keep in mind that Sabathia has not pitched against them since Sept 1 2004. That is over THREE years ago! Secondly, the one game Carmona pitched against them this year, the game was 6-2 going into the 9th when the Yanks made a tremendous comeback.

This is another example of what numbers can lie. Does this mean the Indians are going to win, no, but it does make it look at little less dominating in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Demetrius Jones was "forbidden" to transfer to NIU? Again, Dan, your anti-ND bias gets in the way of the true facts.

Jones panicked and registered at NIU in order to meet the 12-day requirements, and was later released from his ND scholarship after he and Weis spoke and smoothed things over. He never spoke to the NIU coaches and withdrew from school because he found out other programs (like Cincinnati) had just started school and he could go there if he wanted to and still meet the class requirements. In the meantime, it was also reported that if he goes to a JUCO instead and gets and associates degree (he accumulated 40 hours at Notre Dame) he can transfer where ever he would like and be eligible in 2008. Basically, it has nothing to do with ND -- he is merely running around the country trying to find a way to go to school and be able to play next fall. Which is fine if he can do it.

So in all the time you were picking up degrees from two prominent universities you never learned to do a little research?

Unsilent Majority said...

There may or may not be a boxing match of some consequence happening this weekend.

chitown italian said...

I would thoroughly enjoy watching the Cal game instead of UW, Texas or GA Tech.

But it's not going to happen unless I hit a bar with hopes it is on GamePlan.

CMFost said...

Dan check your stats carmona faced the Yankees twice this year and both times the Indians lost.

August 10th - 6-1 Yankees Carmona went 7ip, 8H, 4er

April 19th - 8-6 Yankees, Carmona 6ip, 6h, 2er

for the season
13ip, 14h, 6er 0-1 record

Ftrain said...

For those in BALCO or boxing:

Breaking story on

According to multiple sources who attended an international anti-doping conference in Colorado Springs last November, Jeff Novitzky, a lead investigator in the BALCO case, alleged that boxer Shane Mosley started an elaborate doping regimen in the months prior to a Sept. 13, 2003, fight against Oscar de la Hoya.

Michael said...

those of us on the east coast aren't getting Cal/oregon? what game will abc have here

David Kippe said...

maryland rutgers here in jersey

Michael said...

No offense to Rutgers but if I have to watch Maryland play another football game I am going to eat a shoe (or put in your own funnier line than "eat a shoe")

chitown italian said...

Since Dan doesn't do hockey.....are the Hawks going to be worse this year than last with kahahbeebullin in net?

My guess is yes, they will be worse than last year.

The heroin sheik said...

Id say screw ABC and watch the FSU/Bama game. I hate both teams but I do like Bobby Bowden. I used to deliver pizzas in Orlando to Terry sometimes and once Bobby came to the door to pay. He was a good tipper. I wish they didn't have ot because this would be a game I would love for there to be a 0-0 tie.

Anonymous said...

There is no way BC loses to a team like UMASS,Dan.

Bob McGovern said...

What's a "team like UMass?" Don't they teach you to explain yourself at Chestnut Hill?

Brian in Oxford said...

This is unbelievable


The heroin sheik said...

God this USF WVU game is sloppy as hell. Regardless USF is pushing them all over the field. It is really impressive.