Today's Names to Know: South Florida,
South Florida loses at Rutgers: There will be many doubters and haters who are giddy today at No. 2 USF (No. 1 in the BCS computer polls) losing at
The Bulls were THE story of college football: The representation of everything that was wacky and out-of-balance about the season. USF was this year's Cinderella; they were, by far, the most compelling remaining unbeaten team.
Now, USF has virtually no shot at the national title game. Even if they end up 11-1, there will be so many other 1-loss teams that the Bulls will be squeezed out.
Of far more consequence to the rest of the country, one of the two coveted BCS slots is now open -- there for the taking. Presumably, No. 3 Boston College (playing vaunted "Idle," which would finish in the top half of the ACC this season) will back their way into the position, in the biggest "win" of the week. Yes, there's nothing like "earning it."
It's also a warning shot to BC,
(Losing at Rutgers, a very tough team, particularly at home and particularly playing their own Game of the Year, is hardly a shame, like losing at home to an unranked team; any of the five unbeatens above would have lost at Rutgers on a Thursday night at this point in the season. And, yet, USF still had their chances to win.)
On a navel-gazing note, it's nice to get off the schneid for my fall predictions track record, which had been previously miserable before picking RU over USF. I will now resume my pick-sucking.
MLB: Red Sox crush Indians in Game 5, bring series back to
Not only did he dominate the Indians (8 IP, 11 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 1 R) in a must-win game for
Meanwhile, we now have a situation unique to the 7-game format: One team is down 3-2, facing elimination in either of the next two games, but coming home to play those two games (having already lost 1 of 2 games played with that home-field "advantage").
And, yet, all momentum, confidence and presumption of victory resides with that team. Forget previous expectations: The upset now would be if
Joe Torre turns down Yankees' offer: I can understand Torre not wanting to take the pay cut, but he still would have been the highest-paid manager in baseball -- if he reached his incentives, which weren't particularly draconian, given his inability to win any championships since 2000. I thought that based on Torre's recent performance, the deal was fair. If he didn't want to take it, that's on him, not the team management.
Torre Era is over: What next for the Yankees? They've got to find Torre's replacement, hardly an easy seat to fill. Will they go with the presumptive in-house heir (Mattingly)? Will they go for a more experienced manager who can take this veteran team back to the World Series? Another day, more drama.
What next for Torre? I'm betting a nice deal with ESPN. But if Fox was smart, they would sign him up to provide World Series analysis. (And if Torre was smart, he'd do it.)
College Football Preview and Picks
After the last three weeks (Massive upsets in the Top 10, USC loses to 41-point underdog, teams ranked 1-2 both lose), I cannot possibly see how things could get any crazier. Then again, I've said that in each of the last two weeks.
The wildest outcome, of course, would be that
All eyes on the five remaining unbeatens: I think that, of the five, No. 13 Kansas is in the most tenuous position, playing at
The Game of the Day is
4 LSU over 17
14 USC over at Notre Dame
NFL Preview and Picks
Five Storylines Of Interest:
(1) Pats 19-0 Watch: vs. nemesis Dolphins
(2) Colts at Jags on MNF: Game of the Week
(3) Matt Schaub: Make Texans fans forget VY?
(4) Adrian Peterson: NFL's most "must-see"
(5) This Week's Testaverde: Byron Leftwich
At Lions over Bucs
Pats over at Dolphins
At Saints over Falcons
At Giants over 49ers
At Redskins over Cards
At Texans over Titans
At Bengals over Jets
Chiefs over at Raiders
At Cowboys over Vikings
Bears over at Eagles
At Seahawks over Rams
Steelers over at Broncos (SNF)
At Jaguars over Colts (MNF)
Javon Walker out indefinitely: More bad news for a Broncos team that is full of it this season.
Priest Holmes returning this Sunday? It's possible. No, I wouldn't drop an active player from your fantasy roster to pick him up... yet.
Bills want to play home game(s) in
Bill Callahan doesn't like Tom Osborne: At least that's what a student sports reporter says in a new book (self-published), in which he reports Callahan calls the
Pats are evil geniuses, Part Nth: In a move far more insidious than spying on the football field, the Pats will get the names of their season-ticket-holding fans who (re-)sold their tickets on StubHub (presumably to punish them for not letting the team re-sell them).
I'm no fan of price-gouging (or the ticket brokers who mostly engage in it), but I'm even less of a fan of a team's invasions of privacy against its fan base.
(The best system is where leagues, fans and a company like StubHub collaborate to let fans re-sell their unused tickets; I recognize this works a lot better in a sport like baseball, where there are 81 regular-season games and a season-ticket holder who can't attend might just want to make back their original ticket cost. Or more, when the game is meaningful.)
Still, the main point is that this is an iffy issue, but alienating your fans by threatening them generally isn't a good policy – even if you are in total control because there are only 8 home games and the wait-list for tickets is decades long.
Now, I'm not saying the Pats fans who scalped on StubHub don't have their own issues: If you're a season-ticket holder in it to make a lot of money off your tickets through the secondary market, you shouldn't get them -- there are plenty of fans out there who would kill to pay for (and attend) all 8 home games.
Privacy-infringing team: Bad
Price-gouging ticket-holders: Bad
Dan Patrick teaming up with SI: SI.com could use the relevance. DP could use the audience.