Today's Names to Know: Paul Byrd, Kenny Lofton, Pats-Cowboys, Kevin Everett, NFL Draft, Tiger Woods, Gatorade, Al Jefferson, Kobe Bryant, Chris Chambers, Tom Osborne, Mike Hopkins and More!
MLB ALCS: Indians put Red Sox in 3-1 hole, heading into Game 5. I did enjoy, however, the back-to-back-to-back home runs by Boston. Though not as much as the Indians' 7-run 5th. (Am I wrong to sense that Boston fans are kind of like, "Eh, we'll take it or leave it this year… how about those Patriots! And KG!" Indians fans, meanwhile, seem generally ecstatic, which probably comes from not winning a World Series in multiple generations.)
Milestone Watch: Kenny Lofton became the all-time playoff steals leader (34), breaking Rickey Henderson's old record.
MLB NLCS: Least-watched LCS series in history! (That's a shame, given the unprecedented way the Rockies have been playing for the last month.) I know most of you find talk about TV ratings to be pretty lame. I have stopped really being blown away by "lowest ever" ratings like we saw in the most recent NBA Finals (or this upcoming World Series). We get it: Fans' attention span is fragmenting… We need to set our expectations bar lower… we… WHAAAA?!
NFL: Pats-Cowboys rout was the most-watched TV show of the fall season so far -- and CBS' highest-rated game since they got the NFL back in 1998. OK, so "highest ever" ratings numbers, in this day and age, is pretty freaking remarkable. (h/t Sports Media Watch via Fanhouse)
Kevin Everett standing, with a walker: Best news of the NFL season.
NFL Trading Deadline: Chris Chambers sent from Dolphins to Chargers. At this point, this is a win for both teams: The Chargers could use the WR (Chambers could use a situation where he is the 3rd option, at best). The Dolphins could use the extra draft pick.
NFL Draft first round going from 15 minutes per pick to 10 minutes per pick? This is a fantastic development, even more so if it means that the draft's first round is moving from Saturday afternoon to Friday night. (h/t PFT)
Some traditionalists may lament either or both switches, but with the way the NFL Draft has become one of the landmark sports events of the year (arguably behind only the Super Bowl and, perhaps, the college football national championship game – oh, and apparently a Pats-Cowboys regular season game) and this makes it even more accessible and even more of an "event."
NBA: Kobe to be traded to the Mavs? Who else is getting tired of the 24/7 Kobe Trade rumors? Wake me when he's in his Bulls jersey.
NBA Preaseason: I think Al Jefferson is going to be a superstar. The centerpiece of what the T'wolves got in return for KG had 20 and 15 last night, yet another great preseason performance in a lead role… I'm a Wizards fan, but you don't have to be bullish on the team to see that they are totally overlooked in the East, a conference they were poised to finish first in last season before injuries decimated their chances. Keep an eye on the Wiz rookies (Pecherov, Young, McGuire), who have helped turn the Wizards' second-unit into a strength, rather than a liability. (Yes, the Wiz were routed by the Bulls last night.)
Golf/Business: Gatorade to partner with Tiger Woods and launch a new line of drinks, "Gatorade Tiger." I love Gatorade (Best. Hangover Cure. Ever.), and I pride myself in being enough of a mindless lemming to know I'll definitely try the stuff. Otherwise, Tiger is rumored to be getting $100 million in the licensing deal.
Meanwhile, there is one person out there who knows Gatorade and sports business better than anyone: Darren Rovell's post on this story is a must-read.
Fantasy: MLB and the players' union lost another ruling to the fantasy folks about owning player names and stats. Presumably, under the ruling, I could create my own fantasy game without having to pay a licensing fee. If only I wasn't so lazy...
CFB: Tom Osborne is returning to Nebraska as interim AD. Sure, he was in charge of the football team during its heyday (and, arguably, the greatest single season any team has ever had, in 1995), but there was some serious sketchiness that went along with that success that people either never heard about (or just don't talk about).
CFB: Jimmy Clausen is benched. So much for being the greatest QB prospect since whenever. (Wait: Why am I talking about Notre Dame? What a waste of time.)
CBB: Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins officially anointed as Jim Boeheim's successor. That's the type of continuity that can really help a program. In some teams' cases, I like the idea of bringing in a new regime; in the case of Syracuse, they are better off with an extension of Boeheim (whenver the transition happens).
More CFB: Don't forget to check out my guest-blog over at CoachOfTheYear.com, this week to be updated with praise for Kentucky's Rich Brooks, a look at the latest standings and another round of reader comments – they sure do like that Jim Leavitt. Feel free to leave your own comments, analyzing the latest developments in the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award race. Special consideration for DS.com commenters, of course. (As should be plainly obvious, but I'm happy to affirm: I have a business relationship with the folks behind CoachOfTheYear.com.)