Today's Names to Know: Barry Bonds, Oregon Ducks, Dennis Dixon, The Big Game, Lloyd Carr, Alex Rodriguez, Ricky Williams, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Grant Hill, Derrick Rose, Jimmie Johnson and tons More!
Barry Bonds indicted: OK, who else is already sick of this story? I'm going to quickly move on.
Is Bonds' baseball career over? Possibly/probably (though those definitive pronouncements by TV analysts within minutes of the news made me laugh that anyone ever actually labeled me an instant-history hysteric), but to be honest, that would be too bad. I was actually interested to see him on a new team next season.
I will only add one of my favorite scandal maxims I've been spouting since the Quickie's earliest days: It's always the cover-up, never the crime.
Far more intriguingly...
Perhaps we should have seen it coming (5th No. 2-ranked team to lose this season), but regardless, it's yet another wild twist to the college football season (and, personally, perhaps redemption for me from the abuse I took for ranking Oregon No. 3 in my latest BlogPoll).
Amazingly, after all the upheaval we have seen this season, the BCS title game sets up rather cleanly: LSU versus the survivor of the Big 12's virtual playoff among Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Done.
(On the outside looking in is
Heisman Watch: Meanwhile, with
UPDATE: It has been mentioned in the Comments, fairly, that the above opinion was callous, particularly about a player leading the Heisman race. Upon further reflection, that's right: It's a shame that a player as dynamic as Dixon was KO'd from the game and the Heisman race (along with his team's title hopes), and I certainly wish him a full recovery and a shot at an NFL career.
That presumably makes Tim Tebow the new front-runner, but I still think
CFB Preview and Picks: It's all about jockeying for BCS positioning. LSU must win, obviously, but winning with style wouldn't hurt. Same goes for
And last year's Game of the Year – Ohio State/Michigan – is merely a game to determine the Big Ten champ. That's all fine and good, but it's not like playing for a spot in the BCS title game, like last year. Oh, and it could be Lloyd Carr's final shot at beating Ohio State, so there's that.
1 LSU over Ole Miss
15 Clemson over 17 BC
24 UConn over
NFL Preview and Picks
Top 5 NFL Storylines
1. Pats 19-0 Watch: Streaking to 10-0
2. Fins 0-16 Watch: Beck Era begins!
3. Tomlinson: 10K Watch
4. Packers flying to 9-1?
5. Old Browns-New Browns: Must-win?
Bucs over at Falcons
At Bengals over Cards
At Lions over Giants
At Packers over Panthers
At Colts over Chiefs
At Vikings over Raiders
At Eagles over Dolphins
At Jags over Chargers
Browns over at Ravens
At Texans over Saints
Steelers over at Jets
At Cowboys over Redskins
Rams over at 49ers
At Seahawks over Bears
Pats over at Bills
At Broncos over Titans
A-Rod back with Yankees for 10Y/$275M: I love it: "agree to the outline of a deal." Who gets that kind of treatment? The intrigue, of course, is less about A-Rod and more about Scott Boras rumored to have been cut out of the negotiations. What a public come-uppance for that guy.
Meanwhile, I love the rumor of a contract clause that gives A-Rod a huge bonus if he breaks the all-time home-run record as a Yankee, rumored to be something like $25 million, which Hank Steinbrenner wouldn't call a performance clause, but instead a "historic-achievement bonus." (via NYT) Let's hope they included a "historic achievement" clause that would come with A-Rod actually winning a World Series.
MLB Awards Season: Jake Peavy wins the NL Cy Young, unanimously. Not much more to add to that, now, is there? MVPs coming next week, and the
More MLB: Derek Jeter doesn't want to pay his fair share of taxes. Tough spot for the Captain: Either he's a tax cheat or he hates
It is ludicrous for him to live and play in
God forbid the multi-millionaire who has built his career on the backs (and greenbacks) of the loyalty and support of millions of New Yorkers rightfully pay taxes on the income he earned while living in New York and taking financial advantage of that support.
NFL: Ricky Williams to rejoin Dolphins on Monday. The stat to track, obviously, is what percent of fantasy football owners, desperate for a running back, pick up Ricky. (Um, I know I will. Hey: Why not?)
More about Ricky: I was thinking yesterday how in today's NFL, where we increasingly see arrests and steroid busts seemingly every week, how quaint it seems that Ricky Williams simply had a problem with smoking pot.
I'm not saying that wasn't wrong or idiotic or against league policy, but just that I feel like fans will have a lot greater tolerance for Ricky these days than even a year ago.
I mean: Compare Ricky to, say, Pac-Man Jones. Ricky is the doddering stoner you can root for; Pac-Man is the douchebag criminal you can't.
More NFL: To his credit, Tom Brady calls out any Pats teammates who don't want to deal with the 19-0 thing. "If you don't want to be in that position, you might as well quit the game. Because if it's too much that you're winning and all of a sudden that's pressure, this probably isn't the right sport for you." Damn straight.
NFL Pro Bowl Voting: Brett Favre is the leading vote-getter, and even as a confirmed Favre-hater over the years, I think that's pretty impressive. Equally impressive, leading the votes among all running backs? Rookie Adrian Peterson. NFL fans are voting right this year.
NBA: The Stud of the Night was Grant Hill, who had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in leading the Suns to their 4th straight win (over the increasingly hapless Bulls, who must be regretting their decision not to trade for Kobe when they had the chance). Hill's resurgence is one of the great stories of the season; what a reminder that a player's success can and does often hinge on the system he is playing in and who he is playing with.
(I will lift my ban on talking about the Mavs until they make the second round of the playoffs long enough to remind everyone that a regular-season win by Dallas over the Spurs is utterly meaningless. The Spurs are the defending champs; the Mavs are the defending chumps.)
Meanwhile, add another super-frosh to the growing list of ones to watch: NC State's JJ Hickson had 31, the second-highest scoring total for a freshman in school history. The No. 21 Wolfpack also won the game.
NASCAR: The biggest problem with the points championship system is that this weekend's finale has zero drama. Jimmie Johnson will win the title, barring catastrophe. (Now, if a bitter rival intentionally knocked Johnson out of the race, giving the title to Jeff Gordon? Now THAT would be dramatic.)
Strat-O-Matic 1986 Update: The Expos' Vance Law clubbed my Cubs for 5 RBI (including a grand slam) and we lost our second game in a row, dropping to 3-4 on the season. Adding insult to injury, Montreal is managed by league commissioner and Strat god Bernie Hou. At some point, I think this entire league is his own personal experiment to re-live the 1986 season with the Expos winning the division, NL pennant and World Series.