Today's Names to Know: Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, Alex Rodriguez, Matt Holliday, Jimmy Rollins, Mariano Rivera, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, Lloyd Carr, Brian Kelly and More!
MNF: Broncos use big plays to beat the Titans and re-enter the playoff picture in the AFC West by moving into a tie for first place.
NFL: Mike Vick wants to go to jail early. Reports seem to indicate confusion as to why he would do it, but it makes sense: He's going anyway, so he might as well start now. Every month he can get out earlier is one more month he can attempt to rehab his NFL career. (Just a few months after the climax of his indictment, it already doesn't seem like a particularly crazy notion, does it?)
MLB Awards Season: A-Rod wins AL MVP. This is hardly a surprise.
Now, the NL MVP is a different story. Heading into the end of the season, Jimmy Rollins was edging Matt Holliday. Then: Game 163, when Holliday provided what was arguably the signature moment of the regular season, a game-winning (non-) slide, right into (or around) home plate, completing the greatest late-season run in baseball history. If it is possible for a single play in the final play of the season to be the difference in an MVP race, this would be that moment. I'm not sure this situation has gotten the appreciation it deserves.
MLB Hot Stove: Mariano Rivera will go back to the Yankees (3Y/$45M), giving
More: World Series MVP Mike Lowell is going to stay with the Red Sox; we'll never truly know if his stats this season were goosed by the lineup around him or because he is that good. That said, he WAS that clutch in the World Series, and that bit of performance undoubtedly led to the new deal he's about to get from the team.
Strat-O-Matic '86 Update: Jody Davis hit a 3-run HR in the bottom of the 8th to lead my Cubs over the rival Cards at Wrigley Field, bringing me one game from .500. A little-known pitcher named Greg Maddux got his first win of the season, in relief, and Lee Smith racked up his 5th save in 5 Cubs wins.
NBA Last Night: Amazingly, the Magic are quickly eclipsing the Celtics as THE team of the first month of the season. First, a win over Boston; now, becoming the first team to notch 10 wins, with yet another quality win over the Hornets, who themselves were 9-2 heading into the game. Dwight Howard (NBA Player of the Month?) had 24 and 15 in what continues to be a break-out, 1st-team-all-NBA season for him.
CBB: UCLA is really good. After making UCLA my preseason pick to win the national title (a position I haven't changed), I have a vested interest in continuing to pimp them all season long (beats me pimping Florida hoops, I'm sure many of you are muttering).
After watching UCLA dismantle
If the only thing stopping them from winning national titles the last two years was
More Freshman-Watching: Add Duke's Kyle Singler to the growing list. Singler led the Blue Devils with 21 points (9/14 FG, 2/3 3-pt) and 12 rebounds. Has there ever been a season with such a deep freshman class of talent?
Next year's freshmen class: Li'l Romeo, boy-rapper and son of Percy "Master P" Miller confirmed he is going to play at USC. Or, at least, sit on the bench until he pouts and quits the team. Whichever comes first.
Anyway, I appreciate all the reasons for – and
It's going to be interesting to see who they get, because the timing of Lloyd Carr's announcement really screws up the shot that
I will renew my own personal endorsement: Brian Kelly of Cincinnati, who has done a great job in his first year at Cincy, coached in-state in Michigan (Central), won two national titles at Grand Valley State, will have no interest in ever leaving to go anywhere else and runs a rare combo of effective spread offense and buttoned-up D. Michigan fans worried Kelly is a job-jumper? So was Urban Meyer. Not only do I think Kelly is the right pick, but I think he WILL be the pick. Now that the Quickie Curse has been appropriately applied, we can move on...
(Although the second-most popular email sentiment I got was: What's wrong with Rich Rodriguez? My common response was this: The spread offense in the Big Ten, run by a dual-threat QB, would be hugely successful. Look at the player that had the most success against
Les Miles broke down a little yesterday while talking about
Coach of the Year: There's one week to go in the first stage of voting – narrowing the field to a Top 25. There has been a huge surprise surge in the last 7 days, and there is a new leader. Go to coachoftheyear.com to check it out, and while you're there, don't forget to check out my exclusive blog, in partnership with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. And don't forget to leave your own analysis in the Comments of the LMCOY race this season.