Today's Names to Know: Lloyd Carr, Les Miles, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury, Kevin Love and More!
Michigan's Lloyd Carr to retire after this season? That's what the excellent Brian Cook at MGoBlog is reporting (let's see how many mainstream sports media outlets give him the credit he deserves for being the first to have it). Let's quickly move into: Who should replace him?
LSU's Les Miles is the obvious front-runner, setting up the incredibly awkward situation of Miles' current team being the front-runner for this season's national championship. Beyond being a distraction, how weird would it be if Miles won the national title, then immediately left his powerhouse to go back to Ann Arbor? A coach leaving a national-title team to go coach another college team.
So maybe Miles will give up his dream job and stay in Baton Rouge. If that's the case, I know Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is being mentioned, but can I nominate Cincinnati's Brian Kelly:
Kelly was successful coaching in Michigan (if not AT Michigan). He is one of the brightest Xs and Os guys in the country – he has managed to install an entertaining and powerful spread offense while still developing a stout defense. And, by all accounts, he's a positive, congenial presence. If Miles passes, Michigan should go for Kelly. (Huge hat-tip to Brian Cook on the Carr scoop. His post yesterday titled "Heat" is a must-read. Can't grab the permalink for some reason.)
MLB Hot Stove: The Yankees are said to be offering Mariano Rivera a 3Y/$45M deal to stay with them, which I'm sure he will accept. Locking up Posada and Rivera is key to keeping a foundation of vets to go with the youth movement. (More Stove, still in New York: Are the Mets going to sign Rockies C Yorvit Torrealba?)
MLB Awards: CC Sabathia edges Josh Beckett for AL Cy Young. It's refreshing to see Boston sports take one on the chin for once, because since, say, Labor Day, that hasn't really happened. I personally would have taken Beckett, but then again, I personally would like to see the postseason count when considering awards.
Today's Award: Manager of the Year. You've got to give it to Clint Hurdle in the NL for the way the Rockies surged at the end of the season. In the AL, eh, the way Joe Torre guided the Yankees from dregs to playoffs was impressive enough, I guess.
NBA: Celtics are 6-0 for first time since the late 80s. No guarantees how they'll do against the best of the West (particularly in a 7-game series), but for now, they are easily the best in the East – and, amazingly, living up to the larger-than-life hype. In the Big Three merry-go-round of performances, Paul Pierce was the star: 31 points (including, at one point late, 13 in mere minutes), 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Heat stink: On the other end of the spectrum, the Heat lost…again. Champs two years ago, Miami is now one of the weakest teams in the league – obviously, that's without Dwayne Wade and with Shaq a shadow of his former dominant self. Pat Riley should have quit while he was ahead.
Where is Stephon Marbury? He walked out on the Knicks. Under any other management, he would be severely punished – perhaps even waived. Under Isiah, it's "I got permission to leave." Really? (Despite his summer freak-out, he's still riding a net-positive wave of pub for his sneakers; why would he mess with that by doing this?) The Knicks lost to the Suns, as you would imagine. The best outcome here is that Marbury never comes back, resurfaces in Italy (as he has said he would) and becomes a Euroleague icon. Isiah could then use Marbury's salary hole to overpay Yorvit Torrealba.
Kevin Durant Watch: Ugh. 10 points on 4/13 FG shooting, with 4 turnovers, yet only 1 rebound and 0 assists. Seattle is 0-8, fairly awful, probably with one eye on the move to Oklahoma City and the other eye on drafting Michael Beasley next June.
College Hoops: Kevin Love, yet another spectacular freshman, had yet another great game: 19 and 9 in a UCLA rout. His fellow frosh, Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, couldn't match his 28-point debut from Monday, but he did coolly nail an NBA 3 in the final seconds to carry the Cuse over pesky St. Joe's. (Meanwhile, Arizona won their season debut without Lute Olsen; still waiting on the reporting of why he is not coaching.)
Good news for Seattle fans: No, the Sonics aren't staying in town (despite rumors yesterday that there was a chance). But in 2009, you WILL be getting an MLS franchise. Can they use the Sonics name? That would be cool (No? Oh. Well, it's not like the Oklahoma City guys want to keep it.)
CFB Coach of the Year Update: All season long, I have been doing a partnership with Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, maintaining a blog for them tracking the LMCOY race. This week, I praise Sylvester Croom and reveal my latest Top 10 rankings. Check it out, post a comment if you have an opinion and don't forget to vote. I've got to still go with Mangino. The site can be found at coachoftheyear.com.