Saturday, September 22, 2007

CFB Saturday Mid-Evening Update

OK: So I was VERY wrong about Oklahoma losing to Tulsa. As penance, I will leap-frog the Sooners over Florida in my BlogPoll Top 25, up to No. 3.

Meanwhile, the Gators gritted out a win at Ole Miss, but Tim Tebow accounted for 428 yards -- the hard way: 260 passing and 160 rushing, along with 4 TDs (2 pass, 2 rush). WVU's Pat White and Steve Slaton are great: Tebow is like the two of them combined.

Michigan rights the ship: Huge HUGE win vs. Penn State. Mike Hart carries the team, and Chad Henne will never start again as long as Ryan Mallett is healthy.

Notre Dame still sucks. Still! 0-4 for the first time in school history. But, hey, at least they finally scored an offensive TD.

Finally: Louisville. WTF?! Losing at home to lowly Syracuse?

More tomorrow. Back to breaking the Yom Kippur fast.

-- D.S.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday 09/21 A.M. Quickie:
Pats Tapes Destroyed, NFL/CFB Picks, More!

Today's Names to Know: Destroyed NFL tapes, NFL Picks, Vince Young vs. Donovan McNabb, Kevin Everett, Tulsa, CFB Picks, Angels and Indians, Mets and Phillies, and More.

Lead Item: Pats cheating scandal takes a weird turn: Without a shred of transparency, the NFL has destroyed all the tapes that the Pats turned over to them, simply saying, "Didn't see anything."

I think this will flare into the Big Story today, because "destroying evidence" (particularly without letting anyone else see it) is something we all can conceptualize -- and it doesn't speak to clearing things up.

On the contrary, it instantly implies HIDING things.

We are forced to trust the NFL on their decision-making, but I think you're crazy if you do. It's in the NFL's best interests to lock down on anything... bigger... that they might have found on those tapes. But we'll never know, because the tapes are destroyed and the NFL controls the situation.

Imagine a similar scenario with David Stern or Bud Selig. The outrage would be off the Richter scale. I don't think it's crazy to suggest there would be calls for Congressional hearings.

But King NFL? Please. Won't happen. I hesitate that mainstream media will even try to investigate the increasing (and increasingly legit) claims that are popping up -- including about the Tuck Game, the most iconic of any Pats wins during the dynasty.

Just look at the crackerjack way that mainstream media has taken on the NFL's PED epidemic. Again, if they worked fractionally as hard as they have on MLB's PED scandal, they'd find... that the NFL is SO much worse.

It's not like that would cripple the sport; everyone already assumes that HGH or other PEDs are rampant in pro football, and it doesn't affect the league's popularity one bit.

Still, this is skeevy: Given the rumors that are circulating, it seems suspicious that the league would chirp, "Nothing to see here"... and destroy everything. Not just lock it away, but destroy it.

At the very least, it gives conspiracy theorists (in this case, some would say "realists") a parting gift to the scandal.

As usual, Florio over at PFT has the definitive take on this. (Please, please, please PFT: Can you include permalinks to individual Rumor Mill items? While you're at it, how about an RSS feed?)

NFL Week 3 Preview and Picks: SD d. GB, MIN d. KC, NE d. BUF, NYJ d. MIA, DET d. PHI, PIT d. SF, STL d. TB, BAL d. ARI, IND d. HOU, DEN d. JAX, CLE d. OAK, CIN d. SEA, CAR d. ATL, WSH d. NYG, CHI d. DAL (SNF), NO d. TEN (MNF). LW: 11-5 (07: 23-9)

Feel free to put your favorite Week 3 NFL storyline in the Comments.

McNabb and Black QBs, Cont'd: Where do you stand on Vince Young's reaction to it, which was... no reaction. Literally. "Not my fight," Young said, despite being the heir to Briscoe, Williams and – yes – McNabb.

Without their "fight" before him, Young would be preparing to line up right now at wide receiver.

I appreciate that VY was taking the road of "I'm just concentrating on the game in front of me," but that was intellectually dishonest.

Young needs to have a response; I'm sure he does, but just didn't want to say it, either because he was afraid of getting in the middle of a discussion about race in sports or because he was afraid it might dent his marketability.

CFB Tonight: Oklahoma at Tulsa. And I'm picking Tulsa! The Sooners are 22-point favorites. It could be easy enough for me to take the points, see Tulsa lose by less than 22 and claim moral victory.

But no! I look at Tulsa's crazy-ass offense (managed by prep-football genius turned college coordinator Gus Malzahn) and all I can think of is: Boise State, who used offensive innovation to completely baffle (and beat) Oklahoma.

Now, either Bob Stoops learned his lesson before... or, even if you know it's coming, it's hard to be a BCS-league power and take the sandlot-style of non-BCS football seriously.

The game is at Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane has an unstoppable offense. Everyone assumes this has all the makings of being "Oklahoma's year."

I'm calling the shocker: Tulsa beats Oklahoma.

More CFB Top 25 Preview and Picks: Picking Tulsa over Oklahoma makes up for the fact that a combination of patsy opponents and (mostly) home games means that there will be an absurdly low number of unexpected scores this weekend. In fact, I pick all but two ranked teams to win, one by necessity:

While newly minted Top 25 team Alabama has a must-win at home against No. 22 Georgia, newly unranked Arkansas, back at home, will catch No. 21 Kentucky (coming off the win over rival Louisville) in a classic let-down game.

Everything else? Yawn: Top 25 teams jockeying for style points. (Um, nevermind the fact that I picked A&M over unranked Miami and already blew that one.)

I guess that works out better for me, given that I will be refraining from watching football during the day in observance of Yom Kippur.

(Is it wrong that I'm TiVo'ing the big games – including Florida at Ole Miss -- to watch once the sun goes down? Does that defile the spirit of deprivation and repentance the holiday demands?)

Anyway, the picks:
USC (1) over Washington St
LSU (2) over South Carolina (12)
Florida (3) over at Ole Miss
Tulsa over Oklahoma (4) (UPSET SPECIAL)
West Virginia (5) over E. Carolina
Cal (6) over Arizona
(7) over Rice
Ohio State (8) over Northwestern
Wisconsin (9) over Iowa
Penn State (10) over at Michigan
(13) over at Stanford
B.C. (14) over Army
Clemson (15) over NC State
Alabama (16) over Georgia (22) (GOTW)
VA Tech (17) over William and Mary
Louisville (18) over Syracuse
Hawaii (19) over Charleston Southern
Arkansas over Kentucky (21) (SUPER-STUD WATCH)
South Florida (23) over UNC
Nebraska (24) over Ball State
Missouri (25) over Illinois State

Notre Dame SuckWatch (TM): And the worst marketing idea of the year goes to... adidas and Notre Dame, which will outfit fans at the Stadium with... white towels. Because nothing says "Fight on!" like a white towel.

CFB Thursday: Miami 34, Texas A&M 17. So much for the Aggies as a darkhorse national-title contender. Meanwhile, which team is Miami: The one who clobbered A&M or the one who got clobbered by Oklahoma?

Kevin Everett Update: Between the "Belicheat" and "McNabb" memes over the last two weeks, it's amazing simply to find out that doctors think Everett can be walking in the next few weeks.

MLB Pennant Racing:

Mets Collapse, Cont'd: After a 10-inning loss last night to the Marlins (where they blew a three-run lead...twice), the Mets are now just 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies, who won.

Angels thisclose to clinching: Just need to win tonight versus Seattle to become the first team to earn a playoff spot.

(Indians close, too. And is this the weekend the Yankees catch – or pass – the Red Sox in the AL East? I know I have talked for months about the only thing mattering being making the playoffs however you can; the division title is relatively meaningless as long as you win the Wild Card. However, I now find this intriguing, even though both teams are virtual locks to make the playoffs. It would be infinitely better if it was a runner-up-is-out situation. Get on that, MLB!)

NL West: Padres win 7th straight, putting them only .5 GB the D'backs. The reason the NL East race is so insane is that the loser will likely miss the playoffs entirely, probably because of the NL West.

MLB: Ken Griffey will miss the rest of the season. September 20? You definitely won if, at the start of the season, you picked the "over."

Astros hire Ed Wade: When I first wrote this, I accidentally typed "Astros fire Ed Wade." Fast-forward anywhere between 3-8 seasons, and that's pretty much what you'll have.

PGA and PEDs: The PGA will institute PED-testing in 2008, presumably more than enough time for the dozens of players you just KNOW are using rule-bending drugs to get their system clean.

(If you think I'm crazy to suggest that many PGA players are using PEDs, YOU'RE the one who is delusional. It's like you haven't been paying attention to sports for the last decade.)

Yes, Floyd Landis is still a cheater.

Must-Read: Big Daddy Drew's lead-in to his weekly Deadspin NFL guest-post. Filed under "Wish I Wrote That."

The Big Picture's "Would You Do..." Tournament returns... for Round 2. Here's a link.

Housekeeping: Sorry to pack so much into a single post. Abbreviated day for me here. I'll try to set up a CFB Live-Comment post for Saturday's games before the end of the day, even though it'll be early.

-- D.S.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday 09/20 A.M. Quickie:
McNabb, Pettitte, T.O., Junior's 88, CFB, More!

UPDATE: Under the wire, A&M (20) over at Miami tonight. Complete CFB and NFL picks coming tomorrow morning!

McNabb QB-Race Debate: McNabb weighs in with his own blog post over at YardBarker, which has found a nice little niche offering itself as a p.r. outlet for athletes. (And I'm not saying that to diminish it. As long as the athletes play it straight with readers, that's great. Look what it did for Greg Oden's cachet.)

Kudos to Dan Steinberg on the insightful take on this story I should have had on Tuesday morning. (I'm happy to admit it: Those who say the "Rex Grossman Example" is a poor one might be right.)

I think it's important to point out that white columnists are ripping McNabb while black columnists are saying, "Well, obviously." That's as intriguing as the original sentiment, because if anything is "obvious," it's that there's a racial-perspective issue among sports columnists. As usual, mainstream sports columnists, in general, are – across the board – overly shrill and mostly over-simplified to the point of inanity. But that's the job description.

Today's Must-Read: With Leather's Matt Ufford (aka KSK's Captain Caveman) is one of the most talented writers ever created by the enema that is the sports-blog universe. There are moments, however, when he absolutely crushes a topic. He's like vintage Lewis Black. Recently, KSK had a post putting a bounty on Tom Brady's knees. Ufford comes back with a "counterpoint" that is dazzling. (The only problem is that he seems to think that Pats fans haven't yet reached the level of insufferableness of, say, Yankees fans. He's wrong; they have, but it's a total "Boston sports" insufferableness than the Pats specifically.)

By the way, Belichick responded to the talk about 16-0 (shouldn't that be 19-0, Boston Herald?): "That's so ridiculous."

Here's the new meme about this story: That the presumed whistle-blower Eric Mangini has blown himself out of a future in the NFL, because teams won't trust he won't go blabbing. Nothing like encouraging the league's cult of secrecy. Cripes: It's a GOOD thing, not a bad thing, that he turned in his mentor. It's like the NFL team front-offices are poster guys for the "Stop Snitching" campaign.

T.O. fined $7,500 for TD celebration, when he pretended to "videotape" the cameraman, using the football as a mock camera. I actually thought it was pretty clever of him (it topped Chad Johnson's leap into the Dawg Pound, although that was ballsy if nothing else).

Indians sweep Tigers: Cleveland's magic number is 3. Concentrate on the Yankees and Red Sox all you want; I think it will be three AL pennants in a row for the representative from the Central.

Yankees: 1.5 GB Red Sox.

MLB Milestone Watch: Pettitte 200.

Is Albert Pujols' season over?

Dale Earnhardt Jr to drive car No. 88: I've mentioned a lot that numbers in NASCAR matter more than numbers in any other sport; they are part of the drivers' iconography. What makes Junior's new number so inspired is that -- unable to use his old No. 8 -- he simply co-opted it, even doubling it up.

More MLB: Here's a first-hand (I guess it's second-hand... now, through me, third-hand) account of Mark Cuban at the Cubs game on Monday night. God, I wish I was there for that. It's like the baseball-fan equivalent of hearing that LeBron has shown up at Rucker Park; you want to get the text message and run over to the Wrigley bleachers to see it for yourself.

That Sabres super-sell-out for the Rich Stadium game: I leave it to the best and most astute hockey analyst I know – Eric McErlain – for the definitive take. The sell-out is good. Even great. It might be the Event of the Year in the NHL and the template for future "event"-style options for a league reduced to mainstream irrelevancy. But there were some ticket problems that real Sabres fans ran into.

CFB Top 25 BlogPoll analysis: Every week, I eagerly anticipate BlogPoll impresario Brian Cook's analysis of the latest Top 25 results from the bloggers involved in the poll. Here are the results, and as he points out, the BlogPoll's ranking of LSU at No. 1 (proud to be part of that group) where the AP and Coaches do not is a source of pride.

Speaking of Cook, Zach over at The Big Picture continues his terrific interview series with bloggers with a Q&A with Cook.

CFB: Notre Dame should be ashamed of themselves for not releasing Demetrius Jones from his scholarship so he can play elsewhere. (Cripes: This team could use all the good karma it can get. This is the opposite.)

CFB Recruiting: Apparently, I wasn't the only one blown away by the gameday atmosphere at the Swamp on Saturday. Five-star recruit Will "The Thrill" Hill of New Jersey, who will play strong safety in college, committed to Florida.

(Dovetailing recruiting with the McNabb story: In recruiting circles, there is a non-specific positional designation known as "athlete," which turns out to be code for "Black QB who will be forced to switch positions." It also turns out that the vast majority of these "athletes" are black.)

Sonny Vaccaro speaks at Harvard Law School: I would like him to recognize his own premier place at the forefront of turning the prep basketball scene into the morass that it is. Then I might be willing to listen to him talk about "reform." However, I believe he and I agree that the NBA age limit is ludicrous.

Talk Like a Pirate Day... was yesterday! And I missed it in the usual a.m. blog post. I'm sorry about that. Yarr. (What... too late?) Anyway, to make up for it, here's a must-read post from Orson Swindle of EDSBS, who has a fetish for wannabe-pirate Mike Leach of Texas Tech and an ear for pirate talk like he was Johnny Depp's stunt-double in POTC.

Finally: Epic Carnival has put together the "10 Types of Sports Bloggers." Wait: Where's the "Formerly Mainstream Media But Now Exposed For The Shallow Fraud That He Was" blogger type?

-- D.S.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday 09/19 A.M. Quickie:
Phillies, Ward, Leftwich, MJD, Tebow, More!

Names to Know: Phillies, Hines Ward, Marc Ecko, Byron Leftwich, Tank Johnson, Andrei Kirilenko, Isiah Thomas, Tim Tebow, OJ...

MLB Stud: Phillies, who beat the Cards in 14 to close within 1.5 GB the Mets (who lost a late lead and the game to the Nats) in the NL East. The Mets have lost 5 straight and it feels like they haven't had any mojo since May.

Ordinarily, it's easier to root for the Mets than it is to root for the Yankees, but in this case I would kind of like to see the Yankees come back and win the division.

However, it's easier to root for the Phillies than for either of the New York teams. Given that the runner-up in the NL East could very well miss the playoffs entirely (say, if the Padres and D'backs both finish with a better record), the Mets had better find a way to turn things around.

(Meanwhile, in a Gotham-sized ironic twist, the Yankees are within 2.5 of the Red Sox in the AL East.)

Hot MLB Rumor: Tony LaRussa ends up in…Seattle!

Bonds 756 Fan Vote: Bonds calls Marc Ecko "stupid." Reiterating yesterday's position, I give Ecko points for cleverness, but I personally would vote to put the ball in the Hall of Fame, not outer space.

Wow, do I enjoy MJD's must-read Debriefing every morning. Today's includes a particularly fun gimmick at the top. I want to play! Jumping or not jumping to these conclusions about the NFL after only 2 games:

Pats can't be stopped: Jumping.
LJ in for a long year: Jumping.
Tomlin a good hire: Jumping.
Turner a bad hire: Jumping.
Steve Smith as best WR: Jumping.
Packers will fade sub-.500: Jumping.
Grossman is hopeless: Jumping.
Texans are actually good: Jumping.

Clean sweep of jumped conclusions after only 2 weeks! (But really: Would you expect anything less from me?) Thanks for allowing me to play, MJD!

Hines Ward accused by business partner: If you have Ward on your fantasy team and your league offers points for "embezzlement accusations," you're going to have a big week!

Byron Leftwich joins Falcons: I'm a big Leftwich fan, but does it really make sense for the least mobile QB in the NFL (in NFL history?) to join the team with the leakiest O-line? (13 sacks allowed in 2 games) Also: Will he dare to wear his usual No. 7? (Update: From the incomparable MDS at Fanhouse, Leftwich won't wear No. 7. Apparently, he'll wear No. 4.)

Tank Johnson joins Cowboys: Would have been a better fit in the mid-90s.

HGH Watch: Does it REALLY surprise you to hear that Rodney Harrison started ordering HGH in 2004? Let's be absolutely clear: I would be surprised to find out that an NFL player DOESN'T use HGH, given its benefits and the lack of testing. We can put a tainted baseball into space but we can't create a reliable urine test for HGH?

NBA: Andrei Kirilenko is blogging in Russian… and demands a trade! He actually has restored some of his value after leading Russia to a title at the European Championships.

Isiah Thomas Lawsuit: I haven't talked about this much, but if the testimony is true, Thomas really has no business running the team, and I'm curious whether David Stern will do James Dolan's work for him and ban Thomas from the NBA upon the trial's result.

Sports Business: Ray Lewis is part of the Under Armour family, which is just about as good of an endorsement fit as I can think of in sports. The "Click-Clack" actor has become quasi-iconic, but they should replace him with Lewis immediately.

CFB: Given that Texas has had 6 players arrested in the last few months, one might wonder what kind of program Mack Brown is running over there. Good thing he's got that championship ring to protect him, Green Lantern-style.

Tim Tebow Update: After the mocking I took in my preseason Heisman preview listing Tebow in my Top 5, he is a legit candidate. His stats are amazing. His team is winning. The New York Times had him listed at No. 2 on their list after Week 3. There's even a T-shirt: "HE15SMAN," which gets points for effort if not elegance. Here's a Palm Beach Post update.

Here's the thing: Unless Florida wins at LSU, Tebow won't be a true contender; if they do win, all bets are off. However, the biggest knock against him will be voters who simply won't vote for a sophomore, figuring they'll vote for him in the next year. Last year, Darren McFadden was the best player in college football, but came in second as a sophomore. Three years ago, Reggie Bush was the best player in college football, but came in second as a sophomore.

Voters figure they can give the award to a sophomore when he's a junior, which is ludicrous. (Now: Is Tebow the best player in college football? No. The best player is McFadden, even though I gave my No. 1 Heisman vote this week to Ray Rice. But Tebow is in the Top 5 right now.)

Meanwhile, here's my video of the day. (h/t Ryan Ferguson at the Fanhouse) You can hate the Gators but enjoy the offensive explosion with a nice little soundtrack.

OJ Update: That's a ton of new charges. A ton. I'm not sure this will produce another Trial of the Century, but hopefully, this time the result includes more justice. Meanwhile, you have to love the audio tape.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday 09/18 A.M. Quickie:
Campbell, McNabb, Big Hurt, NFL Cheating, More!

McNabb booed by Philly fans: Eagles fans seemed to jump the gun by booing in the first half, but that's their right. (I have to ask: Do they really want rookie Kevin Kolb to take over tomorrow?) I do think it's time for McNabb and Eagles fans to finally part ways, fulfilling the destiny that has been foreshadowed since the moment he was drafted.

Is McNabb's race a factor in the booing? Given Philly fans' long history with jeers, I think they are equal-opportunity booers. But, at the same time, I agree with McNabb from his HBO interview tonight that race is still a factor when it comes to NFL QBs.

(That said: Between Vince Young's spot on the cover of Madden '08 and JaMarcus Russell's spot at the top of the draft – and rookie-contract history – it's not as much of an issue as when McNabb was drafted into the league. Across the field last night, Jason Campbell – who looked terrific -- seems to have a lot of support from fans in DC. Meanwhile, Rex Grossman is just about as white as they come, and he's getting booed to holy hell right now. However, I'm sympathetic to McNabb's larger point.)

Redskins beat Eagles in Philly: I have no idea why I picked the Eagles to win the NFC East. It's coming dangerously close to a "rebuilding" season – and Donovan McNabb's swan song in the city…

More NFL Cheating?! Hardly. The tiresome Brian Billick claims the Jets illegally simulated snap counts that triggered offensive penalties on the Ravens.

First of all, the Ravens won, so Billick should really STFU. Second, this type of offense is much more like the old blissful low-tech gamesmanship than high-tech chicanery. Absolutely, it's against the rules. The question is: Where were the refs, if this happened as repeatedly as Billick claims?

The larger issue: Are we about to enter a phase in the NFL where every week there's a new claim about some form of cheating? That could get old in a hurry.

MLB Stud: Frank Thomas, who hit 3 HR on Monday. By the time the Big Hurt enters the Hall of Fame, there will be a way greater appreciation for his talent, which I think everyone agrees seems to be taint-free (a rarity for his generation).

Stud Team: Indians, who beat the Tigers in 11 innings to move their magic number to 7. (The Angels' magic number is low enough that clinching is within reach in the next week, too.)

MLB Dud: The Mets, who lost their fourth straight last night and have a very tenuous 2.5 game lead in the NL East. It's really not a big deal if they blow the division as long as they win the Wild Card; that said, if they blow the division, winning the Wild Card is no gimme either.

(Of course, if I'm going to say the Mets are in trouble being only 2.5 games ahead in their division, do I have to say the same thing about the Red Sox, who are now only 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East?)

Bonds 756 Ball: Darren Rovell revealed that the guy who bought 755 will do a similar deal to Marc Ecko: Let fans vote whether the ball goes to the Hall of Fame or into outer space. But the 755 guy will make the online voting public and real-time, which is much cooler than Ecko, who seemingly won't. Rovell has all the details. (By the way, while I think the idea of launching it into space is funny, I'm voting for the ball to go to the Hall of Fame.)

Andre Johnson will sit out on Sunday: Having a fantastic season with new QB Matt Schaub, Johnson hurt his knee and will miss the next game, and we have no idea how it will affect the rest of his season.

Are the Falcons about to sign Byron Leftwich? (Uh: Will they let him wear his usual No. 7? Um: Will he even want to? And: Will any fans want to wear it, if the reaction from a distance will be "Are you wearing a Michael Vick jersey?!")

Did you like what you saw from Kellen Clemens in the 4th quarter on Sunday? Tuck that away: Looks like Chad Pennington will be returning as Jets starting QB... for now.

Steven Jackson explains his sideline rage at Rams coach Scott Linehan: Just a misunderstanding. But Jackson's fantasy owners have had similar reactions.

Rahula Strohl of the Chicago Tribune's excellent lead sports blog correctly disses me for not giving a nod to Devin Hester's performance on Sunday.

(By the way, as the Gainesville hangover wears off, let me say that the Gators have their own version of Hester – Brandon James, who is arguably the best kick and punt returner in college football. He might be even more of a game-changer than Tebow or Harvin. At any rate, they are the team's Big Three. How did I turn a mea culpa about my NFL coverage into a laudatory item about Florida football? And yet: There it is.)

NBA ref Joey Crawford has been reinstated, just in time to take a season of abuse from fans on, like, half-a-dozen topics.

CFB: Does it matter if Michigan QB Chad Henne is "day-to-day?" If Ryan Mallett beats Penn State and turns around the Wolverines' season, Henne won't/shouldn't get his job back; if Mallett and UM lose, the rest of the season should be about getting him game experience anyway. (Why am I giving so much space to an unranked team?)

Steve Spurrier gets it: He gave LSU his vote for No. 1 in the coaches' Top 25. By the way, a substantial amount of chatter in Gainesville this past week was about Les Miles leaving LSU for Michigan... and Spurrier replacing him at LSU, which I think he would in a heartbeat.

More CFB: Here's a link to my latest Deadspin weekly CFB guest-post.

Revision: I oversimplified the "quarterfinal" scenario in the Pac-10: USC could just as easily lose at Oregon as they can at Cal. (In fact, part of my reason for not picking the Trojans in my preseason Top 2 is because I thought they would lose to BOTH teams.) I didn't mean to dis the Ducks: Revise that to a three-way race, although – much like how I suspect the Big Ten will unfold with its own Big Three (Penn St, Wisconsin, Ohio St), there's a high likelihood that the three Pac-10 teams could knock each other off, round-robin style, effectively eliminating any of them from the national-title picture.

Must-Read: Clay Travis on his Saturday in Gainesville. We had a chance to run into each other. He's a really good guy with a great book out about the SEC, if you like college football.

Here's his lead: "I had the best seats of my life for the worst beating in my life as a Tennessee football fan. Which was sort of like getting the password to a free porn site and then finding out your daughter is an employee. Only worse." Read on.

The Women's World Cup is for pimps: Huge hat-tip to Awful Announcing for plucking what could be the best video clip of the month. Here's a link. Because nothing dovetails with the "female empowerment" theme of the Women's World Cup like a scene that puts former female soccer players in the role of hookers snuggling up to their "daddy."

Dane Cook vs. Bill Simmons: Apparently, this is a feud. I could take it or leave it. I'm simply laughing that Cook apparently enjoyed sloppy-seconds in my old top-of-the-morning chat hour slot on

Varsity Dad: New post up about when autograph sessions go wrong.

-- D.S.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday 09/17 A.M. Quickie:
Pats, Browns, Schaub, Wynn, CFB Top 25, More!

Today's Names to Know: Randy Moss, Derek Anderson, DeShawn Wynn, Steven Jackson, Matt Schaub, Amobi Okoye, Robert Kraft, Tim Tebow, Jim Thome, OJ and More.

Pats crush Chargers: It won't keep people from associating "Patriots" with "Cheaters," but it also won't keep people from agreeing that these Pats are not just the team to beat this season, but are already sizing up as the best of the Pats teams of the last decade.

Let's call this what it was -- a "Statement" game: Crap on us all you want, America, we're going to obliterate the NFL's next-best team to prove just how good – how tough – we are.

Effectively, the Pats have turned into the old Madden-esque Raiders or Johnson's Cowboys, where the polite wave in the style of "America's Team" has been replaced by the middle finger of "We don't care what you think." (Ironically, it makes them more – not less – likeable.)

Browns edge Bengals in barnburner: If you knew in advance that the Bengals were going to score 45 points against the Browns, I guarantee they would have been your "suicide" eliminator pool LOCK of the season. Too bad we all underestimated Derek Anderson. Based on the rest of the afternoon's results, it's like these two teams sucked up all of the fantasy production from the rest of the QBs, WRs and RBs out there.

Speaking of fantasy, my Stud of the Week is DeShawn Wynn (and not just because I spent the week in Gainesville). His 2 TDs sets Wynn up as a classic TD stealer (especially considering his intrasquad competition is a fellow rookie).

My Fantasy Dud of the Week is Steven Jackson, the consensus No. 2 overall fantasy pick has been a complete waste, outperformed by the likes of... well, DeShawn Wynn.

Schaub Mania: If you had to pick an NFL MVP after two weeks, I think Schaub (of the 2-0 Texans) would be the choice. He silences the haters. He makes Falcons fans weep. He is for real. And the Texans are 2-0 for the first time in franchise history.

NFL Milestones: Brett Favre is now the winningest QB in NFL history. More importantly, he won on this most recent Sunday.

Adrian Peterson Memorial Weekly Rookie of the Year Award: Amobi Okoye. The youngest player in the NFL is also apparently one of its most talented. He recorded two sacks and a forced fumble yesterday. Okoye is what Mario Williams was supposed to be last year.

Who had the Saints at 0-2?

Who had the 49ers at 2-0?

MNF: Redskins-Eagles. Philly needs a win, badly. Expect Jaworski to be on fire for his old team.

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft don't care about the haters: There's no other reason they'd time the leak of the news that Belichick is signed through 2013. That's more than enough time for him to devise new ways to cheat to win. (Don't worry: I'm already getting tired of associating "cheater" with "Belichick" every time his name comes up.)

Meanwhile, speaking of Belicheat: The NFL wants anything associated with the cheating in question. Yeah, good luck with the Pats complying on that. Presumably, the shredders and incinerators and dumpsters over at the Pats facility are working overtime tonight.

(Anyone else catch Roger Goodell doing his interview with Costas? He wasn't as deft as David Stern, but he stuck to his message point, the same one the league has used for years: Parity rules... or: The rules have to be the same for everyone.)

College Football Top 25: I think merely three games into the new season, we've got a consensus about who the reasonable contenders are: USC (as long as they beat Cal); Oklahoma (as long as they beat Texas); the LSU-Florida winner of the SEC Championship Game; and the West Virginia-Rutgers winner. No offense to the rest, but there's going to be a lot more attrition. CFB will be lucky to have one team go unbeaten, let alone two.

Here's my BlogPoll ballot this week.

My current Heisman ballot:
1. Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
3. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
4. PJ Hill, RB, Wisconsin
5. Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky

(You didn't have to see Tim Tebow live and in the stadium like I did to realize that my preseason prediction he'd be in the Heisman Top 5 isn't THAT crazy. Number 2, as of this week? Perhaps. But again: Not THAT crazy.)

Clemens vs. Fenway, the Finale: Impressively, it was Derek Jeter who stole the show with a 3-run HR in the 8th.

MLB Milestones: Thome joins the "500 Club." Todd Jones joins the "300 Saves Club."

NBA: Don Nelson returning to the Warriors. He'll be hard-pressed to top last season's glorious playoff run. But it will be fun to see him try.

Tiger wins the Fed Ex Cup: Wait, is that the one where they put his prize money in a 401K?

OJ arrested: I don't know what's sweeter – the justice or the irony?

-- D.S.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday 09/16 (Very) Quickie

Brief comments on Saturday's CFB results:

I think there are three "first tier" national-title contenders: USC (if they survive their Pac-10 road schedule), Oklahoma (even if the Big 12 isn't that tough) and the SEC survivor of LSU and Florida (complicated by the SEC title-game factor).

Kentucky is the new hotness.

Louisville is not.

It's too bad that Heisman favorite Darren McFadden couldn't play in the most important series of the game against Alabama.

That was a big win for USC.

Should there be a QB controversy in Baton Rouge between Flynn and Perilloux, or is this just Leak-Tebow 2.0?

PJ Hill should be on Heisman lists.

More later.

-- D.S.