Saturday, October 13, 2007
Yes, it can. It did: Not only did No. 1 LSU lose, but just minutes ago, the team presumed to take over at No. 1 -- Cal -- snatched defeat from the jaws of victory (or at least an OT-forcing tie with momentum and home-field advantage), with the most bone-headed and costly game-ending -- season-ending -- mistake of the year.
Cal's utterly shocking home loss to an unranked Oregon State surely spikes Cal's chances of making it to the coveted 1 or 2 spot in the first BCS poll that comes out on Sunday, let alone a spot in the BCS title game three months from now.
So let me revise the original post below:
The biggest beneficiary of tonight's pair of shocking results: Ohio State, which will surely take over as No. 1 in every poll, including the initial BCS ranking. (Though Ohio State may go through most of the rest of the regular season unscathed, who could possibly not see a season-ending loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor coming?)
But closely behind the Buckeyes: South Florida and Boston College, which have seen one more unbeaten competitor fall to the wayside.
However, let me throw out one more crazy scheduling detail: South Florida plays at Rutgers this Thursday night, in a spoiler game the Bulls could very well lose to last year's Cinderella. And BC plays at resurgent Virginia Tech the Thursday after that, in a game the Eagles could lose.
In just under two weeks, there will very well likely be no BCS conference team left undefeated, creating an insane scrum among multiple 1-loss teams, including those who saw their season crumble tonight (LSU), a week ago (USC), 10 days ago (South Carolina), two weeks ago (Oklahoma) and a host of others, any of whom could have a legit claim.
Friends, no more foreshadowing needs to be experienced: We are headed for a BCS Apocalpyse the likes of which have never been seen. Not one unbeaten with several 1-loss teams competing for the second spot. Not three unbeatens with one unfairly left out.
No: In all likelihood, three (and probably far more!) 1-loss teams, with no real (or certainly fair) way to distinguish between them, perhaps aside from comparing the teams they lost to (which would favor the SEC teams, but not the Pac-10 or Big 12 teams).
The ultimate BCS implosion. It's coming. The end is near.
The wildest season in college football history just got wilder: Kentucky just knocked off No. 1 and presumptive BCS favorite LSU in 3 OTs. What a game: Best of the season so far.
For LSU, the path to the BCS title game just got much tougher: They now sit behind the unbeatens, and have to hope to pull off something similar to what Florida did a year ago.
For Kentucky, as legit a claim as anyone to "Best One-Loss Team" in the nation. Next week's game at home against Florida suddenly looms as large as this week's was against LSU. (Oh, and restore UK QB Andre Woodson as the Heisman Trophy favorite, and -- while you're at it -- as the top QB taken in the 2008 NFL Draft.)
The biggest beneficiaries: Cal and Ohio State, who project to be in the 1-2 BCS pole position on Sunday, with South Florida and B.C. close behind.
But, given the way things have played out at the top over the last few weeks, it's easy to see any or all of those four losing between now and the BCS title game.
Red Sox beat down Indians in Game 1: But, regardless of that outcome, I think the winner of Game 2 -- Carmona vs. Schilling -- will win the series.
CFB Today: Man, Illinois looks like they're simultaneously experiencing a let-down game after last week AND looking ahead to next week. Meanwhile, you cannot possibly take Hawaii seriously as a non-BCS BCS-bowl contender after they had to rally to beat San Jose State.
More tomorrow a.m.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Today's Names to Know: Jeff Francis, Justin Upton, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, BCS, Chase Daniel, Glenn Dorsey, Vinny Testaverde, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Grant Hill, John Schuerholz, Dennis Franchione,
MLB Playoffs: NLCS. Rockies take Game 1 in
Stud: Jeff Francis, who out-pitched Brandon Webb. The Dud was either Justin Upton, for that iffy slide ruled interference that triggered a double-play and the ire of previously flaccid
MLB Playoffs: ALCS. Sabathia vs. Beckett in
Yankees' decision on Torre pushed back to next week: So much for speculation that they would let him go immediately after the playoffs ended for the Yankees. (That's all I have to say about that; let's try something different and not talk about the Yankees today.)
CFB Top 25 Preview and Picks: After the last two weeks, I think fans need/deserve a break. Some sort of low-upset weekend where the top teams simply win – and we all wait for the insanity of the first BCS poll to come out after the weekend.
Presuming no upsets (iffy), the question is this: Which team will join LSU in the uber-coveted first two spots in the BCS poll? It's either going to be
(Two other teams deserve consideration for that No. 2 spot: South Florida and Mizzou. If Mizzou can beat Oklahoma on the road, that would be as impressive as Cal beating Oregon on the road, which -- so far -- is the most impressive win of the year. Unfortunately for BC, beating Notre Dame – even in
Of other particular interest: Does LSU suffer any kind of let-down after the huge
1 LSU over at 17
4 BC over at Notre Dame
10 USC over
Here's a fun preview from EDSBS' Orson Swindle, now writing weekly for the Sporting News.
Meanwhile, Glenn Dorsey for Heisman? It's not a crazy thought, with even the most talented offensive player (Darren McFadden), most valuable offensive player (Tim Tebow), most NFL-prized offensive player (Brian Brohm) and the standard whoever-is-playing-QB-for-USC all having their own flaws. The NYT's influential Pete Thamel makes the case. If it was ever going to happen, this would be the year.
(Remember when FSU losing to
NFL Week 6 Preview and Picks
Everything else on Sunday and Monday is a distant second to the huge battle of unbeatens: Patriots at Cowboys. But here's the thing: The Pats are going to wax them, just like they've waxed everyone else. Even more so, I'll bet, because thumping the next-best team in the league sends an even clearer message that we're witnessing 19-0.
At Bears over Vikings
At Browns over Dolphins
At Packers over Redskins
Bengals over at Chiefs
Eagles over at Jets
Titans over at Bucs
Jaguars over Texans
Ravens over Rams
Cardinals over Panthers
Pats over at Cowboys (GOTW)
Chargers over Raiders
Seahawks over Saints (SNF)
Giants over Falcons (MNF)
Oh, wait, there IS an intriguing storyline beyond Pats-Cowboys: Will Vinny Testaverde start for the Panthers on Sunday, just days after the 43-year-old joined the team? That is awesome, and infinitely more interesting than seeing David Carr start with that sore back.
John Schuerholz resigns as GM of Braves: I didn't particularly like his philosophy when I read about it during his book tour earlier this year, but I certainly respect the way he put together all those titles. (Sorry: Division titles. Wouldn't want to confuse him with a guy who won multiple World Series championships.) He will remain the No. 2 guy in the franchise, which should make his replacement, Assistant GM Frank Wren, a little uneasy. Can't imagine Schuerholz will let it go.
Texas A&M doesn't like Dennis Franchione's secret email newsletter to boosters: I give him points for creativity (with points docked for sheer stupidity – either he was stupid to think he wouldn't get caught or stupid to think it wasn't a big deal). Apparently, he has violated his contract; if A&M wants to oust him, this is their opportunity. It also makes me wonder if I could make any money with my little online "newsletter"...
NBA Preseason: Grant Hill made his preseason debut with the Suns, and he finished with 17 and 8 as a starter playing 24 minutes. He's in for a Renaissance... Al Horford led all rebounders in
Trade-Kobe Watch: Meanwhile, off of yesterday's news that Jerry Buss would (or is that "will?") trade
(Maybe not better enough to contend in the West, but they weren't going to contend in the West with
Today's Must-Read: Whenever The Big Picture comes out with another blogger interview, it's a must-read. Today: Brian from Awful Announcing, one of the most popular and talented bloggers out there.
College Hoops: Midnight Madness! Is it me, or is Midnight Madness not the "event" it used to be. It used to be a lot more "underground" and fun. I loved the live look-ins on TV, the weird dunk contests, the novelty of students and fans going crazy at such a weird hour. (Hat-tip: Lefty Dreisell.) It's a little bit more of a slick production now, with a lot of teams dropping the whole "midnight" part, which consequently guts the "madness" part.)
Anyway, is it too early for Final Four predictions? (No, I'm not taking
Without their Final Four nemesis of the past two years blocking the way, this year's national champion will be...
Basketball Prospectus launches: Congrats to Ken "KenPom" Pomeroy and John "Wonk" Gasaway on the launch of Basketball Prospectus this week. (I guess their own version of "Midnight Madness.")
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Today's Names to Know: Jeff Francis, Brandon Webb, Mariano Rivera, Jerry Buss, Allan Houston, Kevin Garnett, Rashard Lewis, Vinny Testaverde, Andy Reid, Suzyn Waldman, Michelle Wie, George Gipp and More!
MLB Playoffs: NLCS!
ALCS: Oh, so now LeBron LIKES the Indians. (Allow me to pre-empt the easiest joke: LeBron makes my own fairweatherness look reasonable.)
Torre's Future, Cont'd: Now Mariano Rivera says his future with the Yankees (or lack of one) will be tied to Joe Torre's fate. I wonder if Derek Jeter would be saying the same thing if he was a free agent?
Lakers owner Jerry Buss on
Allan Houston returning to the Knicks? For a team where stupid news comes more frequently than wins, this ranks up there. Why would they entertain this silly charade, when they really should be focusing on their core of young talents? How can any Knicks fan support this (beyond the ironic value the rest of us see)?
KG vs. the T'wolves: 9 points, 6 rebouds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 2 steals in a Celtics win over his old team. Maybe he took it easy on them out of a sense of nostalgia. (Ray Allen did the damage, with 28 points.)
Magic's Rashard Lewis sprains his ankle: When did you see this coming –the day he signed his mega-deal with the Magic? Oh, yes.
Vinny Testaverde is a Panther: He's 43. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1987 draft. Yes: 1987. It was that long ago. And for those of you, like me, who remember it as a memorable moment of early-teen fanhood, yes, you are that old. (Put that in context: No fan under the age of 30 remembers it, and 20-year-old fans were just being born.) I love the fact that a career that was defined as being a huge bust will ultimately be replaced by the fact he had an insanely long career.
Andy Reid denies rumors he's quitting: That doesn't mean he won't be gone as Eagles head coach by the time next season rolls around.
NFL Fantasy: OK, so who has picked up Gus Frerotte as their starting QB?
NFL Expansion: Something to file away --
CFB: The rumor has it that ABC might put Cincinnati-South Florida in primetime on Nov. 3. If both teams are still undefeated, this will have national-title implications. Forget the "names" involved: This would be a unique "Cinderella-ish Bowl" that CFB fans would want to see.
Sports Media: I'm late on this, but what do you think about Suzyn Waldman's on-air crying about Joe Torre and the Yankees? It was shocking because it came from mainstream media, it came from the kind of "homer" announcer fans have always known are anything but impartial and, of course, because it came from a woman commentator.
Gender is the biggest factor in this. I personally think that she seemed more bloggish – more sincerely passionate, devoid of the faux "objectivity" that guts most sports media – than most any other announcer I'd ever seen. It was only shocking because we see sincere emotion from mainstream media so rarely.
Scandal Watch: Should Marion Jones' relay teammates (presumably clean) get to keep their Olympic medals won in the relay? I say yes, though it is murky.
Michelle Wie is 18: You lecherous fans no longer have to hide.
George Gipp's corpse exhumed: Digging up legendary sports heroes is the new hotness! Who's next? Lou Gehrig?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Today's Names to Know: Scott Boras, A-Rod, Joe Torre, Matt Leinart, Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez, Reggie Bush, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Joe Paterno, More!
The Fate of A-Rod: Scott Boras all but announced yesterday that A-Rod is going to opt out (and the Yankees reiterated they won't get in a bidding war to re-sign him).
I think A-Rod ends up with the Angels, although that $30M annual salary for the next decade will be tough for even the most free-spending owner.
What next for Torre: The sympathetic media spin is that the Yankees are leaving Torre "twisting." Has anyone asked Torre if he even WANTS to com back? I suspect he doesn't.
Who should manage the Yankees next: Girardi? Piniella? One Philly columnist suggested Larry Bowa. How about Tony LaRussa?
Meanwhile, here's a must-read take about Torre from Deadspin's Will Leitch, writing on his NY Times blog about the MLB Playoffs. If you haven't read it, you don't have to be a Yankees fan (or hater) to appreciate.
LCS Picks (Updated):
Indians d. Red Sox in 7
NFL: Matt Leinart out for the season with a broken collarbone. Who doesn't believe in karmic boomerangs?
Arbitrator rules against Vick: Falcons can continue to try to collect $22M in bonus money from him, which an arbitrator said he owed the team. Still waiting on the intrepid reporter to find out just how much Vick's net worth is right now.
(Speaking of USC QBs, looks like Mark Sanchez will start for USC over injured incumbent/Stanford-loser John David Booty this weekend.)
Wellington Mara doesn't like the "ice the kicker" time-out: I have no problem with it. Sure, it seems like it is being abused by coaches this season, but it is within the rules and I'd qualify it as "gamesmanship."
Cowboys-Bills was the highest-rated Monday Night Football game of the year, affirming Dallas' restored place as the most popular team in the country. Having them be undefeated and that game's thrilling finish doesn't hurt either (but fans who tuned in early didn't know it was going to be a crazy ending). (h/t: MDS)
Reggie Bush Scandal, Cont'd: One of the sports marketers allegedly involved in payoffs to Reggie Bush will work with NCAA investigators. Now, most of the time, I think those investigators are pretty ineffective, but this is a gift-wrapped package placed in their hands. They can't possibly screw this up, can they?
I still anticipate that USC will have to forfeit all of Bush's games in 2004 and 2005 and the Heisman group will face pressure to take back their trophy (and award it to Vince Young – fascinatingly, I'm not sure most fans would gripe).
NBA Preseason: Haven't talked much about the NBA preseason, but today is a pretty intriguing game: KG and the Celtics vs. the T'wolves in
Kevin Durant makes NBA debut: Scores 12 on 5-9 FG shooting with 3 turnovers and 3 rebounds. But it's important to note that he was guarded by Ron Artest, who probably took the assignment rather seriously. In that context, 12 ain't bad at all for a first game.
(More NBA Rookie Debuts: Javaris Crittenton had 18 in a Lakers loss... Yi struggled in 15 minutes for the Bucks, fouling out with only 3 points... Joakim Noah: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 23 minutes. I could see him averaging 8/6/4/2/2.)
CFB: Were you wondering why Tim Tebow made the "call me" signal with his hand after he scored that TD against LSU? It's because LSU fans got his cell phone number and were obliterating it with calls. (One blog reader actually sent Tebow's number to me, but I didn't call it.)
Was Joe Paterno involved in a bit of a road-rage incident last weekend? He wouldn't talk about it at his weekly news conference, but any other coach would be Gundied.
NHL: The Islanders started their blogger experiment, and I have been waiting for Eric McErlain's take. Here it is.
BCS Preview: Anyone catch Brad Edwards' BCS projections? No surprise at the top, but, intriguingly,
Texas Tech bans "Vick 'Em" T-shirts: They are in poor taste, but they were produced by a Tech frat guy, for gosh sakes. What else would you expect? But I'm sure Tech honchos have never sat in the stands and shrieked (or even muttered) "Kill those M-F'ers!" about the Aggies before. Nope, never. I'm not condoning the T-shirt; I'm just saying that expressions of painful death for the opposing team (or mascot) is a long-standing tradition in most sports.
Finally: Have you added your own CFB analysis over at my guest-blog at CoachOfTheYear.com? Head on over, put in your vote for LMCOY, then check out the blog (link at the top of the page) and post on one of the entries with your take on where the CFB Coach of the Year race stands right now. A bunch of you already have. If you are a college football fan, I'd love to see your opinion in that blog's comments.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Today's Name to Know: Joe Torre. (And then there's everyone else.)
MLB: Indians oust Yankees at the Stadium in 4 Games. Congrats to
No, seriously: WHAT NEXT?!?! (That's supposed to reflect the pain and confusion within Yankees Nation.)
Will Joe Torre get fired? Should he? (I personally think few managers could do better, but despite the massive investment, he has failed to produce a title in the postseason since 2000. It's been a while. Also, despite going 6-0 against the Indians in the regular season, he and the team went 1-3 when it mattered.)
Anyway, Steinbrenner will "fire" Torre, then get crushed in the media, despite the fact that playoff success has eluded the manager for seven seasons, including the most epic playoff collapse in sports history. Here's the deal: MAKING the playoffs simply isn't enough when you're the Yankees (or when you're spending as much as the Yankees are spending).
I question whether the Yankees can find another manager better equipped to deal with the pressure and the players enough to win a championship (Girardi? Piniella?), but it's not like Torre has been winning titles recently himself. I know some fans would like to see him named "Manager For Life" (or whenever he wants to retire), but that's not how it works.
The Yankees are entering a new era -- the post-Boss era (and, sure, the post-Torre era, too) -- and they probably need a new manager to go along with it.
Will A-Rod return to NY? Should he? (I think he'll opt out, and I think he should. It hasn't been a good fit, despite his best-ever season at the plate. He is better off elsewhere, and the Yankees can use the $25 million a year it would take to keep him elsewhere, too.)
Will the Yankees become financially prudent? Not exactly. I think the era of the $20M Clemens signings is over, especially with the young arms the team has developed. They could use some lineup pop to replace A-Rod, though.
Mark Cuban really wants to buy the Cubs: And if MLB was smart, they would let him. (They never will, of course; he's a little too outspoken.)
MNF: Bills give Cowboys a game, but
Jake Delhomme out for the season: With David Carr as the next-best option and Delhomme's future shaky, the Panthers join the growing list of teams that could use a QB from the 2008 Draft's amazing group.
Marion Jones returns Olympic medals: It was the right thing to do, and of all of the athlete reactions to being involved with PEDs, Jones' reaction was the smartest, most honorable and reputation-helping.
USC QB Controversy: John David Booty vs. Mark Sanchez. I know Booty has the broken finger and is Carroll's guy, but given that Booty lost to STANFORD (at home!), effectively ruining the Trojans' season, I'd say there's no downside to giving Sanchez the job.
CFB BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: USC No. 25.
CoachOfTheYear.com This Week: Zook! Harbaugh! The latest standings! I invite you to check out the site, my guest-blog and leave your latest analysis in the comments about which coach or coaches are emerging as the top contenders for this year's Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. (And don't forget to vote!)
Monday, October 08, 2007
MLB Playoffs: Swept away. I'm a huge fan of the Wild Card, but if they're all going to be sweeps, let's just go back to the two-division-per-league LCS format.
Meanwhile, was that Johnny Damon? Wow: Finally proving worthy of that contract. Wouldn't surprise me to see the Yanks win Game 4, either.
Rockies Mania, Cont'd: I seriously wonder whether these extra days off before the NLCS begins will cool down Colorado's sizzling state.
NFL: Charging Back. Just a week after total disarray, who wants to play the Chargers now? (Stud: Michael Turner) Meanwhile, did we just witness the end of the Packers' mojo?
CFB Top 25: I find it astounding that USC remains in the Top 10. In my latest BlogPoll ballot, I put them at No. 25, where they deserve to be.
More tomorrow, including (hopefully) a new Comments system. -- D.S.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
MLB: Rockies, D'backs sweep. Wow, that was fast. It's like the Phillies' last-gasp vault-the-Mets surge and the Cubs' tantalizing possibilities never happened.
More on Monday a.m.