Saturday, November 03, 2007


Glorious. That is all.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday 11/03 (Very) Quickie

Tons of college football to settle in for...

NBA: KG leads Celtics' Big Three to a season-opening win over Wiz. They're for real. More stars: Hey, looks like the Hawks' preseason wasn't a fluke! And how about Chris Kaman! And, of course, LeBron's 45, which doesn't intrigue me nearly as much as those first two.

Sonics owner taking the team to Oklahoma: Not unexpeccted, but still a punch in the stomach for Sonics fans in the Pacific Northwest, and any NBA fan that appreciates the great basketball fandom in Seattle. (No offense to Oklahoma City NBA fans: The last two seasons, I think they were the NBA Fans of the Year in a runaway. They showed they deserve a team. And in Big 12 country, Kevin Durant will get a nice reception.)

UNC tops AP College Hoops Top 25: Not surprising, but I don't think they'll win the national title. I would pick UCLA, Georgetown and Tennessee all ahead of the Heels to win it all.

Yankees keep Bobby Abreu: Without A-Rod, they'll need him.

A-Rod Watch: Boras wanted Yankees to pay $350M...minimum: Talk about managing expectations.

-- D.S.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday 11/02 A.M. Quickie:
CFB/NFL Picks, Bonds, Torre, Hingis, More!

Today's Names to Know: Pats, Colts, Arizona State, Oregon, Barry Bonds, Joe Torre, Martina Hingis, Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Kevin Durant, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, Andy Reid, Pro Football Talk and More!

Intro: This is a huge weekend in sports for marquee games: Friday, The NBA regular-season debut of the Celtics' "Big Three." Saturday, college football's Game of the Year, arguably. Sunday, the NFL Game of the Year. In today's Quickie post, we'll start with college football, hit the NFL preview, recap last night's NBA and then get into everything else you want/need/have to know for today, including Bonds' boycott, Torre's intro, Hingis' "retirement" and more...

CFB Preview and Picks: Arizona State at Oregon, in both foresight and hindsight, may turn out to be the Game of the Year in college football.

If Arizona State wins, they claim the biggest single win of the season by any contending team. They also deserve consideration as a Top 2 team.

If Oregon wins, they claim the biggest single win of the season by any contending team, to go along with wins over Michigan (more impressive now than then) and USC, with only that fumbled-away loss to Cal (looks worse now than then). They would arguably become the top one-loss team in the country and arguably deserve consideration as a Top 2 team.

(If the season ended today, Ohio State and BC would play for the national championship, and the two best teams in the country -- LSU and Oregon -- would not.)

To get you to that 6:40 ET kickoff, I recommend you check out LSU at Alabama at 3:30. LSU playing for a very quality BCS-impacting win -- not to mention the SEC West lead (and perhaps division title). Oh, and there's a little thing about Saban vs. his old team...

The Picks:
1 Ohio State over 21 Wisconsin
2 Boston College over Florida State
17 Alabama over 3 LSU (Upset Special!)
5 Oregon over 4 Arizona State (Game of the Week)
6 Oklahoma over Texas A&M (BCS Impact Game)
8 Kansas over Nebraska (Unbeaten Game)
9 Missouri over Colorado
10 Georgia over Troy
12 Michigan over Michigan State
13 Connecticut over Rutgers (Intriguing)
15 Texas over Oklahoma State
16 Auburn over Tennessee Tech
Cincinnati over 18 South Florida
19 USC over Oregon State
20 Florida over Vanderbilt
22 Boise State over San Jose State
24 Wake Forest over 23 Virginia
25 Clemson over Duke

Last Night: Virginia Tech rebounded from that season-gutting loss to BC by throttling Georgia Tech in Atlanta. (Sorry: Should have totally mentioned the VT players' jerseys going missing, with Sean Glennon wearing a white GT jersey with his name HANDWRITTEN on the back. Seriously, did they need to add his name in this instance?)

NFL Preview and Picks: Here are my Top 5 Most Intriguing Storylines for the Weekend:

1. Pats-Colts
2. Pats-Colts
3. Pats-Colts
4. Pats-Colts
5. Pats-Colts

I started out doing that list tongue-in-cheek and planned to fill in five more (real) storylines, but then I reconsidered: This IS the Game of the Year in the NFL, the true barometer of how far ahead of the rest of the league the Patriots are. Nationally, everything else is totally eclipsed.

49ers over at Falcons
Bengals over at Bills
Broncos over at Lions
Panthers over at Titans
Packers over at Chiefs
Chargers over at Vikings
Jags over at Saints
Redskins over at Jets
Cards over at Bucs
Seahawks over at Browns
Pats over at Colts (by 30+)
Texans over at Raiders
Cowboys over at Eagles
Steelers over Ravens (MNF)

(You read that right: I pick every road team playing on Sunday to win.)

NBA Tonight: Celtics' Big Three debut against my Wizards. I (with every other lazy bandwagoneer) have picked the Celtics to win the East this season, although I don't think many others agreed with me in picking Kevin Garnett as the runaway NBA MVP.

"Big Three's" are the new hotness in the NBA, and it's not like the Wizards have a weak Big Three of their own (Arenas, Butler, Jamison). Gilbert guaranteed victory a few months ago in his blog. We'll see...

NBA Last Night: Tracy McGrady tops Kobe for individual season high with 47... The Pistons' Tayshaun Prince (career-high 34 pts, 12 reb) isn't being traded anywhere... Kevin Durant scored 27 in his second game, displaying a quick ride up a steep learning curve... You can book Comeback Player of the Year right now: Grant Hill (13 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast)...

Barry Bonds will boycott Baseball Hall of Fame...: ...If they display his 756 ball with the asterisk branded onto it. "There is no such thing as an asterisk in baseball." I can see his point -- many baseball purists who loathe Bonds agreed that so-called populist branding of the ball was an insult to the game and its fans.

But now that it's done, and the HOF is in a position where they HAVE to display a ball of such historic importance, why would he make a fuss? He even said he'd skip his induction ceremony. (Anyone who argues that Bonds won't get into the Hall of Fame should be reminded: Crack is wack.)

Dodgers hire Joe Torre: I'm sure the Dodgers are excited, given Torre's track record and the fact that he's one of only a few managers in baseball who brings buzz with him -- especially because this is an NL pennant that is wide open for the taking. (I can only imagine the lure of the Dodgers for an old Brooklynite like Torre. I used to go jogging right past the old Torre house.)

(Meanwhile, I kind of like that Joe Girardi has chosen No. 27 as his uniform number; that's the number of titles the Yankees will have won... as soon as Girardi wins one.)

Tennis Scandal: I put this on my still-evolving Twitter feed yesterday afternoon, but is it wrong that I find Martina Hingis WAY more interesting now, just as she is -- sniff -- retiring.

Kobe Trade Watch: Bulls GM John Paxson says that Kobe won't be going to the Bulls, which is either a feint – or it really looks like Kobe won't be going anywhere. You know the Lakers won't trade him within the West, and no other East team seems to have the pieces to get Kobe to give up the no-trade clause.

(I'd dispute that: If the Nets offered Vince Carter AND Richard Jefferson, don't you think the Lakers would be better off? Meanwhile, Kobe could play with Jason Kidd and big man Nenad Krstic in a major market in the East, and the Nets would be better off, too.)

More reasonably, it's time for the Lakers to recognize that between Kobe and Phil, it's time to play to win now. Trade promising young center Andrew Bynum and get a win-now talent in return.

Soccer: Carlos Valderrama gets the prize for best ref-arguing skills. The former star turned assistant coach was ejected from a game for arguing with a ref... by waving cash in his face. Can't wait for the first NBA fan sitting courtside to try the same thing.

I feel incredibly bad for Andy Reid, whose son obviously has massive problems. That said: Without being overly proscriptive, it seems awkward at this point that he would continue coaching the Eagles, when his family is so obviously messed up. Cripes, the judge called Reid's home a "drug emporium."

Congrats to Pro Football Talk on its seven-year anniversary. In what might be the biggest news to hit the sports blogosphere of the year, PFT announced what many of its long-time fans have been waiting for: Permalinks on all individual Rumor Mill posts, along with (gasp) an RSS feed. Can't wait for that.

(I really like the new PFT logo, too. Hmm: Maybe it's time for a logo. Sorry, an NBA- or MLB-style silhouette of me slurping other bloggers isn't feasible.)

-- D.S.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday 11/01 A.M. Quickie:
Durant, Mavs, Bush, Hot Stove, More!

Today's Names to Know: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Rashard Lewis, Reggie Bush, Al Jefferson, Torii Hunter, John Beck, Jon Kitna and More!

Two huge games this weekend in the NFL and college football -- arguably the biggest regular-season games in each sport of this season: Pats-Colts and Arizona State-Oregon. Complete coverage coming tomorrow.

I know a lot of you don't care very much about the NBA. My focus on game results probably won't continue beyond tonight, when I'll go with a more MLB-style "Studs" and "Duds" each morning.

Kevin Durant's NBA debut: 18 points, which is respectable, but it took him 7/22 FG shooting to get there. (He added 5 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.)

More notably, he was the third-leading scorer on his team, which might foreshadow that with a focus on Durant, he'll make his teammates better. Delonte West (19 pts, 5 ast) seems like a beneficiary. By the way, the Sonics are going to be terrible. The Suns, playing with fresh legs, are going to destroy them tonight in PHX's season debut.

(By the way, Carmelo and Iverson combined for 57 points and Camby had 15 rebounds and 5 blocks; if that's the way it's going to be this season, the Nuggets will be a solid contender.)

The Mavs routed the Cavs, but can anyone take the Mavs' regular-season success seriously anymore? I'm tempted not to talk about them until they reach the second-round of the playoffs.

(Meanwhile, LeBron was terrible: 10 points on 2/11 FG shooting, with as many turnovers as assists. Rough start for many experts' MVP.)

Rashard Lewis is a great fit in Orlando: Lewis had a game-high 26 and the Magic crushed the Bucks, flashing a new-look 3-point-shot-heavy offense. Hey, whatever works...

The Hornets start strong, with a win over the Kings (Chris Paul: 22 and 12 assists). Still a feel-good story, particularly with the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans this season...

The Wizards are off to a slow start if they are going to have the best record in the East as I said they would. (Arenas had 34 though, including a buzzer-beating 3 to send the game to OT...)

It's closing in on Reggie Bush: The skeevy marketer he worked with is going to give the NCAA what sounds like conclusive proof that Bush himself was paid during the 2005 season. Even the NCAA can't bungle this one.

That means: There's a good chance the NCAA will turn all of USC's wins into "L's" (though they can't take away Texas' brilliant win in the Rose Bowl). It remains to be seen whether the Heisman group feels pressure to take back their trophy. I'm not quite sure fans would have a problem if they stripped it from Bush and gave it to the runner-up, Vince Young, who ultimately proved more worthy of the award.

(The real intrigue is whether any of this bleeds into 2004, when the NCAA would actually face the idea of stripping the national championship from USC.)

Meanwhile, there's still the whole idea of a punishment for the top-tier Trojans program. The ultimate penalty in this day and age would be not allowing them to play on TV for a season.

More NBA: The T'wolves gave new franchise cornerstone Al Jefferson a huge contract extension. (Of those who did NOT get an extension: Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Andre Iguodala.)

MLB Hot Stove Pre-Heat: Torii Hunter will meet with the White Sox next week.

Meanwhile, the biggest value yet from Curt Schilling's "inside-baseball" blog came out: He listed the 12 teams he would be interested in signing with. (The Yankees were notably missing.)

The new A-Rod storyline is that he could very well return to the Yankees, which totally makes sense if you understand that Scott Boras wants to maximize the size of his clients' contract and that the Yankees, still, are the market-makers for contract size.

(Or perhaps it should be phrased that A-Rod could very well return to New York... with the Mets. GM Omar Minaya said he would talk with David Wright about how he would feel about a position change. Hmm... the Mets are one of the few teams that could afford A-Rod.)

Oh, and where's the World Series ball? Because Jason Varitek doesn't have it.

NFL: I don't feel like adding to the Pats-Colts build-up (until tomorrow, when I will pick the Pats to win by 30). In other NFL news, is it John Beck time in Miami? I'm sure Dolphins fans hope so.

Meanwhile, Jeff George may be interested in the Vikings, but the feeling isn't mutual. (And why should it be? The guy hasn't played since the turn of the century.)

Oh, and I think that Jon Kitna is infinitely more likeable and cool for having dressed up as a naked guy at a fast-food drive-through, like the team's assistant coach Joe Cullen.

Finally, Pac-Man Jones' lawyer says he'll apply for reinstatement after the Titans' 10th game in mid-November. Good luck with that.

College Hoops: A 5-8, 125-pound 14-year-old combo guard from Las Vegas verbally committed to Rutgers. Seriously: REALLY? Meanwhile, exhibition seasons are heating up. Two-time defending champ Florida takes on Flagler tonight.

Thursday Night College Football: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech? Meh. VT lost their relevancy when they lost that lead a week ago tonight.

CFB Top 25: Here's this week's BlogPoll analysis from Brian Cook. (h/t Fanhouse)

-- D.S.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday 10/31 A.M. Quickie:
Kobe's 45, Spurs Win, Girardi/Torre, More!

Today's Names to Know: Kobe Bryant, David Stern, Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Baron Davis, Grady Little, Joe Torre, Reggie Bush, Hawaii, Woody Paige, Halloween and More!

Happy Halloween, everyone (especially those of you with kids who will be entering the trick-or-treat mayhem tonight).

Kobe booed by Lakers fans in loss, then scores 45: Seriously, WTF is up Kobe and the Lakers? In last night's season opener, Kobe was booed... by his own fans. Yes, Kobe opened the season with 45 (18 in the 4th quarter) and by the end, they were cheering him, but still... (Meanwhile, Yao may be an injury risk, but if healthy, he's going to dominate.)

Quote of the Day: David Stern on the Knicks. "They're not a model of intelligent management." Leave it to the Commish to put it as well as anyone has ever put it about Isiah, Dolan and Co. What more needs to be added to that? We all vigorously nod our heads in agreement.

NBA Season Openers: Spurs get rings, win opener. Duncan: 24/13. Parker: 19. Ginobili: 16 and 8 assists. As far as "Big Threes" go in the NBA, you can have KG-Allen-Pierce; I'll take the defending champs. How, exactly (if they even make the Finals), will Boston top that?

Breakout Watch: LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 27 for the Blazers in their loss to the Spurs. He's going to have a monster year, and that's BEFORE Greg Oden returns from injury.

Golden State starts on a losing note: Then again, isn't that how the first 2/3 of their season went a year ago? (Baron Davis: 25 points, 10 assists, 5 steals... fantasy wow.)

The Jazz look good. I probably underrated them in my West playoff projections. As far as "Big Threes" go, Deron Williams (24/8a), Carlos Boozer (32/15r) and breakout prospect Ronnie Brewer (18/4s) are pretty impressive. And that doesn't even count Paul Millsap (16/10r).

Tim Duncan signs 2Y/$40M extension with Spurs: Duncan is the anti-Kobe. Unassuming, team-friendly, low-profile, content... and, currently, a winner. Any doubt that the Spurs will get at least one title from those two years?

(Meanwhile, when LeBron James asked for help, do you think he meant the team re-signing Sasha Pavlovic to a three-year deal? Umm... no.)

Yankees hire Joe Girardi: To recap this week's analysis, the good news is that a Northwestern alum got the job; the bad news is that I suspect he won't have the job a year from now. But who knows?

Grady Little leaves Dodgers, looks like Torre is a done-deal: Look, the last time a team fired Grady Little, they went on to win two of the next four World Series championships, so things are looking good for the Dodgers (especially if they hire Joe Torre and Don Mattingly).

MLB Hot Stove Pre-Heat: Are the Phillies interested in Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell?... Are the Yankees and Mariano Rivera ready to deal?.. Will Jorge Posada stay in New York – to play for the Mets?...

Marketer sues Reggie Bush and his family for $300,000 in cash and prizes the player received during college: And yet the NCAA can't make any headway with an investigation? How ludicrous.

CFB Must-Read: Sunday Morning Quarterback had an unbelievable take-down of Hawaii on Monday that you have to read. Once you do, you will never even CONSIDER putting them in your Top 25, let alone the ludicrous position in the human polls in the low teens.

Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year: As part of my ongoing partnership with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, be sure to check out my blog at CFB fans are encouraged to weigh in on the Coach of the Year race in the comments section. Should the front-runner be BC's Jeff Jagodzinski, Kansas' Mark Mangino... or someone else?

Soccer: Can you imagine a more fun World Cup setting than Brazil in 2014?

Prep Football: Two-a-Done. Hoover (Alabama) High coach Rush Propst will leave the team at the end of the season after a scandal-fueled (if successful) career. I'm quite sure he'll end up elsewhere, turn the team into a USA Today Top 10 powerhouse, then be outed (and ousted) as a cheater there, too.

Anyone watch "Around the Horn" yesterday? I got a tip from TBL that I got a totally random name-check from Woody Paige, although I presume it was done for mockery value. In my illustrious and erstwhile ATH career, for all of its debacle-ness, Woody was genuinely nice to me. Hey: Maybe he just wanted to add a little blogger cred to the show. Erik Rydholm and Aaron : Call me! (Making phone hand-sign)

R.I.P., Robert Goulet: I was remiss in not talking about this earlier. He will always be beloved by sports fans for his incredible ESPN college hoops promos, quite possibly the best non-"This Is SportsCenter" promos the network ever created.

Varsity Dad vs. Halloween: At what point (if ever) is it OK to dress your toddler as a sports hero for Halloween? My kid has a Percy Harvin jersey, but that ain't happening: He's going as a monkey.

(Brooklyn parenting is a bit of a scene, as I expect this evening's trick-or-treating to be. For example, our local kids' parade is led by Dan Zanes, who lives nearby. For parents with kids, they'll know who I'm talking about. Needless to say, I don't think it's a crowd that would appreciate the spectacularness of a kid costumed as Harvin.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday 10/30 A.M. Quickie:
NBA, Torre, Favre, Brady, More!

Today's Names to Know: NBA, Joe Torre, Kevin Garnett, Brett Favre to Greg Jennings, Tony Romo, Kellen Clemens, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez, Trinity-Millsaps video and More!

Torre reportedly to be hired by Dodgers (and taking Mattingly with him): Now THIS is a big "F-You" to the Yankees and a huge splash for relevancy by the Dodgers (who could use some). What a way to steal the spotlight from the Yankees' own managerial search.

New NBA Season Starts Today: Lots of intrigue. How will the Celtics' "Big Three" do? Is this the Suns' year to finally break through to a West title? How good can Kevin Durant be right out of the box? Where (if anywhere) will Kobe get traded? If LeBron and Scrubs can win the East, who else might? Who are this year's Warriors (and will we even know until the first year of the playoffs)? How badly will refs be taunted in a post-Donaghy Era?

That's all in play as the season tips off tonight. I'm picking the Spurs over the Celtics in the Finals (though if I had my choice, I'd much rather see the Suns than the Spurs in the Finals, given last years Finals debacle).

So if the Question of the Season is: How will the Celtics do with their new "Big Three" lineup, my answer is: Matching the hype.

I think they'll finish with one of the best records in the East and, more importantly, win the East title behind league MVP Kevin Garnett. (How has his name not come up more often as a candidate? I see this as a slam-dunk.)

However, Boston will fall short of an NBA title, losing to the Spurs in the NBA Finals. The question then becomes: Is anything less than an NBA title for this Celtics team considered failure?

Here are the rest of my picks (* = Div Champ):
East: 1. Wiz* 2. Celtics* 3. Bulls* 4. Pistons
5. Cavs 6. Raps 7. Heat 8. Bucks
East Finals: Celtics over Wizards

West: 1. Suns* 2. Spurs* 3. Mavs 4. Nuggets*
5. Jazz 6. Warriors 7. Rockets 8. Blazers
West Finals: Spurs over Suns

(I congratulate Chris Sheridan on picking the Wizards to be No. 2 in the East, going against the grain of virtually all of his colleagues, including John Hollinger, who picked the Wizards to finish 13th. Before the injuries last year, they would have finished with the best record in the East and probably won the conference title. Everyone has to stay healthy, but with a better bench, they're a better team. Meanwhile, looking over my playoff picks after a few more cups of coffee, I think I'm overlooking the Nets -- who have their own Big Three, plus a return-from-injury for Krstic -- and the Magic, who only have the best young big in the East. In the West, I will re-evaluate the Lakers if/when they do a Kobe deal, and if I had to pick a Warriors-style freak, it's the Grizzlies.)

Here's another look at my Awards Predictions:
MVP: Kevin Garnett (2nd: Gilbert Arenas)
Rookie: Kevin Durant (2nd: Al Thornton)
Coach: Doc Rivers (2nd: Eddie Jordan)
Fantasy Breakout: Al Jefferson

MNF: Favre to Jennings for 82-yard TD on first play of OT leads Packers to win over Broncos in Denver.

First of all, if it wasn't for the Pats, Favre and the Packers would be the NFL's most incredible story in years.

Second: Wow, Denver sports fans really used up all their mojo in getting the Rockies an NL title, didn't they?

Tony Romo signs 6-year, $67 million extension with the Cowboys, including $30 million in guaranteed money. Not bad for an undrafted QB out of Eastern Illinois. Teams might want to keep that in mind as they eye the loaded College QB Draft Class of 2008.

I love this debate over the Pats' sportsmanship or "classlessness" in the wake of their path of destruction this season, most notably this past weekend against the Redskins.

I say: Hell, as long as you're trying to break the spirit of the league (as Belichick seems intent on doing), you almost have to pour it on. But then there's this meme, highlighted at PFT (and kind of started by KSK a few weeks ago with their "Brady Bounty") and elsewhere, including the normally genteel Michael Wilbon, who all but demanded it:

At what point will a frustrated opponent, frustrated that Brady is in the game late in a blowout, simply KO the QB with a shot to the knees? (Cripes, talk about sportsmanship; how about taking your beatings like an adult?)

The Pats have every right in the world to continue marauding through the NFL, but they would be crazy not to expect blowback from a rogue opposing player.

Kobe Bryant-for-Gilbert Arenas trade debunked by Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld: As a Wizards fan, I had no interest in this trade anyway.

First of all, I'm not sure Kobe makes the Wizards that much better than they are with Gil (see my East predictions).

Second, Arenas is the most entertaining player in the NBA (factoring in on- and off-court entertainment). That's not worth giving up.

World Series Hangover: The resounding meme among fans and analysts seems to be that the Red Sox didn't just win their second title in four years, but have the foundation to continue to win championships through the rest of the decade and beyond. "New Yankees?" Only if "New Yankees" means "championship dynasty."

Will Joe Girardi join the Yankees? I presume so. How long will he last? Let's set the over-under at Halloween 2008.

Where will Alex Rodriguez end up? I have been saying the Angels for a while, but how about... the Yankees?

MLB Trade: SS Edgar Renteria goes to the Tigers from the Braves.

Jets to start Kellen Clemens at QB: The Chad Pennington Era is effectively over.

CFB: Here's a great story on the student play-by-play announcer who called that wild Trinity-Millsaps D-3 finish this weekend, the best play of the year in college football (and perhaps sports). This is an inelegant analogy, but this was college football's "J-Mac" moment.

BTW: This week's Deadspin column.

-- D.S.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday 10/29 A.M. Quickie:
BoSox Champs! A-Rod Opts! Pats Roll! BCS Yes!

Today's Names to Know: Boston Red Sox, Mike Lowell, A-Rod, Joe Girardi, Tom Brady, Ohio State and Boston College, NBA Awards and More!

Red Sox sweep Rockies for World Series Championship, Boston's second title in four years. Man, the Red Sox sure know how to suck the drama out of a World Series, don't they? Two straight sweeps, eight straight wins.

Anyway, congrats to baseball's Team of the Decade, the first to nab two championships in the 21st Century, doing it with an ideal combination of scouting and SABR, guts and gobs of cash, pricey free agents and home-grown youngsters. They are (gack) the model franchise.

Thus is won the first component of what could be known as the Grand Slam of the Apocalypse: Boston teams winning titles in baseball, college football, pro football and pro basketball -- all way too possible. If that happens, the rest of us might have to either quit being sports fans or force the Boston teams (and fans) to secede from the rest of us.

As for the Rockies, it was a "miracle" run that ended miserably. Was it that 8-day layoff between NLCS and World Series that turned the hottest team in MLB history into a limp, lifeless loser? It doesn't matter: Colorado's fantastic finish goes up there with the '95 Seattle Mariners, among others: Locally, fans will remember how amazing it was forever, but without the championship, it will be lost to history.

A-Rod opts out of his contract: The savvy observer might note that Scott Boras' announcement during the World Series that A-Rod would opt out of his contract is the closest A-Rod has ever gotten to the World Series.

Did Boras think he was doing his client a favor with that classless move? Sure, we're all talking about him today (as Boras would say is all that matters), but all people will be saying is how douch-ish it was to co-opt the World Series for A-Rod's personal gain. It was right out of the WWE textbook.

So: What next for the player presumably about to win the AL MVP – and more than arguably the best player in baseball?

Where: Will the Yankees go back on their earlier sentiments and try to re-sign him? Will he go to a would-be contender like the Angels? Will he go to a team that desperately needs a superstar (San Francisco)?

How much: Will anyone be willing to pay him the payroll-crippling $30 million a year that Boras is demanding?

You know where A-Rod is a perfect fit, right? Boston. And you just KNOW they're thinking about it. (It's not like they haven't before.)

But, as they proved last night, the Red Sox hardly need A-Rod: Why, when they have World Series MVP Mike Lowell playing 3B? What an amazing pair of symbols: Boras interjecting A-Rod into the World Series, while Lowell smacks a HR to lead the Red Sox to a Series title, just before Lowell himself goes into free agency.

I can understand the lure of A-Rod (the tantalizing prospects of him in the lineup must make the SABR contingent get very excited), but despite the massive payroll, the Red Sox won this title using financial brains, not just brawn. As much as I'd like to see the Red Sox sign A-Rod, if only for the entertainment value, unlike most every other team in baseball, they don't need him (even if they are one of the very few that can afford him).

Meanwhile, the Yankees are set to announce their managerial decision today, and speculation is hot that it will be Joe Girardi.

UPDATE: The offer's been made. I know you all think I necessarily must renounce all Northwestern-related interest, but I have to say that it's exciting to see a fellow NU alum get that kind of job. (My favorite NU Girardi story: In the football weight room, where all athletes worked out -- me, too...imagine that scene! -- there are lists of weightlifting records, and the only non-football player ANYWHERE was in the squat, where Girardi was the all-time king. Northwestern loyalty won't make me root for the Yankees (save your snark), but it's nice to see it working out for another NU person.

NFL Wrap: Pats roll on to 8-0, and it's arguable we have just witnessed the most dominant first half of a football season ever (including the '85 Bears, who would be my gold standard for a first half). Tom Brady accounted for 5 TDs (again), with 2 on the ground for himself this time. So for those of you who have Brady in your fantasy leagues, you might get those extra points for rushing TDs (not that you need them, with Brady -- is he having the most dominant fantasy season for a QB ever?)

UPDATE: There's definitely a lot of talk about sportsmanship and the "classiness" (or not) of the Pats seemingly running up the score. Screw that: It's the NFL. I think it makes the Pats infinitely more interesting that they are not just winning, but ripping the soul out of the opponents, the rest of the league and the game itself as they go.

NFL in London: It was a great piece of ambassadorship, if the story we wanted to export was "The NFL sucks." Makes it hard to argue that the NFL is better than the EPL when the game features roughly as much scoring as a bad EPL game.

Rams, Dolphins remain oh-fer-season: It's a race to see who wants the top pick in the NFL draft. But in a QB-heavy draft, neither team really needs help at QB, and both teams already have very expensive "franchise" RBs, so a draft featuring Darren McFadden doesn't help much either. I suppose they're both playing to draft LSU's Dorsey.

Chargers lift up San Diego's spirits with a blowout home win: As long as the Chargers are scoring 35 in a half, can I get at least 1 TD for Tomlinson?

Random Notes: The Colts' 7-0 start (3rd straight season of that) has been complete eclipsed by the Pats. Good thing we'll have the Game of the Year next week when New England goes to Indy... Is Derek Anderson headed for a Pro Bowl appearance?... So who's picking up Quinn Gray as a fantasy QB?... Welcome back, Drew Brees and Marques Colston. Is it too late for a second-half surge to the NFC title I predicted them to win?

CFB BCS Rewind: Ohio State, Boston College remain 1-2, with BC the computers' favorite and OSU and Arizona State tied for 2nd by the PCs, after all four BCS-conference unbeaten teams claimed "prove-it" wins this weekend.

Arizona State rides the PCs to No. 4, while Oregon gets more love from the human pollsters. Given that they play next weekend, something has to give. If ASU beats Oregon, I would eye them for the Top 2, but that's a huge "if" I don't think will happen.

Of intrigue, unbeaten Kansas is still stuck at No. 8; Georgia is the highest-ranked 2-loss team (No. 10) and look at that: Michigan is sitting there at No. 12. (I am much more bullish on UConn than the various polls; I have them in my Top 10.)

My 1-2 this week are BC and Ohio State. I know I had Ohio State at No. 1 last week, so it looks like I'm dropping them from 1 to 2 after thumping Penn State in Happy Valley, but I think that BC's win at Virginia Tech was more impressive. At least I didn't put them behind idle LSU, too.

(It's not worth griping, OSU fans: You don't have to worry. OSU is a lock to play in the national title game if they win out, and I'll be ready to put them there as soon as they finally play – and beat – a really good team, which based on their schedule wouldn't come until the season finale in Ann Arbor.)

NBA Preview: Awards Predictions!
MVP: Kevin Garnett (Obvious)
(2nd: Gilbert Arenas; 3rd: Steve Nash)
Rookie: Kevin Durant (Zzz...)
(2nd: Al Thornton; 3rd: Al Horford)
Coach: Doc Rivers (Whaaa?!)
(2nd: Eddie Jordan; 3rd: Mike Woodson)
Breakout: Al Jefferson

Your NBA awards picks in the Comments.

-- D.S.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday 10/28 (Very) Quickie

World Series: It's (as good as) over. Red Sox go up 3-0. The end could come as early as tonight, sparing us a drawn-out situation on Monday or later in the week when the Red Sox inevitably clinch the title. (Yes, inevitably.)

CFB: We didn't get the shake-out among the unbeatens that we were hoping for, but there were certainly a couple of "prove-it" peformances from both Arizona State (beating Cal at home, which Pac-10 rival Oregon couldn't) and Kansas (stifling Texas A&M on the road). Ohio State? Eh: I'm just not quite sure the win doesn't simply perpetuate their schedule is soft and the Big Ten is weak. Penn State was barely a "Top 25" team, and didn't look particularly impressive (regardless of how good the OSU D is).

Here's how my Top 10 is shaping up for this coming week (ballot to be completed tonight): (1) Boston College, (2) LSU, (3) Ohio State, (4) Arizona State, (5) Kansas, (6) West Virginia, (7) Oregon, (8) Oklahoma, (9) Missouri, (10) UConn (which is a one-point loss at a team ranked in the BCS Top 15 last week from being undefeated). For the record, I have Michigan at No. 11 and ready to re-crack the Top 10, a mere 10 weeks from being ousted altogether. More mulling to come today...

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I am putting Ohio State at No. 2 over idle LSU. All four unbeatens came up with significant "prove-it" wins this weekend (even if I don't think Penn State is particularly good, I liked the way that Ohio State beat them). I am also considering putting UConn ahead of West Virginia, given that UConn just beat South Florida and USF beat WVU (although UConn beat USF at home, and WVU lost to USF on the road).

-- D.S.