Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday 01/04 A.M. Quickie:
Wild Card, Kansas, Clemens, Obama, More!

Today's Names to Know: Wild Cards, Kansas, Roger Clemens, US Army vs. ESPNU, Warren Sapp, Bill Belichick, Blazers, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Dave Zirin and More!

NFL Wild Card Weekend: The general gist: This year's NFL Wild Card round kind of sucks because the ending feels so inevitable, making the Wild Card round a bit of a dud. Now, if the Patriots lose along the way? Mayhem. But let's not speak of that until it happens, god forbid a Quickie jinx.

Click here for my picks and analysis, announced yesterday. The short version: Jags, Chargers, Seahawks, Bucs.

Orange Bowl: Kansas completes a dream season, going 12-1 with a BCS bowl win and what will likely be a Top 5 finish. Perhaps even more astounding, the team sizes up as even better next season. That makes this less "one-hit wonder" than "breakthrough."

Roger Clemens on "60 Minutes": So it was just lidocaine and B-12? Oh THAT explains EVERYTHING. One question: Why didn't he just say that the day the Mitchell Report came out? It feels like it took him and his legal team three weeks to come up with the excuse, then busted it out.

CFB Recruiting: Not one but TWO high school All-America games – the traditional US Army-sponsored game and the new ESPN-sponsored competitor, dividing the talent, but it's double the viewing for fans waiting on those in-game commitment announcements that have come to define the event.

NFL: Warren Sapp is retiring. Future Hall of Famer. Not bad for a guy whose draft stock plummeted when sketchy rumors of his marijuana use came out on draft day. Seems so quaint now.

Bill Belichick is Coach of the Year: Obviously, just as obvious as Brady as MVP and Peterson as Offensive Rookie of the Year and Willis as Defensive Rookie of the Year. (One thing: Where was Romeo Crennel? Not even on the ballot at all?)

MLB Hot Stove: White Sox acquire versatile Nick Swisher from the A's for three of the Sox's top five prospects (per Sickels via Fanhouse). As Lackey noted, Chicago is under pressure to compete with the suddenly juggernaut Tigers and defending division champ Indians; the A's are apparently competing with the Marlins -- I just think Billy Beane enjoys pushing his Moneyball experiment to its natural limits.

NBA: The question about the Blazers was how they would respond to their long winning streak being snapped. They were pushed into 2 OT by the Bulls, but came away with a win – not something that necessarily would have happened in November.

CBB: How's the Big East this season? Unpredictable, at least to start. Villanova lost to DePaul in a fairly significant upset. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt continued its best start in program history, beating Rice and moving to 14-0.

Reading Series Hangover: Huge thanks to all the readers who came out last night to the Varsity Letters Reading Series. I got a warm reception I didn't deserve, then Will Leitch put on a fantastic show, followed by Dave Zirin, who truly put on a performance. Never met Dave before, and he's a terrific guy. I was honored to share a stage with those guys.

Politics and Sports: Longtime readers know that I am a politics junkie. It was awesome last night at the reading as lots of people there kept checking their Blackberries and cell phones to see results from Iowa, a murmur slicing through the crowd as the news came in. As far as the superficial sports connections go: Obama's win is a win for pick-up basketball fans. (Come on: Don't you really want to see a pick-up hoops court installed at the White House?) Meanwhile, Huckabee's win is a win for fans of jogging; Rudy's poor showing is a repudiation of Yankees fans. (Kidding.)

Varsity Dad: New post! And it's long(-ish)! Here's the link. All part of my commitment to keep Varsity Dad updated and fresh -- I really want to grow out the community of like-minded parents. If you have a story to add or a relevant blog post to link to (or excerpt), shoot an email with the details to varsitydad-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. (Just found out last night that Zirin is a Varsity Dad fan, which was nice to hear. I've got to work on getting him to contribute.) Commenters have named their Sportsperson of the Year. And the winner is...

-- D.S.


John said...

"Wallace asked Clemens if he swears he didn't use banned substances. "Swear," Clemens responds."

I guess it's case closed now. Brian McNamee and the Mitchell Report were wrong, because Clemens "swears." Nice job Mike Wallace.

Joey said...

I don't blame them for not voting Crennel and I'm a Browns fan. The Patriots went undefeated, if that doesn't win coach of the year they should just get rid of the award. It was bad enough when the Indians went 100-44 during the strike shortened '95 season and Hargrove didn't win it (don't even get me started on Mo Vaughn winning MVP over Albert Belle).

The Browns improved a lot this year, but I'm still not sold on Crennel. He still makes a lot of stupid decisions. After the first Anderson int vs the Bengals before halftime, if he'd have run out the clock with like 40 seconds left the Browns go in to half down 13-0 and come back and win that game. Usually he is too conservative. I don't know why he changed there.

Unknown said...

Martina Hingis busted for cocaine at Wimbledon this year. She forfeits all her prize money since then and will retire at age 27.

My question is if coke is a performance enhancing drug or does she just have a drug problem.

One Columbian cyclist blamed a positive cocaine test on some candies his grandmother mailed him from South America. He apparently produced the candies and they bought his excuse and let him off. As cynical as I am, I actually gave him the benfit of the doubt.

Tom said...

The White House basketball court already exists. I saw it on a tour of the grounds last year.

Drunken Loo said...

Those sketchy rumours about Sapp.... could they have been caused by his failed drug test at the combine?

Misery Loves Company said...

Re: The Swisher trade - It's funny how your view changes depending on circumstances. A kid that I coached (and my son's closest friend) now pitches in the Oakland organization and has done quite well. But between this trade, the Scutaro trade, and the Rule 5, Oakland has picked up several RHP that are at or near his level, meaning that there will be much stiffer competition for him. Funny how whenever Oakland does anything now, the first thing I check is what pitchers are coming/going from the minor leagues.