Today's Names to Know: Wild Cards,
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.
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
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.)
DS.com Commenters have named their Sportsperson of the Year. And the winner is...