Gainesville, FL -- It is not unique to Gainesville, but there is something so awesome about Game Day in a major college football town. It's my one visit here this season and I'm soaking it up.
Local newspaper special section. Waffle House. RV lot. Campus bookstore (for yet another T-shirt). Tailgate scene. Stadium entry. 90+ degrees with stifling humidity. 90K mayhem.
I suspect that with that newly changed 11 a.m. kickoff and regional interest, the LSU-App State game will draw some attention this morning during the tailgate walk-through and stadium out-of-town-score updates. It was my "Upset Special," but maybe I should have hedged and simply said that App State would cover the 25-point spread.
After the noon schedule of games, most people seem to have an interest in Utah-Michigan -- which everyone seems to be picking as a Ute "upset," but begs the question that if everyone is calling the upset, how much of an upset could it be?
Heading into the evening, Bama-Clemson is the game that everyone around here will be tuning into; I will attempt to convince folks that Mizzou-Illinois is worth having on the 2nd TV or P-I-P.
Anyway, it's a great day to be a college football fan, no matter who you root for.
Meanwhile, this simple concept might be the awesomest thing of the year:
Chad Ocho Cinco.
That's a legal name. I said this when the rumors started a few weeks ago: It tops "World B. Free" as the greatest athlete legal-name-change ever.
Meanwhile, speaking of names, the Knicks traded for Patrick Ewing Jr.? Wow, give the kid a chance, why don't you?
In MLB, it's interesting to be down in north-central Florida, where folks actually talk about the Rays -- they're the closest MLB team and viewed with... curiosity? enthusiasm? Whatever it is, it is fairweather enough that I feel very comfortable, having jumped on the bandwagon back in May. (Really: Who isn't on the Rays bandwagon? How can you begrudge them their success?)
And the Cubs won their 7th straight: I'll be in Chicago next weekend, getting my first in-person taste of Cubs Mania. I believe I am going to start openly rooting for a Rays-Cubs World Series. (Speaking of Chicago baseball, Dice-K shut down the White Sox, in a nice bounce-back game for the Red Sox, in a playoff-quality weekend matchup.)
Michael Phelps is THE "get" for TV folks this fall: First SNL, now Oprah. Not that he doesn't deserve it. (Somewhere along the way, based on emails I have gotten, did I come across as disliking Phelps? Cripes: I labeled the guy the greatest athlete of all time. He transfixed me for an entire week. Couldn't be further from the truth -- I'm a huge huge fan.)
Politics: Reviews are predictably mixed about GOP VP pick Sarah Palin, but the sports connections are undeniable -- she calls herself a "hockey mom"; she is a former championship high school point guard; she wanted to be a sportscaster for ESPN; her husband is a pro snowmobile racer. (Snowmobile racing is the new NASCAR!)
Enjoy the day of games. I'm going to try to update the Twitter feed from The Swamp.