Now THAT was a good sports weekend.
Mark Sanchez (and Joe McKnight!)
It's a loaded SN column this morning. So much to dig into today:
Can we just start with NFL ref Ed Hochuli for a second? Because he commands a lot of respect (for a ref, presumably because of his biceps), but he screwed the pooch so royally that I think he should be suspended for next week out of sheer incompetence.
This wasn't merely blowing a call; this was obliterating a call -- and perhaps ruining the Chargers' season (before Norv could ruin it).
And NFL replay policy doesn't help if the ref blows his whistle too quickly; here's a new rule of thumb: Let the fumbles play out before tweeting, then use replay to sort it out. It beats totally screwing up a game result.
Otherwise, who finds it fantastically ironic that Aaron Rodgers is the hottest QB in the NFL right now (and if it's not Rodgers, it's Kurt Warner).
Or that Matt Cassel wins just as much as Tom Brady (if not as prettily).
Or that Brandon Marshall sat out Week 1, yet still leads the NFL in receptions -- and instantly puts himself at the top of the argument: Who is the NFL's best WR?
(Speaking of "bests": Darren McFadden. 'Nuff said. He did what he did, despite having quite possibly the worst QB performance for a winning team that you'll see this season.)
Or that the Panthers and Titans are 2-0 and the Chargers and Jaguars are 0-2.
It's already an amazing NFL season, and I haven't even had a chance to gloat about Brett Favre's game-killing INT. (But what else is new?)
Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano's no-no: What a relief for Cubs fans -- the conditions under which it happened (in Milwauke for a one-game "home" series for Houston) make it all the more interesting... The Red Sox may catch the Rays, but the Twins won't -- and that's all that matters... The Phillies have caught the Brewers and may still catch the Mets, who in turn may be caught by the Brewers, putting the Mets right back where they were a year ago.
Finally: College football. USC's domination of Ohio State. USC is obviously No. 1 (BlogPoll Week 3, Take 1 coming at 11:30 for your review and comments), but I have two concerns: (1) The Pac-10 is terrible; and (2) let's not forget the "Black Swan" effect -- highly improbable things actually happening... such as Stanford beating USC in L.A. (Now, given the probabilities -- and just how good USC looked -- it's probably a good thing USC got that out of the way a year ago.)
Meanwhile, Ohio State is out of the national-title picture, regardless of what happens the rest of the season. They looked awful, and I'm not quite sure it was all USC that exposed it; OSU's two questions are whether they can hold off Penn State and Wisconsin -- and whether Jim Tressel will have the vision to start Terrelle Pryor and bench Todd Boeckman (not to admit that this year is all-but-finished, but because Pryor gives the team the best chance to win, provided Tressel has the imagination to know how to use him, which is no given).
Otherwise, presuming USC runs the table, it seems that the No. 2 BCS spot will go to the survivor of the Big 12 and SEC. Even if Oklahoma and Missouri run the table, they'd have to play in the Big 12 title game; the SEC is a little clearer -- Georgia, LSU and Florida all play each other; either they'll cannibalize the cause or one emerges unbeaten.
Not sure how pollsters would decide between an unbeaten SEC team and an unbeaten Big 12 team -- except to point out that despite USC's domination over what appears to be an overrated Ohio State team, the Trojans will play a schedule of cupcakes in the Pac-10, most of whom apparently couldn't finish at the top of the Mountain West Conference.
By the end of the season, an unbeaten Big 12 champ and an unbeaten SEC champ would have run a gauntlet way more impressive than USC. So USC crushed Ohio State -- the SEC would say: Who hasn't?
Maybe ceding that BCS spot to USC shouldn't be such a given, even if the Trojans DO go unbeaten. Hmm...
Speaking of looking ahead, here's an interesting analysis of the BCS-busters from the WSJ.
Complete SN column here. More later.