It's like "Pennsylvania Day" in today's SN column: Phillies? Check. Penn State? Check. Brian Westbrook? Check.
But can I first tip my cap to not one but two YouTube moments that are likely to have traction today?
(1) Mike Singletary, because nothing says "coaching debut" like a press conference freak-out.
(2) Patti LaBelle, for one of the worst National Anthems I can remember.
Meanwhile, I'm willing to admit that I was very very wrong about the Phillies' chances against the Rays; I totally discounted their HR power, obviously on display last night. That doesn't mean I'm not still pulling for the Rays or disappointed if Tampa falls short. But, again, it's hard to begrudge Philly sports fans this moment. If it's going to happen, I hope it happens tonight in Philly, rather than in Game 6 or 7 in Florida.
Penn State vs. the BCS: As expected, yesterday's anti-PSU rant triggered a lot of comments. Good comments, actually. And I appreciate you meeting my irrational rantings with (mostly) clear-eyed rebuttals and analysis. Really, my problems can be boiled down to two things:
(1) The notion that poll voters may use some sort of nostalgia for Joe Paterno's age or career to put them in a title game they aren't worthy of being in. If the name on the jersey was, say, "Texas Tech," and the coach was, say, Mike Leach, you wouldn't be seeing this.
(2) Penn State's schedule is not particularly challenging. Even their signature game wasn't that impressive -- sure, beating Ohio State in Columbus is something that Penn State hasn't done since before JoePa was in AARP, but (a) the PSU D shut down -- what? -- a true freshman QB, and (b) the vaunted PSU offense couldn't muster much against the same OSU defense that porously allowed USC to score at will. (Please don't say Oregon State, using the Beavers' win over USC as evidence -- the Pac-10 is terrible this year.)
If "going unbeaten from a BCS conference" is all that it takes to make the national-title game -- without even a hint of judgment from voters -- Texas or Alabama or Georgia or Florida or Oklahoma might as well bolt their leagues and join the ACC for football.
Anyway, as you can see, it's going to be a long 6 weeks. Maybe Penn State will do us all a favor and lose at Iowa next week.
(By the way, I'm not anti-Penn State, per se. I would love to see them win the Big Ten and go to the Rose Bowl. It HAS been a wonderful year for JoePa. It has been great to see them open up the offense. I just don't think they are as BCS title-game worthy as the Big 12 or SEC champs.)
UPDATE: Per your comments in the BlogPoll ballot post below, I have moved Penn State ahead of Texas Tech to No. 3. See? I'm not THAT much of a hater! (And not THAT unwilling to listen.) Mostly, I appreciate the discussion in the Comments of that post.
Wow, just getting to the NFL here? Huge day for Brian Westbrook. Huge day for Joe Flacco. Huge day for Ted Ginn. Huge day for the Giants. Huge day for quality long-snappers who might be out of work right now but looking to hook on with a playoff team. Huge day for the Titans. Are we already at the NFL midseason? Or does next week count as midseason?
Any more ideas for non-conventional (ie, not Lakers and not Celtics) picks for the NBA season?
BTW, love that new Guitar Hero ad with Kobe, Phelps, A-Rod and Tony Hawk. Brilliant.
Complete SN column here. More later.