It's hard to call yesterday's baseball playoffs openers unexpected. Sure, the Red Sox and Dodgers won on the road -- in a 5-game series, no small thing -- but the fact that Jason Bay and Manny Ramirez played heroes? Unsurprising. In fact, kind of obvious. See today's SN column.
(With the Phillies, especially with last year's NLDS flame-out, you never know, so a series-opening win -- even at home -- seems sort of surprising and far less obvious than a Bay/Manny HR binge.)
All we know is that the Cubs are suddenly in a hole, and it's up to Carlos Zambrano to help them out of it. The Angels are in a hole, too, but they get today off to think about it. Meanwhile, if anything would focus the playoff-novice Rays, it was yesterday's results.
Meanwhile, it's back-to-back nights of BCS-busting goodness: Last night, Boise State thumped LA Tech -- the Broncos are a good bet to go unbeaten. Tonight, Utah has a challenge in Oregon State (and you thought the Utes' challenge was the season-finale vs. BYU...).
Here's the thing: Rather than the friendly confines of Corvallis, OSU plays at Utah. And rather than facing an overconfident, overrated conference foe it owns in USC, the Beavers will play a scrappy BCS-wannabe that won't possibly take OSU lightly.
As I point out in today's column, most pollsters still put Utah behind USC. But a convincing win tonight might flip that: It's not pure Transitive Property (Oregon State is on the road, not at home), but it's close enough to make a difference, particularly with lazy poll voters. (Where the laziness works FOR us, not against us, for once!)
More later. Who else is counting the hours until the Biden-Palin debate tonight? It's going to be crazy, although you are nuts if you think Palin is going to implode. The format is tailor-made for vague, simplistic, rehearsed answers heavy on the folksy -- that's Palin's wheelhouse. Given the low expectations, she doesn't have to do much to be considered a "winner." Don't discount that.
Complete SN column here.