Rays in 5. And, unless you're from Philly, I cannot imagine that you can't root for the Rays. This is one of the great turnaround stories in sports history -- on the cusp of the superlative "greatest."
Here is a reality of the sports-media dynamic nearing the end of 2008: You cannot ignore a story and pretend it isn't there. There are too many outlets. Fans are too informed. It erodes credibility.
If the Favre story came from some random source with no track record, we could dismiss it as some no-account attempt to link-bait one's way to some short-term page views.
Jay Glazer is arguably the most intrepid NFL "info guy" on the beat today -- he wouldn't put his rep on the line with a claim like "1,000 percent" certainty of his story if he wasn't...certain.
And it's not like Brett Favre has a history of straight talk -- he talks, to be sure, but he ensures it is almost always with Favre-friendly folks.
(Here's a question: What will Peter King do when it turns out that Favre lied to him to his face -- or, at least, through a text message? Will he still have blinding, journo-undercutting fealty?)
Regardless: It's a story. (And now it's also a story about a story, what political campaigns and media call "process stories" -- inside baseball, rather than the game itself.)
Meanwhile, if you can set aside the presumption that Greg Oden has NBA Rookie of the Year locked up, the three leading candidates were on display last night: Derrick Rose (30 pts); OJ Mayo (28 pts); Mike Beasley (19 pts). I still say Kevin Love is the best rookie.
(Oh, and nothing will hurt the start of the NBA season quicker than a knee injury to its No. 1 star, Kobe. Presumably, he'll be fine. But it's a reminder.)
I ask a fair question in today's column: What's the bigger game -- Texas vs. Oklahoma State or Penn State vs. Ohio State? I default to the former (two unbeatens, with the winner worthy of the No. 1 ranking both in the polls and the BCS?), but I'm willing to entertain that it's the latter: If Penn State wins, they have a near-lock on the BCS title game; if they lose, the BCS dream is over. And Ohio State is playing better than they have all season -- and the game is in Columbus. If Penn State wins, they will boost their cred -- and, playing in the weak Big Ten, they'll need it.
More to come later. Complete SN column here. Root Rays.