"Playoff-ish": You all know that's my catch-all description for any college football game where both teams have national-title aspirations. I'd say Texas Tech-Oklahoma qualifies, and it leads today's SN column.
Picks come out later today, but I'm inclined to pick Texas Tech, even with the game in Norman. Tech's offense is playing at a higher level than anyone else -- even Oklahoma. And its defense might be the best in the Big 12 -- which is sort of relative, given how porous those defenses are.
(That said: It IS college football, which has an Occam's Razor of sorts: Whatever the biggest clusterf--k situation can be, usually happens. So even if Texas Tech beats Oklahoma, watch them lose to Missouri in the Big 12 title game.)
Meanwhile, Texas Tech's hoops team put up 167 on a college named "East Central." While it's fun to see such a pinball score, Pat Knight's team won by 50+, meaning that the 90-point second half was probably the worst exhibition of sportsmanship of 2008. What a d'bag.
That eye-popping total might just eclipse UCLA's choke-job in NYC against Michigan. I love Ben Howland and I'm almost always bullish on UCLA (see last year's November-to-March prediction they would win the national title), but their greatest strength -- defense -- means that their games will almost always be close, and close means the opponent has a puncher's chance.
The Lakers are unstoppable. The Pistons with AI aren't as much of a threat to the Celtics as the Nuggets with Billups (or, by extension) the Pistons with Billups.
I'm unmoved by Hank Steinbrenner's deadline for CC Sabathia to accept the Yankees' absurd offer. I'm a little more intrigued by the Nationals' interest in Mark Teixeira -- and the Maryland native's interest in the Nats.
(Speaking of DC baseball, I grew up on Thomas Boswell -- the guy is a baseball-columnist institution. But his support of Ryan Howard over Albert Pujols for NL MVP -- his argument -- was his tipping-point moment of his irrelevancy. Posnanski gave him what I would label a sympathetic evisceration.)
Looking ahead to Sunday: I am most intrigued by the Pats-Fins game, for a few reasons: (1) it has playoff implications; (2) they have one of the best rivalries in the NFL; (3) Miami revealed the "Wildcat" in their early-season clobbering of the Pats; will they go back to it again?
That said: I recognize that Giants-Cards is, on paper, the best match-up of the weekend. But since both teams are playoff locks, is it really bigger than Pats-Fins? Or even Titans-Jets, where the Titans look to continue their unbeaten season and the Jets are trying to stay one step ahead of the Pats-Fins winner?
Complete SN column here. More later.