So today was my final SN column of the holiday week -- expect expanded coverage here the rest of the week (for those of you still checking your favorite blogs over the holiday).
As such, the column previewed the week ahead:
Was it too much to say that the Broncos are headed for the worst choke-job in NFL history? The gold standard is that 1992 Wild Card game (held in Jan '93) between the Bills and Oilers.
In a way, this is worse: It's not just a collapse in a single half; it's a collapse over the final 3 games of the season. At the same time, the Chargers have had to rally from 4-8 -- if they make the playoffs, that alone is a first. It's not a sexy game, necessarily, but it's as meaningful as it gets in the NFL regular season.
Meanwhile, Bears fans who made it through that frozen OT win last night will probably unthaw this morning feeling good -- but not great. In addition to winning at Houston next week, the Bears need to see the Vikings lose to the Giants... and the Giants have nothing to play for except health of their starters, which means don't expect much more than exhibition-style tuning.
Also this week: The NBA on Christmas Day, which has become an annual tradition on par with the NFL on Thanksgiving and college football on New Year's Day. I'd argue that Thursday's slate of games is as compelling a quadruple-header as the league has ever produced. Celtics-Lakers may set a new high for TV ratings, certainly in the Internet Era.
The college bowls this week are fairly weak -- except tonight: Boise State vs. TCU, in a battle of two teams worthy of the Top 10, two of the Top 3 non-BCS teams, a fantastic offense (Boise) vs. a fantastic D (TCU), and a certain Top 10 finish for the winner (and, if it's Boise State, an unbeaten season). Should be an absolutely awesome game.
College hoops this week is also fairly weak -- tonight's Missouri-Illinois Bragging Rights game is the best of the week. The way the Big Ten is playing right now, don't be surprised if Illinois wins. Is there anything more surprising this season than the success of the Big Ten?
Complete column here. More later. I spent the last 2 days driving from Gainesville to New York City, so there was much time to contemplate.