First things first: You/I/anyone are not being bold by picking all four road teams to sweep the NFL's Wild Card round. It's fairly novel, to be sure, but all are favored. The Wild Card leads today's SN column, the first edition of '09.
That said: If I'm picking the road teams to all win, you just know it ain't gonna play out that way. The only thing I can hope for is that my Super Bowl pick -- the Eagles -- don't lose at Minnesota.
Far more interesting: Are the Vikings and Cardinals really not going to sell out their games? That's pretty pathetic. Like: You-don't-deserve-a-franchise pathetic.
At the very least, you'd think that local fans could pool their resources to buy up the remaining tickets to avert the TV blackout.
Meanwhile, USC is very very very good. But we already knew that. Beating up on overrated Penn State will hardly move the needle for them -- though it exacts a measure of justice re: Oregon St.
But I am sure that they will earn a couple of AP votes for No. 1 after next Thursday night (but so will Texas, when they put a similar hurt on Ohio State). And don't discount the 5-0 Pac-10 bowl season.
Yesterday's bowls were -- to put it mildly -- terrible. Even the Rose -- a clinic in excellence (by one team at least) -- lacked any sort of suspense.
Today's bowls, on the other hand, size up as interesting, if nothing else. I put this in the column today, but Texas Tech-Ole Miss is far more intriguing for its Transitive Property implications than the actual meeting between the two teams involved.
You'd be excused for using them as a proxy for the Big 12 and the SEC -- for Oklahoma/Texas and Florida. If Ole Miss wins, suddenly that win over Florida seems reasonable; if Texas Tech wins, then suddenly the Big 12 isn't the overrated defense-free zone they just might be.
And Alabama-Utah isn't Georgia-Hawaii: Utah is a legitimately good team (and extremely well-coached), unlike Hawaii last year. And Alabama is missing Andre Smith. Utah will need some Boise State-style offensive power to keep up; they can't/won't win a slugfest.
Barkley, Cont'd: I ripped Barkley yesterday, but in the reports about the arrest report, it sounds like he was totally upfront about his drinking (and the reason behind his traffic violation -- a race to get home and get with his favorite hook-up). It doesn't excuse the DUI, but at least Barkley is consistently transparent about his problems.
Finally: No, you didn't miss my annual Hot/Not List yesterday. I didn't get it published. But I worked on it last night and it should be ready to go a little later this morning. Check back then.
Complete SN column here.