Yes, it is a calm-before-the-storm news morning -- particularly in NFL and college football -- and based on last night's results, it felt like a signal moment in MLB's playoff races.
It's not necessarily the "end" of the dog days of August or the "start" of the playoff races, but it seems like an extreme confluence of Important Results (and ideal SN column lead today):
*The Rockies beat the Dodgers on a dramatic walk-off, now 2 GB.
*The Rangers show they can hang with the biggest boy in the AL.
*The Tigers say "Why not us?" by beating the playoff-locked Angels.
*The Phillies suddenly look vulnerable -- at least Brad Lidge does.
*Don't forget about the Cardinals: Adam Wainwright wins NL-leading 15th.
All that, and Billy Wagner is on the Red Sox. I don't know if that will actually HELP the Red Sox, but whatever post-ASB problems Boston seemed to have, they appear to be working them out and ready to charge. And, of course, if you discount the Rays -- 3 GB for the AL Wild Card -- you're crazy. They are as "playoff-race-toughened" as any team in the AL.
More you'll find:
*More on this tomorrow, but Mike Vick's Eagles debut makes tomorrow night's Eagles-Jags game the most intriguing NFL preseason game of all time. (Can you name another?)
*SN picks Oklahoma State No. 10, which is just about right. Too bad they are the 3rd-best team in their own insane division. (They do represent the best shot anyone has of beating Texas.)
*More CFB: The Big East is down, yes, but I still believe in Cincinnati... and how can you not want to watch Noel Devine? And the Pac-10 may have its best shot at dethroning USC this season -- and it's on Oregon to do it.
Perhaps the biggest reason I am so engaged in baseball right now -- on the cusp of the CFB and NFL seasons -- is that my fantasy baseball team is in playoff contention for the first time in my fantasy-baseball career. I am currently in 7th with a 6-team playoff field, one game behind No. 6 -- who I play next week. I am in a vicious head-to-head battle this week where I will be lucky to split 5-5, setting up a "play-in"/virtual play-off next week -- which, if I can't make the playoffs, at least will be a de facto playoff. Sorry for the obsessive rantings about my team, but I came into this season committed to not finishing in last, like I almost always do. I'm on the cusp of a Rays-like turnaround.
Complete SN column here. More later, including an analysis of the newest big competitor in the online-sports space.