I don't care that so many people are taking the day off for the holiday -- it's an absolutely loaded SN column today.
You can imagine the temptation to lead with something pointing out that yesterday was just about as bad of a day for Boston sports fans as you can get -- not "18-1" bad, but pretty bad.
The Pats' loss can be rationalized away -- it's only Week 5, let's see the Broncos do that in the playoffs, yada yada yada... still: The Pats don't look like a Top 3 team in the AFC.
The Red Sox loss -- season-ending -- was a little more ignominious: Not just a sweep, but losing that 9th-inning lead. At Fenway. While the Yankees are advancing. Insult piled upon insult.
I fully expect the defensive "well, we didn't expect much anyway" reaction -- please, spare us. The Red Sox are built to contend for a title, not limp out of the playoffs in an LDS sweep.
But, no! I didn't go for that low-hanging fruit. Instead, I wanted to reinforce that the best teams in the NFL and college football are doing it with dominating defense.
Forget Kyle Orton's newfound respect -- or the Tebow sideshow (well, don't forget it entirely). The most impressive thing about these teams -- their foundation of success -- is defense.
You won't take the opinion from me, because I have an obvious bias, but I think this Florida defense is one of the greatest in college football history. Start with the way they shut down the most prolific offense in college football history last January; after that, it all seems easier.
The Florida offense isn't nearly as prolific as thought -- well, the running game might be, and Aaron Hernandez is the best TE in the country. But the defense is so good that the offense doesn't HAVE To be good to win a national title. Just good enough.
Anyway, that's today's lead. The column also has talking points for every NFL game (McNabb-to-Maclin! Titans need to face reality! Redskins stimulus plan! Austin Fantasy Mania!), a renewed call for SOME kind of expanded replay in baseball, a sarcastic cheer for Brad Lidge and a bit of sympathy for Cardinals fans.
Check it all out here -- tons to cover today. More later.