Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday 08/08 (Very) Quickie

Last night's finish will be the single-best highlight of A-Rod's season.

Cavs fans: Can LeBron make it any more clear how little he cares about you? Salvage your self-respect and abandon him before he abandons you.

If this is it for John Smoltz, it's better for him to go out with the tank on empty than to have always wondered if he retired too early.

The Nats have won 6 straight, in the biggest "WTF" of the season so far.

Now that Knowshon Moreno has been signed, it only remains to be seen how absurdly early I draft him in my fantasy leagues.

Wow, has it really been a year since the Olympics started?

-- D.S.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Today on Teblog: Tebow vs. Leinart

Today on Yeah, expectations are high for Florida this season, but remember the lesson of USC 2005. What were we saying about them back in August 2005? "Best team ever?" How about Matt Leinart? "Best QB ever?" You bet.

Then look what happened five months later. That USC team and Leinart are both better known for being losers than being a champions the year before. It is a cautionary tale for Gator fans and Tebow fans.

(I also become the first to coin the description of Matt Leinart as "Bizarro Tebow": In a nice symbol for the inflated times we were living in back in 2005, Leinart was actually celebrated for his shallow Hollywood party-boy lifestyle. Hm: Can you be "Bizarro" yet come first?)

-- D.S.

Coaches Top 25 Comes Out: Florida No. 1

Couple of thoughts on the first Coaches Top 25 poll:

*When we look back after the final Coaches' poll in December -- the one that informs 33 percent of the BCS title-game pairing -- how much will it matter that Florida and Texas start at No. 1 and 2? Meaning, if both keep winning, they will be VERY difficult to dislodge -- even if USC or another program (like VA Tech or Penn State) runs the table, too.

*How many SIDs were used to fill out this poll?

*How many coaches (or SIDs) ranked teams in an inflated way in order to boost their own perceived strength of schedule?

*How many quality unranked (or low-ranked) teams (especially non-BCS teams) will suffer because the preseason Top 25 sets them back for BCS jockeying, right from the start?

*Is this supposed to be how the coaches think the season will finish? Or how good they think the teams are before any games have been played? Either way, it's kind of ludicrous. (If Boise State goes 12-0, I doubt voters will still have them at No. 16.)

*Do a handful of coaches really think that Texas, Oklahoma and USC are better than Florida? Or is it just the Big 12 coaches, pumping themselves up?

*Who voted Notre Dame in their Top 25? (And we will look back and mock the voters for putting Georgia Tech at No. 15.)

*Why have sports-media pundits not asked USA Today how they can continue to journalistically justify attaching their name and credibility to such an opaque (and cynical) poll?

-- D.S.

Friday 08/07 Quickie: Hughes, Bueller,
Yankees, Lewis, Crabtree, Nike, More

I really wanted to find a way to tie John Hughes into sports and today's SN column. He made it easy:

The Wrigley scene of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is the greatest sports scene of a non-sports film in movie history.

Here's why: It wasn't about sports -- the players, the athletes, the action on the field. It was about the FAN experience.

*Sneaking away from school/work for a day game.
*Ferris catching a ball. (And it hurts!)
*Ferris and Cameron heckling batters.
*The Rooney exchange at the pizza parlor.
*The "Save Ferris" on the Wrigley exterior sign.

If at least one theme of Ferris was the notion of wish-fulfillment -- in real life you can't, but what if you took a day all to yourself, to take in all of life's pleasures.

And Hughes felt that going to a baseball game was an integral part of that.

(Upon further reflection, I will say that there is one other scene that is comparable, but not nearly as well-known: The "Colts quiz" in "Diner." Again: It's about fandom.)

More you'll find in today's column:
*Yankees finally beat Red Sox? (And...?)
*PEDs in the NBA? (And...?)
*Michael Crabtree's p.r. nightmare
*The best Nike ad ever?

The whole thing is here. More later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

And Knowing Is Half The Battle

OK: This is not about sports. Given today's SN column lead connecting John Hughes to sports, I was caught with a wave of nostalgia for the formative moments of my youth. Today's big movie release offers a segue...

Let me make a confession: When I was growing up -- 9, 10, 11 years old -- I was crazy for G.I. Joe.

Had all the toys (PRE-"swivel-arm battle grip" aka Eddie Murphy's "kung-fu grip"). Had the plane with the retractable wings. Had the helicopter. Had the jeep. Had the base. (Had Zartan, the figure who changed color in sunlight!)

But more than anything, I was into GI Joe comics.

I was a comic-book collector as a kid, and for whatever reason, I thought GI Joe was amazing. I started with issue No. 1 (remember, on special "Baxter" paper?) and kept it up at least into the issues numbered in the 80s.

I still have them in a storage unit, complete with bags and boards. I cannot bring myself to get rid of them. (I asked a comic store last year what they'd pay for the collection: He said "$20." I left.)

I'm not sure what it was about GI Joe that had me so hooked. The toy tie-in? The cartoon? The cool weaponry? The neat outfits? Snake Eyes? (I mean: Who DIDN'T like Snake Eyes?)

Destro and his pimp outfit? (There had to have been dissertations written that deconstructed Destro's pimp symbolism -- his job, "arms dealer," his mask, his chain, the "Baroness?")

I'm torn about the movie. I've heard it is a debacle. On the one hand, it brings back all of these fun childhood memories. On the other, it is a bit of a desecration of them.

The "fanboy" contingents for Start Trek or Star Wars or X-Men or Spider-Man or Fantastic Four were so much more active, and I felt like the filmmakers wanted to cater to them.

Will the GI Joe filmmakers do anything to nod slyly to us kids in the early- and mid-80s who bought all the toys and waiting diligently every month for the new comic issue to arrive?

For example: In looking over the GI Joe character list on Wikipedia, it appears that Clutch -- the swarthy jeep driver -- was Jewish. (Lance Steinberg... who knew?)

-- D.S.

Traditions: KSK's Fantasy Team Names

The sports analogue for John Hodgman's brilliant list of hobo names is Big Daddy Drew's annual list of fantasy team names at Kissing Suzy Kolber, published yesterday. I look forward to this every year. (Not precisely NSFW, but more like "Don't read out loud at work.")

Teblog Today: Legacy, Cynicism, Beards

Today on
*Tebow's greatest legacy: "The Promise" vs. 14-0 in 2009
*Tebow's greatest accomplishment: Your lack of cynicism.
*Yes, Tebow is rocking a beard. (The posts can't all be profound.)

Tonight in NYC: Varsity Letters!
Wahl! Thompson! Weber! Free!

Tonight in NYC, a must-attend event for sports fans: Varsity Letters is featuring three astounding good writers:

Wright Thompson, who I have long argued was the single-best long-form sportswriter working today.

Grant Wahl, a former colleague of mine when I was at SI, whose work is consistently remarkable and whose new book "Beckham Experiment" is a must-read for your fan literacy about soccer.

Bruce Weber, whose phenomenal book about umpiring is the definitive one about the job and, if you care about baseball, a must-have.

That's three heavyweights in one room, tonight. And it's FREE. Get out to Brooklyn!

So What's YOUR Dream Job?

Don't know if you saw yesterday's post about Joe Posnanski leaving the KC Star for his "dream job" at Sports Illustrated and my take on What It All Means (caps = sarcastic).

Got a lot of responses to it, and the question about what defines a "dream job" -- specifically across generations, particularly in sports media -- turned out to be pretty fascinating.

So here's the question for Comments: What is YOUR "dream job?" Does it have anything to do with sports? Let's qualify it: It has to be your nominally attainable dream job.

(Example: I'd love to be the commissioner of a sports league or the host of PTI. Ain't happening. I did also, however, dream to write a daily sports column for a national audience. Done!)

-- D.S.

Thursday 08/06 Quickie: Vince Young,
Eli Manning, Brandon Roy, Best of 00s

Great little gimmick by Sporting News this week: Pick the top player of the decade in all the major sports. OK, I'll bite: It led today's SN column.

But I'm unhappy with their choices, and don't mind saying so. The problem stems from limiting the "best" to two choices -- except, cryptically, NASCAR, where there are 3. Not sure why they couldn't/wouldn't do 3 for the other sports. Especially because I'm not sure their Top 2 is right:

CFB: Leinart vs. Tebow. I'll take Vince Young, for now. (At least until Tebow finishes this season and we see where he stands.)

NBA: Kobe vs. Duncan. I'll take LeBron, who is not only the best player in the league -- for about the last 4 years -- but he has redefined excellence and ability.

College hoops: Hansbrough vs. Jason Williams. Really? Because I'll take Carmelo over either -- yes, Melo only played 1 year, but pound-for-pound (or minute-for-minute), Melo was the best.

(And I even feebly attempt to argue that Joakim Noah is more worthy than Jason Williams. Let's just count the rings on the fingers.)

NFL: Brady vs. (Peyton) Manning. Yeah, these are the top two, but it seems hard not to at least give Ben Roethlisberger the "nice just to be nominated" nod in a 3rd spot.

MLB seemed right -- Pujols vs. A-Rod -- but I'd love to get a SABRmatrician's evaluation of whether there was a glaring omission here, even as a 3rd candidate. Pujols obviously wins.

(I still go with Pujols, but the Commenter below is dead on: Bonds is in the discussion.)

VY has been on my mind -- this Esquire quote about making it to the Hall of Fame is top of the news today -- but I did a post on Teblog yesterday comparing Tebow and Young for NFL potential.

And, not to spoil the surprise, but in EDSBS's Gators book that came out this month, I wrote the cover story about Tebow's place in CFB history. For now, I still think VY rules. Eh: For now.

The SN column has a lot more today:
*Is Eli Manning worth being the NFL's highest paid? (Yes.)
*Are the Rays the team to beat in the AL? (Yes.)
*Is Brandon Roy worth the 5-year extension? (Yes.)
*Is the CFB Coaches Top 25 an abomination? (Yes.)
*Is Delaware going to go sports-betting crazy? (Yes.)

Complete column here
. More later. BTW, if you care about this ESPN/Twitter thing, check out EIC Rob King's thoughtful and insightful post about it.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Joe Posnanski Moves To Sports Illustrated

You could see this coming when Joe Posnanski started writing for SI and as a "contributor" -- he is far too talented not to be scooped up by SI on a full-time basis. And so he was.

We could talk about how it is yet another supremely talented sports journalist (arguably the best newspaper sports columnist in the country, actually) abandoning* newspapers.

But I was actually struck by something Joe wrote about the move, which he called his "dream job":
I have been offered what I honestly believe is the best job in American sports writing. I’ve been offered the role of Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated.... I’ve been offered the job, the chance at Carnegie Hall, the opportunity to write at the magazine I grew up reading, the place where my heroes worked.
A mid-40s career newspaper sportswriter considers SI to be a "dream job... the best job in American sports writing." Given his age and generation, that sounds about right.

My question is this: What is the "dream job" for the 30-something sportswriter, who grew up on SI but also spent college and post-college with the Web as their primary source of reading.

What is the "dream job" for the 20-something sportswriter, who probably considers SI to be his father's (or grandfather's) magazine (or a Web site where Hot Clicks' Jimmy Traina is more influential than Rick Reilly ever was) and spent their entire life as a fan/consumer online.

I appreciate the impact of nostalgia on Joe's decision-making. (Economic realities of the newspaper industry probably contributed a bit, too). And this isn't a pure magazine play: To his credit, few newspaper writers have embraced online media and blogging like Joe.

(And it is a pretty cushy job: You write what you want to write about, basically when you want to write them. That doesn't seem to exist in media -- sports or otherwise -- anymore. Although Joe seems a bit too compulsive -- in a good way -- to not continue his furious pace of filing for and blogging at

Back to my question: What does the 20-something or 30-something sportswriter consider the "dream job?"

I suspect that if we took a poll, the plurality (perhaps majority) would say a columnist gig with ESPN -- but hardly a "magazine" job: It would be "cross-platform," with a presence on, in ESPN The Magazine, on ESPN Radio, in ESPN Books, on ESPN social media platforms, and -- of course -- on TV.

(I guess one "ideal" is to get a "Simmons" or "Reilly" deal where you get to basically do whatever you want -- Reilly is on the hook for, what, like 30 700-word columns a year? -- and get paid extraordinary sums to do it. That's not fair to Bill, who to his credit has picked up his stake in the Mag and put his energy into his podcast and being a TV producer -- "30 for 30" -- in addition to being a public-facing "talent," with his writing as the centerpiece.)

But more generically, it seems like the "dream job" for a generation of 20- and 30-somethings is national exposure that allows for a combination of freedom to write about any topic and the freedom to express that on any number of platforms where fans want to be reached. And getting paid just enough that you don't have to worry about getting paid.

(Cynically, you could say that a "dream job" for a sportswriter right now is "having a job, period" or "still having a job in sports media when I'm Joe Posnanski's age." But let's not be cynical.)

A "dream job" is a pretty awesome thing. You can tell that Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon recognize they are in "dream jobs" with PTI, even though it has meant that they necessarily had to walk away from the newspaper industry where they honed their talent. (Similarly, you get the sense that guys like Jason Whitlock and Mike Lupica carry the inferiority complex that comes with missing out on their "dream" of a daily national TV superstardom -- that they can never watch PTI without going "What if...?")

One reason I am having this reaction to Joe's news is that I think I can relate:

The year I turned 30 -- having spent the first 20 years of my life consumed with "traditional" sports media (like Joe) and my 20s consumed with "new" sports media -- I created and sold my own "dream job": A national daily sports column writing about virtually whatever I wanted on sports media's biggest platform.

I did it every day for nearly four years. And it was enormously satisfying. However, I recognized and appreciated not just the job or the opportunity or the audience (or, yes, the money) but the mere feeling of having a job I dreamed about. It was ambient -- everpresent.

We can have a larger debate of "What does it all mean?" about the state of newspaper sports journalism.

But for me, Joe's earnest enthusiasm for this new chapter of his tremendous career is what is worth cheering about. In this economy or any other, who doesn't want their "dream job?"

Given the shifting media landscape, I wonder what a young 20-something writer would consider their "dream job." Like Joe when he was an impressionable 13-year-old turning the pages of SI, where will today's 13-year-old future sportswriter get their inspiration?

-- D.S.

(* - Joe will still write for the KC Star, but probably out of a sense of pity -- sorry, loyalty -- more than anything.)

Wednesday 08/05 Quickie: Twitter
Clinton, Prince, Packers, More

I'll direct you to last night's post about ESPN's Twitter policy (directly below). Otherwise, today's SN column leads with what would have made a pretty funny Page 2 conceit back in 2002: If Bill Clinton can successfully negotiate with North Korea, what kind of sports issues can he solve? Coming at 10:30: What we learned from Joe Posnanski's move to Sports Illustrated.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

ESPN Twitter Policy: A Brief Analysis

We can -- and should* -- have a discussion about the value of Twitter in bringing a company's talent closer to its audience, wherever that audience may want to connect with them.

However, there is one detail within ESPN's memo of its Twitter policy (h/t: Deadspin) that bears repeating, because it is less a directive than a guiding principle for ESPN folks:

"The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content."

I agree 100 percent.


I will say that of the ESPN folks I follow, I enjoy their non-sports tweets way more than their sports tweets. (Thinking of folks like @ron_wechsler and @rfking.)

And I think that as a device to engage and connect with audience -- to humanize themselves -- the non-sports tweets do more than the sports tweets.

Will it be too bad that we won't get their instant take on certain sports news? Who says we won't? If the talent puts it on and it is made easy for me to access, I will still get it.

Once ESPN has a system set up to link talent tweets to ESPN's various native platforms, I think we will see a lot more use of short-form programming by folks who can add value.

When it comes to serving ESPN -- which, true to the core brand value, really means "serving fans" -- I think ESPN is best-served when its folks use, test and embrace all platforms to reach fans, especially the emerging ones. For the moment, that might not include discussion of sports on that platform; I will guarantee you that it will inevitably -- perhaps quickly -- include sports.

I hope that all the ESPN folks who enjoy Twitter will continue to use the platform. The platform isn't going away. (More platforms will emerge.) The audience isn't going away.

And we still want to hear from the ESPN folks we follow -- whether it is about sports, not about sports or about sports, eventually.

Why? Because the back-half of ESPN's guiding vision "to serve fans..." is "...wherever and however they want to be served."

-- D.S.

* -- Think Don Ohlmeyer has a Twitter account? Think he has ever used Twitter? Consumed Twitter? Heard of Twitter? I volunteer to be the new ESPN Ombudsman's sherpa in digital media.

UPDATE: CNBC's Darren Rovell has a very good take on this. Middle of the column.

UPDATE: Editor-in-Chief Rob King has a must-read (even last word) on all of this. His points are dead on: ESPN has already been a leader among media companies in integrating Twitter. That will only grow, helped by a framework that every media company needs.

My Jaguars Fandom: A Primer

Drew Magary had a pretty good time -- as did we all! -- with my Jaguars fandom in his "Why Your Team Sucks" Jaguars post on Deadspin this morning.

It's probably worth a brief review of how all this happened:

September 2006: I have just left and started Will Leitch was collecting NFL team previews written by their fans for Deadspin, then a year old. I did not have a favorite NFL team. I grew up a huge -- huge -- Bears fan, but things atrophied when I got to college (ironically, in Chicago). A job stint with the NFL didn't help my passion for the NFL. But I felt like the time was right to find an NFL team to call my own. I wanted a team to call my own.

Anyway, Will helpfully mentioned that the Jaguars were unaccounted for, one of maybe two teams not claimed to be written by a "real" fan. (I think the other one might have been the Ravens, which might have worked, given my suburban Maryland roots.)

I thought becoming a Jaguars fan made a lot of sense -- it was right in line with my new-ish (5-year-old) fandom of all things North-Central Florida; the Jaguars were the closest NFL team to Gainesville, and -- unlike many, apparently -- I had experienced some nice moments in Jacksonville. I also liked the fact that not a lot of people were Jaguars fans. But let's be honest here: I'm rationalizing. The selection was mostly serendipity -- the whim of an editor and a heaping plate of whatever leftovers I could find in the fridge.

And so I filed my 2006 Deadspin Jaguars preview. I enjoyed having an NFL rooting interest, although geography and my nominal ambivalence toward the NFL (beyond fantasy) probably didn't make me the most obsessive fan. However, I liked the taste and signed back up for 2007, both a Deadspin preview and fandom.

Last season, I felt my Jags interest begin to wane. I *wanted* to like the Jaguars -- I wanted to love the Jaguars. But I really was investing all of my energy into my Gators fandom. I think a lot of huge college football fans have the same experience; the NFL is a distant second.

In fact, while I root for Jaguars success, I think it is offensive for me to describe myself as a fan -- based on my casual attitude and behavior about the team. I wasn't checking Jags blogs obsessively or reading newspaper coverage. I couldn't tell you who they were playing. I didn't watch games beyond the ones available on national TV.

At this point, my being a fan of the Jags wasn't fair to me, wasn't fair to the team and especially wasn't fair to *real* Jags fans -- Drew's playful insults this morning were hilarious; I found myself much more self-conscious about being labeled the Jags' most notable fan.

I'm not worthy. Check out the Jags blogs for folks who are worthy of the title. Hey, maybe Tim Tebow -- who is from Jacksonville -- is a Jaguars fan. Which is a nice segue...

At some point midway through the 2006 season -- my first with the Jaguars -- I recognized that Tim Tebow was my favorite athlete of all time. Don't need to get into that; it's exhaustively covered elsewhere.

And I recognized, for better or worse, that given my overall lack of organic passion for any NFL team that I would undoubtedly find my rooting interest based on where Tebow was drafted. It will be an easy -- if completely absurd -- transition.

This is why I am so certain that Tebow will be drafted by the Patriots. In addition to actually having some pretty good circumstantial evidence, I am simply convinced that the karmic payback for my lack of soul-gripping faith in one NFL team -- perhaps my earnest but shallow fandom of the Jaguars -- is that Tebow end up on my least-favorite NFL team.

Because while I'm not sure if there is an NFL team I love (yet), there are plenty that I dislike intensely -- led by the Patriots.

There is a happy ending available here: If Tebow is drafted by the Jaguars -- and that would be the team's absolute best play, regardless of need -- then my nominal recent NFL fandom and my most sincere college fandom converge.

Until then, I tip my cap to the *real* Jaguars fans out there.

-- D.S.


I wasn't much of an Arena Football League fan, but I did love the IDEA of Arena.

When I was getting my MBA, if I ever had "one shining moment," it was "cracking" the case study of the failure of the XFL -- using Arena League as a contrast of what COULD work.

Why did Arena work? The product wasn't a watered-down NFL (see XFL, UFL) but had well-defined differentiation, with an emphasis on video-game like scoring.

They had a serious commitment to customer service; they saw taking care of the fans -- especially at games -- as a top priority.

They went into markets that were underserved by the NFL. They got a nice distribution deal (and investment) from ESPN. They had celebrity owners like Jon Bon Jovi.

So what happened? Why did Arena fail? I think you can see at least one core reason in the detail that Arena's MINOR-league ("a2") continues to succeed.

The game rules remain interesting, and the scores eye-popping. The commitment to serving fans is there. They were in much smaller markets -- sort of like low-level minor-league baseball.

Ironically, Arena probably failed -- among other reasons, like the overall economy -- because they tried to be too big and collapsed under their own weight.

What a lesson, and you see it with "niche" sports all the time: Just do what you do best and make a tidy little business for yourself. You ain't gonna be a "big" sport and don't even try.

Related: My problem with the set-up of the UFL is that they are following the XFL's path to irrelevancy through mediocrity. Who wants to watch players who can't make the NFL cut?

My idea for the UFL is simple: If they really want to be pro football's (read: the NFL's) "development league," then allow underclassmen ineligible for the NFL Draft into the league.

Give them better preparation for a pro career than college will give them and the NFL, UFL and fans are all best-served. College football will be fine with the 97 percent of players that remain.

I appreciate that the UFL is starting small, with contained costs and locations in underserved NFL markets. But the product differentiation isn't there. That's where the AFL was the best.

-- D.S.

Drew Magary KOs My Jaguars Fandom

I think your measure as a person can be gauged by the level of ass-kicking criticism you receive from Deadspin's Drew Magary.

If that's the case, then based on this withering post from Drew about the Jaguars -- leading with my Jags fandom -- I am a very very VERY quality person.

I will be the first to admit my Jaguars fandom was tenuously achieved -- it had actually eroded, pending my inevitable conversion to whatever team drafts Tim Tebow. (Come on: What else would you expect?)

Mostly, I offer my apologies to all REAL Jaguars fans out there -- and I have heard from many of you over the years, especially the top-notch Jaguars bloggers. I salute your fandom.

Even if you cringe at mine.

-- D.S.

PS: Bethesda Bagels ARE superior.

Tuesday 08/04 Quickie: Urban, Plax,
Sox-Rays, Maclin, Tiger, Walk-Offs, More

This was a weirdly slow morning in sports. I feel like today's brief Red Sox-Rays series in Tampa is the most interesting thing going on.

I led today's SN column with Urban Meyer -- for lots of reasons, but mainly because in college football (and perhaps college basketball), the elite coach is worth the money.

$4 million a year is nothing. Nothing compared to the revenue the program will bring in. Compared to the difference between 2 national titles in 3 years and bowl-eligibility. Compared to the scalable impact a great coach can have on their program.

Is there a number where the college coach's salary becomes ludicrous? I'm not sure there is. When Saban was hired at Alabama, the prudes kind of freaked. His impact on the program was undeniable (and fast). Now, he's not even the highest-paid coach in the SEC.

(If I was involved in today's gimmick of picking the Top 40 college football programs and putting themselves in their own elite conference, I would make "coach" a big factor -- or, alternatively, you'll see a correlation between coach and making the cut. It's a big reason I would urge Forde et al to put Northwestern -- and Pat Fitzgerald -- into the 40, even if Northwestern isn't a perennial Top 40 team... yet. I suspect Forde will have NU in his 40.)

$4 million for Urban Meyer is a bargain.

More you'll find in today's column:

*Plax: Shoulda copped a plea.
*Maclin good; Crabtree bad.
*The Pats get a backup QB!
*Sox-Rays: Series of the Week
*Big East football: Cincy-tastic!

Lots more where that came from. Check it out here. More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Urban Meyer Gets Paid

That's a new 6-year deal at $4 mil per, making him the highest-paid coach in the SEC (and, notably, the highest paid coach of any public university in the country). As it should be.

This deal does a couple of things. No. 1: It should end all the claptrap about Meyer leaving for Notre Dame -- at least in the next six years.

No. 2: Does nothing to derail my conspiracy theory that Meyer will end up as the coach of the New England Patriots.

Six years is plenty of time for Meyer to finish proving he rules college football (I'll go with a Beano/Paulus-style prediction of 4 national titles in the next six years), plus get his son Nate out of the stable Meyer house in Gainesville and into college.

It is also enough time for Bill Belichick to be ready to retire from coaching -- at least actively. Belichick's tight relationship with Meyer is well-documented -- both coaches lean on the other for inspiration for their "programs." Further, Pats owner Bob Kraft is a huge Meyer fan.

And so in 2014 -- coming off another national title -- Urban Meyer will be hired to succeed Bill Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots. (Tim Tebow's place on the Pats roster is optional.)

In the meantime, what's $4 million a year when you are paying for the best college football coach in the country?

-- D.S.

Behold the Power of Google Trends: Tiger Woods Fart Is Your Sports Meme of the Day

It appears we have our sports meme of the day: "Tiger Woods Fart."

SO much better -- and less windy! -- than "Brett Favre Decision."

-- D.S.

Mountain West Commish Craig Thompson:
Banish Harris, Coaches Polls from BCS

I've been hard on Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. I mocked his playoff proposal because his big idea seemed to be "Let the MWC into the BCS." I mocked that he ripped the BCS cabal yet subordinated playoff to payoff to remain on the outside looking in.

But, in the face of new evidence, I am going to flip-flop my opinion of Thompson: Good man!

Why? Because he is the first commissioner to point out that both the Harris Poll and Coaches Poll are TERRIBLE ways to pick a BCS title-game pairing, let alone account for 60 percent of the vote. Per the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin:
In our conversation, Thompson said he would like to see the Harris and Coaches polls removed from the BCS equation, because they amount to little more than opinion polls, he said. And most of the voters only know about college football what they see on ESPN at the end of their Saturday night.

"I’ve never been a great fan of the opinion polls. That's all they are" Thompson said. "Just the Tim Tebow story from last week is the perfect example. Coaches aren't filling those (ballots) out, and those that do, aren’t they kind of busy on Saturdays?"
For Thompson, the system would best be left up to the computers. I agree 100 percent. Perhaps you have a small selection committee to reality-check the computer data -- like the NCAA Tournament selection committee basically does -- but I like the computers more than the BCS' human components.

(That said: The computer polls need to be WAY more transparent. Every computer-poll administrator should be forced to lay out -- and even defend -- his system. If they don't want to do that, they don't have to be part of the BCS equation.)

But kudos to you, Commissioner Thompson.

-- D.S.

Monday 08/03 Quickie: Phelps, Tiger,
Lee, V-Mart, Rachel, Carr, More

You know it's a weird weekend in sports when the lead stories are about a swim race, a non-major golf tournament and a horse race.

Yes, there was Victor Martinez's terrific 2nd-day with the Red Sox. Yes, there was the widespread opening of every NFL training camp (except the Giants, who start today).

But I remain pretty blown away by Phelps' race on Saturday. That said, does he win my "Weekend's Biggest Winner" award? NO HE DOES NOT. See the winner in today's SN column.

More in today's column:

*OK, so the Patriots AREN'T interested in Vick.
*I make Lloyd Carr sound like a complete fool.
*Do you think Obama will wear Peavy's No. 44 Sox jersey?

There's a lot more beyond that. Check out the column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday 08/02 (Very) Quickie

Phelps edges Cavic in 100 fly: I'm a big fan of NBC Olympics reporter Alan Abrahamson, and if he says that this was the best non-Olympic race in the history of swimming, I believe it -- and not just because I love that kind of superlative. Check out the race video here.

(What a great visual: Phelps popping his jersey -- or, um, swimsuit -- and he wasn't repping "USA" -- he was repping "Speedo," as in: "I don't need your silly super-suit." I didn't see a whole lot of joy from Phelps in winning this race -- just the most intense look of pure competitiveness I think I've ever seen.)

Vick to the...Steelers? I love the "Vick seen in [Fill-in-training-camp-region-here]!!!" The latest: Latrobe, PA -- home of the defending champs?

There is a reason that the Steelers and the Patriots are among the best fits for Vick: On the defending champs, the team culture is strong enough to give Vick the support system he needs. And on the defending champs, it is a mark of legitimacy that will make it hard for the media to rip him -- or the team.

MLB Studs: Andrew McCutchen is kind of awesome -- 3 HRs yesterday vs. the Nats... Matt Holliday: 2 HR in Cards W vs. Astros... Damn, is Tim Lincecum good (just utterly shut down the defending champs last night)...

Tiger's 65 at the Buick: Wow, was I really talking Friday about Tiger being at the edge of the cut. He's playing with that old killer instinct now.

-- D.S.