Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Tebow Tribute In Our House

Saturday 11/28 (Very) Quickie

Ok, ok: First of all... Tiger. So.

"She bashed in the back windshield with a golf club" is the new "He shot him in the face."

Tiger's accident was newsworthy (even if "serious" wasn't really all that serious), but the real story was in the details: That Elin smashed the window with as-yet-unrevealed golf club (presumably a Nike club, unknown what type) to get a bleeding, possibly unconscious Tiger out of the car.


*Alabama survives: I know all that stuff about "When rivals play, throw out the records..." blah blah blah. I think that's complete b.s. Simply put: Alabama did not look like a Top 2 team in barely beating a good but hardly great Auburn. They looked like the cocky (going into the game) team that got throttled by Utah in the Sugar Bowl last January. And if they don't watch out, after next week, they will be on a collision course with TCU -- and another humiliating loss -- in the next Sugar Bowl, too.

(By the way: I think that game effectively ends Mark Ingram's Heisman chances, if he ever really had any. As I've been saying since August, this award is Colt McCoy's.)

*West Virginia deserved that win over Pitt -- it isn't quite a make-up for the way Pitt ruined WVU's dreams of a national-title shot in 2006, but it was a big win for the 'Eers. As for Pitt: Shouldn't we all have seen this coming? It's still a Wannstedt-coached team.

*Credit Boise State: They took on the next-best team in their conference and out-scored them. I'm not sure what it says that Boise State allowed 33 points to a team -- even if Nevada's offense IS really good. But Kellen Moore and Boise's offense is terrific, at least for a team going against WAC defenses. Not necessarily worthy of being ranked in the Top 6, but certainly more worthy of going to the Fiesta Bowl than Oklahoma State (which won't matter -- OK St is getting that bowl slot, presuming they beat OU today).

*Florida basketball shocks Michigan State. That was Florida's best win since the championship game to win the back-to-back national titles. I had watched them a few times so far this season and had not had high expectations for the game against Michigan State, an off-and-on hoops nemesis. (Superstitiously, I hope that didn't use up all of Florida's sports mojo this weekend. This counts as a biggie on the mojo-sucking front.)

*Melo: 50. The Knicks just keep the hits coming... for everyone else.

Finally: Upon further review, I was too harsh in my assessment of Texas' defense. Look: No self-respecting (or at least championship-aspiring) D should allow any opponent to score 39 points. But I still think that Texas should be a worthy opponent for the Alabama-Florida winner.

I am so ready for 3:30. I wish I was at The Swamp, but watching on TV will have to do. Huge game today.

-- D.S.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday 11/27 (Very) Quickie

Just one thing to say this morning:

Texas is not one of the top 2 teams in the country. They are not one of the top 3 teams in the country. The notion that they should automatically get a pass into the BCS top 2 -- and the national-title game -- almost entirely because their jersey says "Texas" is as much of an indictment of the BCS system (and the AP poll) as anything institutional in the system itself.

With a handful of exceptions, BCS champs play great defense. Not just great, but excellent -- top 10 in the country. And what Texas did last night in allowing Texas A&M to score 39 points makes a mockery of the notion of defense as a BCS qualifying characteristic. (Please stop citing LSU '07 -- isn't that the team that everyone MOCKS for being a 2-loss champ?)

Texas allowed 21 points by half -- Florida hasn't allowed an opponent to score 21 points in a game, all season. Alabama allowed one opponent -- VA Tech in the season opener -- to score more than 21... 24. The Gators and Tide are ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country in scoring defense. Texas is a respectable 10th, but their performance last night was anything but.

The weird thing is that throughout the season, I had felt like Texas' defense was its key strength -- perhaps the best UT defense of recent memory (certainly better than the '05 title team, that had to rely on USC's mediocre defense to win a national title, rather than its own stout D.)

I'm not saying Texas isn't a very good team -- absolutely a Top 5 team. But I don't think any team that displays a defense like Texas did last night deserves to be in the Top 2 in the country. In fact, I don't think Texas is even the best team in its own state this year (that would be TCU).

Ironically: As a Florida (and SEC) fan, I should welcome Texas sashaying into the BCS title game -- it will make Florida's (or Alabama's) title run that much less taxing to play a defense that lets a team like Texas A&M score 39 points. What will Texas do to defend against a real offense -- or defense.

I will make one key caveat: Heading into last year's BCS title game, everyone assumed that Oklahoma's defense was typical Big 12 porous -- and they gave Florida's offense more trouble than any defense in the country last year. So let's leave it here: Big 12 defenses aren't as bad as they seem to be when you watch them... but they are hardly lights-out, either.

When Florida plays Alabama next week, I sure would like to see Texas playing TCU, rather than the Longhorns playing Nebraska. That would be a true national semifinal pairing.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Tim Tebow's Swamp Finale

Just a quick post to alert you to my Tebow column this week at Yahoo's Dr. Saturday -- obviously, about his final game at The Swamp. I think this counts as a sort of unifying theory of the event.

Wednesday 11/25 Quickie: Thanksgiving, NFL Week 12, CFB Rivalries, NBA GOTW

It is every columnist's go-to move on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving: The "things in sports I'm thankful for" conceit.

And how can you not embrace it? It forces you to go back through the year and identify the things that really moved the needle.

When you see my list, leading today's SN column, I think you'll be surprised -- sure, there were the personal peccadilloes (Tebow coming back to Florida) and the joyous bandwagons (Brandon Jennings), but a couple of topics I don't typically like, but certainly appreciate as top storylines this year: Tyler Hansbrough finally winning that NCAA title, A-Rod's steroid humiliation followed by one of the great redemptions in recent sports history.

I feel like that sums up how any of us are fans: There are the things we personally care about, the things that we share with the larger universe of fans and the things that are just so big that you can't help but appreciate their existence.

I say this every year: More than anything, I am thankful for your continued attention to this blog (or the SN column or the Teblog) and your interest in what I have to say. Aside from my relationship with my wife, kids and family (obviously), the relationship that I have with the readers (and commenters) of this blog is the one I appreciate the most.

More you'll find in today's column:

*Will Texas lose to Texas A&M? No, but you're kind of intrigued at the idea, aren't you?

*I think that the Lions' game on Thanksgiving is the best tradition in the NFL -- perhaps all of sports. That doesn't mean that everyone isn't looking ahead to Pats-Saints on Monday night.

*The NBA Game of the Week -- no, Game of the Month -- Kevin Durant vs. Brandon Jennings on Friday night.

*Cincinnati is this week's Syracuse? Not quite. But if they beat Gonzaga? Most certainly.

*I won't get into Tim Tebow's Swamp finale here -- I am churning out tons of coverage about it over at, so if you are curious, check it out over there.

Otherwise, see the entire SN column here. No SN column tomorrow or Friday, but I'll be posting lightly here with weekend-ish coverage.

If you are traveling today for the holiday weekend, good luck to you. And if you won't be stopping by between now and Monday (or the weekend), happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Abe Pollin, 1923-2009

Tuesday 11/24 Quickie: Notre Dame, Meyer, VY, Mauer, Pujols, Purdue, Jennings

One of the things I enjoy most about writing the SN column is that I can take the various theories I'm working on here or over at the Teblog and take them "mainstream."

The Notre Dame coaching story remains the hot topic of the week. If yesterday morning was about Weis, by the afternoon we had moved on to "Who's next at ND?"

Notre Dame fans continue to insist that Meyer is an option -- Meyer shut that down personally yesterday. But then Tebow said something that gibed with a long-standing theory of mine, which leads today's column:

It's not that Meyer will NEVER coach at Notre Dame -- it's just that he won't coach there NOW. Thus:

It is very easy to see him coaching at Florida through his current contract (5 more years)...

...At which point he is recruited personally by Bob Kraft to take over for a retiring Bill Belichick (who takes on a Parcells-style operating role)...

...Meyer will spend 10 years in New England (undoubtedly coaching Tebow, but that's another theory for another day)...

...Then feel the lure of college football for one more run at the only other job he has ever wanted: Notre Dame, which will pay Meyer the $100 million I keep talking about (in 2025, that will hardly be a big number, when you factor in inflation)...

...And he will finish his career with 10 years (and a couple national titles) at ND.

Not only is that theory NOT unreasonable, but it is the most reasonable of any scenario I have seen.

Given Meyer's tight relationship with both Kraft and Belichick, Meyer seems like the ONLY logical option when the time is right to move Belichick into an operating-only role.

Anyway, as far as theories go, I think it's a good one. And to ND fans who want to cling to a fantasy of Meyer coaching there -- there you go.

More you'll find in today's column:

*The most intriguing team in the NFL is in last place in its division. (Titans)

*Brandon Jennings had a wee bit of trouble with the Spurs D last night.

*Purdue-Tennessee in hoops felt like a March game.

*I'm all for Joe Mauer winning MVP, but where was the love for Ben Zobrist? (Zobrist is Exhibit A that awards-season triumphalism by those comfortable with stats only goes so far.)

Check out the complete column here. Be sure to circle back tomorrow morning for the column, because it's like a Friday column on a Wednesday, given the holidays.

-- D.S.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today in Tebow: From

For those who enjoy all things Tebow news, four new posts at today:

*FSU Rivalry Week: My wife's best Tebow theory.
*What makes Urban Meyer choke up? Tebow leaving.
*Will Urban Meyer ever leave Florida? Tebow knows.
*Future head coach at Florida? Tim Tebow.

Monday 11/23 Quickie: Weis, Week 11, MLS PKs, Kobe Shot, BCS, More

Mondays are normally loaded in my SN column -- today feels even more loaded than usual. Let me walk you through with the usual "DVD extra" commentary:

*Forget "Fire Charlie Weis." Who ISN'T saying that? My point is: Fire him TODAY. Waiting a week layers on the humiliation -- and not just for Weis.

*Just when you think an NFL week seems fairly staid on paper, things go crazy: What was more absurd -- the Chiefs beating the Steelers? The way the Raiders beat the Bengals? The insanity that happened between the Lions and Browns?

*More CFB: Les Miles is like a developmentally challenged version of Bill Belichick... TCU is No. 1... Why Colt McCoy is going to win the Heisman (hint: the "Ron Dayne provision")

*Kobe's behind-the-backboard shot is the NBA's highlight of the season so far, but I really wanted to talk about how the Nets could turn "0-82" into a terrific marketing opportunity.

*College hoops' team of the weekend: Syracuse, no question. It was nice to see Villanova rally from that shaky start in P.R. to win the Tip-Off. OK, no more questions about Kentucky's D.

*MLS Cup: I know Levy is going to say that it was terrible for MLS for its super-team to lose the title to a team that finished the regular season under .500, but I think it's awesome. Why? Because there is no such thing as a "casual MLS fan," and the best thing you could offer the avid fans -- of any team -- is that they too can have a mediocre season yet still win the title.

*Let the lead-up to Tim Tebow's final game at The Swamp begin. (That's not me saying it; that's Urban Meyer and ESPN College GameDay saying it. Well, yes: It's me saying it, too.)

There is a ton -- but still a quick read! Check it all out here. More later.

-- D.S.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot

I'm pretty comfortable with my BCS national-title pairing being TCU versus the Alabama-Florida winner, but I recognize that doesn't reflect the SEC Champ/Texas inevitability. More after the list.

2 Alabama
3 Florida
4 Texas
5 Cincinnati
6 Boise State
7 Georgia Tech
8 Oregon
9 Pittsburgh
10 Oregon State
11 Utah
12 Ohio State
13 Mississippi
14 LSU
15 California
16 Stanford
17 Virginia Tech
18 Clemson
19 Iowa
20 Penn State
21 Miami (Florida)
22 Houston
23 Brigham Young
24 Northwestern
25 Southern Cal

I'm very comfortable putting Oregon State into my Top 10, pending their game against Oregon -- certainly more comfortable than putting Ohio State in a Top 10 (which I don't).

The poll definitely needs help in the back half -- to the extent the intermingling between the low teens and the low 20s can even be distinguished amongst each other.

As usual, please let me know what you think -- I'll revise tomorrow and re-submit for the final BlogPoll edition of the week.

Revised Edition below. I recognize I left out Oklahoma State in the version above -- purely a mistake.

2 Alabama 1
3 Florida 1
4 Texas 2
5 Cincinnati
6 Boise State
7 Georgia Tech
8 Oregon 3
9 Pittsburgh
10 Oregon State 9
11 Utah 11
12 Oklahoma State 1
13 Ohio State 1
14 Mississippi 11
15 LSU 7
16 California
17 Stanford 7
18 Virginia Tech 3
19 Clemson 2
20 Iowa 6
21 Penn State 5
22 Miami (Florida) 1
23 Houston
24 Brigham Young 4
25 Southern Cal
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#18), Arizona (#24).

Sunday 11/11 (Weis) Quickie

I think we need to appreciate the level of schadenfreude in effect right now about Notre Dame and Charlie Weis. Aside from ND fans, who wasn't cheering last night when UConn won at ND?

Because, any day now -- literally, at this point (probably 7 days) -- Weis will be fired and Notre Dame will hire Brian Kelly and Notre Dame will go back to being pretty good.

For now, they are not good -- and that is largely Weis's fault. He is overmatched; he has been overmatched for years. He SHOULD go. And I'm sure ND fans will be happy about that.

I tweeted this yesterday: The humane thing to do would be to fire Charlie Weis today, rather than let him get pilloried for another week. It's going to be brutal.

Throw Rich Rodriguez in the same boat: In his second year at Michigan, he has actually regressed -- the team will finish last in the Big Ten. In a league that mediocre, that's saying something. Given how conservative Michigan is, I can't imagine they will fire him...yet.

I am disappointed in Stanford -- that was a nice little bandwagon for a couple of weeks. Toby Gerhart probably didn't hurt his Heisman chances (CJ Spiller didn't exactly light the house on fire yesterday for Clemson), but winning would have helped.

It's also too bad to see Arizona lose out on the Rose Bowl at home to Oregon -- this should have been a dream ending for them. As soon as the students started crowding the sidelines -- even with Oregon driving -- you knew Arizona was going to lose the game. Student jinx.

(There's still time for Oregon State to pick up the magic and run with it -- love a one-game "play-in" for the Rose Bowl between bitter rivals. But Oregon looks pretty good right now.)

More notes:

*Obviously, you know my feelings about Tim Tebow (7 posts yesterday at, but John Brantley is going to be very very good next year.

*TCU's win over Wyoming was more impressive than Texas' win over Texas. TCU will be at the top of my BlogPoll ballot this week, and like Utah a year ago, it's a shame they won't get a shot at either the SEC champ or Texas. (Last year, I thought Utah was the only team with a shot to beat Florida... they scared me more than any other team.)

*Les Miles ruined what should have been a terrific win for LSU at Ole Miss.

*Please don't compare the Yale coach to Bill Belichick -- I can't believe folks are actually using "pulled a Belichick." First of all, he tried a fake punt, not a typical designed offensive play. Second, it was 4th-and-22, not 4th-and-2. Third, Harvard's offense wasn't exactly lighting the field on fire (like the Colts' offense was); punting was the optimal strategy.

*Boise State fans might think I hate them, but I really do think they deserve a BCS at-large bowl bid ahead of Oklahoma State and (ugh) Iowa/Penn State. The tough reality is that Boise is going to get vaulted by both for an at-large bid.

*Why will Colt McCoy win the Heisman? (1) Tebow will knock out Ingram; (2) Gerhart's team doesn't have the national relevance anymore; and, most of all: (3) McCoy's record-setting 43rd win -- Heisman voters LOVE giving the "lifetime achievement" Heisman when they can.


*John Wall Watch: 21 pts, 11 ast in Kentucky rout of Rider.

*How valuable was Blake Griffin to Oklahoma? Just ask VCU. (Snap judgment: Griffin made Willie Warren look much better than he really was; Warren can't carry a team by himself.)

*Hey, all the Knicks have to do to have a winning season is play the Nets every game.

*Jennings Watch: 26 pts in another Bucks win.

So: Is it a big day in college football or a slow day when Notre Dame schadenfreude is the lead story? It shows what a big brand ND continues to be -- and all that potential, if they can just get a coach who can get the job done. Enjoy it now.

-- D.S.