Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend (Very) Quickie: Ingram, Tiger

Congratulations to Mark Ingram on winning the 2009 Heisman. He had my (fictitious) vote. I was disappointed to see Ndamukong Suh finish 4th - thought he had a shot at Top 3.

Tim Tebow finished 5th -- who were the 43 voters who gave him a 1st-place vote? I mean: Even *I* wouldn't do that.

I have a few thoughts on Tiger, but I'm still putting them together. Definitely by Monday morning's column. The gist is this:

After continuously screwing up how he has handled -- and is handling -- this, Tiger finds a way to screw it up even further.

He should be playing golf TODAY. He should be making himself available to all of it -- the jeers, the jokes, the sycophantic sports media coverage.

He needs to let the sports media provide some ballast against the tabloids -- sports media is dying to talk about Tiger, just anything BUT this scandal.

And he needs to let everyone take their shots -- and punch themselves to exhaustion: Rope-a-dope. It would be painful for a few weeks... then there'd be nothing left to say.

Instead: He hides, thinking he can out-last this. When this broke, in its first day, I thought Tiger was big enough to pull it off. He's not. He needs to get crushed to his face, so he can rebuild.

Quick story: I'm at the store today and I walk past the sports-drink aisle. And then I see the Gatorade Tiger-branded bottle. And I chuckled. Then I pointed it out to the random person standing next to me, and THEY chuckled.

Not sure why he's prolonging this for himself.

-- D.S.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Heisman Watch: In Praise of Suh

I'm not just lamenting the fizzled end to Tim Tebow's Heisman candidacy (though I remain stunned that he is getting ANY 1st-place votes, let alone placement on ballots at all).

I am actually here to say that Ndamukong Suh's insurgent candidacy is the greatest thing ever to happen in Heisman balloting.

This isn't Charles Woodson earning a Heisman not because he was a shut-down cornerback, but because he scored a couple of offensive touchdowns on top of it.

This is a defensive lineman -- perhaps the best defensive lineman of all time -- making a run at the Heisman Trophy, basically on the strength of a single game.

Oh, sure, Suh had an awesome year. You know what that normally gets a defensive lineman, in terms of Heisman support? Zilch.

But because he put on one of the great individual displays of destruction... in a game that everyone was watching... directly against the clubhouse Heisman leader: He catapulted himself.

It's not just that Suh has earned more 1st-place votes than any other contender with 25 percent o the ballots counted (by That's impressive enough.

No, what tips the balance to "so best Heisman contender ever" is that in the process of vaulting his own campaign, he totally destroyed Colt McCoy's.

Please consider that as recently as last Friday, McCoy was considered the favorite. Oh, sure, Mark Ingram was going to get votes if Alabama beat Florida. (Sorry: "When.")

But McCoy was still considered the guy to beat in all of the straw polls. He had all the standard Heisman credentials: "QB of an undefeated team," and the "he's due" vote.

Then Suh destroyed him, nearly KO'ing his national-title shot, let alone his Heisman cred. And, all of a sudden, with so many voters holding their ballots until Saturday night, Suh had vaulted himself to the top -- and had undercut McCoy's entire campaign.

As you can see at StiffarmTrophy, McCoy is 4th -- totally out of it. And while it appears that many voters submitted their ballots for Ingram after the SECCG but before the Big 12 title game, Suh is right in the middle of it.

Even if Suh doesn't win, he might get more 1st-place votes than any other contender.

Here's the real crime: How many Heisman voters didn't even THINK to put Suh on their ballot, because he doesn't play RB or QB, particularly for a top team?

I'm proud of the voters who championed Suh's cause -- and the ones who followed through with an unprecedented level of support for a defensive player.

But I think you'll see: Suh will be left off enough ballots that it will -- and should -- make you question why the Heisman vote is given to 900 people, many of whom have no business voting.

Those are the ones who are most likely to ignore Suh. That's too bad for them. They could have had a part in history as supporting the most interesting Heisman contender ever.

-- D.S.

UPDATE: I only just now saw Dr. Saturday's post talking about this Heisman race as the most fascinating in years -- I'd call it "most fascinating ever," but that's quibbling. I just wanted to point you all to it, because it's really well done. And to disclaim that I hadn't seen it before I wrote up my own opinions. But it's worth your time to read. Great minds...

Friday 12/11 Quickie: Brian Kelly, Colt McCoy, NFL Week 14, Steelers, More

You all saw below how I feel about Notre Dame hiring Brian Kelly: On the one hand, I recognize that Kelly will turn ND into a perennial BCS at-large team. On the other, I lament -- as a longtime Notre Dame schadenfreude expert -- that Notre Dame will no longer be ours to kick around.

It was the obvious lead for my SN column today, but there are a couple other notable storylines:

*Steelers humiliated by Browns: It's not just that the Browns eliminated the defending champs from any hope of making the playoffs this year; it's that the Browns eliminated the Steelers from contention as "NFL Team of the Decade."

*Colt McCoy cleans up the hardware: This is kind of awkward. McCoy won the Maxwell for "Best All-Around," and he may not even finish in the Top 3 in the Heisman balloting. Ndamukong Suh may finish with more 1st-place votes than any other Heisman candidate, yet wasn't even close to being a Maxwell finalist. And Mark Ingram -- who IS most likely to win the Heisman -- couldn't even win the award for being the best at his position (the Doak Walker for top RB went to Toby Gerhart, certainly a fine choice).

*I knew that Florida would lose to Syracuse in hoops last night. I was concerned they would lose by 20+; that they did better than that gives me some hope. Syracuse is a very very good team -- definitely good enough to make the Final Four.

*You all know I'm a huge "let the fans vote" person. Here's what I have to say about the early NBA All-Star returns that have T-Mac in the West starting lineup -- it's exactly that: "early." Give it a few more weeks, and non-Houston fans will clearly create a correction in the marketplace.

Check out the entire column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Notre Dame Hires Brian Kelly: Approve

Notre Dame fans' long nightmare is over. Hope fans who were enjoying the schadenfreude will remember it fondly. Because that's done. Notre Dame fans must be overjoyed.

In hiring Brian Kelly -- the school's best coach since Lou Holtz (and, I will argue, will be even better than Holtz in the long run) -- Notre Dame has re-emerged as a Top 10 football power.

Mark it down: Kelly will have Notre Dame in a BCS-level bowl game NEXT YEAR. And while I'm not sure he'll ever win a national title, he will have them in a BCS bowl game as long as Notre Dame gets an automatic BCS bid for earning 10 wins. 10-2 seasons will be the minimum.

I'm torn: I'm a classic Notre Dame loather -- but I'm a huge Brian Kelly fan. I'm bummed that Notre Dame will re-emerge as a football powerhouse, but I like that they will do it the "right way" -- Kelly's way.

But I buy the argument that it is in the best interests of college football that Notre Dame be very very good. I'm sure I will regret that next year when they're 11-1 and I hate them even more.

The Weis Era is a distant memory, as of Thursday night. The Kelly Era is here.

And it's going to be very very successful. Sucks for the rest of us.

-- D.S.

Feeling Good About Journalism's Future

(UPDATE: Check out Jeff Jarvis's post about this. Much better than mine below.)

This fall for me, it hasn't just been all Tim Tebow obsession and media consulting (and opining). I spent the fall semester helping Jeff Jarvis teach his "Entrepreneurial Journalism" course at City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism.

I loved being in the classroom -- and loved working with the students even more. The assignment was "easy": Over the course of the term, develop a journalism business that would ultimately be pitched to a jury of media industry stars -- charged with dispensing $50,000 in grant money.

What I loved most was the sense of innovation -- of possibility -- that the students brought to the challenge. Some ideas were grandiose, some were limited -- all were ultimately born of the passion of the student, which is the right foundation as they became journalism-entrepreneurs.

The jury ultimately selected four ideas to fund, and they represent a handful of the ways journalism is being innovated (I'm obviously not going to tell you about the businesses themselves):

One was from a journalist whose background was software development -- this fits right into the new nexus of journalism and engineering. One was about solving an acute problem with citizen journalism. One plays in the world of social media. And one was about the journalist as a multi-platform brand unto herself, not relying on the traditional route of a single media company making stars out of reporters. (It reminded me of the plan I first created in business school to create what would become The Daily Quickie.)

Ultimately, all journalists need to think entrepreneurially, whether they are starting their own business or simply working within a larger, more (or less) established organization. Opportunities are everywhere -- now more than ever, ironically enough. And the imperative to innovate -- not just technologically, but in our assumptions about the business -- has never been greater.

Yes, funding (not to mention a revenue model) is always going to be an issue, but there is no limit to the challenges that need solving, particularly in a landscape that keeps changing.

Jeff put it best (and it is echoed in David Carr's "fresh, ferocious wave" column from a few weeks ago -- Carr was on the jury, by the way): The students' effort -- and others like it across the country -- is the biggest reason to feel fundamentally optimistic about the future of journalism and the future of media.

-- D.S.

Thursday 12/10 Quickie: John Wall, Ndamukong Suh, Randy Edsall

Brandon Jennings is so last month. Now, it's all about John Wall, who has needed all of 9 games to turn himself into college basketball's biggest star.

As big as the Wall-led Kentucky win over UNC last Saturday was, last night may have been his true OK-this-guy-is-the-biggest-thing-since-Iverson moment: On ESPN in primetime at Madison Square Garden, leading Kentucky past UConn with a career-high 25 points and 7 steals -- including one that was absolutely ridiculous, plucking a safe pass that has no business being stolen out of the air, racing down the court and dunking, and one.

At this point, Wall is bigger than Melo was after 9 games -- way bigger. He's bigger than Durant. He's bigger than Beasley. He's leaps and bounds bigger than Derrick Rose. He's a one-man mania.

So Wall leads today's SN column, but there's a ton more:

*Didn't I tell you not to be surprised when Notre Dame edged away from Brian Kelly to another candidate? There's no way Randy Edsall is more qualified than Kelly -- and yet ND seems to be very interested in Edsall. Hmm...

*Ndamukong Suh is this year's Tim Tebow, at least as far as the Heisman voting is concerned: He'll get the most 1st-place votes, but finish in 3rd place. With Tebow last year, that was because Big 12 voters intentionally left him off their ballots, to game the system for their guys; with Suh, I honestly think it's because many voters don't even know about him. Which is WAY worse.

*I cannot be more clear about this: Not only is Mack Brown worth $5 million a year, that -- along with the salaries of the other elite coaches, like Meyer, Saban and Carroll -- is the biggest bargain in sports. Given how important an elite coach is to making a program elite, I have no idea why schools don't spend commensurate dollars -- again, with my "Notre Dame should have offered Urban Meyer $100 million over 10 years" idea, which people scoff at, but the ROI is obvious.

*Big CFB awards show tonight. I'm curious if early voting for the Maxwell or O'Brien will give Tebow either of those awards ahead of the equally deserving Mark Ingram and Colt McCoy.

Lots more in today's column. More later.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wednesday 12/09 Quickie: Kelly, Vols, Strong, Suh, Granderson, NCAA 96

When I read my colleague Mike DeCourcy's argument against expanding the NCAA Tournament to 96 teams, I couldn't help but lead today's SN column with a point-by-point rebuttal.

Here's the larger point: The Tournament thrives not because of who is in it, but the format itself. Most fans can't tell you Coppin State from South Carolina, but they know that a "15" beating a "2" is really really fun. Or that a buzzer-beater is fun, regardless of whether it's from a "name" brand like UNC or a relatively anonymous Western Kentucky.

Fans love the first Thursday and Friday not because the quality is particularly good, but because there's a ton of games all day long on a day they'd otherwise be working; they have made predictions about those games' outcomes with their coworkers; and it's fun -- regardless of who's playing or how "good" they might be. As long as a handful of games are close and there are even a handful of upsets, fans will be happy. And to double that experience would be universally loved. To assume otherwise would be like saying "If you expand it from 32 to 64, it'll RUIN the Tournament!"

Anyway, my pal Mike touched a nerve -- expanding the Tournament is one of my favorite issues.

More you'll find in today's column:

*As you saw in the post last night, I'm a big fan of ND presumably hiring Brian Kelly, even if that means we won't have Notre Dame to kick around anymore.

*Charlie Strong is a great hire for Louisville, and Louisville is a great opportunity for Strong.

*Who had "early December in his first year" for Lane Kiffin's first potential major NCAA violation?

*Ndamukong Suh is going to get the Tim Tebow Heisman treatment from 2008: He is going to get the most 1st-place votes, but come in no better than 3rd because enough dumb voters will leave his name of their ballots entirely.

*Was last night a break-through for Greg Monroe?

*Go pick up your bottle of "Gatorade Tiger" drink, because it's going to be a collector's item.

Check out the complete column here
. More later.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Is Notre Dame's Nightmare Nearly Over?

Per the Chicago Tribune, it sounds like Brian Kelly is going to be the next coach of Notre Dame.

Let me say this: This is a GREAT hire. The best possible outcome. Kelly is, in my opinion, one of the Top 5 coaches in college football -- and certainly the best available one.

Even without Clausen/Tate, Kelly will have Notre Dame in a BCS bowl game NEXT season, and a perennial BCS bowl team after that. Not necessarily a national championship, but 9-10 Ws.

Again: This is a superb hire, by a school that hasn't had one since they brought in Lou Holtz.

Notre Dame fans should be exceptionally happy about this. The long nightmare is over... hope everyone else has enjoyed the era of schadenfreude at ND's expense. That's history.

Tuesday 12/08 Quickie: Kelly, Suh, Elin, 96

For a random Tuesday in December, there sure is a lot to talk about in today's SN column:

*Nore Dame reaching out to Brian Kelly. Love that he broke the news himself via Twitter. I'm still not convinced ND really wants to hire him.

*Ndamukong Suh making a run at the Heisman -- he's Top 3! -- and, in the process, knocking Colt McCoy OUT of the Top 3.

*Danica Patrick is joining NASCAR, if in a limited role. Doesn't matter: She'll be the biggest thing to hit the sport in the "Post-E" Era.

*Elin walked out on Tiger. Good for her! Maybe Oprah wants to book Elin, not Tiger.

*NCAA tournament expanding to 96: I love this idea. You know me: I want them to replace Championship Week by expanding the Tournament to EVERY team.

*AI back in Philly: At least there's one thing to keep 76ers basketball interesting.

I'm covering all that and a lot more in today's SN column. Check it out here. More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tebow Legacy Impacted By Bama Loss

I have been saying it all season long about Florida and Tim Tebow: "Championship or bust." And... well, you know what happened.

I have had a lot of theories -- unified and otherwise -- floating around my head since Saturday night. You've seen bits and pieces here and, of course, over at TimTeblog.

But Dr. Saturday wanted my take on Tebow for this morning, forcing me to commit to at least some version of coming to terms with the game, particularly the impact on Tebow's legacy.

I don't mind confessing: Matt and I wrangled over it. He was appropriately harsh in his critique -- I respected his perspective but, as you can imagine, had a slightly more sympathetic take. You can read it here.

I will say this: The season started with Tebow as a contender for "greatest ever." Today, none but the most partisan followers (cough!) would call him that. I still contend he is on college football's Rushmore, if only for all the other "-est of all time" superlatives he ends his career with. (I know many of you would disagree.)

But there is not much of a question: This loss impacted Tebow's legacy.

I'll leave it to you to decide. Again, this is only one stake in the ground in what will be a much more layered process. And as editor, Matt, of course, gets to put a harsh headline on the essay.

-- D.S.

Merry BCS-mas! Get The Griping Out Today

Merry BCS-mas! (Yes, that's pronounced "BCS-mess.")

The Monday after the BCS pairings are announced has become the annual holiday for BCS-bashers -- "Texas?!"... "TCU and/or Cincinnati was screwed!"... "Fiesta THIS!"... "Playoff! PLAYOFF! PLAYOFF!!!!"

It's a little like the folks who complain Christmas has been overcommercialized.

Everyone looks up from their shopping list -- nods their heads in complete agreement -- then casually goes back to their seasonally ambient shopping, planning and celebrating.

I'm not saying I don't agree -- I'd love to see a playoff. Yahoo's Dan Wetzel offers a thoughtful, comprehensive and elegantly simple plan.

And for all the actual impact his plan will have, he might as well be writing fiction.

Here is the reality: We all enjoy a nice little venting today about how bad the BCS is. Then, as usual, we all tune in for the bowls and uniformly acknowledge the BCS's national champ.

It's not just that we have a skewed perception from the loud and visible critics, eyeing those eye-popping 85 percent BCS-disapproval ratings, who decry the system. Fans just don't care enough to care enough.

This isn't exactly 2003 -- where USC was the best team in the country and shut out of the national-title game -- or 2004 -- where Auburn was the best team in the country and shut out of the national-title game. (And most fans STILL didn't care enough to demand change.)

After watching Saturday's beat-down (and, indeed, everyone watched), no one disagrees that Alabama is the best team in the country.

And, for better or (probably) worse, most fans are probably pleased about Texas being the opponent. Fans will tune in to that title game. And we will accept the winner as champ. Like we always do.

The "elitists" know that TCU is a superior team -- so if the AP hates the result so much, why don't they give TCU their half of the national title this year? (They had the same chance with Utah a year ago; for all the media's bluster, they embraced the BCS's conventionality.)
I want to take 30 seconds to explain why the TCU-Boise Fiesta pairing doesn't bother me.

No. 1: The bowl did what was in its own economic best interests, not the BCS's best interests -- Boise fans travel to Arizona better than Iowa fans.

No. 2: I love the potential positioning as "The Cinderella Bowl." And if folks don't tune in -- as they didn't tune in for TCU-Boise a year ago or Boise-Oklahoma in 2006 -- it does qualify as a referendum on fans' interests in the non-BCS party-crashers.

No. 3: I actually think it's great for the non-BCS teams to get their own platform, to become the first BCS bowl with TWO non-BCS teams playing in it, and that both are unbeaten.

No. 4: Critics who wanted to see each team play a big-conference team aren't thinking it through. Does anyone really want to see TCU destroy an average Iowa team? What exactly would that prove on TCU's behalf? Same with Boise against Georgia Tech. It's infantilizing of the elitists to suggest that TCU would prove anything by beating a "big conference" team -- they already did that. The only game that would have proven anything for TCU was playing Alabama. I certainly would have voted to see that.

(As for the prospects of TCU-Cincinnati, I think that Florida is better than Cincinnati -- Boise might be, too -- and, if anything, I would have preferred to see TCU play Florida. But the next-best thing is having TCU play Boise.)
This essential fan apathy drives the lead BCS opponents in the media absolutely insane. (And probably rightfully so.)

But it's a fine line they walk between the empathetic "I know you agree with me that this system is terrible" and the patronizing "Don't you idiots see what you continue to buy into?"

BCS opponents love BCS-mas, because their cause gets a ton of attention and it deludes them that most fans don't just agree with them -- but are actually ready to FIGHT for this.

We aren't. Oh, sure: Fans would love to see if TCU could beat Alabama, but not enough to force changes -- not when the BCS does a good enough job creating... good enough.

It must drive the most vocal and hard-line BCS critics insane to continue to passionately (and, often, intelligently) argue against a playoff, only to be undone by "good enough," the nemesis of "better."

I am not proud of the provincialism and comfortableness with "good enough" -- from voters and fans alike -- that keeps a team I think is as awesome as TCU out of the national-title game. But it is the reality. It is why the BCS was originally set up, and why it continues to maintain its power.

And even as the BCS opponents howl from here until Alabama-Texas, that game's winner will be crowned champ, recognized as champ and we will all turn our attention to next season.

Like any proponents of change, critics will ultimately need an even more acute crisis to rally enough fans around the cause to create change: Not just an unbeaten SEC champ and Big 12 champ (and Big East champ and MWC champ), but an unbeaten Pac-10 and Big Ten champ, too -- say, Texas-sized brand names like USC and Ohio State.

Even then, a 2003-like or 2004-like scenario would ultimately create a lot of noise, but then most folks would move on. It would be the exception, not the rule -- it would be as limited as BCS supporters pointing to 2005's universally loved Texas-USC title game as proving the system works.

All you can hope for is that when the current pact runs out in 2013, something new is created. But if I was a BCS honcho, I would continue to recognize that fan resentment isn't so acute that change will be forced on the system, from the bottom-up. (This was the crux of my argument why the BCS' p.r. efforts in the last month aren't just badly executed, but unnecessary.)

Fans absolutely recognize the inherently unsatisfying system that is in place. Like we recognize the commercialization of the holidays.

We care. But the reality is, we just don't care THAT much.

-- D.S.

PS: That issue was the focus of the lead item of my Sporting News column today. To see the entire thing -- including items on NFL Week 13's insanity involving the Saints, Steelers and Michael Vick, plus more on Tiger Woods, John Wall, Greg Oden, and Notre Dame -- click here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Final BlogPoll Ballot: Alabama, TCU 1-2

UPDATE: Aaand, I knew that No. 3 would cause an issue. I really do think that Florida would beat Texas and Cincinnati and Boise State. So shouldn't I rank them at No. 3? Then again, if I want to stay true to resume, perhaps not. I'm going to make an adjustment.

Here's the new version, with Florida dropped to No. 5, behind Texas and Cincinnati -- behind UT because I think Will Muschamp would foil Florida's offense precisely the same way that his mentor Nick Saban did, and behind UC because I think Florida's defense has been exposed as not nearly as good as I thought it was -- and UC's offense is as dynamic as any in the country.

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

Dropped Out: Houston (#20), Southern Cal (#21), California (#24).


If I was solely responsible for picking the top two teams in the country to play for the national championship, I would choose Alabama and TCU.

That is the only thing that matters in this week's BlogPoll -- or on anyone's ballot.

Alabama, obviously, destroyed the best defense in the country at the same time it neutered one of the country's best offenses, the most comprehensive domination by a very good team against another very good team I have ever seen.

And, for my money, TCU has looked better, played better and has a better resume than Texas.

As I said this morning: AP and BCS "human" voters who elevate Texas into the Top 2 as a knee-jerk reflex do a disservice to the sport and lose their right to gripe about the BCS.

We can have a fair argument about TCU vs. Texas -- it seems like most folks actually think Cincinnati is more worthy for that "Besides Texas..." debate, ahead of TCU.

We probably won't have a fair argument about my ranking Florida at No. 3, ahead of Texas. I was that unimpressed by the Longhorns last night. They should have lost -- badly, actually.

You might say my ranking is out of bitterness -- perhaps you'd be right, although you discount that as hard as I am taking it, I am even harder on my own team for the way they played.

As always, I'd love for your help in disabusing me of the notion that TCU is better than Texas -- or helping me with my muddled middle of the ranking. At least I could leave out USC.

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

Dropped Out: Houston (#20), Southern Cal (#21), California (#24).

Sunday 12/06 (After The Debacle) Quickie

Next morning. Still shell-shocked by the domination exhibited on both sides of the ball by Alabama. The commenters on the post below are, appropriately, enjoying "Shanoffreude."

As someone who has had TCU ranked ahead of Texas for most of the season, I saw nothing last night that would make me vault Texas ahead of TCU.

I think it's a shame that merely by the strength of their brand -- rather than their resume -- Texas will "obviously" finish ahead of TCU. If they played head-to-head, I'd take TCU.

(Any AP voter that ranks Texas ahead of TCU has lost their high-horse from which to complain about the BCS, because a knee-jerk vote for Texas is a vote for the current system.)

I do think that Colt McCoy last night lost what was going to be a gift-wrapped Heisman Trophy. He wasn't even the best player on the field (that would be Suh). Mark Ingram will be the winner.

I have a hard time understanding that -- if Texas had lost -- that Cincinnati would have been the team to replace them in the NCG. Among pundits with no rooting or regional interest in Cincy, I have been on the Cincy bandwagon as long as anyone -- but their defense is so suspect.

Prediction: Don't be surprised if Brian Kelly is NOT Notre Dame's head coach as early as tomorrow. Everyone thinks it's a perfect fit -- there's something everyone is overlooking...

I understand that people are enjoying schadenfreude at the expense of Florida this morning, but Florida fans and haters alike can both enjoy the wreckage that is USC's season.

That Fresno State-Illinois ending was the wildest you'll see all year.

On an unrelated note: Greg Oden is quickly becoming the most hard-luck athlete of the decade. Let's point the blame where it belongs: At the NBA, for not letting him enter straight from h.s.

One more unrelated note: If yesterday was the first time you watched John Wall, you realize why everyone is gushing over him. (Against a top opponent like UNC, no less.)

Frankly, I'm still processing the beat-down.

-- D.S.