Leading today's SN column, does the NFL have its ideal Elite Eight? On the NFC side, most certainly:
*Favre, the most-watched player.
*Cowboys, the most-watched team.
*Saints, the best long-term team story.
*Warner, the best long-term individual story.
On the AFC side? Well, there is certainly a healthy contingent that wants to see the Colts fail. The Chargers are probably the best shot at that. The Ravens aren't as compelling as the Patriots would have been, but the Wild Card schadenfreude was probably worth it. And the Jets are a good story -- that one team that should have every non-playoff team's fans going "Next year, why not us?"
Let's try some picks:
Vikings over Cowboys
Saints over Cards
Colts over Ravens
Chargers over Jets
All you can hope for is some close games. The second half of last weekend's final game eclipsed what would have gone down as one of the least memorable and lamest Wild Card weekends ever.
More from today's column:
*It's not that Tennessee is a bad job, per se. It's that coaches realize that they have a better shot at making the BCS -- let alone being happy -- at a program they are comfortable in.
*Sundiata Gaines instantly became one of the Top 5 stories of the NBA season: One week, D-League; the next week, hitting buzzer-beating game-winning 3s to beat LeBron.
*When was the last time the best college hoops game of the weekend was a women's game? Actually, the women's schedule has always been studded with the top powers playing each other. It's the smartest thing the machers of the sport ever decided to do. Will I watch women's hoops consistently? No. Will I watch Notre Dame vs. UConn? At the very least, I'll drop by during NFL commercial breaks.
*Arne Duncan was right about the NBA's age-limit being "intellectually dishonest." But I care less about the farce it makes college than the way it keeps NBA-worthy talent out of the league.
*Orrin Hatch was wrong that President Obama should invite Boise State to the White House. Even though I voted Boise No. 2, it's not like the consensus was that they were the 2nd-best team in the country, like Utah was last year. Why not invite Texas or Florida, ranked ahead of Boise? If "going unbeaten" is the only thing keeping me from calling myself a national champ, I'm scheduling the 12 worst teams in Division 1-A and going 12-0. Boise's schedule was closer to that than having to deal with something like the SEC's grind.
*Josh Johnson was the ace of my fantasy team last year, so I'm happy for him getting paid by the Marlins. That said, if the Marlins could flip Johnson to a contender for top prospects that have more long-term upside and fit with the team's financial plan, why shouldn't they be able to do that? You can't look at their record and claim that they don't make savvy moves, even when cost-cutting. Would you rather have them spend Met-money, only to finish 17 games worse?
*SN's latest Mock Draft has the Jaguars taking a QB with the No. 10 pick -- Jimmy Clausen. (Over Tebow? No way. Won't happen.)
Complete column here. More later, and the usual light posting from here through the weekend.