Today's Names to Know: Nyjer Morgan, Kyle Whittingham, Dion Lewis, Jim Delany, Michigan-Ohio State, NFL Preseason, Ben Roethlisberger, Aroldis Chapman, Tim Lincecum, Marvin Austin, BYU, Robert Bolden, Victoria Azarenka, Andy Roddick, Rex Ryan's snacks, Rob Dibble, Twitter on iPad, More.
Worth noting: Right now, Nyjer Morgan is the No. 1 trending search on Google. Folks love their baseball brawls.
College football is here! Tonight's season-opening headliner pits Utah (a team I'm very high on this year -- and next season's Pac-10 champs!) against Pitt (a team I'm less high on, but everyone else seems relatively high on). It's a great way to open the season. (Versus: Enjoy the moment.)
My longer, larger, shallower annual college football preview post is coming later this afternoon. Check back then!
Big Ten re-alignment into divisions...mania: The headline is that Ohio State and Michigan are in separate divisions, but that doesn't seem like a particularly big deal.
After all, the thing everyone from OSU and UM was freaking out about was changing the date of their annual regular-season-ending game, which wasn't changed. Verdict: Divisioning the league is NO BIG DEAL.
(Honestly, would you rather have them in the same division? Actually, that would probably be my preference, so then only one of them survives their regular-season game with a championship, making their game a lot more meaningful. It is far more cynical to split them up than anything else in this whole deal -- including moving the game, which turned out to be moot.)
I actually like the idea of them playing each other on back-to-back weekends, once in the regular season and the next week for the Big Ten title. I just don't think it will happen that often. Meanwhile: Don't worry about (or, I guess, look forward to) an Ohio State-Michigan rematch for the Big Ten title a week after they play their regular-season game -- at least while Rich Rodriguez is coaching Michigan and, presumably, the 3-4 years it'll take the coach who follows RichRod to clean up his mess.
Sidebar: I emailed my buddy who runs the leading Northwestern football blog that Pat Fitzgerald would be wise to follow the lead of Urban Meyer and the SEC coaches and quickly re-orient Northwestern's season goals to, first and foremost, winning their division. You never hear Meyer talk about the SEC title; he talks about winning the SEC East first and foremost -- things tend to take care of themselves after that.
The sooner Big Ten teams pivot from "We want to go to the Rose Bowl" to "We want to win the Agribusiness Division" (or whatever it will be called), the better.
*Nyjer Morgan needs to switch to decaf: Gaby Sanchez nearly took his head off.
*Chapmania: 103.9 mph? Cripesamighty. (And he even got the win!)
*Manny's debut: And yet Paul Konerko played the hero. Sox fans will take the wins however they can get 'em.
*Tim Lincecum: Off the schneid, finally.
*Eerie foreshadowing: Cliff Lee getting his back examined.
Final Week (Day?) of NFL Preseason Games: The entire league plays tonight, mostly trying to escape the game without injury. Next week can't get here fast enough.
(By the way, I presume that it's only because it is the preseason that Tim Tebow and Brett Favre on the same field tonight doesn't cause some kind of sports-media singularity that consumes us all.)
Is Big Ben's suspension going to be lowered to 3 games? Roger Goodell foreshadowed this from the start by saying that he would monitor Ben's behavior from the time of the suspension onward. And Ben has kept his head low. Consequently, he can certainly ask the Commish about knocking a game or two off his ban. I'd ask for a few and hope to get one. (Separate issues: Whether Goodell will accept, that it is notable that Ben actually kept his head low.)
The BYU-gone-indie deal was totally worth it: Freedom to put together their own schedule, backed by a national TV deal with ESPN? More teams should think about it.
UNC suspends Marvin Austin indefinitely: Would Austin have been an early-round NFL pick had he been eligible after last year, his sophomore year? If his draft rating for the 2011 draft is any indication, yes. Shame he can't get a hardship entry into the NFL, because a team would absolutely give up an early draft pick next year to get him now, even if all they did was stash him for the year, giving him NFL coaching and conditioning.
Robert Bolden is Penn State's starting QB: This is note-worthy because anytime you can find novelty with Joe Paterno, it's worth pointing out -- Bolden is the first true freshman QB to start in the season opener in Penn State history. No pressure or anything. (And how limited must the two soph QBs be?)
Don't mock Victoria Azarenka: My kids' day care was closed today and I was taking care of the boys all day -- we spent maybe 3 or 4 hours outside today, and it was brutal. The only reason I took them out of the house was because it was crueler to keep them penned into our tiny apartment than it was to have them out in the hot sun. (Glad to hear she was released from the hospital and appears to be OK. She's in better shape than, oh, Andy Roddick.)
Hard Knocks Rex Ryan Quote of the Day: "Now let's go and eat a god-damn snack." (Ryan, after blistering the team for a lack of leadership, professionalism and enthusiasm.)
Media: Good riddance to Rob Dibble. It wasn't that he said such inane things about Stephen Strasburg (or, more misogynistically, women). It was that he was a terrible baseball analyst.
Obligatory Tebow item of the day: Dare I try to become the winning bidder for this? Today is the 5th anniversary of Tim Tebow's first college play -- a rushing TD, naturally.
Tech: I consume a LOT via Twitter -- I try not to post too often (I delete far more drafted tweets than I publish), but I read it constantly. (Probably too constantly.) Anyway, the new Twitter app for the iPad IS phenomenal. If you have an iPad, it's a must-must-must-have.
Events: TONIGHT for New Yorkers, the September edition of the Varsity Letters Reading Series, featuring two authors from my Summer Reading list: Michael Weinreb and Dave Zirin. Never seen Weinreb speak live, but how can you go wrong reminiscing over Bo Jackson, Brian Bosworth, Len Bias and the '85 Bears? And Zirin is phenomenal live - he's done VL before, and it's a show. If you're in NYC, it's a great night out.