Today's Names to Know: Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Brad Childress, Bill Belichick, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Singletary, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, Darren McFadden, Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeAngelo Hall, Auburn, Oregon, BCS, Allen Iverson, More.
"Favriest" Favre game ever? With plenty of contenders, I'd like to submit last night as the most classic example of "Classic Favre" games:
*At Lambeau, in primetime, throwing 3 INTs (including the decisive pick-6) but doing just enough to keep the game interesting until the final minute.
*Oh, then limping off the field with next week's start -- and his "iron man" streak -- in doubt.
*And letting one-time understudy Aaron Rodgers beat him for the first time.
*And we will potentially look back and see that as the moment the Vikings' playoff hopes ended.
*And his coach publicly chiding him ("You can't throw it to them" -- um, has Brad Childress never seen Favre play before?)
*With a little Sterger-scandal spice thrown in for good measure. (So Favre admits to calling Jenn Sterger but won't cop to the photos? He'll never learn.)
Let no one say that Ben Roethlisberger had extinguished all his good karma while dealing with his suspension. That fumble/non-fumble (or TD/non-TD) was not the refs' finest moment.
4th-and-Belichick: Once again, Bill Belichick is being ripped for going for it on 4th-and-short late, and once again I find myself in the position of defending him about it. It doesn't matter that the play wasn't successful or even that it almost led to a game-tying Chargers FG; it was the right call to make, and I was glad to see him do it again, even after the heat he took after last season's Colts ending. It shows that Belichick doesn't care at all about the critics (as he shouldn't).
If there was any indication that this won't be the Saints' year, losing to Cleveland in the Superdome sure seems to qualify.
The 49ers' biggest humiliation yet? Losing to the Panthers.
The AFC West is the Chiefs' division to lose. You read that right.
And break up the Bucs!
Raiders rout: I was on a flight yesterday and watched the entire thing. Yes, I'm in the tank for Tebow, but you're telling me Josh McDaniels couldn't find some snaps for him? Come on.
Fantasy Players of the Week:
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB: Darren McFadden
WR: Kenny Britt
(And Fantasy IDP Player of the YEAR has been locked up by DeAngelo Hall.)
Tonight: Giants-Cowboys. Worth watching only for the potential Cowboys schadenfreude.
BCS: Auburn, Oregon are new 1-2. Per yesterday's equivocation, I have no real complaint about the new BCS ranking, although I would say that:
(1) TCU has a stronger resume than Boise (particularly after thrashing Air Force);
(2) Mizzou is underrated sitting behind Michigan State, although I'm not quite sure how much further to lift them, even after they beat last week's BCS No. 1. But the computers, which have the Tigers at No. 2, are more correct than the human pollsters, who inexplicably have Mizzou at 8.
The formula is pretty simple for both Auburn and Oregon -- win out and they will play for the national title. (Imagine Cam Newton vs. Chip Kelly's hurry-hurry-hurry-up offense: It would be a wild game.)
But Auburn still has to play Alabama. And Oregon still has to play at Oregon State. Absolutely no guarantees there. (I see less of a threat for Oregon at USC next week, and watch for Oregon to leapfrog/flip-flop with Auburn at the top of the BCS on the strength of that win.)
Of the others, Boise's case really rests on the ascension of current BCS No. 24 Nevada (and No. 23 VA Tech!) Michigan State's case only gets stronger when they play BCS No. 18 Iowa next week. (Then again, they could lose.) Mizzou is the same way with BCS No. 14 Nebraska (ditto about losing.) No. 4 TCU has the strongest resume-builder left of all: Unbeaten No. 8 Utah. If TCU beats Utah, I would hope voters would reward the by jumping Boise.
BlogPoll preview: (1) Auburn, (2) TCU, (3) Oregon, (4) Mizzou, (5) Boise, (6) Utah, (7) Alabama, (8) Michigan State, (9) Oklahoma, (10) Wisconsin. (No. 11: Ohio State.) Full ballot here.
World Series: You have two choices -- ignore/dismiss the Series because the teams involve lack cachet (although it's hard to argue that it lacks star power -- Lee and Lincecum, not to mention Hamilton and Posey, are must-see) or embrace the novelty. Give it a chance!
NBA: Season preview and picks coming tomorrow. It's not all about the Heat, but the Heat obviously are a big part of the season's thesis.
It's official: Allen Iverson -- one of the most exciting and talented players in the history of basketball -- is going to play in... Turkey.