Today's Names to Know: Brett Favre, Brad Childress, Peyton Hillis, Jerry Jones, James Jones, Mike Vick, Jason Campbell to Jacoby Ford, Seyi Ajirotutu, Ndamukong Suh, TCU, Kevin Durant, Cliff Lee, Zenyatta, Kobe and More.
Just when you think you're done with Brett Favre, he goes and throws for a career-high in passing yards and leads an improbable 2-touchdown comeback in the final 5 minutes of a 4th quarter. Really? If Brad "Fire Childress!" Childress wasn't on the wrong side of history before, he certainly is now.
(Yesterday's Favre game was a flashback to last season, when he actually became... likable? This season, he had reverted to his insufferable, schadenfreude-dripping form. But yesterday? Look: You have to be willing to say it: Favre was pretty awesome.)
Win of the Week: The Browns. Over the Pats. In a rout. The Browns may own the Top 2 Most Improbable Wins of the first half of the season -- two weeks ago at New Orleans and then now at home vs. the Pats. (That bye week in between might be the secret ingredient to Cleveland's iwn yesterday. Still: Not one many -- or anyone -- saw coming. Good for Colt McCoy, who is 2-1 as a starter with a couple of signature, if personally unspectacular, wins. He just wins.)
Debate on the table: Peyton Hillis deserves to be 1st half of the season 1st-team All-Pro. (And it looks like Bill Belichick still has trouble preparing for unconventional offenses -- see Stuckey's TD run from a Josh Cribbs hand-off.)
Loss of the Week: The Cowboys. Just when you think it can't get any more humiliating for the Cowboys this season, they go lower. I think it's safe to say that last night represented rock bottom -- on the wrong end of a 45-7 thrashing on primetime national TV. (Wow, did I pick the wrong week to drop the previously ineffective fantasy WR James Jones.)
Mike Vick returns: And leads the Eagles over the Colts(!) The biggest redemption story of 2010 continues.
How 'bout them Raiders?! The entire nation got flipped over from Eagles-Colts to the ending of Raiders-Chiefs, when Jacoby Ford made that miracle catch to set up the game-tying FG, then Jason Campbell hit Ford again in OT to set up the game-winning FG. What a turnaround story in Oakland. (Does anyone begrudge their fans what they are getting this season?)
(Unexpected) Fantasy Stud of the Week: Chargers WR Seyi Ajirotutu (111 yards and 2 TDs), and I guarantee the fantasy GM you were playing this weekend didn't start him. (But if you know anyone who did? That would be the genius fantasy move of the year.)
Double-take of the Week: Ndamukong Suh kicking the XP for the Lions. He missed, but it was kind of awesome.
BCS: That would be TCU -- not Boise -- suddenly in position to take advantage if/when Oregon or Auburn stumbles over the next few weeks. (Oregon: Unlikely; Auburn: Losing to Bama?) The football season -- at least the national title picture -- is down to 4 teams, with a month of football left to play. By the way, TCU's jump over Boise is entirely justified, based on their respective strength of schedules -- best symbolized by TCU throttling a Top 5 team (now merely Top 14) on the road.
CFB Rankings: Enough AP voters had the good sense to rank TCU ahead of Boise that TCU is 3rd and Boise 4th. It remains to be seen whether -- if Oregon and Auburn run the table -- if the AP is finally willing to perform "jury nullifcation" on the national title and give their share of the national title to TCU or Boise.
(It is kind of a joke that 7 "experts" in the AP Top 25 would give Boise State a No. 1 vote ahead of TCU. If they're just trying to prove a point about how much they hate the BCS, at least pick the more worthy non-BCS team to give your No. 1 vote.)
BlogPoll Monday! My new BlogPoll ballot is here. As previewed yesterday: (1) TCU, (2) Oregon, (3) Auburn, (4) Boise, (5) LSU.
Looking ahead to next week: Not much trouble expected among the Big Four (Boise gets Friday night all to itself at Idaho, Oregon is at Cal, Auburn is hosting Georgia and TCU is hosting underrated San Diego State).
Some intriguing match-ups with zero national-title ramifications: South Carolina at Florida for the SEC East title; Oklahoma State goes to Austin to extend the Worst Season Ever for Texas; another chance to watch Notre Dame get crushed (they play Utah, which was no match for TCU but will overwhelm ND).
Cam Newton Watch: Nothing changes the subject like a big game -- not to mention the release of the new BCS rankings, which keeps the focus on Auburn as a national-title contender, not NCAA investigation subject.
NBA: Someone else made this comment this weekend, but is it possible that the kryptonite to the Heat is a team with a world-class PG and a really good C (precisely the positions that Miami doesn't have All-NBA talent at). Hell of a validating win for the still-unbeaten Hornets.
More Kevin Durant myth-making: This summer, he had a secret hoops-shooting session with President Obama. Durant brought his grandma.
MLB Hot Stove: As expected, basically the minute Cliff Lee was eligible for free agency, the Yankees contacted him. It would be a shocker if they didn't consummate the relationship, making the Yankees the team to beat in 2011. Then again, they were the team to beat in 2010.
Zenyatta: 19-1. That was probably the most exciting horse race I have ever seen, if only because Zenyatta went from DFL -- and seemingly no hope -- to being a nose from winning. It is almost more epic that she came so close to perfection, but fell short in the way she did.
Pop Culture: Did you catch Kobe in a cameo in that "Call of Duty: Black Ops" TV ad? Pretty awesome ad -- and pretty good cachet for Kobe for appearing in it.
In Case You Missed It, from Friday afternoon: My post about the 10th anniversary of the launch of ESPN's Page 2.
Business: Congrats to SB Nation!