Today's Names to Know: Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones, Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson, Randy Moss and Chris Bosh, Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady, Mike Thomas and Santonio Holmes, Tim Tebow and LeGarrette Blount, Boise State and TCU, Kevin Love and Moses Malone, Jason Heyward and Buster Posey, Mike Vick and Donovan McNabb, Eric Johnson and Jessica Simpson, Wrigley Field and College GameDay and More.
NFL Week 10 Thoughts:
*If the season ended today, Jason Garrett would be my Coach of the Year. If the only difference between the Cowboys of Weeks 1-9 and the Cowboys of Week 10 was the coaching -- and it's fair to say that is the case (particularly given that the previous Cowboys' regime had Tony Romo to work with, rather than Jon Kitna) -- then Garrett is a revelation that won't necessarily save the Cowboys' 2010 season, but will certainly set things right for next year. They made the Giants (playing at home, no less), look like chumps, rather than the team leading the NFC East.
*The Vikings should not bench Brett Favre starting now for the rest of the season, just because -- thanks in part to Favre being Favre and throwing 3 2nd-half picks -- they have no hope of making the playoffs and Favre has already claimed he won't be playing next season. Better to let Brett go out guns blazing -- and losing -- then snatch up a franchise QB in the 2011 draft, rather than sit Favre now (as hilarious as that would be) to give Tarvaris Jackson a couple of starts to give him a running start on next year. What next year?
*Randy Moss is the Chris Bosh of NFL stars: Lots of sizzle, zero steak. Moss's Titans debut was a dud. He didn't play well -- which wouldn't have mattered so much if the Titans hadn't also lost. (Perhaps even more remarkable is that the Titans KO'ed both the QB1 -- Chad Pennington -- and QB2 -- Chad Henne -- for the Dolphins, both for the season. It's Tyler Thigpen time.)
*Play of the Day: The Jags' Hail Mary to beat the Texans. Mike Thomas! (Runner-up: Santonio Holmes' game-winning TD in OT for the Jets? Otherwise, nominate your own.)
*Fantasy Stud: Rob Gronkowski, the Pats TE who was on the receiving end of 3 TD passes from Tom Brady, while the Pats offense rolled over the Steelers D and re-established New England as the team to beat in the AFC. (Yes, yes: Jets > Browns > Pats. Still....)
*Concussion of the Week: Hines Ward. (This is not meant to glorify concussions -- hardly -- but rather point out that we've gotten to the point that noting the biggest players who received concussions is part of the week's game coverage. Ward is as big of a name as it gets.)
*Tim Tebow: His 1st NFL pass was, obviously, a TD. He also ran for a TD, giving him 3 rushing TDs on the season (more than, say, Ray Rice) and 4 total TDs (more than, say, Andre Johnson). My preseason prediction that he would account for at least 7 TDs suddenly looks reasonable.
(But my vote for Rookie of the Year -- if given out today -- would go to Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount. Sam Bradford, the top overall draft pick, was SUPPOSED to be good. Blount was undrafted, yet in the past few weeks has turned into one of the most reliable RBs in the league.)
*You've got to kind of love the Browns. I appreciate that there aren't moral victories in the NFL, but the Browns taking the Jets to OT before losing -- this after beating the Saints and Pats in back-to-back games -- sort of feels like one. The Browns were never making the playoffs this year; that they are competitive with the league's elite should feel great for Cleveland fans.
*Hey, the Bills won! This should make the Lions feel like all the progress made this season has evaporated. (And they set the NFL record for most consecutive road losses.)
BCS: As I wrote yesterday, this weekend's performances by Oregon, Auburn and TCU were iffy enough that I restored Boise State to No. 1, with Auburn at No. 2.
That, of course, can change -- less from Boise stumbling (although they have two tough games in a row coming up) than from Oregon's limp performance at Cal catching up with them in Corvallis or Auburn's mojo running out against Alabama.
TCU -- dropping from No. 1 to No. 4 on my ballot -- was hit with a double-whammy: Its typically stout D gave up 35 to San Diego State and its win over Utah was neutered by Utah getting destroyed at Notre Dame.
TCU's new image problem has restored the original meme: The prospect of Oregon and Auburn winning out, with Boise shut out of what seems like a rightful shot at the title.
Watch Boise pass TCU over the next two weeks as the Broncos beat Fresno State, then Nevada -- the only part of Boise's schedule that even remotely resembles the kind they would face in a tougher conference.
Check out my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot: Boise and Auburn in the Top 2 slots.
NBA Weekend: It's kind of a shame that Kevin Love's "30/30" happened on a Friday night, because if it was mid-week, it would have gotten a motherlode of attention. For now, it will merely have to be the single-best individual performance of the season by any player.
Yesterday: Well, it turns out that the Lakers are plenty beatable -- all you have to do is hit 22 3s, like the Suns did.
(Speaking of the Suns, what a weekend for Steve Nash: One day, he is announcing the birth of his son, Matteo. Literally the next day, it comes out that he and his wife are divorcing. That can't be easy for either of them.)
Heat Watch: Well, it turns out Chris Bosh kind of sucks, doesn't he? Kind of makes you wonder whether LeBron and Wade talk to each other in secret saying, "Oh, crap. We kind of blew it with that guy." I'm not saying Carlos Boozer or David Lee would have been the answer, but they might have been better.
MLB Awards Season: Rookies of the Year. The contentious one is in the NL, between Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. I'd give it to Posey because of the difficulty of his position and the way he handled that pitching staff down the stretch. In the AL, it feels like it is Neftali Feliz.
Pacquiao destroys Margarito: Cripes, that dude's face!
College GameDay will be at Wrigley Field next weekend for Northwestern-Illinois, but it's less about who is playing than where they are playing, obviously. Wrigley is to college football what the various stadiums have been to the NHL's Winter Classic -- the novelty of the venue alone makes it a must-see, even if you couldn't care less about the teams playing in it. Glad to see College GameDay gets that. Now, if they'd only move the game to ABC nationally.
CBB: Duke rolls in its opener. Yes, it was just Princeton, but it was foreshadowing of the style Duke will deploy all season -- fast-breaking offense and high-pressure defense. Kyrie Irving had 17 in his college hoops debut, the first frosh to start at guard for Duke since Jason Williams.
Tonight: MNF is Eagles-Redskins, and should be a great moment to compare and contrast the state of things for Mike Vick (up) and Donovan McNabb (down).
And at midnight, ESPN's brilliant 24-hour college hoops marathon tips off -- I'll wake up at 3:30 a.m. just to watch live college hoops, let alone the idea of eating breakfast or having mid-morning coffee while watching. Things get really interesting when Ohio State plays Florida, when Butler plays Louisville and when UConn women play Baylor.
(Oh, and UConn won its 79th straight game yesterday. They beat Holy Cross by 80. 80! UConn women are totally underrated for Sports(wo)man of the Year. If they duplicate last season's unbeaten streak, blowing past 100 wins in a row, I would hope they would get consideration for Sportspeople of the Year in 2011.)
Pop Culture: I honestly don't know who Eric Johnson is, but apparently he is dating -- and now engaged -- to Jessica Simpson. Remember when people cared about her? (Hard to believe, isn't it?)
Finally: CBS picked up Colin Cowherd's "life rights" for making a TV sitcom? Really? Let's not even talk about the woeful fate of "Listen Up" (based on the life of Tony Kornheiser) and let's just stick with the fact that the show sounds like a re-hash of "Becker" -- misanthropic guy goes through life -- which was not very good. Misanthropes as leading sit-com characters never work. It's like the working title should be "Everyone Hates Raymond."