Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22 Quickie: Pats, Vick, Jets, VY, BCS,
Pelini, Jimmie, Jeter, UNC, MLS, More

Today's Names to Know: Tom Brady, Mike Vick, Ellis Hobbs, Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez, Vince Young, Jon Kitna, Steve Johnson, Oregon, Boise State, Taylor Martinez, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Votto, Derek Jeter, Terry Collins, Zombie James Naismith, UNC hoops, Udonis Haslem, Rajon Rondo, Colorado Rapids, Tim Tebow and More.

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In Memoriam: Lucas Anthony Tang. You don't have to be the parent of a 2-year-old boy to be decimated by this. Horrible beyond words.

(I had this as a stand-alone post, updated this morning, but I just couldn't look at it on the site without kind of freaking, so I moved it here. It is not meant to diminish it as a story.)

NFL Talking Points:

*Big win for the Pats. They keep pace with the Jets, yes, but also showcase a strong performance over a very good Colts team. Brady was awesome. Peyton pulled a Favre at the end (to cap a 3-pick day). I saw someone say that from a Pats fan's perspective, this was a good make-up for last season's "4th-and-2," and I can't disagree that it was Bill Belichick getting his karmic payback for doing the right thing last year but not having it work out.

*Favre humiliated by Packers: In case you're wondering if it could get worse for Brett Favre after the past few weeks, the answer is: YES. Against his old team -- perhaps for the last time -- Favre was impotent while his longtime understudy Aaron Rodgers was ascendant. The contrast was startling. I love how it's a story that Favre acknowledged that the Vikings' playoff hopes are over. Just now? Wasn't that the case weeks ago?

*Jets stunner: This was a "No. Freaking. Way." finish for the league's most mesmerizing team. They should have lost. You could argue they deserved to lose. But Mark Sanchez was brilliant on the final drive -- as was that GW catch by Santonio Holmes -- and... just wow.

*Vick rolls on: LeSean McCoy was the hero for Philly (getting 50 on 4th-and-1 is quite acceptable), but consider that Vick was two easy drops -- not his fault -- from an extra 2 TD passes and a blowout win.

(Here's to a full recovery for Ellis Hobbs. The initial news this morning is positive. Another injury to watch: Austin Collie.)

*Vince Young has lost his mind: Something's not right. I appreciate not liking being benched, but to sulk, to throw your jersey and pads into the crowd, to scurry out of the locker room after the game. And if Jeff Fisher would rather go with Rusty Smith -- or whoever -- than VY, you know it's even worse than it appears to be. We're back to the "Vince Young is a headcase" meme.

*Jon Kitna > Tony Romo. I'm not sure if I'm kidding or not. Obviously, Jason Garrett is a huge factor, but you can't argue that Kitna the journeyman is entirely effective in the Cowboys offense, in a way that Romo wasn't before he got hurt.

*Chiefs and Bucs roll on. After a couple games, we could joke that they were flukes. Just about 2/3 into the season, both have affirmed huge strides this season. If this keeps up, it's hard to figure out which coach -- Todd Haley or Raheem Morris -- deserves Coach of the Year. (Now, I wouldn't trust either of them in the playoffs against a decent team, but that's not the point.)

*Fantasy Studs: Ryan Fitzpatrick to Steve Johnson. Whoa. Down 21 before storming to a 42-point surge was like Montana-to-Rice out there for a little while. Plus, Johnson showed a little Ochocinco by lifting his jersey after a TD to reveal a phrase "Why so serious?"

Hot seats: Speaking of the Bills' comeback win over the Bengals, that might be Marvin Lewis's job (if not now, then certainly as Exhibit A if/when he is let go after the season ends.)

(Brian St. Pierre Watch: That 88-yard TD to David Gettis was fun to see, wasn't it? The back-to-back pick-6s? Not so much.)


CFB BCS: It's still Oregon-Auburn 1-2 in the BCS, with the biggest weekend of the season approaching -- my top two contenders face their toughest games of the season:

*Auburn at Alabama
*Boise State at Nevada

And Oregon hosts Arizona before its own toughest game of the season, at Oregon State (which beat down USC in a much more decisive way than Oregon did... not unlike the way Stanford beat down Cal much more decisively than Oregon did.)

In my BlogPoll ballot, I'm sticking with Boise at No. 1, with Auburn at No. 2. I'll keep Oregon at No. 3, but only a smidgen ahead of Stanford, which leap-frogged poor TCU, who I am clearly over-compensating about, given that I had them at No. 1 just two weeks ago.

See yesterday's post for a whole lot of BCS talk, including why any BCS-hater who isn't rooting against Boise State is being disingenuous.

Taylor Martinez vs. Bo Pelini: Conflicting rumors of whether QB Taylor Martinez is or is not leaving Nebraska, but if you watched the video of him being inappropriately chewed out by coach Bo Pelini, you wouldn't blame him for getting the hell out of there as fast as possible.

Pelini embarrassed himself and the school, all while humiliating his QB. Given Martinez's potential, I wouldn't be surprised if 30 schools hadn't already reached out to him to say: "Why would you put up with THAT?"


NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson -- winner of his 5th straight NASCAR title -- is the biggest dynasty in sports since... what? It's hard to compare to team sports, so since Federer? (But that ended, like, a year ago. Anyway: NASCAR is a little more boring for it. It is not good for the sport that the same guy has won the season championship for the last half-decade.)


MLB Awards Season: Joey Votto is expected to win NL MVP, ahead of Albert Pujols, who is the victim of the "Michael Jordan Effect," in which voters assume away one player's brilliance to the point where they pick the next-best player as MVP, because otherwise the same guy would win MVP every. single. year.

MLB Hot Stove: The gamesmanship continues between the Yankees and Derek Jeter. Now, it's Jeter's agent calling the Yankees' negotiating tactics "baffling." I'll stand by my current analysis: The Yankees are being irrational, relative to Jeter's value, by paying him so much; Jeter is being irrational in thinking that the team would suffer any consequences for letting him walk. They'll meet in the middle, because the Yankees don't want the bad PR and Jeter knows he won't be as appreciated anywhere else.

Mets hire Terry Collins as manager: This felt like a done-deal for weeks. He has the faith of the new Mets brain trust.


CBB: Wow, UNC had a terrible experience in Puerto Rico. First, they lost to Minnesota. Then they lost to Vanderbilt. They have the best player in the country -- and it's not a very good team. Welcome to UNC, Harrison Barnes: If you were going to be a one-and-done and play for a middling team, you might as well have stayed home and been a hero at Iowa State.



Quote of the Weekend: "I don't care if James Naismith was guarding me, which would be scary because he's dead." -- Rudy Gay, after his jumper over LeBron to lead Memphis over Miami. The idea "Zombie Naismith" is not just awesome, but the basis for a hell of a sports movie.

(Meanwhile, the Heat have lost Udonis Haslem -- a huge cog, perhaps the most valuable player outside the Big Three... perhaps more valuable than Chris Bosh, even -- for a while. As long as he is back by the playoffs, this is kind of irrelevant. But it sets them back all the more from gelling as a complete group. They were already without Mike Miller.)

NBA: The Celtics losing to the Raptors was a clear indication of just how valuable -- as in "MVP"-level -- that Rajon Rondo is to Boston. Time to stop calling it a "Big Three" and just refer to "The One."


Colorado Rapids win MLS Cup for the 1st time: They had a good-not-great (7th-best) regular season record -- this is becoming a fun trend among MLS champs -- and got their Cup-winning goal off a deflection off a Dallas defender's leg, but a title is a title. (The unexpectedness of the MLS champ is a refreshing change from the monotony of NASCAR's Jimmie Dynasty.)


Tonight: Tim Tebow in his "Monday Night Football" debut. Given that he had two chances to score last week -- with two TDs to show for it -- expect Josh McDaniels to take advantage of the national platform to try to justify how smart he is for drafting Tebow by letting him have at least a few cracks at the end zone.

-- D.S.

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