Today's Names to Know: BCS, TCU in Pasadena, Jim Harbaugh, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Heath Miller, Tarvaris Jackson, Peyton Manning, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jets-Pats, Jayson Werth, Adrian Gonzalez, Maya Moore and More.
Auburn-Oregon for the college football national title: I broke this down late Saturday night, but it is hard for even the biggest BCS-hater to argue that we aren't seeing the two most deserving teams play for the national title.
Sorry, TCU: But the consolation prize isn't terrible -- a trip to the Rose Bowl to play Wisconsin. No clever defensive scheming necessary for Gary Patterson. Just try to stop the run. Meanwhile, needless to say, Oklahoma-UConn in the Fiesta isn't quite Oklahoma-Boise from '06.)
I love the final Coaches' poll, because it is forced transparency. The most notable bias: Jim Harbaugh (along with the two Washington schools) ranking Stanford ahead of TCU. Waste a half-hour here.
Best of the non-BCS bowls: I'll take the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22 -- Utah vs. Boise State. Cripes: Boise went from a lock for a BCS bowl to a low-tier bowl on Dec. 22? That's adding insult to injury. (See the whole bowl schedule here.)
Heisman Look-Ahead: Cam Newton is a lock. More than that, he had one of the greatest -- if not THE greatest -- single season by an individual player in NCAA history.
NFL Weekend Recap:
*If the season ended today, it would be hard not to pick Matt Ryan as MVP.
*Sunday night: Steelers grind past the Ravens in Baltimore, in a playoff-quality W. Add Pittsburgh to the Pats and Jets as the most legit (the only legit?) contenders in the AFC.
*The Bengals' season in a nutshell: With 30 seconds to go and up 3, being drawn offsides on the Saints' 4th-and-2 inside the Cincy 10. Predictably, NO went on to score a GW TD.
*Chargers choke: By a quirk in the scheduling, this was the national late game on CBS -- it seemed like a dud waiting to happen... then the Raiders repeated their beat-down of the Chargers from earlier this season, putting a huge crimp in San Diego's playoff hopes. (For those without a dog in the fight, it was kind of hilarious to watch.)
*Favre Watch: Given that Tarvaris Jackson did his best Brett Favre impression (multiple TDs, mutliple INTs), why is it just assumed that Favre gets his starting job back when he wants it? (BTW: That Sidney Rice TD catch may have been the Catch of the Year in the NFL.)
*Break up the Rams! 6 win in 2010 equals the total number of wins in 2007, 2008 and 2009. (No, wait: Break up the Browns!)
*Ouch: Anyone still think Peyton is the best QB in the NFL? (4 INTs in loss to Dallas, including a Favrian pick in OT that set up the Cowboys' GW FG.)
*Ouch II: It's pretty gruesome in DC. The Redskins were blown out by archrival NYG, Donovan McNabb looked useless, the Redskins' D was torched by the Giants RBs.
*Fantasy Stud: How many fantasy playoff spots were secured (or lost) off of Maurice Jones-Drew's day alone? (And how many ride on Tom Brady's arm tonight?) Meanwhile, for a fantasy dud, how many playoff spots were impacted by Dwayne Bowe's zilch?
*Kind of awesome: Dan Carpenter's 60-yard FG.
*Tonight: Pats-Jets, with the possibility that this is a "play-in" game for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Biggest game of the regular season. Pats in a rout.
MLB Hot Stove: Jayson Werth to the Nats for 7Y/$126M. Wow. Is he really worth that much more than Adam Dunn? Or the multiple players you could get for all that loot over the next 7 years? Feel like the team felt pressure to make a big signing. Unclear that Werth is worth it. But it is one of the biggest names off the table at the Winter Meetings, which are held this week. All eyes on Cliff Lee.
(If Werth is getting $120+, then how much will Adrian Gonzalez want from his new team in Boston? At least that much -- hard to believe the Red Sox acquired him thinking they would low-ball him.)
Derek Jeter is a Yankee for the next 3 years (maybe 4): Which makes the next big debate over when the Yankees should pull him from shortstop. I'll say 2013.
NBA taking over the Hornets: Is this in advance of a foreclosure? Would the NBA dictate that the team not trade star Chris Paul under any conditions? (Couldn't the NBA -- as owner -- dictate that the team absolutely trade Paul?) Presumably, they want to flip it as fast as possible.
Graeme McDowell closes out Tiger's Worst. Year. Ever.: Tiger has never lost a tournament when he was leading by three or more strokes heading into Sunday... until now. McDowell needed sick birdie putts on 18 -- twice (once naturally, once in a playoff) -- to do it, but he did it.
Women's CBB: Maya Moore became the all-time scoring leader at UConn (which won its 86th straight), with plenty of season left to create an unbreakable standard.