Today's Names to Know: UConn, Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Lovie Smith, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Charlie Strong, Beef O'Brady, Ralph Friedgen, Tim Tebow, Coach K, John Shurna and More.
Note: Thanks for the response to the Quickish intern post from yesterday. I think we'll be good, but if you missed it and feel strongly about it, shoot me an email via the post.
UConn women go for 89th win in a row: And they'll get it. Hard to envision when this team will lose again. And, yes, it IS a big deal. (Count me among the folks who think that winning 89 in a row today is a lot more impressive than winning 88 in the early 70's. Apples-to-oranges, yadda yadda yadda... I'm blown away by this UConn dominance.)
Favre: The end? There are two lasting myth-buttressing images from what might be Brett Favre's final game in the NFL:
First, him trotting out to start the game, in the snow, defying the "out" designation that has only been reversed by game-time less than two dozen times in the past decade.
Second, Favre face-down on the turf after Corey Wooton's hit, knocked out of the game. From Favre's perspective, I presume that in the hierarchy of career conclusions, being KO'ed is not as good as going out on a game-winning TD pass -- but better than standing limply on the sidelines.
Then again, he might play next week, rendering all of this moot and recycling the encomiums. That would be most Favrian of all.
Bears clinch NFC North: Does this get Lovie Smith off the hot seat? At the very least, it means playoff football at Soldier Field in January. If last night's snowy conditions were any indication, they might even win one. (Then again, they will be going against a playoff team, not the Vikings.)
Joe Webb Fan Club: Why was it such a presumption that Joe Webb would be a WR, not a QB? Shows a lack of insight from the traditional NFL draftnik-scouting complex, because Webb looked pretty good last night, particularly for a rookie who hadn't played QB all year. I know the Vikings will likely draft a QB in the 1st round next spring, but why not give Webb a chance?
Mavs stop Heat streak: As Miami has rolled along, it feels like they have feasted on many of the NBA's lesser teams; we're back to the old meme: They can't beat the elite -- at least not consistently, on the road. Leaves things pretty opaque about their playoff chances.
Magic's new additions don't help much: Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richarsdson started, and Gilbert Arenas came off the bench -- no matter, the Hawks won. (It was to be expected that the new group wouldn't gel instantly. I'm still bullish for the long term on them.)
CFB Bowling: Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Pete! Southern Miss vs. Louisville, which just signed its biggest recruit ever: Miami-area star QB Teddy Bridgewater. Oh, and I saw a stat yesterday that L'ville lost its 6 games never by more than a TD. Charlie Strong has the program on the rise.
Maryland buys out/fires Ralph Friedgen: Setting the table for Mike Leach. Unclear why they are having a "search committee"; this should be done quickly and simply, bringing in Leach. Every day the new coach isn't installed is a day when they lose ground in recruiting. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank needs to shoot Maryland's president a note about that.
NFL Draft: Is Nick Saban using the uncertainty over the NFL's labor situation to scare his juniors into not going into the Draft? Savvy by Saban, but ultimately, if the players are Draft-worthy (particularly 1st-round picks), they should get into the league as fast as they can.
Tim Tebow will start next week: Of course he will. (a) He played well enough to merit it, and (b) what would be the point, in a lost season, of leaving the young QB on the bench in favor of the vet, in an otherwise meaningless game?
CBB: Coach K is now No. 2 in all-time wins among college hoops coaches.
Florida shocked by Jacksonville: After the K-State upset, what did I tell you about Florida's inconsistency? Maddening.
Northwestern rolled at the Garden last night, thank you very much. I was the only one in the arena in the hard-to-find John Shurna jersey-style T-shirt, which will look even better in March.