Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday (Very) Quickie: Bama, Boise

College Football Saturday! Alabama at Arkansas is the afternoon headliner (pick: Bama, big), with Oregon State at Boise the night-side headliner (pick: Boise, close).

Keep your eye on:

*Can Texas get its offense on track vs. UCLA?
*South Carolina or Auburn: Who's for real?
*Let-down game for Arizona (vs. Cal)?
*Andrew Luck torching Notre Dame
*Temple giving Penn State a game.
*BC becoming ranking-worthy by beating VA Tech.
*The Denard Robinson Show (as always)

Carmelo to the Nets? I am obviously -- not to mention regionally -- biased, but I don't understand why Carmelo wouldn't want to play in Brooklyn.

OK, some caveats:

The Nets aren't actually IN Brooklyn yet. The plan is for them to be there 2 years from now -- but who knows? And Carmelo wants to play with Amare. (Is Brook Lopez such a schmoe?)

If Melo really wants to play for the Knicks, he can simply refuse to sign a contract extension with the Nets, then sign a deal next summer with the Knicks as a free agent. Simple.

But then he rolls the dice on the new CBA, that it wouldn't cut him off from millions he could make by signing an extension now.

However, I think that presuming the team gets to Brooklyn on schedule -- a big presumption, to be sure -- folks are sleeping on how much cachet the team in Brooklyn will have.

Melo could be king of New York City -- without playing for the Knicks.

NL West: Giants win, but Padres keep pace. (Any flickering hope the Rockies had of climbing back into it ended when they lost to the Giants.)

Enjoy your Saturday.

-- D.S.

Friday, September 24, 2010

09/24 Quickie: Ichiro, Bama, Boise

Today's Names to Know: Ichiro, Felix, Jose Bautista, David Price, Albert Pujols, Alabama, Oregon State, Andrew Luck, The U, Mike Vick, Dallas Cowboys, Jahvid Best, Keith Smart and More.

I feel about Ichiro the same way I felt about Iverson: He is one of the most remarkable players of his generation, and he should be on any fan's "must-see-in-person" list. 10 straight 200-hit seasons is incredible -- and there is no reason to think he won't separate from Pete Rose with an 11th in 2011. What a shame his team sucks. Speaking of which...

Yesterday's start by Felix Hernandez should put his entire Cy Young candidacy into focus: King Felix pitched a 2-hitter over 8 innings, giving up only a HR to MLB HR leader Jose Bautista (who cracked the 50 barrier). And yet he lost, because the offense he plays with stinks. In short: Not his fault. Not his fault he got the loss. Not his fault he has "only" 12 wins. He is the best pitcher in the AL this season, and I hope enough AL Cy voters recognize that to give him the award.

UPDATE: Just read an awesome stat via Buster Olney. In Felix's 12 losses this season, the Mariners have scored 14 runs. (Just looked it up: In Sabathia's 7 losses, the Yankees have scored 12 runs.)

The presumptive favorite, CC Sabathia, got rocked by the Rays, who are now only .5 GB with 10 to play -- including series with Seattle, Baltimore and KC. The division title -- and home-field advantage -- is there for the taking. But watch out for the Twins!

Also on my "must-see-in-person" list: Albert Pujols, who is winding down his 10th MLB season with his 6th year with 40+ HR (he hit 40, 41 yesterday). No player -- certainly no player of this generation -- has had a better 10-year start to his career. If you want to watch one of the Top 10 baseball players of all time, in real-time, you need to catch Pujols when he hits your town next.

CFB Weekend Preview: It is arguable that this week -- at Arkansas -- will be Alabama's toughest test of the season. So what happens when the Tide wins by 20? (I'll tell you what: We start looking ahead to next week's game vs. Florida, which should be another pummeling.)

Meanwhile, the real Game of the Weekend -- and one of the best games of the year -- is Oregon State at Boise State. First: Credit OSU for scheduling both TCU and Boise State. I think it will help the Beavers tremendously to have played TCU in the season-opener; the Horned Frogs are every bit as good as Boise -- a better defense, not as good of an offense. This should be a shootout. Pick: Boise, qualified. I have been ranking Oregon State a lot higher than most ever since they lost to TCU. They are fearless.

Otherwise, I expect all ranked teams to win -- that includes Andrew Luck and Stanford slicing up Notre Dame in South Bend. In games between ranked teams, I'll give teams playing at home the edge: Auburn over South Carolina and LSU over West Virginia.

(By the way, even playing on the road, Miami will earn very little credit for walloping a limp Pitt team.)

My Top 5 favorite storylines for NFL Week 3:
*Must-see: Vick.
*Must-win: Cowboys
*Must-track: Jahvid Best
*Must-wha? 2-0 Steelers at 2-0...Bucs?
*Must-stay-up: Jets at Fins

Don Nelson out in Golden State: What a necessary part of the transformation of the franchise, now with a new coach (Keith Smart), new owner, new franchise star (Stephen Curry), new free agent stud (David Lee) and new uniforms. Always like head coaches not from the re-tread bin.

A couple of NBA teams start their training camps this weekend, but most start Monday. It's going to be hard to find any oxygen outside of South Beach, but with the Heat as the centerpiece of the league and Kevin Durant its new super-elite star, the league could be looking at its biggest season in years. I had thought that nothing could top Lakers-Celtics in the Finals, but I just didn't have the imagination to consider Kobe and the 2-time defending champs playing LeBron, Wade and Bosh in the Finals.

I'm sort of fascinated by NBA's new crackdown on player griping, which has become an epidemic. If they really enforce the rules, we will see a dozen (or more!) T's per game; I suspect the league doesn't want to draw that much attention to it -- I mean, you could give LeBron a half-dozen Ts a game, by himself. Presumably, they will not follow the new rules to the letter, but rather T up the most egregious whining. (My favorite detail: Refs are supposed to T up players who pantomime a smack on their arm to gripe.) It is fascinating that the impetus of the rule appears to be how bad the constant whining looks on TV.

"(Very) Quickie" posting over the weekend -- as always -- with some big stuff coming next week.

-- D.S.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

09/23 Quickie: Yanks-Rays, V-Jax, Kolb

Today's Names to Know: David Price, CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Vincent Jackson, Kevin Kolb, Darrelle Revis, Jacory Harris, Pac-10 goes to Vegas, Gary Williams, Joakim Noah, Steven Tyler, Phil Dunphy and More.

I remain kind of shocked by the divided response to Andy Reid benching Kevin Kolb in favor of Mike Vick. I thought it was kind of obvious. Maybe I'm not thinking it through enough.

Rays bop Yanks, now 1.5 GB heading into their series finale today at Yankee Stadium -- CC Sabathia vs. David Price.

If the Rays win tonight, give them the edge to win the division (and home-field advantage), given their remaining 10 games (Seattle, Baltimore, at Kansas City). The Yankees finish with 6 versus Boston (half at Fenway) and 3 on the road at Toronto.

I should hope that the Red Sox -- out of the playoffs this year -- would consider it "playoff-ish" to keep the Yankees from winning the division.

Because Roy Oswalt gives me the fodder (1-hit shutout over 7 IP with 8 Ks), for the 3rd straight day, I'm going to hammer home that Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt is an amazing playoff pitching rotation. (Oh, and the Phillies are rolling: 10 straight Ws, up 6 in the division and zeroing in on home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.)

NL West Watch: The Padres edge back in front of the Giants. The Rockies are choking away their chances. (The Giants are .5 GB the Braves for the WC; the Rockies are 3 GB.)

Fantasy Stud: Seattle's Jose Lopez, who -- at least symbolically -- showed more offensive pop in one game (3 HRs) than the entire Mariners team has all year.

Chargers don't trade Vincent Jackson: His agent wins the day for labeling San Diego GM AJ Smith "The Lord of No Rings." I'm not sure why Minnesota's offer of a 2nd-rounder plus a conditional extra pick wasn't enough. What more are the Chargers going to get for him?

Revis Island closed for Week 3: Rex Ryan said he won't play. It'll be just like the preseason.

Kevin Kolb may not be starting, but that doesn't mean he isn't startable: A bunch of teams called the Eagles about trading for him. On the one hand, Philly is in the position to hold on to him, in the event Mike Vick stumbles -- then again, there's no guarantee that Kolb's brief, unremarkable Week 1 appearance wasn't foreshadowing. If they trade Kolb, they had better be sure Mike Vick was locked up for the next two years (and it would leave the Eagles with Vick's backup as rookie Mike Kafka). I don't think they will get rid of Kolb -- at least until the offseason.

CFB Tonight: Miami at Pitt. After the loss at Ohio State, The U could use a nationally televised win to regain some of its momentum. This is precisely the kind of game Pitt bafflingly wins. (Pick: Miami)

Pac-10 title game in Las Vegas? This is a brilliant idea, although then they would have to take the game off the boards at sports books. (That's not a big deal.) I suspect that fans of the two participating teams will travel no matter where it is, but there's no question that Vegas has more to offer than, say, Glendale, Arizona.

Gary Williams thinks that revenue-generating college athletes should be paid: He suggests $200 a month as a stipend, which -- for the stars -- seems laughable.

Carmelo Watch: If you were Chicago, would you trade Joakim Noah for Carmelo? Carmelo is the bigger star and -- if you really need scoring -- better offensively. But I don't think the Bulls are hurting for offense; I think Noah anchors the post, plays better D, will only get better on offense and -- to the extent this matters -- is already a pretty big fan favorite. (Related: If I was the Nuggets and had to pick between trading for Noah or Derrick Favors, I'd take Favors, even though Noah is the more proven NBA talent. Favors has a higher ceiling.)

NASCAR: Clint Bowyer docked 150 points. I don't usually write about NASCAR, but can we all agree that the euphemism "didn't meet specifications" means "cheating." I'm not making a value judgment -- presumably, part of racing's allure is that the crews attempt to maximize their advantages, in many cases seeing how much they can get away with. I'm just saying let's not sugar-coat.

Pop Culture: I am a pretty big Idol fan -- but I am also Idol's big problem. The new judging line-up of Randy, J-Lo and Steven Tyler does nothing for me. Even worse, it actually makes me NOT want to watch. It makes me realize how entirely essential Simon was to that show. I am intrigued by Jimmy Iovine as permanent "mentor," but only if he is brutally honest.

(Meanwhile, did anyone else watch the "Modern Family" season premiere last night? Phil Dunphy is my favorite character on TV -- Cameron is Top 5, too.)

In case you missed it yesterday, basically every post produced by the Fire Joe Morgan crew over at Deadspin was brilliant.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sponsored Post: Week 2 and Bad Beats

Your weekly update on my travails in the Blogger Football League, sponsored by Procter & Gamble. For background, see this intro post.

Week 2 in the BFL for me was one of those classic bad beats. After I led the league in scoring in Week 1, I was playing Matt Sebek's team -- things seemed promising on Sunday morning.

Then: BOOM. Chris Johnson earns 3 points, total. I lost by a tick more than 2 points.

Let's put it this way: If I had started 49ers Nth-string RB Anthony Dixon AHEAD OF CHRIS JOHNSON, I would have won the week.

Slightly less distressing, starting WR Pierre Garcon accounted for a single point. (If I had benched him for Michael "3 stinking points" Crabtree, I would have won.)

All of this came to a head late Monday night.

With 2 minutes to go, the 49ers -- down 8 -- marched 82 yards in less than a minute, scored a TD then won a replay reversal to get the 2-point conversion.

Instead of the Saints draining the remaining clock with a series of running plays, Drew Brees (Sebek's star player) threw 56 yards worth of passes...worth precisely the 2.04 points necessary to win.

Sebek: 98.96. Shanoff: 96.92

I don't care that the Saints won the game with a dramatic, last-second field goal. I care that the situation leading up to that field goal cost me the week's win.

Life in fantasy football is full of bad beats -- you hope you only get one excruciating one (and I'd say this one qualifies) per season, and I hope my team has gotten theirs out of their system.

Otherwise, on to Week 3. A team with a name like "99-Rated Swagger" only knows how to shake it off and forge ahead.

Here is this week's full-league recap (from Diana Klochkova of National Football Post) and P&G's Take It To The House page on Facebook.

The P&G Blogger Fantasy League (BFL) is a group of 12 online sports folks competing on the fantasy platform for the chance to win a donation for a local charity, furnished by P&G. The NFL Entities have not offered or sponsored the sweepstakes in anyway.

09/22 Quickie: Vick, Twins, FJM

Today's Names to Know: Mike Vick, Joe Torre, Braylon Edwards, Ron Gardenhire, Roy Halladay, Yankees, D'backs, Colorado, Carmelo, Fire Joe Morgan and More.

Mike Vick to start Sunday: The resuscitation of Mike Vick's career is arguably THE biggest storyline of the 2-week-old NFL season. Vick being named Week 3 starter -- after initially being benched after his terrific Week 2 performance, merely because Kevin Kolb was healthy enough to do the job -- is the biggest development yet.

I saw it as a no-brainer -- how about you? I hope this obliterates the old conventional wisdom that a starting QB can't lose his job because of an injury.

Joe Torre doesn't want to manage the Mets: Can you blame him?

Twins win: This is hardly a surprise, but the Twins win the AL Central. Ron Gardenhire for AL Manager of the Year? I'd still go with Joe Maddon (or Buck Showalter).

How good is Roy Halladay in Philly? He is the Phillies' first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982. Said this yesterday: Halladay-Oswalt-Hamels is a killer playoff rotation.

Was last night the decisive win for the Yankees over the Rays for the AL East title? It put NY up 2.5 with 11 to play (12 for the Rays). Even Mr. Instant History says not to pop champagne yet. If the Rays win tonight (Davis vs. Burnett), they're only back 1.5 -- and if they beat CC on Thursday (pitching David Price, in an ALCS Game 1 preview?), they're only .5 GB.

Even if they split the last two games to leave NYC down 2.5, remember: After this trip to New York, Tampa ends the season at home vs. Seattle and Baltimore, then on the road for four at Kansas City.

(Meanwhile, aside from home-field advantage, winning the division is entirely overrated. It's not like either team is missing the playoffs. So why did I just spend so much time working through that scenario?)

NL West: Giants win, Padres win (.5 GB), Rockies lose (2.5 GB).

Milestones: The D'backs set the all-time single-season record for strikeouts by a team (1,403 -- topping the free-swinging 2001 Brewers). Amazingly, they earned the record with 12 games to go. They might set an unbreakable standard, the "56" of lack of plate discipline.

Carmelo Watch: Apparently, he still wants to go to the Knicks or Bulls, even if Denver's best deal is with the Nets.

If Carmelo wants New York or Chicago, he can have New York or Chicago -- all he has to do is let everyone know he won't sign an extension with any team except those two; what team in their right mind would trade anything of value for a one-year rental?

(Apparently, according to Chad Ford, Carmelo would accept a deal with the Nets -- and potentially sign an extension -- but it's not his first choice. I renew my theory from "The Decision" that if the Nets were already in Brooklyn, they would be OK with Melo.)

Braylon Edwards is really dumb. How hard is it to grab a cab or car service? As punishment, he won't start Sunday, but he will be in uniform, and I presume Rex Ryan will use him whenever he wants to after that first series.

$7 million: That is what it will cost Colorado to leave the Big 12 early, after the current academic year, for the Pac-10. If the Pac-10 can do its TV deal, CU can make that back in a year.

How do you feel about letting sub-.500 teams be bowl-eligible? I actually think that it doesn't bother me -- like 6-6 is so great? The key for me is whether the fans of a 5-7 team would care:

Would they travel to the bowl? Would they bother? I know that while I was at Northwestern (pre-Rose Bowl year), I would have loved to get to go to a bowl, any bowl. Then again, I would have loved to go 5-7 (then 5-6, actually).

My biggest problem with bowl-eligibility is that bowl-eligible teams get a critical extra month of practice (which has a lot less to do with prepping for a bowl than it does prepping for the following season), while bowl-ineligible teams do not.

So excited for Fire Joe Morgan to reunite today to run Deadspin.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

09/21 Quickie: Saints, Hamels, Yanks

The Saints are 2-0 and the 49ers are 0-2, but San Francisco coulda-woulda-shoulda won that game last night. Then again, that's the difference between champs and also-rans.

The biggest question coming out of last night: How bad is Reggie Bush's injury? (A lower-leg break? Oh, that's not good at all. The word is that he'll miss 6 weeks.)

This Kenny McKinley story is awful, as is any death -- any suicide. Condolences to his family, friends and fans -- and to the Broncos family.

NFL Week 3: Of all the QB benchings, Mike Vick's seems most awkward -- he has clearly played well enough to be the starter, both on his own merits and because Kolb looked so iffy in his limited action in Week 1 (not to mention how he'll play post-concussion).

And now Andy Reid is in the position that as soon as Kolb throws an incompletion, people will be calling for Vick. Beyond the fact that Kolb could probably use every extra week to clear the cobwebs, why not ride the hot hand of Vick until he stumbles?

Phillies beat Braves behind Hamels: I am enjoying the NL West race as much as anyone, but I look at the Phillies playoff pitching of Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels and wonder how they could lose before winning the NL pennant.

Yankees top Rays in "Steinbrenner Monument" game, pushing AL East lead to 1.5 with three more to play head-to-head against the Rays this week.

Carmelo headed to Nets? I'd like to think that I was early on the "Derrick Favors for Carmelo is a great deal the Nuggets should jump at" bandwagon. Throw in some expiring contracts and a future (likely Lottery) Nets 1st-round pick and this is a no-brainer for the Nuggets, presuming that Melo is willing to sign a long-term extension with the Nets.

I like Arkansas' optimism for Alabama, but it will make the inevitable beat-down all the more painful. (By the way, I should say that I would like nothing more than for the Hogs to have their greatest win in decades by beating the Tide and sending the BCS into early implosion -- although this was the weekend two years ago that Florida lost to Ole Miss, in Gainesville, and you remember that turned out OK for the losing team.)

So about the Ohio Bobcat tackling Brutus the Buckeye? The guy wearing the Bobcat costume -- Brandon Hanning -- intended to tackle Brutus not just all along, but since he tried out to be the Bobcat. That is some kind of dedication. And he is entirely unrepentant, despite the fact that Ohio U. has banned him from all athletic activities and he has, in like two days, transferred.

Fun stuff, Part 1: I am involved in a Blogs With Balls-sponsored SXSW panel about sports media that was selected for the 2011 conference agenda. See you in Austin next March.

Fun stuff, Part 2: While taking in the Sports Marketing Symposium here in NYC, I will be doing a bit of guest-blogging for Darren Rovell over at his CNBC blog. (Have NO idea what I'm going to write about yet. Waiting for inspiration.)

Surprisingly light news day for the end of September -- the rhythm is a lot more predictable than the offseason.

-- D.S.

Monday, September 20, 2010

09/20 Quickie: Vick, Jets, NFL Week 2

Today's Names to Know: Mike Vick, Brett Favre, Cooper Manning (apparently), Wade Phillips, Mark Sanchez, Brandon Jacobs (helmet), Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Orton, Mike Tolbert, Tyler Colvin, Mark Dantonio, Troy Tulowitzki, CC Sabathia and More.

Week 2 in the NFL is so great, because so much is so hyped after Week 1, then you get the "just when you think you understand the NFL this season..." counter:

*Mike Vick is the new uber-star of the league, to the point where the biggest storyline of this week is whether Andy Reid actually benches his winning QB for the concussed, ineffective one.

*Favre: Ouch. We had the Dolphins-Vikings game on locally in NYC, and so I got the chance to watch Brett Favre's latest implosion up close. And the schadenfreude was no less narcotic than ever.

*Cowboys 0-2, too: Wade Phillips hasn't been fired... yet. But it is an inevitability.

*All those doubts about the Jets after the opening-week loss to the Ravens? They shut up the haters with that decisive win over the Pats. Sanchez and Brady went "Freaky Friday" on us.

(Darrelle Revis injured hamstring: Everyone kind of had to see this coming, right? Consider for a second that the Jets really started to roll AFTER Revis went out.)

*Manning Bowl II a rout: The most interesting Manning-related thing about the game -- otherwise a rout -- was that Cooper Manning and Ashley Manning suddenly dominated Google.

(Otherwise, the only interesting non-Manning related thing about the game was when Brandon Jacobs tossed his helmet into the stands -- inadvertently, he claims. Suspension?)

*What a shootout in DC: You're loving life if you had Matt Schaub in your fantasy league. Gotta feel for Skins K Graham Gano -- he had that OT game-winner NAILED, 'til Kubiak iced him.

*Wait: Suddenly the Bengals' D is stout?

*Wha...? The Bucs are 2-0. The Bears are 2-0. The Chiefs are 2-0. The Steelers are 2-0 with a 4th-string QB. Bruce Gradkowski is a hero. And Kyle Orton was awesome.

*This week's Rookie of the Year? Jahvid Best.

*Ultimate Fantasy Stud That Likely Was On Your League's FA Wire Throughout the Day: Mike Tolbert. (All you Ryan Matthews fans better have hit the waiver wire already.)

(Other fantasy studs: Darren McFadden -- yes, really/finally; LeSean McCoy; Matt Schaub.)


*MLB Injury of the Year: Tyler Colvin, impaled by a piece of broken bat. That's one of those scenarios you always knew could happen -- it's pretty scary to watch. After scoring, Colvin was taken to the hospital, and his season appears to be over. Here's to a full recovery.

*Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had a heart attack after MSU's thrilling "walk-off" OT win over Notre Dame? I don't blame him. (Although he DID call the thrilling play.)

*More CFB: Alabama is clearly the best team in the country.

*I'm sticking with TCU at No. 2, after they mauled a pretty good Baylor team.

*Oklahoma and Nebraska both did a lot to prove their elite status (of course, both have make-or-break games against Texas coming up soon that define their seasons).

*Biggest "status-raising" win of the CFB weekend? Arizona over Iowa.

*Next week's Game of the Week: Alabama at Arkansas, followed closely by Oregon State at Boise State.

(See my BlogPoll ballot here.)

*Troy Tulowitzki. (Despite the Rockies' loss -- that I was disappointed he didn't put up a multi-homer game yesterday shows what kind of month he is having.)

*Aaand, the Giants are back in 1st in the NL West.

*Said this yesterday, in case you missed it: I'm a "King Felix for Cy" person, but I suspect that CC's 20th win sealed up his AL Cy bid. Most voters like that kind of win-total milestone.

*I don't have big expectations for Don Mattingly in LA. (But I will for Joe Torre with the Mets.)

*Blog Font Survey: Enough people disliked the Arial font switch -- roughly the same number that really liked it -- that I am probably going to switch things back. However, almost every redesign in the history of the internet has been met with "Hate it! Switch it back!" from a fair number of people. Let's live with it for a week and re-vote on Thursday. Hopefully, some/many of the "hate it" folks will slide over to "ambivalent, at worst."

-- D.S.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

BlogPoll Top 25 Draft Ballot

A few tweaks near the top (if not AT the top), based on the respect I have for Air Force and that Nebraska and Texas both won on the road. And I'm more impressed by Arkansas winning on the road at Georgia than I am by Boise and Oregon running it up.

By the way, check out the odd blocks of SEC (low teens) then Pac-10 (mid-teens) then Big 10 (high-teens/20s); it's a testament to the relative strength of the leagues, but also to not having enough evidence yet to distinguish among them.

1. Alabama
2. TCU
3. Oklahoma
4. Texas
5. Ohio State
6. Nebraska
7. Boise State
8. Oregon
9. Utah
10. Arkansas
11. Auburn
12. South Carolina
13. Florida
14. Arizona
15. Stanford
16. Oregon State
17. LSU
18. Miami
19. Iowa
20. Michigan
21. Penn State
22. Michigan State
23. Wisconsin
24. Nevada
25. Fresno State

Looking ahead to next week: Alabama at Arkansas is the national headliner, and Stanford-Notre Dame should give the country (at least those not glued to Bama-Arkansas) a look at Andrew Luck, the best QB in the country. The night set gets a little bit more awesome: Oregon State at Boise State (playing both TCU and Boise State? you go, Oregon State!) and South Carolina at Auburn.

As always, would love your feedback on the ballot. Anything really out of whack?

-- D.S.

Sunday (CFB Hangover) Quickie

I had been eyeing this weekend as a "Prove-It" moment early in the season. Let's see who proved what:

Proved they are entirely legit:

Arizona, TCU and Oklahoma beat good (even very good) teams. The Huskers and Hogs won on the road.

Proved little, if anything, despite winning:

Proved me very, very wrong:

And then there is Alabama, which just rolls along. And when they beat Arkansas by 30 next week, it will be even more obvious.

Finally, let's give a shout-out to Michigan State for giving us the best ending of the college football season so far -- the fake FG in OT that turned into a "walk-off" game-winning TD. If you're a Michigan State fan, to have this kind of ending -- against Notre Dame, on national TV, playing in front of a frenzied home crowd and win-or-bust awesome -- had to be one of the most satisfying wins in years. (The play clock had expired? Oh well! In all seriousness, the refs should have reviewed that -- but it is virtually impossible in a "walk-off" setting.)

Expect the Spartans to enter my BlogPoll Top 25.


*Troy Tulowitzki: Good gosh-a-mighty.

*Does cracking the 20-win barrier seal the AL Cy for CC?

*Back in front of the NL West? The Padres (via Ludwick)

*NFL Game of the Day: Pats-Jets. Set your rosters!

-- D.S.