Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday (Very) Quickie

It's a long day until Florida-Alabama at 8. (You're forgiven for having Oregon-Stanford on using picture-in-picture. No excuses for skipping it for Notre Dame-BC, unless you're a fan of either team.)

Here's how I net out about Florida's chances: I am so scarred after last year's SEC championship game that I think it would be overachieving for the Gators to keep it within 2 TDs.

I'm also keeping my eye on the bigger prize: I don't care if Florida loses this game if they learn enough to come back and win the rematch in Atlanta in 9 weeks, which I think the would.

CFB Viewing Guide (What I'm Watching)
Noon: Northwestern at Minnesota (ESPN)
3:30: Texas-Oklahoma (ABC), Denard (ESPNU), Wisc-Mich St (ESPN)
8: Florida-Alabama (with check-ins on Oregon-Stanford during ads)

NL West: Well, at least the Padres are trying to make it interesting. (Beat the Giants head-to-head, plus the Braves lost to the not-mailing-it-in Phillies)

Hot Stove: Mets fire Minaya, Manuel. Worst jobs in baseball?

Ryder Cup: What does it say that for the second straight day, the Team USA clothes are the story?

Enjoy the day.

-- D.S.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary, Mrs. Quickie

My 6th wedding anniversary is on Sunday, so it feels like the right timing to publicly re-proclaim my infatuation with my wife.

Our wedding weekend -- held in Amelia Island, Florida -- was both awesome and appropriately football-oriented, given her family's Florida fandom. (And mine!)

The wedding itself was on a Sunday. The day before, everyone watched the Florida-Arkansas game (early wedding planning initially considered a group trip to the Swamp to watch the game, but the timing just didn't work out). After an amazing rehearsal dinner put on by my parents, there was a post-party where everyone -- Northwestern buddies and Gator in-law posse alike -- went bananas as Northwestern beat Ohio State for the first time in forever.

One of my favorite details of the wedding remains one of the items in the goody bag we gave everyone when they arrived: Custom "stadium cups" (my wife collects jumbo-sized sports-arena stadium cups) where we replaced the typical season schedule with key dates and locations from our relationship: The home opener was our first date; "homecoming" was when we moved in together; the obligatory end-of-season game at Hawaii (where we had our honeymoon).

It is fairly typical to owe your spouse some of the most core things of your life: Kids, making a home, emotional support, friendship.

In my case, I have the unique experience of owing my wife my sports fandom. Without her, there is no Florida as the center of gravity of my fan existence. Who knows what I would have thought about Florida's success the past few years? Who knows what I would have thought about Tim Tebow? (There would certainly have been no Tebow blog.) My closet would have two dozen fewer T-shirts.

Occasionally, I allow myself a "Twilight Zone" moment where I picture how things would be had I met and married someone else... who was a fan of another team. (In this admittedly odd fantasy, for some reason the girl is always a Baylor fan.) I'm sure I would still love college football, but I suspect I wouldn't have the same kind of life-defining allegiance to a particular team. Six years into our marriage and nine years into our relationship -- meaning nine years into my Florida fandom -- I mostly can no longer imagine my life without the Gators.

And I most certainly cannot imagine my life without my wife. That kicked in about nine years ago, too.

There will be some sort of celebratory dinner out in the next few nights (pending babysitter availability), but we know it won't be tomorrow night.

We will be sitting at home. She will be wearing her "lucky shirt." (I have yet to find a permanent replacement for 3 years of wearing a Tebow jersey to watch the game.)

And we will be watching Florida play Alabama.

That feels like the most appropriate way of all to celebrate.

Happy anniversary, Mrs. Quickish (nee Mrs. Quickie).

-- D.S.

Update: So here is the post I did last year, for our 5th anniversary -- a much more prolific essay about her and marriage rooted, in part, in fandom.

10/01 Quickie: Vick vs. McNabb, Alabama vs. Florida, Giants vs. Padres and More

Let's talk about the three biggest sports storylines of the weekend:

(1) Donovan McNabb's Philadelphia homecoming vs. Michael Vick's folk-hero mojo: Oh, there might be a few boos -- and these boos will be entirely over-played -- but I think the vast majority of Eagles fans don't harbor enough resentment for McNabb (if any) to want to boo. I actually think almost all of them will give him a respectful cheer at the start of the game, then boo the Redskins QB, regardless of whether or it's McNabb. Meanwhile, at this point it doesn't matter whom Vick is playing against, he is the most must-see player in the league. This should be one of the most-watched games of the NFL season.

(2) Heavyweight CFB fight: Florida vs. Alabama. It's not even really a "rivalry" rivalry, like Texas and Oklahoma. In recent years, all they do is get in each other's way on the road to the national championship. In that way, it's bigger than a rivalry -- the last two times they have played, they have been de facto national semifinal playoff games, with a dramatic split.

In 2008, Florida's greatest win under Urban Meyer; in 2009, an absolute ass-kicking that was so complete that it actually made me feel less badly about losing the game.

I'm already on the record as saying that I think Alabama will win by at least 2 TDs -- Florida's D is largely untested, and even if it was, the Ingram-Richardson axis lays waste to any D it faces. (See last year's SECCG, which featured a Florida D that I thought was one of the best of all time, and Alabama rolled over it.) And Florida's offense -- last week's romp notwithstanding -- will have trouble with Bama's D.

(There is still a part of me holding out that Florida might win -- as I said yesterday, it is this sliver of my sports soul that Nick Saban will yank out and stomp on. The only solace I will take is that Florida learns enough to get it back in their rematch in the SEC title game in two months.)

More thoughts on the weekend in college football:

*Stanford-Oregon is the Pac-10 game of the year (I'm taking Oregon, reluctantly)...

*Red River Rivalry? Texas-Oklahoma is suddenly kind of weak (I'm taking Oklahoma, but only after witnessing the UT humiliation in Austin last week)...

*Separation Saturday in Big Ten: Wisconsin-Michigan State and Penn State-Iowa begin to offer some separation between a cluster of good-but-hardly-great Big Ten teams (picks: Wisco on the road; Iowa at home)...

*How can you not be rooting for BC to beat Notre Dame?...

*Upset Special: Does VA Tech winning on the road at NC State count? No?

*Trying so hard not to jinx Northwestern going to 5-0...

(3) Final weekend of the MLB season. Including:

*NL West: Padres vs. Giants. Last night's results -- Giants win, Padres shut out -- drains a lot of the excitement from this weekend's season finale. The Giants have clinched at least a tie for the NL title -- they only have to win 1 of 3 this weekend to clinch the division. And the Padres are now 2 back of the Braves for the Wild Card. With 3 games to go? San Diego is done. That means we don't have to be on "Bobby Cox Retirement Watch" on Sunday.

*AL East: The Yankees and Rays are tied for the division lead. The winner gets home-field advantage in the ALDS; the loser starts on the road. More intriguingly, the Twins sit 1 GB both for the best record in the AL (and HFA in the ALCS) -- if I wasn't so sure that the Twins were going to lose in the ALDS, this would matter.

*Last push for awards: King Felix won't pitch Sunday. Hopefully, enough AL Cy voters will get it and give him the award. Otherwise, the other awards feel locked up. Here's how I see it: Felix for AL Cy; Longoria for AL MVP; Halladay for NL Cy and for NL MVP: Joey Votto, slightly edging out Adrian Gonzalez.

*If your team isn't in the postseason, enjoy the offseason. Only 30 days or so until Hot Stove season really picks up. In the meantime, hopefully you can enjoy other teams' playoff games.


*Wild finish in Stillwater: After two scores late to tie things up and seemingly on the march to win on the road, Texas A&M throws a pick with 16 seconds left, which Oklahoma State turns into a game-winning FG at the final gun. Expect the Cowboys to join the Top 25 this week.

*Ryder Cup: Apparently, the Americans' rain-gear is horribly constructed, and it is actually having a material impact on their games. Seriously? (As of now, the matches are in rain-delay.)

*NBA Camping: LeBron has accomplished the impossible. He has actually made the Celtics... likeable? (Not quite, but when it comes down to Heat-Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals next May, I will be rooting for C's. No, wait, I haven't thought this through: Do I really want to deal with the Boston triumphalism if they eliminate the Superfriends? But what about my interest in seeing the Heat fail? At the very least, I'm conflicted about the Celtics, which is an upgrade from despising them.)

*No. 1 college hoops prospect Austin Rivers (son of Doc) commits to Duke: He decommitted from Florida, so you can imagine how I feel about that. He is a terrific player. It will be interesting to see if all-world frosh Kyrie Irving sticks around for a second year of college to play alongside Rivers.

*App State football moving from 1-AA (FCS) to 1-A (FBS)? Jumping out of your division is the new jumping out of your conference.

*Pop Culture Watch: The Islanders with the most street-cred they've had since the early 1980s when "30 Rock" guest-star Paul Giamatti wears a John Tavares jersey.

*ESPN is launching ESPNW, a spin-off brand aimed at women. I'm all for giving it a try (and I'm a huge fan of editorial lead Alison Overholt, a longtime ESPN Mag editor and erstwhile rec-league hoops teammate). If Holly Anderson's reaction at SB Nation is any indication, it is an interesting challenge: Is the target audience the women who already watch ESPN (who make up 25 percent of the audience)? Is it a lifestyle brand? Should it be ESPN's version of "Jezebel?"

At the very least, if it eliminates or mitigates the institutional misogyny that underlies most sports media, it's a worthy effort. I would encourage them to go outside of celeb female athletes and women in sports media for insights. Apparently, they are starting with a blog -- as good of a place as any. There is a lot of potential here -- I could spend my entire day just thinking about ESPN sub-brand possibilities. Just launch something.

-- D.S.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

09/30 Quickie: UNC, NL West, Ted

Today's Names to Know: John Blake, Rays, Tim Lincecum, Ted Leonsis, Maverick Carter, Dez Bryant, Donovan McNabb, Mike Vick, Roy Halladay, Cito Gaston, Les Miles, Alberto Contador and More.

UNC football uh-oh: So the agent had the assistant coach on the payroll? Even if that's over-simplifying, that's damning enough just as a general concept to ensure that UNC football is in an epic amount of trouble -- it will make USC look like a slap on the wrist.

Rays' attendance, cont'd: So those 20,000 free tickets went entirely and went quickly. As expected: Free is free. That doesn't mean that those fans will now start paying.

I still contend that the freebie -- certainly at that magnitude -- devalues the notion of paying for a ticket in the future.

But at least it fills the stadium for one otherwise 10,000-fan game; presumably, everyone will pay full freight for playoff seats and sell the place out. (But maybe not!)

Oh, and Rays fans ended up getting what they paid for: A listless 2-0 loss to the Orioles.

NL West: Giants win (yet another spectacular pitching performance), Padres win. Advantage: Giants, who are up 2 with 4 games to go. (Meanwhile, the Braves are up 1.5 on the Padres for the Wild Card. I'm no Braves fan, but Bobby Cox making the playoffs in his final season before retirement certainly feels right.)

Ted Leonsis tells the truth, pays the price: There's going to be a "hard cap" salary system in the NBA, come hell or highwater (or lockout/strike). He still shouldn't have said it; David Stern was right to fine him the $100K. But the union is posturing -- how could they not know this is the leagues' position? And why wouldn't they embrace the refreshing bit of candor and return the serve?

Is LeBron backlash because of racism? That's what Lebron and his manager, Maverick Carter, think. While always accounting for extremes, I disagree. Cleveland fans would have been bitter about LeBron regardless, but I think he is talking about the national LeBron backlash, which would have been largely avoided had LeBron not handled the whole thing like such an asshole: Don't tease your home city. Don't go on national TV for an hour. Don't use a douchey money phrase like "I'm taking my talents to South Beach." The LeBron backlash was because LeBron and Maverick Carter were utterly tone-deaf to how their plan would play out.

Quote of the Day: "Lebron playing harder in practice for cameras than when he tanked vs Celtics" -- Peter Gammons, via his Twitter feed.

Dez Bryant's expensive dinner out: I just can't muster the outrage. Yes, $55,000 is a lot of money, in an absolute sense. (Believe me, I get that.) But as a percentage of his overall income? Less than most people probably spend on Starbucks in a year, relative to their incomes.

Donovan McNabb's Philly homecoming: I think fewer Eagles fans will boo than booed him the day he was drafted.

Besides, McNabb-vs-Philly is entirely overshadowed by Vick -- Philly's newest folk hero, arguably more beloved by Eagles fans after 3 weeks than McNabb ever was -- and how he will play.

Felix-vs-CC Cy Young debate: If you're going to pick CC, at least don't use W-L record as your justification. Unfortunately, that seems like the No. 1 data point for all CC-backers.

MLB Awards Week: Roy Halladay is my NL Cy Young winner. Coming tomorrow: NL MVP.

Cito Gaston's home finale in Toronto: Growing up going to Baltimore Orioles games, I will always be bitter that Gaston didn't pitch Mike Mussina -- out of spite -- when the 1993 All-Star Game was in Baltimore. That led to the inevitable "Cito Sucks" T-shirt fad in the DMV area.

I'd be frustrated, too, if I was an LSU football fan. So let's look ahead: If/when LSU fires Les Miles after the season, who would you want to coach? I would actually stay in-conference and try to poach Dan Mullen from Mississippi State. The other option: Appeal to Texas D.C. (and "coach-in-waiting") Will Muschamp that Mack Brown is not leaving anytime soon, and break the bank to bring him to LSU.

Alabama-Florida lead-up: I really have tried to limit my Florida talk here, but if they are in the Game of the Weekend, it's dumb to avoid it for the sake of avoiding it.

What do you want me to say? I remain utterly scarred after last year's SEC championship game beat-down, to the point where I expect nothing less than losing by at least two touchdowns on Saturday. Anything closer than that -- and I won't allow myself to consider that Florida might actually win* -- and I will feel pretty good about the remote possibility of beating Bama in a rematch in the SECCG in December.

* -- Oh, who am I kidding? There's a tiny sliver that thinks there is a chance. And that sliver creates the opening for the crushing sense of defeat when they lose. Any hope rests with Jeff Demps' foot, no longer in a boot but certainly not 100 percent.

CFB Tonight: Texas A&M at Oklahoma State, both 3-0 but unranked, with the winner -- given the national exposure of the game -- almost assuredly entering the Top 25 next week.

Latest BlogPoll Top 25: Mostly interesting to see how far the group, collectively, decided to drop Texas. Remember, I had them pity-ranked at 25 (with a 2010 resume undeserving of even that).

PEDs in Cycling (You don't say!) Is anyone -- I mean anyone -- surprised that 3x TdF champ Alberto Contador tested positive for PEDs?

CBB: Tracking this Michigan State thing. Here's what we know: Two players (unnamed) were accused of sexual assault back in August, but local prosecutors -- after investigating -- decided against filing any charges. Presumably, it winds down there after yesterday's brief flare-up of media interest.

Rooting interests: Just found out that Northwestern will be coming to NYC to play my local neighborhood D-1 program -- St. Francis (team that quasi-famously hosted the first-ever basketball game my older kid ever attended) -- at Madison Square Garden. It's like a house divided!

-- D.S.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sponsored Post: The Roller-Coaster

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

So Week 1, I destroy the league. Week 2, I take an epic "bad beat." What would happen in Week 3? A ride back up the roller-coaster: A huge win, including a league-high-for-the-season total points output.

The breakdown: Tom Brady killed it. Chris Johnson rebounded from that atrocious Week 2 to crush it. LaDainian came up big. Antonio Gates continued to be a metronome of high production at the TE spot. Malcom Floyd FINALLY had the game his fantasy GMs have been waiting for since Draft Day. And, for good measure, Kevin Walter went from the Free Agent Wire to my starting lineup, and contributed 10 points.

This season, I have what I almost never have: Scoring depth. If Miles Austin has an atypically bad day -- which he did -- Gates will put up star-WR numbers from the TE position, or I'll get that big game from Floyd. What that should allow for is a steady points output from the Brady-CJ-Gates trio, putting much less pressure on the rest (LDT, Austin, Floyd, Walter and my K/D) to have HUGE games -- not to mention covering during bye weeks, like Week 4 in which I will be without Austin.

Week 1 was promising. Week 2 was a wake-up call. Week 3 is the first sign that I should be considered a top contender to win the league. But the bye weeks are coming....

Here is this week's full-league recap (from the Gunaxin guys) 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.

09/29 Quickie: Rays, Reds, Felix, More

Today's Names to Know: David Price, Jay Bruce, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Tim Hudson, Eric Hinske, Carmelo, Chip Kelly and More.

This Rays situation is fascinating: The team clinched a playoff spot last night, but the stadium was only half-full -- about 18,000 (5,000 less than the season average).

The team's stars expressed frustration with the low numbers on Monday -- David Price griped on Twitter, Evan Longoria expanded on it. The debate went national:

Were the players right to complain? Were the fans (or non-fans) at fault? Is it just as simple as "The stadium location is awful?"

Then the team hastily announced that tonight's game would feature 20,000 free tickets -- a move they wouldn't have made without the players' comments (and national attention).

I'm of two minds about the move: On the one hand, it devalues the base of paying customers by giving away tickets for free; on the other hand, it lets new fans try -- hopefully some will buy.

I am a big fan of the Rays' management, and I appreciate the interest in creating a playoff-like atmosphere to help celebrate the team's playoff positioning. This freebie just seems...forced.

Here is the reality: The Trop will be packed for home playoff games. The Rays have a very good chance of winning it all. If they do, they should see a lift in attendance next year. Should.


Reds clinch playoff spot, their first playoff appearance since 1995 after a decade of sub-.500 futility. And they did it as dramatically as possible: On a walk-off HR, by part of the team's young nucleus (Jay Bruce). They may not make it out of the NLDS, but it is going to be a fun to watch long-suffering Reds fans get into it (and Aroldis Chapman).

Was last night it for the Padres? Obviously, things could change in the final few games of the season -- particularly since San Diego plays San Francisco head-to-head to finish the season -- but the Padres lost to the Cubs, while the Giants won (extending their NL West lead to 2) and the Braves took a 1-game lead for the Wild Card, winning behind Tim Hudson's start on short rest, which -- most relevantly -- sets him up to be able to pitch on Sunday in the season-finale (and would-be playoff-clincher) on full rest.

King Felix for AL Cy: Yet another quality start -- his 30th of the season (1st time a pitcher has had 30 QS since Big Unit in '02) -- and a win (his 13th) to nudge him over .500 (for Cy voters who care about those sorts of things). And he wants to pitch in the season finale on Sunday.

(CC is keeping it close: He won his 21st, while the Yankees clinch a playoff spot: It's not like Sabathia is a slouch. In a pre-Greinke-Cy Era, CC would be a Cy lock. But there has been a seismic shift in the sophistication of normally traditional voters; Felix has had the better year.)

MLB Awards Week: Evan Longoria is my pick for AL MVP, leading the AL in WAR while leading the Rays to what could/should be the best record in the league. (Tomorrow: NL Cy.)

Carmelo Watch: Apparently, the deal with the Nets fell apart. It is unlikely that the Nuggets will get a package as compelling -- certainly from a team in a city where Melo might sign an extension to go along with the trade. The alternative is that he leaves next summer as a free agent -- probably to the Knicks -- and the Nuggets will get nothing in return.

CFB: Oregon gives a 6-year extension to Chip Kelly, who has more than earned it. Oregon should be an elite program for the foreseeable future. (Now watch them go out and lose at home to Stanford this weekend.)

Economics: What happened at Cal -- dropping 5 varsity sports, including baseball -- is foreshadowing of what is going to happen at public universities across the country.

-- D.S.

Monday, September 27, 2010

09/28 Quickie: Bears, Doc, Blanda, Kid

Today's Names to Know: Devin Hester, Roy Halladay, Carlos Zambrano, John Updike, Ted Williams, George Blanda, Bill Polian, Gilbert Arenas and More.

40 years ago today
: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu. Today's the day to read it if you never have.

MNF: The Bears are 3-0, and they just dispatched the team most experts picked to win the NFC. The Packers played a sloppy game -- penalties, turnovers, letting 2010 Devin Hester look like 2007 Devin Hester.

(Parity rules: After 3 weeks, there are only 3 unbeaten teams left -- the Bears, the Steelers and the surprising Chiefs. It's worth asking: Which is most likely to collapse and not make the playoffs? I'll go with Chicago.)

MLB: Roy Halladay has been everything that Phillies fans had hoped he would be when they got him in the offseason. Last night's 21st win -- clinching the NL East title for Philly -- was an exclamation point on what will be a NL Cy-winning season for him.

NL West/Wild Card Thrill-Ride: The Padres lost their WC lead to the Braves when they lost a 1-0 result to rejuvenated Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs. They also fell a full game behind the Giants in the NL West -- less of an issue than the WC, because they play the Giants head-to-head to finish the season this weekend, a virtual "play-in."

Interesting story percolating about the Rays players being a bit nasty, publicly, about their low attendance. Rays fans may not be showing up for bad reasons (don't appreciate what an awesome team they have) or good ones (who has the discretionary cash to spend on going?), but the players are never -- EVER -- going to win by griping about it.

RIP George Blanda, who played in the NFL in four different decades (1949-1975), a Methuselaian achievement that included both passing and kicking.

NFL going to 18 regular-season games a "fait accompli?" Colts honcho Bill Polian says so, and I think he's tapped in enough not to float bad info so publicly.

NBA Media Days: Forget Carmelo. How about the transformation of Gilbert Arenas -- still one of my favorite NBA players -- from personality to all-business. I could see Arenas being the NBA's version of Michael Vick: Redemption story through on-field (-court) awesomeness.

Heat Mania (or Fatigue): LeBron couldn't be more wrong that this season isn't "Championship or Bust." Let's be clear: Anything less than a title this year is failure for Miami.

MLB Awards Week: Felix Hernandez is my AL Cy Young winner. Let's hope he doesn't make me look dumb when he makes his final start of the season later today. (Coming tomorrow: AL MVP.)

Bills cut Trent Edwards: Wonder if they wish they had drafted Tim Tebow? He would be struggling, but at least the team would be relevant.

-- D.S.

BlogPoll Monday: Weigh In Now

My latest BlogPoll Top 25 ballot. Please weigh in the comments with your reactions, arguments, etc.

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

09/27 Quickie: Vick, 'Boys, Saints

Today's Names to Know: Mike Vick, Garrett Hartley, Todd Haley, Braylon Edwards, Leon Washington, Sebastian Janikowski, Charlie Batch, Anquan Boldin, Austin Collie, Steven Jackson, Texas, Boise, Trey Burton, Jim Furyk, Carmelo, PTI in HD and More.

Consider that if the NFL gave out MVP awards after only the 3rd week of the season, Michael Vick would be your top contender. This story just keeps getting more interesting. (And it only gets MORE interesting next week, when Vick and the Eagles host Donovan McNabb's Philly homecoming.)

Also interesting from Week 3:

*Cowboys getting off schneid.
*Garrett Hartley's game-costing missed FG.
*Sean Payton's game-costing freeze-the-K TO.
*The 3-0 (3-0!) Chiefs. (With trick plays!)
*Braylon sees your DUI, raises you a TD.
*No more gripes from Moss?
*Charlie Batch is kind of unstoppable.
*Offseason Move of the Year: Anquan Boldin
*Sucks to be... a Redskins fan.
*Leon Washington hero!
*Seb Janikowski goat!
*Fantasy Stud: Austin Collie


*CFB Weekend Wrap: Texas' season is over... Alabama re-proves itself No. 1... Boise gets some extra credit... Trey Burton is Tim Tebow 2.0?... Polls finally get on Nevada bandwagon. (BlogPoll ballot going up mid-day.)

*How fitting that Jim Furyk -- he of the missed wake-up call that cost him FedEx Cup points -- ended up winning the FedEx Cup (and its accompanying $10 million).

*MLB Races: Giants nudge back in front of the Padres... Yankees (via the Red Sox) take back a game on the Rays (NYY .5 GB)

*NBA Training Camps: No deal (yet) on Carmelo, but Erick Dampier -- refreshingly -- removed the Heat from his short list of potential destinations.

*PTI and Around the Horn going HD starting today. Wow, that would have been swarthily interesting for me when I did my brief ATH stint.

-- D.S.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday CFB Hangover Quickie

A few thoughts off yesterday's games:

*Call Boise's performance against Oregon State a wash as compared to TCU's. It certainly won't hurt (and I will be moving the Broncos up in my poll, because of the respect I have for OSU. I give TCU the credit; I will give Boise State the credit, too. And now we hit the multi-week stretch of Boise State dominance over some of the weakest comp in college football.

*So much for Texas' shot at a national title. Any loss is usually pretty fatal to BCS title-game hopes, but to get humiliated, by an unranked seeming lightweight, at home? Done.

(The Big 12 took a hit yesterday, with Oklahoma barely surviving a Cincy team that had disappointed this season. The best team in the Big 12: Nebraska.)

*Alabama's best win yet? When Alabama was down 20-7 on the road to a tough Arkansas team that looked like it had solved Bama's D, I still thought the Tide would win. And they proceeded to punish Arkansas into submission. The running game is so good.

*Trey Burton. He was already putting in a TD per game. On his 2nd, I said: Great. On his 3rd, I said: Wow. On his 4th, I jumped out of my chair. On his 5th, I shook my head. On his 6th, I launched "" (Kidding, but don't discount Florida fans in hero withdrawal after 4 years of Tim Tebow now looking to create an idol myth around Burton.)

*Huge win for Auburn. There's no shame in winning close games over good teams. (And Auburn's win over Mississippi State now looks a lot more impressive than, say, Arkansas' win over Georgia.)

*That rule doesn't apply to Arizona, which got a huge W a week ago over Iowa but barely survived an ugly slugfest with Cal, which I wouldn't qualify as a "good" team. I was pretty high on Arizona after they beat Iowa, but this win will take them down a few notches in my poll.

(I also nicked Utah in my upcoming poll, because their season-opening win over Pitt now doesn't look nearly as impressive. A team's "resume" is a constantly evolving thing.)

*Get well, Denard!

*Mea culpa: I was very wrong about BC beating VT. Important style points for the Hokies (and Boise State). More: What was I thinking ranking Fresno State the past few weeks?

*Stanford is the real deal. The Cardinal gave Notre Dame a much tougher game than either Michigan or Michigan State. Next week's game at Oregon will be fascinating.

*More next week: Florida at Alabama, Texas-Oklahoma, Wisconsin-Michigan State.

*Early BlogPoll preview: Alabama-TCU as 1-2; Boise State jumps to No. 3; Oklahoma out of Top 10; Stanford into Top 10; USC and NC State making poll; Texas with pity No. 25 ranking.

-- D.S.