Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday (Wrigley) Quickie

For starters, let's just say that the modified rules for the Wrigley game today -- only one end zone in use -- takes a game that was already going to be fun to watch for its overall aesthetics... and turns it into one of the most one-of-a-kind football games ever played. It's a must-see.

(Go back to Twitter and look up the hashtag #wrigleypickuprules, which turns the rule-change into a turn-back-the-clock nostalgia-fest for the backyard football games of our childhood.)

Boise rolls: Speaking of must-see, I tuned in to the Boise-Fresno game last night for the 1st quarter and was actually kind of excited to see Fresno hold Boise to 3 points. Then I wake up, check the score and... it's 51-0. Now, remember, this Fresno team gave up 55 to Ole Miss. Then again, they nearly beat Nevada last week. Still: It's a big statement.

Otherwise, it's a relatively quiet day in college football: Oregon and Auburn aren't going to lose -- because they aren't playing. Ohio State-Iowa is mildly interesting (but not nearly as interesting as the Wrigley game, which deserves OSU-IA's spot on ABC).

Bruce Pearl suspended: 8 conference games -- nearly half the league season -- gives you an indication of just how serious his problems were. It's a good thing for him that he has so much job security that they'd rather lose him for half a season than fire him outright.

More CBB: Minnesota stuns UNC. Welcome to college basketball, Harrison Barnes. You might be the most talented player in the country, but your team is still only just OK. This might have been the biggest win of Tubby Smith's Minnesota stint. Expectations are now MUCH higher.

Pitt wins CvC: Between beating Texas last night and beating Maryland the other night, a pretty good trip to NYC for Pitt. (Still can't buy Pitt as a Final Four contender. They always seem to fall short in March when it matters.)

NBA: Tim Duncan has become the Spurs' all-time leading scorer. That just feels right... wow: playing without Kevin Durant, the Thunder beat the Celtics...

Astros for sale: Will Mark Cuban make a play? He should.

Colt Brennan hurt in car crash: Here's hoping he and his co-passengers have a full recovery. His girlfriend, Shakti Stream, is currently the No. 2 most-searched topic on the Web.

-- D.S.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/19 Quickie: Felix, Vick, Wrigley, Tiger,
NASCAR, St. Pierre, Newton, Much More

In case you missed it yesterday: For updates on my new venture, Quickish, please like the Facebook page ( and/or follow the Twitter feed (@quickish). Love seeing who is following along! Your support is hugely appreciated. (As a bonus, I included a sneak-peek of the Quickish logo in both places.)

Today's Names to Know: Felix Hernandez, Mike Vick, Brian St. Pierre, Brett Favre, Tyler Thigpen, Brandon Marshall, Cam Newton, Wrigley Field, Tiger Woods, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Steve Nash, Texas hoops and More.

It's a crazy-full post today, by the way. I even dip into NASCAR; if you're ever going to write about (or read about... or care about) NASCAR, this is the weekend. Thanks for reading:

Felix Hernandez wins the AL Cy Young: The most groundbreaking and important baseball award in a half-century (let's show some restraint, in homage to Jackie Robinson winning NL ROY).

There are two lessons: (1) A pitcher's wins and losses have historically been highly overvalued, and this helps drive that home for fans. (2) The BBWAA were swayed by sabermetrically based arguments. I don't think Felix wins this last year, let alone 5 or -- god forbid -- 10 years ago.

NFL Week 11: Didn't think anything could eclipse Pats-Colts, but Mike Vick has done it -- by himself, he has made Eagles-Giants the most must-see game of the weekend -- if only to watch how he follows up this past Monday night, against another division rival.

Beyond those two games? The schedule feels full of dogs and duds -- which inevitably means we'll see upsets and close games. The Packers and the Vikings always make for good theater -- Favre may be limping off the stage, but you know he would love a win over Green Bay.

Brian St. Pierre Watch: I can tell you my favorite storyline of the weekend: The Panthers starting 30-year-old Brian St. Pierre, who has thrown about a dozen pro passes since being drafted in 2003, and who was most recently -- like last week -- a stay-at-home dad. It's like Kurt Warner 2.0, only without the stats or the winning. I am a bit obsessed with Brian St. Pierre.

Bears smother the Dolphins: Yikes, things look bleak in Miami. Hope you didn't pick up Tyler Thigpen for your fantasy team, hoping you found a hidden gem. (Meanwhile, Brandon Marshall is a dope: His attempt at insulting Cutler backfired, and his hamstring injury made him look feeble.)

Cam Newton, Cont'd: I know that based on NCAA rules, it doesn't matter if Cam Newton didn't know what his dad was doing on his behalf during his recruitment; it's all fruit of the poisonous tree.

But as it relates to public perception -- and, ultimately, how the NCAA feels compelled to proceed on the Newton investigation -- it is very smart of his lawyer to stake out some very clear, simple ground: Cam knew nothing. He didn't ask for any money. He didn't take any money. And if any money was asked for or did change hands, Cam knew nothing about it.

This gibes with the SI account of Cam's recruitment, in which he pliantly left the decision entirely up to his dad, who dictated to Cam where he would go.

We can all find the actions of the adults to be unseemly, and positioning Cam as the innocent victim of adults trying to make a buck off of him makes Cam much more sympathetic... and makes it much tougher to create any sort of pressure to make him ineligible.

(It is classic jury nullification: Yes, the rules were broken, but the rules are wrong. So send a message the rules are wrong by not punishing him. It's not that scheming-for-money shouldn't be against the rules, but if a parent does it without the player's knowledge -- and I think there is a strong anecdotal and intuitive case to be made that Cam had no idea -- then it seems wrong to punish the player with ineligiblity.)

CFB Weekend: Game of the Week? In the absence of a tough game for a Top 4 contender -- although tonight's Boise-Fresno game should be a good one -- I'm going to go with Northwestern vs. Illinois at Wrigley Field, which is to college football what the NHL's Winter Classic is to hockey. The visuals are simply too awesome to not watch, no matter who is playing. Too bad it's shunted off to ESPNU, while ABC shows Ohio State-Iowa, ostensibly thinking that one of them has a chance at a Big Ten title that Wisconsin will not be relinquishing.

Other games of intrigue:
*Stanford at Cal
*Nebraska at Texas A&M
*VA Tech at Miami
*Arkansas at Mississippi State

More: Love this ad campaign with Allstate sponsoring Spencer Hall of SBNation, taking a college football road trip.

Last night: As expected, Alabama rolled over Georgia State. But GSU will take something out of this, and when they eventually move up to D-1A, they will probably point to this game as a key part of the process.

Tiger Watch: The biggest sign yet that Tiger's power and authority have atrophied? His attempt at a p.r. maneuver this week -- the Twitter feed, the Newsweek essay and, most recently, the radio interview on ESPN -- were considered duds:

The same old hollow-sounding talking points that don't get into any details or showcase real emotion. The solution (aside from, y'know, winning tournaments) is the same as it has been since the day after the accident: Open up, provide some details, answer anything/everything.

Things had calcified over the past 10 months -- Team Tiger's attempt to thaw his reputation didn't have nearly enough to it.

NASCAR's "Game 7" moment: Up until now, NASCAR's "Chase" series -- an attempt at "playoffs" -- has been pretty weak. That this season's Chase comes down to a final race -- between Hamlin (in the lead), Johnson (multiple-time defending champ) and Harvick (still in it) -- actually creates dramatic, winner-take-all stakes for the season's final race on Sunday.

Here's my question: What happens with the rest of the field? Do they help their friends? Do they largely stay out of the way? Do they try to influence the outcome? This is an extreme example, but what if a driver, partial to Johnson, crashes into Hamlin?

Is there an etiquette? How can there be -- this is a first-time situation. And the stakes are pretty high: Money (particularly sponsorship money) for the champ, along with a place in the sport's history. Why wouldn't a racer with no stakes beyond a personal or economic relationship with one of the three leaders try to help a friend/teammate?

NBA Last Night: As if you didn't already know, when Steve Nash doesn't play, the Suns are not very good. I would love to see Nash get moved to a contender; he's too good -- too much of an all-timer -- to whittle away his remaining career years on a Lottery team.

CBB Last Night: Texas got the "prove-it" win of the night, beating Illinois at Madison Square Garden, and setting up another "prove-it" game tonight, against Pitt (who beat Maryland).

Sidebar: I remember going to the CvC in 2006 to watch a then-unknown Florida team, and saying to my wife, "Ugh, why is Joakim Noah playing? He's terrible!" (This was the start of Noah's sophomore year, after he played about 3 minutes as a freshman.) And her saying, "You're totally wrong. He is going to be really good. Look at the energy." Of course, she was right.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

-- D.S.

Sponsored Post: Not Vick, But Not Bad

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

Back on the right side of goodness: I destroyed Dan Levy last week. The offense was clicking, despite starting a bye-week kicker and having a 2-point defense. I'm feeling the mojo again.

I'll need it: This week, I play KSK's Punter. He is the No. 2-ranked team in the league. I have risen to No. 3. Serious playoff implications in this one. I'm sticking with CJ and gem Blount in the backfield with Brady, then hoping Floyd and Gates return to form, with Miles Austin and Michael Crabtree swapped in for Kevin Walter and Pierre Garcon. We'll see.

(Ironically, I played Punter head-to-head in Week 10 in our KSK keeper league, and I came from behind on Monday night -- thanks to David Akers -- to beat him by less than a point. It's kind of cool to get a rematch right away, in an entirely different league.)

Ironically, he wrote this week's league fantasy football recap post for the league. Not nearly enough gnashing over his loss to me.

Check out P&G's Take It To The House page on Facebook. Be sure to look for the new contest where you predict the players who will have the top 5 rushing or receiving plays from scrimmage, and if you get them all, you win some insanely good prizes.

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.

Conference Wrap and a Sneak Peek

As you know, I attended a conference the past two days around "Sports Media and Technology." The panels weren't particularly inspiring -- check that: They were plenty inspiring for a founder of a start-up that wants to out-hustle (no, wait: complement!) the incumbents lounging on the stage.

As usual, it was more interesting to connect with folks one-on-one. I've been in online sports since 1995 -- I have known a lot of these people, for a long time. (It was particularly awesome to see my very first boss, Hank Adams, now CEO of SportVision.) But some of the best conversations I had were with folks trying to build something new.

To say that this is a moment of disruption in sports media (or all media) discounts too much the larger trend of disruption that has been moving in fits and starts since the mid-90s. But this feels like a particularly good moment to stake out something new.

Folks following me on Twitter and seen that bio already know that the new company I'm building is called Quickish Media, but you can call it simply Quickish. For those hearing it for the first time, what do you think? It should feel familiar, yet fresh.

Anyway, as a sneak-peek for you, I just posted the logo -- for the very first time -- to the Quickish Facebook page and the Quickish Twitter account. I love the logo. Love it. (Thrilled to attribute it to my truly awesome design team.)

I'd be excited if you would like the Facebook page and/or follow the Twitter account. Much more about the company will be coming through those channels.

More about all of it soon, including -- well -- what it is. And how you can help out as a beta tester.

-- D.S.

11/18 Quickie: Tiger, Jeter, Bosh, Felix

Today's Names to Know: Tiger Woods, Erin Barry, Brent Barry, Eva Longoria, Tony Parker, Derek Jeter, Chris Bosh, Cam Newton, Felix Hernandez, Ron Gardenhire and Bud Black, Greg Oden, Reggie Bush, Bill Curry and More.

Tiger Woods vs. the Public: His PR campaign launched in a big way yesterday, with Tiger taking to Twitter (not quite "hello, world") and Tiger "writing" a Newsweek essay (which read like a well-edited college admissions essay). This morning, he is on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio -- simulcast on ESPN2.

It's a big swing at rehabbing his image. I'll maintain that this isn't Lebron: People WANT to like Tiger... they will simply never be able to get it out of their heads the jaw-dropping extent of his philandering. It wasn't the cheating; it was the excess, the lack of self-control that he had built his brand on.

(But just like LeBron -- even moreso, actually -- Tiger more than anything needs to just WIN. That he had such a terrible 2010 season compounded his problems by taking the fallibility of his personal life and making it professional.)

Tony Parker vs. Eva Longoria: TP is getting divorced by Eva. Who didn't see this coming when they first got together? (He had a Spurs-leading 21 points last night in a win over D-Rose and the Bulls.)

The "other woman" whose texts Eva found on Tony's phone were apparently Erin Barry, wife of Brent Barry. Erin Barry is currently the No. 1-trending topic on the Web and about to enter the celebuclysm gossip-grinder. Erin has NO chance against Eva; the "other" woman never does.

Guess that means Jon Barry won't be calling any Spurs games for ESPN. I would pay at least $100 for a live interview between Brent Barry and Tony Parker.

Chris Bosh vs. the World: Apparently Bosh wanted to make a statement that he was, in fact, not a bust, as previously reported: 35 points in a Heat rout of PHX. Then again, it's the Suns -- hardly the Celtics.

(That's the best part about this: If you love Bosh, you can use this game to bolster him; if you dislike him, you can say "Eh, talk to me when he plays big in a big game against a good team.")

Derek Jeter vs. the Yankees: He wants a 4+ year deal (or more!); they want to give him 3. Absurdly, we are still talking about an annual salary of $20 million -- which might seem reasonable in 2011... but in 2013? (Or 2014 or 2015, when Jeter wants the contract to run through?)

I'm with the anonymous source in this story: Tell him to take-it-or-leave-it. The Yankees need to be more aggressive and stop worrying about alienating fans. In the same way they can say "Like Jeter is going to want to play elsewhere?" they can say "Like Yankees fans are going to dump the team for not bending to Jeter's demands?"

(Actually, that someone within the Yankees is using as a platform shows that the team is moving in the direction of backing Jeter into a corner.)

Cam Newton vs. the NCAA: So another booster says a guy saying he represented Cam Newton's dad presented him with a payment demand -- via text, no less. Virtual paper trail! (Of course, the text message is lost in an old cell phone that was "damaged.") Feels like a lot of the same as two weeks ago. (Now: This FBI interest in Auburn? Much more intriguing.)

Felix Hernandez vs. CC Sabathia: Mystifyingly, I keep getting the date of the AL Cy announcement wrong. It's TODAY. One thing remains consistent: Let's hope it is King Felix who wins.

MLB Managers of the Year: Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and Bud Black of the Padres (in a close one over the Reds' Dusty Baker).

Greg Oden's season is over: Again. (Or, should I say: Again again again.) I hope he can rehab the rest of the year, get signed by a new team and have a mildly productive career.

More NBA: Yet another huge, validating win for the Hornets: This time over the Mavs.

CBB Last Night: Highly touted Tennessee frosh Tobias Harris had 15 in the Vols' near-miss against Missouri State.

NFL Midweek: Reggie Bush will apparently play this weekend. Meh: How's Mike Vick looking??? (Because, of course, Vick is -- by far -- the most must-see player in the NFL right now.)

MLB Quarterly Meetings of GMs and Owners: The expanded playoff field seems to be fairly contentious, but balancing the schedule so the Orioles, Rays and Jays don't have to play the Red Sox and Yankees so many more times in a season than the rest of the AL seems to have some traction; the key is that GMs on those teams seem ready to forego revenue in exchange for a better chance to have a playoff-contending record. (We'll see what their owners have to say.)

CFB Tonight: Alabama in prime time -- but it's not quite the season they thought they would be having, not just out of the national-title picture, but out of the SEC West picture, too. Their lone remaining challenge is ruining Auburn's season next weekend. Tonight, they get to give 1-AA expansion franchise Georgia State a huge level of national promotion. GSU has aspirations of joining 1-A (and the potential to do it).

-- D.S.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Must-See: "Like a Bosh"

I rarely embed videos, but this one totally earned it. Via the brilliant folks at The Basketball Jones, the new hit hip-hop single, "Like a Bosh":

TBJ exclusive: Like A Bosh from The Basketball Jones on Vimeo.

11/17 Quickie: Zags, Roy, Felix, Rose

Wow, that ESPN college hoops marathon was something awesome, wasn't it? The most interesting things that happened:

*Gonzaga lost at home (!) to San Diego State. As is my method/problem, I have already filed this away and will undoubtedly give SDSU an extra bracket win in March because of this.

*Butler '10-'11 ain't Butler '09-'10: To be fair, Louisville is pretty good, but what got the Bulldogs into the title game was D, and they didn't show much last night.

*Florida '10-'11 is kinda the same as Florida '09-'10: Improved, but just not good enough to hang with the elites. OSU's Jared Sullinger (26 and 10) > UNC's Harrison Barnes.

*Good, Tournament-quality win for Kansas State over Virginia Tech (discounted slightly because K-State was playing at home, but it was decisive).

*Duke and Michigan State roll: And they are clearly the country's Top 2 teams. I love the Delvon Roe storyline, where he acted in a performance of "As You Like It" 2 hours before tip-off.

80: No. 1 UConn women slip past No. 2 Baylor -- what an awesome early-season match-up -- to win their 80th straight. The UCLA dynasty is going down, with 100 in sight.

MLB Awards: Roy Halladay wins the NL Cy, most notably because it was unanimous -- not even a single contrarian dissent for, say, Adam Wainwright? (Fine by me.)

Today: King Felix for AL Cy? It would follow up last year's Greinke's FIP-driven Cy to represent the greatest breakthrough in individual-award voting in the history of MLB awards.

MLB Hot Stove: Braves trade for Dan Uggla. The Braves' limp lineup needs the pop, and the Marlins avoid paying Uggla more than the $48 million (over 4 years) they reportedly offered.

McNabb Update: After all that hysteria on Monday afternoon, if the Redskins cut Donovan McNabb after this season, they only owe him $3.75M. Welcome, Ryan Mallett.

NBA Last Night: Derrick Rose continues to assert himself as a new addition to the NBA's A-list of stars, dropping 33 on the Rockets in a Bulls win. (More: Lakers get off the schneid!)

Carmelo vs. the Knicks: Let's say this much -- if Carmelo wasn't on the Nuggets and was on the Knicks, chances are Denver wouldn't have beaten New York by 2 last night. Whatever.

Must-Listen: Tiger on Mike & Mike tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. ET. Will be interesting to see how tough (but fair) the questions are. Don't think Tiger would do it if it would be a grilling.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sports Media Conf: On the Scene

Twelve years ago, as a relatively young online-sports-media person (although I was on my 3rd or 4th company by then), I snuck into the very first Sports Media and Technology conference. Today, I'm at the conference, legitimately credentialed to cover it for Darren Rovell's CNBC blog (but obviously with plenty of other things to talk about with people). I just filed a post about the future of the NCAA Tournament that I hope you might like. Two words: March Barkley.

11/16 Quickie: It's Mike Vick's World

Today's Names to Know: Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Buster Posey, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, Jason Terry, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Steve Lavin, Jacob Pullen, Billy Donovan, Brad Stevens, College Hoops Marathon and More.

Just an aside: I love ESPN's 24-hour hoops marathon. I don't even care who is on -- just that I can get up at 5 a.m. (or anytime today), flick on the TV and see live college basketball.

Mike Vick wins Monday: That 1st quarter (and 1st play of the 2nd) was unreal. And here's a first: Vick became the first player EVER to throw for 300+ yards, rush for 50+, throw for 4 TDs and rush for 2 TDs in a single game. It was the most dominating performance by a single player of the NFL season -- and a pretty good snapshot of why Vick should be a legit MVP candidate.

Did Vick put up the best individual performance in Monday Night Football history? That's quite a claim, covering 30+ years. That one Bo Jackson game comes to mind -- and yet Vick's game felt more spectacular (certainly given how much was compressed into the opening quarter).

It is hard to find the superlative to assign to what he did last night, but there is no longer any question that Vick's resurgence this season is the No. 1 player storyline of the season. If it's not too late to finalize a vote for midseason MVP (it is), I'm going with Vick.

You might even say Vick "refudiated" his critics. (a: Can't believe that was the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year. b: Yes, I can. c: Speaking of the Palins, Bristol is totally advancing tonight on DWTS. Not that I voted. Or watch. But still.)

...versus Donovan McNabb: Vick's game was all the more entertaining because it came on the same day McNabb secured his own jaw-dropping number, a new 5-year contract with $40 million guaranteed (escalating much higher if he meets all the incentives). It prompted a flurry of "WTF?" and, given the Redskins' season so far, rightfully so. Was the team under pressure to sign him immediately? Do they really think McNabb is the answer for the long-term? (And I say that as someone who likes McNabb.)

MLB Awards: Buster Posey wins NL ROY (as mostly expected) and Neftali Feliz won AL ROY (as entirely expected).

Today: Cy Young, and most of the award-season drama, to see if voters recognize that Felix Hernandez was the best pitcher in the AL this season, regardless of his record. (The NL seems much more settled, with Roy Halladay as the clear favorite -- as he has been since the moment he joined the league.)

NBA Last Night: The Hornets finally lose, taking their first defeat in Dallas (big win for the Mavs, who are setting themselves up for another in their annual big-regular-season-only-to-lose-in-the-playoffs run)... Great shoot-out between Kevin Durant (30) and Deron Williams (31) in a Thunder win over the (previously) hot Jazz, who had won 5 in a row.

More CBB: Tough start for the Steve Lavin Era at St. John's, which took a loss at fiesty St. Mary's -- a rough game to debut an "era" with.

CBB Marathon: Things really pick up at 4, with VA Tech-Kansas State, followed by Ohio State-Florida at 6, followed by Butler-Louisville at 8. (Duke is on ESPNU at 7:30 if you're curious to watch them.)

TV Ratings: Cowboys-Giants are new NFL standard-setter. In a season where the NFL just keeps putting up crazy numbers of viewers, we had the biggest game yet -- the Cowboys' blowout win over the Giants was the most-watched game of the season.

(It makes sense: Dallas is the league's most popular team; the Giants drive a ton of audience in the league's biggest market. What is interesting is that it wasn't a primetime game, but "only" the late-afternoon game. And not even competitive.)

Seriously, though: Michael Vick....

-- D.S.

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15 Quickie: Cowboys, Pats, BCS

Today's Names to Know: Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones, Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson, Randy Moss and Chris Bosh, Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady, Mike Thomas and Santonio Holmes, Tim Tebow and LeGarrette Blount, Boise State and TCU, Kevin Love and Moses Malone, Jason Heyward and Buster Posey, Mike Vick and Donovan McNabb, Eric Johnson and Jessica Simpson, Wrigley Field and College GameDay and More.

NFL Week 10 Thoughts:

*If the season ended today, Jason Garrett would be my Coach of the Year. If the only difference between the Cowboys of Weeks 1-9 and the Cowboys of Week 10 was the coaching -- and it's fair to say that is the case (particularly given that the previous Cowboys' regime had Tony Romo to work with, rather than Jon Kitna) -- then Garrett is a revelation that won't necessarily save the Cowboys' 2010 season, but will certainly set things right for next year. They made the Giants (playing at home, no less), look like chumps, rather than the team leading the NFC East.

*The Vikings should not bench Brett Favre starting now for the rest of the season, just because -- thanks in part to Favre being Favre and throwing 3 2nd-half picks -- they have no hope of making the playoffs and Favre has already claimed he won't be playing next season. Better to let Brett go out guns blazing -- and losing -- then snatch up a franchise QB in the 2011 draft, rather than sit Favre now (as hilarious as that would be) to give Tarvaris Jackson a couple of starts to give him a running start on next year. What next year?

*Randy Moss is the Chris Bosh of NFL stars: Lots of sizzle, zero steak. Moss's Titans debut was a dud. He didn't play well -- which wouldn't have mattered so much if the Titans hadn't also lost. (Perhaps even more remarkable is that the Titans KO'ed both the QB1 -- Chad Pennington -- and QB2 -- Chad Henne -- for the Dolphins, both for the season. It's Tyler Thigpen time.)

*Play of the Day: The Jags' Hail Mary to beat the Texans. Mike Thomas! (Runner-up: Santonio Holmes' game-winning TD in OT for the Jets? Otherwise, nominate your own.)

*Fantasy Stud: Rob Gronkowski, the Pats TE who was on the receiving end of 3 TD passes from Tom Brady, while the Pats offense rolled over the Steelers D and re-established New England as the team to beat in the AFC. (Yes, yes: Jets > Browns > Pats. Still....)

*Concussion of the Week: Hines Ward. (This is not meant to glorify concussions -- hardly -- but rather point out that we've gotten to the point that noting the biggest players who received concussions is part of the week's game coverage. Ward is as big of a name as it gets.)

*Tim Tebow: His 1st NFL pass was, obviously, a TD. He also ran for a TD, giving him 3 rushing TDs on the season (more than, say, Ray Rice) and 4 total TDs (more than, say, Andre Johnson). My preseason prediction that he would account for at least 7 TDs suddenly looks reasonable.

(But my vote for Rookie of the Year -- if given out today -- would go to Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount. Sam Bradford, the top overall draft pick, was SUPPOSED to be good. Blount was undrafted, yet in the past few weeks has turned into one of the most reliable RBs in the league.)

*You've got to kind of love the Browns. I appreciate that there aren't moral victories in the NFL, but the Browns taking the Jets to OT before losing -- this after beating the Saints and Pats in back-to-back games -- sort of feels like one. The Browns were never making the playoffs this year; that they are competitive with the league's elite should feel great for Cleveland fans.

*Hey, the Bills won! This should make the Lions feel like all the progress made this season has evaporated. (And they set the NFL record for most consecutive road losses.)

BCS: As I wrote yesterday, this weekend's performances by Oregon, Auburn and TCU were iffy enough that I restored Boise State to No. 1, with Auburn at No. 2.

That, of course, can change -- less from Boise stumbling (although they have two tough games in a row coming up) than from Oregon's limp performance at Cal catching up with them in Corvallis or Auburn's mojo running out against Alabama.

TCU -- dropping from No. 1 to No. 4 on my ballot -- was hit with a double-whammy: Its typically stout D gave up 35 to San Diego State and its win over Utah was neutered by Utah getting destroyed at Notre Dame.

TCU's new image problem has restored the original meme: The prospect of Oregon and Auburn winning out, with Boise shut out of what seems like a rightful shot at the title.

Watch Boise pass TCU over the next two weeks as the Broncos beat Fresno State, then Nevada -- the only part of Boise's schedule that even remotely resembles the kind they would face in a tougher conference.

Check out my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot: Boise and Auburn in the Top 2 slots.

NBA Weekend: It's kind of a shame that Kevin Love's "30/30" happened on a Friday night, because if it was mid-week, it would have gotten a motherlode of attention. For now, it will merely have to be the single-best individual performance of the season by any player.

Yesterday: Well, it turns out that the Lakers are plenty beatable -- all you have to do is hit 22 3s, like the Suns did.

(Speaking of the Suns, what a weekend for Steve Nash: One day, he is announcing the birth of his son, Matteo. Literally the next day, it comes out that he and his wife are divorcing. That can't be easy for either of them.)

Heat Watch: Well, it turns out Chris Bosh kind of sucks, doesn't he? Kind of makes you wonder whether LeBron and Wade talk to each other in secret saying, "Oh, crap. We kind of blew it with that guy." I'm not saying Carlos Boozer or David Lee would have been the answer, but they might have been better.

MLB Awards Season: Rookies of the Year. The contentious one is in the NL, between Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. I'd give it to Posey because of the difficulty of his position and the way he handled that pitching staff down the stretch. In the AL, it feels like it is Neftali Feliz.

Pacquiao destroys Margarito: Cripes, that dude's face!

College GameDay will be at Wrigley Field next weekend for Northwestern-Illinois, but it's less about who is playing than where they are playing, obviously. Wrigley is to college football what the various stadiums have been to the NHL's Winter Classic -- the novelty of the venue alone makes it a must-see, even if you couldn't care less about the teams playing in it. Glad to see College GameDay gets that. Now, if they'd only move the game to ABC nationally.

CBB: Duke rolls in its opener. Yes, it was just Princeton, but it was foreshadowing of the style Duke will deploy all season -- fast-breaking offense and high-pressure defense. Kyrie Irving had 17 in his college hoops debut, the first frosh to start at guard for Duke since Jason Williams.

Tonight: MNF is Eagles-Redskins, and should be a great moment to compare and contrast the state of things for Mike Vick (up) and Donovan McNabb (down).

And at midnight, ESPN's brilliant 24-hour college hoops marathon tips off -- I'll wake up at 3:30 a.m. just to watch live college hoops, let alone the idea of eating breakfast or having mid-morning coffee while watching. Things get really interesting when Ohio State plays Florida, when Butler plays Louisville and when UConn women play Baylor.

(Oh, and UConn won its 79th straight game yesterday. They beat Holy Cross by 80. 80! UConn women are totally underrated for Sports(wo)man of the Year. If they duplicate last season's unbeaten streak, blowing past 100 wins in a row, I would hope they would get consideration for Sportspeople of the Year in 2011.)

Pop Culture: I honestly don't know who Eric Johnson is, but apparently he is dating -- and now engaged -- to Jessica Simpson. Remember when people cared about her? (Hard to believe, isn't it?)

Finally: CBS picked up Colin Cowherd's "life rights" for making a TV sitcom? Really? Let's not even talk about the woeful fate of "Listen Up" (based on the life of Tony Kornheiser) and let's just stick with the fact that the show sounds like a re-hash of "Becker" -- misanthropic guy goes through life -- which was not very good. Misanthropes as leading sit-com characters never work. It's like the working title should be "Everyone Hates Raymond."

-- D.S.