Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday (Very) Quickie

Heisman ceremony tonight: It will be Cam Newton in a rout -- it remains to be seen just how historic of a rout. It's a nice rebuke for the kneejerk Cam-haters out there.

The fact is that you can find his recruiting scandal unseemly, but you cannot deny that Newton has had one of the greatest -- if not THE greatest -- season ever by a single CFB player.

Army-Navy Game
: There isn't a more universally beloved game in college football. (And that rare occasion where the records of the teams involved doesn't matter at all.)

Florida football coaching search: Attention seems to be zeroing in on either Bob Stoops or Chris Petersen. Stoops has the national title and has managed the bigger program, but I actually would like Petersen more.

TV: Big night for football documentaries. On HBO at 8, it's one about Lombardi. On ESPN at 9, it's one about SMU's "Pony Expre$$," in the finale of the amazing "30 for 30" series.

MLB Hot Stove: Cliff Lee -- no decision yet. I'll stick with my pick: The Yankees will offer slightly more money, but all things being equal, Lee would rather play in Texas. (That doesn't mean he won't pick the Yankees, if the Rangers balk at the money or contract length.)

NBA: Big win by the Rose-led Bulls over the Lakers, validating the Bulls as... well, what exactly? A Top 4 team in the East? Are they going to win the East ahead of Boston, Miami, Orlando? No. (But you know who might win the West ahead of the Lakers? The Spurs, who kept rolling along with a win over the Hawks.)

Amare goes 30+/10+... again: Quarter-season MVP.

Bill Simmons' NBA game-analyst debut: I give him a lot of respect merely for putting on the headset and doing it. He did a pretty good job, all things considered.

CBB Today: Tennesee-Pitt is the game worth tuning into. Good scouting for March, in a Sweet 16-quality match-up.

NFL Week 14: Skelton Mania. Raise your hand if you thought that Cardinals rookie QB John Skelton would get more snaps this season than Tim Tebow. Skelton will get more snaps in the 1st quarter tomorrow than Tim Tebow has had all season. Shaking my head.

Brandon Spikes suspended 4 games: Ugh (if you're a Florida fan). Ha! (if you're a Pats-hater). Normally, I'd greet protests from a suspended player that "it wasn't steroids! it was a... mix-up!" with cynicism, to say the least. Have to stick with that here. But I can say: Why Brandon?

John Elway wants into the Broncos front office? What's his front-office experience, besides managing an Arena league team and running a local steakhouse?

College Soccer: Louisville vs. Akron for the men's national title.

In case you missed it yesterday: The T0p 10 sports moments of the year -- with updates, based on your totally spot-on comments.

And, with the launch of Quickish in sight, I'll gently nudge you to like the Facebook page (232 people and growing) and/or follow the feed on Twitter (174 as of Saturday morning). Get on the bandwagon early!

Enjoy your Saturday.

-- D.S.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top Sports Moment of the Year?

Blame those sneaky Time editors: I can't resist a year-end "Top 10" list. Even if it is in the form of a slideshow that cynically forces you to click through 10 times to get through it. (Oh, wait: Here's a full list of all their lists.)

Anyway, they list their Top 10 sports moments:

Number 1 was the Armando Galarraga near-no-hitter.
No. 2 was LeBron's Decision.

At this point, I'm still looking for my absolutely, clear-cut No. 1 moment. While I think Galarraga's game and the Decision were both huge, there was something even bigger...

No. 3 was Gordon Hayward's near-make vs. Duke.
No. 4 was the NFL's concussion problem. ("Moment?")
No. 5 was Ghana blowing the World Cup.
No. 6 was Graeme McDowell at the Ryder Cup.

Still no sign of my No. 1.

No. 7 is the Saints winning the Super Bowl.

No. 7. Seriously? And while the Saints winning the Super Bowl as a "moment" certainly qualifies, my No. 1 sports moment of the year was the Saints' onside-kick, which gave them the momentum that led to them winning the Super Bowl.

For the record: No. 8 was Isner-Mahut, No. 9 was Joannie Rochette, and No. 10 was Sachin Tendulkar's double-hundred in cricket.

Honestly, I have absolutely no problems with the 10 they picked (although I might not rank Graeme McDowell ahead of the Saints winning the freaking Super Bowl).

But to me, the best sports moment of the year -- and, even more, the greatest moment in NFL history -- was the Saints' onside kick. Still brilliant.

UPDATE: From the Comments, I can't believe I didn't recognize Landon Donovan's goal for the US in the World Cup or Sidney Crosby's goal for Canada in the gold-medal game of the Vancouver Olympics. Both were Top 10 worthy: Bump McDowell and the NFL concussion problem, which wasn't a "moment" (but is obviously a big deal).

-- D.S.

12/10 Quickie: Peyton, Cliff, Cam, Bill

Today's Names to Know: Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson, Brett Favre, Tim Tebow, Fantasy Football Finales, Cliff Lee, Cam Newton, Cecil Newton, Army-Navy, 1-AA Playoffs, Kyrie Irving, Temple hoops, Bill Simmons and More.

Peyton Manning: You know it's an off-year for Peyton when it's considered a good game when he doesn't throw it away. Colts still on the outside looking in with the AFC playoffs.

Chris Johnson: As a member of the "Used a No. 1 overall fantasy draft pick on CJ" club -- rising and falling with Johnson's inconsistency this season -- last night was a timely breakthrough.

NFL Week 14: Storylines to Watch

*Pats roll on? You could argue that playing the Bears in Chicago is a lot tougher than playing the Jets in Foxboro. Then again, the Jets put up so little resistance, that's hardly a high bar.

*NFC East: The Giants (8-4) are at Minnesota. The Eagles (8-4) are at Dallas, looking to play the spoiler. And, yet, the only question people are going to be talking about is whether Brett Favre will start, extending his record streak.

*Brett Favre digression: Can we stop and talk about that for a sec? How much b.s. is it if Favre takes the first snap of the game, hands off to Adrian Peterson, then leaves the game -- only to keep his streak going? You'd think any competitor who had any sense of pride would want to earn it the right way. Then again, this is the QB who intentionally tanked a play to give Michael Strahan a sack record. So I would be surprised if he DIDN'T selfishly take the snap.

*Division jockeying: Two games behind, the Chargers are in a must-win against the Chiefs... With the Colts winning last night, it puts pressure on the Jags to do the same, to stay one game ahead... The Bucs have little room for error in D.C....

*Sub-.500 Division Champ Watch: I am getting a little obsessed with the idea of a sub-.500 team winning the NFC West. So to help that happen, we need the Rams to lose in New Orleans and the Seahawks to lose in San Francisco.

*Tebow Time? With Josh McDaniels out of the picture, will interim coach Eric Studesville give Tebow more snaps than McD did? With the Broncos' season effectively over, why wouldn't he?

*Draft positioning: What incentive do the Panthers have to play to win, knowing they have the inside track to drafting Andrew Luck as their franchise QB. A surprise win over the NFC-leading Falcons (however unlikely that may be) would just open the door for the Bills -- who also need a franchise QB -- to jump ahead of them for Luck.

Fantasy Football Finales: For many (most?) fantasy leagues, this is the regular-season finale. Good luck to all of you playing for a playoff spot -- or just looking to play the spoiler and finish the season on a good note. Last year I finished last in my KSK keeper league, but beat DJ Gallo in the final week of the regular season, denying him a playoff spot. It was kind of fun. (Sorry, DJ.) In my sponsored P&G league, I had Chris Johnson AND Pierre Garcon. Great start to the week.

Cliff Lee: The Yankees are willing to pay whatever. The Rangers should be willing to pay whatever. Feels like -- all money being equal -- Lee would like to stay with Texas (otherwise, why wouldn't he take New York's offer immediately?). Will Nolan Ryan pay up?

Cam Newton: Won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best QB, the Maxwell Award as the nation's best player -- and will run away with the Heisman tomorrow night. I'll say it again: He had the single-greatest individual season in college football history.

Cecil Newton: Will not be at the Heisman ceremony to celebrate with his son, because his presence there would cause a media frenzy. Honestly, that's kind of a shame. I'm not saying what he allegedly did wasn't bad, but he obviously loves his son, and to miss this crowning moment of the kid's career seems like a cruel (if appropriate) outcome.

More CFB award winners last night: Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff (Best WR) and LaMichael James won the Doak Walker (Best RB). LSU CB Patrick Peterson won the Bednarik for top defensive player, in a mild upset over Da'Quan Bowers, who won the Nagurski (top defensive player). Yeah, confusing, I know.

Army-Navy: Has the college football stage to itself this weekend. As always, will be one of the more visually stunning games, with those shots of the students in gray and blue in the stands.

CFB Playoffs! (1-AA Quarterfinals). New Hampshire vs. Delaware. Villanova vs. App State. Georgia Southern at Wofford. North Dakota State at Eastern Washington. Playoffs!

Kyrie Irving: Complete uncertainty about his toe injury -- which makes me think that the most prudent course is to shut him down for the season and let him rehab fully for the NBA Draft, where he will be a Top 3 pick (and likely No. 1 overall).

Ramone Moore: Led Temple with 30 points in an upset over Georgetown last night. The win should put Temple on the hoops map this season -- and into the Top 25.

Jared Sullinger: 40 for the Ohio State freshman big man. 'Nuff said.

CBB This Weekend: The headliner is Tennessee at Pitt (but also: Indiana fans will get a good indication of where things stand with the Crean rebuild when they play Kentucky).

NFL Lockout Watch: So the owners really seem committed to this 18-game thing. I'm convinced that no matter what the protest now, fans will watch even more (and with the NFL being an advertiser cash-cow, sports media will support). My only problem is that I don't think the league will be fair to players in the exchange.

(I buy the injury-risk argument, but not in the "more chances to get hurt!" way -- that could happen in Week 1, let alone Week 18 and 19. I buy it as a long-term accumulation of hits. But if you agree with that, you fundamentally agree that the sport is far too brutal at ANY length.)

Bill Simmons: Makes his debut as an ESPN NBA TV game analyst when he sits with Dan Shulman and Mark Jackson for Heat-Warriors. It's a must-see. All I can say is: I hope he is himself.

Coming later this morning: Top 10 moments of the sports year.

-- D.S.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

12/09 Quickie: Meyer, Crawford, Lee, Heat

Today's Names to Know: Urban Meyer, Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Luke Scott, Matt Cassel, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Derek Fisher, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Kyrie Irving, Terrence Jones, Quincy Miller, Cam Newton, Sidney Crosby, Jenn Sterger and More.

Urban Meyer: I got it out of my system yesterday. I cannot begrudge him (even after this brutal season), not after the memories he has given Florida fans.

I was surprised to hit up popular Florida message boards last night and see such an anti-Mullen sentiment. I'll take him or Charlie Strong over any other coach out there (including Bob Stoops).

Cliff Lee: Are we going to get a decision from Lee today? I suspect the Yankees will pay what(ever) it takes (reportedly 6Y/$140M), and Lee will announce for New York.

Carl Crawford: Goes to the Red Sox for 7Y/$142M, giving Boston the top OF on the 2011 free-agent market -- and a hell of a lineup bump, when combined with Adrian Gonzalez.

Luke Scott: It's not every day a MLB player goes public as a birther. Yahoo's Dave Brown had the sportswriting line of the month, after Scott made his claims: "[Sigh]"

Matt Cassel: Ahh, the appendectomy. A few years ago, I had an emergency appendectomy. Let's put it this way: I wasn't ready to play pro football a week later. Or two. Or 10.

Amare Stoudemire: A quarter of the way through the NBA season, there's a pretty good case to be made for Amare for MVP. (Last night: 34 and 14 in yet another Knicks W.)

LeBron: 33 in a Heat win over the Jazz in SLC. It's Miami's 6th win in a row, and all that talk about the team's struggles from two weeks ago are a distant meme.

Derek Fisher: At the buzzer!

Carlos Pena and Paul Konerko: Both Chicago teams keep big-hitting 1B. Pena had a feeble, sub-Mendoza year; Konerko bashed the ball. Pena will have 2011 to earn another deal. (Konerko got a 3-year deal. Being a franchise hero has its perks.)

Kyrie Irving: Sidelined indefinitely with a toe injury! It shouldn't stop Duke from rolling along -- that's how good they are this season, that they could lose their best player (the likely No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft), and still be awesome. (See last night's blowout of Bradley, featuring a career-high 28 from backup guard Andre Dawkins.)

The bigger question: Given his amazing NBA prospects, should Irving just shut it down for the year, rather than risk more substantial injury?

Terrence Jones: Speaking of super-frosh in college hoops, Kentucky's Jones (27 last night in a W over Notre Dame) is possibly my favorite player in college hoops this season.

Quincy Miller: He is the top-ranked basketball player in the HS class of 2011. If the union can strike a deal with the NBA before June to eliminate the NBA's age limit, he could be a Top 5 player taken in the 2011 draft, rather than the 2012 draft. (They won't, but regular readers know that I have always been very against a draft age limit.)

Cam Newton: Should take home the Maxwell Trophy for being the nation's top college football player tonight at the CFB Awards. (More: Bednarik: Bowers; Biletnikoff: Blackmon; Walker: James. Now, I'm gonna let James finish, but the RB of the year is Marcus Lattimore.)

Sidney Crosby: I don't talk about hockey much, but The Kid is on fire (4 multiple-goal games in his last 6), and so are the Pens (11 straight Ws).

Jenn Sterger: The NFL is done with its investigation into the Favre-Sterger situation, and the report is being reviewed in the Commissioner's office. Expect... well, nothing.

Quickish: If you haven't yet and want to get updates on the company (big ones soon), you should definitely "like" the Facebook page and follow the Twitter feed.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Urban Meyer Leaving Florida, Take 2

We should just go back and recycle my posts from last December, when Urban Meyer resigned as Florida's football coach the first time.

I mean cripes: Just read this.

(And here was my subsequent post that the natural successor was Dan Mullen -- an even stronger case can be made now, after Mullen's 8-win season at Mississippi State, featuring a win over Florida in The Swamp.)

As with last year, I am so grateful that Urban Meyer was Florida's coach. I would argue there has been no better college football coach in the BCS Era.

That said: This past season was a debacle, and much of it was Meyer's responsibility -- more than anything, leaving Steve Addazio in charge of the offense. I did think things would get better.

(I'm not overstating: Florida's 2010 season was the most disappointing season I have ever experienced as a sports fan, because my preseason expectations were so high, compounded by a lunatic notion, each and every week, that THIS was the week things would get better, which only led to even more crushing disappointment.)

I wish Meyer the best. He is young enough and talented enough that I can't possibly see him never coaching elsewhere again. He will replace Brian Kelly when Kelly's poor performance or off-field midjudgments finally catch up to him. Or he will go to Penn State when Joe Paterno retires. Something of that magnitude.

No, he will not go to the NFL -- I wouldn't say the NFL is even more work than college coaching the way the elites like Urban do it, but it is a different kind of work. The brutal workload of college is at least something Meyer knows all too well.

I am rooting for Florida to hire Dan Mullen, someone who feels like a younger, perhaps smarter version of Meyer, who has very close ties to the program and who can win immediately.

But I wish nothing for the best for Urban Meyer.

-- D.S.

12/08 Quickie: Fitzhugh, Cuse, Lee, Haynesworth, Wannstache, Tyson

Today's Names to Know: Keith Fitzhugh, Cliff Lee, Albert Haynesworth, Syracuse hoops, Dave Wannstedt, Mike Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Bill Simmons, Bomani Jones and More.

Programming note
: I'll be going on The Score sports radio with my old friend Bomani Jones at 9 a.m. ET to compare and contrast Cam Newton and Tim Tebow. Link to listen here.

Story of the Week: Keith Fitzhugh was given an offer to join the Jets, but turned them down to remain a railroad conductor, to maintain the stability to support his family.

I suspect that Fitzhugh will now get a lot more attention than he would have had he joined the Jets, where he would have merely been a "train-conductor-gets-a-shot" story.

I'm curious that the economics of the NFL mean he would make less money (or more unstable money) than working for the rail; wouldn't the RR take him back if/when his NFL job was over?

He obviously didn't want the uncertainty of being an NFL player at the margins. (If you've read Fatsis' "A Few Seconds of Panic," you know that life at the margins of the NFL basically sucks.)

Hopefully, Fitzhugh can gain extra economic stability from marketing gigs that come with this choice. (Of course, that would mean he wouldn't have time to do his full-time job.)

This story gets even more punch when played in comparison to the Albert Haynesworth suspension (see below).

CBB: Big wins for Syracuse (over Michigan State) and Kansas (over Memphis) last night at the Jimmy V Classic in NYC.

Particularly impressed by the Orange; this win is a signal that they should be taken very seriously as a contender to win it all. (Then again, I said that about Syracuse last year; late-season injuries on the interior killed their chances.)

As for Kansas, who needs highly touted frosh guard Josh Selby when you have the Morris twins inside? I want to see the Morris twins vs. Duke's Plumlees in a tag-team match.

NFL: Albert Haynesworth suspended 4 games -- the rest of the season -- by the Redskins, bringing to a close the DC career of one of the biggest free-agent mistakes ever.

(Note to the Redskins: Good luck with his appeal. They'll end up paying him something for those four weeks; no way they get away free on this.)

MLB Hot Stove: Why hasn't Cliff Lee signed with the Yankees or Rangers yet? Possibly because another team would offer Lee a 7-year deal where the Yankees say they will stop at 6.

(I don't know why the Yankees would be worried about throwing another year on top. 7 years out, it is very possible that $20M a year could be a bargain. It's not like they'll miss the money.)

FWIW: Nolan Ryan seems pretty confident that Lee will re-sign with the Rangers. If he is willing to go up to 7 years -- and he should be -- then he can be confident in re-signing him, too.

NBA: Whither NOLA? Just because the league says it WANTS to keep the Hornets in New Orleans doesn't mean it will. Just ask Sonics fans in Seattle.

CFB: The Dave Wannstedt Era is over at Pitt. Awkwardly, he's not even leaving -- he is stepping aside and taking a new job inside the athletic department.

Replacement? They would be crazy not to make their first call to Al Golden across the other side of the state at Temple, where Golden worked miracles.

Hall of Fame Watch: Mike Tyson, Sly Stallone and J.C. Chavez were inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, which makes that induction ceremony the Greatest. Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Ever.

Media: Reportedly, my old ESPN colleague Bill Simmons will be doing ESPN's NBA broadcast of the Heat and Warriors on Friday night. Love this idea. Aren't you intrigued enough to tune in, just for Bill?

Hopefully, he will incorporate Twitter in an innovative way; he is savvy enough about it that it could really layer in something new and exciting to the broadcast. (Can you imagine what Mark Jackson would say about that?)

-- D.S.

Sponsored Post: One Week to Go

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

Thanks to Tom Brady's spectacular performance on Monday night, I surged from behind the upset-minded Matt Sebek to win the second-to-last week of the regular season. It was absolutely critical heading into the final week of the season, with the top 4 teams advancing to the playoffs.

It put me into 2nd place in the league, but that's tenuous. Diana's Fresh2Death has a lock on the top-seed. I'm tied with Punter at 8-5. FOUR teams sit at 7-6, meaning that three of four playoff spots will be up for grabs in the final weekend.

My match-up is a virtual play-in: Steph Stradley is one of those 7-6 teams. If I win, I'm in the playoffs. If she wins, there will be a pile-up at 8-6, with tie-breakers coming down to total points scored, where I'm mediocre (thanks, Chris Johnson!)

If nothing else, it makes the weekend a lot more interesting. This week, rather than benching the iffy Antonio Gates for Rob "TD Negated" Gronkowski, I'll start Gates and hope the Chargers feel the need to score a ton to make up for last weekend's debacle.

And, of course, hope for more complete dominance from Tom Brady, which makes up for a lot of short-comings.

Here is this week's league recap, from Dan Levy of

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.

Monday, December 06, 2010

12/07 Quickie: Pats, McD, Heisman

Today's Names to Know: Tom Brady, Josh McDaniels, Troy Calhoun, Cam Newton, LaMichael James, Kellen Moore, Andrew Luck, Adrian Gonzalez, Marvin Miller, Pat Gillick, Amare Stoudemire, Da'Quan Bowers, Kevin Wilson, Don Meredith and More.

Pats throttle Jets: If it wasn't clear before, it's clear now -- the Pats are the best team in the AFC, and as long as they maintain home-field advantage, there isn't a team that can beat them in Foxboro in January.

Broncos fire Josh McDaniels: But is it good for Tebow? (Among McDaniels' other problems -- besides the consistent losing and tactics of alienation -- was that he pushed to draft Tebow, then didn't come through on his potential to be innovative about using him.)

Who will replace him? (Besides the no-name assistant, Eric Studesville, elevated to the interim role.) Chris Mortensen insists that Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is a credible candidate, which would cause people to freak out -- college coaches making the transition to the NFL have a tough enough job; it's even tougher when your focus has been the triple-option. (Actually, how awesome would he be if he installed elements of the triple-option?) Anyway, it's an unfair criticism: He used to be the OC of the Houston Texans, too. He knows the NFL.

Heisman Finalists: Cam Newton, LaMichael James, Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck. Newton will be the runaway winner (any voter who refuses to list Newton in their Top 3 out of spite should have their ballot privileges revoked), but Luck will be the biggest/best pro. Luck is the best pro QB prospect since Matt Ryan -- I think Luck is better than Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman or even Sam Bradford.

BCS Computer Glitch: Did you hear about this computer glitch that accidentally left Boise ranked behind LSU in the final poll? The BCS made the appropriate switch -- but the even MORE appropriate switch would be to force any computer poll to "show its work" and reveal the precise formulae behind them. No transparency? No participation.

MLB Hot Stove: Adrian Gonzalez signs extension with the Red Sox for 7Y/$154M. He is their version of Mark Teixeira (although there were some interesting analyses floating around yesterday that Gonzalez will be hard-pressed to match Adrian Beltre's production in 2010.)

Baseball Hall of Fame snubs Marvin Miller: Unfortunately, as predictable as it was lamentable. (Pat Gillick was a worthy entry, though.)

NBA Last Night: Amare is real. Stoudemire had 34 points, in the Knicks' 5th straight W. He is playing at an all-NBA 1st-team level, and the Knicks are overachieving. Who needs Carmelo?

CFB Awards Season: Da'Quan Bowers wins the Nagurski Trophy as CFB's top defensive player. Totally worthy choice from a player that sat under the national radar because his team was only so-so. Bowers will get plenty of attention when he is a Top 5 NFL Draft pick next April.

CFB Coaching Carousel: Kevin Wilson to Indiana? The Oklahoma OC has done more than enough to earn his HC pedigree (think of him as the Big 12's Dan Mullen, who has done exceptionally well as a head coach). He has two things going for him that IU should love: (1) He knows the Midwest from his time running Northwestern's spread offense, and (2) he actually wants to coach at Indiana? They should snatch him up.

RIP Don Meredith: "Dandy Don" was the designated member of the "jockocracy" in Monday Night Football's famed 3-announcer booth, playing the foil to Howard Cosell. A TV legend.

Start-Up Talk: Launches

ESPN just launched If you aren't in the target market, it kind of doesn't matter what you think of it. If you are, I am very interested to hear what you think of it.

Let's look past fair questions about who the target audience is supposed to be. From a basic product standpoint, I like that it exists. I like that ESPN is trying it.

(Good moment for disclosure: A few years ago, I spent a bit of time talking with ESPN about an initiative they were planning for parents. The idea fizzled; it shouldn't have.)

Obviously, it helps that it is a tremendous opportunity for advertisers (which is why the site launched with Gatorade and Nike already locked in).

Katie Baker made a good point earlier this morning: The best way to think about the initiative is as in the same family as ESPN Local or ESPN RISE. I'd even go so far as to call it in the same vein as Heat Index.

That's not meant to marginalize women as a category. It is meant to say that sports fans have always fell into fairly neat boxes (if boxes of varying size and malleability): Sport, location, team, topic, event, affinity, tribe.

ESPNW represents a category that has, as yet, been mostly ignored by mainstream sports media. Is it fully formed out of the gate? No, but like virtually every other product in the history of media, it will take some time for the site to find its voice (and voices).

And the existence of the site alone shows the promise of being nimble enough to learn, to iterate and to grow where the opportunity goes. Among other things, I think that there is a huge opportunity in social media for ESPNW.

It was an idea worth pursuing -- and it is a site worth tracking.

And, hey, speaking of start-ups, don't forget to keep up with the progress of my new company, Quickish, by "liking" the Facebook page and following the Twitter feed.

-- D.S.

12/06 Quickie: BCS, Ryan, Werth

Today's Names to Know: BCS, TCU in Pasadena, Jim Harbaugh, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Heath Miller, Tarvaris Jackson, Peyton Manning, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jets-Pats, Jayson Werth, Adrian Gonzalez, Maya Moore and More.

Auburn-Oregon for the college football national title: I broke this down late Saturday night, but it is hard for even the biggest BCS-hater to argue that we aren't seeing the two most deserving teams play for the national title.

Sorry, TCU: But the consolation prize isn't terrible -- a trip to the Rose Bowl to play Wisconsin. No clever defensive scheming necessary for Gary Patterson. Just try to stop the run. Meanwhile, needless to say, Oklahoma-UConn in the Fiesta isn't quite Oklahoma-Boise from '06.)

I love the final Coaches' poll, because it is forced transparency. The most notable bias: Jim Harbaugh (along with the two Washington schools) ranking Stanford ahead of TCU. Waste a half-hour here.

Best of the non-BCS bowls: I'll take the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22 -- Utah vs. Boise State. Cripes: Boise went from a lock for a BCS bowl to a low-tier bowl on Dec. 22? That's adding insult to injury. (See the whole bowl schedule here.)

Heisman Look-Ahead: Cam Newton is a lock. More than that, he had one of the greatest -- if not THE greatest -- single season by an individual player in NCAA history.


NFL Weekend Recap:

*If the season ended today, it would be hard not to pick Matt Ryan as MVP.

*Sunday night: Steelers grind past the Ravens in Baltimore, in a playoff-quality W. Add Pittsburgh to the Pats and Jets as the most legit (the only legit?) contenders in the AFC.

*The Bengals' season in a nutshell: With 30 seconds to go and up 3, being drawn offsides on the Saints' 4th-and-2 inside the Cincy 10. Predictably, NO went on to score a GW TD.

*Chargers choke: By a quirk in the scheduling, this was the national late game on CBS -- it seemed like a dud waiting to happen... then the Raiders repeated their beat-down of the Chargers from earlier this season, putting a huge crimp in San Diego's playoff hopes. (For those without a dog in the fight, it was kind of hilarious to watch.)

*Favre Watch: Given that Tarvaris Jackson did his best Brett Favre impression (multiple TDs, mutliple INTs), why is it just assumed that Favre gets his starting job back when he wants it? (BTW: That Sidney Rice TD catch may have been the Catch of the Year in the NFL.)

*Break up the Rams! 6 win in 2010 equals the total number of wins in 2007, 2008 and 2009. (No, wait: Break up the Browns!)

*Ouch: Anyone still think Peyton is the best QB in the NFL? (4 INTs in loss to Dallas, including a Favrian pick in OT that set up the Cowboys' GW FG.)

*Ouch II: It's pretty gruesome in DC. The Redskins were blown out by archrival NYG, Donovan McNabb looked useless, the Redskins' D was torched by the Giants RBs.

*Fantasy Stud: How many fantasy playoff spots were secured (or lost) off of Maurice Jones-Drew's day alone? (And how many ride on Tom Brady's arm tonight?) Meanwhile, for a fantasy dud, how many playoff spots were impacted by Dwayne Bowe's zilch?

*Kind of awesome: Dan Carpenter's 60-yard FG.

*Tonight: Pats-Jets, with the possibility that this is a "play-in" game for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Biggest game of the regular season. Pats in a rout.


MLB Hot Stove: Jayson Werth to the Nats for 7Y/$126M. Wow. Is he really worth that much more than Adam Dunn? Or the multiple players you could get for all that loot over the next 7 years? Feel like the team felt pressure to make a big signing. Unclear that Werth is worth it. But it is one of the biggest names off the table at the Winter Meetings, which are held this week. All eyes on Cliff Lee.

(If Werth is getting $120+, then how much will Adrian Gonzalez want from his new team in Boston? At least that much -- hard to believe the Red Sox acquired him thinking they would low-ball him.)

Derek Jeter is a Yankee for the next 3 years (maybe 4): Which makes the next big debate over when the Yankees should pull him from shortstop. I'll say 2013.


NBA taking over the Hornets: Is this in advance of a foreclosure? Would the NBA dictate that the team not trade star Chris Paul under any conditions? (Couldn't the NBA -- as owner -- dictate that the team absolutely trade Paul?) Presumably, they want to flip it as fast as possible.

Graeme McDowell closes out Tiger's Worst. Year. Ever.: Tiger has never lost a tournament when he was leading by three or more strokes heading into Sunday... until now. McDowell needed sick birdie putts on 18 -- twice (once naturally, once in a playoff) -- to do it, but he did it.

Women's CBB: Maya Moore became the all-time scoring leader at UConn (which won its 86th straight), with plenty of season left to create an unbreakable standard.