Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/31 (Happy New Year) Quickie

What's a new year's transition without reviving the old Shanoff "What's Hot/What's Not" for the old/new year? Here's a quick-ish version I whipped up.

Have a safe and enjoyable new year's eve everyone. More next week, but thank you -- sincere, hearty thanks -- for your support this past year, on this blog and (of course) at Quickish.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12/27 (Brees) Quickie

Two words: Drew. Brees.

*I am no sports prude. I have absolutely no problem with the Saints running up the score on the Falcons last night in order to get Drew Brees that Marino single-season passing record.

My problem is with the folks who would chide Pierre Thomas for slapping a bow on a football after his touchdown then handing it to his mother, then turn around and congratulate Brees after the Saints QB would agree to something as superficially classless as continuing to throw the ball up a gazillion points late, simply to get a record he would have earned in about 10 seconds next Sunday.

They both fall in the "sportsmanship" bucket, and you either have a wide interpretation of what is sportsmanship (Good for Brees! Good for Thomas!) or a narrow one. Hard to see how you can like one but not the other.

*NBA: (1) Rubio! Most of the league tipped off their season last night, and the revelation -- the new hotness of hotness -- was Ricky Rubio, who looked spectacular and instantly turned the T'wolves into a must-see team (not unlike the way John Wall had the same effect on the otherwise unwatchable Wizards). Some of his passes were jaw-dropping.

Meanwhile, the (2) Lakers are 0-2 (so are the Mavericks). It's one thing to drop a close one to the Bulls; it's another to drop one to the Kings (Marcus Thornton -- wow). It's great foreshadowing of the impact of back-to-back games on the old(er) teams. And it doesn't get any easier for the Lakers; they play the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back today, once again without suspended Andrew Bynum. An 0-3 start isn't out of the question.

(3) Good for the Hornets. That's a nice little karmic payback.

*College football bowlin': Little Caesars at 4:30 (pick: Purdue over Western Michigan), Belk at 8 (pick: Louisville over NC State).

-- D.S.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12/26 (NBA Is Back) Quickie

First, there's this:

Hope you saw that yesterday (or just now). Meanwhile...

*The NBA is back. The Heat look unstoppable (and, frankly, with a year of loathing/schadenfreude behind us, entirely watchable). The Lakers and Celtics look creaky. The Clippers look overrated. The Warriors look lost. And the Thunder make me feel good about my prediction they would win the NBA title.

*NFL Week 16 in Review: Just a reminder that Aaron Rodgers is having one of the greatest seasons by a QB in NFL history. Speaking of superlatives: I said this on Saturday -- Cam Newton is finishing up the greatest season ever by an NFL rookie. Not just a rookie QB - any rookie... How can you not love Week 17 "play-in" games where the winner goes the playoffs and the loser stays home? Giants-Cowboys will be terrific.

*Tebow: So it's a testament to how amazing that mid-season run by the Broncos was -- remember that? I know, it's hard -- that the Broncos can lose to the Chiefs on Sunday and still win the division if the Raiders lose, too. I would like to see John Fox go back to the system that got him to this position -- run, run, run. Let Tebow run. Let the run set up opportunistic passing plays. Let the run earn first-downs on fourth-and-short. And for everyone jumping off the Tebow bandwagon -- and there are so many -- let's just remember that the Broncos being in a position to make the playoffs is still about 200% better than the preseason (or early-October) projections.

More NBA on tap tonight -- I'm tempted to take advantage of my relocation to zip over to Verizon Center to watch my Wizards open their season against the Nets, but... nah. The local cable broadcast (plus a free preview of League Pass) beckons.

-- D.S.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12/25 (Merry Christmas) Quickie

Merry Christmas to you and your family from me and mine.

The NBA is back (followed by -- at least for us, in traditional custom -- Chinese food and a movie).

-- D.S.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12/23 (Festivus) Quickie

Happy Festivus! I have several grievances this year, but mostly I'm satisfied.

If you're not checking back all weekend, Merry Christmas (or Happy continued Hanukkah).

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12/21 (Year in Review) Quickie

It's that time of year. Looking back at the most indelibly interesting things for me from 2011....

1. I launched Quickish
. I have been working in Quickish since early 2010, but it didn't launch publicly until January. Since the day it went live, I have given over most of my life to keeping up with helping fans keep up. It has been the hardest (yet most satisfying) year of my career. More reflections on Quickish in a few weeks when we get closer to the 1-year anniversary of launching.

(The pace and intensity of Quickish has made it very difficult to focus on a single story or stories or moments that I felt were the biggest or most interesting of the year. Trying to think of the right combination of impact and interest, if I had to pick one -- with the obligatory "aside from Penn State..." -- it would be that last night of the MLB regular season.)

2. Gabe became a huge sports fan. Some time around Selection Sunday, it clicked, and since then, my 5-year-old has become a massive sports fan. He filled out a bracket, followed the NBA Playoffs, picked favorite teams, adopted my fantasy team and -- in large part thanks to Scott Hanson and NFL Red Zone Channel -- became a massive NFL fan. It's been fun for him -- even more fun for me. More about that later, too.

(Lots of moments to pick from, but the most thrilling by far was when Red Zone host Scott Hanson gave Gabe an on-air shout-out during Week 14 for Gabe's malaprop for Red Zone's weekly "Touchdown Montage" as the "Touchdown Massage.")

3. We relocated from Brooklyn to Bethesda. From the city to the suburbs. From an apartment to a house. It is very very different -- less the difference between NYC and DC (although they are substantial) than urban life and suburban life. That is what has taken the most time to get used to. I'm already a "soccer parent." We have been to Friday night football games at the local high school. I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car. We will inevitably get a minivan or other suburban ride. Then again, I never have to worry about parking, and we have a washer-dryer in the house. It's the little things.

Looking ahead to 2012: You might think it would be tough to top a year that included launching a start-up media company and, to a lesser extent, relocating my life. It's not: We're expecting kid No. 3, just in time for March Madness -- a girl to set the pace for her two older brothers. In a year of personal thrills, that is the biggest.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12/20 (Lob City) Quickie

And so the Clippers demolished the Lakers last night in their preseason opener. I'm not one to place outsized value on extraordinarily small (yet symbolic!) sample sizes, and so it's clear: The basketball universe in LA now revolves around the Clippers, not the Lakers. The Clippers looked young and vibrant (even Chauncey Billups, who torched the Lakers) and the Lakers looked archaic. For all the drama that led up to it, the CP3 trade to the Clippers is the single-best thing to happen to the NBA this season.

(Does that qualify as a Quickie NBA Preview? Not quite: No preview is complete without a prediction for which team will win the championship, something that everyone was delightfully wrong about a year ago at this time, when precisely no one picked Dirk and the Mavericks. My head says that adding Shane Battier is precisely the piece to put the Heat over the top, but -- as with last year -- my second-biggest rooting interest behind my team, the hapless Wizards, is wanting the Heat to fall short. I'm going to pick the now-or-never Thunder over the Bulls.)

Best thing I found yesterday to recommend on Quickish: Jane Leavy's piece on Babe Ruth's daughter. (Thing I thought would be better: Charlie Pierce -- who is brilliant and whose work I love/admire -- falling into the "hysterics" trap of dropping in to write for the first time about Tim Tebow and trying to bite off the entire phenomenon in 750 biting words. Look: If you don't like Tebow -- or don't like the hysteria around him... or don't like the religion stuff -- it'll be satisfying red meat. I was hoping for a bit more nuance from Pierce -- the kind you typically see, certainly as it relates to Tebow, from Pierce's closest analogue for the 2.0 audience, Tommy Craggs of Deadspin. Now, let me go back to Pierce's politics blog on Esquire, which I check 5 times a day for updates....)

Yesterday, my 5-year-old son Gabe spent the morning creating football franchises in an imaginary league. Last night, he designed their football helmets. (All with no prodding from me, mind you.) More on the larger story of my year in review -- which was impacted in large part by Gabe's nascent sports fandom -- tomorrow, but needless to say, it was one of my most delightful moments as a parent.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12/19 ("Tom > Tim") Quickie

My thoughts on the Tebow game can be found over at I'll give you the condensed version: (1) This was not (and never was) a litmus test for Tebow or the Broncos... (2) John Fox remains entirely underminey... (3) Tebowmania will cool off a bit and that's a very healthy thing.


*Packers: 13-1. I'm way less interested in the Packers taking their first loss than I am at HOW they lost -- they looked entirely beatable, which makes the upcoming playoffs not the Packers coronation they appeared to be a week ago.

*Colts: 1-13. They still have Luck locked up. Here's a question: I guess they might want to trade Peyton Manning, but given the cost savings associated with simply cutting him the day the season ends, why wouldn't they do that? If I'm Irsay and Polian and I know I am locked in on Andrew Luck -- who can start immediately -- I'm jettisoning Peyton Manning in the time it takes to say "Good luck with that comeback." Yes, he's the franchise hero, but... kinda so what?

*Drew Brees: Holy s--t. And, naturally, my fantasy team (in the consolation bracket, adding insult to injury) was playing the guy who has Brees, so I got routed. Two weeks ago: In first place. Next week: Playing for 7th. Far more universally appreciated, I think it's fair to say that Brees has created a legitimate MVP debate with Aaron Rodgers.

*NBA: I appreciate the Magic wanting to hold out for the best package they can get for Dwight Howard -- hard to believe they still think they can keep him -- but it's clear that the subject is going to mess with the team's head. As long as it's a lost season, they might as well start the rebuilding two months early (ahead of the trading deadline) if they can help it.

*College hoops: Washington... yikes, not so much. That loss is getting filed away to pick the Huskies not to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. (If they make it.)

*WCBB: Huge win for Baylor over UConn last night. I will continue to default to picking UConn to win the championship, as I do every year. But Baylor sure looked good.

-- D.S.

Friday, December 16, 2011

12/16 (Bowl Mania) Quickie

A holiday tradition! Match the name of the bowl with its sponsor. (Alas, the "Famous Idaho Potato Bowl" was ineligible due to its eponymous naming convention.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15 (CP3) Quickie

First, check out Quickish's "Best Sportswriting of 2011" list if you haven't seen it yet.

Next, the big news of the morning/day: Chris Paul being traded from the Hornets to the Clippers, where he will team up with Blake Griffin and instantly become the best point guard-big man combo in the league (unless/until we get Deron Williams and Dwight Howard).

Blake Griffin said it best: LA is going to become "Lob City," which might instantly take a spot as the coolest nickname in the NBA. The notion of the historically woeful Clippers as having more cachet -- and more top-level talent? -- than the Lakers is astonishing. It's not true, but the fact that we can even have an interesting discussion about it is more important than where it nets out.

Almost as important, it fixes the league's disastrous decision to rescind last week's trade of CP3 to the Lakers -- this is possibly a better deal, but if nothing else, it is roughly just as good. Given that the Magic seem intent on keeping Dwight Howard around as long as possible (if I'm the Lakers, I offer Gasol and Bynum for him, hoping that trumps the Nets' Lopez + every draft pick left this decade), the season seems settled enough to really get rolling.


Tebow vs. the Pats: Highly recommend this read from Yahoo's Les Carpenter about the real secret to Tebow's success (hint: It's not religion -- it's... gasp... working harder than anyone else in the league.) My gut is that the Broncos are going to get steamrolled. But! I'm vastly overestimating the Patriots' defense, which is the worst of any playoff contender. I'm holding out that it stays close and even reserving a tiny piece of hope for a world-imploding Broncos W.

CFB Jobs: Wow, that Pitt (now Arizona State) coach is a jerk.

More later. Rolling on Quickish all day. Check it out! (And tell friends!)

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/14 (Best Of) Quickie

Yesterday, we published the "Best Sportswriting of 2011" list over at Quickish. Would love if you'd take a look. Some terrific folks are on there (with many, many more that produced awesome work this year -- captured on Quickish every day -- we couldn't fit on the list). If you're looking for some great writing to tide you over between now and the end of the holidays, definitely check it out.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13 (Closing In On Year's End) Quickie

Working on a terrific list for Quickish of the best "longish" reads of the year. In the meantime, this Dan Wetzel column about Tebow comes closer to articulating my own Unified Theory of Tebow than almost any I have read in the 4+ years of Tebowmania.

More fun year-end stuff coming over the next week. Sorry for the short post. More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/12 (Tebow...Again) Quickie

Ironically, Tim Tebow leading the Broncos to yet another seemingly miraculous come-from-behind win was only my second-favorite moment of the weekend.

My favorite sports moment of the weekend -- perhaps of 2011 -- was shortly afterward when I was sitting there with Mrs. Quickie and my older son Gabe watching NFL Red Zone Channel and irrepressible anchor Scott Hanson gave a shout-out to Gabe for Gabe's notion of calling RZ's day-ending touchdown montage the "touchdown massage." It was as jaw-dropping of a moment as I've had this year. I have it on video -- I'll try to upload it today. But it was so awesome.

Meanwhile: So...yeah...Tebow. This ride we're on now -- and it's not just Tebow fans or Broncos fans or NFL fans or the mere curious or even late-comers to the bandwagon, but pretty much everyone right now -- is as fun a stretch as I think any player has had in recent NFL history. (That it is Tebow, of course, makes a huge difference.)

I'm not sure what's left to happen -- I mean, beating the Patriots next week (and even the Tebow-haters will cheer him for beating the Pats) would be the most improbable feat yet, but here's how things are breaking for Tebow these days: The Broncos could get waxed by 40 and they still are firmly in control of their division and their shot at the playoffs. So, honestly, who cares what happens as long as the Broncos make the playoffs.

You can scroll down to get my take on the insane weekend -- Braun, Indiana hoops, Cincy-Xavier -- but the other big news this morning is Chris Paul potentially going to the Clippers. I don't know why the Clips are so reluctant to give up Eric Gordon AND their 1st-round pick in next year's draft from Minnesota, a sure-fire Lottery pick in the deepest draft in years. It's Chris Paul. To team with Blake Griffin. Even if it's just two years, who cares? It's a combination of relevance plus the opportunity to be a playoff team -- if not a title contender -- that doesn't come around very often, certainly not for the Clippers.

Oh, and by the way: My fantasy team will end the season on a 3-game losing streak that saw me go from first place to out of the playoffs by a smidgen. My opponent this week shattered the league's single-game scoring record, so at least I wasn't even close. Shouldn't have crowed about my success a month ago; it was all downhill from there.

-- D.S.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12/11 (Very) Quickie

Whoa. What a Saturday.

Ryan Braun PEDs: Say it ain't so! His side insists it's a false positive -- or at least something he had nothing to do with. Are you inclined to give him the doubt? (If so, why?)

Indiana buzzer-beater winner over No. 1 Kentucky: Gahhh! A program-making win for Indiana. One of the most electrifying atmospheres and moments in regular-season college hoops I can remember. I don't worry too much about UK (except that this is the kind of loss that makes me not want to take them to win six on my bracket in March), but it's so huge for IU. So so so huge.

Robert Griffin III wins Heisman: What a worthy winner. I love RG3. His Superman socks -- complete with a mini-cape! -- won the night. He's going to be fantastic in the pros.

Xavier-Cincinnati brawl: Feels like Cincy and coach Mick Cronin are taking responsibility more than Xavier, whose players after the game were defiant, where Cronin was livid/humiliated at his players' actions. Tons and tons of suspensions, and -- frankly -- I wonder if they should discontinue the rivalry for a year or two to let things cool off.

NBA + Dwight Howard: And, after all that other stuff, there's the NBA, where today's big story was Dwight Howard requesting a trade, ideally to the soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets. The Magic are doing the right thing trying to maximize their package for him, regardless of whether it's with a team he wants to end up with. He can sign wherever he wants next summer.

Can't remember a more packed Saturday -- or any day, frankly. Particularly the level of highs (Indiana, RG3) and lows (Braun, Xavier-Cincy).

-- D.S.

12/10 (Very) Quickie

Great day of traditions today: Army-Navy, El Clasico, Cincy's Crosstown Shootout.

This is my favorite, from Taylor University and it's "Silent Night" tradition, where the student section is silent until the team scores its 10th point, at which point the students go bananas:

It's one of the great annual traditions in sports, let alone college sports. During a stretch where the NBA is doing its best to muck up a good thing, it's a good reminder of the joy of sports.

Speaking of the NBA, let's hope that the league approves whatever tweaked version of the CP3 trade that the Hornets, Lakers and Rockets figure out. It's the only way the league gets through this crisis -- and, yes, I think it's not unreasonable to call it a crisis -- and moves forward.

More NBA: Dwight Howard and the Magic will talk with the Mavs, Lakers and Nets about a deal for D12. Unclear what the Mavs can offer, besides a bunch of role players. The Lakers can obviously dangle Andrew Bynum, who is young and talented, but with the knees of a 15-year veteran. The Nets can offer a big -- Brook Lopez -- who is about as sturdy as they come, but unspectacular (and a terrible rebounder). For the Magic, it's a tough situation. I think I would go with the Nets' offer, but I'm biased by an interest in seeing Brooklyn have a fun team.

CFB: It doesn't matter if neither team is any good -- Army-Navy is a must-see, if only for the pageantry and pride on the line... UCLA is hiring Jim Mora Jr? Yeesh... Texas A&M could win the day on the coaching carousel if they announce they've hired Houston's Kevin Sumlin.

Heisman: Hard not to love that Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is going to win. Probably beyond the wildest dreams of any Baylor fan, but Griffin is entirely deserving -- the most talented player in college football, who put an entire mediocre program on his back and led it to relevance (not to mention a couple of huge dramatic wins). Luck, Richardson, Mathieu and Ball will all be fine -- Luck will be the No. 1 pick of the NFL draft; Richardson will be top 5 (top 10?) and have an extraordinary NFL career; Mathieu could win the Heisman next season as a defensive player (before a stellar NFL career of his own) and Ball will own the single-season TD record after playing in the Rose Bowl, plus do just fine in the NFL himself.

Soccer: I'm a Barca fan, so that's where I stand for today's El Clasico.

CBB: Good test for Ohio State at Kansas -- I'll take the Buckeyes... Kentucky is going to throttle Indiana... Love Xavier-Cincy -- one of the great rivalries in college sports.

Have a great day everyone. Give Quickish a look today -- lots of fun stuff there.

-- D.S.

Friday, December 09, 2011

12/09 (CP3 vs. Stern) Quickie

I'm appalled by what David Stern did yesterday.

Nullifying the Hornets' trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers is, in my mind, the lowest moment for the league in its modern, post-merger history. Worse than the Malice at the Palace. Worse than Donaghy. So much worse than The Decision. And very much worse than either lockout.

Was I happy about the Lakers' acquiring the best point guard in the game? Not at all. It was a bit dispiriting, actually. But not to the point that I wanted to see it nullified! I hated the Decision, too, and yet watching the Heat fail was one of the most exciting, wonderful feelings many NBA fans could have (in the absence of their own team winning).

The Lakers would have been spectacular, but there is no guarantee they would have just waltzed to a title (or traded Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard). It would have been interesting to see if their thin frontcourt could have handled the rigors of the playoffs. It would have been interesting to see if CP3's knee could hold up. It would have been interesting to see if Paul and Kobe could co-exist. (And, frankly, it was a pretty good deal for New Orleans -- as good as they'd get.)

The point is that it is an overreach of massive proportions that David Stern cancelled the trade. However fans felt about the trade, Stern's move pierced the suspension of disbelief (or, put another way, the belief) that is core to fans' relationship with the sport.

This is way, way worse than the lockout. I don't think Stern appreciated the magnitude of the blowback he's going to face today. (And if he does appreciate it, what does THAT say?) Worst of all, we don't know where things go from here. It's like the league has been tazed by its own commissioner.

-- D.S.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

12/08 (Pujols Angels) Quickie

I was kind of waiting for Pujols to make his decision before writing this morning. Now he's done it -- leaving St. Louis after a Hall of Fame career for the Angels, who are paying him $260 million over the next 10 years... roughly $40 million more than the Cardinals were willing to pay.

Let's start here: Good for Pujols. It's not like he left over an "all-things-being-equal" deal. This is substantially more.

And it's hard to blame the Cardinals. Again: It's not like he left over an "all-things-being-equal" deal. It would have been irresponsible of them to pay him that much.

It is a tough day for Cardinals fans, but at least they can say "We never could have matched that." (Cavs fans never had that chance.)

They can also say: "Thanks for the memories."

Albert Pujols will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot sometime around 2028... in a Cardinals hat.

The whole thing made me think of the most dramatic player moves -- the ones where incumbent fans are left mostly miserable. I really want to focus on free agency, rather than "F--- you, trade me" trades, like Carmelo leaving Denver or John Elway telling Baltimore to cram it.

LeBron from Cleveland to Miami immediately comes to mind. Shaq from Orlando to LA. A-Rod from Seattle to Texas. Those feel like the Big Three.

T.O. from San Francisco to Philly? Eh... (Joe Montana to the Chiefs? Not really. Steve Young was better.)

But this one? This Pujols move feels like the biggest of all, topping A-Rod -- biggest money, biggest talent, biggest fan disappointment.

Just weeks removed from the Cards' magical World Series run, it's one of those piercing reminders that sports -- for all of its amazingness -- is just a business. Enjoy him, Angels fans.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

12/07 (Tebow? Tebow.) Quickie

With SportsCenter running an all-Tebow hour from 2-3 today, let's dive into everyone's favorite topic:

*CBS and NBC are fighting over who gets the Tebow-Pats game a week from Sunday. The NFL is deciding, and if they want to maximize the audience for what will be the most-watched regular-season game of the year (or even in years), they should put it in primetime. (Even if the Broncos are potentially going to get shellacked.)

*Tim Tebow is totally making the Pro Bowl. I don't even think there is a question here -- the game is geared about rewarding excellence (which he has been) but also as a popularity contest (and there is no one more popular).

*The "Tim Tebow for NFL MVP" meme is trolling at its finest. The far more interesting question is this: Stipulating that, yes, Aaron Rodgers is clearly MVP of the league this season, where on your ballot would you put Tebow, if the season ended today? Top 5? Top 3? 2nd? I could make a case for Tebow as the runner-up on your MVP ballot, and it's a much better debate than the silly one vaulting him ahead of Rodgers.


*MLB Hot Stove: If the Cards are anywhere close to the Marlins, Pujols obviously should stay in St. Louis. I don't even think it's a question. And hearing how close the offers seem to be, I think he's going to stay.

*NBA: If I'm the Hornets, I'm dealing Chris Paul to the Clippers for Aminu, Bledsoe, Jordan(?) and that unprotected Minnesota 1st-round pick in 2012, which could turn out to be Anthony Davis or Harrison Barnes, to pair with what will almost assuredly be the Hornets' own high draft pick in a loaded draft. It could re-make the franchise in under a year.

*NBA Schedule: My Wiz aren't on ESPN or TNT once. Not once. Even with one of the Top 5 most exciting players in the league. No matter: Right now, my focus is finding the first Wiz game that I'll take my kids to. Ahh: There's a 1 p.m. Sunday game against the T'wolves. Good seats still available, I'm sure. The regular season starts in 18 days.

*CFB Coaching Carousel: I like Southern Miss's Larry Fedora going to UNC. It's a program with a lot of potential in a flimsy conference there for the taking.

*CBB: Do you want to read a spectacular game story? You might not care at all about Missouri basketball, but Luke Winn puts on a clinic of how you write an informative, insightful story about a game that is so much better than typical fare, I was blown away. Read it here.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

12/06 (Pujols) Quickie

MLB Hot Stove: If I'm the Marlins, I pay whatever I need to out-bid the Cardinals and secure Albert Pujols for the next 10 years. He's only the greatest player of the generation and only, ultimately, one of the Top 10 players in baseball history.

If he is half-speed for the final five years of the deal, making $25 million a year -- he is still better and more must-see than almost all of the league. And, by the way, I don't expect him to dramatically slide in years 6-10. What if he's only 75% of his current form? That's still a very very good player, and -- if you care about marketing your team -- still a "living legend" to sell to fans.

Like many many others, I was still going to Camden to see Cal Ripken even after he started to fall off, because it was Cal Freaking Ripken. He's worth it.

NBA CP3-mageddon: Paul can sign wherever he wants next season, that's his choice, and the Hornets can trade him wherever they want -- and they should. If I was a contender (or the Magic), I would trade for him even knowing he'll bolt for the Knicks next summer, if only to take my one shot at a championship. Flags fly forever.

Heisman Watch: Can't complain about any of the five finalists -- frankly, I'm thrilled they picked five, because in past years, they have gone shorter, thus denying some great player the chance simply to go to New York for the ceremony, which is an honor by itself. As for my ballot? I'm going (1) Robert Griffin III; (2) Trent Richardson; (3) Tyronn Mathieu, who edges out Andrew Luck after the Honey Badger's spectacular performance in the SEC title game (which should absolutely matter).

Luck's consolation prize is (a) he's the top pick of the NFL draft; (b) a 15-year star-studded NFL career that will likely include at least one Super Bowl title; and (c) he is likely going to win the Heisman anyway, even though RGIII was the most superlative player in the sport this year.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 05, 2011

12/05 (Fire Up) Quickie

This is a phenomenal day in sports: The BCS system produced one of its most (if not THE most) divisive results yet... MLB Winter Meetings are kicking off, and Jose Reyes is on his way to the Marlins (Pujols next?)... NFL Week 13 was Tebow-tastic (no, seriously, it's beyond even my own highest expectations at this point)... college hoops is coming off its best regular-season game in years (Kentucky edging UNC in an NBA-laden insta-classic)... Oh, and Tiger is back. Let's dive right in:

BCS: In a way, this represents the culmination of the last half-decade in college football -- the SEC has been so dominant that its second-best team gets what amounts to the benefit of the doubt from pollsters, even though it already had a chance to beat the top team and couldn't, even while there is another contender that has made an entirely legitimate case.

I always thought that the SEC's market power would eventually drive it to secede from the BCS when the conference gets screwed -- in this case, the SEC's market power has proven so strong that it has overwhelmed the BCS system... and may trigger reforms anyway. (The on-field result is still the same: The best SEC team is almost assuredly the best team in the country.)

My late-night conversion on Saturday supporting LSU-Oklahoma State over LSU-Alabama II turned out to be just another Quickie Jinx. I give Alabama -- fueled by a sense of payback -- more than a puncher's chance against LSU (certainly a better chance than OK State would have had). But that doesn't mean it's a satisfying result.

Final Coaches Top 25: It's an annual treat to see the pettiness of the final Coaches Top 25. For example, Air Force's Troy Calhoun had Oklahoma State FIFTH, the lowest of any coach. (Now, to his credit, he had OKS ranked low every week leading up to the final one.) But you have to love Nick Saban ranking OK State 4th on his ballot. Syracuse's Doug Marrone and Duke's David Cutcliffe did, too.

But the big winner is Missouri's Gary Pinkel, currently in the Big 12 but bolting for the SEC -- he had Oklahoma State ranked 4th, too. He knows what side of his bagel is buttered... at least starting today.

MLB Winter Meetings: Love the Marlins taking a big swing by paying Jose Reyes $106 million, giving them an exciting superstar to complement Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton (and Ozzie Guillen). I fully support them doubling down (doubling up?) and overpaying Albert Pujols. For all the grief the franchise has taken -- under a couple of different owners -- let's remember: "Flags fly forever." And the Marlins, using an intentional boom-and-bust strategy, have two flags over the past 15 years, a trade plenty of fans would be willing to make. Should be an exciting week that harkens back to my private test run of Quickish last December, where I was feverishly covering the MLB Winter Meetings and Hot Stove craziness for an audience of... me.

NFL Week 13: Tebow Time... again. Or is that "again again again again again again..." For everyone focusing on the funky option-style offense, Tebow ran the ball exactly three times yesterday. Instead, he threw the ball efficiently (that one sideline scramble into a TD pass was his best play as a pro, without question) and didn't throw an INT and -- here's where it gets interesting -- the mere threat he presents as a runner (actualized or not) turned into part of the Broncos' offensive strategy. Yes, it was the woeful Vikings D, but whatever: Tebow has led the Broncos into first place, with a better-than-not chance of advancing to the playoffs. I would never suggest that Tebow displace Aaron Rodgers as 2011 NFL MVP -- Rodgers is playing better than any QB in the history of the league, frankly -- but I have absolutely no problems promoting Tebow as the runner-up candidate. He should be on the down ballot.

Speaking of Rodgers: Good golly. He's so good. He's just so so good. You need to watch Packers games because you are watching as close to the idealized version of a quarterback playing as you will ever see. (BTW: Rodgers is my 5-year-old son Gabe's second-favorite player, behind Cam Newton.)

Navel-gazing fantasy talk: Yesterday was the greatest fantasy game I have ever played in. I am tied for first in my league, which is crowded at the top for four playoff spots. I was playing a team in the pack one game behind the leaders; my opponents' team leads the league in scoring -- my team is, by far, the lowest-scoring of any of the playoff contenders. All day, he and I watched our match-up swing back and forth: In the early-afternoon, I beat back his surge led by Gronkowski and the Steelers D with my own surge of Mike Wallace, Percy Harvin (mercy!) and... Tim Tebow. My lead evaporated in the late-afternoon because he has... Aaron Rodgers. It was a series of haymakers by both sides. Where it stands now: He is 9 points ahead, but I have the Chargers D going up against the inept and rudderless Jaguars offense. It'll be close. But however it ends, it was a phenomenal day in front of Red Zone.

Speaking of Red Zone (my favorite thing of 2011, if not ever): I got a retweet from Red Zone Channel host Scott Hanson -- in the middle of the Packers-Giants finish, no less -- for a tweet I sent out, which is totally real: "My 5-y.o. calls the #nflredzone Touchdown Montage the "touchdown massage," which also works." I'm not prone to be star-struck, but for Scott Hanson? Oh, that made my weekend (and Gabe's, too).

College hoops: Whoa, Kentucky is really really good. And that is despite the fact that high-ranking frosh PG Marquis Teague isn't nearly as good as his hype. But Terrence Jones? Awesome. Anthony Davis? A defensive force. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? As high of a motor as I've seen in college hoops in years. The rest of UK's supporting cast? Good enough to win a championship. (Then again, that's been the look for the past few years -- we'll see if they have the will to elevate themselves when it matters, not in mid-December.)

Tiger: My favorite detail is that after he won, he tweeted out a link to LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out," presumably for its iconic opening lines: "Don't call it a comeback! I've been here for years...."

SI Sportsman of the Year: Comes out later this morning. I had a couple of whiffs -- Aaron Rodgers, "The Fan" (ugh) -- but I have my "final answer" of a guess: Coach K.

Seriously: We're off to an amazing start this week. Check out Quickish to keep up.

-- D.S.

BCS Title Game Top 25 BlogPoll Ballot

LSU vs. Oklahoma State. If I think Alabama would beat (even crush) Oklahoma State head-to-head, I still have to rank the Tide behind Oklahoma State, because the top two teams play each other in the championship game -- at least, theoretically. If Alabama beats LSU in the national-title game, I will have no problem adding an appropriate coda to the season and calling them "co-champions." I can sleep easy with that. Beyond that, I really think Boise State is good. Of course, I can't rank TCU behind Boise State. And so to put Boise State in my Top 5 -- where they belong -- TCU goes there, too. I think both would beat any of the teams listed 6-10. Oh, and I simply enjoyed adding Arkansas State as my 25th team. A worthy conclusion.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

12/04 (BCS) Quickie

I have always said: I am happy -- even thrilled -- to change my opinion in the face of new, better evidence. Frankly, I'd rather be proven wrong than be right.


I am totally behind LSU playing Oklahoma State for the national championship. Sorry, Alabama: In the end, you had your chance. And Oklahoma State has proven itself worthy of its chance.

I don't know whether enough coaches and Harris Poll voters and computer formulas will lift OK State over Alabama -- but it'll be compelling either way.

(I will say this: In the event LSU loses to Alabama and Oklahoma State throttles whoever, AP voters are free to award the Cowboys their share of the national championship.)

(And I will say this: If you hate the BCS, you want Alabama to get snubbed, then the SEC pulling itself out of the BCS and setting up its own indie playoff.)

The larger point is important: The system is broken enough as it is. Let's not muck it up by nullifying the de facto playoff game LSU and Alabama played last month -- and denying a worthy Oklahoma State.

That LSU will probably destroy OK State -- just as Auburn destroyed Oregon and Alabama battered a McCoy-less Texas and Florida stifled Oklahoma and LSU destroyed Ohio State and Florida overwhelmed Ohio State -- isn't the point. It's not the point.

Hell, Alabama might throttle Oklahoma State, too. But the point is that based on the evidence of on-field results, that's not clear. And in that case, you've got to give OK State their title shot, too.

-- D.S.

Friday, December 02, 2011

12/02 (CFB Finales) Quickie

It's the end of the college football regular season -- for many, it came last week. But tomorrow is the last day of the old "sit in front of the TV from 10 a.m. until midnight" Saturday routine. As always, I'll miss it.

LSU is going to demolish Georgia. The Tigers' place in the national title game is secure. The only curiosity -- at least as it relates to the BCS -- is if Oklahoma State can beat Oklahoma so viciously and so publicly that voters leapfrog an OSU team that lost to a barely bowl-eligible Iowa State team ahead of an Alabama team that lost in overtime to the No. 1 team in the country without giving up a touchdown.

Beyond that, there is the novelty of crowning the first-ever Big Ten and Pac-12 conference title game champs. There is the fun of watching Houston's Case Keenum one last time. And there is the absolute must-see Robert Griffin III trying to lead Baylor past Texas, capping a wonderful year for a player soaring up Heisman (and NFL Draft) boards.

This was a mediocre college football season for my team, but I'll still miss it.


*NFL Last Night: The Eagles are the biggest joke of the past decade in the NFL. God, remember all the breathless preseason talk about them in August? (I was part of it.) They are an embarrassment -- and it's actually so much more fun to watch than if they were good.

*NFL This Weekend: Tim Tebow at Minnesota, looking for his 6th win in a row against a team without its best player... Must-win for the Bears at home against the Chiefs... The Pats-Colts game is going to be hilarious... Huge potential for the Falcons to get a big win in Houston playing against a Texans team just trying to limp across the playoff finish line... Game of the Week: Bengals at Steelers. Don't give much of a shot to Cincy, but you never know.

*NBA: Chris Paul is trying to be Mr. Nice Guy by not admitting he wants out of NOLA for NYC. The Hornets need to trade him ASAP, and the best plan I've seen is from's Matt Moore, who lays out the case for the Magic to mortgage the farm for CP3 and make a run at a title right now, hoping Dwight Howard and Paul want to stay together in Orlando, but realizing that the reality is that both would probably bolt. But flags fly forever. Don't discount that.

*CBB: Damn, Kentucky looked good last night. This UNC-Kentucky game tomorrow is going to be spectacular. (Want a good appetizer? Try Florida at Syracuse tonight. For my money, you can keep all the players on UK and UNC -- the player with the most NBA upside is Florida's freshman guard Bradley Beal.)

*MLB Hot Stove: The Marlins are obviously trying to make a splash. Giving Jose Reyes a big contract (presuming they can manage Hanley Ramirez) is a big one. Giving Heath Bell a big contract is a dumb one. Fantasy is just like reality: Saves are overvalued.

-- D.S.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

12/01 (Thursday) Quickie

A few things on the agenda today:

Is UNC "back?" Regardless of whether they play in Chapel Hill or on the road, I think Wisconsin is as Tourney-tough of a match-up as UNC will see this year, including Duke (next year) or Kentucky (Saturday). An interesting win for the Heels.

: The Magic can try to trade Dwight Howard to whoever they want, but I'm with the folks who think that if D12 wants to be in LA with the Lakers, he'll be in LA with the Lakers. For me, the most intriguing idea is that the Clippers could offer up a hell of a good package to the Magic, and Dwight could get to LA and carve out his own legacy, long after Kobe has retired.

LeBron vs. Durant Flag Football game
: I wonder how an athlete who thrives on his authenticity -- like Durant -- felt about being part of something as contrived as a LeBron spectacle, which included no fans allowed, closing out the media, full pads and other overly precious LeBron-ish things.

MLB Hot Stove: As a new DC transplant -- and adopted (perhaps prodigal) Nats fan -- I can't help thinking that if the team didn't put all that money into Jayson Werth last December, they would have their pick between Fielder and Pujols right now. Plus Cespedes. Plus Oswalt or Buehrle. I actually find myself liking this team a lot.

Correction/Corrected: Eagle-eyed reader Tom emailed me to point out that not a week ago, I was saying "UNC and Duke are clearly the Top 2 teams in the country," then after Duke got throttled at Ohio State, I said Duke was clearly not a Final Four team. Yikes. Instant history strikes again! What I should have said was something closer to: "Setting aside the travel and the site, this was much closer to the profile of a team that typically gives Duke fits in the Tournament, which should give folks backing the Blue Devils -- like me just a week ago -- pause before taking Duke too far in March." As always, I am happier to be proven wrong than I am to be right.

Media navel-gazing: Congrats to SB Nation on two more fantastic hires -- Bomani Jones and Matt Ufford, two great talents (and folks I have been friends with for years). Expect them both to contribute heavily to SB Nation's new (and extremely promising) video network, in partnership with YouTube.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11/30 (Best Books) Quickie

Just published the Quickish list of the Best Books of 2011. Always a fun list to put together.

CBB: I'm torn between presuming Ohio State will choke before it reaches the Final Four and giving them credit for taking last season's humiliation and using it to drive them to the final weekend. (Duke? That's easy: No Final Four.)

MLB: Bobby Valentine to the Red Sox. It's hard not to like it, because you know he'll keep things interesting -- and even the more statistically minded seem to think he will make a fine choice, if only because he won't succumb to the pressure to bat Crawford 1st.

Syracuse: Jim Boeheim clearly isn't going to get fired or pressured into retiring immediately (although we'll see what happens after the season), but it is also clear that his reputation is permanently stained for his association with Fine, plus his continued tone-deafness after the fact.

-- D.S.

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28 (Urban Meyer) Quickie

We'll get to the NFL, but first, a quick thought on Urban Meyer:

I'm an unabashed Meyer fan. I can hate Ohio State and like (if not root) for Meyer, not unlike I can hate the Patriots and like (if not root) for Bill Belichick.

As a Florida fan, I have no problem with him leaving a year ago for "health problems," only to turn around and take the Ohio State job not a year later. I can't begrudge him.

I think he will win big, if only because: it's a huge program with tons of resources; it's a huge recruiting base; and the Big Ten is dramatically easier than the SEC.

Here is what I see for Meyer: He will win Big Ten title after Big Ten title. He will not be able to beat the SEC's best, should he get the Buckeyes into the national title game.

In the end, that's the sneaky arbitrage for Meyer: Gaming a BCS system that would rank an unbeaten Ohio State ahead of a one-loss SEC champ -- ahead of everyone, really.

I'm not sure Meyer will be able to ever put together a collection of talent (and coaching) like he had with his 2008 national champs in Florida. The brawn of Bama or LSU will still stymie him.

But Ohio State merely needs him to be great, not legendary. And do it in the milder Big Ten, not the off-the-charts competitive SEC.


*Tim Tebow: Not sure when the haters and snickering masses will finally ease up. If the Broncos didn't win another game this season, Tebow still outperforms the expectations by about 200%. Now: What if they go 4-1 down the stretch (which will include a thrashing on Sunday Night Football against the Patriots) and make the playoffs? That's my own expectation for him/them.

*Stevie Johnson: The TD celebration was in poor taste -- I'm not sure it commands a hailstorm of criticism. (Conduct penalty or not, if the kicker doesn't shank the subsequent kickoff, the harm of his celebration is neutered.) Frankly, I'm more offended that he dropped the easy would-be game-saving TD late in the game. If he's apologizing, it should be for that.

*Playoff Watch: The Texans are in a good enough position to make the playoffs without a QB -- they'll get drummed out in the first weekend. But that's OK: First of all, making the playoffs at all is a huge deal for the team. Second, no one expects them to get out of the Wild Card Weekend anyway. (The Bears, meanwhile, might run out of gas just short of the playoffs. I'm not as down on Caleb Hanie as some -- I think he can get them there. But once in the playoffs, they're cooked.)

-- D.S.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25

LSU, Alabama, then the rest. I'm not much of a fan of a four-team "plus-one" playoff -- try figuring out which four teams are worthy of joining LSU and Bama this year -- but I would love to see an 8- or even 12-team playoff this year (although I don't think anyone besides Alabama could beat LSU).

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings Ballot - Week 14

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU Tigers --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide --
3 Houston Cougars Arrow_up 1
4 Oklahoma St. Cowboys Arrow_up 4
5 TCU Horned Frogs Arrow_up 1
6 Boise St. Broncos Arrow_up 1
7 Georgia Bulldogs Arrow_down -2
8 Arkansas Razorbacks Arrow_down -5
9 USC Trojans Arrow_up 1
10 Oklahoma Sooners --
11 Oregon Ducks --
12 Stanford Cardinal --
13 Virginia Tech Hokies Arrow_down -4
14 South Carolina Gamecocks Arrow_down -1
15 Michigan St. Spartans Arrow_down -1
16 Michigan Wolverines --
17 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_up 2
18 Kansas St. Wildcats Arrow_down -3
19 Baylor Bears Arrow_down -1
20 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_up 3
21 Clemson Tigers Arrow_down -4
22 West Virginia Mountaineers --
23 Southern Miss. Golden Eagles --
24 Texas Longhorns --
25 Cincinnati Bearcats --
Dropouts: Penn St. Nittany Lions, Auburn Tigers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Cavaliers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

11/27 (Bama) Quickie

So here's the dilemma: If you think the national-title game should feature the top 2 teams in the country, your pick should be LSU vs. Alabama, regardless of other context.

If you loathe the idea of a "rematch" -- and I do -- then you would be forced to contrive some sort of cynical false workaround to wedge, say, Oklahoma State ahead of the Crimson Tide.

I think we have no choice but to favor the former -- it is the most intellectually honest.

Is it absurd that LSU has to play Georgia in Atlanta while Alabama gets a free pass to the national title game? Absolutely. But it beats the alternative of leaving one of the top 2 teams out of the NCG.

A few other notes:

*I edged Robert Griffin III past Andrew Luck on my Heisman ballot last week. This week, I push Trent Richardson past both of them. He's as good of a college RB as I've seen since Bo. (Now, is that him or his NFL-sized front line? We'll see next year when he is playing behind a woeful offensive line in the NFL.) Don't get me wrong: Luck is terrific and Griffin is a very close No. 2, for making Baylor relevant as the most spectacular talent in the game (and winning!)

*Congrats to Michigan -- it's been a long time coming. The arrival of Urban Meyer in Columbus is imminent, and while I love Urban, I look forward to rooting against him as part of tOSU.

*CBB: UNC loses in Vegas to UNLV. File that away for your bracket in March -- no team, no matter how invincible they look, is unbeatable when the right circumstances hit.

*NFL Sunday: Adjust your fantasy team and fire up the Red Zone Channel...

-- D.S.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/24 (Thanksgiving) Quickie

Happy Thanksgiving. And thanks to everyone for your continued support of this blog, along with Quickish (which has a ton of great Thanksgiving recommendations today.)

A great day of sports: Packers-Lions, then Dolphins-Cowboys, then 49ers-Ravens. The rivalry finale of Texas vs. Texas A&M. Whatever touch-football game you've got going on in your front yard. Then, hopefully a feast.

Have a terrific day.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23 (Early Thanksgiving) Quickie

First, of course, a word of thanks:

Thanks to everyone who has made this first year of Quickish so amazing -- mainly, I'm talking about all of you who support the company with your attention, your clicks and your telling all your friends about how awesome it is (and you ARE telling your friends, right?)

It has been an incredible year, and I can't thank you enough for being a part of it. Next year is going to be even better.

Wishing you and your families the happiest of Thanksgivings. Enjoy yourselves.

A few extra thoughts:

*NFL: What a Thanksgiving lineup. The unbeaten defending champs playing at the previously hapless (now playoff-contending) Lions, my favorite NFL tradition. And the Harbaugh Bowl tomorrow night is a perfect fit for a holiday that is so often about reviving sibling rivalries.

*CFB: The end of Texas-Texas A&M. I think it is ridiculous that Texas is cutting off the rivalry just because A&M is bolting the Big 12 for the SEC. Respect that the fans want to see it keep going. Grow up, UT. (Arkansas-LSU is intriguing on paper... right up until LSU gives Arkansas a similar shellacking to the one the Hogs got from Alabama.)

*Urban Meyer to Ohio State? He says no -- or should that be "not yet." This is such an inevitability, as it has been since the day Jim Tressel was fired (or, honestly, since Meyer left Florida last December).

*New MLB labor deal: I'm glad it ensures labor peace for a while. I'm less bullish that it appears to close the kinds of loopholes that allowed small-market teams to compete (namely, through paying at the draft, not via free agency). I'm pro=expanding the playoffs, and I think that it's hard to look at the wild success of the Wild Card and maintain that "less is more" is better. The fact is that the Wild Card is the best competitive addition to the game in its history.

*MLB Awards: Ryan Braun is NL MVP. Make no mistake: If Matt Kemp's team was in the playoffs and Braun's was an also-ran, this MVP result would be flip-flopped. Both are worthy for the award. Braun enjoyed the benefits of having a better team around him -- given the good feelings for the Brewers this season, it's hard for anyone outside of LA to begrudge the pick.

*CBB: It'll be Duke vs. Kansas in the Maui Invitational final, and I'm expecting Duke to romp. They're very good -- I actually think that they are going to throttle Ohio State next Tuesday, and we'll realize that it's Duke and UNC this season, with everyone else (including Kentucky) a step below.

*Broncos cut Kyle Orton: Remember when "genius" John Fox thought Orton was worth being the starting QB for the first five weeks of the season? Let's remember that as people are piling on the compliments for Fox. Orton is a capable QB -- on a contender, he could be helpful. (Why wouldn't the Bears think about adding him?)

Good stuff all day at Quickish -- good stuff all long weekend, actually. So check it out! And happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your feasts.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/22 (Crosby) Quickie

Five things to talk about today:

(1) Sidney Crosby's return: The Event of the Year in the NHL, and it more than lived up to the build-up. (How often can you say that? Quite often, actually.) Crosby makes the sport better.

(2) Justin Verlander wins AL MVP: I'm in the camp that appreciates Verlander's sick year but thinks the best everyday position player -- say, Ellsbury -- is inherently more valuable.

(3) Patriots crush the Chiefs: Anyone not see this coming? No? The Pats' season, as usual, is defined entirely by how far they get in the playoffs. (But watching Gronkowski is fun.)

(4) Arizona hires Rich Rodriguez: With the Pac-12's notorious lack of defense, he'll find the sledding easier than he did in the Big Ten. Should be a perennial Pac-12 South contender.

(5) Today: NL MVP. Matt Kemp is a worthy pick, but I'd give my vote to Ryan Braun, and not just because he is the greatest Jewish hitter since Hank Greenberg.

Great stuff on Quickish today (and yesterday, if you didn't pop by), with a bunch of Thanksgiving-themed things already on the site (with more throughout the week). Check it out!

-- D.S.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11/21 (Monday) Quickie

Random thoughts on a Monday morning...

*Jay Cutler out: But...but...he finished the game! Take that haters. Has any team ever been better positioned only to end up falling short?

*The story of the week: Kevin Smith, the injury-prone but talented Lions wash-out who made a Detroit homecoming -- and had the biggest day of any player in the league (and certainly the most unexpected).

*Eagles beat Giants: Definition of "Too little, too late."

*49ers are 9-1: And can clinch the NFC West if they beat the Ravens on Thursday and the Seahawks lose to Washington.

*Dolphins win 3rd straight: As long as they're out of the Luck campaign, they might as well make it fun for their fans with a few Ws.

*Hot Seat: Time for Norv to go.

*Navel-gazing: My fantasy team is in first place, which is rare enough -- let alone this late in the season, with only three weeks left until our playoffs. Here's a bad sign: I'm last among playoff contenders in points scored and points allowed; that suggests an absurd amount of luck that is going to run out soon. On the plus side, I'm starting Tim Tebow at QB. What could go wrong?

*MNF Tonight: Even the Patriots' leaky D can handle Tyler Palko. (Right?)

*Looking ahead to Thursday, one of the best Thanksgivings in years: Unbeaten Packers at playoff-contending Lions in Detroit? Yes, please. And the Harbaugh Brothers sibling battle in Baltimore? Makes me want to abandon my family's dinner to zip in to B-more.


BCS: SEC, SEC, SEC 1-2-3. I hate the rematch, but if LSU and Alabama are definitively the top 2 teams in the country, they deserve the two spots in the title game. To deny Alabama just because of the rematch would be more cynical than the system that put them together.

Heisman Watch: I'm standing by yesterday's decision to throw my support from Andrew Luck to Robert Griffin III.

NASCAR: I'm not a particularly big racing fan, but I've always liked Tony Stewart -- and I liked him a lot more when he became his own owner. He is, basically, a start-up founder, not unlike an early employee at Google or Facebook or PayPal. Oh, I've figured it out: He's the LinkedIn founder, who made his bones as an exec at PayPal before going out on his own to crush it.

CBB: The season is already off to an awesome start, and I'm ready for things to ramp up for the traditional Thanksgiving games, like the Maui Invitational, which features Duke, Kansas and Memphis (plus Michigan and Georgetown). Oh, and Northwestern won the Charleston Classic. This is the year.

MLB Hot Stove: Are the Red Sox going to hire Bobby Valentine? (Really? Look, at the very least, he'd be a lot of fun to have around.)

-- D.S.

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: SEC

Covered it this morning: I am no fan of an LSU-Alabama rematch, but if you are picking the top two teams and that's who ends up in the top 2, it's a hell of a lot more cynical to deny that than to deal with the notion of a rematch.