Saturday, September 03, 2011

09/03 (Kickoff) Quickie

So I spent last night driving my family -- car packed, not to mention the moving vans -- from NYC to DC for our big relocation, but we rolled in just in time for the wild 4th quarter of the Baylor-TCU game, which I watched with the insanely valuable "Watch ESPN" app on my phone.

It's hard to top the simple "What a game" analysis -- it bodes well for an exciting Saturday and exciting season. I had TCU going 11-1 and finishing just outside the Top 10 in my preseason poll; I had Baylor unranked -- not for long.

Although Baylor's D was porous, its offense was electrifying -- Robert Griffin III as an early Heisman candidate? -- particularly against what everyone assumed was going to be a stout TCU defense. With time, we'll see if TCU's D has slipped that badly or if Baylor's offense is just that good.

But again, all that matters is that you don't have to be a Baylor or TCU (or even college football) fan to enjoy how things went last night.

My viewing guide today -- under the palms-together-in-prayer assumption that we can get the FIOS cable and internet going early:

*Noon: Northwestern at BC (ESPNU)
*3:30: UCLA at Houston (FSN), USF at Notre Dame (NBC)
*7: Florida Atlantic at Florida (ESPNU)
*8: LSU-Oregon (ABC), Boise State-Georgia (ESPN)

Don't ask me how I'm going to watch Florida with the 8 p.m. heavyweights -- let alone how we're all supposed to toggle between the LSU-Oregon and Boise-Georgia games. (Here's a hint: TV on one game, iPad on another, iPhone on another -- again, the "Watch ESPN" app is huge.)


*Verlander wins 21st: AL Cy locked up. MVP votes next?
*Oklahoma leaving Big 12 for Pac-12: It's an obvious move.
*Sharapova out at US Open: Tourney loses marquee star.
*US Soccer loses to Costa Rica: Klini, come on!
*Colts hire Tressel: I'm all for a 5-game ban.

Enjoy the day, everyone! I'm off to get a "301" area-code tattoo on my chest*, just like Kevin Durant.

-- D.S.

* - Not really, but it's there in spirit.

Friday, September 02, 2011

09/02 (CFB Picks!) Quickie

Resuming a Friday tradition...
(Don't forget to join the college football "pick 'em" group!)

1 Oklahoma over Tulsa
2 Alabama over Kent St
3 Oregon over 4 LSU -- Game of the Week
5 Boise State over 19 Georgia
6 Florida State over LA-Monroe
7 Stanford over San Jose State
8 Texas A&M over SMU
9 Oklahoma State over LA-Lafayette
10 Nebraska over Chattanooga
11 Wisconsin over UNLV -- picked yesterday.
12 South Carolina over East Carolina
13 Virginia Tech over Appalachian State
14 TCU over @Baylor
15 Arkansas over Missouri State
16 Notre Dame over South Florida -- Really want to pick USF.
17 Michigan St over Youngstown State
18 Ohio State over Akron
20 Mississippi State over Memphis -- Thursday.
21 Missouri over Miami-Ohio
22 Florida over Florida Atlantic
23 Auburn over Utah State
24 West Virginia over Marshall
25 USC over Minnesota

Other games of interest:
*Northwestern over @Boston College
*James Madison over @North Carolina
*BYU over @Ole Miss
*Maryland over Miami

What are your picks for best game, biggest upset potential and other best storylines?

-- D.S.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Happy Anniversary,

Five years ago today, I launched

Most heartfelt thanks for your attention, support and feedback. Here's to much more to come.

09/01 (September!) Quickie

Love September. College football starts tonight. NFL starts a week from tonight. We decamp from NYC to DC tomorrow. (For that backstory, see the post below or click here.)

*CFB Tonight: Wisconsin starts its march to the BCS title game (maybe!)

*Texas A&M is out of the Big 12: And the rest of us have already moved on... to two questions: (1) Do Texas-Oklahoma-OK St-Texas Tech go to the Pac-12? (Almost assuredly). (2) Which team does the SEC pick up to make 14? (VA Tech).

Bonus question: Which two teams do the SEC pick up to make 16? (If they don't want to double up state representation, Maryland and UNC or NC State. But honestly, they could have Notre Dame if they wanted to; when the SEC calls, any team would listen.)

*Red Sox beat Yankees: Yawn. Call me when they're playing in the playoffs.

*Venus out at US Open: That's a shame.

*Sports x Politics: President Obama's big jobs speech next Thursday night will wrap up by 8:30, so it doesn't conflict with the NFL opener.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We're Leaving New York City

After 14 years of living in New York City, I am leaving on Friday with my family to relocate to D.C.

I got here in the spring of 1997, leaving in Seattle to come to Brooklyn to help out my gram and grandfather, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was supposed to be a short-term stay.

It lasted nearly a decade and a half, defined by some of the things that a lot of folks here have experienced: Shuffling around apartments of wildly varying quality; a baffling dating scene that thankfully ended for me with a spouse and kids; dot-com boom and bust; and friends whose talents simultaneously make me envious and proud to know them.

In the end, what really mattered was my family: We started out just me and my wife in a studio in the West Village, then a soulless one-bedroom near Columbus Circle (above a Hooters), then a lovely 2-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights became more crowded with our first kid, then our second. The start of kindergarten for the older signaled we had maxed out of our space.

It was time to move again, to be sure. But none of the choices in the immediate area felt right (or affordable, either financially or on a commute) and we decided we would take the bolder step of leaving the New York City area entirely, joining the masses of entirely level-headed folks who specifically don't live in New York.

We chose the Washington, D.C. area for a couple of reasons: I grew up there, although I haven't lived there full-time in more than 20 years; the city is almost entirely new to me, and I will make a particular point to steer clear of "When I was growing up..." nostalgia. (Or at least try....) But it strikes us as wonderfully accessible, a mix of suburban living and "big-city" culture.

My wife's fantastic law firm has a DC office, which means she can continue working with incredible people and doing work she sincerely enjoys. My parents are in DC. My wife's cousins are here. We both have good friends - her closest friend from Brooklyn; my college roommate.

DC is a lawyers' town, to be sure. But it's a media town, too: Established incumbents like the Washington Post Company and Gannett, but also innovative challengers like SBNation and Politico. (And some in between, like The Atlantic and the ESPN crew that produces PTI and Around the Horn.) Some of my favorite writers, reporters and pundits are in DC, both friends and people I will get to know once I'm local.

It would be disingenuous if I didn't acknowledge the sports: That I am excited to trade the Knicks -- a team I never took to, even in '99 -- for the woeful Wizards, nevertheless a team I have been avidly rooting for since I was a kid. Following John Wall up close has me giddy. I am excited to rekindle my fandom for the Capitals, a team I went to see so many times growing up but lost touch with from long distance.

I am really excited about adopting the Nationals, particularly with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper on the roster for the next decade. I am particularly excited about figuring out whether my youthful contrarian loathing of the Redskins is ready to re-emerge, like the region's locusts that pop up every two decades or so. And I am more excited than anything about sharing all that with my kids, just reaching the age where they can begin to appreciate sports fandom.

But this week, it's about saying goodbye to New York City -- to ogling DiFara's pizza (OK: scarfing Lucali even more)... to sweating through summer weekends watching hoops at West 4th Street... to experiencing free Met Opera in the park... to slurping Joe's Shanghai soup dumplings... to sneaker-shopping along Fulton Mall... to having a letter to the editor published in the Times (and having my wedding announcement rejected by the Times)... to paying off parking tickets from accursed "alternate-side-of-the-street" parking snafus... to grinding away on Quickish at the communal table at General Assembly... to bringing home newborn babies in yellow cabs... and to the kind of neurotic exceptionalism that gives the city its aggravation and its energy.

I will miss all that -- I will miss even more the people I have gotten to know and love. Facebook and Twitter and Gchat and Tumblr and blogging break down the barriers of distance, but it's hard not to lament the end of the spontaneous happy hour on Atlantic Avenue or the random run-in (literally, on a run) with my high school homecoming-dance date who lives one neighborhood over or regular rides on my building's elevator with the A-list celebrity who quietly lives one floor down.

The access within the city -- even out here in Brooklyn -- is what makes the city so unique, but it remains, always, about the people.

Part of why we are moving is to get away from people -- to have our own space, for once. We found a cute little house that is small by neighborhood standards but fairly immense by Manhattan or Brooklyn ones.

What is next is less a homecoming or even a fresh start than building on the wonderful experience of being in NYC over the past decade and a half and growing it from here. I couldn't be more excited. And part of what I am looking forward to most is immersing myself in the people I know in the DC area -- friends and colleagues and people I admire -- and the ones I have yet to meet, but will make an earnest effort to get to know.

If you are in New York, I look forward to seeing you again on what will inevitably be regular trips up here. If you are in DC, I really look forward to seeing you down there. And if you are elsewhere, I hope you are as happy as I and my family are right now, over the anticipation of what might come next.

-- D.S.

08/31 (Anniversary) Quickie

Big news coming at 11-ish.

Apparently, I like my major life changes on August 31 -- five years ago, August 31 was the final edition of the Daily Quickie; launched the very next day. Sincere thanks to everyone who has stuck with me over all those years.

It's basically been the same Blogger template ever since -- I switched fonts a year ago, but that hardly counts as major change. Wondering if I should do something a little more radical.

Anyway, college football kicks off Saturday, but there are a bunch of games tonight, including the season opener for Wisconsin, the team I picked to run the table and meet Alabama in the national title game. Excited to see how they look, even if it's a cupcake game.

More later, as you'll find out.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

08/30 (Vickie) Quickie

Be sure to sign up for either (or both!) of the Quickish Pick 'Em groups -- NFL and/or College Football!

*Happy Madden Day: I once wrote that Madden release day sits only behind the Super Bowl (and, perhaps, the first day of the NFL Draft) as the single-most popular NFL day of the year. Still believe it -- for those of you who play Madden, enjoy the day.

*Vick gets $100M deal: The most fascinating second act in NFL history gets even more interesting. If it wasn't before, it's Super Bowl championship or fail.

*Jarvaris Crittenton finally arrested: This story is only going to get more messy as we get into the trial (and, if it happens, a conviction).

*NBA eyeing a TWO-year ban before draft eligibility: As someone who hates the existing rule and wants to return to a more fair and efficient free-market system, this is terrible for the NBA.

*Texas A&M ready to leave Big 12 for SEC: It's going to be an awkward final year for them in their current conference and they may get waxed in the SEC, but it's a worthwhile move.

*Cole Hamels is back: Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are awesome, but it is adding a potent, injury-free Hamels that takes the Phillies from "Best team in the NL" to "World Series champs."

*This season's "DWTS" athletes: Hope Solo and Ron Artest. The history of success of athletes in DWTS is dynastic. I may not be watching, but I'll be openly rooting for Ron Artest.

(Join the Pick 'Em leagues!)

-- D.S.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Join The NFL and CFB Pick 'Em Group!

It's that time of year! Join our NFL and college football "Pick 'Em" prediction groups. As usual, we run the group through In a new twist, the traditional group name "Daily Quickie Readers" has been replaced by -- go figure -- "Quickish Readers." Join up!

Join the NFL "Quickish Readers" Pick 'Em group here.

Join the college football "Quickish Readers" Pick 'Em group here.

Initial BlogPoll Top 25 Released

The initial preseason ballot of the BlogPoll Top 25 has been released. Alabama is No. 1, but is by no means via consensus; Oklahoma gets nearly as many No. 1 votes. Oregon is No. 3, collecting a handful of votes for No. 1. Boise State is 4th (1 1st-place vote) and FSU is 5th (2 1st-place votes).

My initial ballot is here: I am predicting Alabama to win the national title, beating Wisconsin. (But I have a healthy log-jam of 1-loss teams ready to pounce, including Boise State, South Carolina, Florida State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Oregon, Virginia Tech and TCU. I showed how I got there here.

08/29 (Crazy Week) Quickie

It's a crazy week, and I'll explain more tomorrow. In the meantime...

*Be sure to check out my initial BlogPoll Top 25 ballot. I leave a lot of room open at the top with plenty of one-loss contenders, but I'm sticking with Alabama-Wisconsin in the title game.

*My favorite story of the weekend is Arian Foster tweeting out his indignation toward fantasy football fans who care more about his individual injury than his team.

I appreciate his point of view, but he couldn't be more wrong. If not for fantasy, Foster's season last year would have been overlooked, almost entirely. Doesn't matter how much of a breakout season you have if it's done on a crappy team... except for the massive fantasy implications.

If anything, Foster should be cultivating his fantasy fan base -- which is sizable. The fact is: More fans care just as much (if not more) about their fantasy team as their "real" team, which begs the question of whether their "real" team IS their fantasy team. Chew on that for a minute....

*Congrats to the kids from California on their LLWS title -- what a finish.

*Verlander for AL Cy: Obviously. Verlander for AL MVP? No way. Lots of season to go, but for now, I'm going with the runaway AL leader in WAR -- Jose Bautista.

*Peyton Manning activated: Doesn't mean he'll be in shape to play -- or take multiple hits to that iffy neck.

*US Open starts: The one NYC event I have never been to and really want to go to badly. We'll see if I can make it happen this week.

*Usain Bolt's DQ: Any rule that eliminates Bolt -- the sport's biggest star, by a wide margin -- is a stupid rule.

*David Price Ks 14: Love Price. Speaking of crazy K rates, I'm hoping to make the return of "Strasmas" in DC on Sept. 6. We'll see.

More later. Pop by Quickish all day for the best takes on the biggest stories.

-- D.S.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

08/28 (Top 25) Quickie

How did I spend a sleepless, Irene-watching night last night? Working on my initial BlogPoll Top 25 ballot. The place to focus is the top dozen or so, I think. I take the additional step of going through the schedules of the Top 40-ish teams and projecting a record. Take a look below, then let me know what you think. Ballot is due to the BlogPoll folks tomorrow a.m.

1. Alabama (12-1 - loss at home to LSU, still wins SEC title)
2. Wisconsin (13-0 - will lose to Alabama in national-title game)
3. Boise State (13-0 - earns BCS-level bowl bid)
4. South Carolina (12-1 - loss to Alabama in SEC title game)
5. Florida State (12-1 - stunning loss at Florida, still wins ACC title)
6. Oklahoma (12-1 - loss at Florida St)
7. Stanford (12-1 - stunning loss at USC, still wins Pac-12 title)
8. Oregon (11-1 - loss at Stanford)
9. TCU (11-1 - loss at Boise State, no BCS bowl this year)
10. Virginia Tech (12-1 - loss to FSU in ACC title game; next stop: SEC?)
11. Nebraska (11-2 - loss at Wisconsin, loss to Wisconsin in B10 title game)
12. Houston (13-0, complete BCS afterthought)
13. LSU (9-3 - losses vs. Oregon, at Mississippi St, at W. Virginia)
14. Arkansas (9-3 - losses at Alabama, vs. S. Carolina, at LSU)
15. BYU (10-2 - losses vs. Texas, vs. TCU)
16. Texas A&M (9-3- losses vs. Arkansas, at Texas Tech, at Oklahoma. But beats Texas.)
17. Oklahoma State (9-3 - losses at Texas A&M, at Mizzou, Oklahoma)
18. Utah (10-3 - losses at BYU, at Arizona, vs. Stanford in Pac-12 CG)
17. Texas (9-3 - losses vs. Oklahoma, vs. OK St, at Texas A&M)
20. Florida (9-3 - losses vs. Alabama, at LSU, at S. Carolina)
21. Air Force (10-2 - losses vs. TCU, at Boise State)
22. Mississippi State (8-4 - losses at Georgia, vs. S. Carolina, vs. Alabama, at Arkansas)
23. West Virginia (9-3 - loss at Maryland, at Rutgers, at South Florida)
24. Notre Dame (8-4 - losses at Michigan, vs. Michigan St, vs. Air Force, at Stanford)
25. Penn State (7-5 - losses vs. Alabama, at N’western, vs. Nebraska, at OH St, at Wisconsin)

*This is Joe Paterno’s final season.
*Andrew Luck wins the Heisman (Runner-up: Trent Richardson)
*Utah makes it to the Pac-12 title game in its inaugural season.
*I’m dismissing Ohio State and I shouldn’t be. Same with Mizzou and Georgia.
*Defending champ Auburn goes under .500