Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/10 (CFB Saturday) Quickie

Reiterating yesterday's post, I don't see any Top 25 upsets this week (I guess Arizona State over Missouri last night counts, but did Mizzou look like a Top 25 team to anyone?)

What I'm watching today:

Noon (ESPN): Oregon State at Wisconsin
(Just long enough to watch the rout begin.)
12:20 (ESPN3): Mississippi State at Auburn
3:30 (ABC): Alabama at Penn State (another rout)
(Eye on: Eastern Ill. at N'western on B10 Network)
4:30 (ESPN): South Carolina at Georgia
7:00 (ESPN3): UAB at Florida
(Eye on: BYU at Texas on ESPN2)
8:00 (ABC): Notre Dame at Michigan (4th quarter)

Enjoy the day! It finally stopped raining in DC -- just in time to shut myself in all day.

-- D.S.

Friday, September 09, 2011

09/09 (Packers!) Quickie

Well, that was just about the best way the NFL could have kicked off the new season.

*Aaron Rodgers was dominant (and cheeky: mocking the media after the game for its obsession over "unifying" whole-team off-season workouts, like the Saints had... and the Packers didn't).

*Randall Cobb was a jaw-dropping revelation. (So much for the pre-game noise that the new kickoff rule would be stultifying.)

*The game went down to the final play, an odd call by Sean Payton to run at the goal-line with rookie Mark Ingram, rather than put the ball in Drew Brees' hands.

*The Packers look as sharp as they did during last season's playoffs. I'm totally comfortable with my preseason pick from yesterday that they will repeat.

We're in for a good year. My five favorite storylines for Sunday:

*How will the Colts look without Peyton Manning?
*How does the Eagles "dream team" mesh together?
*Sunday's best game: Steelers-Ravens
*Jets-Cowboys in Sunday night primetime.
*Two QBs duel in debuts: Cam Newton and Kevin Kolb.

College football Saturday:
*Alabama is going to smoke Penn State in Happy Valley.
*Richt hot seat gets hotter: S. Carolina is going to win big at Georgia.
*Intriguing game of the week: Mississippi State at Auburn.
*Real talk: Michigan's throwbacks are uglier than Maryland's new-fangled unis.
(That said: I love the idea of the Big House under the lights.)
*Not seeing any upsets in the Top 25 -- maybe Arizona State over Mizzou tonight?

9/11, 10 Years Later: I've been linking to a couple of particularly good retrospectives on Quickish this week, but they feel academic. If you read one thing, make it this letter that my former Page 2 colleague (now's) Kieran Darcy wrote to his dad, who died on 9/11. Here's the link.

Have a fun and safe weekend everyone. Enjoy the return of the wonderful combination of college football on Saturdays and NFL on Sundays. Don't forget to set your fantasy football lineups.

(And be sure to join in the Quickish Readers "pick 'em" games for both the NFL and college football.)

Blogging here both weekend mornings, plus great recommendations all day all weekend at Quickish. Please give it a visit (and tell a friend or two).

-- D.S.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

09/08 (NFL Kickoff) Quickie

Before anything else, join the Quickish Readers NFL Pick 'Em group. Week 1 picks seemed mostly obvious -- which indicates that it's a crazy week ahead.

NFL Playoff Picks:
Super Bowl: Packers repeat as Super Bowl champs
, beating the Patriots.
NFC: Eagles, Packers, Falcons, Rams (WC: Saints, Bucs)
AFC: Pats, Ravens, Texans, Chargers (WC: Jets, Steelers)

Why the Packers? Start with my inclination/fetish to pick defending champs to repeat. But I go back to the idea that the Packers won the title last year despite themselves: Despite the fact that so many of the team's key players were injured, despite the fact they had to go on the road every round of the playoffs. With a healthier lineup and home-field advantage, they cruise. And with Aaron Rodgers -- my pick for league MVP -- at the top of his game, they beat back the Patriots in a Super Bowl thriller.

This week's picks: @GB d. NO, ATL d. @CHI, @KC d. BUF, @CLE d. CIN, @TB d. DET, TEN d. @JAX, @HOU d. IND, PHI d. @STL, @BAL d. PIT, @SD d. MIN, @WSH d. NYG, @ARI d. CAR, @SF d. SEA, @NYJ d. DAL, NE d. @MIA, @DEN d. OAK. (LW: N/A, YTD: 0-0)

Week 1 Storylines: Peyton Manning out. This doesn't even feel like a real storyline, given that he hasn't looked like he was going to play in Week 1 (and beyond?) for months. It's notable because it's his first missed start in forever. But let's focus on the storylines of players and teams actually taking the field:

Do the Texans finally impose a superiority on the nemesis Colts? (And what about Arian Foster's status?) Do the Falcons get off to a high-flying start? Do the Bucs or Lions get the first week's edge for "breakthrough team" bandwagon? Does the Steelers-Ravens winner in Week 1 really matter in the grand scheme of things? Does Chad Ochocinco have a notable opener with the Pats? Does the new kick-off rule make a dramatic difference on touchbacks?

CFB Tonight: Oklahoma State gets a primetime showcase with Arizona (potential future Pac-16 colleague?). Expect the Cowboys to roll, but hopefully a lot of offense from both teams.

Baylor vs. Texas A&M: How petty of Baylor to consider suing the SEC to keep Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12 -- look, I'm sorry for Baylor fans that the powerhouses of the conference are so ready to bolt for better situations and that Baylor isn't getting included (and, if they were, you can be sure they wouldn't be suing anyone), but the reality of college football is that there are a handful of super-conferences and the other "conferences" are loose allegiances, the Big 12 most of all (remember: the only reason Baylor got into the Big 12 in the first place is that the then-governor of Texas forced the conference to take them).


*Nyjer Morgan vs. Albert Pujols: Morgan's tweet was inane. First, using "Alberta" and "she" is weak sauce. Second, Pujols would crush Morgan like a grape.

*Verlander wins No. 22: Beyond the fact that he's the most must-see pitcher in baseball right now, 25 wins is a milestone that I think many experts thought we might never see again.

*Another U.S. Open rain-out: It has rained constantly since Sunday up and down the East Coast. I'm not sure the players themselves could be more sick of it than I am, frankly.

Tons of great recs on Quickish yesterday -- with more to come today: Lots on the start of the NFL season. Pop by to check out what we're tipping.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

09/07 (Settling In) Quickie

Apologies for the spotty posting this week -- still settling in to the new digs. A few points:

*I didn't make it to Nats Park last night for the debut of Strasburg '11, but I'm definitely going to get to one of his other starts this month.

*But about Strasburg: He wasn't overpowering -- just impressive. Remember, these last few starts of '11 are just a training exercise. By next spring, he's going to be must-see constantly.

*I could not track down a Maryland football jersey from Monday night at any of the local sporting-goods stores. Now THAT is a shame.

*Baylor is holding up Texas A&M leaving for the SEC? That's a joke; Baylor is acting in an equally self-serving way as A&M or Oklahoma or Texas. Just let it go, Baylor folks.

*Jaguars unceremoniously release QB David Garrard: He'll be fine -- plenty of contenders want a seasoned backup, and Garrard on a good team will be very effective.

(Should the Jaguars try to trade for Tim Tebow? Yes, for two reasons: (1) Marketing. (2) That team needs to shed NFL orthodoxies and try some new ideas, which Tebow allows for.)

*US Open: I'm actually kind of excited about the idea that the final 16 in the field will have to play four matches in four days in order to win. That's grueling.

*The BlogPoll collective ranked LSU at No. 1 -- as they deserved to be, if you care more about what a team has done THIS season than what the preseason fiction might have been.

*Book Club: "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach, supposedly instantly one of the best baseball novels of all time. Can't wait to dig in. Lots of good reviews this week.

*TV Tonight: "Herschel" documentary about the incomparable Herschel Walker, at 8 ET on ESPNU.

More tomorrow, including NFL picks. Thanks for your patience as I get settled in the new location.

-- D.S.

Monday, September 05, 2011

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: LSU!

With just one game to go off of (mostly), LSU is on top. Boise State is No. 2. Baylor should probably be higher, given the preseason projections for TCU -- if TCU turns out to be much better than they looked on Friday night, Baylor will benefit. Like most of the teams that won on the road against non-cupcake opponents, South Florida deserved its bump. Count Houston -- a team I had already ranked pretty high in the preseason -- and Northwestern in that group. BYU probably deserved to lose at Ole Miss, but the point is that they didn't, and winning in Oxford sure is a better qualifier than beating a creampuff at home. But, yes, after No. 1 and 2, the rest of the poll is a bit of a hot mess of "Well, why are THEY ahead of THEM?"

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings Ballot - Week 2

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU Tigers Arrow_up 12
2 Boise St. Broncos Arrow_up 1
3 Alabama Crimson Tide Arrow_down -2
4 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_up 2
5 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_down -3
6 Florida St. Seminoles Arrow_down -1
7 Stanford Cardinal --
8 Baylor Bears --
9 Virginia Tech Hokies --
10 South Florida Bulls --
11 Houston Cougars Arrow_up 1
12 Nebraska Cornhuskers Arrow_down -1
13 Texas A&M Aggies Arrow_up 3
14 Mississippi St. Bulldogs Arrow_up 8
15 Oklahoma St. Cowboys Arrow_up 2
16 Florida Gators Arrow_up 4
17 South Carolina Gamecocks Arrow_down -13
18 Oregon Ducks Arrow_down -10
19 Ohio St. Buckeyes --
20 West Virginia Mountaineers Arrow_up 3
21 BYU Cougars Arrow_down -6
22 Texas Longhorns Arrow_down -3
23 Northwestern Wildcats --
24 Utah Utes Arrow_down -6
25 TCU Horned Frogs Arrow_down -15
Dropouts: Arkansas Razorbacks, Air Force Falcons, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Penn St. Nittany Lions

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Sunday, September 04, 2011

09/04 (LSU) Quickie

Immersed in unpacking/settling in, but a very quick comment: One of the most interesting moments of the college football season is the first Saturday, where your preseason rankings meet reality. And, really, those preseason predictions get tossed out, replaced by what we can actually see -- and what teams have actually done. Because of that, LSU will be the No. 1 team in my BlogPoll this week, for decisively beating Top 5 Oregon last night. There's a good chance Boise State will be No. 2.

-- D.S.