Saturday, November 12, 2011

11/12 (Saturday) Quickie

This has been a week. If you haven't popped by Quickish -- or only come by intermittently -- I really hope you'll check out our Penn State stream to catch up on the very best commentary and analysis on the Penn State story. This is such a brutal story, I find reading really smart or poignant takes on it helps to process it.

I'm actually in Savannah for a family wedding, so I'll keep this brief:

*The aircraft carrier hoops game last night was the coolest visual I have ever seen for a sports event -- even better than what I'd say was the clubhouse leader, the first Winter Classic.

(UNC beat Michigan State, but it could have been my college intramural team playing, because the optics were so staggeringly awesome.)

*Belmont may have lost to Duke at Cameron last night (only by a point), but you just saw hundreds of thousands of fans filing away Belmont for at least a Sweet 16 run on their NCAA Tournament brackets. (Something they were capable of last year, by the way, save being given their absolutely worst match-up by the seeding committee, something unlikely to happen again this year.)

*I'm so glad college hoops is back. And with the NBA season seemingly on the brink of being lost for good (or, at least, until January, as has been predicted for a while), the sport's return has never been more welcome. It's going to be a great year.

*CFB Today: All eyes are on Penn State vs. Nebraska at noon, but the Game of the Day is Oregon at Stanford. This is no gimme: Oregon is a lot better than USC; don't discount the learning experience of getting beaten up by LSU to start the season (Stanford resembles an SEC team, albeit one with a world-class QB). Stanford has the motivation of last year's close loss in Eugene, not to mention the motivation of maintaining a perfect season and a chance at playing for a national title. I'm rooting for Stanford. I think Oregon is going to play the spoiler and win.

*Best news of the week: Wilson Ramos being returned safely to his family.

Updates at Quickish all day.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

11/08 (Paterno) Quickie

Been going nonstop on the Penn State story. Please check out the Quickish coverage. During a horrible scandal, I'm very proud of the site's ability to help you stay on top of the best takes.

-- D.S.

Monday, November 07, 2011

11/07 (Monday) Quickie

Still thinking a lot about the Penn State story, which is too horrible.

Today is the day that it moves from the sports pages to mainstream America -- and when the school simply has to do more. Accepting the resignations of the AD and VP of Finance -- at the center of the lies -- just isn't enough, nor is appointing some kind of commission. It is hard to imagine a greater institutional failure, from the lowliest assistant to the highest figure.

It feels inadequate to simply move on to the other big stories, but nevertheless...

A few thoughts about the NFL yesterday:
*Hell of a win by Eli Manning.

*Aaron Rodgers is playing better than any QB I have ever seen.

*Philip Rivers: Yikes.

*Patrick Peterson's walk-off game-winning punt return had me jumping up and down, and I couldn't care less about the Cardinals.

*I sincerely wonder whether John Fox is happy that Tim Tebow played well enough to win, because it means he can't throw him out yet. I was very happy to see the coordinators deploy Tebow as a running QB. Let's table whether that is sustainable; the point is that, game-by-game, it was effective. They better come up with a new wrinkle, because no self-respecting NFL defensive coordinator can't take the tape and a week of prep and not be ready to stop it.

*I did not expect Joe Flacco to lead the Ravens to a win in Pittsburgh. I also would like to hear more about this "Ball So Hard University" that Terrell Suggs appeared to have graduated from.

*Two words: Julio. Jones.

CFB: I'm still on the side of "LSU-Alabama was a phenomenal game." Either defense would obliterate any other contender's offense (and either's offense would steamroll any other contender's defense, which is the even bigger issue). Here's where it gets interesting:

What if Oklahoma State and Stanford both lose (OKS to OU and Stanford to Oregon, next Saturday)? It's hardly like Oklahoma is worthy of meeting LSU for the title. Neither is Alabama. Neither is Oregon, who already lost to LSU on a neutral field. I'd still like to see Boise, even with the ridiculous advantage Boise gets with its weak-in/weak-out schedule.

(That said: CFB's bigger problem is if Oklahoma State and Stanford both go unbeaten. I think Stanford would beat OKS head-to-head, but that's just conjecture. Someone will be left out, and that's going to be a problem. But, yes: These things tend to work themselves out. Let's see what happens with Stanford and Oregon before we go too far.)

NBA Lockout: If the full players membership were given the latest owners' proposal and asked to vote via secret ballot, I think more than 50% would approve it. I don't think we'll lose the season. I think that, as we've been saying for months, the season will start in January sometime after the labor deal gets hammered out in December.

-- D.S.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

This Week's BlogPoll Top 25: LSU vs... Anyone?

I sort of hate myself for doing it, but I kept Alabama at No. 2, because losing by a field goal in overtime to the No. 1 team in the country is hardly disqualifying. I think Bama would throttle Stanford or Boise or Oklahoma State or anyone... besides LSU.

Here's where things get tricky: I am adamant that there not be an Alabama-LSU rematch in the national title game. So: Can I rank Alabama the 2nd-best team in the country while denying them a spot in the title game that pits the top two teams in the country? You bet I can.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings Ballot - Week 11

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

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

11/06 (LSU!) Quickie

Couple of quick thoughts:

*What a win for LSU -- that Alabama team was ridiculous, particularly the D. And to do it in Tuscaloosa? It's a testament to the seasoning LSU went through earlier in the season, with Oregon and Mississippi State and West Virginia.

*I can't believe the folks on Twitter killing the game for being "boring." This was as elite level of defense as you'll see. The Oklahoma State-Kansas State game was full of offense; those guys couldn't stop at a red light. We've seen this: Oklahoma averages 50+ ppg and Florida shuts them down. Ohio State averages 40+ ppg and Florida shuts them down. Alabama throttles Texas. LSU throttles Ohio State. The defense is at another level, and if you didn't realize that when LSU contained Oregon, you realize it now -- and will realize it in January.

*I still think Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma and Stanford loses to Oregon. I have no idea what happens at that point (I think an LSU-Oregon rematch has as much traction and appeal as an LSU-Alabama rematch), but I'd certainly like to see Boise get a shot at LSU. If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma and Stanford beats Oregon, it looks like Oklahoma State gets a shot and Stanford gets shut out. I think LSU throttles Oklahoma State.

*Tentative BlogPoll Top 5: (1) LSU, (2) Stanford, (3) Alabama, (4) Oklahoma State, (5) Boise (which isn't exactly dominating lowly UNLV). Oregon right there. Arkansas right there.

A word about Penn State and this scandal: It's horrifying. It's appalling. At this point, I'm OK if you told me Penn State was getting the death penalty. That won't happen, but I do think it indelibly changes our perception of Penn State as a program and Joe Paterno as a legendary coach. The AD should be fired. The president of the university should be fired -- if he won't resign. Joe Paterno should resign. I don't add that last one lightly -- ultimately, you can't give JoePa a pass. You can't say he did his best or that he at least did the minimum asked of him. You can't even lean back on the idea that he's been an empty figurehead for a decade and not responsible. He IS responsible. I don't say that with anything but sadness. But I have no sympathy for Paterno. None. I save my sympathy for those poor victims and their families.

-- D.S.