Saturday, November 19, 2011

11/19 (Iowa State) Quickie

Last night is why I love college football.

I love that expectations -- OK State beating Iowa State was taken as a GIVEN -- can be so obliterated.

I love that an underdog can earn its greatest football win ever, coming back from a deep hole, no less.

I love that it was in front of the home fans, because the rush-the-field after a huge win like that is the best optics in college football. I love that it was on ESPN and was the "only game in town."

And that's all before the mess the BCS has turned into.

But before we dig into the relative merits of 1-loss Alabama verus 1-loss Oregon (I think 1-loss Oklahoma is sunk, even if they beat Oklahoma State), let last night be a reminder:

One of the greatest things about college football is the penchant for the unexpected.

Do I think that LSU will roll over Mississippi, then Arkansas, then Georgia? Yes, but the point is that you never know and that you are crazy to make assumptions about how things will play out. (The only thing we know is that LSU alone controls its own destiny, all the way to a title.)

I remain steadfastly against The Rematch -- either LSU vs. Alabama or LSU vs. Oregon. But at this rate (again: at this rate! I don't even pay attention to my own lessons), that's what we're getting.

*Condolences to the Oklahoma State community.
*Here's to a full recovery and long life for Joe Paterno.
*Jim Boeheim is putting all his chips on his guy.
*CFB Today: After last night, do I really need to pick an Upset Special?

-- D.S.

Friday, November 18, 2011

11/18 (Tebow) Quickie

There's no need for Tebow triumphalism this morning.

Fans and haters alike can agree that the game-winning 95-yard drive he engineered in the final few minutes -- against a playoff-quality Jets D -- was pretty impressive.

Fans and haters alike can agree that the first 55 minutes of the game were pretty ugly. Partly that was Tebow, partly the Broncos' play-calling, partly the Jets' D. (FWIW: Most non-Brady QBs struggle against the Jets.)

Fans and haters alike can agree that Tebow makes the game exciting. He makes it fun. Part of the charm is that whichever side you are on, you can find something in last night.

You can poke holes in his 4-1 record this season, absolutely, but it's really hard to ignore the "4-1" part. (Let's also credit a very good Broncos D, led by jaw-droppingly good rookie Von Miller.)

I'm an unabashed Tebow fan. But this morning, even the haters have to begrudgingly admit that final drive was as stunning as it was fun (even if they lament the torrent of Tebow coverage today).

*The Syracuse scandal feels a lot different than Penn State.
*Kershaw wins NL Cy: Some good news for otherwise depressed Dodgers fans.
*Cubs hire Dale Sveum: The proof is in the playoff appearances.
*CFB This Weekend: Game Day in Houston? In an otherwise weak week, I like it.
*I'm not a NASCAR fan, but I'm in for a finale that sets up as a one-on-one battle for the title.

-- D.S.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17 (Message Board) Quickie

The new New York Times report on Penn State is must-read. Here it is. Among the key details: Second Mile files are missing. (Go figure.) The Penn State lawyers never knew. (WTF?)

And this, which is the focus of the headline and the lead of the story, but largely ignored beyond that: It was a message board posting that helped investigators crack the case by leading them to McQueary for his statement of what he saw in 2002.

Consider that for a second: You're a die-hard Penn State fan hanging out on -- say -- the "Fight On State" message boards, as you constantly do.

One day, some guy is seemingly trolling the boards by talking about a coach who saw Sandusky raping a kid in the locker room.

The next day, that "troll" is the de facto hero of the case -- the truth-teller whose message-board raving turns out to be THE detail that cracks the case, because investigators took it more seriously than the denizens of the message board, who almost assuredly wanted nothing to do with it.

It is kind of a stunning twist. I wrote about it for Quickish. Check it out here.


*Tebow vs. the Jets tonight: It's going to be the most-watched NFL Network game of all time. That's not saying much, but it sure feels must-see, even if you don't like Tebow or the Jets.

*College Hoops: Undoubtedly, I'm filing away Long Beach State's win at Pitt for next March, where I will refer to it in a way that convinces me to take LBS out of the first round. It's nice to know that my bracket is already on the way to being busted.

*MLB Awards: Hard to argue with Maddon (my favorite MLB manager) and Gibson. NL Cy today -- Kershaw? Hard to argue, but Roy Halladay certainly deserves some consideration.

-- D.S.

For some good context on college football message boards, check out this column by Bryan Curtis from the NYT's old sports magazine Play.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/16 (K) Quickie

*903 for Coach K: Best men's college basketball coach of all time. (And I say that as someone who is a Duke-hater.)

*Kentucky is going to be good: Then again, Calipari-era Kentucky always has the talent to be elite -- the real question is: Can they win the national title? Calipari's system is brilliant, but only to the extent that it ensures he always has the talent to be "Final Four" good. Betting they'll fall short when it matters most in April.

*Side note: I must have been reading too many tweets last night about Anthony Davis' unibrow, because last night I actually had a dream that during halftime, he had the middle plucked or waxed. I found myself feeling disappointed about that.

*Penn State update: Unclear why Mike McQueary didn't say all this stuff from the leaked email a week ago. Meanwhile, watch Jon Stewart's take on the Costas/Sandusky interview. It kind of sums up what we all were thinking.

*MLB Awards: Justin Verlander wins AL MVP Cy. One of the most dominating seasons by a starting pitcher in recent memory. I said this midseason: He is on my short list of players I'd really like to see in person.

*John Fox can mock Tim Tebow all he wants (and he kinda did, all while basking in largely undeserved credit for finally letting his coordinators create an offense that plays to Tebow's strengths and masks his weaknesses), but Broncos-Jets tomorrow night is going to get everyone's attention -- it's going to be the highest-rated Thursday night game ever.

More later. Give Quickish a try today! (And tell a friend!)

-- D.S.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11/14 (Monday) Quickie

So, yes: Tebow. Two passes completed. Two TDs (one rushing, one passing). One win. Lots and lots (and lots) of discussion about him by the media this week in advance of a Thursday night game against the Jets.

I'll only say this: Today's game was exactly what I have been asking for for a year -- an offense that accentuates Tebow's unique strengths and skills. Complemented by a very solid Broncos D, it turns out that is more than enough to beat a Chiefs team that isn't what it was a few weeks ago, but is certainly no pushover at home in KC. Thursday night will be fun.

More NFL notes:
*Two words: John. Skelton.
*I'm OK with Mike Smith's decision to go for it on 4th-and-short in OT.
(I'd trust the short-yardage run game vs. the Saints D over defense vs. Saints O.)
*The Eagles' implosion is way more interesting than if they had won this season.
*What the hell happened to the Lions? (Can't just be Stafford's busted finger.)
*Ah, welcome back, Good Tony Romo.
*I admire that the Colts have just given up.
*Bet the Redskins wish they had decided in Week 1 to start tanking.
*Who had the Seahawks over the Ravens? (Anyone? Anyone? No.)

CFB: So it's pretty simple -- if LSU and Oklahoma State win out, then they will play for the national title. I think there's a chance OK State could lose to Oklahoma, but not with the same enthusiasm I had a few weeks ago (or the same certainty I had about Oregon and Stanford).

But if Oklahoma State loses, it's a toss-up between an Alabama rematch, an Oregon rematch and an Oklahoma shot that overlooks OU's worst-of-the-bunch loss (at home to Texas Tech) and its overrated slate of wins. All of them have their problems.

This week's BlogPoll Top 25 ballot:

On Sunday, I had my first experience without Red Zone Channel since before Week 1 -- before I discovered it for myself. In fact, my hotel had me watching Colts-Jaguars, what I called the exact opposite of Red Zone Channel. I'm never being away from home on a fall Sunday again.

-- D.S.