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.

11/20 (Very) Quickie

Let's reiterate yesterday's point: Gosh, isn't college football awesome?

USC's win at Oregon would have been big enough -- it knocked Oregon out of the national-championship debate just 12 hours after the meme was "Alabama or Oregon?"

(I hate USC and loathe Lane Kiffin, but it's hard not to credit them for a season-making win.)

But Baylor's win over Oklahoma was the sweetest. OU fans have been sitting there since their season-killing loss to Texas Tech talking about how they would ride the BCS madness all the way to the BCS title game, as if it was a foregone conclusion they would beat everyone along the way.

Baylor vivisected the Sooners. Robert Griffin III re-established himself as one of the best (and certainly the most exciting) player in the country, and if I had a Heisman vote, I would give it to Griffin ahead of Luck. Griffin's performance last night was an instant classic.

And so here's where we stand w/r/t the BCS: LSU is in if they win out. Alabama will probably be in if they beat Auburn next week, even without playing in the SEC title game. Arkansas will likely make it if they beat LSU, but there are some funky SEC tie-breaker issues that would actually put Alabama into the SEC title game ahead of Arkansas or LSU if the former beats the latter.

The rest of the country is largely out of the equation. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say LSU throttles Arkansas next week -- this week's upsets are the best bulletin-board material -- and Alabama takes care of business.

In the end, I hate the idea of an LSU-Alabama rematch in the title game. However: Every other big contender had their shot to keep winning and play their way over Alabama. Every one. And even knowing all that, they couldn't get it done, largely against inferior competition.

That is arguably the most compelling thing about college football -- not championship contenders rising to the occasion, but championship contenders stumbling unexpectedly.

If the challenge to voters and fans and the system is to find the best two teams to pit in the national title game, the match-up is LSU vs. Alabama. Yes, even if they played before.

It's not ideal and it speaks to a broken system, but it's certainly less cynical and less flawed than artificially vaulting an inferior team ahead of Alabama, just for the sake of variety or out of pique at the system.

After last week's situation of missing Red Zone Channel, we're back in front of Scott Hanson all day. Should be a typically fun Sunday. Enjoy it, folks.

-- D.S.