Friday, October 19, 2012

10/19 (TGIF) Quickie

*The Yankees get swept: Did Baltimore take all the fight out of them? Did the Jeter injury deflate them? Was the team profile ripe for a postseason flop? Most accurately, the Tigers' awesome starting pitching did in New York. Hard to remember a team folding so badly in the LCS.

A Quickie truism: If it is in the best interests of baseball that the Yankees be competitive, it is even more in the best interests of baseball that the Yankees fall short of a championship, preferably in the most humiliating way possible.

*Cards up 3-1 on the Giants in NLCS: They are the defining baseball franchise of the past decade, and if the Red Sox' title breakthrough got more publicity and the Yankees spent more money, it is the Cardinals that are one win away from being as close to a dynasty as we have had since the Yankees crapped out in '04 (or possibly '01). Head over to Quickish for a tip to a Jeff Passan column about the most fascinating thing about these Cardinals: Not only have they gotten this far this season without Albert Pujols, it's almost as if they are better off without him.

*NFL Week 7: Ravens-Texans is the best game of the week -- let's see how a Lewis- and Webb-less Ravens D handles Houston's offense... RGIII getting his first taste of the DC-NY rivalry between the Redskins and Giants (who also happen to be the team to beat in the NFL right now) is the most must-see match-up... And yet! The storyline that will earn the most attention is whether Rex Ryan will have Mark Sanchez hand the ball off to Tim Tebow, rather than having Tebow take snaps directly before running with the ball.

*49ers grunt past the Seahawks: Not a pretty one, which is a testament to Seattle's defense and -- if you believe the morning-after quarterbacking -- a testament to eroding faith Jim Harbaugh has in QB Alex Smith. The 49ers could be the best team in the league -- would they really bench Smith for rising backup Colin Kaepernick? If any coach has the wherewithal to do it, it's Harbaugh.

*CFB Weekend: The game of the week is South Carolina at Florida, which -- ironically -- doesn't do a ton to settle the SEC East. USC would have the tie-breaker over Florida and Georgia, but even if Florida beats South Carolina, if they lose next week to Georgia, the Bulldogs are in the driver's seat in the East. Let's keep things simple: If Florida wins, they remain in the national-title picture for one more week.

*Speaking of national-title simplicity: The same goes for Kansas State -- if they win in Morgantown, K-State collects a second Win of the Year (to go with winning at Oklahoma) and look very good to run the table (until the inevitable baffling loss). If they lose to West Virginia -- and despite the evidence of K-State's fortitude displayed in Norman, I'm saying they will -- they (and the Big 12) are out of the national-title picture.

*Upset Watch: BYU won't beat Notre Dame -- although BYU's defense combined with ND's defense means the game will be close enough to make Irish fans sweat -- but I'm intrigued by Texas A&M playing at home versus LSU. Johnny Manziel is as tough of a player as LSU has faced this season -- then again, Manziel hasn't come close to going up against a D as tough as LSU (not even Florida's, which let Manziel go crazy in the 1st half before clamping down on him in the 2nd.) Nope, my upset pick is 2-4 Utah beating 5-0 Oregon State in Corvallis and ruining OSU's thus-far-perfect season.

*Oregon rolls over Arizona State: The Ducks got to 40+ so blindingly fast that Oregon ripping through the rest of its schedule feels like the most foregone conclusion in college football. (Even Alabama -- for all its might -- feels like it would give the SEC East winner a puncher's chance in the SEC title game. Oregon? They're not going to get stopped until -- as usual -- they run into an elite SEC defense.)

*NBA: It is a testament to LeBron being the NBA's center of gravity that the biggest NBA story of the week is whether the Lakers are angling to sign LeBron after the 2014 season. At least that's only two years away -- remember when we were a full four years from LeBron's free agency when we started talking about him leaving Cleveland for the NYC area?

FWIW, after LeBron wins another title or two with Miami -- and, coming off of last season, that is the most likely outcome -- he may very well see his next frontier as conquering LA and bringing a title back to the Lakers (particularly if he beats the Lakers in either of the next two NBA Finals).

Enjoy your weekend.

-- D.S.

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