Friday, December 14, 2012

12/14 (Gone Bowlin') Quickie

One of the Quickie's longest traditions: The annual bowl-sponsor quiz. In an ever-shifting landscape, see if you can match the sponsor to the bowl game. Answers at the bottom of the column:

(1) Gildan
(2) Hyundai
(3) R&L Carriers
(4) Autozone
(5) AdvoCare V100
(6) Bridgepoint Education

(a) Gator
(b) Holiday
(c) Independence
(d) New Mexico
(e) New Orleans
(f) Liberty
(g) Sun


*Lakers lose in NYC: Kobe's getting frustrated, but isn't it hard to judge this team until they have Nash and Gasol back? By April, they are solidly in the playoffs and the new meme is "Nobody wants to play the Lakers."

*Bengals beat Eagles, stay in playoff contention: The best quip I heard about this game came from's Gregg Rosenthal: "When I watch the Bengals, I don't think:"Let's squeeze more borderline teams into the playoffs!'"

*Angels sign Josh Hamilton: When money isn't an issue, you can do things like lock up two aging superstars -- in this case, Hamilton and Albert Pujols -- for close to $50M a year, just for the two of them. This team was already "Playoffs or bust." The most interesting analysis I saw was item No. 2 in Dave Schoenfield's take on

*Big East break-up: I'm totally on "Team Catholic Seven," and it feels like most people are. Repeating my suggestion from yesterday: They launch a cable network dedicated entirely to the awesomeness of college basketball, even beyond the teams involved in whatever new league they set up.

-- D.S.

Answers: 1-d, 2-g, 3-e, 4-f, 5-c, 6-b, 7-a

For trivia's sake, here are the bowls whose sponsor IS the bowl name: Famous Idaho Potato, Beef O' Brady's, Little Caesar's, Belk, Russell Athletic, Meineke Car Care, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chick-fil-A, Capital One, Outback,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/13 (Very -- and Late!) Quickie

Is this the end of the Big East? Good for the small hoops-only schools for seceding. The Big East began as a clever start-up and I would love to see the splinter group take the same approach.

(My two cents: Call itself "The Big Conference," and launch a cable and online TV network dedicated entirely to college basketball, not just the schools involved.)


Josh Hamilton signing with Angels: A year after they broke the bank for Pujols. No excuses now (as if there was room for any before).

Saints: Unsurprisingly, the players aren't happy with Roger Goodell.

Warriors beat Heat: What a gorgeous final play. Anti-Hero Ball.

Texas Tech hires Kliff Kingsbury: Not just a hometown hero, but arguably the rising star assistant in college football. He's VERY young, but so was Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern. Love this hire.

Should the NFL expand the playoffs? Absolutely. No brainer. Every instance of playoff expansion in every sport -- particularly NFL and MLB -- has been a huge success.

ESPN MLB "Hall of 100": The key point -- Bonds is No. 3 and Clemens is No. 7 and any argument that these two players are not worthy of the Hall of Fame is ludicrous.

NFL Tonight: Bengals over Eagles. Good luck for anyone in fantasy playoffs.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12 (12-12-12) Quickie

"12-12-12" falls somewhere between "kinda cool" and "not nearly as cool as the attention it's getting."

Bountygate: Very (very) surprised that Paul Tagliabue would implicitly rebuke Roger Goodell overreaching on the player suspensions. But the theory is solid: The players were doing what the coach(es) were telling them to and so the punishments were overly harsh.

MLB Hot Stove: Kevin Youkilis joins the Yankees. Forget the whole "Red Sox player joining the Yankees" storyline; Youkilis immediately becomes the most popular Jewish athlete in New York since Amare Stoudemire. (OK: The most popular Jewish baseball player since Shawn Green... perhaps Sandy Koufax.)

NBA: Carmelo for MVP? I never would have imagined it, but -- yes -- he is in the conversation. (Although with the caveat that both LeBron and Kevin Durant are both better players, giving Melo the "Charles Barkley" or "Karl Malone" MVP during the Jordan years, when MJ shoulda/coulda been MVP every year.)

Lakers still reeling: They're just not a good team right now. (And isn't the season vastly more fascinating with the Lakers being so mediocre? Especially given that so many people -- ahem -- picked them to win the West.)

Kevin Love is unhappy: I can't follow this story without dreaming of my Wizards making a play for Love (Seraphin + Veseley + unprotected 1st-round pick in '13?). Of course, that's coming after the report that my Wizards couldn't seal the deal for James Harden back in the summer. Woo.

College Hoops: Like Notre Dame in football, college hoops is way better when Michigan is really really good. That said: It's a team I'm going to sidestep as a Final Four pick -- so keep winning, Blue, because then everyone will pick them to the Final Four and I'll clean up in the pool by NOT picking them. Still: Really fun to see them back near the top.

Fascinating read: About the way the 49ers are hiring Silicon Valley talent, led by former Facebook CFO (now team president) Gideon Yu. It seems almost unfair that the Niners would have the best coach in sports AND the best team president.

Last thought: Here's hoping the same people who cheered on Jack Taylor's 138 points for Grinnell College a few weeks ago are cheering the Indiana girls' h.s. basketball team that won 107-2.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12/11 (Pats) Quickie

The Pats' blow-out win over the Texans was as predictable as it was oddly comforting.

New England now assumes the mantle of "Super Bowl favorites," which tees up the optimal NFL dynamic -- the Pats look unstoppable... right up until they lose in the Super Bowl.

It's possible the memory of last year's SB defeat is driving these Pats this season. But it's more likely that the Texans are a facade of a contender, finally exposed on national TV as pretenders.

Tom Brady is at the top of his game. The Texans are soft. The theme of this NFL season -- at least as it relates to the playoffs -- is largely that it will play out a lot like last season.

And so if the expectation from the rest of us for Houston used to be "Super Bowl or bust," then the expectation from the rest of us for New England now is "Super Bowl bust or bust."


*RGIII Update: LCL sprain, which means he could play as early as this weekend against Cleveland, but will definitely be available for the final two-game stretch. I'm not even a Redskins fan, and even I say phew.

*The NFL's Tagliabue ruling on the Saints' bounty program: It's coming today, and I fully expect Tags to go along with his successor. Perhaps this gives the league cover for the punishment to be walked back slightly, but anything more than that will be viewed as a rebuke of Roger Goodell.... and no ex-commissioner is going to send that message.

*Bobby Petrino to Western Kentucky: He will win and probably win big, right away. No one ever questioned whether Petrino is a good coach -- only whether he can make responsible choices in his personal life. That means that the situation at WKU won't end well, even if it ends with wins.

*NFL Draft: Marcus Lattimore is heading in early, probably two years too late. After his marvelous freshman season -- in which he established himself as the best RB in college football and the most NFL-ready college RB since Adrian Peterson -- he would have been a 1st-round pick. But NFL draft age-limits kept him out, so he returned to college for his sophomore year, when he tore his ACL. He still would have been a high draft pick had he been allowed to come out a year ago. But again, the draft age-limits mandated he return to college, when his other knee was mangled. Here's hoping he gets a shot in the NFL -- and here's hoping his cautionary tale ultimately changes the artificially constraining rules. (They won't, but it's worth hoping.)

*NBA: The Jeremy Lin story in a nutshell -- scores 38 for Houston but the Rockets lose to the Spurs. That's not a knock on Lin; it's a symbol of Houston's ceiling (after all, most teams lose to the Spurs). Here's hoping last night's game jump-starts a little holiday Linsanity.

*Jobs: Ravens fire OC Cam Cameron. The Ravens' offense isn't working, and so the team sided with franchise (or "franchise") QB Joe Flacco, rather than its architect. That's the way it works in the NFL.

*Should Josh Brent get to go to Jerry Brown's memorial if he wants to? I leave it up to Jerry Brown's family to decide, and they seem to want him to be there with the rest of the team. The Cowboys, for their part, support that decision. Something about that feels off, but it is the Brown family prerogative.

-- D.S.

Monday, December 10, 2012

12/10 (Monday) Quickie

It is not enough that RGIII was already THE story of the NFL season or that the Redskins were involved in a taut must-win with the Ravens.

No, then RGIII had to have the knee injury, followed by Kirk Cousins coming in cold off the bench to deliver a must-have last-minute touchdown, followed by a must-must-must-have game-tying two-point conversion -- nothing short of an RGIII impression of running it in himself.

And so now, all eyes on RGIII's knee (it's not an ACL injury, at least), plus the curious case of Cousins, whose draft selection was so widely panned back in April but now looks like one of the most savvy player-personnel moves of the year in the NFL (think Rex Grossman finishes that drive with a TD + 2? no way).

For another week, RGIII is the center of the NFL universe.


*And yet the Cowboys are still hanging around.
*Think the Seahawks were trying to prove a (style) point?
*Same goes for the Giants.
*If only Cam and Carolina had played that way all year.
*Selling: Falcons, Bears, Steelers. Buying: Packers, Giants, 49ers.
*Rays send Shields to KC for Myers: Good deal for both.
*NBA: The Lakers are... not good. Need Nash back ASAP.
*Messi scores 86th goal of 2012: More evidence he's GOAT.
*Still really enjoying the Manziel-wins-Heisman story.
*Has Pac retired yet? No? Will we see No. 5?
*MNF Pick: Pats over Texans, handily.
*Fantasy: Blown out to drop from playoff-qualified 4th to no-playoffs 5th.

-- D.S.