Friday, January 04, 2013

01/04 (Wild) Quickie

*I will miss Chip Kelly as a college coach, but I am really excited to see what he can do in the NFL.

*Oregon finishes the season as the most telegenic team (Manziel and Co. can make their closing argument tonight), but I can't help thinking that I was more impressed when watching Stanford and Alabama and (yes) Notre Dame and (yes, still) Florida and (yes, despite) Kansas State, at least when K-State was dictating the terms of the Fiesta Bowl during the middle portion of the first half.

*Bill O'Brien might be coming back to Penn State, but his dalliance with the NFL simply means that the proposition is "when" not "if." Penn State might have been able to guilt him into staying with "It's only been a year!" but O'Brien clearly wants in to the NFL -- and inevitably wants out of the continuing Penn State mess. Next year, "It's only been a year!" won't matter, and O'Brien will be no more committed to the program than he was this week as he peeked around for something better.

*NFL Wild Card picks: Green Bay, Seattle, Baltimore, Houston. (If that's chalk, all we can hope is that the games themselves are competitive and compelling.)

*CFB pick: Texas A&M over Oklahoma, teeing up the Aggies as a preseason Top 3 pick for next season. (Early prediction: (1) Alabama, (2) Notre Dame, (3) Texas A&M, (4) Florida, (5) Ohio State.)

*NBA: Hardly a shocker that the Spurs weren't able to get past a motivated Knicks team for SA's 8th straight win -- the thing to admire about San Antonio is that their entire system is built around competing for championships in the spring. Random games during the regular season? Meh.

*CBB: Yup, Colorado got the short end vs. Arizona, in what should have been a season-making upset win for the Buffs.

*Jobs: Anyone really think Andy Reid is going to be successful in Kansas City?

*Nuptials: Congrats to Phil Jackson and Jeannie Buss on their engagement.

*Want to be a part of USA TODAY's historic and influential Super Bowl "Ad Meter" panel that ranks the Super Bowl ads and picks the "winner?" Registration is open. Click "Be a Panelist" here.

-- D.S.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

1/3 (Welp) Quickie

What was I saying yesterday? About what an awesome ending to the college football season it would be when Florida demolished Louisville?


It's not like it was close -- it was Louisville domination, from start to finish. The Cards' game-plan was superior. Teddy Bridgewater was sensational. They just look like they wanted it more.

So I start the new year with a prolific Quickie Jinx -- good to see some things don't change.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

01/02 (New Year) Quickie

Like everyone else, I am still astounded by Jadeveon Clowney's hit yesterday. The best reaction was from SBNation's Spencer Hall -- read it here.

Meanwhile, I have a pretty short list of "best endings to a college football season of teams I root for." 2006 and 2008 for Florida's national titles, 1995 for Northwestern's trip to the Rose Bowl (even if it ended in a loss). Maybe even 2009 - Tebow's last year - for the emotional roller-coaster of the SEC title game followed by the Sugar Bowl obliteration of Cincinnati.

Barring something insane tonight, 2012 will make the list. If/when Florida demolishes Louisville, they will likely finish the season ranked No. 2 in the country, behind only the Alabama-Notre Dame champ. Given last season, this is just about as much as any fan could hope for (short of a national title itself, obviously).

Meanwhile, Northwestern won its first bowl game in 63 years -- of my (and many others') lifetime, not to mention an enormous boost for the program. Pretty good finish - with both teams lining up for even better results in 2013 (and, yes, I know what I'm saying about Florida with that statement).

Other than that, yesterday's bowl feast was defined by Stanford out-slugging Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl -- Stanford's success (and I entirely buy David Shaw's notion that they are still ascending) is a testament to solid recruiting, extraordinary coaching and phenomenal execution, which is really just a function of the first two. If/when Chip Kelly leaves Oregon, there is no reason to believe that Stanford won't fill the breach as the best team West of Alabama.

(The finish to South Carolina-Michigan was pretty incredible, too.)

*NFL Jobs: Andy Reid to Arizona? Zzz. I am far more intrigued which team will get Chip Kelly. And, perhaps even more intriguing than that, which team will get Penn State's Bill O'Brien -- the fact that he is even entertaining the idea of interviewing for NFL jobs undermines whatever allegiance he professed to Penn State. I don't blame him for leaving, but if he leaves after just a year? I don't care how PSU might have hood-winked him with promises of no NCAA sanctions, it's a tough move for him and a rough situation for Penn State. Meanwhile, pretty amazing that the hottest college coaching commodity for the NFL (outside of Chip Kelly and, perhaps, inclusive of Chip Kelly) is Syracuse's Doug Marrone.

*NBA: Denver's yellow-with-horizontal-stripe alt-uniforms are amazing -- not quite as amazing as knocking off the Clippers and snapping LA's insane win streak, but close.

*Would be really nice to start this new year with a labor deal for the NHL.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

1/1 (Happy New Year) Quickie

My favorite storyline of 2012 -- a lot of people's favorite storyline of 2012 -- was the stretch of "Linsanity" in late January and early February that captivated everyone.

Among other reasons I loved it was that it was as entirely unexpected as it was thrilling. If you think back to Jan. 1, 2012, you would have had no idea something so marvelous was coming.

In the end, that's why I watch -- why I love -- sports: The thrillingly unexpected (or, I guess, the unexpectedly thrilling).

Aside from rooting for your own teams -- to wit: let's go Northwestern -- that's all you can really root for. The good news is that we know something amazing is waiting for us in 2013.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you and your families.

-- D.S.