Saturday, January 26, 2013

1/26 (Catch-Up) Quickie

Unclear that I've ever gone this many days without writing here -- it's been one of those weeks -- but I guess the week before the week before the Super Bowl is a pretty light week anyway. So: What'd I miss?

*Best thing last night: A Heat fan hitting a half-court hook shot to win $75,000 -- and LeBron mobbing the guy with as much sincere joy as you would ever see from a superstar athlete.

*No charges for Crabtree: Suspect it might come up at Super Bowl Media Day, though.

*Azarenka wins Aussie Open: Back-to-back. Still wish it was Serena.

*So Te'o talks with Katie Couric and Tuiasosopo talks with... Dr. Phil?

*Hey, the Lakers didn't lose. That's a start.

*NBA All-Star Reserves: Excited for Joakim Noah, a first-time All-Star. The most notable snubs were Brook Lopez and Steph Curry. Kyrie Irving being picked for the first time feels like the start of a decade-long run as an All-Star (even if he won't ever win the fan vote over Derrick Rose).

*So this whole "Andy Murray is for real" is... for real?

*Nothing symbolizes some sports media's "mall cop" relationship to the NCAA like this Shabazz Muhammad "Gucci backpack" situation. His family gave it to him, says the school.

*Will A-Rod miss the entire MLB season? I don't think the Yankees will miss him -- at least in whatever limited capacity he would be in, even if he could play. Cutting that paycheck will sting a bit.

*Would you give Darrelle Revis a monster contract? I wouldn't.

*Tiger is in the lead. I'll always contend it is more interesting when he struggles, but it is clearly more popular when he is not.

*Most intriguing college hoops game of the day/weekend: Louisville at Georgetown (Noon, ESPN)

*Do you enjoy watching the ads during the Super Bowl? Of course you do. USA TODAY has opened up its famous "Ad Meter" panel to anyone who wants to join, so if you're interested, sign up here, then get ready to rate the ads on Super Bowl Sunday (including picking the winner).

-- D.S.

Monday, January 21, 2013

1/21 (Harbaugh Bowl) Quickie

The Harbaugh Bowl. "Super Bro I." The beat-you-over-the-head storyline for the Super Bowl is clear -- the match-up of brothers John and Jim Harbaugh.

It seems innocuous enough now, but just wait until next week, when it will be over-the-top.

That said: It is an INCREDIBLE storyline, arguably the greatest individual storyline in Super Bowl history. (What: You thought I'd say Jerome Bettis' Detroit homecoming?)

As someone who grew up with a younger brother and as a father to brothers who couldn't be more tight-knit, I welcome the crushing overexposure of the Harbaugh Bowl.


*Patriots schadenfreude: The reality is that there isn't an individual team whose non-championship conclusion to the season brings out the schadenfreude like the Patriots. In part, that's a testament to them -- we just presume that they will win the Super Bowl, to avoid the disappointment if they do... and to maximize the glee when they don't. As someone without a die-hard NFL team allegiance, "when the Pats get knocked out of the playoffs" is annually my NFL season highlight.

*What next for the Falcons: Let's be clear -- it was "Super Bowl or bust" for Atlanta, so consider their season a bust, compounded by giving up a 17-0 lead at home (a week after giving up a 20-0 lead at home and only getting through because Pete Carroll got cutesy with the ice-the-kicker thing). Unsure what happens for them next, aside from another season of regular-season superiority, followed by the inevitable playoff knockout.

*Super Bowl pick: 49ers over Ravens, although at this point it's pick-against-Baltimore at your peril.

*Manti Te'o Watch: I would like there to be more sensational details, but in the end, it sure seems like the story comes down to Te'o getting hoaxed, then being so traumatized by it that he couldn't figure out how to surface the story publicly. With the Couric interview, you can already tell that the Te'o family is planning to make a very big deal out of becoming the poster family for online awareness of scams and hoaxes (and it's a very smart strategy, one that you hope is moderately sincere.)

*Sacramento Kings are headed to Seattle to become the Sonics: On the one hand, I am thrilled for my friends in Seattle who were hurt so badly when the Sonics left for OKC. On the other hand, they are doing to Sacramento exactly what was done to them, and simply acknowledging that irony probably isn't enough. Sacto IS the Kings -- Seattle has plenty of other sports teams. I just hope that the city can one day bring back an NBA franchise. Otherwise, today is a day for lamenting a devoted fan base losing their team, not celebrating the return of the NBA to Seattle (a city that deserves an NBA team, btw.)

*Enjoy your Inauguration Day/MLK Day. Both are always a special day in America.

-- D.S.