Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.
Friday's Big Question
1. Which team will win the World Series?
SN trusts Jim Leyland.
With the exception of those living within about a 10-mile radius of Busch Stadium, SportsNation is heavily leaning towards the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series. Maybe because they rolled over the Oakland A's in the ALCS in four games. Or maybe because they've had a week off to rest up and enter the Series focused on erasing 21 years of frustration and reliving the glory that was the magical 1984 season in which the Tigers downed the San Diego Padres in five games.
79% Detroit Tigers will defeat St. Louis Cardinals and win World Series
9% Tigers will sweep the Cardinals in four games
Which manager's hunches would you trust more?
63% Jim Leyland
37% Tony La Russa
What impact will a week off have on Detroit?
33% Won't help or hurt
Should the Tigers pitch to Albert Pujols with runners in scoring position and first base empty?
Which veteran would you rather see win a title?
49% Ivan Rodriguez
If the Cards don't step up at the plate the series will be over real fast. Tigers in 5.
Good pitching beats good hitting. The Tigers sweep.
The Tigers are going to win it in four games and they are going to bring in a revolution of 'Flyover State Bias'.
Cards vs. Tigers = Worst World Series in history.
Tigers in 6. And me watching maybe three hours total of the series.
Easy on the Tiger superlatives. It would be a mild upset at most if the Cards win.
So, how motivated are the Tigers right now, considering the time off. The Cards are a bit banged up, and the Tigers are healed up. If the Cards injuries are too big, this is going to be way too short.
Rich B. (Nashville)
Everyone seems to think the Tigers are going to just roll over the Cards, which leads me to believe the Tigers are not going to just roll over the Cards.
Everybody can hate on the Cardinals all they want, but at least they aren't sitting at home like every other team (expect the Tigers of course).
Dustin (St. Louis)
The Tigers have that 2005 White Sox look about them. Not as good, but good enough to win it all this year.
Thursday's Big Questions
1. Will it be the Mets or Cardinals moving on to the World Series?
2. What else is on SportsNation's mind?
Will Billy Wagner decide Game 7?As proof of the old adage that some men have greatness thrust upon them, check out the pitching matchup in Game 7 of the NLCS: Oliver Perez vs. Jeff Suppan. It's not exactly Smokey Joe Wood vs. Walter Johnson, or even Tom Glavine vs. Chris Carpenter, but one or the other will be the starting pitcher in a game that sends his team to the World Series.
The Mets came through against Carpenter in Game 6, evening the series despite a shaky outing from closer Billy Wagner, and that means one of the more exciting events in sports with a decisive postseason game. Voters in SportsNation aren't unanimously caught up in the excitement, but two out of every three voters plans on tuning in. As for what happens on the field? Most think Willie Randolph made the best of a bad situation in picking Perez to start and expect the Mets to finish off the Cardinals.
62% New York Mets will win Game 7 of the NLCS
68% Will be watching Game 7 of the NLCS
Which pitcher should Wille Randolph have named to start Game 7?
49% Oliver Perez
30% Steve Trachsel
21% Darren Oliver
Mets are in trouble if they are seriously starting a guy that couldn't crack the Pirates' starting rotation.
And the season rests on Oliver Perez, Darren Oliver and Steve Trachsel. Not good.
Scott (Silver Spring, Md.)
Billy Wagner scares the hell out of me.
Frank (New York)
Billy Wagner is going to pull a Jose Mesa and blow the game tonight. I can feel it.
I feel it's going to be a bloodbath ... ratings-wise, that is.
People are actually watching the game?
John (Portland, Maine)
I think that since the Mets have no pitchers, and since the Cardinals only have one (who sucked last night), the game will end up 10-7 or something like that.
Jordan (Casper, Wyo.)
Cardinals win 3-2 with Wagner giving up all three runs in the ninth with two on and two outs. Homer by PUJOLS!
Drew (New Hampshire)
Something just screams METS, but that something also screams Tigers will bomb them in four, so really does it matter?
Sledge (Birmingham, Ala.)
With the weekend fast approaching, it's time to check what else is on SportsNation's mind.
College Football Predictions
57% No. 19 Rutgers will beat Pittsburgh
53% No. 13 Georgia Tech will beat No. 12 Clemson
52% Florida State will beat No. 22 Boston College
83% Wouldn't reconsider attending NFL games based on reported terrorist threats
80% Adrian Peterson would be top-five pick if he entered NFL draft after this season
72% Undefeated Sabres will finish season with more points than undefeated Wild
Wednesday's Big Questions
1. Is Tiki Barber leaving bright lights for other bright lights?
2. Do you buy what Donna Shalala is selling about the brawl?
Is Tiki Barber headed to Canton?See, it doesn't take calling out your coach to be a distraction in New York.
Tiki Barber earned headlines on Wednesday, and created quite a stir in SportsNation, by suggesting this week that there is a good possibility he'll retire after this season. The Pro Bowl back, who is still clearly at the top of his game, is already pursuing other interests as a part-time morning host on "Fox and Friends" on Fox News, and it appears he think it's time to put those interests ahead of getting knocked to the ground by linebackers.
Voters hammered the polls in reaction to the news, with a healthy majority expressing the view that Barber hasn't done enough in his career to warrant a place in the Hall of Fame if he retires this year. But at the same time, voters think he's the best offensive player ever to suit up for the Giants.
68% Tiki Barber has not done enough to make Hall of Fame if he retires this year
Who is the best offensive player in the history of the Giants?
32% Tiki Barber
30% Phil Simms
16% Fran Tarkenton
15% Y.A. Tittle
7% Frank Gifford
Which athlete walked away from competition with the most left?
73% Barry Sanders
18% Jim Brown
6% Lance Armstrong
2% Mia Hamm
2% Rocky Marciano
Did Donna Shalala do enough at Miami?Donna Shalala is probably looking back wistfully to her days as Secretary of Education, when her biggest critics were Republicans. Party politics have nothing on football frenzy.
A day after Shalala, president at the University of Miami, loudly defended her decision to not extend the punishment handed down by the ACC for all but one player in the wake of Saturday's brawl against Florida International, SportsNation had its say. Mostly, they said Shalala missed the boat. Almost nobody is buying Shalala's claim that, moving forward, a zero-tolerance policy for fighting is sufficient reaction to Saturday's melee.
85% Don't accept Donna Shalala's explanation of punishment for brawl
60% Still more developments to come in the aftermath of the brawl
Donna Shelalalala, or however the heck you spell her last name, is the perfect head for the U or the "M," as it is now called. She is as big a moron as everyone that got involved in that fight.
Don't Notre Dame and USC play for the Golden Donna Shalala?
Sledge (Bham, Ala.)
While the fight was a terrible thing, you can't jeopardize these guys' potential livelihood for one act of ignorance, except for the guy swinging the helmet.
Dave (New York)
Wait, so the schools OWE it to these guys to protect their livelihood? Give me a break. Other schools can get them, the NFL can still give them tryouts; the school should simply say, 'We don't tolerate that - you need to leave!'
I'm against pulling scholarship to players. If they forced them to attend every class, that would be a punishment.
Tuesday's Big Questions
1. Who's to blame for the Cardinals' tough loss Monday night?
2. Is Lou Piniella the right man for the job in Chicago?
You can't fault Matt Leinart for Monday's loss to the Bears.Monday Night Football magic was in full bloom last night as the Bears shocked the Cardinals, coming from 20 points behind to steal a 24-23 victory in Glendale. It was amazing enough that the Bears were able to come back and win, but even more impressive was the fact they did it without scoring an offensive touchdown. SportsNation and Scouts, Inc.'s Matt Williamson had plenty to say about the crazy game.
After last night's debacle, is Denny Green living on borrowed time? I thought the coaching was hideous (settling for FG at the half, weird TO call, running when everyone knew they would) - your thoughts?
Ty (New Haven, CT)
Matt Williamson: I don't know if he is on borrowed time, but that game could not have helped his cause. Honestly, I think he is the right man for the job, but that was a huge project that he undertook. I didn't like that they didn't take some more shots in the final minute and settled for a very long FG. Leinart was moving the ball through the air.
What's wrong with the Cards' kicker? He has missed 2 really important kicks this year. Last year, it seemed like those kicks would have been a piece of cake.
Matt Williamson: Not a piece of cake, but he should have made at least one of them. Honestly though, how many clutch kicks has Rackers had to make as a Card? They are rarely in a big crucial game. I would be worried. Was last year a fluke for Rackers? Could be.
Now I know why they say Rex has a little Favre in him - 6 turnovers!
Attention Everyone: It is one game and sure, Rex played bad, but do you really think he is going to play like that the rest of the year? Loved Urlacher's comment that it was easy, because they weren't blocking him.
How quickly is tape of last night's game being reviewed by all the other defensive coordinators, to see just how Arizona shut 'em down?
76% Stayed up until the very end of Monday night's comeback
70% Dennis Green should NOT be fired
Who deserves the most blame for the Cardinals' loss?
37% Offensive line
35% Neil Rackers
27% Dennis Green
Is Lou Piniella the right man for the Cubs job?The Cubs didn't take long to tab their next manager. Lou Piniella agreed to a 3-year contract worth nearly $10 million, with an option for a fourth year. It's been 98 years since the Cubs won the World Series, so Piniella is hoping to be the man to put an end to all this misery - and soon. SportsNation thinks it'll be tough enough just to make the playoffs during Piniella's tenure with Chicago, but Steve Phillips says it's worth it for Lou to take the challenge.
Does Sweet Lou know what he is getting himself into? He claimed today that the Cubs have done a nice job with player development (see Corey Patterson). Has Lou lost it or he is crazy like a fox?
Rob (Chicago, IL)
Steve Phillips: Well, Lou's a bright baseball man and the reality is that most managers would love the Cubs job and the challenge that comes with it. Because, if he wins the World Series in his tenure, he will go down in history for his successes with the Cubs. Terry Francona in Boston will forever be remembered as the manager of the team that broke the curse. Piniella looked at the Cubs and sees the huge resources of the Tribune Co. Zambrano and Lee are talented to build around, and the NL Central is a division that you can be competitive in quickly. The division has flaws of one sort or another. So, I think he looks at the Cubs with the chance of becoming competitive quickly.
81% Hiring Lou Piniella was a good move for the Cubs
54% Joe Girardi would have been a better choice
46% It's a longshot that the Cubs will trade for Alex Rodriguez
How far will Piniella take the Cubs during his tenure as manager?
39% Won't make the playoffs
17% World Series
Monday's Big Questions
1. What should happen to Miami and Florida International brawlers?
2. Which team will win the NLCS?
Miami coach Larry Coker could be on the way out.
The University of Miami's football team isn't good enough to matter in this season's championship debate, but that didn't stop the Hurricanes from seizing the headlines in college football over the weekend. With a helping hand, or fist, from Florida International, the Hurricanes created a major controversy with an on-field brawl on Saturday.
Simmering animosity between the teams boiled over toward the end of the first half, with both teams leaving the bench and numerous players appearing to throw punches. Cameras also captured one Miami player using a crutch as a weapon and another slamming his helmet into a player.
So what does SportsNation make of this mess? On Sunday, 13 Miami players and 18 Florida International players were suspended for one game, but voters think that doesn't even come close to fitting the crime. In fact, 70 percent of voters think the punishment should be season-long suspensions or worse.
What do you think of the punishment handed down for the Miami-FIU brawl?
81% Too lenient
16% About right
2% Too harsh
What punishment is fair for the players most involved in the Miami-FIU brawl?
39% Season-long suspension
31% Loss of scholarship
24% Multi-game suspension
6% One-game suspension
Kick them off the team, but let them have their scholarships, because these kids need class in more ways then one.
The players should be DONE, period. Suspended for the season, off the team for good, and should even go so far as looking into pressing charges. It's completely inexcusable.
It was completely inexcusable, but kicking them off the whole year and making them lose their scholarships might be a little harsh.
You've got to be kidding me. Do you really expect Miami officials to do the right and decent thing, like saying no to a bowl game?
Isn't it great that these guys get to go to school for free and do this, where as I'm still in debt because I've had to pay for college myself, working a job I hate and not done with college yet?
Sledge (Birmingham, Ala.)
Everyone is all over the Miami kids, when really the FIU players are probably more to blame! Suspend them, certainly. Kick some of them out of school (helmet swingers, for example), but there's NO WAY we should be talking about pressing charges UNLESS someone got very seriously hurt.
Will Carlos Beltran keep going deep?
The only slugging going on in St. Louis on Sunday night was of the perfectly acceptable variety, unless you were rooting for the Cardinals. Carlos Beltran homered twice, Carlos Delgado drove in five runs and even David Wright, mired in a postseason slump, went deep as the Mets evened the NLCS at 2-2.
So what will happen the rest of the way? SportsNation voters, who have been tuned in to most of the games, are still bullish on the Mets. But one thing almost everyone agrees on is the winner of Game 5 will become the clear favorite to capture the series.
88% Team that wins Game 5 of the NLCS will win the series
66% New York Mets will win the NLCS
60% Tom Glavine is a better bet than Chris Carpenter righ tnow
51% Tony La Russa has been the better manager thus far