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. Who do you want to see in the Super Bowl?
Most of America wants to see Drew Brees and Reggie Bush take a shot at the Lombardi trophy.Who do you root for if you're not from Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, or Louisiana?
The Saints certainly have the best story, coming out of a near-Biblical flood to give New Orleans something to rally behind. The Colts have the yearly struggles of Peyton Manning as reason enough to watch. The Bears appeal to anyone who favors workaholic, steady defense and exciting special teams. As for the Patriots? Hey, a team with a shot at four Super Bowl titles has to be respected, at the very least.
SportsNation might respect the Patriots, but it certainly doesn't want them near the Vince Lombardi trophy. The majority want some combination of Indy and New Orleans in the Super Bowl, with Chicago lagging far behind.
Who do you want to see in the Super Bowl?
50% Colts vs. Saints
21% Patriots vs. Saints
19% Colts. vs. Bears
10% Patriots vs. Bears
Friday's Morning Buzz
I heard Indy is crazy right now. The whole city has gone blue. The mayor insisted that everyone wear blue the rest of the week. I heard they even dyed the river blue. Get ready Pats, it's going to be crazy! Go Colts!
I don't know who will win the Colts/Pats game. I'm not sure if I want to see post of disrespect or posts of cheating/Manning stinks next week from Pats fans.
Indy vsx NO will be the highest rated TV show in the history of TV...guaranteed. It will kill M.A.S.H., Seinfeld and Cheers.
If the Bears and Pats are in the Super Bowl. I will not watch it...for very long.
No one wants to read about Rex for 2 weeks...no Bears in the SB. Pats/Saints.
Thursday's Big Question
1. Who got the best of Wednesday's big trade between the Pacers and Warriors?
Stephen Jackson will try to put it together with Golden State.A nice eight-person trade is always enough to get people talking.
In the first blockbuster trade of the season, the Pacers sent Al Harrington, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Josh Powell and Stephen Jackson to Golden State for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and guard Keith McLeod. No huge names, but there are enough role players in there to greatly change the makeup of both teams.
SportsNation generally condemned the Pacers for making the deal.
Which team got the better of the trade?
After the trade to get Harrington & Jackson, I think the Warriors have the ability to be one of the top 12 teams in the NBA. Look for a strong second-half push from this squad once they mesh under Nelly's Small Ball Extravaganza.
This will give us more options when trying to re-sign young studs like Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and ,to a lesser extent, Michael Pietrus. I'm excited about this deal.
He (Stephen Jackson) and Al Harrington could definitely march GS into a winless playoff series. Playoffs is all we ask for ever since Basketball purgatory wandered down the road to Oakland from Sacramento. Mullin made a great deal, now if he could only shop Adonal Foyle around. Overall - Definite upgrade.
Backing up Ron Artest at a brawl in Detroit: 30 games.
Firing several shots outside a strip club in Indy: Felony count of criminal recklessness.
Finally getting rid of Stephen Jackson: PRICELESS
What were the Pacers thinking????? I know Ike Diogu is a hot commodity, but they already got rid of AJ, JO's not surrounded by too many with the passion to go the distance. Bird's biggest blunder.
Wednesday's Big Question
1. Who was the best pitching acquisition?
SportsNation thought Gil Meche was a bad idea for the Royals.Judging by the amount of money thrown around, it's clear that teams placed a premium on pitching during this offseason.
We've gone over the numbers dozens of times; suffice it to say that Free Agent Pitcher X had a good chance of moving up a few income brackets this year. But can he justify it? Are ace pitchers so rare that a league average starter can command premium prices? How much will Johan Santana be worth in his walk year? Could he conceivably buy a small island with his anticipated salary?
Maybe the market will have calmed itself by then. It just doesn't seem likely.
SportsNation waffled on the best free agent pitcher signed, but sent a clear message on several other key points.
Which was the best offseason pitcher acquisition?
32% Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Red Sox
23% Jason Schmidt to the Dodgers
20% Andy Pettitte to the Yankees
11% Barry Zito to the Giants
4% Greg Maddux to the Padres
3% Jeff Suppan to the Brewers
2% Ted Lilly to the Cubs
2% Kei Igawa to the Yankees
2% Randy Johnson to the Diamondbacks
1% Gil Meche to the Royals
Which was the worst offseason pitcher acquisition?
40% Gil Meche to the Royals
16% Barry Zito to the Giants
15% Randy Johnson to the Diamondbacks
10% Ted Lilly to the Cubs
6% Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Red Sox
4% Jeff Suppan to the Brewers
4% Kei Igawa to the Yankees
3% Andy Pettitte to the Yankees
1% Greg Maddux to the Padres
1% Jason Schmidt to the Dodgers
Which team will sign Roger Clemens?
55% New York Yankees
20% Boston Red Sox
18% Houston Astros
7% None of the above
Which Japanese import will have the better year?
80% Daisuke Matsuzaka
20% Kei Igawa
Did teams overpay for pitching this offseason?
95% Yes, spending was out of control
5% No, pitchers were paid fair market value
1% No, pitchers were underpaid relative to the market.
Who will be the biggest free agent pitcher available in 2008?
60% Carlos Zambrano
20% Chris Carpenter
6% Joe Nathan
3% Bartolo Colon
3% Freddy Garcia
2% Curt Schilliing
2% John Smoltz
1% Trevor Hoffman
1% Jake Westbrook
1% Jason Jennings
1% Kenny Rogers
<1% Randy Johnson
<1% Bob Wickman
<1% Jon Lieber
Tuesday's Big Question
1. Who will go to the Super Bowl?
Can Rex Grossman keep his cool this weekend?With Chicago and Indianapolis both hosting conference championship games this weekend, you can be sure that the Midwest will be rocking.
At this point in the season, the storylines outweigh the games themselves. Will Peyton Manning finally get over his Patriots-induced funk? Can the Saints get the ultimate chance to help heal a shattered New Orleans? Can Rex Grossman silence his doubters and take one step closer to becoming a complete quarterback? Can Tom Brady win his fourth Super Bowl before he turns 30?
At very least, it'll be a weekend with emotion to spare. Whose hearts will be broken come Monday morning?
SportsNation is more certain about the NFC than the AFC, but still shows a clear favorite in both leagues.
Which team will win the AFC title game?
54% New England Patriots
46% Indianapolis Colts
Which team will win the NFC title game?
60% New Orleans Saints
40% Chicago Bears
Let's get right to it: Pats or Colts in the Dome this weekend? Thanks!
Pats. I just don't know how I can look at myself in the mirror and say to a national audience that I expect the Pats to lose a playoff game. I picked them last week as well-however, I thought that the Ravens would beat the Colts badly-so I have sold the Colts short a bit. Pats.
Saints or Bears?
I like the Saints. Both teams have holes and bad weather could slow down Brees' passing game, but NO just has so many weapons and this isn't exactly "Expert Analysis", but they seem to have fate on their side this year. The Bears' D is not what it was with a healthy Tommie Harris.