This and That
Each week I'll give my thoughts on the world of sports:
•I was a little surprised by the news of the Allen Iverson trade to Detroit. Iverson is a great talent, but the Pistons gave up a winner in Chauncey Billups, as well as a hard-working veteran in Antonio McDyess. Iverson has one year left in his contract, and it will be interesting to see how he blends in with the Pistons and Rasheed Wallace. Denver is clearly making changes, first with Marcus Camby and now Iverson.
•Things are really shining in Red Raider country. The fans in Lubbock had to be thrilled with the last-second Graham Harrell touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree to give Texas Tech the upset win over No. 1 Texas. I feel Harrell should be the frontrunner for the Heisman right now, with Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford very much in the mix. Things don't get any easier for Mike Leach's Red Raider squad. Up next is a battle with Oklahoma State and talented receiver Dez Bryant. Then Texas Tech has to travel to Norman, Okla. to meet up with Bob Stoops' Sooners. The Big 12 has been incredible this season.
•I still feel it is a lock that Penn State will be playing for the national championship. I do not see any losses left on the Nittany Lions schedule, and I believe the voters will let Joe Paterno have another shot at a championship if Penn State is unbeaten. I know the Big Ten is down, but I feel Alabama will lose to Florida in the SEC title game. It will be interesting to see how it plays out if the Nittany Lions are unbeaten; could a one-loss team from the Big 12 or SEC get into the BCS title game? I personally don't think so but some experts feel it is possible. Florida is dynamite, as shown by the blowout over Georgia last week.
•This season is a perfect example of why there should be a playoff in college football. It is so wacky, week after week. There are so many good teams out there, like Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech, Texas, Florida, USC and Oklahoma. We should decide it on the field. College basketball determines its champion on the court. These teams deserve to be in the mix, competing for the title in an eight-team playoff.
•Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies for winning the World Series. Cole Hamels was outstanding throughout the playoffs. Philadelphia got clutch hits and rolled in five games. I feel the Tampa Bay Rays deserve credit for a super season. Joe Maddon made all the right moves and this young, talented team has a bright future. This was the first time the franchise posted a winning record, and then it won two playoff series.
•How about a salute to the Tennessee Titans? All Jeff Fisher's team does is find a way to win football games. Come on, how many of you really thought that Tennessee would have an unblemished mark at the midway point of the season? Kerry Collins has done a nice job as field general, and Lendale White is tough to stop near the goal line. There is a lot of football left to be played, but you have to respect what the Titans have already done this season.
•North Carolina is the consensus preseason pick to win the national championship, but Roy Williams has seen the injury bug hit already. First guard Marcus Ginyard went down with an injury, then Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough was diagnosed with a stress reaction. The Tar Heels need a healthy Hansbrough and he should be ready after a period of rest. Remember, college basketball is not like the pros; there isn't a four-out-of-seven playoff series. North Carolina has Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and a talented group of newcomers entering Chapel Hill.
•The N.Y. Giants sent a message to the NFC East with a blowout over Dallas. It is hard to believe that the Cowboys could miss the playoffs, but right now this team is in struggle city. Boy Dallas needs Tony Romo back calling signals. Tom Coughlin's team was so effective and the defense puts so much pressure on the opposition, forcing turnovers and creating havoc.
•It is already free agent season in baseball with guys all over declaring, getting ready to make the big bucks. Could the Yankees really be interested in Manny Ramirez? Hank Steinbrenner talked about that possibility recently. Imagine how Red Sox fans would feel about that? I have to wonder if that would be a good fit?