January 25, 2005
Serena vs. Sharapova:
This is the most appealing, telegenic match-up in tennis (men's or women's), and fans will get it in the Aussie Open Semis. The sport NEEDS this rivalry. QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Reflecting 2004's Oscar noms, out today, here is the very first look at the nominees for "The Soopies," leading up to Super Bowl XXXIX:

Best Picture:
Andy Reid in tights (someday)
T.O. SB post-TD celebration
Paul McCartney "malfunction"

Best Actor:
Don. McNabb ("Play Action")
Mike Vrabel ("LB? Or DL?!")
T.O. ("What Ankle Injury?")

Best Coach/Supporting Role:
Charlie Weis, Pats Off Coord
Romeo Crennel, Pats Def Coord
Jim Johnson, Eagles Def Coord

Best Costume:
Bill Belichick ("Hoody")

Best "Ever" Superlative:
Tom Brady (Best Playoff QB)
Bill Belichick (Best Coach)
Patriots (Best Team/Dynasty)
C. Dillon (Best Rep U-Turn)

Congratulations to all! More awards nominations to come.

T.O. Watch
T.O. Speaks! "What a lot of people don't realize is that I've been doing a lot of rehab on my own, a lot of healing on my own, but spiritually God is healing me and I'm way ahead of where a lot of people expect me to be, even the doctor.

"He's even shocked at what he's seen. Spiritually I've been healed and I believe that I'll be out there on that field Sunday, regardless of what anyone says."

Yet you can't find anyone -- fan or expert -- who doesn't think that TO will play. Maybe the doc, but what does he know? Sounds like the trumpet of the good-ol' trumped-up "no respect" ploy.

For what it's worth, Andy Reid is taking a wait-and-see attitude, waiting on more rigorous testing to see if TO's ankle can handle the strain of cutting and planting.

College BB Unbeatens
Jayhawks down, Illini next?

Illinois has its toughest game of the season tonight at Wisconsin, which has a national-best 38-game home winning streak. Consider this a litmus test for their March prospects. (9, ESPN)

As for B.C., watch that tough road game tomorrow at angry and motivated Providence. (Then again, I've been pumping PC's lifeless stock since November.)

Duke's first loss?
Next Wednesday at Wake.

Wiz: Hang 76 2nd-half pts on Cavs; match '03-04 W total
Bulls: After woeful 0-9 and 3-14 starts, creep over .500
Snoop replacing Cowher? Rapper wants to coach Steelers
Andre Agassi: Thumped by Roger Federer in Aussie quarters
No. 1 Duke women: Lose at UNC (same will happen to men)
Madden dropping towel for DH/MNF skit: Glad that got a TO
Heat Boiling Over
The test for Shaq's Heat isn't how things are going during the good times; it's how they deal when things get stressful. Shaq doesn't have a great track record with that.

So his comments after Miami's loss to the Super-motivated 76ers last night are telling:

"When your man leaves you to go double on somebody, you have to take it personal. Because other teams are hitting shots when we double, so you have to hit shots."

"You" means Eddie Jones, for those of you watching without a program handy. Could a Jones trade for a better shooter be imminent? Know any teams who want an overpaid player who turns "shooting guard" into irony?

Utes Roll
Auditioning Final Four Cindys for your future bracket picks?

Keep an eye on No. 25 Utah, which celebrated its first ranking in the Top 25 since 2002-03 by roughing up Air Force on 80 percent FG shooting.

PGs may make teams go in March, but a great center can't hurt. In Andrew Bogut, the Utes may have the best big in the country.

More hoops: Battle of OK
No. 15 Oklahoma beat No. 9 Okla St by 10 in Norman, staking its claim as the best team in the state. Rematch in Stillwater on 2/7 on ESPN.

Philly Satisfied?
Monday's Quickie proclaimed that Philly fans could feel satisfied merely getting to the Super Bowl, ending the "frustration dynasty."

Naturally, they disagree:

Reid: "They are happy to be in this position, but understand there's more to do."

Dawkins: "This [NFC title game] wasn't our Super Bowl... we didn't do what we set out to do yet."

Can they live with defeat?
70 percent of ESPN.com users are picking the Pats.

Reid Overrated?
Sure, Reid is 9-0 after bye weeks, but he's 0-0 after Super Bowl bye weeks. And his SB experience is the critical difference, as overheard in Monday's Morning Quickie Show on SportsNation. Join the other Fanalysts every weekday, 9-10 a.m. ET.

Oscar Noms
Winner? Million Dollar Baby: Racked up nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Actor/Supporting, among others.

If/when "M$B" clean sweeps (as it might), it would have to enter the conversation as the greatest sports film of all time. Simply with the overwhelming nominations, it's up there.

Chad Lewis:
Eagles TE who caught 2 TDs in the NFC title game won't play in JAX. LJ Smith will likely fill TE role (or even Westbrook?), but he'll be missed.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Page 2
Best Picture Noms:
Million Dollar Baby
No. 1 Heavyweight contender
Hard not to love it
Foxx for Best Actor?
Big bucks earn it
Finding Neverland
Where's Eternal Sunshine?

Steelers flailing: Future of Burress, Bettis up in the air; WR that fans call "Plexiglass" wouldn't be missed; as a fan fave, Bus surely would...

Artest practices: And -- surprise! -- the intensity of the team went up. Can't wait for his first practice incident...

Never-ending Delgado Watch: In a very soap-opera-ish twist, the Mets are back in it; still wide open between O's, Marlins and Mets...

Meanwhile, Magglio is the new Carlos: Ordonez looks close to a deal with the Tigers, who may not be major FA players, but get in the game...

NHL: Now 100 percent leadership free! Another one of these "don't bother coming, Bettman or Goodenow" meetings scheduled for Wednesday...

Chad Pennington will have surgery on his strained rotator cuff. Otherwise known as his excuse...

24 Years Ago Today: The last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl -- and they got cranked by the Raiders in Super Bowl XV...

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