September 16, 2005
New York Yankees:
Best part about sweeping the D-Rays isn't moving within 1.5 games of Boston or .5 of Cleveland; it's that they don't have to play Tampa again in '05.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
PROVE.  IT.

That's my organizing principle when following a college football season.

And the season-long battle of attrition is the best argument against an official playoff:

Lose one, and you're done.

In only the first two weeks:
1: Oklahoma, Miami, Texas A&M
2: Michigan, Ohio St., Iowa

It's actually a pretty effective system, usually weeding out all but 3 teams (which is when the NCAA creates a "tilt," but that's another column).

This week: Fans know that either No. 5 Tennessee or No. 6 Florida will be ousted from title contention after they play.

The winner should emerge on equal footing with USC and Texas in the conversation about who's No. 1.

Why? Because it would be every bit as big as Texas' win over Ohio St. last week, and USC has yet to prove anything this season.

And the loser at the Swamp simply joins the "Who's Not" list.

All fans can do is look at the latest week's evidence to judge who's in the No. 1 conversation and, with more and more clarity, who isn't.

CFB Wknd Preview
Rose-Impacting Game of Week:
Tennessee (5) at Florida (6):
What makes the game even more intriguing is that it's the first real test for Urban Meyer's fascinating 9-month overhaul of UF's program. Pick: UF

ACC Welcome Wagon:
Fla. St. (8) at Boston College (17):
Welcome to the ACC, rookie. Or will the joke be on the overrated 'Noles? GameDay will be there to watch. Pick: BC (7:45, ESPN).

Notre Dame Watch:
Mich. St. at Notre Dame (10):
I ranked the Irish No. 5 this week, and expectations are sky-high. Ripe for a trap game over the other team from Michigan? Pick: ND

Heisman Watch: Texas QB Vince Young got points for his grit in the W vs. Ohio St. Now he needs to pad his stats vs. Rice.

More: Miami at Clemson will reveal more about the No. 20 Tigers than the No. 13 'Canes ... Is USC really No. 1? The Trojans better crush Arkansas.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Kyle Boller: Will get starting job back when he returns
Connecticut Sun: Tie up WNBA Finals 1-1 in OT thriller
Sidney Crosby: No. 87 Penguins jerseys are NHL's hottest
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Ben Roethlisberger: Downgraded to questionable (knee)
Utah football winning streak: Snapped at 18 by rising TCU
Chad Lavalais: Fined 7.5K (MNF McNabb hit); 9 others fined
 
NFL Week 2 Subplots
Game of the Week:
JAX/IND: Jags d. Colts in '04 but that was in Jax, not Indy's dome. Still, intriguing to see how far Jags have come.

Key Injury Watch:
SF/PHI: How's McNabb's chest? If he plays, for how long?

Was Week 1 a Fluke (Good)?
MIA/NYJ: Actually, playing the sorry Jets isn't such a bad way to prove it wasn't. Could the Dolphins start 2-0? Apocalypse!

Was Week 1 a Fluke (Bad)?
MIN/CIN: Actually, playing the scary Bengals isn't such a bad way to put Vikings coach Mike Tice on a Monday a.m. hot seat.

Super Bowl XXXVIII Rematch:
NE/CAR: Wait, weren't the Cats supposed to be this year's Patriots? Rough opponent for Carolina to have a near-must-win week.

Avert Your Eyes:
DET/CHI: Could this be uglier?
CLE/GB: Why, yes, it can.

Fantasy Intrigue:
BUF/TB: McGahee vs. Cadillac
KC/OAK: Priest vs. Randy

See Big 5, right, for more.

MLB: Wild Wrap
AL: Yankees sweep D-Rays, and with the next 14 games against TOR and BAL, New York is the most dangerous team in the AL field.

AL Weekend's Best: OAK at BOS
But is the focus there? Both will be scoreboard-watching their division competitors.

NL: Astros take WC lead by beating the Marlins (Phillies lose to Braves). Meanwhile, very very quietly, the Nats are only 2.5 GB.

NL Weekend's Best: PHI at FLA
Head-to-head, playoff-ish series, but this battle of attrition will only help Houston's chances.

Cards Clinch
Yawn! NL Central Dynasty? 4 division titles and one wild card in 6 years? Call when you win a World Series.

ChiSox: Epic Choke?
"We flat-out stink." That was Ozzie Guillen after the White Sox' 2nd straight L to KC. Chicago's lead over Cleveland is only 4.5.

Chicago's next 6 games: At Minnesota this weekend, then a *huge* head-to-head with Cleveland, which will be coming off a weekend series with KC.

By next Thursday, the Sox could be wild card contenders. Gulp.

Lance: He's Done
And this time he really means it. But his reasoning is kind of troubling:

"...[If] I were to go back, there's no way I could get a fair shake -- on the roadside, in doping control, or the labs."

Maybe I'm naive to buy his spin, but isn't it sad that he is really retiring because he doesn't want to deal with the BS of continuing?

Curt Schilling:
Returns to form, gets whacked by the motivated A's. He gave up 11 hits and 4 ER in 6 IP. If it's not vs. the Yankees, he's still struggling.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
CFB Top 25 Prev.
Who Picked Whom?
 
More NFL W2 Plots
PIT at HOU
More. Willie. Parker.
 
StL at ARI
Cards the new...Cards?
 
ATL at SEA
MNF was omen of good things
 
BAL at TEN
3 words: Take The Under.
 
SD at DEN
Return of Antonio Gates
 

NFL W2 Office-Pool Picks: PIT, DET, CIN, IND, BAL, NE, BUF, PHI, ARI, ATL, MIA, GB, SD, KC (SNF), NO (MNF1), DAL (MNF2). (LW: 9-7, 05: 9-7).

Bonds Watch: 2 flyouts and a groundout in SFG loss to rival Dodgers. Thrilled with one near-HR shot that was foul into McCovey Cove by a few feet.

McNabb update: Practiced Thursday. As for Sunday, he said: "If you ask me, there's no doubt about it. I'll be out there."

All best to golfer David Toms for a full recovery after being rushed to the hospital with a heart problem.

File this away: Always intrigued by the aggregate wisdom of ESPN.com users. See Q It Up for "Who Picked Whom," the national "Pick 'Em" picks.

Don't forget to update your Quickie-league Pigskin and College Pick 'Ems (and Eliminator). Group name: Daily Quickie Readers.



SEND PRINT ARCHIVE EMAIL US
Sponsored Links
espn.com