October 3, 2005
Mexico City:
An NFL-record 103,467 fans? For Cards-49ers?! Give that town a franchise! (Correlation between Cards playing in Mexico and getting a first win? Why not?)
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
QUARTERLIFE.  CRISIS.

With a quarter of the NFL season in the books, is it too early to have a quarterlife crisis? I'm talking to you, Pats fans ...

Pats: Champs in trouble?
Pats Nation will throw up excuses, but the team was thumped on both sides of the ball. Injuries? OK, but an ugly L is still an ugly L.

I'm not saying the Pats can't (or won't) regroup, but that Week 7 bye can't come too soon with no evident solution for the missing Rodney Harrison and upcoming games at Atlanta and at Denver.

Let's leave it this way: Things are looking a lot better today for that other team from Boston.

Watch fans in Boston conveniently ignore the next few weeks of problems with the Pats to concentrate on the Red Sox.

More quarterlife notes:

Colts: The NFL's best team?
The D established itself weeks ago; fans were simply waiting on the O to finally click. It did, and no team has a better combo right now.

Eagles: What McNabb injury?
For the last 3 weeks, fans have been waiting for Donovan McNabb's injuries to ground his performance. He keeps tossing 3 bills. Stick with McNabb.

Falcons: How hurt is Vick?
With the Pats, wounded and bitter, coming to town next week, it's a particularly bad time for a Vick knee injury. Then again, when is? (Sunday X-ray negative, MRI today, but sounds like he'll play next week.)

Bengals bandwagon rolls on?
4-0 is 4-0, but beating the Texans 16-10 won't win over any doubters. Winning at JAX next Sunday night might.

Bucs: Do you believe in 'em?
If you look at their remaining schedule of cupcakes and question marks, they could go 13-3 without ever having to answer that question.

Saints: Home sweet dome?
Commissioner Tagliabue, the Saints called, and they'd like that "home" date in NY back, re-played in the friendly confines of San Antonio.

Giants: NFC's top surprise?
Someone turned Eli into Peyton and Burress into Harrison, and all of a sudden the Giants are in the NFC upper echelon with the Eagles and Bucs.

Skins: Worst 3-0 team ever?
It's a fair question, since they've outscored their opponents by just 6 points. But at this rate, they'll "Worst" their way into the freakin' playoffs.

More:
B. Bollinger: Not an answer.
Jags: Not ready for big time.
Yes, the Chiefs D does stink.
KNEW Raiders better than 0-3.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Tony Stewart: Reclaims Chase lead (Jarrett wins at 'Dega)
Penn St.: Makes AP top 25 debut at No. 16
Tayshaun Prince: Would-be free agent near deal w/ Pistons
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Jack McKeon: As expected, he's out in Florida. A good run
Allan Bristow: Hornets GM steps down, mercifully (health)
Roy Jones: Beat by Antonio Tarver (again); career over?
 
ALDS Preview
Well, the regular-season final weekend turned out to be a dud. And it's not like the Yankees and Red Sox can top 2004.

So, outside of New York and Boston (and MLB HQ), who doesn't want to see the Angels and White Sox advance? (No takers? Ah well. Had to ask.)

White Sox/Red Sox: If novelty is your thing, Chicago as champs would be even more so than Boston in '04. Of course, no one gives the South Siders a chance. Nor should they.
(Pick: Red Sox in 4.)

Angels/Yankees: Still baffled at how New York won the division. Weren't they done? Colon and Lackey could put NY in an 0-2 hole before Randy Johnson pitches again. But I've learned my lesson.
(Pick: Yankees in 5.)

NLDS Preview
Braves and Cards? Yawn! Give me the wild card and Team .500, who each bring way more cachet (and short-series pitching advantages!)

Braves/Astros: Pettitte, Clemens, Oswalt? Who cares if the team can't score. Neither will Atlanta, which flip-flopped Hudson into G1 and Smoltz to G2.
(Pick: Astros in 5.)

Cards/Padres: No self-respecting ironist can root against the team with 82 wins; Padres ace Peavy and ex-Cards playoff vet Williams lead the upset.
(Pick: Padres in 5.)

Cleveland Chokes
All that talk a few weeks ago about the White Sox choking and the inevitability of an Indians playoff spot looks awfully dumb now, after Cleveland managed to pull the Choke of the Year in MLB.

The Indians couldn't even take it to a one-game playoff. And all they had to do was beat the equivalent of a Triple-A team. Fans should be ticked.

Let's only hope this week's collapse serves to motivate the team for 2006, as opposed to psychologically scarring this promising group for life.

CFB Wknd Wrap
Who's NOT No. 1 Update:
Florida, Mich St. and Ariz St.

* The Gators were exposed by a very underrated Alabama. (Give 'Bama credit this week for the W, but losing WR Prothro to injury will be huge.)

* The Spartans can't mentally get past their rivals from Ann Arbor. My gosh: Is Penn St. the Big Ten's team to beat?! (Not yet: watch Wisconsin.)

* The Sun Devils gave all "Anyone But USC" campers hope, but all the Trojans did is remind everyone precisely WHY they're No. 1 without dispute.

Quickie Top 10 Ballot:
1 USC | 2 Texas | 3 VA Tech
4 Alabama | 5 Fla St | 6 Cal
7 Miami | 8 Notre Dame
9 Georgia | 10 Wisco/OH St

Trendy Heisman: LenDale White
OK, Reggie Bush is on another plane, but how about some love for the other USC RB, who piled up nearly 200 yards and two key TDs.

Looking Ahead to Next Week:
Texas vs. Oklahoma: The 'Horns aren't really legit until they win this one. (Plus: Ohio St./Penn St., Cal/UCLA, UGA/Tenn.)

MNF: GB at CAR
Admit it: You want to see just how bad this train wreck of a (possibly final) season for Brett Favre will become. With a game on the road at one of the tougher teams in the NFC, bad begets worse. (9 ET, ABC)

Vikings:
Daunte Culpepper was sacked 9 times, had 3 turnovers and has a knee problem that's likely causing it all. Matters to the "Fire Tice" bandwagon? Unlikely.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
MLB playoff schedule
 
NFL Top 5 Teams
Colts
O catching up to D
 
Bengals
Not No. 1, but right there!
 
Eagles
McNabb hurts? No problem
 
Bucs
Feasting on NFC North
 
Giants/Steelers
That's right: No Pats!
 

Hot MLB Edition!

DS pitching: The Braves will start Hudson in G1 (Smoltz in G2 in a classic vs. Clemens); Boston will go Clement, Wells, Wakefield, THEN Schilling.

Is Mike Piazza done as a Met? He kind of HAS to continue his career as a DH in the AL, doesn't he? Meanwhile, look for him as a TV guy on ESPN.

Call them the anti-Indians: The Nationals may have faded in the 2nd half, but their 1st half was thrilling and a .500 final record is promising.

Jimmy Rollins' hit streak is 36, and if he continues it in 2006, it'll be recorded as a streak held over 2 seasons. File that controversy away.

The NL Cy Young battle between Carpenter, Willis and Clemens ends hazy; biggest line on Clemens' resume? He led the NL in ERA at 43.



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