November 22, 2005
Rudy Gay:
UConn sophomore swingman and No. 1 NBA prospect on Insider's Top 100 puts up career-best 28 in opening round of high-profile Maui Invitational.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Time to bench Brett Favre.

Before I'm exiled for heresy (or worse), let's all agree that judgment related to Favre is harder because of his "Living Legend" status.

Because on any other 2-8 team with no hope of making the playoffs and with a franchise QB who may or may not come back next season, they would at least begin to groom the backup QB as a successor. And fans would demand it.

Especially when that backup, Aaron Rodgers, is a first-round draft pick, highly controversial because a team riding an aging QB could have used a first-rounder who had more immediate impact.

But Favre's status has become bigger than the team, especially in a losing year within which there's nothing else to cling. I'm not knocking Favre; I'm knocking the fans and team execs who created that culture.

The team is losing (2-8). I'm not even suggesting it's Favre's fault. I'll go all T.O. on you and suggest that on any other team with even a smidgen of talent, Favre would be leading them into the playoffs.

But on this team, with this future, they've got to think of 2006 and beyond.

Now that the playoffs are really out of reach, they can't simply play Favre 100 percent of the snaps out of respect for some fictitious Farewell Tour.

If they're not going to win games this year, they might as well think about winning them in 2006 and beyond. And at some point that will mean without Favre.

Which means it's time to at least let the rookie take more than one snap in 10 games. For the good of the team, Favre should cede at least a little PT to Rodgers.

Vikings: .500!
Mike Tice: Coach of the Year? If it wasn't for Lovie Smith, Tice would be an improbable contender for leading the S.S. Minnesota to a .500 record, even in this seeming worst of years.

Because when you look at the NFL standings, right after the NFC's clear "Big Six," there are the Vikings. Honestly: What are they doing there?

Penn St.: Move up to No. 3 in BCS rankings. What a season.
KG trade rumors: More fun than real, but worth tracking ...
Xbox 360: Were you in one of the crazy, opening-day lines?
Kentucky: No. 7 loses to No. 17 Iowa in Guardians Classic
Marc Bulger: Rams QB to miss final weeks of FFL season
Ruben Patterson: Blazers put on inactive list (bad 'tude)
Once again, they win with opportunistic scoring (including an INT returned for a TD and a last-second, game-winning FG) and steady (if not spectacular) leadership from Brad Johnson.

Umm: Daunte Who?

Beckett to Boston
In a move almost as dramatic as landing Curt Schilling two offseasons ago, the Red Sox are going to get 2003 World Series hero (and Yankee-killer) Josh Beckett.

In a way, it's just as big: Schilling was the piece to get the Red Sox from contender to champ. Beckett is the kind of ace who can help the team avoid a backslide and bridge the gap from perennial contender to champ.

McNabb Done for '05
And thus so are the Eagles.

It's not that Mike McMahon is a stiff. It's just that since they made the decision to exile their next-best playmaker, they simply can't keep up with the league's playoff teams. Speaking of which . . .

T.O. decision tomorrow: Forget the gravy. Nothing will make Thanksgiving weekend taste better than more T.O. drama.

CBB: Maui Invt'l
Semis are Final Four-quality:
Gonzaga (9) vs. Mich. St (12)
UConn (3) vs. Arizona (8)

(When the losers' bracket includes Maryland, Kansas and Arkansas, you know you've got depth in a November tournament.)

Baseball H.O.F. Ballot
What a great move by MLB to create a special Hall ballot for Negro League and pre-Negro League players, including Minnie Minoso and Buck O'Neil. 39 total candidates will each get an up-or-down vote from 12 panelists, with 9 "Yes" votes needed for Hall entry.

Crosby vs. Ovechkin
The NHL's top two rookies face each other tonight for the first time.

Want to talk unfair expectations? They're being compared to Gretzky and Lemieux, which is even more unfair than making LeBron and Carmelo the next Bird and Magic two years ago in the NBA.

Still, if the NHL is to recover with casual fans, it must be behind these two young stars, who have combined for 25 goals and 21 assists.

Pete Rose:
Won't be on Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in his final year of eligibility. Bud Selig sidesteps by not deciding on his status before ballot deadline.
Today on
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
Gammons on MLB
NFC's Worst Five
Not just bad; Hope-free
2-8 with Favre? Ugly.
Had low expectations
Had high expectations
Give 'em a mulligan

More MLB Hot Stove: The Mariners signed the first Japanese C to ever play in MLB, Kenji Johjima (3 years/$16.5 mil).

More CBB: Texas had a huge prove-it win over 2005 Cindy West Virginia. (What has Duke done yet? UT should be No. 1, just like football.)

More from Maui: Another NBA Draft stud to watch is Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer -- who scored his own career-high (25) against UConn.

NFL Injuries: Antonio Gates is day-to-day with his foot; Chargers must have him to be a playoff contender. (Jets to start Bollinger. Um, matters?)

Ex-Purdue coach Gene Keady might join the Raptors' coaching staff. (Does he feel a sense of urgency? Nah. He's going on a cruise with the Mrs.)

Here's to a full recovery for Red Wing D Jiri Fischer, who collapsed last night on the ice with a seizure and needed CPR and an auto defibrillator to be revived.

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