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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Page 2 Quickie: August 30, 2004

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

The rest of us are recovering from the two-week Olympic binge. (Quickie analysis: Yes, it was a success, but it's already forgotten, in last night's blinding wake of "Up With Greek People.")

Meanwhile, Red Sox fans need to exhale, too, gaining some perspective while they have a day off during this giddy six-game win streak (12 of 13, too). Hit Pause on the "Ti-Bo."

Charging within 4.5 games of the Yankees is a mirage; forget those six head-to-head games later in September, or else the far more important next nine games -- versus the AL West's Big 3 -- might bite the Sox in the "ahhsss." (New York gets cupcakes CLE, BAL and TB in the same stretch.)

Forget NY; remember the goal:

Just make the playoffs.

(US) Open Season
Something big is happening in New York this week. Forget the convention (oh, but if I only could); alas, the US Open might be eclipsed until the weekend (when the circus leave town), but it still shares some qualities with the RNC, like wild cheering, crowded venues... and no surprises?

Picks to win: An inspired Serena (but in an upset, she'll be eclipsed for media coverage by Maria Sharapova) and -- head over gut -- Federer over Roddick.

Bonds Watch
Here are some numbers that even the biggest SABR-phobe can appreciate: No. 695 went 467 (feet); No. 696 went 462 (feet). To sum up: 2 HR at 929 feet (equals one more MVP?)

U.S. Hoops: Bronzed
"Catastrophic success": You might hear this phrase being thrown around early this week -- and, in an adulterated way, it applies to U.S. hoops' third-place finish.

So what next? Where to start?

Problem: Selection process
Manifested as: Wrong players
Solution: "Fit" over "Stars"

Problem: Coach's "Right Way"
Manifested as: "Wrong result"
Solution: Find an open mind

Problem: Development system
Manifested as: Clang-fest
Solution: Smoke Practice J's

Deion's Return
Prime Time ready to sign? I would never suggest a single player -- let alone one without much fantasy football consequence -- dominates an NFL season, but Deion instantly jumps to the top of the list of Top 5 "must-see" players, just ahead of (in order) Vick, T.O., Eli Peyton and McGahee.

NFL Pre: Eli Stinks?
You can pinpoint the moment(s) from Friday night when the wheels came off the Eli Manning bandwagon: A couple picks, a bad fumble, a weekend for everyone to stew over it, and -- voila! -- he's benched for the season opener in favor of Kurt Warner.

But don't pity him; he's the guy who demanded the New York pressure. (Hear anyone griping about Phil Rivers' similarly sorry effort in San Diego? Exactly.)

CFB Preview: Day 1
Today: Heisman Watch. Nothing feeds the "instant history" jones like tracking the Heisman race, which swings wildly, weekly. To wit: USC stud Reggie Bush goes for 3 telegenic TDs on Saturday? Who wouldn't put him in the early lead? This year's contenders (um, for... today):

1. Reggie Bush, RB, USC
Who's Mike Williams?
2. Matt Leinert, QB, USC
In it until USC loses a game
3. Darren Sproles, RB, K-State
Has the skills; needs the pub
4. Chris Leak, QB, Florida
If talent was only criteria ...
5. Jason White, QB, Okla
Ugh: Undeserving then and now

Needs more hype:
Wisconsin RB Anthony Davis
Syracuse RB Walter Reyes
Utah QB Alex Smith

Don't believe the hype:
Texas RB Cedric Benson
Georgia QB David Greene
Auburn RB Cadillac Williams

Tuesday: Top 5 storylines