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Monday, September 12, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: September 9, 2005

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

What's it take to be The Man?

Sam Jackson and Eugene Levy might be battling it out on the movie screen for the title, but in the NFL, there's a formula:

*National prominence.
*Universal respect.
*Proven results.
*Intimidating cool.

That makes picking The Man easy:

Bill Belichick.

Last night, he showed it all:

What brain drain? Tom Brady looked better than ever.

3-4 D has gaps? The Pats held an explosive Raiders O mostly in check.

TV time? How many shots did we get of him in that plastic bag-looking Pats top? (What was that? And is it the new hoodie?)

The biggest reason?
Nothing seems to faze him.

Even with all the notable issues that could derail the team, his outward appearance is of the calm that comes with total mastery.

Total mastery?
Sounds like The Man to me.

NFL Week 1 Subplots
Game of the Week:
IND/BAL: Best O vs. best D.

Sentimental Rooting:
NO/CAR: Yes, be a Saints fan.

Must Prove '04 Wasn't Fluky:
TEN/PIT: Big Ben as a Soph?
DAL/SD: 'Boys the new Bolts?

Something's Gotta Give:
GB/DT: Lions O shreds Pack D?

2005's "Hot" Teams:
CIN/CLE: Palmer will explode.
SEA/JAX: Leftwich will Leap.
ARI/NYG: Yes, the Cardinals!

Fantasy Do-or-Die:
NYJ/KC: All eyes on Priest.

See Big 5, right, for more.

CFB Wknd Preview
Quasi-Title Game of the Week:
Texas (No. 2) at Ohio St (4):
Simply put: One team's national title hopes will end. If only the "O" in Ohio really meant "Oklahoma." Pick: UT. (8, ABC)

"Prove It" Game of the Week:
Notre Dame (20) at Michigan (3):
Who else wants to believe in Weis? I'll bet he schemes ND's way into keeping it close, but Michigan has the huge talent edge. Pick: UM. (12, ABC)

Emotional Game of the Week:
LSU (5) at Arizona St (15):
Considering the game was supposed to be in Baton Rouge, ASU students should wear purple and gold. LSU will be motivated. Pick: LSU (9, ESPN)

Heisman Watch: Wisconsin RB Brian Calhoun (258 yds, 5 TDs LW vs. B. Green) will rack it up against Temple. Watch out for a monster game.

More: Spurrier has a "This-ain't-Florida" moment when he takes SC to Georgia (5:30, ESPN); Oklahoma will obliterate Tulsa. (They better.)

MLB Wrap
Red Sox at Yankees: Who would guess that ending a series with Tampa to play Boston would be seen as a relief by Yankee fans?

Bonds Update: This weekend?!

NL Wild Card: The Marlins (.5 GB HOU) play the struggling Phillies; the Astros play the Brewers and feature a Clemens start.

AL Wild Card: Thanks to the Yankees' ineptitude vs. the D-Rays, the Indians, who actually won, moved into the WC lead for the first time.

Katrina Update
Saints Scheduling: 4 games in San Antonio and 3 at LSU, reportedly; let's hope it's not the knee-jerk reaction to put them in NY for Week 2 that ends up being the difference between playoffs and not.

Quickie Book Club
I love any studies of fandom, so I really enjoyed Jere Longman's book about Eagles fans in 2004, "If Football's a Religion, Why Don't We Have a Prayer?" Eagles fans are a sick bunch.