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Monday, November 14, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: November 11, 2005

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Get in your last shots at the BCS system, because the controversy will end this weekend.

Why is college football's regular season a 13-week, de facto playoff? Because unlike in any other sport, would-be champs get no room for error.

And if last weekend was about VA Tech being KO'ed from title contention, this week it's Alabama's turn to be booted from the Rose race.

That would leave only USC and Texas unbeaten, put them on a path for Pasadena, and end any looming controversy a mere 11 weeks into the season.

The unbeaten Tide (BCS No. 3) have been walking a fine line since their season-making rout of Florida, when they lost playmaker Tyrone Prothro to injury.

Since then, the offense has scored exactly one TD in SEC play. The Tide escaped Ole Miss and Tennessee by field goals, and needed two TDs by their D to beat lowly Mississippi State.

So the foreshadowing for this weekend's game vs. No. 5 LSU looms larger than Bear Bryant's ghost. All signs point to a pending 'Bama loss.

And then there were two …

More CFB Wknd
While Alabama stumbles, Auburn could establish itself as the hot team in the SEC with a win at Georgia. (And Steve Spurrier gets a crack at Florida, in the "off-field story line" game of the day.)

In the one other matchup between ranked teams, I have extremely low expectations that Northwestern (No. 25) can keep up with Ohio State (No. 10) in Columbus. Especially after the way NU beat OSU last season. (noon ET, ABC)

NFL Week 10 Prev.
Questions, questions …

Jets at Panthers: Can we get another camera shot of those TopCats cheerleaders, please?

Pats at Dolphins: Is the Pats' secondary so sorry that even Gus Frerotte can throw on N.E.? (Um, no.)

Browns at Steelers: Could Charlie Batch have it any easier?

Vikings at Giants: Which team will lifetime Giants fan (and Vikings owner) Zygi Wilf be rooting for?

Rams at Seahawks: With Tomlinson on his bye week, will Shaun Alexander throw a couple of TD passes to raise his profile?

Packers at Falcons: How much worse can it get for Brett Favre?

Chiefs at Bills: What's the over/under on Larry Johnson's carries? (Is "all" an answer?)

Texans at Colts: Which will score more points -- Houston's offense or Indy's D?

See Big 5 for more subplots.

Pistons 5-0
What's the biggest signal that we're looking at a new-look Pistons squad? It's even outscoring the high-octane Suns offense.

The NBA's only unbeaten team left, Detroit topped 100 again, but used its same old D to lock down the Suns. (Missing Amare? 0-3 at home.)

Yet another indication that while Larry Brown taught this team how to play D, he was holding back what is obviously a sensational offense.

This start matches the team's best since the '88-'89 ring year. With O to go with D, they look even better than any of their previous title teams.

More NBA: Surprise! Brown reportedly is griping about the Knicks' roster. Who had "4 games" in the office pool? (via NY Post)

MLB Hot Stove
Ichiro unhappy in Seattle? Either that, or the New York media is rabble-rousing and/or wishful-thinking about him in NYC. (via NY Post)

How desperate is Boston? The Sox reportedly gave Johnny Damon an offer. Wait: Can he bat behind Ortiz? No? Then why bother? (via BOS Herald)

Is Delgado available? The O's, Mariners and Mets all reportedly are interested. Weren't they last winter, too? (via P.B. Post)

Mets meeting Molina: Omar Minaya works the Hot Stove like MLB's Julia Child. Newly Piazza-free Mets to talk with Angels C Bengie Molina.

Vazquez wants out of Arizona: New GM Josh Byrnes' first challenge; top starting pitcher wants to be closer to his family. (via Stark)

NCAA Hoops 'It' Team
Ohio is's "It" team for the 2004-05 college hoops season, and I'm loving that call.

The entire "It" preview is a must-read, including the experts' It teams and Forde's "Law and Order" parody of the teams that ain't It.

My "It" teams? You'll just have to check out the annual college hoops "Hot/Not" List. (Hot/Not staple Ashley Judd? Check.)

Week in Review
1. TopCats Scandal: With or without the bathroom sex, it's still the most titillating story of the fall.

2. Colts Thump Pats:: Doesn't matter until the playoffs? Only if you didn't recognize how iffy the Pats' D looks this season.

3. MLB Awards Season: Carpenter, Colon, Guillen, Cox, Howard, Street. (Monday: A-Rod vs. Ortiz in the papi of all MVP debates.)

4. Steroids Report: Assael, Keating and the crack ESPN The Mag team have the investigative effort of the year. Haven't read it? Do it this weekend.

5. T.O. Booted: 'Nuff said.