Happy Friday one and all.
POINT ONE: Perfect metaphor
People have been using the word “deflating” to describe the USC football season all year, and now this. The Trojans are fined and reprimanded by the NCAA for intentionally taking air out of the footballs in the first half against Oregon last week. It seems like Lane Kiffin and the Trojans just can’t get out of their own way. If it’s not on-the-field question marks it’s weird stuff like this. Even worse than the idea of the cheating, is how poorly the sabotage plan worked. I’m not sure why a running back sprinting up and down the field against you would be slowed down by a deflated ball. Here are some other ball-doctoring ideas I would have tried to stop the Oregon offense: Make the ball super heavy; invent a way for a slippery substance to emanate out of the ball when a Duck carries it; a ball made entirely out of bees; something other than deflating it. Maybe they should replace the fired student manager with Bill Nye the science guy.
POINT TWO: College basketball is here! Yay!
The college hoops season tips off today with tons of games for your viewing pleasure. The Bruins and Trojans are among the teams suiting up for the first time this year today. There’s nothing like a rocking college basketball gym for pure sports emotion and drama. It should be another great year, because several of the traditional basketball bluebloods are back in the national picture. Concensus No. 1 Indiana is a good place to start, but UCLA is also primed to return to relevance. I have to be honest. I love college basketball. It’s my No. 1 favorite sport, even above the NFL. I consider that first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament a national holiday. I might name my first child Bracket. My Michigan State Spartans open their season today against UConn on an air-force base in Germany. Talk about your road games. Here’s hoping your favorite teams starts with a win.
POINT THREE: Luck-y Strike
Andrew Luck continued to look good, leading the Colts with his feet past a struggling Jacksonville squad. Luck, particularly on the road, throws some risky passes and gives up unnecessary turnovers, but obviously he’ll clean that up. Looking at the remaining schedule for the 6-3 Colts. There are four games in which they’ll likely be underdogs (at New England, at Detroit, at Houston and home against Houston). The other three are winnable (home against Buffalo, Tennessee and at K.C.). If things fall according to Hoyle, the Colts will be 9-7. If they sneak out a victory, perhaps the final week at home against a Texans team that might not need to play its starters, they could get to 10-6. I think they make the playoffs either way. But remember, it’s still a young team, so beware of a surprising loss. I think they will finish 9-7 and grab the final wild-card playoff spot.
MONDAY MORNING HEADLINE: Here is the No. 1 thing sports fans will be talking about Monday morning:
Bears are Super Bowl favorites: After the Bears’ convincing 33-17 victory over the Houston Texans in a battle of 7-1 teams on national TV Sunday night, the Bears will finally be taken seriously as potentially the best team in the leauge. Their only loss was at Lambeau Field and they’ve been beating teams soundly. They have scored 236 and allowed 120. That 116-point score differential is by far the largest in the league — Texans 100, Patriots 92, 49ers 86, Falcons 77. And they’re doing it all in the toughest Division in the NFL, the only one with all four teams .500 or better, and all four with positive score differentials.
Good one: I’ll leave you for the weekend with an overheard-in-the-newsroom moment. I was commenting to golf writer Larry Bohannan, that it was funny that (Charlie) Wi and (Michelle) Wie were leading the PGA and LPGA tournaments respectively this week after one round. Larry said it would really be funny if the European Tour event was being led by a French guy with the last name Oui.
Have a good weekend, and go watch a high school football playoff game tonight. Bundle up, though.
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