1. Undefeated Alabama loses; everybody cares. The Crimson Tide fall at home to Johnny Football and Texas A&M, 29-24. Bama, which trailed 20-0, actually had a first-and-goal at the Aggie four yard-line in the final two minutes, but A.J. McWeepie’s fourth-down pass was intercepted. The SEC’s six-year stranglehold on the BCS national title is now so endangered that Noah Wylie is doing PSAs on its behalf.
2. Undefeated Atlanta loses; nobody cares. The Falcons, who were 8-0 and the last NFL unbeaten, fell to the New Orleans Saints, who had been 3-5. People who started Atlanta QB Matt Ryan on their fantasy teams (34 of 52, 411 yards, 3 TDs, one pick) are at worst sanguine about the defeat.
3. It’s not the Los Angeles Lakers; it’s the “Seven Seconds Or Less” Reunion Tour! The Lakers take the HOV lane less traveled by choosing not to rehire Phil Jackson but instead hiring former Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’antoni to a four-year contract. D’Antoni reunites with Steve Nash, a 6-2 white point guard who never dunks but who nevertheless, running D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll up tempo offense, earned two league MVP awards while playing for him.
4. What is most bizarre? That Paula Broadwell, the paramour-or-less of CIA director David Petraeus 1) wrote a biography of the four-star general titled “All In: The Education of David Petraeus” 2) that only two weeks ago she published, in The Daily Beast, Petraeus’ “12 Rules for Living” or that 3) she had an on-air push-up contest with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show earlier this year (Stewart stopped at 38, she continued on to 60). By the way, an All-Aptly Named Team nominee. “Is she a broad? Well….
5. Florida declares that President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in its balloting… on Saturday. That is soooo Flori-Duh.
The Detroit Pistons are 0-7. The Pistons are coached by Lawrence Frank, who you may recall was fired in his previous coaching job three years ago with New Jersey after the Nets started 0-16. Frank seems like a decent enough guy, a red-headed Jeff Van Gundy if you will, but he now owns a personal 23-game losing streak (next up on the schedule: Oklahoma City). Frank is the Charlotte Bobcats of coaches.
Yesterday morning ESPN.com, SI.com, NCAA.com and presumably the Ladies Home Journal web site all featured a photo of a jubilant Johnny Football and Texas A&M on their respective home pages. A&M has absolutely no shot at a national championship this fall, although its 7-2 record during its maiden voyage throughout the SEC has been impressive and augurs even better days to come. Our point? The culture of college football, as is, is unique and certainly different than the NFL or the NCAA tournament. A sub-text of the month of November — a subtext that will largely disappear when the four- (make that eight-) team playoff gets underway in two years –is the pressure on the remaining undefeated teams and how it builds exponentially each week. Meanwhile, the opportunity to take down an unbeaten is an enormous motivator for teams, teams that themselves have no chance of winning the national title (ask anyone who was in Ames, Iowa, on a late November Friday night last season). No one — certainly not I — is suggesting that BCS bowls are fair and honest, or that this system is the best system. It’s different. It is also, for the most part, wonderful and magical, as those photos attest. And if you want to quibble about how one team with one loss may advance to a national title game while another does not (see: Alabama and Oklahoma State, 2011), I’ll remind you that there were other 9-7 teams besides the New York Giants last season, and not all of them were afforded the opportunity to participate in the Super Bowl tournament.
Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard (and not the guy who played the titular male lead in “Whe Harry Met Sally”), appears on “Fox News Sunday” and risks own life by stating, “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes on millionaires”, which is another way of saying that a threshold for the highest tax bracket in the country that begins at $385,000 (as is currently the case) is too low. Which is something we have been saying ever since CNBC began running those “fiscal cliff” ads. Of course, Bill Kristol’s remark, if it comes to pass, will presumably affect the income of Bill Crystal.
Marquess Wilson is swinging his sword right back at first-year Washington State coach Mike Leach. On Saturday Wilson, a junior who last season caught a school-record 82 passes for the Cougars, quit the team. ON his way out of the Palouse, Wilson accused Leach and his coaching staff of “preferring to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us” and that included physical abuse (stop smirking, Adam James). The Cougars are a dismal 2-8 this year and 0-7 in the Pac-12, including a home loss to Colorado. Wilson led the team in receptions this year, too, with 52. Consider him the No. 1 free agent in college football at the moment.
Skyfall or Windfall? The latest “Bond, James Bond” film earned $87 million at the box office its opening weekend, a record for the franchise, which turned 50 this year. The film has already been out for three weeks internationally and earned $428 million overseas. These figures leave us both shaken and stirred. Wherefore the popularity? Could it be the fans love cheering on a a spy who indulges in romantic liaisons while remaining unmarried?