Starting Five

1. While all the precincts have yet to report, we are going to award The New York Daily News with “headline of the day” for its cover,”In the Line of Booty”, featuring other other woman Jill Kelley. Both other women are married to doctors, coincidentally. We also like The Daily Show’s succinct but effective “Spyfall.”

2. In foregone conclusion news, Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) win the American and National League Rookie of the Year awards, respectively.

Harper made the cover of SI at age 16…

…while Trout had to wait until he was an old man of 21.

3. Detroit remains winless at 0-8. Coach Lawrence Frank, who, um, led the New Jersey Nets to an 0-16 start in 2009 before being fired, is in the words of Garden Stater Jon Bon Jovi, “whoa, oh, we’re halfway there.”  The Pistons absorbed a 92-90 loss at home to Oklahoma City. Detroit actually led the Thunder by 11 points entering the fourth quarter, which began with a 13-0 run by OKC. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder, playing its fourth game in five nights, with 33 points on his 24th birthday. (we erred yesterday when we said Frank’s persona losing streak is 23 games, forgetting that he coached Detroit all of las season; it’s actually eight games at the moment). 

4.  Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hates the BCS. And he hates the playoff. From what we can deciper from his presser yesterday, he believes in a “Little Miss Sunshine” format. His quote: “I think (the BCS) stinks. I think the BCS and how we’re doing it with these computurs, I think we’re ruining it. And the playoff isn’t going to solve it, either. They’ve got to change how we pick the top teams in this country. It’s not working. I think it was better in the old days when you did it by the eye test and you didn’t have a championship game.” (more on this matter in reserves) 

5. Now that the Lakers have hired Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni, how long until their new mascot is The Gorilla? Their new broadcaster, Al McCoy (who has been with the Phoenix Suns since 1972)? Their new p.r chief, Julie Fie (who’s held that job in Phoenix for more than 20 years)? 



Okay, who wants to see shirtless pics of this man?

David Letterman on a recently released film: “Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ is now in theaters… traditionally not a good place for Lincoln.”

We received word yesterday that Cortland College and Ithaca College in upstate New York marketed their football game last weekend as “the biggest little game in America” after something we wrote in Sports Illustrated. Which, hey, go ahead but we wrote that line in 1991. Cortland won, 16-10.

“I must be the WORST journalist in the world!” laughed Jon Stewart of The Daily Show after showing clips of his interview last January with heavily armed Paula Broadwell, in which he failed to pick up on any sexual innuendo that the paramour or less of General David Petraeus was offering him. “For God’s sake, the title of her book was ‘All In’. She may as well have called the book What’s Got Two Thumbs and Is Banging His Biographer? This Guy.” Our favorite line from the well-armed biographer is when she gushes, “(Petraeus) can turn water into bottled water!”

Paula Broadwell…physically, we’d describe her as ‘arm-y’

Fans of Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame (but especially fans of Notre Dame), please stop the insanity. It’s November 13 and you’re already bickering about which unbeaten is going to be shut out of the National Championship Game.

Allow us to make a few points: 1. These three teams still have six known opponents remaining (this IS the playoff, as Jesus Jones would say, “Right here, right now.” It’s terrible to think that you are watching it and not realizing it). Let’s rank these contests in order of “lose-ability”, shall we: 

1. Notre Dame at USC, November 24. The Trojans have spoiled undefeated Irish seasons in November in the past, most notably in Ara Parseghian’s first season in South Bend in 1964. This is truly USC’s bowl game this season, even though they will play in a lower-tiered bowl in December. 

2. Oregon at Oregon State, November 24: This is the two-blade razor effect. Stanford will set the injury-riddled Ducks up next week, giving them quite a battle but not quite getting the job done in Eugene. Then Oregon State will knock them out in Corvallis in the Civil War. 

3. Kansas State at Baylor, November 17: Of course the Wildcats should win, but the Bears can score and that makes them dangerous.

 4. Texas at Kansas State, December 1: The Longhorns have enough talent to get this done. It’s all a matter of focus. 

5. Stanford at Oregon, November 17: The Cardinal’s physical offensive line versus a depleted defensive line, due to injury, for the Ducks. The gameplan will be ball control and Stepfan Taylor. 

6. Wake Forest at Notre Dame, November 17: The only mortal lock of the sextet. The question isn’t whether the Irish will win, but whether the nation’s top scoring defense will record its first shutout of the season. 

We fully expect one of this trio of unbeatens to lose at least one game. We’re tempted to say that two of them will lose, but we’ll stick with one for the moment. Who will it be? One, we don’t know and two, it doesn’t matter. It just makes the larger point of how difficult it is for any team to go undefeated and how much more difficult each successive game becomes, particularly in November.

 In short, you don’t write a review of “The Sixth Sense” before the final reveal, and you don’t bicker about there still being three undefeated teams in college football when there are still two full weeks of the season remaining to be played.

  Our second looming point is that even with a playoff, the bickering would be just as hostile and annoying. A four-team playoff?

Great. Right now you’d begin with Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame. Immediately after that you have eight — EIGHT! — one-loss teams. And what if Louisville were still unbeaten? What would you do with them? This is why BCS wonks want to increase the playoff to eight teams. These are the same types of people who, if they were bartenders, would add an extras splash of tonic water to your drink to disguise the fact that they short-changed you on your Grey Goose. 

Finally, the puppeteer behind (and we use that word hesitantly) Elmo, Kevin Clash, 52, was given a leave of absence from “Sesame Street” after producers were informed of an alleged sexual relationship between he and a 16 year-old male. You’re not surprised. We’re not surprised. Moving on…

We enjoyed how Letterman introduced the Petraeus affair in his monologue. Obviously, this was the pot calling the kettle black, and Letterman knows that most of his audience realizes it. Hence, the long awkward pause and the “How about that?” before leading into the obligatory joke.

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