1. “You down with ‘CFP’?’ ‘No, you know me.”
“We decided to call the playoff what it is — the College Football Playoff,” said Bill Hancock, director of the Bowl Championship Series. The peripatetic Brett McMurphy has all the details righcheer. Naming the college football playoff the College Football Playoff proves that middle-aged white guys were behind this decision (Did no one suggest “Pass the Heinz?”). The best part, as Pat Forde notes, is that an outside consulting group, Premier Sports Management of Overland Park, K.C., was actually retained by the BCS to help with the name (consulting is where it’s at, kids*). Patrick Finley of the Arizona Daily Star suggested “Football Four”, but that will look awkward when the playoff expands to eight teams in a few years.
2. “Are you guys as excited as I am about The Obesity Epidemic?”
Jimmy Kimmel Live sends a camera crew to Coachella to ask music fans about bands “that are so obscure they don’t even exist.” Classic idea, classic execution. Straight out of the Carson/Letterman playbook. By the way, the dude answers (about a non-existent band), “I just like their whole style, their whole genre…is great.”
3. We are not even four weeks into the baseball season, so take this list of the worst E.R.A.’s in the Major Leagues at face value. Still, worth noting: Three of the nine worst E.R.A.’s in the game belong to pitchers who have hurled perfect games (a feat that has been performed just 23 times in baseball history): Matt Cain, San Francisco, 6.59 (6th-worst); Roy Halladay, Philadelphia, 6.04 (7th); and Mark Buehrle, Toronto, 5.87 (9th). Also, your reigning Cy Young Award winners are at 14th-worst (David Price, Tampa Bay, 5.52) and 32nd-worst (R.A. Dickey, Toronto, 4.66) out of 107 pitchers. The Rays are 0-5 in games in which Price has started this season.
4. “I know people say I saw blood on the boat… not true.” Watertown’s “incidental hero”, David Henneberry, clarifies the tale of how he happened upon Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last Friday evening. In short, he is not as clueless as the news reports –and I — assumed him to be.
5. Who’s hot? J.R.
The Knicks’ J.R. Smith edges out the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award (a month or two ago I proffered that these are the league’s two best long-range gunners). Last night Smith ended the first quarter of the Knicks’ win over Boston with a 36-foot jumper that swished through the net, three of his 19 points. Smith never starts, but he is the second-leading scorer (17 ppg) on a team whose star is more averse to passing than the Navy football team. New York can seriously challenge the Heat if Smith maintains this level of play –and if Ama’re Stoudemire remains injured. Honestly, Bill Simmons is going to have to add an “Ama’re Clause” to his Ewing Theory. How delightful that the two men play the same position for the same franchise some two decades apart.
In Champions League, Bayern Munich obliterates what had been the premier football club on the globe, FC Barcelona, 4-0, in the first leg of the semifinals (“SCHWEINSTEIGER!”). In fairness, the world’s top striker, Lionel Messi, is nursing a tender hamstring and should not have been on the pitch. Still, Barca will need at least a 4-0 shutout or to win by five goals next Wednesday at Camp Nou if it hopes to advance to the final. That ain’t happening. Oddly enough, the coach who led Barca to brilliance the past half decade, Pep Guardiola, stepped down last summer, is on a one-year sabbatical, and will return next season to manage…Bayern Munich.
Apple beats earnings forecasts. The tech monolith announces that it will double the dividend payout it is returning to investors. And yet the stock actually dips. Apple stock has become Jennifer Aniston, going from sharing a home with Brad Pitt and making the cover of “People’s Most Beautiful” to dating Justin Theroux and a minor role in “Horrible Bosses” without any visible drop off in production/appearance. It’s just that, well, we’re all so used to them both by now (by the way, if you have a better analogy, please send it our way).
I culled eight different Mock Drafters, including Todd McShay at ESPN, Don Banks at SI.com, and Charlie Casserly and Gil Brandt (both former NFL GMs) at NFL.com. The consensus is that these five names will, in some order, be the first five players selected in tomorrow night’s NFL Draft: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M; Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan; Shariff (don’t like it) Floyd, DT, Florida; Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon; and Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma.
Take it for what it’s worth, but only one of those five names (Joeckel) appears on the first two non-hacked AP All-America teams from last season. Two more names, Floyd and Fisher, are on the third team. Now, obviously, everyone on an All-America team is not entering this year’s draft (if they were then Jadeveon Clowney would be the first pick) but isn’t it always funny how NFL experts seem so unimpressed with how AP voters evaluate college football talent? Andy Staples over at SI.com wonders whether they may sometimes be too smart for their own good. Does this make Andy a Mock Draft Mocker?
Game Of Thrones Wiliness Rankings
I never thought I’d see the day when Tyrion Lannister wasn’t atop the Wily board, but he suddenly finds himself holding precariously onto the bronze spot.
1. Daenerys Taryargen, alias “Khaleesi”, alias “Mother of Dragons”: Add “Commander of the Unsullied” to her list of sobriquets. Oh, and by the way, she does speak Valyrian.
2. Margaery: If I could play guitar as well as she’s playing King Joffrey, I’d be touring with The Obesity Epidemic right about now.
3. Tyrian Lannister: It was sort of a bye week for Tyrion in terms of wiliness, but he held ground by not losing ground.
Westeros’ Least Wily: Again, Theon. Watching him make poor decision after poor decision is as much torture for us as his actual torture is and will be for him. I won’t be surprised if he releases a double album in the near future and marries a Kardashian.
* My Consulting Story: So, last summer I’m driving through Utah with three high school buddies, the most successful of whom is a partner in a major international consulting group. He is on a conference call in which the partners are discussing hiring an outside person in which to provide assistance for a project they are doing. So, that you are up to speed, a consulting group is hiring an outside consultant. I broach this point to him and he tells me, “It’s okay, the guy we’re hiring used to work for the company for whom we are consulting.” At which point I ask him, “So why doesn’t the company just hire him directly to lend his expertise?” At which point my friend looks at me with a stare that says, “You have no idea how the world really works, do you?” That, kids, is what you call an epiphany.