There is so much going on in the sports world that I will spend today's column discussing a lot of things. Let me start by suggesting my readers to go read the roundtable discussion some of the Internet's finest have had over at Netshrine. First, on a few baseball-related items...
- The Mets sign Kaz Matsui- I wrote an article on the stud shortstop back in November, concluding he would finish the season with a .295/.325/.445 line, which I will stand by today. I hate the idea of moving Reyes to second, it just reminds me of the horrible time the Cleveland Indians have had with Brandon Phillips the last two seasons. And if this team was so willing to pay a question-filled shortstop $7M per season, why not top the Marlins' bid for Luis Castillo? Luis would have fit much better than Matsui, matching Kaz in every category but home runs.
- Angels to sign Bartolo Colon- 4 years, $48M. Wow. Arte Moreno really wants to make his presence felt after seeing the kind of treatment that Anaheim gave their last great owner, Gene Autry. Moreno has already bought Escobar and Colon, with hitting next on the agenda. I think this team will bring in Rafeal Palmiero, and I think going after Rich Aurilia might be a good idea as well. Non-tender Adam Kennedy, move Eckstein to second, and you have one Helluva team. Colon is great on a bullpen, and really a joy to watch pitch. This is a very good signing for the Angels that suddenly will have the second best rotation in the AL West in 2004.
- Quickly, I think the Blue Jays overpaid big on Kerry Ligtenberg, who is nice at $1M per season, not $2.25. The Devil Rays make a nice move by landing Eduardo Perez for cheap, he's used to platooning with Mr. Tino Martinez. The D-Rays are going to land a right fielder (Everett?) by the end of the week, and my Arthur Rhodes prediction stands. David Wells is close to signing with the Yankees, and I think Kenny Lofton will be a Padre before Steinbrenner realizes what he lost.
- College football suffered a travesty this weekend when the undisputed #1 team, USC, was snubbed from the championship game. The BCS is hardly the best system out there, and this season has ensured its exit from college football after 2005. Oklahoma obviously should have been left out, seeing that they didn't even win their conference championship! For more on this, visit a great site over at mcclusky.com.
In the end, I think USC will lose to Michigan, and I think Oklahoma beats the piss out of LSU, and gets handed the national championship trophy. Call it Midwest bias, but I would take Michigan against any team in the country and guarantee victory at this point. Here's a look at my Jan. 1 bowl predictions:
Outback (Iowa v. Florida)- Florida
Gator (West Virginia v. Maryland)- W. Virginia
Capital One (Purdue v. Georgia)- Georgia!
Rose (USC v. Michigan)- Michigan
Orange (Miami v. Florida St.)- Miami
Cotton (Ole Miss. v. Oklahoma St.)- Ole Miss
Peach (Clemson v. Tenn.)- Tennessee
Fiesta (Kansas State v. Ohio State)- K. State
Sugar (Oklahoma v. LSU)- Oklahoma
And, finally I'd like to say I support Eli Manning for the Heisman Trophy. Jason White is a fine choice, although I think Oklahoma's late fall, and the talent White is surrounded with will lead to his demise. Larry Fitzgerald is the best player in the country, but needs someone a little better than Rod Rutherford. Chris Perry was well on his way early on, but I believe didn't even top 50 yds. in one game. So, my default, give it to Eli. Ole Miss isn't a good team, but Manning has built a ferocious passing attack, and a bowl victory.
- Moving to the other college sport, does anyone notice the craziness that early season college basketball has provided? Duke, UConn, Kansas, MSU are all teams that have failed early on. I've watched a few North Carolina games, and I would take the Tar Heels vs. anyone. But Missouri's Ricky Paulding is the best wing player in the country. And next time Duke is on TV, do yourself a favor and watch Luol Deng play. I can't wait til March!
- Well, the Magic finally broke their 19-game losing streak in basketball, and the Detroit Tigers get time off as the laughingstock of professional sports. Don't worry Dambrowski, McGrady will get to 15 wins and you'll still be the worst.
- Playoff predictions:
NFC: Philly, Carolina, St. Louis, Seattle, Dallas, Green Bay
AFC: New England, Kansas City, Indy, Baltimore, Denver, Tennessee
Super Bowl: Indy over Philly
I'll be back tomorrow.