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This and that


Each week I'll talk about the world of sports …

• I was in attendance at State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday for the Notre Dame-Penn State game. It was a terrific environment with the fans all wearing white. It was also a revenge game for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions, out to avenge a loss at South Bend in 2006. The contest marked the debut of Jimmy Clausen and it was not the kind of game to make a true evaluation of the young man's future success. Besides being a road test, Notre Dame's game plan was safe, not throwing down the field and taking many risks. He has a lot of potential but the Irish need to improve the support cast around him. That will take time.

• Who would have ever thought that the Michigan-Notre Dame game would pit a pair of 0-2 squads? It is the first time that both of these proud, traditional powers have started the same season with two losses. Lloyd Carr has to be frustrated and his quarterback, Chad Henne, is hurt and may not play against the Irish. The Wolverines lost to Appalachian State, and then Mike Bellotti's Ducks did a number on the Maize and Blue. Both of those games were in Ann Arbor, where it is shock city for the fans. Remember, this team has talent and could rebound come Big Ten time to salvage things. For now, Michigan needs a win over Notre Dame to stop the bleeding. It is going to be very tough for Carr to save his job at this point as the heat is really on.

• For those who wondered how Tom Brady and Randy Moss would get along, just look at his numbers on Sunday … nine catches, 183 receiving yards and a touchdown. That's pretty good for a guy who suffered an injury-plagued preseason.

• There were a number of great finishes on the first NFL Sunday. In a very short span, the Broncos won on a field goal by Jason Elam on the final play of the game at Buffalo. The Redskins won on a field goal in overtime against Miami. Green Bay got a W with a last-second field goal against the Eagles. Wow, that was exciting!

• There were a lot of great moments at the U. S. Open tennis event in New York. How about a salute to Justine Henin and Roger Federer, two classy players who simply go about their business to win! Henin beat both Williams sisters en route to the championship, and she did not lose a set throughout the tourney. Federer is simply the most dominant player in the game and he is well on his way to shattering Pete Sampras' record for Grand Slam singles titles. Meanwhile, Andy Roddick played a great match against Federer in the quarterfinals, but he lost two tiebreakers while falling in straight sets. Roddick is one of the most underachieving stars in the game; he has the great serve and ability, but Federer found a way to win.

• Tiger Woods showed why he is the best golfer in the world by winning the BMW event. Now Tiger is in front of the Fed Ex Cup points lead with the Tour Championship ahead this week. There is a problem with this new system when guys like Tiger, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els all skip an event in this late-season playoff format.

• The last thing baseball needed was more negative publicity over drugs. What about the reports of Rick Ankiel using human growth hormone and Troy Glaus accused of purchasing steroids? It is so, so disappointing. Instead of worrying about pennant races and potential MVP and Cy Young competition, we deal with this stuff over and over again.

• My friends, the Yankees will be a very dangerous team in the playoffs if they make the postseason. In a short series, they will be tough with Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang and probably Roger Clemens. Joba Chamberlain looks like the real deal helping set-up the bullpen to get to Mariano Rivera. We all know his track record as a playoff closer. Then you look at the line-up and I believe Alex Rodriguez has locked up AL MVP honors. I know some Magglio Ordonez fans may disagree, and he has had a terrific season, but I give ARod the nod.

• Peyton Manning wasted no time in the opener as the Colts celebrated big-time in Indianapolis. Manning showed why he is the best by throwing three touchdowns and just under 300 yards. He was simply brilliant and Tony Dungy and company set the stage by getting their first W.

• Some more thoughts on college football. Wow, LSU is really impressive after blowing out a Top 10 team like Virginia Tech. Matt Flynn is making some people forget about JaMarcus Russell and you have to love the Tiger defense … Nebraska was fortunate to get out of Wake Forest with a W, setting up a showdown with USC this week in Lincoln. There will be excitement galore with Big Red challenging numero uno … I have told people about Mike Ford, a running back from my neck of the woods here in Florida. He contributed to South Florida's stunning upset at Auburn. This kid can flat-out run, and Big East opponents will learn that first hand … I have to give respect to Derek Dooley, the son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley. He is in his first year as head coach of Louisiana Tech and his squad gave a ranked Hawaii squad all it could handle. Dooley decided to go for a two –pointer and a win in overtime, but a pass was deflected as his team fell a point short … How about a salute to Steve Spurrier as his Gamecocks upset Georgia between the hedges … Tyrone Willingham deserves some publicity too as Washington has opened the season with impressive wins at Syracuse and over a ranked Boise State squad … Greg Schiano has done a super job and Rutgers was impressive beating a good Navy squad. Ray Rice is a special back ... Do you think Oklahoma has found a special quarterback in Sam Bradford? Oklahoma has totaled 130 points in its first two games and Bradford has thrown eight touchdowns without an interception …

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