November 29, 2004
Snowy late-night comeback was season-making W. Jerry Porter with quote of the week: "It was hell out there, but it was cold, too."
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The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Philly clinched way more than the NFC East title Sunday.

They clinched:

*"Team to Beat" status in the NFC (if not the entire league), making next week's possible NFC title-game preview vs. the Packers even more intriguing.

*Cards Syndrome, St. Louis strain -- the popular (and pessimistic) conventional wisdom that it's possible for a team to clinch too early, then lose momentum by the time it counts.

And most of all:

*The highest expectations in franchise city history. Given their dominating performances this year, it's not enough to finally win the NFC title; it's Super Bowl ring or bust. BIG bust.

And an agonizing 10 weeks to wait.

NFL Week 12
More W12 Instant Impressions:

Office water-cooler "nickel-every-time-you-hear-it" line of the day: So, who took the "Over" in that Browns-Bengals game?

Sunday Stud ballot: Peyton (6TD), Vick (run-pass for 3TD, 286 yds), McGahee (4TD), Rudi (repping entire 106-pointer).

Biggest winner of SNF snow game in Denver? The Chargers, who get the mo' heading into their AFC West showdown with the Broncos next week.

Drew Henson has managed the improbable same-year feat of being a Yankee and a yankee. (More duds: Holmgren, Haslett, Gibbs)

MNF: StL at GB
Opening alert: Ben Stiller praises "Something About Mary" co-star Brett Favre. Assuming no "hair gel" jokes.

Think the Rams winning in Lambeau cold is unlikely? If the Raiders can roll into Denver and win in the snow, anything can happen.

BCS Update
Once more: Stop panicking. If Auburn is the "odd-unbeaten-out," the media will award them their half of the title, no matter who wins the USC-Okla Orange Bowl.

Jeff George: He's baaaaack! Bears sign HOF malcontent QB
Fred Couples: Edges Tiger Woods for Skins cash, title
Washington hoops: Wins Alaska tourney; 2005's hot team?
Big East football: More teams win title than not; BCS dud
CFB hot seats: Stanford's "Even" Teevens (Ole Miss, too)
Martha Huber: From "Desperate" to dead, note-sender axed
Let's just hope the BCS sees the marketing promise and puts the Tigers against Cinderella unbeaten Utah.

Don't cry for: "Big" programs left out (Texas and/or Georgia and/or Cal); Boise State; Boston College.

Heisman Vote
Not yet! If voters don't wait for the final games Okla's White and Peterson and Auburn's Cadillac -- not to mention USC's guys -- they are doing a disservice to all contenders.

Latest Mo: "Torretta Factor." The current edge goes to the fill-in-name-here "top team's QB" (USC's Matt Leinart). The irony is that he isn't even USC's best player (that would be Reggie Bush).

Memphis Czar
Jerry West must have a thing for TV announcers. The Logo might give Mike Fratello a shot at the Grizzlies gig. Does that mean that the Heat (for whom the Czar currently works) will look at Hubie Brown for TV-analyst work?

Sonics: NBA Tops
What's more improbable: That the short-handed Pacers could enter Sunday's game with Seattle as a team on a winning streak? Or that the Sonics would beat them, leaving Seattle with the best record in the NBA?

MLB Fray Agency
Pedro to the Mets: Apparently, NY is serious. Even though it doesn't make sense for either, the Mets can't resist a high-profile quick fix -- and Pedro can't resist a quirky decision.

But call it a wash for the Yankees and Sox, who would be just as happy to see their rival not get Pedro as they are to actually land him themselves.

Sportsmen of Year
SI got it wrong: Sportsmen of the Year wasn't the Boston Red Sox. Here's my Sawx-swept ballot:

1. Red Sox Nation
2. Red Sox team
3. BoSox execs Epstein/Henry

Now officially the NFL's "Worst Team." Erickson on coaching hot seat. (Ex-49ers coach Holmgren, coming off worst L ever in Seattle, is there too.)
Today on
Quickie Live!
NFL Week 12 Wrap
NFL Sunday Stud
NFL Top 5
League's best D
McNabb or TO the MVP?
Manning is unstoppable
Big Ben: 9-0
How you like 'em!

Steve McNair always gets credit for taking a beating, but playing (well) anyway. If he decides to retire (as hinted), credit him for that too ...

Was that supposed to be an apology from Lakers owner Jerry Buss toward Shaq? The classic I'm sorry ... he's mad is more of a non-apology ...

First-month NBA MVP? My vote is LeBron, the youngest pro to 2K points (and torched the Pistons, MJ-style). More NBA awards Tuesday ...

Bowl-invite season: Notre Dame (Insight), Minny (Music City), Memphis (GMAC), So. Miss (NO), UAB (Sheraton Hawaii), Cincy (Fort Worth) ...

Best college hoops team in the country? Illinois, coming off a weekend W over Gonzaga, gets a chance to make case, at home Wed. vs. No. 1 Wake ...

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