September 12, 2005
Barry Bonds:
Will bat cleanup and play left field in his must-must-see 2005 debut tonight at home vs. the NL West-leading Padres. Expect a home run? Why not?
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Who needs the Senate questioning John Roberts when Week 1 in the NFL provided so many confirmations of its own:

Confirmed: Saints Mania!
The Saints' last-second FG to beat the would-be XL-contending Panthers in Carolina confirms their status as the feel-good story of the season.

Confirmed: Bad is the New Good
Both the Dolphins and 49ers delivered mind-boggling Ws to open their seasons, confirming that "experts" have no idea what they're talking about.

Confirmed: Willie Parker Rules
Leave the Bus and Duce on the bench; as anyone should have predicted, Parker went nuts as the Steelers' starting RB (161 yards rushing with a TD).

Confirmed: Chargers are Idiots
Does anyone doubt that if they had let Gates play, he would have caught the game-winning TD on their otherwise futile last drive?

Confirmed: Cards B'wagon Done
That lasted, what, all of 30 minutes? Looking for a new one? How about the Jaguars? JAX's D was sick and the O is catching up.

Confirmed: Colts D is Improved
Held Ravens to 7 points and knocked Kyle Boller out of the game. Of course, let's be real: It WAS Baltimore. (And only 24 for the Colts O?)

Confirmed: Parity is Healthy
Mind-boggling: The Saints, 'Skins, Fins, 49ers, Lions and Bucs are 1-0; the Seahawks, Broncos, Jets, Vikes, Rams, Pack and Bolts are 0-1.

More NFL Week 1
Further confirmations:
* Priest + LJ = My goodness
* Packers O is as bad as its D
* Cadillac = Rookie of Year
* C. Palmer will be Pro Bowler
* BUF QB Losman is a real deal
* Skins, Bears both stink.

CFB: Who's No. 1?
Texas is No. 1 this week. And anyone who didn't vote that way is lazy and ignorant and should have their ballot revoked.

USC hasn't proven anything yet. UT went into a tougher arena than any USC has played in in 2 years (or will this year) and gritted out a huge win.

This week? UT has earned it.

Roger Federer: Best men's player ever? Beats Agassi in NYC
CFB instant replay: Huge success across high-profile games
Roush Racing: Earns 5 of final 10 NASCAR "Chase" spots
Chad Pennington: 6 fumbles in a bad start for new Jets O
J. Walker: Holdout karma? Packers WR may be out for '05
Daunte Culpepper: '04 fantasy stud to '05 FFL dud. 0 TDs?!
Quickie Top 10 Ballot:
1 Texas | 2 USC | 3 LSU
4 Louisville | 5 Notre Dame
6 VA Tech | 7 Purdue
8 OH St | 9 Florida | 10 Cal
(Dropped: MI, IA, TN, GA)

Game of the Week:
Tennessee at Florida.

Notre Dame: For Real
Did you just see ND at No. 5? That's right: Because of the masterful way Coach of the Year Charlie Weis has blasted through the expectations, beating UM at the Big House and doing it not with offense but by overwhelming UM's own vaunted O with the Irish's monster D.

MLB: AL Madness
The Yankees better catch the Red Sox for the AL East title (or the Sox better hold off the Yanks), because the East runner-up won't catch the sizzling Indians for the wild card.

NYY 3 GB BOS: THIS is why the Boss acquired Randy Johnson (7 IP, 1 H, 8 K). Three games vs. nemesis Tampa starting Tuesday are make-or-break.

Cleveland: 7 straight Ws. Leads the AL WC heading into a HUGE series with Oakland (2.5 GB for WC) today. Remaining sched includes 7 vs. KC and 3 vs. Tampa.

Wouldn't it be awesome if the D-Rays eased up on their effort vs. the Indians, simply to mess with the Yankees? (Throw the games? Nah, it's called "playing youngsters.")

MLB: NL Wildness
Even with 20 games to go, is it possible the wild card comes down to the next seven days?

WC-leading HOU hosts FLA, and it's the last time the Astros will play a team outside of the mediocre NL Central. The Marlins are .5 GB.

Meanwhile, Philly (1.5 GB) will try to benefit from the attrition in Houston, but play the Braves before a late-week head-to-head with Florida.

Messier Retiring
Will go down as the most charismatic hockey player of the ESPN Era. Delivered one of the great NHL images of the last 25 years while holding the 1994 Stanley Cup, grinning like a madman as the Rangers' savior. (Report via MSG Network.)

T.O. can/should/will get all the attention in this NFC title-game rematch, but the real storyline you should watch out for it ... I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm thinking. It's all about T.O.
Pick: Eagles.

Big Ten:
Who's NOT No. 1? Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa all saw their national title hopes implode on national TV. The Big Ten's Rose hopes with Purdue.
Today on
Quickie: Live!
Approval Ratings
NFL: End of Day
NFL's Top 5
Theirs until they lose
Defense leads way vs. BAL
No drop off from 2004
D might be good enough
3 sacks, 3 INTs, 3 fumbles

Quickie Heisman Watch: New data, new list. (1) Texas QB Vince Young; (2) B. Green QB Omar Jacobs; (3) USC QB Matt Leinart; (4) USC RB Reggie Bush

Andruw Jones may have sealed up his MVP bid with HRs No. 48 and 49, which set a new single-season Braves record.

One more confirmed: NFL "Eliminator" pools are the roughest, toughest on the planet. How many took the Rams over the Niners and are now OUT? (Me!)

Superlative alert! N.O. Times-Picayune columnist Peter Finney has it right: Yesterday was the most significant win in Saints history.

New SportsNation toy for you to play with: NFL Coach Approval Ratings. Should be fun to track all season long. To vote off Week 1, see Q It Up.

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