With just a couple of weeks left in the college football regular season, we face a potential nightmare: Two Southeastern Conference teams playing for the national title.
Nearly every scenario includes at least one SEC team. And if Notre Dame takes a dive this week, it could be two.
Talk about a conundrum for the Notre Dame haters.
Notre Dame needs to beat shorthanded USC to advance to the championship game. The Irish are almost universally disrespected outside the school’s fan base, so many experts will pick against them, even with USC playing without star quarterback Matt Barkley. Irish doubters underestimate how good Notre Dame’s defense is. The Irish don’t need to score 40 or 50 points to beat USC, they just need to score more than the Trojans – and the Irish have allowed more than 20 points only once all year.
Notre Dame playing for the national title may be unseemly, but consider this possibility: Alabama and Georgia meeting in the SEC championship game, then playing again for the national title.
There’s no good option for most of us.
On to the topics du jour . . .
• Five most valuable players in the NBA:
5. Rajon Rondo, Celtics. He’s the future for Boston, a do-everything guard who is tough and skilled.
4. Chris Paul, Clippers. Steve Nash 2.0, with more scoring ability. A leader who can do it all.
3. Kevin Durant, Thunder. He improves his rebounding and defense each season. And he’s a spectacular scorer.
2. Dwight Howard, Lakers. I’m not a fan, but the lack of good big men in the league make him inherently valuable.
1. LeBron James, Heat. A unique player in NBA history is in his prime. He does things no one else can – over and over. We’ll appreciate him even more in retrospect.
• Has there ever been a worse-run league than the NHL? I mean, seven years ago, the owners blew up a season to get a new business model. Now they hate their business model so much, they’re prepared to do it again.
• Melky Cabrera is worth more than we thought.
The former Giants outfielder – who missed the final 45 games and entire postseason after being suspended for using performance enhancing drugs – signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays last week.
It was obvious Cabrera would get an offer from someone, but the questionable nature of his batting statistics – he never hit better than .280 before 2011, suggesting that PEDs were the reason for his improvement – made it more likely that he’d get a one-year, low-money deal with a chance to prove himself.
Instead, he got a $2 million a year raise over two years. Cheating apparently pays off.
The Blue Jays overpaid. It’s doubtful anyone else was even close to $16 million over two years.
• With the addition of Maryland and the pending arrival of Rutgers, the Big Ten Conference now has 14 teams.
Isn’t it time to change the name of the conference? There are 14 teams in the Big Ten.
The decision-makers who decided to keep calling it the Big Ten remind me of the Three Stooges.
You know: Larry, Curley, Moe and Shemp. The Three Stooges.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.