Lance Armstrong Fallout: First of all, don't get me wrong. I don't condone cheating. But when everyone is doing it, how do you stay competitive if you don't do the same? Whether it be Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong, the situation is the same. Their competitors were gaining an advantage, the governing body of the sport was allowing it to happen, so what choice did they have? At some point, integrity is useless, especially when you've spent your entire life pursuing a career in a sport that has lost control of its competitive nature. In the case of Major League Baseball, their defense is ludicrous. The use of performance enhancing drugs was not even against the rules. They had no testing program in place, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement that the players were able to negotiate. In addition, the league (spelled owners), benefited greatly from the the home run barrage of the late 90's fueled by steroid use, especially after the embarrassment of the cancellation of the '94 World Series. Same for the cycling community. EVERYONE did it. It was an institutional conspiracy that the sport decided to curtail only after it became a huge black eye. My belief is that Lance Armstrong was trying to find a way to increase performance within the rules, only to find out it was impossible to compete with the cheaters without becoming one himself. It's sad that the money and the fame drive these already gifted athletes to take it to another level, but who is really to blame? Take a look in the mirror and you'll get your answer.
Tigers Pitching: A hot goalie in hockey wins Stanley Cups, a shutdown defense wins Super Bowls and good pitching always beats good hitting. And the Detroit Tigers have really good pitching at the right time. The starters have given up something like one earned run in the last six postseason games. I know most people will say the Yankees just aren't hitting, but no one is hitting this pitching staff. Verlander is the leader, but he's not the only one responsible for the success of the Tigers. Detroit is up 3 - 0 and shows no signs of being beatable, at least not in four straight. Pencil in the Tigers for the World Series and I would have to make them the favorites, unless they sweep and the NLDS goes six or seven games. The only thing that can beat the Tigers is a long layoff between series.
Ray Lewis May Return This Season: Whether you like him or hate him, you have to agree that Ray Lewis is one of the most talented, intimidating and inspirational figures in NFL history. His legacy is tainted somewhat by his off the filed controversy surrounding a murder during the weekend of Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta in 2000. However, on the field his impact compares only to players like Lawrence Taylor and Mike Singletary. He has led a defense that has played at the highest levels for more than a decade, and it would be a shame to see his career end without a farewell tour. He's passionate and compassionate, spreading the gospel of hard work and emotion to thousands of high school and college players. Let's hope he makes it back onto the field so he can exit to the ovation he deserves.
BCS Surprise: Florida's jump to number two in the BCS sure points to another SEC dominated scenario as the season progresses. Should Alabama and the Gators win out, and that's much more likely for the Crimson Tide than for Florida, they would meet in the SEC Championship Game. That will, depending on how close that game would end up, bring up the issue of whether they should meet in a rematch for the BCS title. Now don't get me wrong. I realize the season is barely half over and Florida still has Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State left on it schedule. I don't think they'll run the table, but with six of the top twelve teams in the BCS rankings hailing from the SEC, it's apparent where voters and the computers feel the strongest teams play. My feeling is the SEC East teams will end up eliminating each other and like it or not, I see an Alabama - Notre Dame showdown in Miami for the national championship. Maybe Jerry Glanville should leave tickets for Bear Bryant and Ara Parseghian. Of course, at the age of 89, Parseghian could actually attend the game. Maybe he can bring the Irish some additional luck, as his last two bowl victories were against the Crimson Tide, with the 1973 win (they also won in 1974) giving the Irish the national title.