Saturday, November 28, 2009

Belated Happy Thanksgiving

1) It's been a few weeks since my last post, during which time Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, and that you were able to give thanks for all the blessings we have in this country. Yes, economic times are tough (more about that below), and dangers abound all over the world (more about those below, too), but honestly, would you trade places with residents of any other country on the planet right now?
2) It appears as though President Obama is going to make his official decision about the Administration's Afghanistan policy next week. If leaked reports are correct, he will recommend a "surge" of 34,000 U.S. troops. It took him too long to make the decision, but this IS the right choice and he deserves credit for making it. We can't bug out, and that leaves the only alternative as staying in there to win the war. There is more than a little bit of irony in this situation, however. All during the 2008 election campaign, Democrats ran by clamoring that we had focused on the "wrong war" (Iraq), and that if their candidate were elected, he would shift the focus to winning the war on which we should have focused. No sooner does President Obama take office than the inevitable happened, and Democrats started mumbling about "exit strategies" for Afghanistan, a euphemism for "How do we bail out without saying that we're bailing out?" President Obama better be ready for what's coming his way next week--the left in this country is NOT going to be happy. It wants us out of both Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, the consequences be damned.
3) Gotta love those those Iranian Mullahs. They have confiscated the Nobel Peace Prize of Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer who in 2003 received the prize for her championing of women's and human rights in Iran. Outside of a few bleats of international protest, the move has largely been met with silence. No condemnations from the U.N. Security Counsel or General Assembly (yeah, big shock there, I know). Nothing from the odious U.N. Human Rights Commission. The E.U. has also kept its tongue (wouldn't want to "offend" the Iranians when it loves to buy their oil, or when that might result in the jeopardizing of business contacts now, would it?). And this is the truly evil regime with which the Obama Administration "wants to engage". When a government does something like this, what possible "engagement" could you have with it?
4) There are rumblings out of Israel that a deal could soon be in the works between Israel and Hamas which would see longtime hostage Gilad Shalit traded back to Israel in exchange for one thousand Hamas terrorists. While I hate deals like this, I can certainly understand the motivation behind them. Shalit has been a hostage since June of 2006, and his long ordeal has become a neverending nightmare for Israelis. Unlike the Palestinians, Israel values human life, the despicable portrayals of it in the MSM notwithstanding. It won't rest until its soldiers come home, alive or dead. That is why it gave up truly evil "human beings" like Samir Kuntar in exchange for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, and that is why it will eventually release terrorists who will certainly do their best to murder more Jews in order to obtain Gilad Shalit.
5) Another economic nightmare might be heading our way. Dubai World has indicated that it will not be able to meet its debt payments. The potential economic failure of the biggest corporation in the oil-rich state, had sent tremors throughout the world community which is rightfully concerned about this potential collapse starting another wave of corporate collapses. However, it seems as though those fears are fortunately misplaced, if for no other reason than the fact that the Dubai government could easily pay off the Dubai World's $60 BILLION debt without a second thought. The incredible irony of the situation? This might result in the strengthening of the devalued U.S. dollar, which had to this point apparently been heading for parity with the Mexican Peso.
6) It's neither political nor sports-related, but I have a confession to make. I am a gaming addict. Not video or computer games. BOARD games. There is one in particular that I absolutely love, a game called "Smallworld". It's fun, intellectually challenging, and better yet, it can be played by entire families. If you want to try something really different, but incredibly fun at the same time, give it a shot. Trust me on this one........
7) One football game I didn't get so see last weekend but would love to have watched was the Repus Bowl, matching 1-8 Detroit against 1-8 Cleveland. My thought that it would be like watching a car wreck--I wouldn't be able to turn away. Those who saw the game ended up seeing a phenomenally entertaining matchup, ultimately won 38-37 by the Lions. The resistible force ended up topping the movable object...........
8) This week's Top Five in College Football:
i) Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0, #1): It wasn't pretty yesterday against Auburn, and you could make a case that the Tide should have lost the game, but it didn't. Alabama did what winning teams do when they're struggling, which was to dig deeper and find a way to get the "W".
ii) Texas Longhorns (12-o, #2): I don't expect the Longhorns to have much trouble with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Twelve title game, and that's all that stands between Texas and a matchup with either Alabama or Florida.
iii) Florida Gators (11-0, #3): Florida will be 12-0 after it annihilates the Florida State Seminoles tonight. Then, it's off to the SEC title game, which is effectively a "play-in" game for the B(C)S title game.
iv) Cincinnati Bearcats (11-0, #4): Cincinnati still has one obstacle remaining to an undefeated season, a matchup with 9-2 Pittsburgh. The biggest challenge for the Bearcats might be to find a way to keep coach Brian Kelly, who is reported to be high on Notre Dame's wish list one the Fighting Irish get around to firing current coach Charlie Weis.
v) Boise State Broncos (12-0, #5): Pity the Broncos--they may very well not get into a BCS Bowl while a team they beat soundly, the Oregon Ducks, only needs to beat in-state rival Oregon State to go to the Rose Bowl.
Dropped out: No team.
9) The Top Five and Bottom Five in the NFL this week, with the team's record and last week's ranking in brackets:
Top Five
i) New Orleans Saints (10-0, #1): Monday night's game against the high-flying New England Patriots has all the promise of a 41-38 barnburner. Watch it turn out to be a 13-7 snoozefest.
ii) Indianapolis Colts (10-0, #2): The Colts are just three wins away from clinching their division, and four from clinching home field throughout the AFC playoffs.
iii) Minnesota Vikings (9-1, #3): Despite my desire for him to do so, Brett Favre has yet to fall on his face.
iv) San Diego Chargers (7-3, no ranking): That slow start is all but forgotten now, and the Chargers are playing as well as any team in the league.
v) New England Patriots (7-3, #4): The Pats lost an inexplicable game against the Colts, when Bill Bellichick went for a first down on fourth and two on his own 28 yard line with his team holding a 34-28 lead and just a few minutes left in the game. They failed, and it took Peyton Manning exactly four plays to get the Colts into the end zone. Final score, 35-34 for Indianapolis. But, that said, the Pats are still clicking offensively.
Dropped out: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4, #5)
Bottom Five
i) Cleveland Browns (1-9, #2): See my comment on the game above. And, reports are that team coach Eric Mangini is among the most despised coaches in the NFL. Yup, that's quite the party they have going on in Cleveland.
ii) St. Louis Rams (1-9, #3): Even when healthy, they stank. Now, injuries are knocking out their starters.
iii) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9, #4): Bring back the creamsicle uniforms--it's the only way they can win.
iv) Buffalo Bills (3-7, no ranking): Counterfeit Bills.
v) Detroit Lions (2-9, #1): Worry not, Lions fans. The coveted title of "worst team in the league" is still well within reach, and getting shellacqued 34-12 by the Packers on Thanksgiving Day is ample evidence of that fact.
Dropped out: Kansas City Chiefs (3-7, #5).
The Top Five and Bottom Five in the NHL this week, with the team's record and last ranking in brackets:
Top Five
i) San Jose Sharks (17-6-4, #1): The Sharks are as talented as ever, but we've seen great regular seasons out of them before.
ii) Chicago Black Hawks (16-6-2, no ranking): And now they have Marian Hossa back in the fold. We know he won't do anything in the playoffs, but he'll make an already offense even better.
iii) Calgary Flames (15-6-3, #3): They just shut out the suddenly struggling Red Wings in Detroit last night.
iv) New Jersey Devils (16-6-1, #5): Give the Devils their due, there is no more consistent a team in the NHL.
v) Washington Capitals (14-5-6, #2): The Caps have cooled off a little bit, but are still playing like an elite team.
Dropped out: Colorado Avalanche (14-8-4, #3)
Bottom Five
i) Carolina Hurricanes (5-15-5, #1): Three straight losses keep the 'Canes in last place.
ii) Toronto Maple Laughs (6-11-7, #3): The Maple Laughs have actually won two in a row.
iii) Minnesota Wild (9-12-3, #4): The Wild are an abysmal 2-9-2 on the road.
iv) Edmonton Oilers (10-12-4, no ranking): Like their division-mates in Minnesota, the Oilers are terrible on the road.
v) Montreal Canadiens (12-12-1, #5): The Hab-nots are just hanging until the team's best defenseman, Andrei Markov, hopefully returns in January.
Dropped out: Florida Panthers (10-10-4, #2)
11) The Top Five and the Bottom Five in the NBA this week, with the team's record and last ranking in brackets:
Top Five
i) Los Angeles Lakers (11-3, #1): And now they have Pau Gasol back.
ii) Phoenix Suns (13-3, #2): Running and gunning like they always do, but it's never proven to be a formula for success in the playoffs.
iii) Denver Nuggets (12-4, #5): The Nuggets are still unbeaten (7-0) at home.
iv) Atlanta Hawks (12-4, no ranking): The Hawks are a fun team to watch, and they're young, too. Too bad no one in Atlanta cares.
v) Dallas Mavericks (12-4, no ranking): Dirk Nowitzki just seems to get better with age.
Dropped out (Boston Celtics (12-4, #3), Miami Heat (9-6, #4)
Bottom Five
i) New Jersey Nets (0-16, #1): It goes from bad to worse for the Nets, who got crushed by a thoroughly-mediocre Sacramento Kings team last night.
ii) Minnesota Wild (1-15, #3): If not for the ineptitude of the Nets, the Wild would have a hammerlock on the "worst team in the league" title.
iii) New York Knicks (3-13, #2): Even the Knicks beat up on the Nets recently.
iv) Detroit Pistons (5-11, no ranking): Seven straight losses (and counting) for the misfiring Pistons.
v) Philadelphia 76ers (5-11, no ranking): Doesn't it say a lot that three of the worst teams in the league (and you could make a case that Toronto should be in this group, too) are in the same division?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's/Remembrance Day

1) Today is Veteran's Day, known as Remembrance Day in Canada. I hope that everyone took at least a minute today to thank a veteran, or acknowledge that the freedoms we all take for granted were won by the veterans in our military. Ladies and Gentlemen of the military, I honour and thank you for the service................
2) A little less than 20 hours ago, a horrifying chapter in the history of this country was brought a close when John Allan Muhammad, the infamous DC Sniper, was executed by the State of Virginia. When he and Lee Boyd Malvo (who was only 17 at the time) went on their rampage in the fall of 2002, they put an entire region on edge with their indiscriminate murders. People forget how much fear there was--Muhammad and Malvo ended up murdering 10 innocent victims, people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I go back and forth on the death penalty. On one hand, I feel that there are crimes--such as this one--that merit the "ultimate" punishment. On the other, if I am to be true to my ideals, I should not be in favour of ANYONE being put to death. I really am torn about this issue..........
3) While I was on my blogging sabbatical, a major historical anniversary passed. In June, the world--minus China, of course--marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiannanmen Square massacre. We will never know how many innocent people were murdered that day by the People's Liberation Army, which was acting on orders from the malevolent leadership of the Communist Party, but it's a safe bet that it probably numbered in the thousands. Who can forget that one picture of a single, incredibly brave man, standing in front of the line of tanks? I often wonder what happened to him.................
4) Another historical anniversary passed just a few days ago, as Germans celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember watching the Wall come down in utter amazement. I was born in 1965, and it (along with the communist system that built it) seemed to be a permanent fixture in life. Then, in a matter of hours, it was gone, destroyed and consigned to memory and to the ash-heap of history. Today's college kids never lived in a world with the Berlin Wall, or the Cold War. Talk to them about the Soviet Union and you draw a blank stare. Kind of scary sometimes.................
5) Well, you didn't think that I'd ignore the Fort Hood shootings, did you? We learn more everyday, and what we're finding out is not exactly reassuring. The shooter, army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan, had contacted al Qaeda, or tried to, on several occasions. Authorities knew this and did nothing. There were signs everywhere that this was not a loyal soldier, yet the military sat on its hands. Most stunning to me was the comment by Army Chief of Staff George Casey, who made the following asinine comment: "And what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here." Try telling that to the families of the 13 victims, General.
6) Gotta love the people running the University of Massachussets. They invited Raymond Luc Levasseur, a convicted terrorist, to speak at their school. Among Levasseur's victims was a Massachussets State Trooper. In any event, word got out about the speech and the public was understandably outraged. As a result, the invitation was quietly withdrawn. Then, the faculty got involved, and the Administration flip-flopped again, reinstating the invitation in the name of "academic freedom". Hmm............I wonder, would the faculty at the school have been so hot on "academic freedom" if, say, Ralph Reed had been invited to speak? No? How about Scott Roeder, who shot and killed abortion doctor George Tiller? Somehow, I doubt it...........
7) We're going broke. No, really, I mean we're going BROKE. The Pew Center has just published a study of the financial status of all 50 states, and it found that ten--among them New Jersey, where I live--are literally heading for economic disaster. Let's see, we in the Garden State are already the most heavily taxed people in the country, and yet, our government is also the most heavily-indebted. That's quite the combo. Everyone talks about California's well-publicized budget problems, but the Golden State has nothing on us! And, if you live in Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, don't get too excited--you're right down there in the economic cesspool with us. Then again, if the national government can print money like it's going out of style (and then spend it even faster), why should the states be any different?
8) Finally, something enjoyable about which I can write. Sports. Here is the Top Five in College Football this week:
i) Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0, #1): The Tide needed some officiating help to beat LSU 24-15 last Saturday, but now the stage is set for a great clash between Alabama and Florida in the SEC title game.
ii) Texas Longhorns (9-0, #2): Texas' job is simple. Take care of business the rest of the way, against inferior opponents, and the Longhorns will play either Alabama or Florida for the national title.
iii) Florida Gators (9-0, #3): I will never, ever feel sorry for UF, but the Gators have to be the most maligned, undefeated national champion in recent years.
iv) Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0, #4): It would take a lot to get the Bearcats into the national title game, and they still have their toughest games to play (Pittsburgh is still on the schedule, as is West Virginia), but the Bearcats are still a very young team. Scary as it is to think, they're a year or two away from being their best.
v) Boise State Broncos (9-0, no ranking): Not TCU? No, because the Broncos have already proven that they can play with and beat the "big boys". They dominated Oregon, which dominated USC, a constant B(C)S title contender. Boise State belongs in a major bowl if it runs the table, which it should do.
Dropped out: Iowa Hawkeys (#5)
9) The Top Five and Bottom Five in the NFL this week, with the team's record and last week's ranking in brackets.
Top Five
i) New Orleans Saints (8-0, #1): The Aint's no more. New Orleans is undefeated at the midway point of the season for the first time in franchise history.
ii) Indianapolis Colts (8-0, #2): From the "Did You Know" department.......Did you know that the Colts have now won 16 consecutive regular season games?
iii) Minnesota Vikings (7-1, #3): A Minnesota-New Orleans NFC Conference Final would be a lot of fun, don't you think?
iv) New England Patriots (6-2, #5): Like a Swiss watch, the Pats just keep ticking. Looming ahead for them, a game in New Orleans against the Saints.
v) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2, no ranking): That 1-2 start is ancient history now. The Steelers won't give up that Super Bowl crown without a fight.
Dropped out: Denver Broncos (#4)
Bottom Five
i) Detroit Lions (1-7, #2): It took half a season, but the de-clawed Lions have finally resumed their rightful place as the worst team in the league.
ii) Cleveland Browns (1-7, #3): The Browns would have to improve just to be a joke.
iii) St. Louis Rams (1-7, #4): A perfectly balanced team. They can't score or stop anyone.
iv) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7, #1): Maybe bringing back the creamsicle unis was a GOOD idea!
v) Kansas City Chiefs (1-7, no ranking): A proud franchise is being disgraced by the dreck currently wearing the team's uniforms.
Dropped out: Oakland Raiders (#5)
10) The Top Five and Bottom Five in the NHL this week, with the team's record and last ranking in brackets:
Top Five
i) San Jose Sharks (13-4-2, #2): Everyone knows that the Sharks turn in great regular seasons. It's the playoffs that count, though.
ii) Washington Capitals (10-3-4, #5): Alexander Ovechkin is injured, but so far, the Caps haven't missed a beat.
iii) Colorado Avalanche (12-4-2, #3): They just keep winning. It's never pretty, but getting Ws is all that matters.
iv) Calgary Flames (11-4-1, no ranking): Jarome Iginla is red hot right now, and so is his team.
v) New Jersey Devils (11-4, no ranking): It doesn't matter who the coach is, or even who most of the players are. This team is a lock for 95+ points and a playoff spot every season.
Dropped out: Pittsburgh Penguins (#1. *A caveat--the team is ravaged by injuries right now, with the most disabling being that which knocked out Evgeni Malkin), Buffalo Sabres (#4)
Bottom Five
i) Carolina Hurricanes (2-11-3, #2): Coach Paul Maurice has to be wondering what's going on. The Hurricanes should NOT be this bad.
ii) Florida Panthers (5-9-1, #3): They have a horrible goals differential, which is usually indicative of a bad team.
iii) Toronto Maple Leafs (3-8-5, #1): The Leafs have (unfortunately) showed signs of life of late.
iv) Minnesota Wild (7-10, #4): You have to think that the team's discipline will pay off with some wins eventually.
v) Montreal Canadiens (8-10, no ranking): Am I unduly hard on them because they're "my" team? Maybe, but this is a shallow team with a bad defense.
Dropped out: Anaheim Ducks (#5)
11) The Top Five and Bottom Five in the NBA this week, with the team's record and last ranking in Brackets:
Top Five
i) Los Angeles Lakers (6-1, #2): Showtime is back, and Kobe Bryant is the master of ceremonies.
ii) Phoenix Suns (7-1, no ranking): Don't know how long the Suns will keep it up, but regardless, they're still the most fun team in the NBA to watch.
iii) Boston Celtics (7-1, #1): So long as Kevin Garnett stays healthy, the Celtics will be a threat to win the title.
iv) Miami Heat (6-1, no ranking): The Suns may be the most fun TEAM to watch, but in my mind, Dwayne Wade is the most PLAYER to watch.
v) Denver Nuggets (6-2, #3): Are playing well on the road in the early season, which is not usually this team's strong suit.
Dropped out: Orlando Magic (#4), San Antonio Spurs (#5)
Bottom Five
i) New Jersey Nets (0-7, #1): And tonight, they were down by nine in the first quarter at home to the mediocre Philadelphia 76ers.
ii) New York Knicks (1-7, #3): (Because my mother always taught me that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all).
iii) Minnesota Timberwolves (1-7, #4): I wonder if they'd like to undo that Kevin Garnett trade right about now.
iv) Memphis Grizzlies (1-7, #5): Perpetually bad. The NBA's answer to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
v) Washington Wizards (2-6, no ranking): Let's see, the nation's capital has Capitals (good), Redskins (boring AND bad), the Nationals (awful), and the Wizards (bad). Yuck........
Dropped out: Los Angeles Clippers (#2--don't worry, like Arnold, they'll be back).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day

1) It's Election Day here in the Garden State. The choices: i) The incumbent Governor, Jon Corzine, who near as I can tell has done nothing for four years other than instruct his limo driver to speed while he (Corzine) wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Oh, he also raised our already ridiculously high taxes. ii) Chris Christie, the Republican who despite being a strong candidate is in a tough battle because his campaign manager has run the electoral equivalent of a prevent defense since early in the second quarter. iii) Chris Daggett, the former Republican who is running as an independent but whose policies seems suspiciously similar to those of the incumbent. The polls are all over the place. Some have Corzine in the lead, some have Christie ahead, and Daggett is pulling in anywhere from (depending on which poll you choose to accept) 6% to 14% of the vote. In short, it's a classic case of "too close to call". I have a bad feeling that Governor Corzine will win re-election, as the Democratic vote-generating machine in Camden, Hackensack, Paterson, Jersey City, etc., is really pushing its organizers to get out the vote, and because Daggett will siphon off enough votes from Christie to make sure that we get four more years of even higher taxes and a "Do as I say, not as I do" Governor..........

2) I was on my blogging sabbatical when this anniversary came and went, but in early September, the world marked the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, signalling the informal start of World War II in Europe (I use the word informal because I personally think that the Spanish Civil War was the "real" start of the War). As a military history buff, I've always found it fascinating that the Poles, who were fighting with cavalry and outdated military equipment, lasted three weeks before succumbing to the Germans invading from the west and the Russians who invaded from the east. That's just about as long as the French (whose military equipment was technologically the equal of the Germans) lasted when the Wehrmacht roared across the Low Countries and into northern France in 1940. History is full of "would have, could have, should have" moments. What would have happened had the French stood their ground when the Germans re-militarized the Ruhr Valley? What would have happened had Neville Chamberlain not cravenly given up Czechoslovakia? What would have happened had France and Great Britain responded to the "back door" invitations for an alliance with the Soviet Union, instead of rebuffing them and allowing the Soviets to ally with Germany instead? How many millions of lives would have been saved had any of these events occurred?

3) I have to admit, I'm more than a little amused at the anger of the left over the supposedly harsh treatment received by President Obama on Fox News. The hypocrisy is stunning, given the vitriol directed at President Bush on CNN and MSNBC during his Administration (he's been out of office for nearly a year, and they STILL heap abuse on him). Keith Olbermann still goes in a virtual apoplectic rage at the mere mention of President Bush's name, but hey, that's okay, because he's a Republican, and Republicans are fundamentally evil, right? Sorry, but what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. While I am no fan of "anger politics", those on the left in this country shouldn't profess to be stunned when the anger and outright hostility they directed at Bush 43 for eight years now comes back at them and a Democratic President. And, don't give me the "It's racist!" argument. Bull. That's just a cheap and intellectually dishonest way of attempting to silence debate and legitimate criticism of the President's policies. Are there some opponents of President Obama who are racist? Of course, but to tar and feather all of those who are critical of him with that broad brush is both unfair and ignorant.

4) While we navel gaze here in the U.S. (and to the extent that we pay attention to events outside our borders, we're focused on Afghanistan), there are worrisome developments in Europe and Asia, and I don't mean in the Middle East or Iraq or North Korea (though things aren't good in any of those places either). I'm speaking of Turkey, which is steadily and increasingly rapidly pulling away from the West and aligning itself with the Islamist theocracies and autocracies of the Middle East. Lest we forget, Turkey is a NATO member, and up until the last few years, was a secular Muslim state with a very good relationship with Israel, a true anomaly in that region. Over the past few years, relations between Israel and Turkey have cooled dramatically, to the point where Turkey refused to allow Israeli participation in a recently-scheduled NATO air drill, a drill in which Israel had participated regularly over the last few years. As well, Turkey's relations with both Syria and Iran have warmed incredibly (then again, given President Obama's friendly gestures to both of those countries, should I be so surprised?). When you combine these signs with a growing Islamic influence in Turkish public life, people in the west should be more concerned than they are.

5) The Evil Empire (a/k/a the New York Yankees) leads the World Series three games to two as the Series heads back to the Big Apple for Game Six tomorrow night. I don't think that we'll see a Game Seven--the Yankees are extremely difficult to beat in their glorified Little League park, and as well as Pedro Martinez pitched in Game Two, I have a lot of doubt that he can do that two straight games against the Evil Empire's formidable lineup. The Phillies have already taken two more games than I thought that the would win, because I just couldn't (and still can't) see the Phillies' pitchers holding down the Yankees enough to allow Philadelphia's bats to get going, last night's 8-6 win notwithstanding. So, I would not be surprised at all to see the Yankees win World Series title #27, nauseating as it is to for me to contemplate.

6) The "Top Five" in College Football this week, with the record and last ranking in brackets:
i) Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, #1): They haven't lost and don't deserve to drop.
ii) Texas Longhorns (8-0, #2): The Longhorns have a clear path to the B(C)S title game.
iii) Florida Gators (8-0, #3): Either Florida or Alabama will lose in the SEC title game. My money's on the Tide to get revenge for its defeat at the Gators' hands last year.
iv) Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0, #4): I still think that the Bearcats will get picked off somewhere along the way. I'm just not sure by who.
v) Iowa Hawkeys (9-0, #5): This team is the Harry Houdini of college football, with one magical escape after another. Yeah, they said the same thing about Ohio State in 2002, but that season ended with a national title for the Buckeyes. Could the same be true for Iowa in 2009?
Dropped out: No team.

7) The NFL "Top Five" and "Bottom Five" this week, with the record and last ranking in brackets:
Top Five
i) New Orleans Saints (7-0, #1): The Saints are marching over every team they play, even when Drew Brees is not his normal, lethal self. All eyes are on their meeting with the Patriots in two weeks.
ii) Indianapolis (7-0, #5): Hardly impressed against a mediocre San Francisco 49ers team, but how often does Peyton Manning go an entire game without a touchdown pass? That won't happen again this season.
iii) Minnesota Vikings (7-1, #3): I still keep waiting for Brett Favre to remember that he's 40 years old. So far, no dice.
iv) Denver Broncos (6-1, #2): Got smoked 30-6 in Baltimore this past weekend, but the Broncos were due for a loss and it was a must-win game for the Ravens. I'm willing to give Denver a pass on this one.
v) New England Patriots (5-2, no ranking): Tom Brady looks like he's rounding into form. If so, watch out, rest of the NFL..............
Dropped out: New York Giants (#4)
Bottom Five
i) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7, #3): And this coming weekend, they break out their old "creamsicle" uniforms. I guess that they really want to reinforce that image that they stink.
ii) Detroit Lions (1-6, #5): They the St. Louis home. 'Nuff said.
iii) Cleveland Browns (1-7, #4): Cleveland's starting QB is Derek Anderson, who was the 35th-rated starting QB in the NFL last I checked. Remember, there are 32 teams in the NFL.
iv) St. Louis Rams (1-7, #2): Hope that the Rams enjoyed that win in Motown. They may not win another game.
v) Oakland (2-6, #5): The Raiders have been outscored 201 to 78 so far this season. Brutal.......... Dropped out: Tennessee Titans (#1), Washington Redskins (#5

8) The "Top Five" and "Bottom Five" in the NHL this week, with the record and last ranking in Brackets:
Top Five
i) Pittsburgh Penguins (11-3, #1): Interestingly, the Penguins are a perfect 6-0 on the road and a rather pedestrian 5-3 at home.
ii) San Jose Sharks (10-4-1, #2): I hate it that Dan Heatley is on a great team.
iii) Colorado Avalanche (10-3-2, #3): Colorado is still playing well. The longer it does so, the more the young team will gain confidence.
iv) Buffalo Sabres (8-2-1, no ranking): Buffalo is fast and skilled.
v) Washington Capitals (8-2-4, #5): Any team with Alexander Ovechkin will always be dangerous.
Dropped out: New York Rangers (#4)
Bottom Five
i) Toronto Maple Leafs (1-7-4, #1): Toronto is playing slightly better of late, but it is still losing games.
ii) Carolina Hurricanes (2-8-3, no ranking): This is too good a team to be playing this badly. Or is it?
iii) Florida Panthers (4-7-1, no ranking): Playing more like tabby cats so far this season.
iv) Minnesota Wild (5-9, #2): Did Jacques Lemaire really mean that much to the team?
v) Anaheim Ducks (4-6-2, no ranking): Fowl so far this season (ha ha).
Dropped out: New York Islanders (#3), Montreal Canadiens (#4), Nashville Predators (#5)

9) The Initial "Top Five" and "Bottom Five" in the NBA this season:
Top Five
i) Boston Celtics (4-0): Already own a win in Cleveland to start the season.
ii) Los Angeles Lakers (2-1): I see the Lakers back in the Finals, but against who?
iii) Denver Nuggets (3-0): Improved considerably without Allen Iverson.
iv) Orlando Magic (3-0): Dwight Howard is already a monster, and he's still getting better.
v) San Antonio Spurs (2-1): I can't write off any team with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Bottom Five
i) New Jersey Nets (0-4): They should rename this team the Bricklayers.
ii) Los Angeles Clippers (1-4): And #1 overall pick Blake Griffin is out until January at least.
iii) New York Knicks (1-4): It'll take years to clean up Isiah Thomas' mess.
iv) Minnesota Timberwolves (1-3): It's a good thing that the Vikings are doing so well, because it allows Twin Cities residents to ignore the Wild and T-Wolves.
v) Memphis Grizzlies (1-3): Will this team EVER be good?