1. If they’re healthy, the Ravens defense won’t allow more than 260 points this year. Last year, not one team in the league surrendered less than 260. Three teams (Indy, 262 – Pittsburgh, 269 – Tampa Bay, 270) allowed 270 or less and all three made the playoffs.
2. Padraig Harrington won both the British Open* and PGA Championship* this year. That makes him the 2nd best player in the world in my book. Sorry, Phil.
3. It’s Troy Smith’s job to lose this Saturday when he plays with the first-team against the Vikings in Baltimore. If he impresses, he gets a leg up in the QB derby. If he doesn’t, the California Kid gets the nod.
4. Brandon Webb (17-4) probably has the NL Cy Young award all but locked up. However, the A.L. Cy Young could go right down to the wire – and don’t look now, but that guy in New York is 15-7 with a 3.27 e.r.a. — yeah, a lot has to go right for Mike Mussina still, but he’s “in the hunt” for that elusive 20-win season and a Cy Young award, perhaps, if Cliff Lee and Dice-K stumble down the stretch.
5. Ben Curtis locked up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with his tie for 2nd in the PGA Championship. Paul Azinger still has three weeks before he has to make his 4 “captain’s picks” but I can make them for him now. ‘Zinger, you need to take J.B. Holmes, Steve Stricker, David Toms and Brandt Snedeker. Two young guys, two veterans. Good combination. I’d think about taking Rocco Mediate, but I’m not sure he can physically handle the three days of golf and the 36-holes on Friday and Saturday.
6. Psst…did you hear the one about the Redskins going to the Super Bowl in 2008? Neither did anyone else.
7. So Willis McGahee is getting his knee scoped? Uh oh…I don’t like that. Smells like a season-long “issue” to me.
8. Tampa Bay just keeps on winning, but the A.L. East will be decided in mid-September when the Rays and Red Sox play 6 games in a two week span. As for the Yankees, their next important game will be opening day ’09 when they unveil the new Yankee Stadium. They’re d-o-n-e.
9. Michael Phelps has won two gold medals so far in Beijing. You probably didn’t know that, huh?
10. Another Friday night, another evening of long ticket lines and frustrated customers at OPACY. Why on earth don’t they make provisions for overflow walk-up crowds so people don’t have to stand in line until 8pm? I don’t understand…
11. If the Texas Rangers had some real pitching, they’d be dangerous.
12. What’s the story with the field they’re playing soccer on at the Olympics in Beijing? It looks like something cows should be eating from. Rather, it looks like they’ve already BEEN eating from it. That’s the best conditioned surface they could provide?
13. Speaking of the Olympics, I have just about zero interest in the “Redeem Team”. Not sure why, but Olympic basketball doesn’t seem the same playing NBA players.
14. Anthony Kim will be a U.S. Ryder Cup rock star. You heard it here.
15. I really hope Hayden Penn gets a call-up soon and makes 6-8 starts between now and the end of September so we can figure out if he’s a real possibility for an ’09 rotation-spot. I’m just about “Hayden Penn’d-out” and he hasn’t even pitched here this year.
16. I’ll take Maryland football to go 8-4 this year.
17. I’d give Oniel Cousins the “get in one more fight in training camp and you’re gone” speech if I’m John Harbaugh.
18. Those of you who bet “the over” on the O’s win total (66) for the season should be collecting by early September. Those of you who thought the O’s were going to finish in last place were right, too.
19. The Ravens PR chief made an appearance at our 10th anniversary party on Friday but the O’s main PR guy didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t find parking?
2. * – won the British Open and PGA Championship without Tiger in the field, which greatly reduces the credibility of both wins.