* Even in this NFL crazy culture in which we live, you are not required by law to watch every game that is on television. So, I skipped the Thursday night fare between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers and I didn’t miss a thing. It’s OK, people, to occasionally turn your attention away from the NFL. There is a great big beautiful life out there that doesn’t necessitate being able to recite the statistics for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s refreshing to sometimes turn away from the NFL and to remember what life was like before that league took over the planet.
* That said, I can’t wait for Sunday’s Rams-Bears game in Chicago.
* As you might know, I’m a Rams fan. And this team has excited me a bit through the first two weeks of the season. I like what Jeff Fisher is building, particularly on defense. I expect St. Louis to get after Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. I know if I was a Rams defender, I would want to get after Cutler.
* The Chiefs are big underdogs in New Orleans this week. Yes, the same New Orleans that somehow lost to Carolina last week is nearly a
10-point favorite over Kansas City. And the crazy thing is that I expect the Saints to cover. The Chiefs are in a bad, bad place at the moment. It’s probably going to get worse.
* I made the statement on “Sports Daily” this morning that Bob Dylan is the most iconic American musician in history. I based that mostly on his songwriting and longevity. Especially the songwriting. Any thoughts?
* I’m really looking forward to covering Saturday night’s Kansas State-Oklahoma game in Norman. After so many years of doing what I do, it takes a special moment or game to get me amped up. This one qualifies. I have a really sneaking suspicion that K-State could pull the upset, even though the Cats are 14 1/2-point underdogs, last I checked.
* If Kansas can continue to force turnovers, the Jayhawks have a chance to win at Northern Illinois on Saturday. But my sense is that the turnover game will even out some and I think the Huskies will protect the football better than previous KU opponents. That’s why I think Northern Illinois wins in the 10- to 14-point range.
* Aerosmith is coming to Intrust Bank Arena in November, along with Cheap Trick. These are the kinds of rock concerts I’ve been hoping would be more frequent in town. Now the question becomes whether I’m willing to pony up $150 per ticket to go to the show. It’s about 50-50 for me now. However, I do think that it’s important those of us who live here show our support for these kinds of shows in order to make sure we get more of them. For me, it’s much more attractive than the country shows that have dominated IBA since it opened close to three years ago.
* Billy Gillispie needs to write a book. What a troubled soul.
* It was fun this week to interview former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer for a column. I interviewed Switzer one other time, a long time ago. He’s one of the best conversationalists out there and hard not to like, although some Dallas Cowboys fans might disagree.
* As I write this, we’re about a half hour away from Chris Carpenter making his 2012 debut for the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. Carpenter has missed the season so far because of a nerve issue in his neck and right shoulder, one that required extensive surgery just two months ago. There were questions at the time about whether he would ever pitch again, let alone get back on the mound this season. I’m a huge Carpenter fan so this is a big deal. And I’m nervous for him. I hope he’s good today.
* The Emmys are one of my favorite awards shows and they’re coming up Sunday. I know you’re interested in my Emmy predictions, so here are some. Drama – Homeland; Comedy – Modern Family; Actor, drama – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Actress, drama – Claire Danes, Homeland; Actor, comedy – Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (I have to start watching this show); Actress, comedy – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Supporting actor, drama – Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad; Supporting actress, drama – Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Supporting actor, comedy – Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; Supporting actress, comedy – Julie Bowen, Modern Family.
* I would love to see “Saturday Night Live,” get some recognition at the Emmys. Bill Hader is up as supporting actor, comedy, and that guy would be a deserving honoree. Funny, funny man.
* I’ve been reading some lukewarm reviews of Clint Eastwood’s new movie, “Trouble With the Curve.” Hard for me to believe it’s not a really good movie.
* Do the Milwaukee Brewers ever lose a game these days?
* The Kansas City Royals are going to finish well below .500, but to their credit they have definitely been a thorn in the sides of both of the American League Central contenders, Detroit and Chicago. I appreciate the moxie of this Royals club, which still doesn’t have enough starting pitching to be a factor. Kansas City must address its shortage in that area during the off-season. A good place to start would be to extend a contract offer to free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, who has been so good this season with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, he’s an odd man out in St. Louis.
* I like the concept of the FedEx cup to keep those of us who enjoy watching golf interested after the PGA Championship. But with so many other things going on in sports, golf has gotten lost in the shuffle. That said, I’ll watch on Sunday – even with all of the NFL games and the baseball pennant races happening – if Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are in the hunt in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the final FedEx tournament of the season.
Thanks, everyone, for reading my blog. I appreciate it. Last year, I subjectively picked the 50 best City League boys basketball players going back to the mid-1960s. I’m considering doing the same soon for City League football. Folks love lists and I love compiling them.
Have a great weekend.