* I’ll be in Norman, Okla., tomorrow morning to write about Blake Bell’s debut as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback. As you know – or should know – Bell was beaten out during summer workouts by OU freshman Trevor Knight. But now Knight is banged up and the strapping Bell is getting a chance against Tulsa. I’m not sure what Bell would have to accomplish in this game to keep the starting job. Sooners coach Bob Stoops seems adamant that Knight, with his ability to run a faster-tempo offense, is the man. But Knight wasn’t all that during Oklahoma’s first two wins and Bell has a rocket arm. It’ll be interesting to see what develops. I suspect Bell will play well against Tulsa. How well might determine his immediate future in the OU program.
* Kansas has an interesting game at Rice on Saturday. The Owls aren’t world-beaters, but they do have a good offense and did beat the Jayhawks in Lawrence last season. Barely. I couldn’t glean much from watching KU beat South Dakota last week at Memorial Stadium. I knew going in that Kansas has a solid running game and that James Sims is an excellent back. I also knew the Jayhawks were questionable defensively, that they lacked a strong receiving corps and that transfer quarterback Jake Heaps was a wild card. Nothing has changed. The first true test for KU comes Saturday in Houston.
* Tom Brady went a little nuts on his young receiving corps Thursday night, didn’t he? The veteran New England quarterback, always regarded as a top-notch leader, chose the immature baby route as he time and again watched those young receivers run the wrong routes and drop passes. I understand Brady’s frustration, but he surely knows it’s going to take some time for Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, both rookies, to develop. I thought Brady was over-exuberant in his hostile reaction toward those young guys. Give it time, Tom. Show them you believe in them.
* Brady did express regret after the game for being so harsh. Good. Imagine how thrilled those new receivers must be to be playing with the one and only Tom Brady. Bring them along, Tom. Show them love.
* Love the San Francisco-Seattle match-up on Sunday night. I’m also looking forward to seeing how my St. Louis Rams play at Atlanta on Sunday. I’m not expecting a St. Louis win but I am expecting the Rams to compete. I was really impressed with new tight end Jered Cook, whom the Rams signed as a free agent during the off-season. Cook caught two touchdown passes and looked like a beast – a BEAST, I say.
* Chiefs vs. Cowboys? What a great early-season match-up at Arrowhead, huh? No teams elicit more passion around these parts. If I had to guess, I’d say the NFL make-up in Wichita is probably 50 percent Chiefs, 20 percent Cowboys and 30 percent everyone else. Does that sound about right? I might be short-changing the Cowboys a bit. I think Kansas City finds a way to win Sunday. The Chiefs will have to open up the offensive playbook more than they did against lowly Jacksonville last week. My biggest question about Kansas City involves its wide receivers. Are there enough and are they good enough?
* I think the Chiefs will intercept Tony Romo multiple times Sunday. That could be two, it could be 20. OK, it probably won’t be 20.
* And who doesn’t intercept Romo multiple times?
* If you’re not aware of the season second baseman Matt Carpenter is having for the St. Louis Cardinals, you should look him up. Now I’ll get off my Cardinals soap box.
* I’m not a Royals fan, but it’s fun having that team involved in the wild-card race in the American League down the stretch. More people are talking about baseball, which is good. As America turns more and more to football, I just want people to acknowledge how wonderful the game of baseball is and how dramatic and frustrating it can be to those who follow it every day. Real men and real women are baseball fans. It’s a 162-game test of endurance.
* Sometimes I go on these sneezing binges where I’ll sneeze 15 or 20 times in a short period of time. I’m having one as I work on this blog, in fact. I just sneezed as I typed in that comma after “blog,” for those of you wanting exact details. And I’ve sneezed two more times since. I stopped to blow my nose, then sneezed again. And again. Weird. I go days without sneezing, then this.
* My must-see new fall network television shows: Hostages (Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette); Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher) looks funny; Mom (Anna Faris, Allison Janney); The Blacklist (James Spader).
* I think Robin Williams’ new sitcom, The Crazy Ones, is going to tank. Aren’t we kind of over Robin Williams? And I ask that as someone who respects much of his work over the years. It just seems like there’s not a place for him now. I’m sure these comments will come back to haunt me when his new series is the season’s biggest smash.
* My must-see fall movies: Rush (it’s directed by Ron Howard and it’s a movie about Formula One racing); Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (even though I didn’t think the original was all that great); Thanks for Sharing (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow); The Family (DeNiro, Preiffer, Jones, no first names necessary); Don Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlette Johannson); Enough Said (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and James Gandolfini in one of his last roles); Prisoners (although my wife hates these kinds of movies); Gravity (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney); Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks); The Fifth Estate; All is Lost (Robert Redford might win the Oscar, they’re saying); Runner Runner (Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake); 12 Years a Slave; American Hustle (David O. Russell directs); August: Osage County (Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep); Inside Llewyn Davis (Coen brothers, need I say more?); Labor Day (Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin); Saving Mr. Banks (Mary Poppins meets Walt Disney); The Wolf of Wall Street (Leo, Marty).
* How many of those must-see movies will I actually see? I’m going to commit to seeing all of them. You’re reading it here first. I will see every one of those movies before the end of the year.
* The Eagles will be in Wichita in just 24 short days. If you haven’t seen this band, you should.
* The Royals start a three-game series in Detroit tonight against the AL Central-leading Tigers. Kansas City needs to win two out of three. Will it happen? It’ll be tough. Justin Verlander goes tonight for Detroit and Max Scherzer pitches Sunday. But the Royals have that certain something going for them right now. I’m not counting them out.
* I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Going to OU is always fun, even if the traffic is a nightmare getting to and from Memorial Stadium. And Rick Plumlee of the Eagle has penned a story about our League 42 project, which is scheduled to be in the paper this weekend. I’m not sure of the day yet. I hope you’ll all get involved in one way or another, even if it’s just as a cheerleader.
* Thanks for reading, everyone. Be safe.