Rocky II, Week 4 Post-Mortem & ST Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

It's the last day of my vacation, so once again I'm writing to you from the ST home offices. Those of you who read Friday's column know about the invasion of the home offices by one Rocky the squirrel.

Apparently, he's a tenacious little bugger.

Sunday morning, I awoke to yet another noise that was clearly emanating from within my apartment. Still on guard from Friday's episode, I immediately sprang from bed to find Rocky had returned.

How could this happen? Didn't I learn from Friday? Well, partially I did.

I shut my sliding glass door so he couldn't enter the way he did on Friday. I didn't shut the other window in my living room however. So this time the resourceful rodent climbed along the deck railing and onto my window ledge where he proceeded to chew and claw his way through the screen covering that window. And once again, Rocky was trying to set up shop in my apartment.

Feeling incredulous that this could possibly happen again, I went and got my broom to shoo him out. This time, he got the message, and as I returned, he was already in the process of scampering back out the way he came.

So now I have matching holes in my screens. Joy. The maintenance folks are never going to believe this.

Moving on...

Today, I've got the post-mortem on my Week 4 college football picks. A promising start to the day didn't finish as planned. Then it's this week's version of the ST Mailbag. So let's get to it...

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), German-born theoretical physicist

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Some would say that my picks results so far this year are mysterious. Would they remain so after Week 4? Let's find out!

Alabama -9.5 @ Arkansas: Final Score - Alabama 49, Arkansas 14.

This was a good start to the day for me. The biggest spread I picked covered. I didn't get to see the game, but from what I read it wasn't as close as the score indicated.

That being said, it also wasn't the offense explosion the score might lead you to believe. The Tide had 2 interceptions for touchdowns. So the defense pitched in and did their part in the Alabama rout.

What Dan Learned: Arkansas is bad... just bad. I fully expect them to be nearly 30-point underdogs next week against Texas. Maybe they'll progress as the season goes along. Clearly Bobby Petrino has his hands full. And as they play in the SEC, they might be an easy pick to not cover the rest of the year though.

So I was 1-0 and off to another solid start.

The "Flier Pick of the Week" was up next...

Florida -7.5 @ Tennessee: Final Score - Florida 30, Tennessee 6

By the time Saturday rolled around, I'd honestly convinced myself that this game was going to be a lot closer than it turned out.

And if you look at the stats, it probably could have been.

Tennessee had more total yards than Florida in the game, but they also had massive turnover issues. They turned the ball over twice inside Florida's 5 yard line. And as I recall, the Gators turned both of those turnovers into points. So it ended up being something like a 24-point swing in favor of Florida. Those kinds of mistakes are nearly impossible to get over.

And Tennessee didn't.

What Dan Learned: I'm not going to predict Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer's demise just yet - I made that mistake last year, and the guy got his club into the SEC Championship game. But he's now 0-4 against Florida's Urban Meyer, and something like 4-11 in his career against the Gators. That can't be sitting too well in Knoxville.

So now I was 2-0 and feeling fantastic... until...

North Carolina -3 vs. Virginia Tech: Final Score - Virginia Tech 20, North Carolina 17

This game was actually going quite well for me to start. NC led 17-3 in the third quarter. Their offense wasn't dominant by any means, but their defense was playing well.

Then Tarheels QB T.J. Yates got hurt and everything changed.

Suddenly the North Carolina offense stalled completely and the Hokies were given a new boost of confidence.

17 unanswered Virginia Tech points later, it was 20-17 Hokies and I was cursing the injury gods.

What Dan Learned: You can't control injuries. You can use all the logic and reasoning in the world to come up with a solid feel for a game, but in the end if a QB tweaks his leg, you can still lose. Welcome to the wonderful world of recreational gaming!

So that moved me to 2-1 and reliant on Mississippi to try and stay above .500 for the second consecutive week.

Mississippi -7.5 vs. Vanderbilt: Final Score - Vandy 23, Ole Miss 17

Oof. That didn't work out so well.

Either Jevan Snead isn't the quarterback that I thought he was, or Vandy's defense is a lot better than I figured.

I didn't see the game, so I can't make that kind of judgement.

What I can tell you is that the Rebs turned the ball over 6 times, 4 of which were on Snead interceptions. That's beyond awful. Someone could check, but I'd be willing to bet that no team has ever turned the ball over 6 times in a major conference football game and won that game.

What Dan Learned: Vanderbilt is better than I thought. Ole Miss isn't going to win the SEC, but any road win in that league (outside of Arkansas perhaps) is a heck of an accomplishment. Vandy's reputation may be enough to earn us lines that are higher than they should be for the next few weeks. I'll have to think seriously about taking them as an underdog.

So, another week of 2-2. Oh well. .500 isn't the end of the world. Overall I'm 9-7, which is still a vast improvement over last year.

Finally today, it's this week's Sports Take Mailbag segment.

Today's question comes to us from Mark in Maple Grove:

Is it possible that it could be argued that three of the four major end of the season awards (for sure two) should be won by players dealt for mid season…

Manny – NL MVP…no player has had a bigger impact on his team than he has in the second half except for maybe…

Sabathia – NL Cy Young…he has been dominant!!!

And this one might be a stretch…but it could be argued…

Teixeira – AL MVP…they were pretty good before he got there…but he has been a force in that line up since he got there.

I guess I hadn't really thought of it like that - outside of Sabathia - but it's an interesting point.

The races are so wide open that it's certainly within the realm of possibility that all three could be the winners of their respective awards. And near as I can tell, that would be unprecedented.

I'll be handing out my personal awards ballot after the regular season is done. So I won't reveal those names here.

I will say however that I think it's unlikely that any of those 3 will actually win their respective awards.

More importantly though, we have to ask what it means that 3 guys can change leagues mid-season and be considered for those awards?

I think it means one of two things. Either we're in a down-cycle in terms of dominant talent in baseball. And that means that in a few years, we'll be back to having clear-cut winners.

Or it means that we're starting to achieve the level of parity in baseball that we see in the NFL. That the talent is so evenly spread over the league, that it's become near to impossible to have the kind of dominant season that we've seen in the past.

I guess I'd surmise that it's the former rather than the latter. But that remains to be seen!

Either way, the awards list will be something of a surprise this year.

Thanks for the question Mark!

Remember, if you want your question answered by the ST staff, just send an email to:

That's all for today. I'm back on Wednesday with more on baseball! Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. At least you are getting your little visitor out right away. Some friends of ours were away on vacation when the little visitor came in and tore up their whole home looking for food and fluffy bedding. Unbelievable damage! Do you consider yourself lucky? And I can't wait to hear what the maintenance people have to say.

  2. Oh, there's no question that I'm lucky.

    The guy in the office thought it was pretty strange. No word from Maintenance yet.