All things not Australian included here

Published 5:36 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Does anyone realize the Australian Open is in the third round of competition?

Does anyone care? Of course not. Why would you?

With all that’s going on this side of the world, we pretty much don’t have time to pay attention to athletes—great as they may be—sliding across clay tennis courts.

One day, I promise I will do an in-depth, glowing column about the importance and grandeur of this tennis tournament. But not today.

We have an NFL team that half of America doesn’t think deserves to play in the Super Bowl. I’m with you, America. I think the Steelers stink, too. Oh wait, wrong team. Darn Cardinals and their weird quarterback. What is that guy’s name again?

Wake Forest is the No. 1 team in college basketball. Orlando is challenging Boston (and Cleveland) in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. And baseball has this Olympic-style tournament coming up…You. Me. “List.” Go.

4. World Baseball Classic. But the really cool people call it the WBC. Team rosters have been released, and it seems the only story bigger than the players who are locked in are the ones who have said, “No thanks.” I know guys have their reasons, but come on. This is only the second installment of the tournament, and it has lost its luster already? And of course, we have to know who is the new Daisuke Matsuzaka. I dunno, but I promise you’ve never heard of him.

3. Beats of the East. The West is still better, but I may change my mind about that. Don’t be shocked that the Magic sits with the best winning percentage in the NBA. They have the one thing every successful team needs: a Dwight Howard. A Dwight Howard is a dominant presence in the paint, a rebounder, an offensive contributor. A Dwight Howard is a fantasy dream. A Dwight Howard is charismatic and a strong leader. I was not paid to say all this, I’m just a big admirer. Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard. This announcement was brought to you by supporters of Dwight Howard.

2. Wake up. The Demon Deacons of Wake Forest the No. 1 team in America? Bet alum Tim Duncan is happy. I also bet the team would like him to give a speech right before the national championship game. But, oh wait. There are some other serious contenders in the mix. Duke is relatively good, I hear. Connecticut is OK. Oklahoma has a moderate amount of talent. Michigan State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Clemson and Georgetown—also all fairly good bets once the NCAA Tournament starts. So, the moral of the story is, don’t trust anyone that makes predictions about college basketball before the last week in March.

1. Super Bowl. Talk about your perceived mismatches. Best way to describe Pittsburgh’s chances of winning? Hmmm. Stout. Impenetrable. Downright scary. Everyone talks about the defense. Everyone talks about the offense. What do people have to say about Arizona? Well, Kurt Warner and his wife no longer sport identical haircuts, so that’s a good thing. I’m not keen on making predictions more than a week removed from the big game, but just know that I have my favorite as of right now. And her name is Lola. She was a showgirl.