This and That

Each week I talk about the world of sports…

• How about a salute to Joe Torre and the Dodgers! Most people, including me, figured the Cardinals would be too tough with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright starting the first two games. Los Angeles has a lot of veteran talent that came through. Mark Loretta had the game-winning hit in game two. The Los Angeles bullpen hung tough. Torre and company struggled down the stretch and held on the win the NL West. Now it is off to the NLCS. Wouldn't it be amazing to see Torre managing against his former employer, the New York Yankees, in the World Series.

• The Angels and Yankees punched their tickets to the ALCS. Mike Scioscia's team received outstanding starting pitching the first two games against the Red Sox. Then they came from behind to get three runs off Jonathan Papelbon on Sunday to complete the sweep. The Yankees used the longball to beat the Twins in three straight. Alex Rodriguez had an outstanding series with several clutch hits, including the game-tying homer in the ninth inning of game two. That means farewell to the Metrodome; I remember being at the 2001 NCAA final there… Wow, no more homer hankies, baby!

• The Florida Gators showed why they are numero uno. My friends, Urban Meyer's team won at Baton Rouge as over 90,000 fans showed up for the top five showdown. Tim Tebow played the whole game, and his leadership on the field was a positive. What about the job done by the Gators defense! They kept LSU in check, holding Les Miles' team without a touchdown! Now Florida has a tricky test against Arkansas and hot quarterback Ryan Mallett.

• Alabama's defense was also impressive in shutting down Mississippi. Nick Saban vs. Steve Spurrier this week, and the Gamecocks are riding a four-game win streak. The key here could be – remember this name – Tide running back Mark Ingram. He has posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances. The SEC is the toughest league in America because week in and week out, teams are challenged.

• The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos showed a lot in their wins Sunday. Cincinnati had a great drive capped by Carson Palmer's game-winning touchdown toss at Baltimore. Josh McDaniels got a win over teacher Bill Belichick as the Broncos remained unbeaten. For those who thought the AFC was going to be easy to figure out, get serious. How many people thought that the Bengals and Broncos would be among the crème de la crème in the conference at this point?

• It is hard to believe that the Tennessee Titans, 13-3 a season ago, have slipped so far so fast. Jeff Fisher is one of the best coaches in the NFL, yet his team has opened winless. Peyton Manning and company went into Tennessee and walked away with an easy victory on Sunday night. The NFL has such a quick turnaround; look at the Dolphins and Falcons coming on last year. That is one thing that makes the league entertaining and unpredictable.

• Congratulations to the U. S. soccer team for qualifying for the World Cup event again. Landon Donovan and his teammates survived a tough battle at Honduras over the weekend to lock up a spot in the world's greatest sporting spectacle. That's right, all over the world, there is so much intensity, passion and emotion when the tournament is held. South Africa will see fans from all over convene to see this action.

• Tiger Woods and the American squad did an outstanding job in winning the President's Cup. Woods teamed with Steve Stricker in several impressive performances. I love international competition and this was a good win for the U. S. team.