January 6, 2005
C. Vivian Stringer:
Legendary Rutgers women's hoops coach notches another win over a top 10 team -- this season! Toppling No. 1 LSU makes it three. QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

USC's Big Three (Leinart, Carroll, Chow) are dominating the Rumor Mill. Let's start with Magic Matt.

While waiting for Leinar to make his decision about whether to stay at USC (and a Heisman/title lock) or head to the NFL (and a top-5/money lock), let me throw this out there:

Matt Leinart: Best. QB. Ever*.

Hold on: This isn't just an exercise in Instant History. To figure out who the best college QB ever* might be, use these factors and concoct a hazy equation to mash 'em together:

National titles
Individual awards
Winning percentage
Intangibles (skills/"system")

Finding someone who meets all those criteria more than Leinart is a challenge: Wuerffel? Frazier? Flutie? Peyton? Any of those Miami QBs? All fall short in at least one category where Leinart doesn't.

The conclusion sneaks up, because it's so ... recent. Like: "Wait a second -- have we just seen the ultimate college QB of our time?"

The evidence is there: Leinart is the best QB ever.*

(* "Ever" being since 1979.)

49ers Clean House
USC's Pete Carroll targeted: 49ers owner John York wants to make a loud statement; poaching Carroll would do it.

Carroll likes his control at USC? Match it with a Saban-like grip over personnel decisions. Points to York for trying.

But I'm not sure why Carroll -- at the top of his profession -- would want to deal with the mess in S.F. He's tried the NFL, and there was something akin to an allergic reaction (33-31 career record).

Chow to Ravens?
Meanwhile, Norm Chow, architect of the USC offense, will reportedly be getting rushed by the Ravens for a similar role. (Wait: I thought Brian Billick was supposed to be the O-genius?)

Can't say it strongly enough: Baltimore should break the bank to woo him away. Whatever the highest paid assistant in the NFL is getting, add 50 percent. Especially considering it's the Ravens.

(But if Chow knows Carroll is going to bolt for the 49ers, he should hold out, because there

Unit-Yankee deal extension: Near-complete (2-yr/$32 mil)
Ron Gardenhire: Twins manager rewarded with 2-year ext.
Browns GM Phil Savage: Ravens talent guru bolts to rival
Shawn Greent-to-Arizona deal: Extension talks stalling
Bengals D-coord Leslie Frazier: Marv Lewis wants better D
"L.A. Angels": Anaheim not happy, files for TRO with judge
will be a HUGE fan and media push to make him the successor at USC; think Larry Coker replacing Butch Davis at Miami.)

Big East Hoops
Don't let non-conference records fool you: Overrated teams with padded rankings are quickly exposed. Take the Big East.

Pitt lost to lowly G'town.
Unbeaten W. Va lost to Nova.
And B.C. took it to UConn.
This last one is revealing: The Eagles (12-0) are off to their best start in school history, and the huge W over the defending champs is the best signal yet that their fast start is for real.

Keep B.C. on your radar, along with Washington on the West Coast and Quickie preseason Cinderella pick Northwestern in the Midwest (following their 20-point beatdown of Indiana last night).

Ohio State AD Out
Andy Geiger says he's "bone-weary." Yes, if "bone-weary" means "I'd really rather not be here when the NCAA hellstorm makes its way to Columbus."

The gushing quotes from Ohio State officials and Geiger's peers are hilarious, if only for their willful ignorance to the massive scandal he leaves in his wake.

NFL Awards
Has there ever been a season with more obvious choices?

Offensive Player? Manning.
Offensive Rookie? Big Ben.
Comeback Player? Brees.
Good thing the playoff outcomes are so unknowable.

Jumping to NFL
"Larry Fitzgerald exemption" gets another taker. Florida LB Channing Crowder is just a soph, but three years out of h.s. Great talent, lots of off-field issues.

Don't cry for Louisville, losing man-mountain RB Eric Shelton; they have this rising junior RB named Michael Bush who is electric.

Best nickname in college is going to be the best nickname in the NFL: West Virginia CB/KR Adam "Pac-Man" Jones. I smell a video-game endorsement.

Happy B-Day, Quickie
If you usually read this far, this item is for you: Two years ago today, the Daily Quickie launched on ESPN.com.

500-some editions later, it's fair to say that based on the headlines, we're coming off of the (say it with me): Best. Year. Ever. But the real best part is that 2005 promises to be even wilder.

Thanks for reading. And, as always, check back each weekday morning for a fresh edition; bookmark the column for easy reference; and pass along to all your friends and co-workers.

Most. Embarrassing. Decline. Ever. From top of the West to losing to the Bobcats. Minny has lost 4 straight, and MVP KG can't be happy.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
CFB: 2005 top 25!
NFL: Len P. on the playoffs
Top College QBs of ESPN Era
Matt Leinart
Will he go for three-peat?
Tommie Frazier
Certainly best option QB ever
Danny Wuerffel
Forget that NFL taint
Ken Dorsey
Win pct, sick title run
More thanks to Norm Chow!

Magic 105, Sonics 87: Glimpse the models for re-gained NBA fan traction. Forget the score: Two small-ball teams running and gunning ...

Speaking of Big East hoops, last night's Nova-WVA "Turn Back the Clock" game on ESPN Classic was must-see. Old-school unis, graphics and more ...

HOF Cap Watch: Wade Boggs will go into the Hall as the first player to wear a Devil Rays cap! (Just kidding: He'll wear a Red Sox cap) ...

The LPGA has been quick to market on player sex appeal. What will they do now that their biggest hottie, Natalie Gulbis, is dating Big Ben? ...

Other great college QBs of ESPN era: Doug Flutie, John Elway, Rex Grossman, Peyton Manning, Jason White, Charlie Ward ...

Anniversary special: Got comments about what you like/don't like about the Quickie? Use the "Email" link at the bottom to let me know ...

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