So Michigan, as the No. 2 team in the country, loses to the No. 1 team by three points, holds its position in the rankings, and yesterday drops behind Florida, which lost to Auburn by 10 points earlier in the season?

Just checking.


If Navy beats Boston College in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Midshipmen receive a nice trophy and a free oil change.

The Mids really wanted Maryland, which really wanted no part of that game. Talk about a no-win situation for the Terps.


Navy can run the ball at will. Maryland can't stop the run.

No win.

I can't decide whether I'm more interested in watching the Papa John's Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Depends what I had for lunch.

When's the last time you envisioned an Orange Bowl game that included Wake Forest and Louisville?

We've come a long way from Miami vs. Oklahoma when I was a kid.

Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman had a 1.3 rating in yesterday's win over Minnesota after going 6-for-19 for 34 yards and three interceptions.

If 1,000 people are amazed by such a low rating, 999 of them don't understand how it's computed in the first place.

Count me among them.

Of all the free-agent names being thrown around as potential matches for the Orioles, Aubrey Huff probably is the most enticing. But he isn't much of a left fielder. Or a right fielder. Or a third baseman. Or a first baseman.

Huff's best position is designated hitter, though there's always the risk of him trying to sit down on the bench and missing it.

As for Barry Bonds, I'm not saying that I'm completely against the idea. I'm saying the Orioles are. And their vote counts more than mine.

The idea of renting Bonds for a year is intriguing. He still hits for power and he's always on base. But the Orioles have had their fill of distractions, and Bonds would be a doozy. They want no part of his pursuit of the home run record, a chase that leaves many people cold, and all the steroid allegations.

By comparison, Huff's "bad clubhouse guy" reputation seems miniscule. It's certainly more manageable.

There's also the concern that Bonds will break down physically, but if Cliff Floyd is viewed as a viable option, Bond's knees shouldn't even come up in conversation.

Floyd is the only player in MLB history to be featured in Sports Illustrated and also appear as a centerfold in a medical dictionary.

Rodrigo Lopez is going to be traded at some point this winter. Strangely, there's still a high demand for a pitcher who lost 18 games. But to get anything significant in a deal, the Orioles will have to part with a young pitcher.

They're most open to trading Hayden Penn. Teams are more interested in acquiring Erik Bedard and Daniel Cabrera.

I never imagined that I'd be writing this, but Bedard should be untouchable unless you're getting Mark Teixeira straight-up. And that's not going to happen.

I also have growing doubts that Kris Benson and Jaret Wright will be in the same rotation next season.

And finally, I'd like to revisit my comment about Albert Belle and how the Orioles "panicked" when they signed him.

They didn't go after Belle until suddenly fearing that the Yankees were going to sign him, which, as it turned out, wouldn't have happened. And Belle did, indeed, become a distraction at times.

Two examples: When he started a petition, which hung beside his locker, to keep the Orioles from playing an exhibition game in Rochester, and when he refused to take the bat off his shoulders during that embarrassing loss to Cuba at Camden Yards.

One more example: When he purposely bumped into a police officer who was stationed in front of the dugout between innings.

OK, one more: When he got into a shouting match in the dugout with manager Ray Miller after being removed from right field in the ninth inning of a game in Atlanta - an exchange that was captured on television.

Well, here's another: When members of the public relations staff couldn't even approach him with an interview request from the media without being disrespected.

And this: When word began to spread that he returned to the visiting clubhouse during a game in - I want to say Cleveland - took a sip of Gatorade and dumped the rest on the carpet. I believe it was the red kind. The drink, not the carpet.

Well, as long as you asked: When word also spread that he destroyed a television in another visiting clubhouse.

Team officials were exhausted from having to perform damage control and distract the media.

But the guy could hit.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun