News item: Utah improved to 13-0 with a solid, 31-17 victory over No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night, which should further energize calls for a playoff system to determine the Football Bowl Subdivision national championship.
My take: I think so. The Utes soundly defeated a team that was No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25, the USA Today coaches poll and the Bowl Championship Series rankings for five of the final six weeks of the regular season. If you take the "C" out of BCS, you'll get my opinion of the current system.
News item: The Ravens are in Miami today in search of their first postseason victory since they defeated the Dolphins in the first round of the playoffs in 2002.
My take: It could be deja vu all over again, right down to the 20-3 final score.
News item: Ravens assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is again among the candidates to get one of the head coaching jobs that opened up at the end of the regular season.
My take: Talk about mixed feelings. Rex definitely has earned the opportunity to lead a team, but nobody around here could pass a polygraph test claiming to be rooting for him get it.
News item: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
My take: Ryan led the dramatic turnaround of a team that was devastated by the Michael Vick scandal and received 44 of the 50 votes from the AP media panel. The award is richly deserved.
Bonus take: That said, I'm still scratching my head over the fact that not one of the voters cast a ballot for Joe Flacco.
News item: The Chicago Cubs traded second baseman Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for three minor league pitchers after a solid all-around season in which he hit 21 home runs and had 87 RBIs.
My take: Don't get excited. The Cubs still have Mike Fontenot to play second base, so the best chance of Brian Roberts playing at Wrigley Field next season might be in interleague action as a member of the White Sox.
Related news item: There really is a rumor floating around that the Orioles are discussing a deal with the White Sox that would send Roberts to the South Siders for pitcher Gavin Floyd.
My take: Go for it. I'm thinking one Severna Park kid is as good as another.
News item: Indianapolis Colts superstar Peyton Manning has been named NFL Most Valuable Player by the AP for the third time.
My take: They might as well name the award after him. If there was ever a season for him to have a down year, this was it, but even offseason surgery could not slow him down.
News item: The Denver Broncos fired longtime coach Mike Shanahan after a historic late-season collapse knocked his team out of the playoff picture.
My take: That's probably the most surprising coaching move of the season, considering Shanahan's track record and great relationship with ownership, but it was probably the right time for this breakup. He'll go somewhere else and be back in the playoffs in a couple of years, and the Broncos will do just fine without him.
News item: The Dallas Cowboys, after back-to-back losses to the Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, fired special teams coach Bruce Read after two seasons with the team.
My take: Somebody had to pay, and Wade Phillips wasn't going to fire himself. He did the same thing to his special teams coach with the Buffalo Bills after the "Music City Miracle" loss to the Tennessee Titans.
News item: The Ravens ended up ranked sixth in ESPN's final regular-season NFL Power Rankings.
My take: I think it's fair to say this team was overlooked, considering the Ravens were ranked No. 24 and thought to be quarterback-challenged at the start of the season.
News item: Connecticut put on a late charge to defeat Buffalo, 38-20, yesterday in the International Bowl at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
My take: This was actually the third International Bowl, which was added to the postseason schedule when they ran out of locations in the United States to hold bowl games.
News item: The New York Jets have said publicly that they want quarterback Brett Favre to come back next season, despite the grumbling of some of his teammates about the way the season ended.
My take: Favre is obviously a great player, but I think if you took a poll of the players on the other three teams in the AFC East, they would want him to return to the Jets, too.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Fridays and Saturdays.