Not that impressed with surprising Buccaneers

News item: The Ravens face the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers late Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. The Buccaneers and Ravens both are 7-3, but the Ravens are favored by about a touchdown.

My take: Excuse me if I'm not too concerned about this one. The Buccaneers have played three elite teams so far this year, and their offense didn't show up for any of those games.

News item: The Orioles made a serious run at free agent Victor Martinez — offering a reported $48 million over four years — but he chose to sign with the Detroit Tigers.

My take: I'm afraid we might hear a few more reports like that over the next month or so. The Orioles aren't likely to be at the top of many free-agent wish lists, so they're going to have to overpay to fill the power gap at the heart of their batting order … or settle for another low-cost reclamation project.

Bonus take: If you're wondering why the O's didn't up their offer to Martinez a couple million to match or outbid the Tigers, I'm hearing that they never got the chance. If it's any consolation, they apparently did outbid the Red Sox.

News item: The Yankees have told team captain Derek Jeter that their three-year, $45 million contract offer is "fair and appropriate" and have encouraged him to test the free agent market to determine his actual value.

My take: So, when the Yankees finally decide to show a modicum of fiscal responsibility, they're going to do it at the expense of one of the most popular and respected players in the history of the franchise? Amazing.

News item: The No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide blew a 24-point lead on Friday in the Iron Bowl and missed a golden opportunity to knock No. 2 Auburn out of the BCS title picture.

My take: For perhaps the only time in my life, I was rooting hard for Nick Saban, if only to see which one-loss team would vault over undefeated TCU and Boise State to move into the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings. Cynical? Me?

News item: The Cleveland Cavaliers have banned offensive apparel for LeBron James' nationally televised return to his old home arena Thursday. The Cavs and the NBA also will ramp up security dramatically to control unruly fans.

My take: It's unfortunate such measures are necessary — and, hopefully, they'll turn out to be unnecessary — but anti-LeBron sentiment remains high in the Cleveland area and the NBA is right to leave nothing to chance.

News item: NFL owners and players union reportedly made some progress during labor negotiations this week.

My take: Don't get too excited. The talks centered on the proposal to lengthen the regular season schedule to 18 games, which is something of a foregone conclusion. Let's see how cordial the negotiations remain when the owners start talking about reducing the union's share of industry revenues.

News item: Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young texted an apology to head coach Jeff Fisher after the two had a heated exchange following Sunday's overtime loss to the Redskins, but it didn't seem to smooth over their rocky relationship.

My take: Maybe I'm old-fashioned, too, but I agree with Fisher that a texted apology really doesn't cut it … once you're out of high school.

News item: Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who turns 84 in December, confirmed this week that he will return to fulfill the final year of his contract in 2011.

My take: If you're keeping score at home, that will be his 46th season coaching the Nittany Lions. Ironically, he said he wants to return because he's excited about the potential of his young team.

News item: The Pittsburgh Steelers are convinced that the NFL would have disciplined Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour more harshly if he had slapped Tom Brady or Peyton Manning instead of Ben Roethlisberger last week.

My take: I don't know if that's true, but it's nice to see that the Ravens aren't the only team that wonders about that kind of thing.

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Fridays and Saturdays and at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Brett Hollander. Also, check out his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at

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