A – Alexander, Elton. A sports reporter with the Cleveland Plain Dealer actually predicted a Rutgers/Alabama college football National Championship Game. Elton Alexander and other sports reporters put their predictions in print for a respectable newspaper. What makes it even odder is that Alexander seemed to take chalk with everything else, picking Nebraska to win the Big Ten, Florida State to win the ACC, Matt Barkley to win the Heisman and Alabama to win the National Championship. But he picked Rutgers to face Alabama in the National Championship! His two colleagues, Doug Lesmerises and Bill Livingston, didn’t even have Rutgers winning the awful Big East.
B – Beaver Stadium. Penn State remembered the victims of sexual abuse on its campus and in its football facilities with a moment of silence before its opening game against Ohio. A moment of silence was appropriate for a football program built by a man who commanded his victims to silence for 12 entire years. And then Penn State was then embarrassed by Ohio, also very appropriate.
C – Cut. The eve of the NFL regular season is one of the most exciting days of the year for NFL fans and players, unless you’re David Garrard. For the second consecutive season Garrard has been dumped right before the opening week. The Jaguars cut Garrard last season, and now the Dolphins have cut Garrard in what has become of rite of passage seemingly every September.
D – Dion Phaneuf. Toronto Maple Leaf Dion Phaneuf, 27, is officially engaged to Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert, 29, aka “Kim Bauer”. Cuthbert was once famously regarded as "sloppy seconds" by her ex-boyfriend, NHL goon Sean Avery.
E – ESPN. ESPN has agreed to a new eight-year television contract with Major League Baseball for $5.6 billion that begins in 2014. The deal has a stipulation that gives ESPN the ability to have “top teams” appear on Sunday Night Baseball more often, so get ready for more Yankees/Red Sox four hour marathon games.
F – Floyd Mayweather. At least one person out there thought Denard Robinson had a prayer against the Alabama defense. Floyd Mayweather wagered $3 million on Michigan +14 against Alabama in its season opener. Michigan, of course, lost 41-14.
G – Giants. The appropriately named San Francisco Giants are the poster child for performance enhancing drug use in major league baseball. The franchise that brought us Barry Bonds gigantic head is now opening up a commanding lead in the NL West thanks in large part to NL batting leader Melky Cabrera (50 game suspension for being on the juice) and this week they trotted out pitcher Guillermo Mota, who has been suspended TWICE for PED use.
H – Houston. The Houston Cougars, home of the most exciting offense in college football last season, somehow found a way to lose 30-13 to Texas State of the FCS. The loss was so bad that offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt resigned almost immediately. Texas State was a 30-plus point underdog at sportsbooks crazy enough to put a line out on a FCS game. Maybe the Heisman committee should retroactively award the 2011 Heisman Trophy to Case Keenum.
I – Interceptions. Bovada has posted NFL player props for the 2012 season. One interesting prop is interception totals for quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to toss the most interceptions with a posted total of 19.5, ahead of Christian Ponder (18.5) and Carson Palmer (18). No surprises there. But guess who is next? Eli Manning clocks in with a total of 17, more than young guys like Cam Newton (16), Blaine Gabbert (15.5), Andy Dalton (15.5) and rookies like Robert Griffin III (16.5) and Andrew Luck (16). Mark Sanchez is listed with a total of 16, which might be the worst out there considering he'll probably only play the first week. With a total set at 9.5 Aaron Rodgers has by far the lowest posted total.
J – Jack Sock. The best name in sports since Dong Dong is 19-year-old U.S. tennis player Jack Sock. The amount of potential puns available with a name like Jack Sock is too great to even fit under your bed. Sock won his first round U.S. Open match against No. 22-seed Florian Mayer and advanced all the way to the third round. It was the best win of Sock’s career. All young tennis players have holes in their game, but for fans of awesome sports names, lets home there are no holes in Jack Sock.
K – Ken Shamrock. UFC 151 was canceled last week, but that did not stop former UFC fighter Ken Shamrock from punching some girl in the face at a California mall last week. There are varying reports of what actually happened. Shamrock said the haymaker to the broad’s face was an accident that occurred while he was breaking up the fight. The girl (who kind of looks like a guy) said it was just a straight-up sucker punch.
L – Lin, Jeremy. Jeremy Lin got his name back in the mainstream, but that was because he was on the business end of a political jab by President Barack Obama. Obama said he was the Miami Heat and Mitt Romey was Jeremy Lin. This might hurt his pull with the Asian voters.
M – Mustaches. When your football team resembles a minor league outfit, you might as well have minor league promotions. The St. Louis Rams (15-65 over the last five seasons) will hand out fake mustaches to fans coming to their home opener, aka "Stache Bash," in honor of head coach Jeff Fisher's mustache, which he has since he was like six.
N – Graham Gano. On Monday the Washington Redskins cut Neil Rackers. Graham Gano, who never attempted a field goal in the preseason, thought that meant he won the job. He told reporters and players how “blessed” he was to come through and win the job and how excited he was. On Tuesday the Washington Redskins cut Gano and signed Billy Cundiff, who had just been released by the Ravens.
O – Old Navy. Old Navy was peddling some inaccurate NFL gear. One shirt read “Houston Texans 1961 NFL Champions,” even though the franchise just made the playoffs for the first time ever last season. Other teams misidentified as winning NFL Championships on Old Navy t-shirts include Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. But then again, if you're shopping for your team gear at Old Navy you deserve to be lied to.
P – Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates opened the biggest series in the history of PNC Park on Monday. Mired in a funk of 20 consecutive losing seasons, the Pirates found themselves two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild card race and they were hosting the Cardinals in three-game series at PNC Park. For the first meaningful game in stadium history, 16,700 tickets were sold, and even less showed up. The Pirates lost. For Tuesday night’s game there were over 100 tickets available for less than $1 and a number of seats available for 47 cents.
Q – Questionable Ballot. AP pool voter Ray Ratto made a good case to eliminate humans from college football polls. Ratto came up with one of the most baffling Top 25 polls in college football history. He was so impressed with Michigan State barely escaping Boise State at home, he skyrocketed the Spartans from No. 22 to No. 5. He somehow ranked Texas State, an FCS school who beat Houston, No. 16. Immediately after casting his ballot, Ratto tweeted, "Nobody who lives outside of San Marcos, TX will have any idea why I am allowed to vote." Well at least he got that part right. For more on this, see W.
R – Roger Clemens. Roger Clemens returned to the mound to pitch for an outfit called the Sugar Land Skeeters. Instead of proving to everyone that he was no longer on steroids by going out there and getting shelled by something called the Bridgeport Bluefish, Clemens tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball and his fastball was clocked in the high-80s. The Astros and Royals both scouted the game for some reason; apparently the folks in Houston and Kansas City are ramping up for a pennant push.
S – Steve Pearce. He has played for the Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles and Astros in a journey-filled six-year career. He has a lifetime batting average of .236 and a whopping 12 home runs over six seasons. And on Tuesday night, it was Steve Pearce, a journeyman making $400,000 this year or roughly what Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter make in a game, batting cleanup for the Yankees. Just another sign that the Mayans were right.
T – Tennessee to Tennessee Tech. The SEC's top receiver in 2011 will continue to play college football in Tennessee… well, technically. Da'Rick Rogers, the all-everything wideout for the Volunteers, was let loose by Tennessee coach Derek Dooley after Rogers failed drug tests. He has now wound up at Tennessee Tech, a FCS school. In the season opener against some college called Hampton, Rogers caught three passes for 75 yards, including a touchdown, in a 41-31 win.
U – University of Tennessee. During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the University of Tennessee department of athletics somehow lost $3.98 million. They were either betting on their football team or paying Da’Rick Rogers.
V – Vujacic. The Maria Sharapova/Sasha Vujacic engagement is officially over. The couple began dating in 2009 and the duo was engaged in October, 2010. However, the marriage made in international sports heaven was not to be.
W – West Virginia. West Virginia scorched the Marshall defense for 69 points on Saturday. It was an impressive performance, but AP voter Ray Ratto was not impressed. He ranked West Virginia No. 24. Nobody had the Mountaineers lower than 15th. When someone called him out on it, he tweeted that WVU only beat Elon, which they never played. They played Marshall.
X – X-Rays. Michael Vick needed x-rays after his first two preseason starts. Now on Bovada bettors have the chance to wager on just how many games Vick will start during the 2012 regular season. The total has been set incredibly high at 14.
Y – Youngstown State. Youngstown State, a FCS school picked to finish third in something called the Ohio Valley Conference, went into Heinz Field and ran all over Pitt, embarrassing the Panthers 31-17 in a game that actually wasn’t that close. The ACC is probably real happy they invited Pitt to join the conference next season (as well as Syracuse, who lost AT HOME to Northwestern).
Z – Zenit St. Petersburg. A Russian football club, Zenit St. Petersburg, has signed the second-greatest name in sports (see J) away from Porto. Zenit has signed Hulk, a 26-year old Brazilian soccer player who kind of looks like the Incredible Hulk.