Random Monday Notes

It was a great day at the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday. Zenyatta’s win in the Classic was, without exaggeration, one of the top five racing moments of my life – and I have seen a lot of them. She is truly an all-time great. She should be the horse of the year in my book without question – and that’s no insult to Rachel Alexandra. Rachel won a Triple Crown race and beat older horses, but Zenyatta’s win over older horses was far more impressive, and it came in the richest race in North America – one a female horse had never won. The field in Zenyatta’s race was far deeper than Rachel’s as well. I’d be fine with a split award this year, but if there is one winner it has to be Zenyatta.

As for the rest of the races, it was a tough day. Three favorites came through in the eight races, but so did three real big longshots. There is one stat that jumps out as the perfect exemplar of how truly difficult handicapping the Breeders’ Cup is – there were 88 horses that ran in the eight races, and if you had bet on all 88 of them to win you would have made a return of investment of more than nine percent. That’s crazy.

Larry Johnson was cut by the Chiefs today. He’s a handful and obviously a troubled guy, but if I was a team with running problems then I’d be all over him. He’s only 30, and he is just two years removed from massive production. There is still mileage left in those tires.

The firing line has started already – both Western Kentucky and Memphis have fired their football coaches, though both will finish the year. Though I can’t argue with either decision, I don’t understand the logic of announcing a decision now. It will be very interesting to see who else joins them – there will be several including, hopefully, Charlie Weis. No big time coach can lose to Navy twice in a row at home.

It has been announced that Florida State will be starting redshirt freshman QB E.J. Manuel on Saturday because Christian Ponder dislocated his shoulder. This is something I have been waiting for for two years. I’m far from a Seminoles’ fan, but I saw a lot of tape on Manuel when he was being recruited and it was eye-opening. I’ll be very curious to see what kind of game he has.

I caught the last quarter of Tampa Bay’s win over Green Bay yesterday. Two things stood out. First, Green Bay’s pass protection really is impossibly bad. Just horrible. They stand absolutely no chance of being competitive behind that mess. Second, what Josh Freeman showed down the stretch makes me fairly confident that Tampa Bay has found their QB of the future. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but considering it was his first start that was one heck of a winning drive. It takes far more composure than you expect a 21 year old to have to convert on a fourth down for a TD. That has to be an indescribable relief for Raheem Morris. His seat got a lot cooler on Sunday.

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