Final thoughts this week...
Is it safe to say that Bill Simmons' dislike for Art Shell now goes beyond "teenage crush" (think "AC Slater" in his prime) and has morphed into "The Crush" (movie with a teenage Alicia Silverstone jonesing for family man Carey Elwes)? Next step Bill? Flava Flav and Bridgette Nielson territory. Eeewwww.

Get well soon to:
Jonathan Papelbon, we hardly knew ya. See you next spring.

Manny. You're too often criticized and not appreciated enough.

Frankie Liriano. Kudos to your bosses shutting you down. But your fantasy value took a hit with this setback.

Trent Green. Underrated QB. Overrated team needs him.

Hannu Toivonen. Ask the Sports Guy, only a matter of time before he lands on this list anyway.

My NFL Week 2 picks (winner in bold):
Buffalo at Miami - Who you want... Daunte Culpepper or J.P. Losman? Not so easy after Week 1 is it?
Carolina at Minnesota- Even without Steve SMith, Panthers offense will be better- the Vikings D can't pressure.
Cleveland at Cincinnati- Rivalry? Yes. Team parity? No.
Detroit at Chicago- Poor Mike Martz. Not the team to showcase your genius against.
Houston at Indianapolis- At a glance, Houston's roster talent mirrors Indy's. Then you get to the QB position.
New Orleans at Green Bay- Say hello to Reggie Bush's 150 all-purpose yards Green Bay fans.
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia- You're about to see Philly stake its claim early for the NFC East title.
Oakland at Baltimore- 13 point favorite. Heck, I'd double it + 1 to last week's final score in Tampa (27-0).
Tampa Bay at Atlanta - Michael Vick is not improving as fast as their D.
Arizona at Seattle- No Deion Branch yet? The Cards thank you.
St. Louis at San Francisco- The Rams are in good hands with... Jeff Wilkins.
Kansas City at Denver- though I don't think a win slows the Cutler bandwagon.
New England at N.Y. Jets - the Jets defensive front shows less pressure than being a finalist on Project Runway.
Tennessee at San Diego- They are good, but starting off with Oakland and Tennessee is a great confidence booster before playing Baltimore and Pittsburgh after the Bye Week.
Washington at Dallas- Take my quote from the Denver game. Substitute "Cutler" with "Romo".
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville- Sorry Shanoff. The Jags are not black and gold yet.

Bush League

Reggie Bush being compensated $100,000 is not the eye popping, "I can't believe he did that!" headline news that people are making it out to be (I mean, didn't we just see this story coming out of Oklahoma?). Sure, Reggie Bush is a higher profile name than little man Bomar, but that doesn't make the story any more sensational. No, the real story here, and larger issue the NCAA has always sidestepped, is compensating college athletes for their participation in a school's athletic program.

I would argue that in Division 1 sports- make that revenue-generating Division 1 sports (like football)- a player's participation is not simply participation. It is contribution to the bottom line. And in a HUGE program like USC football, players are contributing toward the success of a multi-million dollar revenue and profit machine. And it's not just multi-million as in 5 or 6 million. We are talking 100's of millions (dare I say a billion?) of dollars.

So the question is, if a player helps the program, and school, turn a profit, why shouldn't he be compensated? The argument that a player's scholarship is his "payment" is bogus. Sure, an out-of-state matriculating student in today's colleges pays as much as $35,000 per year in tuition and board and fees, but is that really fair compensation? Equal pay for equal work? Do you think Reggie Bush only generated $35,000 worth of revenue for his school? Heck, even $35,000 in profit? Still not enough, given the fact that other students receive academic scholarships for the full boat and all they generate for the school is, um, well... what do they generate?

And I will not buy the whole better institution-wide acadmic outcomes assisted by these acadmic scholars make the school more desirable, hence, driving up tuiton and status arguments. These schools (USC,Oklahoma, etc.) are HUGE. And they are that way because of their sports progams and subsequent alumni (who are the real "marketing firms" here).

Yes, Reggie Bush should not have been compensated under current NCAA rules. And he should be punished. And even if the rules were different, he should not be allowed to take monies and benefits from outside influences like "marketing firms". But that does not evaporate the black cloud over the NCAA machine that is it's total lack of regard and care for its moving parts (the revenue generating players).