Talk of the town
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.
1. For he's a jolly good coordinator: Remember to wish Raheem Morris a happy anniversary. It was a year ago Tuesday that Morris hired himself as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator. The Bucs have played a season's worth of games since, and are 9-7. The defense has given up fewer than 20 points a game and got its first shutout in six years Sunday.
2. Like clockwork: The last time the Bucs won in San Francisco, Jimmy Carter was the president and most of today's players had not yet been born. The Bucs are now 3-22 in regular-season games in California.
3. Revisionist history: Gino Torretta. Chris Weinke. Jason White. Yup, looks like Troy Smith will fit in well with Heisman Trophy QBs in the NFL.
4. The cold dead fingers thing: You want to know the importance of taking care of the ball? The Bucs are averaging 1.4 turnovers per game. The only seasons Tampa Bay has done better were the Super Bowl season (2002) and two playoff seasons (2001, '07).
5. Building an argument: Between interceptions, sacks, touchdowns and Pro Bowl appearances, Ronde Barber is easily one of the top five cornerbacks of his era. And that puts him in the short conversation for the Hall of Fame.
A list of five
Five reasons the Bucs have grown to like California.
5. Better grass. And sod, too.
4. Al Davis hot tub parties!
3. Don't have to spend their off day selling tickets door to door.
2. 37 million people who have never voted for Marco Rubio.
1. Everybody weaves when they drive.
Five votes for karma
1. Kiddie QB corps: Troy Smith was the fourth quarterback the Bucs have seen in the past five games who was actually less experienced than Josh Freeman. In order, the Bucs have beaten Sam Bradford (4-6 career record as starter), Max Hall (1-2), Jimmy Clausen (0-4) and Smith (3-2).
2. NFC West: Catching the NFC West on the schedule was a gift from heaven. It's the NFL's version of playing in the Big East. NFC West teams are 9-19 outside of the division, and the Bucs are 3-0 against them.
3. Mike Shanahan: If the Broncos don't fire him in 2008, they don't come knocking on Raheem Morris' door. And that's how he ends up in the head coach's office in Tampa Bay.
4. College baggage: Mike Williams' departure from Syracuse and LeGarrette Blount's suspension at Oregon cost them draft status. And that's how GM Mark Dominik got first-round talents when no one else was looking.
5. Keystone koaches: I'm not saying they faced some weak coaches, but John Fox, Eric Mangini, Marvin Lewis and Mike Singletary will probably be unemployed by the playoffs.
Five super picks
Checking out the best bets for Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.
1. Falcons: Matt Ryan vs. Josh Freeman for the next decade.
2. Patriots: Happiness in Boston is making Peyton Manning cry.
3. Ravens: The next measuring stick for the Bucs.
4. Packers: It was all a misunderstanding. Brett Favre wants to come home.
12. Bucs: Better make the Race for 10 a Trot for 11.
Final final words
Be thankful for Josh Freeman.