Cheerful news: No more need to hold your Ravens applause

The Kickoff

September 11, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

If yesterday's 27-0 victory wasn't enough to make you wake up this morning with a severe case of Ravenmania, then you're pretty hard to impress, because the Ravens basically answered every question that has been hanging out there since last season's discouraging 6-10 performance.

Steve McNair looked like Unitas and Brian Billick's IQ clearly doubled since last season and that Haloti Ngata kid registered his first interception along with a 4.1 on the Richter scale as he lumbered 60 yards to set up a score.

Jamal Lewis looked healthy and the offensive line looked adequate, and how about that defense, which now has as many shutouts this year as the Orioles' starting rotation?

Want another interesting stat? Ed Reed and Chris McAlister each had an interception, equaling their combined total for last year.

I'm sure Billick would counsel us not to overreact. It was only one game. It's too early to get excited.

I respectfully disagree. After two tough years at M&T and nine straight losing seasons at Oriole Park, we'll take our excitement wherever - and whenever - we can get it.

Once again, Terrell Owens has answered the bell. Despite all the speculation about his sore hamstring and his lack of practice time, he started yesterday's game against Jacksonville and caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Really, what did you expect?

Hate to admit this, but the U.S. Open final was so exciting that I switched over from the Cowboys game to watch Roger Federer take another step toward his eventual recognition as the greatest tennis player of all time. Does that make me a fuzz-head?

Make that nine major titles and a level of individual domination that puts him right there with golfer Tiger Woods, who - incidentally - attended Federer's final match against Andy Roddick.

Some readers might have noticed that I predicted the Redskins will win tonight in the staff picks feature in yesterday's paper, but chose the Vikings to cover the spread in yesterday's column.

That was not an error. I actually believe that the Redskins will win the game by fewer than four points. I reached that conclusion through a complicated series of calculations that produced a 16-13 final. If I hit the exact score, I'm retiring and moving to Vegas.

Big week ahead at Hayfields Country Club, where the final Constellation Energy Classic is set to begin with practice rounds tomorrow and pro-am competition Wednesday and Thursday. The Champions Tour event begins Friday and will feature a rare appearance by Arnold Palmer.

The field will also include former CEC winner Larry Nelson and Don Pooley, who won the U.S. Senior Open at Caves Valley in 2002. Former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden, who has played on the celebrity tour and the Champions Tour, will participate under a sponsor's exemption.

Champions Tour mainstays Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe and Curtis Strange also are scheduled to compete for the $1.7 million in prize money.

Navy will help christen the new football stadium at Stanford this weekend in a game that will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

The Midshipmen are 2-0 and the Cardinal is 0-2, but it still will be a big step up in class for Navy, which barely escaped defeat against Division I-AA Massachusetts on Saturday.

Perhaps I was a bit premature when I said that Notre Dame was "overrated" after squeaking by Georgia Tech last week. The Irish slam-dunked Penn State on Saturday and jumped back to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll after top-ranked Ohio State manhandled former No. 2 Texas.

It's just as well. I live for the Irish to be undefeated when they face USC, because we all know how that is going to turn out.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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