News item: The Ravens finally face an actual "must-win" situation Sunday when they take on the Oakland Raiders at McAfee Coliseum in the last game of the regular season.
My take: Of course, it wouldn't be a real must-win game if they had won in any of the six or seven Kevin Cowherd must-win situations over the past couple of months.
Related news item: The Raiders have knocked off some pretty good teams this year, so the Ravens will have to show up and play smart football to punch their ticket to the NFL postseason.
My take: I'm not too worried. The Raiders have nothing to play for, and it's hard to make a tackle while you're carrying your luggage.
News item: Raiders coach Tom Cable said this week that his team might have been a playoff contender if not for the subpar performance of young quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
My take: I'd be impressed with his un-NFL-like candor if it weren't so self-serving.
News item: This year's Bowl Championship Series title game pits Alabama against Texas in a battle of the last two undefeated teams in major college football.
My take: Just kidding. TCU plays Boise State on Monday night in the battle to determine which undefeated medium-conference team gets to lead this year's campaign for a college football playoff system.
News item: Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has denied a report that the team offered free agent outfielder Matt Holliday a multiyear contract worth $130 million.
My take: That's disappointing. I really thought the Orioles had an excellent chance to be turned down by the top hitter in the free-agent market for the second year in a row.
News item: Former Orioles reliever Danys Baez reportedly has agreed to a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
My take: The O's certainly didn't get their money's worth from Baez, who delivered only one decent season over three years with the club, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up being a top-flight setup guy in the National League this year.
News item: Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been benched for the Denver Broncos' game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs in what appears to be another war of wills with first-year head coach Josh McDaniels.
My take: Marshall's volatile situation in Denver figured to bubble up again, which almost certainly will lead to a new round of rumors involving the Ravens when his contract expires at the end of this season.
News item: Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth lashed out at the team's coaching staff recently and told The Washington Post that "they're all against me."
My take: I think he's acting a little paranoid. I'm sure there's somebody in the organization who still likes him, though I can't think of anybody off the top of my head.
News item: Texas Tech has fired successful coach Mike Leach after accusations that he mistreated injured receiver Adam James.
My take: It apparently was just a coincidence that Leach was fired for cause the day before his contract called for him to receive an $800,000 bonus.
Bonus take: Hey, isn't this the school that hired the famous basketball coach who was fired by a storied program for - among other things - choking one of his players? Just asking.
News item: AT&T announced this week that it will end its sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods.
My take: I'm hearing they'll pick him back up as soon as they invent a BlackBerry that is wife-proof.
Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "Sportsline" on WBAL (1090 AM) and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.