Monday Monday

Dan Wheldon, a two-time Daytona 500 champion and one-time overall IndyCar champion, died yesterday in a 15-car, 230 mph crash in the early laps of a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He had agreed to start the race from the back of the pack as part of a $5 million contest that would award half the prize to him and half to a fan if he won the race. He was 33 years old.

In the world of college football, ALDLAND’s rivalry games both were exciting, as Michigan State held off late pushes by Michigan to make it four straight over the Wolverines, and Georgia avoided three game-winning opportunities for Vanderbilt, escaping Nashville with a five-point win. (More on the latter game later.) Elsewhere in the top 25, Clemson came from behind to beat Maryland 56-45, and Virginia upset Georgia Tech. And the first set of BCS rankings are out: 1) LSU; 2) Alabama; 3) Oklahoma; 4) Oklahoma State; 5) Boise State.

On Sunday, one streak ended (the 49ers handed the Lions their first loss), while another continues (the Colts fell to 0-6).

The Word Series matchup is set as of last night, and it will start in St. Louis, where the late-surging Cardinals host the Texas Rangers, who finished off the ailing Tigers in a blowout on Saturday night. Although I was hoping for a different ALCS outcome, I knew Detroit likely was outmatched after watching the first game of the series, and when the injuries to starters continued to mount, it seemed only a matter of time before the Tigers ran out of gas, which they did in spectacular fashion on Saturday. Still, they made competitive a series I did not think would be, and they pushed Texas to extra innings in many of the games and otherwise played them close. It leaves to the imagination and the off season what that team could have accomplished had it been healthier.

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