Wakeup Call: 'Roll Tribe!' is the new rallying cry

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Wakeup Call: 'Roll Tribe!' is the new rallying cry

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, January 4:

AUTO RACING
Yes, that's the same Travis Pastrana who won all those gold medals in the X Games. (AP)

BASEBALL
It's just a lovefest between the Indians and their newest outfielder, Ohio native Nick Swisher . . . who may have coined a new rallying cry ("Roll Tribe!") at his introductory press conference. (AP)

Need an outfielder? Looks like Justin Upton's available. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

So why are big names like Michael Bourn, Rafael Soriano, Kyle Loshe and Adam LaRoche still on the market? Let Theo Epstein explain. (CSN Chicago)

Yeah, yeah, he signed a contract and all that. But Darren Oliver says he won't return to the Blue Jays unless they give him a raise. (Hardball Talk)

The best part of Sergio Romo's arrest? His promise "to conduct myself in the future in the 'San Francisco Giants Way'." (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Arizona's still unbeaten . . . (AP)

. . . thanks to the refs, who -- according to College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster -- blew a last-second call that should have given Colorado the upset. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
There was a brief time this fall when it looked like an Oregon-Kansas State bowl matchup would decide the national championship. Unfortunately for the Ducks, their 35-17 victory over the Wildcats last night only got them a Fiesta Bowl trophy. (AP)

Was Oregon's win Chip Kelly's going-away party? (NBC's College Football Talk)

If it was, expect boyhood friends Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner -- a.k.a., owner of the Eagles and CEO of the Browns -- to be squaring off over who gets to hire him. (College Football Talk)

Looks like Oregon's already chosen Kelly's replacement. (College Football Talk)

We lead off today's college-to-NFL exodus with Florida State's Bjoern Werner, regarded as a potential Top 10 pick. (College Football Talk)

Next up: Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell (with Dion Sims about to follow). (College Football Talk)

Pitt lineman Arthur Doakes has been suspended for the BBVA Compass Bowl -- never heard of it, but it's the third straight year the Panthers have played in it -- because of a violation of team rules. (College Football Talk)

Ron Turner, who's been out of college coaching since being fired by Illinois in 2004, is leaving the NFL to become head man at Florida International. (AP)

GOLF
Don't expect to see much of Steve Stricker on the PGA Tour this year. (AP)

HOCKEY
If you're still interested . . . (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

As nightmarish as it is for the rest of us, the NHL lockout's been a dream come true for this kid. (CSN Washington)

Kimmo Timonen is worried how his 37-year-old body, coming off back surgery, will respond to a condensed 48-game schedule. (Pro Hockey Talk)

The Penguins think they'll respond quite well, thank you. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Phil Jackson's finally taking Jeanie Buss to the altar, 13 years after their first date. (AP)

The Knicks snapped the Spurs' seven-game winning streak in pretty convincing fashion. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Elbow, schmelbow. Justin Smith says he's playing when the 49ers host their NFC semifinal-round game on Jan. 12. (CSN Bay Area)

So that explains it! (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

If last year's coin toss is any indication, Sunday's Seahawks-Redskins game could be pretty interesting. (Pro Football Talk)

And Brandon Browner, back from his four-game suspension, is lookng forward to it. (AP)

That's six career Offensive Player of the Month awards for Peyton Manning, yet another NFL record. (AP)

Didn't take long for Ray Lewis to line up his next gig. (CSN Baltimore)

Count John Madden among those who thinks Chuck Pagano's experiences in Baltimore give him an edge as he prepares the Colts for Sunday's game against the Ravens. (CSN Baltimore)

Speaking of Colts' coaches -- assistants, anyway -- Indianapolis has given the Bears permission to interview Bruce Arians. (AP)

Guess there really were no hard feelings: Andy Reid's set to hire Juan Castillo, whom he -- or at least the Eagles -- fired as defensive coordinator in October, on his next staff. (CSN Philly)

And it looks like that reunion will take place in Kansas City. (AP)

The Cardinals, thought to be the odds-on favorite in the Reid Sweepstakes earlier this week, have moved on; now they're getting ready to interview ex-Chiefs coach and current Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley . . . who, incidentally, was also Arizona's offensive coordinator during its 2008 Super Bowl run. (AP)

The Eagles head West in their search for a new coach. (CSN Philly)

Lovie Smith to Buffalo? Maybe. (Pro Football Talk)

Josh Brent was drunk when he got into the accident that killed Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr., but the Medical Examiner's Office says Brown was sober when he died. (AP)

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

FOXBORO  -- To think there’d be no further questions about the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo dynamic when Brady’s four-game suspension ends would be moronic.

Bill Belichick won’t like them. He’s destined to give them the verbal Heisman. But there are aspects to the story which demand further interrogation.

So there’s those questions. And then there’s baiting for the sake of baiting, which is what happened Friday morning.

A reporter asked Belichick, “You said Tom will start when he’s eligible. Can you think of an occasion when you named a Week 5 starter in July?”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said.

“What happens if Jimmy plays better?”

“Look, I told you what’s gonna happen,” Belichick answered.

Pressing on, the reporter began, “So there’s no, there’s, there’s . . . ”

At that point, with Belichick reacting like he’d come open a month-old-corpse and muttering, “Jesus Christ," the reporter cut himself off.

I’ve been trying to steer clear of the media ombudsman business. But this stuff makes it hard. The first question was obtuse in the extreme. I don’t even know how that gets formulated.
This is not a Brady-Bledsoe scenario.

You have the best quarterback of his generation who – 17 months ago – took down what was supposed to be one of the great defenses in NFL history in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. A guy who got smashed all over the field in Denver at the age of 38 and still almost pulled out a win last January.

When that guy’s cleared to play, you sprint him onto the field regardless of the circumstances.

“If Jimmy plays better . . . ”? Better than what? Better than 11 touchdowns, no picks, 116-for-160 and 1,547 yards, which is what Brady did in the first four games last season? Better than Brady played in Denver while getting his head caved in every other play?

I understand that sometimes you have to ask the dumb question to get something on the record, but this was not that. This seemed like someone who really thought he was onto something. Was going to paint Belichick into an uncomfortable corner and hang him with his own words.

Sorry, counselor.

Now, you and I can sit on the front stoop and wonder what happens if Garoppolo plays ridiculously well then Brady comes back and spends four weeks playing like he’s never been on a field before and is clearly an impediment to the team’s success.

Won’t happen. But we can talk about it.

Asking Belichick if he’s gonna go with the hot hand when two days prior he told you what he was going to do is asking for a JC response.

Belichick probably figured that stating Brady was the Week 5 starter before he was asked was the best way to defuse idle speculation. “We’ll see . . . ” or “We always do what’s best for the football team . . . ” would have ignited a thousand hours of conversation about the budding quarterback controversy in New England.

Belichick now knows that the speculation and scenario spinning is coming anyway. JC may hear his name muttered a few more times from the podium between now and October.