- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Clemson has been very good to me and my family.” — Tommy Bowden, who was fired as the Tigers’ football coach Monday after a 3-3 start

TAKE YOUR PICK » Which two teams will reach the World Series?

A. Phillies — Philadelphia has an explosive boom-bust offense crammed with speed and power, but starting pitching is a definite concern. After ace Cole Hamels, things get dicey with erratic Brett Myers and ancient Jamie Moyer.

B. Dodgers — Nobody has been hotter of late than the Dodgers. With cagey skipper Joe Torre and batting savant Manny Ramirez leading the way, Los Angeles is going to be a nasty out.

C. Red Sox — The best team money can buy comes at opponents with seemingly endless waves of hitting and pitching. No other team could absorb the loss of a player like Mike Lowell without blinking.

D. Rays — Baseball’s precocious band of brothers is defined by relative anonymity, but Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Akinori Iwamura and Co. can play. The young players held up down the stretch in the regular season even with the powerful Red Sox lurking in second place.

Our take — We’ll go with the conventional wisdom and call a Philadelphia vs. Boston series. The Dodgers are this season’s Florida Marlins, a wild card team that played lousy baseball until well after the All-Star break, bought one player and lucked into the NLCS. Tampa Bay is due to crack the Red Sox, who have supplanted the Yankees as baseball’s overpriced, easily loathed evil empire.

The Phillies and Rays are easily the most lovable teams in the mix, but it’s hard to root for the Rays when nobody in that city really seems to care. With its blend of blue-collar grinders (Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Jayson Werth) and homegrown second-tier stars (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins), Philadelphia is the pick to triumph over Boston.

TWT FIVE » Ranking the region’s college hoops teams

1. Georgetown — Will struggle early after departure of Hibbert and Wallace but should gel late and make the NCAA tournament.

2. American — It is everybody’s favorite to win the Patriot League.

3. Maryland — Nobody is picking the Terps higher than eighth in the ACC.

4. Navy — It is the only team that swept American in 2007-08.

5. Mount St. Mary’s — The Mountaineers are the slight favorites in a wide-open Northeast Conference.

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