Pete Mcentegart
Thursday January 20th, 2005

1. Notre Dame, coming off a 41-10 loss to USC on Saturday that left it at 6-5, announced on Sunday that it will accept a bid to the Dec. 28 Insight Bowl. Upon hearing the news, the echoes awoke in a cold sweat before quickly going back to sleep.

2. The Bengals beat the Browns 58-48 on Sunday in the second-highest-scoring game in NFL history. In the loss, Cleveland accumulated 462 total yards, 23 first downs and four Nick Saban coaching rumors.

3. The Bears, who have been beset by quarterback problems since losing Rex Grossman to season-ending knee surgery in September, are expected to sign 36-year-old Jeff George on Monday. George, the No. 1 pick in the 1990 draft, hasn't played since the 2001 season. George says he is eager to learn the Bears playbook and argue with some new coaches.

4. Not even State Farm settles claims this quickly: The Jaguars' director of ticket operations was arrested last week after police said he hit a car twice while driving drunk and offered two Super Bowl tickets to the driver if she didn't report the crashes. Jacksonville will host the Super Bowl on Feb. 6., and team employees have the right to buy two tickets.

5. Last week in this space, the 10 Spot joked about the numerical oddity that each of the first touchdown passes by Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning traveled 6 yards and noted that 6-6-6 is the number of the devil. Yet the spooky connection to the devious digit continues. Consider that on Thanksgiving, Peyton threw six touchdown passes, while on Sunday Eli completed six passes and Fox showed six shots of Archie in the stands. OK, we made that last one up, but something strange is going on here.

6. Aaron Spelling is developing a prime time TV drama for the WB network about the Indy Racing League. The working title is Silicone Alley.

7. It can't be easy to be a Missouri fan these days. The football team entered the season with high hopes and a Heisman candidate (quarterback Brad Smith) but finished 5-6, while Quin Snyder's basketball team has run into NCAA trouble. Now the school's arena is in hot water, in a matter of speaking. Until Friday, the school's basketball team played in the Paige Sports Arena, named after Paige Laurie, the daughter of Bill and Nancy Laurie. Nancy Laurie is a daughter of the late Bud Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, and the Lauries gave $25 million toward the arena's construction to receive naming rights. The 22-year-old Paige is in dutch after a 20/20 report in which her former freshman roommate at USC alleged that Paige paid her thousands of dollars to do Paige's schoolwork. That's why on Friday, the building was renamed the Mizzou Arena. It seems that the second choice, the Target Center, was already taken.

8. Are cheeseburgers the new dinner of champions? One could draw that conclusion from the news that Bills coach Mike Mularkey, despairing at his team's woeful road record (0-4 this season and 2-14 over its last 16 away games), asked Eagles coach Andy Reid if he had any tips. Reid said he always feeds his team cheeseburgers the day before a road game. So Mularkey planned to do that on Saturday, the day before the Bills played at Seattle. The Bills promptly laid a 38-9 whopper on the Seahawks. This seems a commercial tie-in that's just begging to be exploited.

9. Reality TV update: The Donald booted young debater Andy on Thursday's Apprentice, primarily because he sat stone-faced as Sandy and 10 Spot favorite Jen M. battled bitterly on either side of him. The 10 Spot is starting to tire of these backstabbers, especially since most of them are trying to backstab Jen. Still, the path seems increasingly clear for Kelly, the 37-year-old former military man who has become insufferably cocky. Regardless, the real reality news of the week is that the 10 Spot has finally climbed aboard for The Amazing Race, which combines frantic world travel with combustible human relationships on its two-person teams. You should tune in just to root against Jonathan, who constantly harangues his poor wife, Victoria.

10. Jeopardy update: Ken Jennings returned to the screen last week for three more dominating victories. He banked a total of $136,699 for the three wins. His six opponents, meanwhile, combined for $6,500. That gives Ken a total of $2,491,700 in, by our calculations, 73 victories. That means that if the Internet reports are true -- and aren't they always? -- Ken will lose sometime this week, probably on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

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