Before I start my beloved sports page, I thought I'd note that Scrappy and I saw the fox again Friday. He was running down the main trail all the way around a bend and out of sight. We went on to explore that previously unexplored north side of the creek. Scrappy actually climbed down a rock and jumped into the water! He waded around, drinking and splashing, until I asked him what he was doing and he discovered he wasn't quite sure how he was getting out. Today we found an easy way out of the back trail from Scrappy's landing, and discovered a large roll of fence. If we ever need it, we'll just have to figure a way to get it out that doesn't involve a crane, chopper, or bulldozer.
I find I have to submit this week, at least, to the AP choice for number one. Delaware loses the top spot after losing a desperate winner-take-all battle with William and Mary, 17-16, and drops to 3rd. Appalachian St. assumes the top spot with a 37-14 rout of Western Carolina. Liberty was idle and holds onto the second spot, as does #4 Wofford (28-21 over Elon), #5 Jacksonville St. (56-3 over Austin Peay), and #6 Bethune-Cookman (23-10 over NC Central). The Tribe of William and Mary move from 10 to 7 with their win over #1; and Jacksonville gets a little more love after a 56-14 win over Marist(which gives them a 2-week total of 142-21) and jumps 6 notches to #8. Montana St. (37-35 over Northern Colorado) and SF Austin (31-28 over Sam Houston St.) each drop a notch, to 9 and 10 respectively, after lackluster wins. Idle Western Illinois holds at 11th; Villanova moves up a spot to 12 after a tough 14-7 win over rapidly dropping James Madison, who fall 11 spots to 18th just 2 weeks after being #1. SE Missouri St. rises 4 to 13th with a 41-20 rout of Eastern Kentucky; Dayton up 2 to 14th after topping Campbell 41-23; Robert Morris takes a week off and holds at 15th. North Dakota St. wins a 27-15 game against surprisingly tough Indiana St. to climb 2 spots to 16th. New Hampshire enters the count this week at 17 after knocking swiftly imploding UMass out of the list, 39-13. South Carolina St. leapfrogs Montana with a 17-7 win over previously 5-1 Hampton, while Montana pulls out a last second 24-21 win over stubborn Northern Arizona to hang on to 20th. Next week, William and Mary finally face their big-boy game against North Carolina; Appalachian (Furman), 'Nova (Richmond), and Western Illinois (Illinois St.) all face tough opponents, and the two poster children for self destruction, James Madison and UMass, play each other in a game somebody has to win.
Euro hockey updates:
UK: Defending playoff champ Belfast Giants lead the EIHL with a 12-1-1 record, 7 pts up on 2nd place Nottingham.
France(Ligue Magnus): The season is just 3 games in; defending champ Rouen is one of 4 teams with 6 pts.
Italy: Serie A has Valpusteria 6 out in front of 2009-10 regular season champ Renon; playoff champ Asiago is 13 back.
Switzerland: The Kloten Flyers lead National League A by 8 over EV Zug; SC Bern is in 4th.
Austria: KAC Klagenfurt leads the Erste-bank Liga by 2 over VSV Villach; defending champ Red Bull Salzburg is third 6 pts back.
Germany: Defending champ Hanover Scorpions lead the DEL by 2 pts over Adler Mannheim; the Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams are 3rd, 3 points out.
Czech Rep.: HC Mountfield (out of Ceske Budejovice; sponsor Mountfield is Europe's largest lawn mower manufacturer) leads the Extraliga by 1 point over defending playoff champ Vitkovice Steel and Ocelasi Trinec; last year's best regular season teams, Slavia Praha and Eaton Pardubice, are mired in mid-pack, as is almost-KHL member Karlovy Vary.
Slovakia: Slovak Extraliga 2009-10 champ HC Kosice leads HC 05 Banska Bystrica by 6 pts; regular season winner last year Slovan Bratislava also is stuck in mid-pack, along with the other almost-KHL team, HC Poprad.
Norway: The 2 teams that played for the 2009-10 GET-Ligaen crown are 2nd and 3rd right now; Sparta Sarpsborg leads runner up Stavenger Oilers by 3 and champ Valerenga HC by 4.
Denmark: As expected, defending champ SonderjsykE are running away with the AL Bank-Ligaen by 10 points over Blue Fox Herning.
Sweden: Lulea leads the Eliteserien by 6 points over Linkoping; again, the more prominent members of the league (many of which had threatened to bolt the league for the KHL last spring) are mired in mid-pack.
Finland(S-M Liga): JYP Jyvaskyla leads HIFK Helsinki by 4 pts; the incredible news is that 2009-10 playoff champ TPS Turku are 0-13-3!
Russia: KHL East is led by the merged UHC Dynamo Moscow team by 3 over surprising Severstal Cherpovets; 5 teams are within 6 points, including my 5th-place Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The West is headed by an equally surprising pair: Metallurg Magnitogorsk holds the league's best record and a 4 point lead over Avangard Omsk. Also shockingly, the 3rd place team is the one new team that actually made the trip to the KHL- Yugra- 6 points back. KC's Neftekhimik team is 5 points ahead of the next team in the battle for the last playoff spot and 8 behind 7th place Sibir.
Asia League: Korea's Anyang Halla, the defending champs, lead two Japanese teams, Oji Eagles and Tohoku Free Blades, by 2 points; the single Chinese entry, China Dragons, have one OT loss and 8 losses in 9 games. At least the website is working now.