After leading the Trojans to a 38--24 Rose Bowl win over Penn State, the junior is pondering his future.
Mark Sanchez: First let me say that I heard your Matt Millen interview. Usually I'm really impressed with your interviews, but I don't know if the Millen one was your best. [Laughs.]
Dan Patrick: Funny you mention that, because I was just going to bring up the Oregon State game [which the Beavers won 27--21].
MS: I knew I shouldn't have said that.
DP: Are you eager for the Lions to draft you next year?
MS: Oh, God, I have no idea. I still haven't figured out what I plan to do. I'm going to investigate further and see if there's a compelling reason to enter the draft.
DP: What would be the reason you'd come back to USC?
MS: It's an awesome program, and I love being a part of it. I'd get a lot more experience, but at the same time, the NFL draft is all about timing.
DP: Going into the Penn State game, if I said you were going to win by one, would that be enough?
MS: If it was 64--63.
DP: But you knew you had to have a blowout to make a statement that you're the best team in the country.
MS: Sure, but I didn't think about the score that much. Coach Carroll doesn't prepare us like that.
DP: What does [Oklahoma QB] Sam Bradford do better than you?
MS: He's a great quarterback, very accurate. They throw the heck out of the ball.
DP: Is he better than you?
MS: That's for people like you to decide.
DP: When was the last time you were mistaken for Vinny Chase of Entourage?
MS: When we played Arizona State this year, they put up both of our pictures on TV. And I've gotten it a couple times before, people telling me, "Hey, you really look like that guy." Never met him, but he looks like a cool guy.
DP: Has Paris Hilton called? I thought Paris had a direct pipeline to USC quarterbacks.
MS: No, I haven't gotten any calls from Paris Hilton. I don't think my mom would be too happy about that.
THE NHL'S outdoor game is fast becoming one of each year's must-see sporting events. Why haven't other sports followed hockey's lead and staged a game in an old-school venue? A few suggestions.
Have the Yankees and Mets play on Flatbush Avenue using broomsticks and spaldeens. Whoever's ahead at dinnertime is the winner.
Venice Beach, Lakers (shirts) against Celtics (skins). Cavs get the winners, provided LeBron is the first to call "next."
Each driver gets $15,000 to buy a plain old sedan from the local dealership, then has to haul a load of moonshine from a still in the hills to a speakeasy in Level Cross. Getting pulled over by the law at any point is an automatic DQ.
• BOSTON MARATHON
No more roping off the streets so 25,000 people can run unbothered and be handed Gatorade every mile. Do it like they did it in the old days: Runners have to dodge angry drivers and are rewarded at the finish line with a hearty bowl of beef stew.
Hit the Road, Self
LAST SATURDAY, I asked Matt Millen, who was let go as the Lion's President in the midst of the team's 0--16 season (page 56), if he would have fired himself. "Yeah, I would have," he said. "Probably not this year, until after the season. Because when you start having change in an organization, it filters down to the locker room, and that's a tough position for [a coach] to be in."
Read My Lips
WATCHING THE Cardinals beat the Falcons, I was struck by how quickly Arizona's defensive linemen got off the ball. Arizona defensive end Bertrand Berry explained why: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was using the same snap count—one—on every play. So when Ryan said, "Set," Berry and his linemates knew that the snap would come on the next sound. And they got even better jumps by watching Ryan's mouth and taking off as soon as his lips started to move. "You have to be a great lip-reader to be a defensive lineman," Berry said.
THE FINE PRINT: Tickets for the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field were going for $10,000 a seat on StubHub—and $150,000 a seat from Rod Blagojevich.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more from Mark Sanchez and other recent interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m.-noon ET, Mon.-Fri.
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER
JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY IMAGES (WRIGLEY)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BERRY)
STEVE DIPAOLA/REUTERS (SANCHEZ)