Let's get right to it:

-My take on Mark McGwire: If you're going to confess, you might as well go all the way. Yes, you took steroids to improve your performance. Just admit it already. The more honest your confession, the faster the story recedes into history.

I will vote for McGwire as a Hall of Famer for the same reasons I've always stated I would vote for Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez: They are the players who excelled in the context of the era in which they played. To ban them, in my mind, would be the same as banning white players who didn't have to compete against black players, or pitchers who had the advantage of a tall mound and lifeless baseball, or home-run hitters who excelled in smaller parks.

I am not defending them. I am not condoning their actions. I just think public humiliation is its own punishment, and I think they belong in the Hall not as a reward to them but as an example of players who excelled in their era. They are the best of the steroid era.

If you want to keep them out, then I believe you should keep out everyone from this era, because I believe a high percentage of players from this era used steroids or some other performance-enhancing drug. I believe McGwire and his ilk go into the Hall, and their plaques include mention of their steroid use as well as their accomplishments.

I know this is an unpopular stance, but this is what I believe has to happen, unless we're all willing to blackball an entire generation of players.

-Lane Kiffin is getting bashed all over the country. Dislike him if you want, but I believe that if the contract you signed is not binding, then you are entitled to seek the best deal for you and your family.

USC is a better job, at least for Kiffin, than Tennessee. It's a better football program in a better location with less competition and a better recruiting base. He doesn't have to face Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. And the fan base won't threaten bodily harm if he decides to leave.

These are two-way relationships: Coaches get fired all the time, even when they're ethical. So they are entitled to cut the best deal possible, and for Kiffin, USC is a much better deal.

The only part of these stories that bothers me is that recruits are the only people who can't cut their own deal. I believe scholarship athletes should be as free as everyone else in America. They should be able to leave without penalty at any time, just like an employee.

Why should a commitment made by an 18-year-old be binding if commitments made by adults and professionals are not?

-I believe Pete Carroll will win big in Seattle. All he needs is a franchise quarterback. He's in a lousy division that could become even worse if Kurt Warner retires. I think Carroll is smart and adaptable and will be a better NFL coach this time around - and he wasn't bad last time around.

-The farther we get into the week, the more I think the Cowboys are overrated and the Vikings will win on Sunday.

It wasn't that long ago that the Cowboys lost to a Giants team that quit against Carolina at home and didn't show up at the Metrodome. I sense a big game from Favre.

-Upcoming: Working on a historical column for the Friday paper on the Vikings-Cowboys rivalry. I'm writing for Saturday and Sunday, too. I'll be on with Reusse at 6:40 a.m. Thursday and Friday on am-1500, and on WJON at 7:14 a.m. every weekday in St. Cloud. My FSN debate is Friday night in the Timberwolves' pregame show.

You can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.

I'll be posting daily this week. Seems there's a big game in town.



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