The first Best of the Web for 2011 is action packed, so much so that you might want to wear a helmet with all of the links thrown about. A fiancee for Big Ben, the Pitt coaching carousel, ranking the NFL QBs, Pirate prospect news, and Pitt’s behind-the-scenes TV show are just a few of the 20 links we’ll be tackling this week. Just don’t tackle too hard, and don’t lead with the crown of your helmet.
Meet Ashley Harlan, the alleged future-Mrs. Ben Roethlisberger. So where does this leave Missy Peregrym? [TMZ]
And to top off his week of big news, Big Ben won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 280 yards and 2 TDs in the blowout win at Cleveland on Sunday. I’m sure it means almost as much as those two Super Bowls he’s won. [Steelers.com]
John Clayton ranked the NFL quarterbacks, and Roethlisberger came in at #4, behind the usual Brady/Manning/Brees combination. I like John Clayton, but to have Roethlisberger in the same “Elite” category as Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, and Matt Schaub sorta kills this one from the get-go. [ESPN]
Here’s Renegade, lip-synched by students at Chartiers Valley. Personally, I go for Keenan Cahill when I watch internet lip-synch videos, but I must say, this wasn’t bad.
If you bet on the over/under of Steelers wins this season at over-9, you, my friend, are a big winner. [Yahoo!]
Should Mike Tomlin be named the NFL Coach of the Year? You sure won’t get any arguments from me. [Behind the Steel Curtain]
James Walker outlines four reasons why the Steelers are ready for a Super Bowl run. Spoiler alert: Ben’s engagement is not on the list.[ESPN AFC North Blog]
Four Penguins were named to the NHL All-Star Game as voted by fans, including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury. That’s right, the same Marc-Andre Fleury Penguin fans were running out of town a few months ago. [PittsburghPenguins.com]
The Winter Classic was moved to 8 PM for weather reasons, but should the NHL consider a permanent switch to prime time based on the ever-important TV ratings? [Business Insider]
Here’s a list of the Pirates’ Top 20 prospects for 2011. I’m as critical of the Pirates as anyone, but no prospects grade an A? That’s some lofty standards, to quote Peter King. [MinorLeagueBall.com]
Andrew McCutchen seems like he’s a keeper, but what has happened to the other 49 players the Pirates selected in the 2oo5 draft? Here’s a player-by-player look at how they shook out five years later. [Pirates Prospects]
Uber-prospect Anthony Rendon has been given clearance to resume all baseball activities once again, which means we can start counting down the days till the Pirates enter bitter contract negotiations with him. [Rum Bunter]
Big East coaches don’t always have huge success once they leave the conference. Ask Rich Rodriguez, Brian Kelly, Bobby Petrino, and Walt Harris. [ESPN Big East Blog]
Contact has been apparently made between Tom Bradley and Pitt, and it sounds like Dan Rooney and the Steelers had something to do with it. [Redshirt Diaries]
Penn State’s Bradley, Alabama associate head coach Sal Sunseri, Tulsa coach Todd Graham, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and former Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin are candidates to replace Haywood at Pitt, reports ESPN. Rich Rodriguez is apparently not on their radar. [ESPN]
Among the many dysfunctional situations in college football, Rob Bolden vs. Penn State seems to be among the ugliest. [Altoona Mirror]
ESPNU is premiering an “all-access” show behind the scenes of Pitt basketball, airing on the network Jan. 6 at 5 p.m. and Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. If it’s all-access and there’s a guarantee that it will be Bruce Boudreau-free, count me in. [PittsburghPanthers.com]
There’s some roles a-changin’ at the PG, where Colin Dunlap will slide into the Pirate beat job and Dejan Kovacevic moves into a new role writing an all-sports blog at the PG+. [PG]
If you still need a belated Christmas gift for someone, consider a calendar. Actually, consider one of the 6 Best 2011 Sports Calendars, including my favorite, the “America’s Fattest Coaches” calendar. [Sports Pickle]
Don Spagnolo is the founder of the Pittsburgh sports and entertainment blog Mondesi’s House.