Darting here and there ...

Û Tougher 49ers schedule this year? After what was wrought in Week 1, perhaps only for their opponents.

Û If just for one game, the 2005 draft and the decision between Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers went the right way.

Û Come on, Jim Harbaugh, if Jim Schwartz still has his shorts in a wrinkle over "The Handshake," give him the ol' joy buzzer this time.

Û Why do coaches shake hands after NFL games anyway? In the NBA, NHL and MLB, you're lucky if you get a blown kiss.

Û Preseason whispers of Frank Gore's demise as an elite back might have been a bit premature. It appears Frank heard some of those whispers, too.

Û David Akers covered some serious acreage with that 63-yarder in Green Bay. And then a good kick off the crossbar to boot.

Û You would think fixing the Raiders special teams issues would be a snap, but we'll see.

Û Oakland G.M. Reggie McKenzie wisely dissed the idea of signing Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burriss or Chad Johnson. Talk about picking your poison. That's like choosing between arsenic, hemlock and strychnine.

Û Dennis Allen is not exactly Jon Gruden -- or Harbaugh, for that matter -- when it comes to sideline demeanor. We've seen more emotion in high school math teachers.

Û If Robert Griffin III was Peyton Manning-like in his NFL debut, at least Andrew Luck didn't play the part of Ryan Leaf. He did throw for 300-plus yards, and he didn't throw any tantrums, either.

Û We don't see that the NFL replacement referees are that much worse than the regular zebras. But, yes, it's early.

Û Buster Posey MVP file: If Posey winds up leading the National League in on-base percentage -- he was the qualifying leader at .408 entering Friday -- he'd be the first N.L. catcher to do so since 1906 (Roger Bresnahan).

Û It could also create a bit of a flap if Posey finishes second to Melky Cabrera in the batting race. No catcher has won the N.L. batting title since Ernie Lombardi -- in 1942. And Melky could stand in the way?

Û It seemed unthinkable in July, but if the Giants were picking a fourth starter for the playoffs right now, Barry Zito would seem to be a better choice than Ryan Vogelsong.

Û The A's likely will ride this out with a rotation featuring four guys born in 1988 -- Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily -- and Tommy "Methuselah" Milone, who was born in 1987.

Û Best bet of the five to start a one-game wild-card playoff? At this point, Griffin -- one walk in four starts -- would appear to be the surest option. Besides, those glasses are ultracool.

Û FYI, for you folks who follow star charts, the 1988 A's also won 104 games and made their first of three straight trips to the World Series.

Û Oakland-Baltimore monster mid-September weekend series. Right, we all had that circled on our calendars in early April (for our last summer trip to Tahoe).

Û If humor is the cure for what ails you, Brandon McCarthy is doing just fine. One of his latest on Twitter: "Bad news: Doc says I might be one of those people who posts motivational nonsense all day on Facebook now."

Û McCarthy loses tweet of the week to Jerry Blevins, though: "Where's my pie, guys?"

Û For all the billions invested in them, thank goodness the Dodgers' performance is not tied to our 401(k)s (or maybe it is, and we'd better check).

Û So at what point do the Dodgers can Don Mattingly and grossly overpay Tony La Russa to come out of retirement?

Û Or perhaps now that Magic Johnson's one of the guys in charge, they'll make a play for Phil Jackson.

Û Remember that home run Nate Schierholtz hit in his first game with the Phillies? It's still the only one he's hit. Nate's hitting .200 with four RBIs in 22 games and entered Friday on 2-for-23 skid.

Û Scavenging for silver linings for Cal at Ohio State. Well, at least they won't have to face future two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin as they did in 1972 (Griffin was a freshman that year).

Û Meanwhile, Stanford has never beaten USC four times in a row in football. The Cardinal might never get a better chance than Saturday, even if it's a puncher's chance.

Û It's uncertain if he'd be willing to come up 8 pounds in weight, but Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would seem the most natural mega-millions pay-per-view opponent out there for Andre Ward. That one might sell out the Coliseum -- the outdoor part.

Û Finally, an impending NHL lockout? Seriously? Get back to work, you clowns.

Contact Carl Steward at csteward@bayareanewsgroup.com. More darting on Twitter: @stewardsfolly.