It's Friday, and that means there's a lot of good stuff for most everyone. For us, it means mailbag. You asked, we answered, no big whoop. We added a special Ebonezer Scrooge/Old Man Potter answer to each question as a tip of the hat to the season and our first question.
From the "Mama McNabb stage at the Al Davis studio," here we go:
James Stewart, left, Thomas Mitchell, right, and Donna Reed appear in the 1946 movie "It's A Wonderful Life." After 50 years, ``It's a Wonderful Life'' has yet to outstay its holiday welcome. As sure as egg nog and overspending, the Frank Capra film is woven into America's yuletide experience. (AP Photo/Files)
I think the 5@10 is great. Really. And I have enjoyed the Christmas-related questions this week. Nice touch.
Here's a Christmas question for you -- What's your favorite Christmas movie or TV special?
Thanks and thanks for the 5@10.
Thanks for the kind words. We have been blessed with a great family that has always loved Christmas, so it's always been a special time in our house.
That said, the top 5 Christmas movies/TV specials is a tough one. There are so many great ones that won't make the cut, including a "Christmas Carol" which is alongside "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Bad News Bears" in the hall of fame of ripped of story lines.
Think about it, how many love stories are based in the Romeo and Juliet mold, and every sports movie about kids can be traced back to TBNB in some story arc. Dickens' Christmas classic is in the same group.
With that in mind — and with the front-end admission that although "Die Hard" happens around Christmas, it's not a Christmas movie — let's go old-school with a top-5 list in 10 words or less (the fan-favorite 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10):
1) "It's a Wonderful Life" — The gold-plated standard
2) "Christmas Vacation" — A comedy classic, regardless of season: "Merry Christmas, Clark"
3) "Love Actually" — Not a traditional Christmas story, but great nonetheless
4) Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas — Our favorite as a kid is way, Way, WAY underrated
5) "A Christmas Story" — "You'll shoot your eye out."
(Sidenote: If we had a No. 6, we'd probably go "Scrooged" with Bill Murray. There are simply too many great ones and we're sure we're forgetting a golden choice.)
In honor of Mr. Potter, the villain in "It's a Wonderful Life," who is the Babe Ruth of movie bad guys by the way, we'll offer a bad choice: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey. No thanks. Ever.
Xavier center Kenny Frease covers his swollen eye as he walks off the floor after Xavier defeated Cincinnati 76-53 in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Cincinnati. Frease was hit in the eye during a fight at the end of the game. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
From Celtic Vol
So I’m laying on my couch Saturday night watching Sportscenter when I see one of the worst brawls in sports history. I’m thinking to myself this is so bad for Xavier and Cincinnati. After the highlights they show the player from Xavier who stated that ‘his team was a bunch of gangsters…’ Then they show the Mick Cronin press conference. I don’t know about you 5@10, but that press conference may have been the best one I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a coach take responsibility like Cronin did. I believe Cronin won a lot of fans out of a very bad situation. What are your thoughts on Cronin and the brawl?
The brawl was awful. Awful.
And it was bad on a lot of fronts: It took an intense moment (which are great for sports) and made it an out-of-control moment (which are awful for sports); it personified some of the negative stereotypes about college basketball players (and Tu Holloway's gangster comments did not help); it also did a disservice to college hoops in general since that was rightly the top story from last Saturday, which otherwise was a great day for college basketball with Indiana upsetting Kentucky and a very good game between Kansas and Ohio State.
Cronin's postgame remarks were spot on. Spot on. That said, his post-press conference actions were not strong enough, especially for Yancy Gates, who landed multiple punches. Gates was suspended for six games. It should have been for the rest of the season.
Cronin's discipline was better than Xavier's, however. Holloway one-game suspension was way, Way, WAY too light, especially considering he's the best player that was involved. When a team hands the best player involved a slap on the wrist, who's supposed to take that seriously? Certainly not a bunch of gangsters.
Mr. Potter/Scrooge answer: If Cronin's ownership of the moment was a 10, this guy's is a negative-4 trillion. One of the new attorneys hired by Jerry Sandusky is floating the possible defense that Sandusky may have been teaching those boys "how" to shower. Here's the story (Attorney: Sandusky may have been teaching kids to shower), and now pass the Goody's Headache Powders. Sweet buckets of bullets and bombshells, we're ready for Sandusky to go to jail. Forever.
I'm pretty excited because I love the bowl games, and this year, being a Tennessee fan, I don't have to get all worried and stressed about how the Vols are going to do this bowl season. It's great. I'm being sarcastic of course.
Without the Vols in the bowl mix, the offseason seems empty. What bowl games should I keep an eye out for and which ones are you going to watch? Thanks, and I love the contests because I like to win stuff.
PS. You still talk to much.
Thanks as always for the reminder about how much we talk. It's appreciated. We're being sarcastic of course.
This is a tough bowl season for UT fans. There's no hoops excitement to distract Johnny Vols Fans, either.
Our college football ace David Paschall will have his bowl rankings in Sunday's paper, and we'll let him detail the best games. Here are three non-traditional/lower-key games we're interested in:
So long Kellen Moore Bowl: Seems Boise State and college football's all-time winningest quarterback deserved a better finale than playing Arizona State and its new head scumbag Todd Graham in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.
Game of the Century, circa 1993: Notre Dame and Florida State played the 1993 version of this year's LSU-Alabama game. Now they meet in the Champs Sports Bowl. This could have easily been a BCS matchup if not for Notre Dame's early-season turnover troubles and some FSU injuries.
The Urban Meyer Bowl: Ohio State vs. Florida in the Gator Bowl could be awesome. Think back to college and introducing your new girlfriend to your old girlfriend, and then having them go play tackle football. Good times.
Mr. Potter/Scrooge answer: The 5-at-10 loves the bowl season. Seriously. But one of the worst changes in sports, in our view, is the expanded bowl calendar. New Year's Day used to be AWESOME. Plop down and watch college football all day with multiple games on multiple channels all day long.
Now that the calendar is spread out — the Sugar Bowl is on Jan. 3, the Orange is Jan. 4 and the Cotton Bowl is Jan. 6 for crying out loud — and almost all the games are on the same channel, New Year's Day is hollow by comparison. Think back to last year when Alabama was hammering Michigan State and Mississippi State was thumping Michigan — those were the only games on. In years past, you would have had several options. Put them all on New Year's Day. Plus this year, since New Year's Day is the final Sunday of the NFL season, the New Year's Day games are on Jan. 2. Less than stellar, gang.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn looks at the scoreboard during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
What happened to the bowl contest? I checked back Wednesday... nothing. Thursday... nothing.
What gives? And I thought you're view on Malzahn was pretty much on target.
Here's the list of 21 games for the Winners/Losers Bowl-a-palooza. And here are the ground rules:
— All entries must be received by 5 p.m., Dec. 22. E-mailing the entries to email@example.com would probably be best.
— The point tiers are pretty obvious (i.e., one-point games are worth one point, etc.). If you pick the winner with the point spread factored in, you get the points; if you miss it you have those points subtracted.
— There will be prizes for first (the most points) and last (the lowest number of points). We may add some prizes for second and third depending on how many people play.
— These are the point-spreads we're going with, so even if somebody gets suspended between now and then (yes, we're looking at you Auburn), these points-spreads will stand.
— Remember, this is supposed to be for fun and smack-talking rights of the 5-at-10.
If you have any questions, let us know. Copy and paste the games and e-mail your picks to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arizona State vs. Boise State (-13.5)
Nevada vs. Southern Miss (-5.5)
UNC vs. Missouri (-3.5)
California vs. Texas (-3)
Notre Dame vs. Florida State (-2.5)
Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State (-7)
Northwestern vs. Texas A&M (-11)
Utah vs. Georgia Tech (-3.5)
Cincy vs. Vandy (-2)
Virginia vs. Auburn (even)
Penn State vs. Houston (-9)
Michigan State vs. Georgia (-2)
South Carolina vs. Nebraska (-1)
Ohio State vs. Florida (-1.5)
Wisconsin vs. Oregon (-6.5)
Stanford vs. Oklahoma State (-3.5)
Virginia Tech vs. Michigan (-1.5)
West Virginia vs. Clemson (-3.5)
Kansas State vs. Arkansas (-8.5)
Alabama vs. LSU (-2)
Mr. Potter/Scrooge answer: Stupid Clemson — which accounted for seven losses in the 5-at-10's overall record against the spread of 41-21-1 in the Fab 4 (plus-1) picks this season. That's right, without Clemson involved, we were 41-14-1. Get you some of that. Stupid Clemson. That said, we had to include them in the contest. Best of luck with that. Here's the safe pick in picking Clemson — find out what the 5-at-10 did and go in the opposite direction. That may be the single best pick of the bowl season. Stupid Clemson.
This April 4, 1983 file photo shows North Carolina State's Lorenzo Charles (43) dunking the ball in the basket to give N.C. State a 54-52 win over Houston in the NCAA Championship game in Albuquerque, N.M. A tour bus official says the former North Carolina State basketball star , was killed when a bus he was driving crashed in Raleigh. Charles was 47. (AP Photo/File)
Yesterday, ESPN broadcast their Top Ten All Time Buzzer Beaters. They claim Lorenzo Charles' put back to give Jimmy V. the title is #1, ahead of Laettner's shot to beat KY. Can that be right? Is it arguable?
Would The Mocs beating UK at Rupp help? Is there even a betting line on that one? Maybe a Friday bag question. Or predict the margin.
Let's take the second part first. A Mocs win over this UK team in Rupp would be the biggest UTC upset EVER. And it's not even close. In fact, if you goggle "uk-utc line" you get a bunch of references to Greenwich Mean Time. So there's that. We can't find a line, but expect one later today.
That said, would you be comfortable with UTC plus-40 points? Plus-50?
As for the buzzer beaters, we agree with you. Although late commenter Pagerone made a great point Thursday that LoCharles' put back did win the NCAA title, an argument could be made that since Duke went on to repeat as the champ with two more wins after Christian Laettner's miracle jumper, that his shot eventually won an NCAA title, too. And magnitude of the moment has to count for something.
Here's our top 5 (and this was a spit-ball, off-the-top-of-our head list):
1) Laettner's shot (although this video of Chris Farley doing a Laettner impression may be better).
2) Lorenzo Charles' dunk. While it did not have the drama of Laettner's impossible game-winner, there's an argument to be made that this was the most important moment in sports history. Think about it this way — that dunk made a star out of then-N.C. State coach Jimmy Valvano and his crazed lap around the court looking for some hug after the NCAA championship win. Without that win, Jimmy V's rise in the basketball world may not have happened; his fight with cancer would have gotten a lot less publicity; his memorable ESPY speech may not have occurred so maybe the Jimmy V Foundation does not get started. The Jimmy V Foundation has raised almost $100 million in its fight against cancer, and it all started with Lo Charles' dunk.
3) Keith Smart's winner from the baseline to give Indiana the 1987 title
4) Bryce Drew from the wing for Valpo (great play design, too).
5) James Forest hitting a turnaround 3 to lift Georgia Tech over USC many moons ago.
Mr. Potter/Scrooge answer: Lo Charles' dunk was awful for the then-12-year-old 5-at-10. We so wanted Houston — Phi Slamma Jamma was awesome in its awesomeness — to win that title. Alas.
Thoughts, and enjoy the weekend.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...