Hope you enjoyed the weekend. As a follow-up to our first mailbag last Friday, remember to get in your e-mail early this week. Plus, friend of the show SteelerFan had the wise-n-hammer idea of downloading some corny background nightclub music (like a ba-dum-dum) or a laugh track to cue in after the 5-at-10's "jokes." Well, thanks for the suggestion and the 5-at-10 IT team is right on that. Jackwagon.
Here we go and feel free to add your own sound effects where you see fit...
Gentleman star your engines — You, too, Kyle Busch
OK, football is done. The 5-at-10 has accepted that and moved on. (FYI — Spring college football practice around the South starts as soon as a couple of weeks. Giddy up.)
Major League Baseball starts loosening up this week.
The NBA? Well, not so much.
What's left before we make the March Madness plunge? As friend of the show Larry King would have said, "Daytona, Hello. You're on the air."
After a couple of lackluster seasons — and the unending dominance of Jimmie Johnson — NASCAR needs a big year.
The changes to the point system were cosmetic. (Side note: The Nationwide Series changed the cars, going back to the Fords, Chevys and Dodges that look like the manufacturer's models, and the 5-at-10 is a huge, Huge, HUGE fan of that decision.)
If the Bud Shootouts this weekend were any indication — that repaved Daytona surface looked awesome — maybe this will be the kick off to a bounce-back year NASCAR needs. And the excitement that we, the football-starved sports nuts around the country, are already jonesing for.
College hoops primer, Vol. 4, Chapter 1
The 5-at-10's fourth week of looking around college hoops, and truthfully we know little more than we did when started.
We do know the following:
— There is no heavy favorite this season, and that means March Madness will be madder than ever.
— The fundamental maxim of the importance of point guards is still as solid and strong as golden sayings about the "Pope's funny hat" and "What bears do in the woods."
— The three colleges that get the most attention from the TFP — Tennessee, UTC and Georgia — have assorted tournament chances. Despite losing twice last week, the 15-10 Vols still appear to be on the inside of that bubble (their RPI is 25th). That said, the 5-at-10 continues to fully support SportTalk's Dr. B's position (he's a doctor after all) that the Vols have to get to 18 regular-season wins to get in the dance. UTC will have to win the SoCon tournament, which is doable because the Mocs are tough at home and the tournament is going to be at the Mocs' home. Georgia is on the outside looking in right now, and it will need a big win to change that position.
— Final note: As of right now, it looks like Virginia Tech may be on the outside. The Hokies have struggled of late. Far be it from the 5-at-10 to poke lightheartedly at anyone's struggles, but this is different. A lot of people say that the addition of four teams into the field was in large part because Virginia Tech and coach Seth Greenberg were left out of the last three NCAA tournaments. Now that the tournament has 68 teams, if Virginia Tech is left out, some will call it ironic. The 5-at-10 will call it justice. That is until the folks start bellyaching again and this time in 2015 we'll probably have 96 teams in the doggone thing. Let's just move on.
Great story inside Sunday's TFP by our ace David Paschall about the quarterback prospects in this year's NFL draft class. Read it here.
There are few people in the sports media world that know there stuff as well as Mel Kiper. The guy turned scouting players in public into his own cottage industry, and he's spot on.
It will be interesting to see how Auburn's Cam Newton does at the NFL combine later this month. After showing out in his personal workout last week — check out the quotes and the serious man-crush Trent Dilfer has on Newton — the combine will offer a deeper look. How Newton does off the field in the interviews and on the Wonderlic test likely will be as important as his showing on the field.
Plus, he'll have to address whether he'll be comfortable being a rookie in the NFL and taking a possible paycut from his days at Auburn. Kidding kidding.
Pitchers and catchers report this week around MLB. You know this.
The Phillies are everyone's favorites because they have assembled a starting staff that has grouped the best four stars since John and Paul couldn't see eye-to-eye and Yoko won.
Anyhoo, the most interesting storyline right now — games are still six weeks out and barring injuries there is little to glean from 500-foot homers off guys that will be baggin' groceries by Memorial Day — revolves around Albert Pujols.
The Cards star first baseman has said if he and the team do not agree on an extension before the season starts, he's shutting down talks.
There's an interesting coin flip here: Pujols is seeking a 10-year, $300 million deal, and as far as the 5-at-10 is concerned, no one deserves that type of coin. OK, maybe a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, the guy who cured polio and the fellow that invented the TV remote control (Seriously, TV remote control inventor is the most underrated guy in history. Edison did the lightbulb, and that's great, too, but really ask yourself, which one could you do without? Thought so). On the other hand, baseball owners are the same group that will pay Carlos Pena $10 million next season after he hit .190-something for the Rays last year. So, if Pena's sub-.200 season is worth eight figures, what is the going rate on Pujols, who is on pace to being the game's most prolific hitter of all-time?
This and that from the weekend
There was so much swirling, the 5-at-10 needs an old-school, dot-dash finish. Hold on.
— Tiger Woods melted down on Sunday in Dubai. Hey, it's the desert, melting is allowed. That said, the 5-at-10 couldn't give a flop shot about how many swing changes Eldrick goes through. The 14-time major champion will not be back to being Tiger until he's Tiger on Sunday. Period. And it's way more than the swell red shirt. In fact, until Eldrick gets his Tiger eye back, the 5-at-10 will only accept references to Eldrick. Glad we discussed this.
— More golf: There was great theater at Pebble Beach on Sunday. (Not that the 5-at-10 got to watch. Mrs. 5-at-10 is calling in her markers for being a football widow. Alas.) D.A. Points won for the first time, claiming the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title. His amateur partner was Bill Murray, who after said, "Hey, Lama, how about something, you know, for the effort?"
Murray catapulted into fame as Carl the groundskeeper in"Caddyshack" and has been a fixture and crowd favorite in this event for years. Points, though, was less polished. After the win he said, "It totally took me out of the moment for just enough to kind of help bring me back to life a little bit." Huh? As Carl would say, "He's got that going for him, which is nice."
— The Cavs won Friday, beating the Clippers to end Cleveland's 26-game losing streak. Shocking, but true. Nothing much to add here. OK.
— Full slate of preps on tab this week. From postseason hoops to state wrestling in Tennessee and Georgia, look for it all at the TFP.
— Jadeveon Clowney will end the craziest recruiting season in recent memory. The five-star defensive end is considered the top player in the country by these services that rank the top players in the country. He will almost assuredly pick in-state South Carolina over Alabama and Clemson. That said, if the Tide make a late push and land Clowney, this would likely be the best recruiting class in Nick Saban's tenure. And that friends is saying something.
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 ...