Trevor Bayne, right, and Tony Stewart, left, lead the field on a restart in the closing laps of the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011. Bayne won the race. (AP Photo/Glenn Smith)
It was a crazy weekend. Seriously, save the drama that revolves around college football on a week-in, week-out basis, this was so, so... in truth you can fill in a river of words that start with un- and then fill in the blank. Hey, let’s give that a shot.
Here we go...
If Dale Junior had won the Daytona 500 — on the 10th anniversary of his legendary father’s death on the final lap of NASCAR’s Super Bowl — then a lot of conspiracy theorists would have be putting their aluminum foil hats on and blowing up the Interwebs in their parents’ basements.
But did anyone see Trevor Bayne making history Sunday evening?
The 20-year-old from Knoxville took the deliberate route — he stayed close to the front, kept his car clean and made it through the big one that has become a restrictor-plate staple — and became the youngest Daytona 500 winner ever. He’s also the first driver to take the checkered flag in his first 500 since Lee Petty did it in the first Daytona 500. Read that again. Wow.
He started 32nd and said “he hung back in survival mode early,” and actually asked how to get to Victory Lane — and promptly missed the turn to get there.
For a sport that needs new faces and new personalities and new stars, Bayne’s emergence could be perfect for NASCAR.
As of right now, it’s unbelievable.
Loyal friends of the show (all five of you) know that the 5-at-10 answers mail on Fridays. Well, we got an awesome e-mail on Sunday that had an awesome idea so we decided to include it here in all its awesomeness.
Crews work to remove toilet paper from the two poisoned oak trees before spraying the leaves with a coating at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr. has been charged for poisoning the landmark live oak trees on the Auburn University campus. (AP Photo/ The Birmingham News, Michelle Campbell)
As a Tide fan who graduated from AU, I was sad to hear about the actions of that JackWagon in Dadeville as they have endangered one of the truly great college traditions, but I was also amused by the excessive sobbing and crying displayed by a few “weed scientists” (seriously, they were interviewing weed scientists?, seriously, they actually scheduled a Toomer’s Corner tree hug?). Does that make me a bad person? From my point of view, the real tragedy, which has been missed by everyone (including the 5-at-10) is that with all of the resources being diverted to save and eventually replace the trees, it will take another decade to raise the funds necessary to sign the next Cam Newton.
Now to the real purpose of my email...given that Mr. Updyke’s alleged actions have struck a nerve all across the SEC, I suggest that you ask your readers to suggest punishment (non-violent, of course). You can select a “winner” on Friday and submit it to the judge for consideration. If nothing else, it will make for good reading and may allow a few of your readers to vent frustrations.
I’ve become a fan of the 5-at-10; Keep up the good work.
Couple of quick points:
— Nice zinger about the Cam Newton signing;
— 33wannabe brings up an interesting point (one that the 5-at-10 will explore more later this week), but the emotional ties to living and nonliving parts of our sports fandom have become alarmingly strong. Did you see lap 3 at the 500 Sunday? Yeah, we did too, and if that didn’t give you chills when the entire crowd held three fingers in the air, well, hope you enjoy going through life with little to no soul;
— Side note: The SEC fans giggling and/or cracking jokes at Auburn’s reaction/overreaction to the trees are probably the same people who have pictures in their houses of Bear Bryant or Steve Spurrier or UGA V or whatever SEC tradition/icon that is important to them. So it goes;
— How’s “War Damn Tree-gle” for a new slogan on the Plains?
— Finally, the 5-at-10 fully supports 33wannabe’s suggestion of submitting the best punishment (non-violent, of course) for Al from Dadeville, who was released on $50,000 bond over the weekend? Have at it and we’ll have a vote of the top three or so Friday.
Unexpected (AKA College hoops update, Volume 5, Chapter 1)
Before we discuss the Tennessee Vols meltdown Saturday, let’s look at example 1,452 that there is not a great team in college basketball.
The new AP Top-25 poll will be released today, and the only top-five team that did not lose last week was No. 5 Duke.
Keep an eye on Purdue. The No. 11-ranked Boilermakers got 38 points from E’Twaun Moore to roll Ohio State. Moore can flat out score, and when the tournament gets here teams are going to have to have guys make tough shots. Moore is one of those guys.
Which brings us to Tennessee, which imploded from the start in its disappointing 69-63 loss to Georgia. The Vols, who trailed 22-7 before the crowd got comfortable in their Thompson-Boling Arena seats, had exactly two offensive options: Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris.
Hopson was outstanding, scoring a career-high 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and Harris added 18. Every other Vol this side of Bernard King made one field goal or less. Read that again.
Seriously, if the Vols can’t win against an mid-to-upper-level SEC team such as Georgia when Hopson has his best game ever, the 5-at-10 doesn’t know what to tell you. Now every Johnny Vols Fan can expect to see a lot of scenarios in which opponents let Hopson get his and force some of the struggling Vols to pick up the slack. If Hopson scores 30 and if everyone else has 30, well, that adds up to the Vols in the NIT.
Undoable (interesting, but undoable right now)
Leave it to Mark Cuban. The Dallas Mavericks owner is a self-made billionaire — he made some serious coin somehow in the Interwebs and such — and has made failed attempts to buy other professional franchises.
Cuban’s latest project has been to develop an alternative to the Bowl Championship Series. This weekend that project finally was named — Radical Football, a company created and registered in Texas in late December.
“[Cuban is] real engaged in this,” Brett Morris told the Union-Tribune while in San Diego representing Radical Football as a judge in a contest for college students who pitched plans to change the football postseason.
Cuban and company have time to explore his options — his initial plan as told to ESPN was “Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option. Say, ‘Look, I’m going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you’re picked for the playoff system, you’ll go.’” The current BCS television deal runs through 2014.
The NFL owners and players met Sunday, talking for the third consecutive day.
The mediator asked each side to not discuss the proceedings and that makes perfect sense to the 5-at-10. Although, it also more than likely signifies there’s little getting done.
Seriously, with the amount of egos and credit grabbers in that room, if there was any progress, the parties that be would be falling all over themselves to tell us about it. Oh well.
That said, one of the NFL’s chief outside consulting attorneys is Gary Batterman, who represented the NHL when it lost its entire 2004-05 season to a lockout. The 5-at-10 wished we had made that up.
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 ...