Morning folks. Before we start, remember about the Derby Drama Challenge and Friday's mailbag (there's still some room). Let's get to it.
From the "7-UP Stinks Studio" here we go...
House Commerce, Chairman Rep. Bobby Rush, presides over the subcommittee's hearing to markup legislation on a BCS college football playoff system, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
BCS now on the clock
In the great legacy of steroid testimonials, the U.S. government is now getting serious about being involved in deciding the NCAA football champion.
Christine Varney, a U.S. assistant attorney general in the antitrust division, earlier this week sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert asking why there's not a playoff in football. Uh-oh. Things just got a little bit more serious for the BCS.
From Varney's letter: "Serious questions continue to arise suggesting the current Bowl Championship Series system may not be conducted consistent with the
competition principles expressed." And the letter asks Emmert why football, unlike other sports, doesn't have a playoff; what steps the NCAA has made to create a
playoff; and whether Emmert thinks there are parts of the BCS that do not serve the best interest of fans, schools and players. (Quick answer to the last one: Duh. Yes, doctor, there are parts of the BCS that need to be fixed. Apparently Varney did not ask whether smoking is good or bad for your health. We may need to convene a hearing or call Al Gore on that one.)
Anyhoo, where were we? Oh yes, congress investigating the BCS. This now moves up the timetable on a college football playoff by at least a few years. The current BCS TV deal runs through 2013 for the title game and the major bowls have broadcast deals through 2014, so it's tough to see anything happening until then. But after Varney's letter and the apparent interest of the Federal Government, it's also hard to see there not being major changes after the current TV deal expires.
That said, Holy Mr. Emmitt Smith Goes to Washington, this is what we need our folks in Washington spending their time on?
The 5-at-10 believes with 100-percent of its family-oriented, InterTubes, sports-based web column that a playoff would be awesome. We also believe with the same
amount of conviction that there has to be more important issues in DC and the nation than making sure TCU or whomever gets a shot at a football championship.
Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, left, Derek Fisher, center, and Kobe Bryant look on during the second half of their 93-81 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Wednesday, May 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Lakers leaking oil, Bulls bounce back
About 1 a.m. this morning, as the Dallas Mavericks put the final touches on a stunning 93-81 Game 2 win at L.A. that gave the Mavs an even more stunning 2-0 lead in the series, two things happened: Somebody had to make sure Jack Nicholson does not have access to any sharp objects; and the family pets at the David Stern compound went scurrying into hiding.
If you are a Lakers fan/casual NBA supporter, this is not good. It's hard to see how the Lakers can survive losing the first two games at home. (Sidenote: Dallas coach Rick Carlisle looks a lot like Jim Carrey with a buzz cut.)
In Wednesday's other game, the Bulls manhandled Atlanta 86-73. The Bulls earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference by being among the league's top defensive
teams. They were Wednesday.
It's still anyone's series, mind you, and the 5-at-10 likes a lot of the matchups for the Hawks (the Bulls still have to find a reliable second scoring option). Friday's Game 3 in the ATL just became a lot more important for the Hawks, though.
Atlanta Braves center fielder Nate McLouth (13) greeted by martin Prado after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning of the second baseball game of of a double header baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Atlanta Wednesday day, May 4, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Ssshhhhh, the Braves are starting to show signs of life
Winners of four straight, the Atlanta Braves are starting to look like the team we expected to see from the start.
Whether it was a jumpstart from Brooks Conrad's game-winning hit Sunday or not, this group seems more energetic, right?
The bats seem a little lighter and the fielding has been slick as ever. Plus, the starting pitching that has been pretty stout from the start was downright scary Wednesday.
Maybe it's the fact that the Braves have embraced their inner-child names. Think about it: Tommie Hanson got the win in game one (with some relief help from Scotty Linebrink and Corey Gearrin) of the "traditional" doubleheader and Timmy Hudson threw a one-hitter in the nightcap. Lil' Nate McLouth homered; Freddie Freeman had hits in each game as did Danny Uggla. Heck, this could be the Boynton Braves with names like this, and as long as they keep playing like this, the 5-at-10 is willing to suspend the "Freddie/Joey" rule.
Sidenote: Don't look now, but since he moved to the No. 8 spot in the order about three weeks ago, Lil' Nate McLouth has raised his average almost 100 points to .287 and he now has the same number of RBIs (10) as Danny Uggla.
Exercise rider Danny Wright takes Kentucky Derby entrant Soldat and exercise rider Hector Ramos takes Kentucky Derby entrant Uncle Mo for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 5, 2011, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Derby drama update
The starting posts for Saturday's Derby were announced Wednesday, Here's the lineup and the opening odds:
1 Archarcharch 10-1
2 Brilliant Speed 30-1
3 Twice the Appeal 20-1
4 Stay Thirsty 20-1
5 Decisive Moment 30-1
6 Comma to the Top 30-1
7 Pants on Fire 20-1
8 Dialed In 4-1
9 Derby Kitten30-1
10 Twinspired 30-1
11 Master of Hounds 30-1
12 Santiva 30-1
13 Mucho Macho Man 12-1
14 Shakleford 12-1
15 Midnight Interlude 10-1
16 Animal Kingdom 30-1
17 Soldat 12-1
18 Uncle Moe 9-2
19 Nehro 6-1
20 Watch Me Go 50-1
Now if you're looking for some expert analysis for the field, well, when you find it, come back and share it with the rest of us. That said here are a couple of reminders:
Don't forget about the first annual 5-at-10 First-In, Last-In Derby Drama Challenge; also don't forget we're looking for bad fictional names for racehorses (like if Derby entry No. 20 Watch Me Go had a little brother, "Watch Me Go No. 2" would be a bad name — a stinky name even — for a racehorse). Here are the entries for the first annual 5-at-10 Derby Drama First-In, Last-In Challenge:
KBurg — Uncle Mo and Shackleford
ATruefan — Twice the Appeal and Brilliant Speed
EC — Shackelford and Dialed In
Mcpell — Nehro and Decisive Moment
wc777 — Pants On Fire and Watch Me Go
OTwatcher — Dialed In and Watch Me Go
5-at-10 — Uncle Mo and Derby Kitten
Mrs. 5-at-10 — Midnight Interlude and Archarcharch
This and That
— Not sports, but Mrs. 5-at-10 was watching the "Today" show this morning, and there's a story about an American woman named Karen Butler who woke up from oral surgery with a British accent. It has been called "Foreign Accent Syndrome" (naturally) and it goes to show that syndromes are like Hallmark cards — there's one for every occasion. Sidenote: Wonder if BlueCross covers the treatment of Foreign Accent Syndrome? Thoughts?
— We've covered some of the more untouchable records in sports — we've listed 10 in the last two days — and the 5-at-10 still left off another one. Beano made an impressive 5-at-10 debut by reminding us that Hack Wilson drove in 190 runs in 154 games for the Cubs in 1930. Yes, 190 RBIs. Not happening ever again.
— Todd McShay did a 2012 mock draft and predictably Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was first overall. The 5-at-10 loves the draft — you know this — but this is a little too early for a mock draft, even for us. (But if you're asking yourself whether we read McShay's mock draft, well, you know the answer to that. Let's just move along.)
— Derek Jeter left Wednesday's Yankees game with an ailing hip. The 5-at-10 believes there's still some gas in the tank, but Jeter's career clearly is winding down.
Here's hoping that no matter how it plays out, Jeter never wears anything other than pinstripes. He's in that group that should be a one-team Hall of Famer. There's
nothing worse than the memories and pictures of Emmitt Smith the Arizona Cardinal and MJ the Washington Wizard. (Hey Oso, this could be a summer discussion point. Add it to the list.)
— Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier did not play Wednesday so his hitting streak stayed at 29 consecutive games. We debated the over/under at 40 yesterday, and
here's another question for you: Say Ethier goes another two weeks and gets to 43 or so; then the Dodgers face a nasty lefty like a Cliff Lee and Either gets a day off; but in the eighth inning of a tied game, the Dodgers need a pinch hitter, and Ethier is obviously the best choice. Do you send him up there risking the streak on one AB?
Don't forget your Derby Drama Challenge picks and there's some space open in the mailbag. Until tomorrow.
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 ...