From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
College football Monday morning quarterback
— The SEC rules. You knew this, the 5-at-10 knew this, now the rest of the country knows this and there's not a dadgum thing they can do about it. LSU, Alabama and Arkansas are 1-2-3 in every poll that matters this side of the North Pole. We knew the LSU-Alabama game was billed as one BCS semifinal, we didn't know that LSU-Arkansas was going to be the other one. Unless of course Arkansas puts a whipping on LSU, then there's mass hysteria, and in that case the nation's top-three-ranked teams will each have a loss to each other. And let's not forget that if Georgia had not given one away to South Carolina in Week 2, there's a real chance the SEC would have the top 4 teams in the country. Read that again. Everyone who is dying for a playoff needs to realize we have one — it's called the SEC regular season.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) leaps over the tackle of Georgia Southern safety Deion Stanley (29) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. At right is Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood (83). (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
—Hey, you know the 5-at-10 thinks you should have to win your conference to play for the national championship, but clearly no one other than Arkansas and Alabama want to play LSU, otherwise they would handle their BID-ness. Yes we are talking to you Oregon, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and any other formerly high-ranked O-school that left their fans screaming "O-No" all weekend. There is not a team anywhere in the country that has done anything to make an argument that the SEC does not deserve both spots in the BCS title game, whatever rematch appears to be best in a week. That said, expect the anti-SEC sentiments to pick up steam this week and the following week, especially if Oklahoma State wins out to win the Big 12. (Although there's a 93-percent chance that there's a Federal law that any team that loses to Iowa State can't play for the BCS title. Jefe, you're an attorney, look that up.)
— Is there a Heisman front-runners. Not really. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is going to be the best pro. Alabama running back Trent Richardson has been the best bell cow. Houston quarterback Case Keenum will have the best numbers. That said, the 5-at-10 is on the RG III bandwagon
— Fab 4 (plus-1) won four last week, moving to 37-20-1 against the spread on the season after hitting on Arkansas, Miami, Houston and Arkansas State. Hey, the state of Arkansas was very good to us last week, and that may be the most enjoyable experience anyone's ever had with Arkansas. This week appears to be another historic set of lines. Alabama is minus-20 at Auburn and Mississippi State is minus-18 over Ole Miss in what appears to be the largest point spreads in the history of those passionate rivalries.
— Hey, the take-a-bow segment of CFMMQ: Congrats to the Georgia Bulldogs for winning the SEC East, something that seemed impossible after Georgia lost its first two overall games. Congrats to the SEC for sweeping the SEC-SoCon challenge this weekend, something that did appear to in the cards early Saturday afternoon with Florida and Auburn scuffling. Congrats go to OTWatcher for winning the UT-Vandy Showdown-Throwdown. OTWatcher was the only entry that had UT winning by six, which leads us to...
Any win is a good win
Apparently Derek Dooley was over-the-top in his celebration after the Vols beat Vandy in overtime. There was some youtube clips of it, but we have not been able to find them.
Dooley reportedly congratulated his team for kicking the "stuff" — or some other s-word — out of vandy. While you can debate whether a six-point OT win was stuffing kicking or whether a UT coach should be super-pumped about beating Vandy, let's cut dude a break on this one, huh?
Dooley in particular and his Vols in general have been riding a tough sled for more than a month. The 0-6 start in the SEC was ended with that win and UT's bowl hopes were given a new jumpstart with that win. Plus, if you're going to say this was going to be a big-time black mark on Dooley's resume if Vandy had won (and we did say that exact thing), you have to see why dude was pumped after winning.
There are a lot of different things you can say depending on perspective, and almost all of them have the physical science answer — to every action (statement about Dooley) there is an equal and opposite reaction. But we do believe this: Da'Rick Rogers' one-handed touchdown catch on fourth down that tied the game and forced overtime is the best overall UT play in at least five years. Think about it this way, all the single, memorable plays you can think of in recent UT history — the LSU ending, the UNC ending, Cody blocking the field goal, even Ainge's pick-sixes in the SEC title game in 2007 — have been negative. This was a positive, and that's worth getting excited about.
Even against Vandy.
Tony Stewart holds up the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-championship trophy after he won the NASCAR auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/John Harrelson, Pool)
Say what you want about the excitement level of driving fast and turning left, but sweet buckets of Sunoco racing fuel, the finish to this NASCAR season was downright exciting. Like buckle-up your HANS device and sit back and enjoy exciting.
Tony Stewart beat Carl Edwards to win Sunday's season-finale and beat Edwards for the overall championship by winning the tie-breaker in the closest points race in NASCAR history.
The NASCAR season is more than 4,400 miles on the track, and the season overall champ was crowned by less than two seconds. Read that sentence again and know that in the time it took to re-read that sentence, that was the difference in the NASCAR season. Stewart overcame car trouble that pushed him to the back of the field twice and passed a total of 118 cars to get to the front of the pack. It was amazing.
It's fair to say the rule changes to the point system were an overwhelming success. Granted, there's no way to forecast whether that will ever happen again, but the entire season came down to the final 100 yards of the final lap of the final race.
Part of the interior of Sun Life Stadium is shown before the start of an NCAA football game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
This and that
— Baseball will name its MVPs this week. Here's saying that it will be Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder. And no we don't think a starting pitcher should win the MVP award, but there are not a lot of clear-cut AL candidates out there. Curtis Granderson could win it. There are three Red Sox players with strong resumes, but their September collapse is going to be tough to overcome (maybe they can drown their sorrows with a couple of Heinekens during the seventh-inning stretch). No Rangers or Rays players jump out, so that leaves Verlander. Fielder and Ryan Braun may work against each other, but again, when there's no clear cut leader, the common choice becomes more powerful because he will be on a lot of ballots in that second-through-fifth range.
— The Presidents Cup was exciting golf, too bad you had to work third shift to be able to watch most of it. The U.S. of A. beat the collection of non-Europeans (which in college football terms is not a homecoming game opponent, but it's certainly a lower-ranked conference game — Robert Allenby?) 19-15 to retain the Cup. The most watched and discussed person in golf history — one Eldrick Woods — was again the center of attention. He struggled early and won the Cup clinching match Sunday. Woods made a lot of putts on Sunday — a bunch of 8-to-10 footers — and sparked another round of "Is he back?" talk. It's hard to say anything either way until we head down Washington Ave. in April in East Georgia, but Woods making putts is a good sign. (That said the most damaging loss from Tiger's downfall was his persona of dominance — both in his eyes and his opponents — and just beating Aaron Baddeley in Australia is not going to restore Tiger's kevlar layer of confidence.)
— ESPN stats info sent along this gem: A former Miami Hurricane has scored a touchdown in 149 consecutive weeks of NFL action. That streak will end unless defensive linemen Allen BAiley or Vince Wilfork score in tonight's Monday night game.
— Seattle Mariners outfielders Greg Halman was stabbed to death in the Netherlands, the AP reported this morning. Apparently his brother is among the suspects. Tragic.
Larry Munson, former radio announcer for the University of Georgia, passed away Sunday night at his home in Athens, Ga., at the age of 89. Munson, who became famous for his memorable play-by-play calls of Georgia football games, retired in 2008 after 42 years as the radio voice of the Bulldogs.Photo by (AP Photo by Athens Banner-Herald, File)
Larry Munson died Sunday. He was 89.
The longtime and legendary voice of the University of Georgia football team left behind multiple generations of fans and followers. Here is our UGA ace David Paschall's story on Munson's death (UGA legend Larry Munson dies), including this great quote — "Larry Munson is to Georgia football what fried chicken is to a tailgate party," the late Lewis Grizzard wrote in 1985. "You can't enjoy one without the other."
Munson was beloved because every Georgia fan knew that Munson ached as bad as any of them when Georgia struggled and celebrated in success (although Munson was a renowned pessimist when it came to the Bulldogs, and that too was lovable to Johnny Bulldogs Fans). Munson was among that era of great radio voices back when not every game was on TV and the radio was the only way to connect to the broadcast and his weekly call-in show was the best way to get inside "info" from the program. Now with every game on TV live Saturday — and replayed Sunday — and the internet and Twitter and everything else, the program's radio voice is relegated to car radios and headsets when a TV or internet simulcast can't be found. There will never be another Munson — dude even cut a CD of his great calls, and there were more than a few — because of his passion and prose, but there never will be another Munson-type of radio star/persona because of the technological avenues to connect to the program.
A generation ago it was not uncommon to turn the TV sound down and listen to Munson or John Ward or Jim Fyffe or some of the great ones. We needed to hear what Larry thought and see if Loren ever was going to come up with more than leg cramps and shoutouts. We wanted to listen to the game with Larry or John or Jim or "our guy." When was the last time you heard someone do that?
OK, here's the question: Who's the best radio sports announcer ever — any sport? (We have Vin Scully as No. 1.) As for the memory of Munson, feel free Georgia fans — or SEC football fans in general — to share your favorite Munson call. Our's is probably the great Buck Belue-to-Lindsay Scott completion to beat Florida when Munson breaks his chair and talks about property being destroyed and sums up in a sentence why he was loved by Georgia fans — "We were gone; I gave up, you did too." — because he said what Georgia fans felt. Thanks Larry.
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 ...