Quick programming note, with all that's going on we're going to have an abbreviated 5-at-10 on Thursday (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way) and then the mailbag on Friday. With that in mind, we'll have a special Wednesday edition of the Fab 4 (plus-1) picks.
From the "Mama McNabb stage here at the beautiful Al Davis Studios," here we go...
Fab 4 (plus 1)
Houston defensive back Kent Brooks (24) reacts after recovering a fumble by SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game of Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
That's more like it. The Fab 4 (plus 1) went 4-1 last week and made it look pretty easy. We're 37-20-1 against the spread this year, and that's not too shabby. (If you had put, let's say 100 jelly beans on each game the 5-at-10 picked for you, you'd be 1,490 jelly beans to the good this season. That's a lot of jelly beans.)
So as we head to Thanksgiving,
Kent State at Temple over the 39: Kent State has won four straight and scored 24 or more in each; Temple has scored 24 or more in five of their last six. Numbers are our friends people.
Houston minus-3 over Tulsa: Could this be a sucker bet? Sure it could, but the Cougars (11-0 overall and 9-2 as a favorite) have a lot of skin in this game and a front row seat on the BCS express right now.
Vandy minus-1 at Wake Forest: Here's saying the Commodores are motivated after letting the Vols off the hook last week. Plus, if James Franklin's team loses, a huge chunk of the positive momentum will be halted without a bowl bid.
Clemson plus-4.5 at South Carolina: South Carolina has trouble scoring and would be completely happy to win this game 12-10. Clemson was embarrassed last week, and the last competent offense South Carolina faced, it allowed 44 points, and the Gamecocks' gaudy 9-2 record is as much about a bad schedule as it is a good football team.
Our plus one options included Alabama covering the three TDs in the Iron Bowl, LSU covering 12 against Arkansas, Virginia Tech thumping Virginia by way more than the 4.5 line and even FSU over Florida by more than 2.5. But in the end, we went with some very good betting advice from SportTalk's Dr. B (he is a doctor after all), and that's pick on the weak.
Florida International minus-7 at MTSU: If you are going to pick on the weak, MTSU is among the weakest of the weak. Especially this week. MTSU has allowed 27 or more points in nine of its 11 games — only Florida Atlantic and Tennessee failed to get at least 27 against the Blue Raiders. Somewhere Johnny Vols Fan just spit up in his mouth a little bit.
Da'Rick is DaMan
Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers (21) catches a pass for a touchdown while defended by Middle Tennessee cornerback Kenneth Gilstrap (18) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Our UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown has an excellent look at former Calhoun High School star and rising UT receiver Da'Rick Rogers. Rogers is right among the SEC leaders in almost every meaningful receiving category and he's approaching some rarified air in the UT single-season record books.
Rogers has 65 catches for 1,002 yards and nine TDs, and he needs 12 catches, 296 yards and five touchdowns to surpass the numbers Marcus Nash posted in 1997. And remember Nash was catching passes from some dude named Peyton; Rogers has shuffled between Tyler Bray, Matt Simms and Justin Worley, who if they formed an R&B trio would be called Tyler and the Blahs.
Plus, if the Vols win at Kentucky — and if they don't, well, there's a whole other kettle of fish to discuss — Rogers' one-handed, leaping TD catch on fourth down in the fourth quarter of last week's overtime win over Vandy will be the play of the season. In fact, you could argue that it's the best UT play — in regard to highlight quality, impact and overall meaning — in at least five years.
(Two more numbers that count: Of his SEC-leading 65 catches, 52 have gone for first downs or touchdowns. He has 17 more catches than all of UT's healthy wide receivers combined. Don't know if that's really good for Da'Rick or really bad for the mediocrity melt that is DeAnthony Arnett, Zach Rogers, Rajion Neal, Vincent Dallas and Matt Milton, but either way, it's something.)
Missouri fans hold up signs in support of their college changing conferences from the Big 12 to the SEC during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
BYU and the Big East have apparently broken off talks, which is a tragedy because when you think about what the Big East should be, it really should include an outpost in Utah.
Since Missouri announced it was joining the SEC earlier this month, the music is starting to slow for most of the conference shuffling that seemed to pop up every three weeks or so.
The Big East's attempt to stay relevant in the arms race that is football, though, seems to be dying a slow and uneasy death. (If BYU would rather stay an independent than join the Big East and its mediocre football and its automatic BCS invite, well, that's all you need to know.)
Regardless of how this shapes out, we need to have some discussion about changing the conference names. The Big East with potential conference stops in Utah or Boise or who knows where? The Big East of China maybe?
The SEC — Since the SEC has won the last five (and soon to be six) national titles it can call itself whatever it dang well feels like calling itself.
The Big Ten — Let's go with the Big Slow, just seems to fit, huh?
The Pac-12 — Let's go with Big West, since Colorado is about as Pacific as BYU is East.
The Big 12 — Let's go the Big 2 and the Gang (Texas and Oklahoma and then everyone else, and yes, Oklahoma State is making a nice run this year, but we all know it's a flash in the pan).
The Big East — Let's go with Big Hoops, and we all know the automatic BCS bid is in serious jeopardy. C'mon, there's a real chance that a 7-4 Louisville team with losses to Florida International and Marshall could go to the BCS. Gross.
ACC — With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, here's your new big east. Let's go with ECC — East Coast Conference.
This and that
— Another big-boy effort by Cuonzo Martin's Tennessee Vols basketball team. Cuonzo, the 5-at-10 didn't know what to expect from this club, but these Vols may be exactly where we thought at 2-2, but they are much better than expected.
— THE Ohio State backed out of its scheduled home-and-home football date with Tennessee that was slated for 2018 and 2019. THE Ohio State said the Big Ten's plan to play nine conference games in the future left them in a tough spot. THE 5-at-10 said THE Ohio State doesn't want to extend it's winless streak against SEC teams (and don't you know the Tattoo-tainted Sugar Bowl in which Terrelle Pryor and Co. played, helped THE OSU beat Arkansas last January and forced THE OSU to vacate that bowl win would have been revisited about 12 dozen times leading up to that one.)
— Speaking of THE Ohio State, the website SportsByBrooks has been out front of the reports that Urban Meyer has already accepted the Buckeyes coaching job. If that's true — and if Meyer needed all of one year to spend time with family or get healthy or whatever reason he tossed out to leave Florida, then Meyer and the Buckeyes will be a perfect fit — since neither one wants to compete in the uber-tough, battle for Middle Earth that is the SEC.
— Ryan Braun won the NL MVP on Tuesday, and that's OK. He did not have the numbers Matt Kemp did — no one had the numbers Matt Kemp did — but the award is called the Most Valuable Player, and Braun was supremely important to Milwaukee's playoff charge. Plus, since the Dodgers likely would have finished third anyway with or without Kemp's near Triple Crown, it's fair to ask how valuable Kemp's stellar season truly was.
Come Thursday and Friday, we'll offer up some of the great things we're thankful for and you'll be more than welcomed to play along.
Today though, we're going the opposite direction.
What is something you are UN-thankful for?
Here's our example:
The 5-at-10 is UN-thankful for Bo Jackson's hip injury because we would have loved to seen where his career would have ended up if he had stayed healthy?
Or, the 5-at-10 is UN-thankful for Mark Wohlers' hanging slider in 1996. Or that Chas9 is UN-thankful for Laettner's shot in 1992 or that Jefe is UN-thankful for what's going to happen to Auburn on Saturday.
Enjoy and bring your UN-thankfulness.
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 ...