From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...
College Football Monday Morning Quarterback
Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower (30) celebrates with coach Kirby Smart, left, defensive back Vinnie Sunseri (3), and linebacker Nico Johnson (35) after stopping Arkansas on a fourth and one during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Here are the five things we learned Saturday:
1) There should be an AP top 2 — Alabama and LSU — and then everyone else can receive votes. LSU has beaten three top-15 opponents away from home Baton Rouge in the first month of the season, and all three wins have been by double digits after Saturday night's 47-21 beat down of West Virginia in Morgantown. Plus, there could be a serious case made for LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu as the Heisman leader four games into the season. As for Alabama, wow. Just plain wow. Arkansas' high-powered offense looked like a college of high school kids.
2) Georgia Tech can move the ball and score some flippin' points. The Yellow Jackets posted 35 on a North Carolina defense that has two NFL first-rounders (we love the draft, you know this) among its thrall. If Tevin Washington continues to throw the ball serviceably — and right now he's throwing it well — this offense (which is already so tough to defend because teams only get one week to prepare for it in a season filled with spreads and pro-style looks) will be among the nation's leaders all season.
Here are the other surprises with September in the books: War Vandy; Clemson's athletic youth movement; FSU's title hopes dashed; Boise State doing what it does — win games; awful uniforms; The NCAA two step(brothers) Miami and THE Ohio State University stumble amid controversy.
3) As we speed into conference play, the SEC is pretty unsettled after the Big 2. We know the league is far better than the rest of the leagues, but we knew that in July, too. Right now let's say the SEC is a lot like the acting Baldwin family — you have the two (Alec and Stephen) everyone knows and then you have the rest of the bunch. Now the rest of the bunch is still famous and still a Baldwin, but they're just not as well-known or as good or with as much potential to be big time. (And BIspy, before you go heckling on Stephen, he was awesome in "Usual Suspects" and while that was 17 years ago, we needed him for the analogy so just role with it.) So in an effort to introduce the rest of the SEC Baldwins, here we go (and of course we'll do it in 5-in-10 by 5-at-10 style):
Florida Atlantic's Alfred Morrison, right, scores a touchdown in the second half against Auburn during their NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)
Arkansas: Miss RB Knile Davis more than we expected
Auburn: Apparently 'tackling' is frowned upon by defending national champs
Florida: Better than expected, with huge defensive upside; Bama's next though
Georgia: Rocky start but looked good against Ole Miss; complete unknown
Kentucky: Gross. Seriously
Mississippi State: Escaped La. Tech to get to 2-2; puzzling bunch
Ole Miss: Top three names on search list: Leach, Malzahn, Kirby Smart
South Carolina: That's Mr. Lattimore, if you please
Tennessee: Complete unknown, especially without Hunter; Bray in search of "moment"
Vandy: Franklin's 3-0 start feel-good story of September
4) Welcome aboard Texas A&M. We all knew the Aggies were coming to the SEC, now it's official. Here's TFP ace David Paschall's story (Texas A&M added to SEC). Now that the pleasantries are behind us, know that melting down against non-SEC foes like that choke job you pulled against Oklahoma State will not be tolerate. This is the SEC, and with the possible exception of Kentucky and Ole Miss, those type of implosions are not allowed in football. This is the SEC — get it together.
5) First month MVPs (and of course, we'll do a winner and four runners-up, which is 5, as in 5-at-10; did you see what we did there?):
QB: Kellen Moore, Boise State
Runners-up: Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), Denard Robinson (Michigan), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Andrew Luck (Stanford)
RB: Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Runners-up: Trent Richardson (Alabama), LaMichael James (Oregon), Chris Rainey (Florida), Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Runners-up: Sammie Watkins (Clemson), Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Robert Woods (USC), Justin Hunter (Tennessee)
Defense: Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
Runners-up: Vontaze Burflict (Arizona State), Casey Hayward (Vandy), the entire Alabama defense, the rest of the LSU defense after Mathieu
Florida's Chris Rainey, left, runs around Kentucky's Winston Guy Jr. for a touchdown during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
Fab 4 (plus 1) still FAB
The Fab 4 (plus 1) may be outlawed. Or put behind a pay wall. Or, if you don't hear from the 5-at-10 for a while, somebody needs to check with Luca, Sonny, Tom or Mo Green, because there's been some foul play.
OK, maybe that last one was a bit much, but the Fab 4 (plus 1) is that hot right now. Here were last week's picks:
—Houston minus-32 against Georgia State — Check, Houston won 56-0
—Notre Dame minus-5 at Pittsburgh — Miss, Notre Dame won 15-12
—Florida minus-19 at Kentucky — Check, Florida won 48-10
—LSU minus-5 at West Virginia — Check, LSU won 47-21
The add-on game if you feel lucky (punk) is Georgia minus-9 at Ole Miss — Check, Georgia won 27-13
That's another 4-1 week (that could have been perfect except Notre Dame couldn't get out of its own way, but we're not bitter or anything, Stupid Notre Dame). The totals are pretty impressive — we're 14-3-1 on the selected picks so far this year. Yeah, we know. If you were in a place where gambling was legal and had bet $100 on each of the Fab 4 (plus 1) games, you'd be $1,060 to the good this morning. Yeah, we know.
We'll be back Thursday with this week's Fab 4 (plus 1), that is unless someone makes us an offer we couldn't refuse. (Or puts a horse head in our bed — although that would not make Mrs. 5-at-10 best pleased. Just a head's up there guys.)
Last week's Fab 4 (plus one): 4-1
This season's Fab 4: 14-3-1
Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, left, runs to first as he is about to be out against Washington Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Washington. The Nationals won 3-0. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Braves new worry
Sweet mother of mothers worrying of prom night, the Braves' September meltdown has been painful. On the 5-at-10 sports' pain scale of 1-to-10, 1 losing an exhibition game or not winning a scramble golf tournament where there are free beverages for everyone (i.e. not painful at all) and 10 being falling off a bicycle going down Signal Mountain getting one perpetual scrape that covers every inch of your body save one ear lob and then having to take a bath in rubbing alcohol, the Braves are a solid 8.5.
Plus, to make matters worse, they know it. You can see it in their body languages after every unproductive at-bat and every baserunner stranded and every opponents' run that makes a 2-0 lead seem like being down 21-0 against LSU's defense. Sweet swing sets, there are basement-dwelling-80s groups dusting off synthesizers and parachutes pants that have more hits than the front end of the Braves lineup Sunday. In a 3-0 loss to Washington, Atlanta hitters 1 through 4 went bagel-for-16, getting as many hits as you and the 5-at-10 did Sunday. The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the third but the top three hitters — Michael Bourn, Martin Prado and Chipper Jones — were retired with generating a run. Ouch
And as bad as the top of the order was, Atlanta finished with an even bigger whimper. The last 15 Braves to bat went bagel-for-15 with seven strikeouts. Ouch-er?
Now, with a one-game lead over St. Louis, there are two huge obstacles before this team. The schedule is lopsided — the Braves closing with the Phillies; the Cardinals closing with the Astros — and Derek Lowe is more than likely going to be a key fixture in this. Ouch and ouch-est.
Well, if there's one good thing to say, at least the Braves made the finish exciting, huh? (And painful.)
NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (14) wins the NASCAR Sylvania 300 auto race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
This and that
— OK, NASCAR, we're in. We've been a longtime Tony Stewart fan. (Side story: We sat next to him at a media lunch one time about 11 years ago. He was a super classy guy, even to the point where he did not mention it when another media guy sitting on the other side of Stewart started eating off of Tony's plate. Seriously.) Back to the track, Stewart has two wins in the two NASCAR Chase races. Stewart now leads the new-fangled points race with eight races to go. Although at any point NASCAR could call a news conference and announce that all cars that have double numbers (like a No. 88) or all cars that have energy drinks as sponsors get an extra bazillion bonus points. Don't think it can't happen.
— If you think you had a tough weekend, at least you weren't Mike Locksley. Locksley's New Mexico football team lost to Sam Houston State, an FCS school, to fall to 2-26 in Locksley's two-plus seasons. Then word leaked that a possible recruit got a DWI in an SUV registered to Locksley. He was fired Sunday. So how was your weekend?
— Danger, danger Dunta Robinson, but the Falcons are 1-2 and in the NFL more than any other league, you are what your record says your are. So while the Falcons have a lot of talented pieces in a lot of places, they are 1-2 and in serious need of some Ws. Like now.
— In was a tough day for some of the NFL's preseason favorites. The Falcons stumbled at Tampa Bay (because Roddy White dropped a couple of passes in the red zone). The Eagles lost at home to New York (because Eli Manning looked more like Peyton than Eli). The Jets were pushed around by the Raiders (and the Raiders look strong). (Side note here: If you can run the football and tackle people you will always be in the game, be it pee-wees, TSSAA, the SEC or the AFC East. It's science.) The Bears are now 1-2 after a tough loss to Green Bay (and the Packers look every bit the part of the favorites right now).
— And how about those Titans? Know what to call the ugly win Sunday over a bad Denver team that may have set offenses back a decade? Call it 2-1 and be proud of it. Also, how about those Bills and Lions, huh? Surprising inded.
— The Red Sox have matched the Braves meltdown and have a one-game lead in the AL wildcard lead over Tampa. It's been so bad that the greater New England-area has had to turn in their shoe laces and belts just as a precaution.
— In other baseball news, Matt Kemp has a legit shot at winning the NL triple crown. He's third in hitting (.324, nine points back of Ryan Braun), he's tied for the lead in homers at 37, and leads the league in RBIs with 120. He's also tied for second in the league with 40 stolen bases and leads the league with 112 runs scored. Wow. Pretty good time to be entering free agency, huh? He'll look great in pinstripes next season. An outfield of Kemp, Granderson and Swisher would look pretty good in the Bronx.
We mentioned the 5-at-10's sports' pain scale earlier and here are some more readings:
The Mocs' loss to App State was a solid 9 on this scale, and the Boston Red Sox coming unglued is a 9.3. Historically, South Bend Central's fan base suffered through a 9.45, Kentucky got a full-blown 9.6 in 1992 against Duke on Laettner's shot, the ball rolling through Buckner's legs and the Yanks' meltdown in the 2004 ALCS were each 9.9.
The highest reading was the US Olympic basketball team's "controversially" loss to Russia in 1972 at 9.99. There has never been a 10.
Today's question for you, what's the worst loss in sports history? What's the worst loss for your team — you know the one, when the phrase, "worst loss" comes up you instantly think, "Oh yeah, that one stunk" — that you can recall?
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 ...