OK, for the regulars out there, we thank you for the two-plus years of swinging by and keeping the debate lively, (Hey, don't cost nothin' right?)
Also, since we've down one of these for 560 consecutive work days, we make some minor tweaks during vacations and holidays. Normally, the 5-at-10 is five things we're kicking around at 10 a.m. — 5 at 10. Clever, huh.
Well during the holidays/vacation (and yes, this week is some of both at the 5-at-10 compound) we have a top-5 list and invite comments. So it's more of a list of a 5 at 10.
Before we get to today's top 5, let's review our picks. As many of you know the 5-at-10 picks college games against the spread and we do this for entertainment purposes only. And since we went 51-21-2 in the regular season we won our fair share of entertainment.
So far in the bowls — we're picking every game this bowl season and on most of them we're picking over/unders too — we are 8-3 after a mixed bad late last week, including missing on two picks (Ball State plus-7.5 and the under on Boise State/Washington) that we felt had strong entertainment value.
As for tonight's game, we'll take Fresno State minus-11 over SMU (sorry JMC).
Today's top 5 — NFL Power Poll
1) Denver (12-3): Winners of 10 straight, no team in the league is hotter than the Broncos, who understandably are improving as the offense continues to gel. It's hard to believe that a) we ever doubted whether Peyton Manning was going to return successfully, b) this Denver team will not get to the Super Bowl if they have home-field advantage.
2) Atlanta (13-2): Doubt the Falcons at your own peril. We've been on the bandwagon from the beginning — in fact, those that hated the Julio Jones trade at the 2011 draft are hard to find now since the extra first-rounder the Falcons coughed up for an elite receiver turned into Brandon Weeden. Plus, getting home-field advantage through the NFC draw — and the chance to rest the starters this week — gives the Falcons a chance against anyone.
3) Green Bay (11-4): As the Packers get healthy defensively and as we continue to marvel at the quarterback excellence that is Aaron Rodgers, it's easy to forget that Packers started 2-3 and that could have been a season-crippling 1-4 but the Saints missed a late field goal in the Packers' 28-27 week 4 win. Plus, as great as Rodgers' Discount Double Check commercials are, it's mind-blowing to think he did not have a Division I offer coming out of high school. Dude is as good as anyone.
4) Seattle (10-5): OK, if the NFC title went through the Great Northwest, there's no way anyone would be going into Seattle and winning right now. What they did to a very good San Francisco team Sunday night was borderline criminal. And the atmosphere — in a steady rain on a cold night two days before Christmas — was a testament to a) what's great about sports; and b) how starved the city of Seattle is starved for a title. Of all the cities with more than one professional team in the three major sports, only Cleveland is working through a longer drought than Seattle, which last celebrated a championship in 1979 when Dennis Johnson and Gus Williams topped Elvin Hayes and the Washington Bullets in the NBA Finals.
5) New England (11-4): OK, would it shock any of us to see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick standing amid the spraying champagne as Jim Nantz offers some canned, "The NFL's top tandem that makes it look so easy is now heading to the Big Easy," one-liner? Of course not. How powerful is this bunch? There are only three NFL teams that have scored more than 50 TDs this season — the Patriots, the Saints and the Broncos. New England's 63 TDs are 10 ahead of the Saints and 11 better than the Broncos, and that's without ace tight end Rob Gronkowski for the last five weeks.
Who's your Super Bowl pick? And as always, remember about Friday's mailbag and feel free to discuss anything (remembering our family-oriented, interweb-based nature of course).
Happy Christmas Eve.
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 ...