We have a spot left in the mailbag, so bring it.
From the "Talks too much studios," here we go...
Fab 4 picks (plus 1)
Last year we hit close to 66 percent of our games against the spread. That'll do. And we were better than 70 percent on games not involving Clemson. Stupid Clemson.
We started this year 3-2 — which was a nice rally after going 0-2 out of the gate — and hit the Clemson pick on the "Can You Beat Jay" game offered on the website. Go figure.
Well, if they just handed out money without risk involved, it wouldn't be called gambling; it'd be called welfare.
Let's get back on that horse, and start by embracing rule No. 3 in the 5-at-10's betting playbook: Ride a hot horse. And while you may think that's Alabama, we believe Nick Saban will call off the dogs quickly enough to make that 40-point line against Western Kentucky seem squishy. So it goes.
North Carolina minus-7 at Wake Forest: It's Wake Forest for crying out loud, and every time we hear about Wake Forest we remember a great story from a friend of ours. He's attending a Wake at Duke football game (had to be for a girl, right?) several years ago and Wake is 1-7 and Duke is 0-8. Duke is leading late in the game and the Duke students start chanting "Over-rated" at the 1-7 Wake fans. Good times.
Stanford minus-14 against Duke: Who knew the above story would work twice.
Florida plus 2 at Texas A&M: The new kids may have thought they were ready for the league, but they aren't. In fact, we like UGA too.
Ohio State minus 14.5 against Central Florida: Here's the hot hand, and we think the for most of the season, these Buckeyes are going to have a chip on their shoulders. Or it may be a tattoo. Who knows?
Cincy minus-4 against Pittsburgh: We know very little about either team, but there are times that can be a good thing. This is one of those times because the line has taken a major shift.
There are a slew of games that have moved more than a field goal since opening. That has a lot to do with being week 2 — books seeing what teams do with what and what have you. It also could mean a train (overwhelmingly popular public pick), which means more often than not a loss. It could also mean the sharp money (the guys who have nicknames that include cities, wear a lot of visors and don't like to talk on the phone) likes that side, which means winner. Here are the games that have moved more than 4 points from the opening line:
Cincy-Pittsburgh (tonight): Cincy went from plus 2 to minus-4.
Toledo-Wyoming: Wyoming went from plus-2.5 to minus-3.
Kentucky-Kent State: Went from even to Kentucky minus-7.
Bowling Green-Idaho: Bowling Green went from minus-7.5 to minus-16.5.
Mocs move forward
A day after the news of Terrell Robinson's decision to quit the UTC football team, the big question remains why. Robinson started the season opener at quarterback and split time with redshirt freshman Jacob Huesman, son of head coach Russ Huesman. Robinson was listed as the starter for Saturday's game against Jacksonville State before turning in his gear Tuesday night.
To his end, UTC coach Russ Huesman was clear that this was Robinson's decision. He also was clear that he knows there will be blow back. Here's what Huesman told our UTC football ace John Frierson:
"I'm going to take a beating because his last name is Huesman," the coach said. "I understand that and I don't mind. Beat me up all you want. He's a great kid and a good football player."
The formal answer to why can't be answered until Robinson decides to share his reasons. We do know that Coach Huesman made it clear Wednesday that it was completely Robinson's decision and he tried to talk him out of it for three hours Tuesday afternoon.
(Again to our ace Frierson) Huesman added later: "Nobody wanted [Robinson] to leave. Nobody. ... It was his decision and any rumors, speculation that there's anything other than that is completely, completely false. Terrell has been a great kid for this program."
There are raw feelings to be sure. There were anonymous calls to the TFP sports department and the sports editor saying there was family bias and even asking if race played a part in this decision. There was a late comment on Wednesday's 5-at-10 about how Jacob Huesman's Baylor School background got him preferential treatment.
To all of that, we say poppycock. Cite whatever ripples or emotions or raw feelings you'd like, we know this to be sure: It wouldn't matter if you were green or polka dotted and it wouldn't matter if he sat his own mother, Russ Huesman would put the player on the field that gave him the best chance to win. Period. And end of discussion.
(Side note: Samcro, if it's alright with you, we're going to treat your comment from Wednesday's 5-at-10 as a mailbag entry so we can discuss it clearly. And since it's our little family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column, we're going to do it anyway. Here's Samcro's comment: "I saw Trob play several games at South Pitt and UTC. Never saw a Diva but I could be wrong. Of course anyone at this paper is not going to go against UTC because of the need for future interviews. Also there is no way you wouldn't support a former student at the prestigious Baylor school over a Local kid from a mere public school not even in Hamilton County. Wouldn't want to upset the mountain folk around here would we? Just take any week in particular and count mentions of Baylor in the sports page compared to mentions of all other area high schools combined.")
How 'bout them Cowboys
We were sitting here, thinking how impressed we are with the Cowboys. We grew up cheering for the Cowboys — yes we were a Lakers fan and a Cowboys fan, so as a Yute we liked the shiny teams.
On the road, with their second best defensive player — nose tackle Jay Ratliff — back in Dallas, and offensive line that created lanes and kept Tony Romo upright. Good night all around.
This is a team that has continually teased their fans and followers. They look good, the stumble, they look better, they stumble — it's become the Cowboy way.
Is this team different? It's impossible to know after one game of course. This was a good a win — a big win — that could portend any number of things.
Here are the five things we take away from the Cowboys' 24-17 win over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants:
— Giants rookie running back David Wilson fumbled on his first carried and appeared to be crying on the sideline. We don't even know where to start with this. Crying? On the sideline? During the game?
— The replacement referees were not terrible. In fact, other than the fact that Ed Hoculi's huge arms were not signaling the calls, it was hard to notice the referees, and that's the best compliment you can pay any official in every sport.
— Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is a caveman. And he loves to cuss. Loves it. And his defense played pretty great, highlighted by a goal-line stand that started after an interception return put the Giants at first-and-goal at the 2.
— Tony Romo looked pretty sharp. Real sharp in fact.
— Finally, it's pretty excellent to have the NFL back. We all love college football, but we all love out college football team so much that they're highs and lows can alter the landscape. in the NFL, it's just the game without all the emotional baggage and commitment and pain.
This and that
— The Braves landed a much-needed 1-0 win over Colorado on Wednesday.
— More Cowboys: Demarcus Ware had two sacks last night, and he reached 100 sacks in the third fewest games (113). When you look around the league and start notching first-ballot Hall of Famers, does Ware make the list? We say yes, and we say major kudos for a kid that came out of high school and the only scholarship offer he got was from Troy. Dude made himself a superstar.
— Not sure why it developed yesterday, but there was some definite anti-Peyton Manning vibes circling the 5-at-10 yesterday. Gang, Manning is at worst one of the game's 10 best quarterback ever, and he's one more Super Bowl win away from joining Montana, Brady and Elway on the Rushmore of greatest ever.
Art Modell died Thursday morning. He was 87.
And we're sure all of Cleveland is getting the day off. Seriously.
Modell was the owner of the Cleveland Browns, and he alienated the entire city when he moved them to Baltimore and they became the Ravens. He sold the team in 2004 but his legacy was dominated by moving the team. The comments on the USA Today story on his death include "Scum like him won't be missed," and "I have no sympathy for him after what he did to Cleveland."
Now that Modell is gone, we'll have to find a replacement on the Rushmore of people hated by an entire town. As of Wednesday, our Rushmore would have been Modell (Cleveland), Updyke (Auburn), Christian Laettner (Lexington), Bucky Dent (Boston).
Who's next? Is it LeBron in Cleveland or Booby V in Boston?
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 ...