Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, right, is congratulated by Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford during a news conference at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Notre Dame will play five football games annually against ACC schools, but will be a full member in all other sports. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Remember Friday's mailbag, we have a spot open.
From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...
Fab 4 picks (plus 1)
Looking at the point spreads this week, we started thinking about some of the great upsets of all-time. Louisiana-Monroe was catching 31 from Arkansas — and a sizable six-figure check mind you — and beat the Razorbacks out right last week.
The biggest upset in college football in accordance to the betting lines was Stanford beating then-No. 1 USC 24-23 in 2007. The Cardinal were a 41-point underdog and delivered the first lesson that Jim Harbaugh can really coach some football. The greatest gambling upset ever is Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson as a 50-to-1 longshot in most books and was closer to 100-to-1 from local bookies — not that we'd know anything about that back then.
We also wondered what would be the lines from some of the greatest sports movies of all-time. (Side note: Since 90-percent of sports movies deal in upsets, the prudent sports-movie bettor would almost always take the points.) See if these fit:
Hickory plus-28 against the Mighty Bears of South Bend Central: Sure the Chitwood kid can score, but the Bears' best player — Boyle averages about 20 points — is a stud and the size advantage is large.
Rocky Balboa 50-to-1 against Apollo Creed and 28-to-1 in the rematch: The fight that was the central part of the original Rocky was akin to Douglas-Tyson. The rematch in Rocky II would have started as a pretty good-size line that dropped as the sentimental money came in on Rocky.
Rocky a 7-to-1 pick over Clubber Lang and Lang an 8-to-1 pick in the rematch: Granted, when Mickey went down right before the first Balboa-Lang fight, some books would have moved it off the board. And Lang's first win was so overwhelming — and without Mickey around — Balboa would have been a pretty large underdog. Although, he proved to be pretty comfortable in that role.
Chico's Bail Bonds Bears vs. Denny's Yankees: The Bears likely were a 10-to-1 pick, and that may be low. Sure Kelly Leak was swinging a mean stick and Amanda Whurlitzer was throwing strikes, but the Yankees were obviously the cream of the league. That said, there would have been FBI investigations into point-shaving on each team after Yankees pitcher Joey Turner held the ball and intentionally let Mike Engelberg get an inside-the-park homer and Bears manager Morris Buttermaker replaced Amanda with Oglivie in the final inning.
Dalton vs. Jimmy (in the deathmatch down by the stream in "Roadhouse"): Dalton was a 3-to-2 pick since he had already killed a guy with his throat-removal move. That said, Jimmy had relations with tough guys in prison — not that there's anything wrong with that.
Where were we... Oh year, the Fab 4 (plus 1) picks. Giddy-up
South Florida minus-7 against Rutgers: This game is tonight and buy the half. We think Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels is going to have a big year.
THE over 52 in THE Ohio State-Cal game: We like THE Buckeyes in this one, too, but we believe the over to be the safer play. Consider that Cal is averaging 37 points per game and allowed Southern Utah to score 31 last week. Side note: Southern Utah's nickname is Thunderbirds. We approve of that message.
BYU minus-3 at Utah: Utah lost at Utah State and veteran Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn retired after the game. Seriously, he retired. Called it a career and hung 'em up. We'd buy the half to be sure. Side question, if you buy the half in a BYU game would you byu the half? Discuss.
Louisville minu-3 against UNC: Call this a grunge pick. UNC stiffed us last week. This should make us even.
Tennessee minus-3 against Florida: Stop us if you've heard this, but buy the half. And the closer we get to kickoff, the more nervous this game becomes (and the more we start to eye that over the 47). It also does not calm our nerves that Dr. B likes the Vols to cover in this one, too. So it goes.
Florida running back Jeff Demps (28) is pushed out of bounds on the 1-yard line by Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) after a 28-yard pass play during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Gainesville, Fla.
We have been on the Vols' monster matchup with the Gators all week, and we are going to finish the drill.
Here's a tale of the tape between the two programs:
Florida: Albert and Alberta Gator
Edge: UT, by a lot. First off, Albert Gator is fat, so technically he is Fat Albert Gator, Hey, Hey, Hey. Second, if you have a female mascot, you lose points. This is football, not political correctness class.
UT: Peyton Manning
Florida: Tim Tebow
Edge: Florida, by a lot. Tebow won a Heisman, and was part of two national title teams. Manning never beat Florida and the Vols won it all the year after he left. That said, take heart UT fans, in the knowledge that your best player went on to be one of the five best NFL quarterbacks ever and the Gators' best player went on to be a back-up in New York who turns heads for running shirtless.
Best player (non-quarterback division)
UT: Reggie White
Florida: Emmitt Smith
Edge: Push. Talk about two stud ducks. Wow. These teams have produced some legit talent.
Coaches' sideline traits
UT: Sure, Derek Dooley has perfect hair, but his fashion sense ranges from traditionally hip (love the orange pants) to sloppy (for all intents and purposes he wore a mu-mu in the season opener).
Florida: Will Muschamp earned the nickname "Coach Boom" for his animated reactions on the sideline. It was "Coach Boom" because most of the other stuff coming out of his mouth was unfit for a family-oriented, interweb-based sports column. Hey, coach, let's keep it clean, huh?
Edge: UT. Orange pants trump blue language every time. Hey, it's about the kids.
Saturday's difference maker — Tyler Bray
UT: Feeling pretty good that their fate rests in the hands of a quarterback that will be a future NFL first-round pick.
Florida: Feeling pretty good that UT has put all their eggs in the hands of a quarterback with a wicked back tat and spent the summer getting cited by authorities on jet skis and throwing beer bottles at cars.
Notre Dame makes a move — mostly
Notre Dame has long been the highest-profile carrot dangling in the conference realignment puzzle.
Wednesday, the Irish announced they are joining the ACC in all sports other than football and ice hockey. (We know you're busted up about the hockey part, Spy, but suck it up.)
Here's what you need to know about the move:
The Irish win with this move. They get to keep their NBC football money. They get to move from the BCS league on life support to one that has a pulse. They still get to schedule nationally in football. They also still have future options since joining a conference in every sport but football is like living with someone for five years and still not getting engaged. Sure, you're in the relationship, but how committed are you really?
The ACC kind of wins with this move. They get to say they are back since they landed the biggest fish on the free agent market, even if they did not get the ring of football. With the $50 million buyout. the ACC also is in place to be where the Irish land when they are forced to pick a conference or get off the pot down the road. (And that will happen when the playoffs expand to eight teams and beyond.) Plus, by the gazelle rules of life, the ACC does not need to be the fastest conference, they just can't be the slowest and get eaten.
The Big East is the loser here. And that surprises no one. And by all rules, including those of the gazelles, the Big East is a dead conference walking.
This and that
— U.S. News and World Report came out with its annual ranking of best colleges. Harvard and Princeton tied for first, with Yale coming in third. (Can you imagine the nerdy taunts that are being bandied about today... "That's alright, that's OK, you'll be working for us some day," comes to mind.) The highest ranked non-Ivy League school was the University of Chicago, which tied for fourth with Columbia. The BCS-conference schools made the top 10 were Stanford, Duke and Auburn. (OK — we may have made the last one up.)
— Does anyone want to win the NL wildcard? For the third day in a row the top four teams in the wildcard standings lost. As StuckinKent pointed out yesterday, the standings are a mess. And sweet buckets of wrestling nostalgia, is that the Philadelphia Phillies' intro music? The Phillies, who before the trading deadline jettisoned a slew of folks in an effort to rebuild, have won seven straight and are three back of the Cardinals for the final wildcard spot. All totaled, the Braves lead the wildcard race and are 5.5 games clear of the next closest team. The Cardinals are one up of the Dodgers, who are one of five teams within four games of St. Louis.
— That's a legit NFL matchup tonight. Bears-Packers, with the Packers needing a win badly. We'll be tuning in for sure.
— We're scheduled to be on Chris Goforth's show today around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM. Swing by if you get a minute.
Today's question is easy — who do you like in the UT-Florida game?
Plus, remember the UT-Florida contest. Send us your projected score and you could win stuff. We'll update the entries around lunch.
Bring it and let's go.
If you need another topic, what do you make of the madness of college hoops in the last four days: UNC in the NCAA spotlight, Duke in the NCAA spotlight and Jim Calhoun retiring (escaping) before the NCAA hammer landed at UConn (again).
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 ...