Hope you were able to stay warm this weekend. Warm like a cozy afternoon; not warm like Will Muschamp's chair. You get the idea.
From the "Talks too much" studios, be careful what you wish for... you just might get it.
And it's done. Mack Brown left the University of Texas amid a week-long storm of speculation and rumor, resigning last weekend under the looming specter of being fired.
He left the program in a better place than he found it, winning 158 games and a national title in 16 seasons. The numbers are very similar to a very similar old-school, gentleman coach from the state of Tennessee that worked tirelessly at a program called UT.
Yep, Phillip Fulmer's 152-52 record and a national title in 16 seasons deserves mention today if for no other reason that the eerie math symmetry that makes you scratch your watch and wind your your head.
It also magnifies the importance of this hire for Texas and new athletics director Steve Patterson. There is no wiggle room — there rarely is anymore in big-time college athletics in general, and big-Big-BIG-boy college football in particular, where the bills of the entire sports landscape at the monolith programs are covered by the efforts of the boys in helmets chasing the ball that bounces funny.
But the five-year debacle in Knoxville serves as a working history lesson that a bad hire — and bad luck — can set back a program by years.
Brown's exit was classy and befitting a man that most of the fan base wanted out. Be careful wishing that hard for a change at the top when the view has become familiar. Not that the view has become bad mind, it's become comfortably above average and occasionally good but seldom great.
As Brown noted in his farewell, you have to win more than eight games at Texas, which the Horns did this year. That's understood. But timing is a key part of the equation because, as Brown noted, in his first year there were parades and back-slapping about the Longhorns winning nine games.
It's the modern-sports math that compares success on a daily basis and raises the expectations almost as quickly. It's also one of the reasons that the career of college football coaches should be gauged closer to dog years than regular ones. The days of coaches staying decades are dead. In this instant success, what have you done lately, are we contending for a title now and forever fan mania, wiggle room is for wormy programs with no history.
Sure fans will bemoan the "lack of loyalty" of their rivals, but let your team land back-to-back Holiday Bowls or a Heaven forbid a Christmas break or three spent at home, and it's "We need to hire Saban... or someone like him."
The NFL must have known that all the football eyes were on it this weekend.
It was the show that would not stop.
The Falcons win when they need to lose. The Titans lose in a painstaking way that was completely and totally the Titans.
The frontrunners in the AFC stumbled collectively. Well other than Kansas City, which has moved into the mix and looked legit Sunday.
The Saints suffered a painful loss, surrendering control to the Panthers in the NFC South.
And Dallas has hit a new low in the soap opera subterfuge that is the mess that Jerry Jones has built. Wow, we saw on Twitter Sunday that someone wrote that dumpster fires were offended at being compared to the Cowboys. Good times.
Have you seen the standings in the NBA East? Heck, 1988 Dolly Parton called and said, "Wow, now that is top-heavy."
In the Eastern Conference, Indiana is a sterling 20-3 and Miami is 17-6. Atlanta is third in the conference at 12-12. Third. Atlanta, which counts Lou Williams as one of its best players. Yes, Sweet Lou Williams. No, the other one.
In the West, Minnesota is 12-12 and the New Orleans Pelicans are 11-11, matching the Hawks for winning percentage, and those teams are tied for 10th.
While there are more quality teams in the West — a lot more — the cream atop the standings in each league is rich and foamy.
Portland is 21-4 with Oklahoma City and San Antonio lurking at 19-4.
As we head toward Christmas — and as the sports calendar turns indoors — here's five quick things to know about the first quarter of the NBA season:
— Indiana is legit. The Paces have five players averaging double figures in scoring and could get former all-star Danny Granger back as soon as this week.
— LeBron James is scoring at an extremely efficient pace. James is averaging 25 points per game and is shooting 59 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3.
— Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge is the best player without a national commercial in sports. Kevin Love is very close, too.
— There are 29 NBA players shooting 42 percent or better from 3-point range, including five power forwards and center Spencer Hawes. Go figure. Way downtown... Bang.
— The stench from the rotten Big Apple is staggering. New York (7-16) and Brooklyn (8-15) have two of the highest payrolls in the league and are looking at the tailpipes of such renowned rosters as Cleveland, Toronto, Charlotte and Washington. Egad.
This and that
— Tough weekend for the local fellows on the court. Vols lost at Wichita State, another in a river of missed opportunities to land a hat-hanging nonconference win. UTC lost at Northern Kentucky, which is not good on a variety of levels, highlighted by the toe injury of Z. Mason, and magnified by the fact that the Northern Kentucky Norse (yes, Norse) is now 2-7. Heck, even chas9's UK Wildcats drew the short straws against the schizophrenic UNC Tar Heels.
— In the background of college football news this weekend was the announcement that quarterback Tyler Murphy will transfer from Florida. Murphy, who started six games in 2013 because of injuries to starter Jeff Driskel, has already graduated and will be eligible to play next fall. Murphy is the sixth Gators player to announce he is transferring and the second QB, and neither fact looks good for Florida coach Will Muschamp, who will be on the hottest seat in the country next fall.
— Seattle handed the New York football Giants their first home shutout since 1995. It also cashed $35,000 for 12 lucky fans from the Jet Chevy dealership in Federal Way, Wash., which ran a contest to give away the cash prizes if the Seahawks blanked the Giants. Here's the story.
— Jameis Winston won the most predictable Heisman race in recent memory. So it goes.
— With Navy landing the knockout blow Saturday. the Fab 4-plus-1 college picks finished the regular season 51-40-1. Bowl contest stuff will be released today. Looking forward to it.
Peyton Manning was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. We're OK with that, but we likely would have gone with LeBron. Who you got?
We finished up our Christmas shopping this weekend. Are you done?
Discuss and it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
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 ...
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