Don't forget Friday's mailbag and we're shooting for a ton of folks in the NASCAR contest.
From the "Talks too much" studios, Daddy Mac makes us wanna jump, jump.
We love the NFL draft. You know this.
The NFL combine — the carnival-style event for hundreds of hopeful and hypeful former college football players who will be tested and prodded and quizzed and clocked — starts this weekend. This is going to sound nuts, but there are certain aspects of this event that are simply great TV when the elite prospects perform. Seriously.
Watching the 40-yard dashes and trying to gauge what someone ran. Watching the receivers run the gauntlet catching passes from all directions. Watching the QBs throw and the DBs cover. The 5-at-10 finds it very interesting.
That said, heading into the biggest job interview of these guys lives, here are the five names that are going to generate a lot of attention with their physical skills at the event (we'll discuss quarterbacks later this week):
Alabama nose guard Jesse Williams — Dude is a monster and bench presses small villages. In a copycat NFL that craves monster-strong 3-4 nose guards, Williams size and brute strength will send him rocketing up the charts.
Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson — He is going to put on a show. We're expecting a sub-4.4 time in the 40 and rave reviews about his physical abilities. We admit it, Dr. B said it months ago — he is a doctor after all — Cordarrelle is a monster.
Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert — Playing the offensive position that is currently coveted in the pass-happy NFL, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Eifert's stock could skyrocket with a quality 40 time. Eifert is a great study in the draft's unique blend of talent and value — he has first-round skills, but some teams will wait and see how low they can still draft him. The draft is lovable, no?
Michigan athlete Denard Robinson — There will be a ton of folks watching how Robinson, the former Wolverines quarterback-turned-receiver who made a highlight reel of big plays, runs routes and catches the ball. We think his 40 time will be above-average rather than eye-popping — he always was more quick and elusive than straight-line fast, and that is OK — and his intangibles are off the charts. It will be a tough task for scouts, but they will have to decide if they think Robinson could be a Brad Smith or an Antwan Randle El rather than a Pat White.
Georgia's Jarvis Jones physical will be the difference between being a top-five pick and a late-first-rounder. Concerns about his spine — and while we're not a doctor, the spine seems to be pretty important in most physical endeavors — have teams starting to be very wary in regards to Jones.
OK, watching Quake and the gang on Racing Tonight on Monday was the difference-maker for us. We're having a Daytona 500 contest. Give us the winner and where Danica finishes. Danica's finish will be the tie-breaker, and we'll use our normal Price is Right rules (closest without going over).
We'll play for some sort of trinket and we'll try to get a slew of the local sports folks involved.
Here's our first two entries:
5-at-10: Kevin Harvick and 22nd
Mrs. 5-at-10: Jimmie Johnson and 35th
Monster night in college hoops
Now that there is less than a month left in the college basketball season, the stakes are raised. Home games are paramount. Road games are a chance to improve the resume. It's go time Jerry. (Hey, March Madness is glorious. The college basketball regular season is not. It's the price you pay.)
There are five games featuring teams that have some tournament skin in the game tonight. Let's take a peek:
Tennessee: The Vols are surging. It likely will be too little too late. As UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here Kenny Hall is trying to contribute in a limited role. Great. A loss tonight to LSU would seal UT's NCAA hopes. A win allows the small chance to continue to breath.
No. 1 Indiana at No. 4 Michigan State: The Hoosiers will lock down a No. 1 seed with a win. Sparty would make a big statement for a top seed with a win over college hoops' best team.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack has underachieved. They were preseason top 10; they are currently unranked. They host Florida State tonight, and a loss would be painful.
UNC: Likewise, the Tar Heels have been underwhelming. They are at Georgia Tech tonight. A loss would be painful. (Side note: As a college-hoops crazy kid growing up in the A-T-L, the relative absence of any type of excitement about a UNC-Tech game is disappointing. Sigh. Man, the Dome used to rock when the Tar Heels came to Atlanta. Now, it's hard to name a starter on either team. Such is the state of college hoops, but maybe that is true about all of the college game.)
No. 5 Florida at Missouri: The Gators are one of the nation's most complete teams. A road win tonight further extends their claim to be a No. 1 seed. Missouri is inside the bubble right now, but a top-five win would really complete the resume. The Tigers are 8-6 in their last 14 games and their best win is likely a November victory over VCU. The SEC needs Missouri to show up tonight.
This and that
— Mark your calendar: The Atlanta Braves are going to retire Chipper Jones' No. 10 on June 28 at Turner Field. Not counting the 42 that was retired by all of baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson, Jones' 10 will be the 10th Braves' uniform number retired. Fitting, no?
— OK, the NCAA fired the VP who bungled the Miami investigation. That was the right move of course, but it seems a little soft no? Is there criminal charges that could be explored? Even if it's just for appearances, shouldn't the NCAA at the very least put a show-cause penalty on those involved. This is not good for the NCAA, which will have a creditability problem in almost every investigation for the foreseeable future.
— Sidney Lowe was arrested on tax-evasion charges. Lowe was the point guard on Jim Valvano's 1983 national title N.C. State team and former coach of the Wolfpack and in the NBA.
— Josh Hamilton has made his return to Texas appointment TV. After helping each other to national relevancy — Hamilton was a stud duck in the middle of a Rangers lineup that made back-to-back World Series trips; the Rangers stood by the talented-but-troubled star with a myriad of off-the-field woes — Hamilton bolted to AL-West rival, the Los Angeles Angels, for a big-dollar free agency deal. He said Monday that Dallas was not a baseball town. Ouch-standing.
— Roger Clemens said he "wouldn't lose sleep" over the Hall of Fame vote. Great. Neither are we. If Clemens does lose a few winks, maybe there is a sleep performance-enhancer out there that could help him with that?
— Is Brittney Griner the best women's basketball player ever? We say yes. She's Kareem at a similar crossroad for the women's game.
— Tip of the fedora to Wes Moore's Lady Mocs, who have now won 13 in a row and are rolling at full speed right now.
Was Jerry Buss the best sports owner of our generation?
Buss, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Lakers died Monday. The Lakers won 10 NBA titles since Buss bought the team in 1979.
We think he's certainly on the Rushmore of team sports owners of the last 30 years: We'll take Buss, Steinbrenner, the Rooney family and Jerry Reinsdorf.
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 ...