Jamarcus Russell comeback
We love the draft. You know this.
We love the ever-changing nature of the way it plays out. We love the merging merits of need vs. best player available. We love the immediate reviews and the long-term grading of this pick and that draft. (Want to know how the 49ers were able to turn things around so quickly? One, Jim Harbaugh is a coaching ninja, going 24-7-1 in two years for a franchise that was 46-82 from 2003-2010 without a winning season or a playoff berth. Two, they were slap money in the 2011 draft, getting defensive difference maker Aldon Smith in round one, dealing later picks to land quarterback Colin "Humpty" Kaepernick in round two, starting nickel back Chris Culliver in round three, and starting fullback Bruce Miller in round seven.)
And news of Jamarcus Russell's vowed comeback leaves the draft hound in us dumbfounded. Hey, great if the guy can make it back, it's not like every franchise is overflowing qualified quarterbacks in this day and age.
But here are the two things we can say without question about Russell: He is the reason the 5-at-10 is familiar with PurpleDrank (the prescription-cough syrup-based drink that also includes a Jolly Rancher, and guys, we may not know much, but if a grown man is getting his drink on with a concoction that needs a Jolly Rancher or a Life Saver, well, there could be any number of wide-ranging questions asked — not that there is anything wrong with that); and Russell is the worst draft pick ever.
Forget the social and medical purposes of the PurpleDrank (and if you used a lemon Jolly Rancher or a LemonHead would it be YellaDrank, and if so would that guy from YellaWood be willing to be a sponsor... where were we), Russell was the first pick in a draft that included the best running back (Adrian Peterson), wide receiver (Calvin Johnson), offensive tackle (Joe Thomas), middle linebacker (Patrick Willis), cornerback (Darrelle Revis) and arguably the second best tackle in the league (Joe Staley) and the best guard (Marshal Yanda). Ouch-standing.
As a side note, Russell almost single-handedly caused the NFL lockout of a few years ago that was in large part needed to scale in the escalating salaries of first-round draft picks. Russell signed a $61-million deal that included $32 million in guaranteed money — Cam Newton got a total contract worth roughly $22 million for being the first pick in 2011.
So the reports that Russell is now motivated to prove he can play in a league that has not offered him even a second-look since 2009 is hardly worth discussing. The fact that one draft pick can affect so many teams in the league — and the league at its core — is part of the reason the draft is so awesome in its awesomeness.
Super Bowl prop bets
Gang, we have kicked around some of the best off the cuff prop bets and we're committed to doing that through the Super Bowl, which is in roughly 10 days but feels like three months. The big and crazy prop bets — stuff like Joe Flacco's passing yards will be more than Tiger Woods score at whatever PGA tournament is next week or Anquan Bolden's catches will be more than LeBron James' assists — will be later next week.
Today, we'll take the under on the first score happening before the 7:30 mark of the first quarter. Yep, you can bet on just about anything in the Super Bowl.
We asked on the Twitter last night who are you pulling for, and we're interested in your opinion here too. We're trying to figure out who we're supporting, although we're leaning toward the 49ers. Here's why:
We like Jim Harbaugh, who we'll compare to Ben Affleck, while John Harbaugh is more of the Casey Affleck. (Hey, each of the Harbaughs are stout, so that's why we went with the Afflecks. If it was as one-sided as say Tommie and Hank Aaron, it would Frank and Sly Stallone or Ron and Clint Howard, but each of the Harbaughs have skills.)
We have a growing amount of respect for Humpty Kaepernick because he can throw it a lot better than most realize and look at him he's skinny and it never stopped him from getting busy.
Here's a push for us though, and it involves two of the all-time greats at their position: Who would you rather see win a ring — Randy Moss or Ed Reed? Discuss.
(Side note, and Quake feel free to comment on this as a longtime Steelers supporter: We talked to occasional show contributer SteelerFan, who, you guessed it, pulls for the Steelers, and he admits to being in quite the compromising spot here. One, as a Steeler supporter, he's required by moral compass to hate the Ravens; however, if the 49ers win next Sunday, they will match the Steelers' six Super Bowl titles, a fact that gives SteelerFan great pause.)
Wow, Alabama delivered a complete performance and presented us with the real chance UK could be the story of selection Sunday considering the Blue Blooded Blue Nation could have the rare chance to win the NCAA tournament one year and the NIT the next.
Side note: And no one will be crying crocodile tears for Coach Cal and the Cats, but when you have to rework your roster and you have Kentucky on your chest, well, you get no mercy and are spared no quarter. The Wildcats are still the biggest game on every team in the SEC's schedule. Case in point: UK drew capacity crowds in Auburn and Tuscaloosa the last two games, and the Tide were able to finish the deal with a 59-55 win Tuesday night that left UK at 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the league with games against four-ranked teams and trips to College Station, Knoxville, Athens and Fayetteville left on the schedule. (Rest easy chas9, we still believe UK is a tourney lock, but the cracks around the surface have to be of some concern, no?)
And we can see what our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer accurately stated this morning, that the league may be down but not out of the title talk considering Florida looks the part of a serious Final Four contender.
And word to the wise college fans out there that may be enjoying watching the SEC take it on its collective basketball chin: Get them now. Because as we discussed Tuesday that the SEC has nine teams in the top 20 recruiting rankings in football, the level of talent being amassed by the SEC basketball programs is staggering.
Fifteen of the top 18 high school players in the country according to Rivals.com have signed. Of those 15, 10 have signed with SEC schools, including five with Kentucky.
Get them now boys, get them now.
Side note: Remember our Too early to pick x Two months from now = the Final Four picks. Send us your Final Four and the entry with the most will win some Masters gear.
This and that
— Wow, it's been a year since Joe Paterno died. It seemed like he was there forever and 40-plus years is as close as forever gets in coaching. But since all the scandal and all the pain, it seems like he's been gone a decade and it's been only a year.
— Speaking of Alabama's win, Tide point guard Andrew Steele is a definite contender for the Stan White All-Stars, guys who feel like they have put in 12-year college careers. We think Steele may have been in Latrell Sprewell's recruiting class.
— OK, this is stranger than fiction. There's a county in Ireland that is considering passing a Drunk Driver's license. How exactly would you test for that, have Paddy O'Callahan kick back a couple of pints and drive the obstacle course?
— We're done with the Manti Te'o story. There's no way this is going to get anything but more diluted and more sad. Part of his interview with Katie Couric was aired Wednesday morning on Good Morning America in which he admitted to lying after finding out about the hoax in early December.
Gang, remember the mailbag.
In honor of our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's look at everyone's favorite Marshall, Ole Miss's shoot first, talk always guard Marshall Henderson, who are the players that you loved to hate the most?
Can be from any sport, but college basketball is a good place to start.
We'll take a love-to-hate college hoops Rushmore of: Scottie Thurman, Eric Montross, Joakim Noah, Adam Morrison.
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 ...