OK gang, been a rocking week. Let's finish the drill and remember Friday's mailbag.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's mess around and get a triple-double.
Big day in Miami
OK, unless Don Johnson and the black guy strike up a "Miami Vice" rerun or Dan Marino decides to give it one more go, it's hard to see the folks in South Florida having a better day than Wednesday. Let's review:
— As the college football world waited for the 400-pound hammer of NCAA violations to drop on the Hurricanes football program for a laundry list of violations that ranged from improper contact to allegedly hooking players up with cash and ladies and what not, the worm completely turned. The NCAA admitted to several mistakes in collecting the information, even possibly damaging the legal process against Nevin Shapiro by using his attorney to ask NCAA-specific questions in depositions.
And while no one is debating whether Miami did a lot of the stuff claimed, here's what NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a conference call Wednesday: "We have no interest in pursuing a case based on information garnered through inappropriate behavior. That's not what we stand for. ...We have a great amount of evidence compiled and only some a portion of it is a result of this conduct.''
That may be true, and we still expect the Hurricanes to be hit with some penalties, but those sanctions will be delayed after signing day in two weeks and likely will not be as harsh as they would have been.
— The Hurricanes basketball team must have been energized by the NCAA reprieve. Miami dropped a 90-63 Biblical whipping on top-ranked Duke that was not as close as the final score may indicate. Miami led 42-19 at halftime and thoroughly enjoyed its first win over a No. 1-ranked opponent. Check out these numbers: Duke shot 29.7 percent; Miami shot 57. Duke made 4-of-23 3s; Miami was 9-of-19. Miami is now 14-3 and 5-0 in the ACC with a two-game lead in the loss column over the rest of the conference.
— Across town, the Miami Heatles rallied from 15 down to win in overtime behind LeBron James' 34th career triple-double.
As the Fresh Prince said,
"Bouncing in the club where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
I'm going to Miami
Welcome to Miami."
NFL Safety Debate
The NFL issued two fines from the conference title games. The league fined Tom Brady $10K for his controversial slide with spikes high that clipped Ravens safety Ed Reed. We saw the play and thought a fine was warranted. The league also announced a fine for 49ers running back for violating the league's dress code. Yep, the NFL fined Gore $10,500 for having his socks too low.
OK, a move that was at best dirty and at worst made with the intent to injure an opposing player gets a lower fine than a sock malfunction? And we're suppose to take the league seriously about it's new-found focus on player safety? Sure we are.
On a slight safety tangent, while the league appears silly and even disingenuous about the fines, we don't believe the family of Junior Seau should be able to sue the NFL — dude was a football player, it was his choice and he likely would have done it for a fraction of the millions he made. And in truth, if he had decided not to play, there would have been a line of volunteers waiting to take his spot. His health issues and death merit sympathy and discussions about how to make the game and league safer, but how is this a legal matter? It's football — a violent and physical game that extracts an extreme and costly price on the human body — and Junior knew the risks. He embraced the risks, being as physical as anyone in this physical sport.
Seau's family is one of hundreds in the legal chase against the NFL, claiming the league did not do enough to protect its players and ignored the results and impacts of concussions. If the league hid information, that's one thing. But everyone who knows a kicking tee from a cup of tea, knows football is a ballet of car wrecks and carnage that makes its mark by leaving marks. Plus what is frequently ignored is that the players also dismissed those concussion signs or flat-out ignored them and even lied about them.
Issues and complaints like these have originated some positive debate about head injuries and about player safety. The league has adjusted the rules (some would say even too much) and has looked at steps involving concussions about when players can return and when they need to sit.
And in almost every one of those cases those discussions are good and productive. They just don't need to be in a courtroom in our opinion.
Plus, if the NFL safety movement is going to continue, the next name to pay attention to is Alex Smith. Because as many steps and safeguards as the NFL could possibly invoke, it has been and will continue to be about players raising their hands and admitting concussions. Smith did, sitting out a game with the lingering effects of a concussion. Enter Colin Kaepernick, who plays great, takes Smith's job and now have the 49ers 60 minutes from the Super Bowl title. Smith? He's left looking for a new team and the headache of wondering what would have been if he had kept quiet about his headache.
Super Bowl prop bets
We have tried to share the craziness of the sports betting that comes with the Super Bowl. Here's a recap: We told you to get on the Ravens at plus-4.5 at the beginning of the week (and since the line has already dropped to San Fran minus-3, if you are on the Ravens plus-4.5, you could cover that with a San Fran minus-2.5 after buying the half and feel real good about possibly collecting twice and not losing anything but the juice — and remember, all of this is for entertainment purposes only of course); We have the first score coming before the 7:30 mark of the first quarter; we have Vernon Davis at 25-to-1 and Ray Lewis at 10-to-1 as MVPs.
Then, we opened our early morning email from friend of the show R.J. Bell, gambling's best marketed and connected odd's maker.
Check out R.J.'s numbers:
• More than half the adults in America will have some action on the Super Bowl, whether it's board squares, pools or old-fashioned bets. Apparently, there is $10 billion in entertainment units expected to be risked, and roughly 1 percent ($100 million) will be wagered in Vegas. Read that again.
• There are now odds on what Beyonce's first halftime song will be ("Crazy in Love" and "Love on Top" are the favorites) and whether she will show cleavage (yes is a 4-to-1 favorite and somewhere Bill Clinton just made this face.
• Will both Harbaughs wear hats? Yes is a 9-to-1 favorite.
• The over/under on the longest touchdown play is over/under 45.5 yards.
• Before the season, the odds on the 49ers winning it all were 17-to-1 and the Ravens went off at 14-to-1.
Enjoy round one of the crazy prop bets, and to continue our string of picks, we'll go with yes on Beyonce's cleavage, we'll say yes on the hats and lay the odds and we'll take the over 45.5 yards on the longest touchdown play.
More to come of course, but wow. You can risk entertainment on anything. (Side note: Have you seen the reports that the Mercedes Benz commercial with Kate Upton is being criticized for being "too sexy" and is getting backlash?)
This and that
— We've tried to stay away from the Manti Te'o story, but as our man Humpty might say sometimes, this gets ridiculous. OK, the catfish/dupe theory now has us banking on the fact that Te'o was completely duped by a man pretending to be his girlfriend? Is this the first sports scandal that melds two classic Seinfelds, with the "Not that there's anything wrong with that" story line and the "This is Dan" high-talker. If we can find a way to get Te'o to drape himself in velvet, get former Irish QB Jimmy Clausen involved and calling himself "Jimmy" thoughout every episode, get a contest of abstinence started and possibly even work in some soup, Chinese takeout and non-fat yogurt, we're ready to roll. (Seriously, fooled by a man?)
— Nice win for the Lady Mocs at Samford. We were talking about them in the office yesterday before the road game and wondered how high a seed they could get if they win the SoCon tournament. Let's say they go the rest of the regular season and lose only one more game. That makes them 28-4 with a win over powerhouse Tennessee and a conference title. Right now they are 56th in RPI. Could that be worth a 10 or an 11 seed?
— We believe the Vols are facing a must-win tonight if an NCAA at-large tournament spot is a possibility.
— We're planning on swinging by SportTalk this afternoon around 4:30ish. Feel free to give it a listen — don't cost nothing.
—Speaking of SportTalk, had a little Twitter exchange (@jgreesontfp) with Cowboy Joe after he played some Dwight Yoakam (one of our favorites) leading into a segment Wednesday. It got us thinking that, a) we've never seen Yoakam in concert and b) he'd definitely be on our personal Rushmore of folks we haven't seen that we need to see — with Bruce, Bon Jovi and Garth in Vegas.
Let's flip it and reverse it.
Hit us with your questions today and we'll either answer them here or put them in Friday's mailbag.
OK, if you need a topic, let's go here:
What's your Rushmore of triple-threat possiblities as in celebs who have had success in music, TV and film? We'll go Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Dwight Yoakam (who we know was great in music, great in Sling Blade and great as a voiceover in King of the Hill).
Who you like?
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 ...