Gang, remember the Friday mailbag and fire away with your questions.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's pay homage to those groups and performers who were recently nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An especially big tip of the Kangol to LL Cool J.
Sunday night Peyton Manning takes the NFL's best team to Indianapolis to face a Colts bunch that likely is the NFL's best young team.
There will be a slew of stories about Manning's record-setting career with the Colts, some of them you potentially haven't heard before. There will be a standing ovation or 12, and there will likely be some sort of Bob Costas social commentary that will make our heads hurt.
Heck, all we're missing is Verne Lundquist remembering the fond days at Tennessee when "Peyton Marshall used to look around the Tennessee offense and see Jerry Lewis and Peering Price." Good times.
That said, the emerging storyline that Manning told Colts owner Jim Irsay he'd be crazy not to draft Andrew Luck may be the best gift Manning has ever delivered to the franchise. This is not saying Luck will be better than Manning — although that's a worthy debate (see below) — but rather it gives the Colts the likely chance that they and the Packers are looking at 30-year runs of Hall of Fame quarterback play. Good stuff.
What did catch us a little off guard was John Fox saying Irsay's quote about Manning's tenure in Indy winning "only one" Super Bowl was a cheap shot. Hmmmmm. Maybe they will interrupt the Sunday night hug-a-thon long enough to play a game of tackle football.
The baseball playoffs have been drama filled and textbook pitching duals. One run feels like five and every hit and base runner feels like a success.
It's how it should be — baseball played at the highest level and every pitch meaningful and every mistake magnified.
Still, in a season that has been blessed with a river of tremendous story lines, the powers that be in baseball have to be wondering, if a perfect game falls amid the forest of football and no one is watching, did it happen?
The drama that baseball has offered has not been for the "Chicks dig the long-ball crowd" — which apparently defines the vast majority of the viewing public. Here were the Nielsen ratings for the week of Oct. 7-13:
1) NFL Football: Washington vs. Dallas, NBC, 22.07 million.
2) "NCIS," CBS, 18.33 million.
3) "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 17.64 million.
4) "The Walking Dead," AMC, 16.11 million.
5) "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 16.02 million.
6) "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 14.84 million.
7) "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 14.64 million.
8) "The OT," Fox, 14.11 million.
9) "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 13 million.
10) "Football Night in America," NBC, 11.78 million.
11) "The Millers," CBS, 11.73 million.
12) "Person of Interest," CBS, 11.65 million.
13) NFL Football: N.Y. Jets vs. Atlanta, ESPN, 11.45 million.
14) "Blacklist," NBC, 11.18 million.
15) "Criminal Minds," CBS, 10.98 million.
16) American League Championship Series: Detroit vs. Boston, Game 2, Fox, 10.89 million.
17) "Modern Family," ABC, 10.64 million.
18) "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.62 million.
19) "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.56 million.
20) "Castle," ABC, 10.51 million.
There were two prime time football games and two NFL studio shows that fared better than a remarkable Boston baseball game.
It also shows why the NFL is looking to add another Thursday night game. Prime time NFL football rules the dial, and the asking price for a major network to own a night through the fall season likely is a number that has at least two commas, and quite possibly three commas.
College football primer
If we take a quick peek around the college football landscape, things get really interesting starting Saturday.
Yes, we'll have our picks in Thursday's 5-at-10. We also may have a Les Miles tribute, because, dagnabbit, we like him.
That said, there are a couple of games that have major interest in our view.
Tennessee-South Carolina: The Vols are starving for success against a rank team, in fact the Vols last win over a top-25 foe was South Carolina, back when Lane Kiffin was beloved in Knox County. And, while we concur there were some positives in the Vols' second-hald rally against the injury-riddled Georgia Bulldogs, coming close and scaring South Carolina does not hold the same panache. One emotional close call against a top-10 foe can be viewed as steps in the right direction; a slew of close makes you good at horseshoes.
Auburn at Texas A&M: Heck, we're to the point that if Johnny Football was going through a 7-on-7 scrimmage, we'd watch. Dude is averaging 377 yards of total offense per game and accounted for 19 TDs (that's more yards per game than at least teams — including Tennessee — and as many TDs as Oklahoma has scored as a team all year), and that's with severely limited stats in his season-opener because of a two-quarter suspension so the NCAA can pretend it's doing something. War NCAA. The Auburn Tigers are 5-1, which is impressive considering they were 3-9 last year. It's also misleading since Auburn has not won a regular-season game outside the 334 area code since beating South Carolina on Oct. 1, 2011. (Don't get spoiled by the research, OK.)
FSU at Clemson: The winner steps into the BCS spotlight. The loser likely gets Louisville in the Orange Bowl. Nothing at stake, huh? And who in a million years would have believed two guys named Dabo and Jimbo would be the deciding factors in something this big that did not involved tractor pulls or "Sweet Home Alabama." Turn it up boys.
UTC at Elon: The Mocs also are playing elimination games. We forget which one of you cats said it this week, but the Mocs really are already playing in the postseason in a lot of ways. Lose to Elon, and the goals become dreams. Beat Elon and the goals are still within reach.
Florida at Missouri: Gary Pinkel can wrap up SEC coach of the year honors with a win here, and the Tigers would then grab firm control of the SEC East. Yep, that's something we all projected in August.
Bonus game: Syracuse at Georgia Tech: OK, the train wreck factor is huge for this one. And talk about being firmly between the rock and the hard future — if Tech continues this bumpy road, good guy Paul Johnson will likely pay the price. That said, where would you go with your next coaching hire and how long would the rebuilding process be for an offense that does not employee a quarterback who tosses the ball overhanded with any regularity.
This and that
— Well, the shine on Bobby Petrino is kind of fading, no? And the timing of the Western Kentucky's turnover struggles that were magnified in an ugly 37-20 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette last night couldn't be worse for Petrino, considering the potential number of big-boy jobs that will be open this offseason. Hopefully we'll run the Rock Lobster photo here.
— For the first time that we can remember, we are more excited for the NBA season than we are for the college basketball season. LeBron James has that kind of must-watch vibe. That said, we meant what we said yesterday and we're excited to see what Will Wade and the Mocs will do. (And we know 9er is stoked about the Wildcats, who will be fun to watch.)
— Kansas super freshman Andrew Wiggins is a baller. Shot-caller. Twenty-inch blades on the Impala. Kid can play. He'll be in school one season and there are reports that Adidas is going to offer him a nine-figure endorsement deal. Here's saying those 8 a.m. classes come second semester may be optional for Mr. Wiggins.
— The owner of the Memphis Griz says he wants to play MJ one-on-one with $1 million going to charity. Great intentions, whipper snapper, but c'mon man. Yes, you are shooting a jumper in your Twitter photo, but even at 50, Jordan dominates.
Feel free to chime in on any of the above.
If you need a football talking point, tell us why your team will succeed/fail this week.
Share who you think will be better over the long haul, Manning or Luck. And that's an interesting one right there.
If you need to branch from football, are all these pitching duals good baseball or American soccer?
If you still need more options, did you know there were several eye-popping names on the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame nomination list. First-time nominees are Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, YES, Link Wray, The Zombies and The Replacements (underrated sports movie, too). They were joined by repeat nominees KISS, LL Cool J, N.W.A, Cat Stevens, Deep Purple, The Meters, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Chic.
Two questions: Can you believe it's been almost 20 years since Kurt Cobain committed suicide? Second, if you could vote for three of the above, who you got.
Discuss. And remember the mailbag.
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 ...