From the "Talks too much" studios, we got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
Johnny Football wins the highlights; Alabama wins the war
We feel pretty certain the topic of college football will be broached today on Press Row from 1-3 p.m. with Paschall on 105.1 FM.
We feel pretty certain that a little tussle in College Station will get some attention, considering that it was a 49-42 slugfest that was the highest-rated afternoon regular-season college football game since Miami-Notre Dame in 1990.
We also feel the need to say this: On Saturdays, Johnny Football is outstanding. We have heckled and bemoaned him for his antics, but the kid was magical against the Tide, accounting for more than 500 yards. (Side note: That's how far Andy Dufresne crawled to his freedom in Shawshank,) Maziel may be a clowned prince of punk off the field that has zero regard for teammates or rules or anyone else not named Johnny (Fill in the Blank). But on Saturdays, wow. Dude was amazing. (Side note: Mike Evans is a beast and will be the better NFL Aggie, but still.)
And it still wasn't enough against an Alabama team that may have the best offense Nick Saban has trotted out during his historic run in Tuscaloosa. You want to know what else this Alabama team is? They are tougher than your mother-in-law's meat loaf. Sweet buckets of resiliency and persistence, how many college football teams can go on the road on the biggest day-time stage in two decades and take two quick haymakers in 100-degree heat with a record-setting crowd going nuts, and be totally unfazed?
We only know of one — and they have won back-to-back national titles.
Here's our top-five takeaways from the lovefest Saturday that was:
• We'd love to book an Oregon-Alabama title game right now. With all due respect to the Clemsons, Ohio States and everyone else, Alabama and Oregon are the two best teams. They know it, we know it, everyone knows it. It may not work out that way because of circumstance and schedule — the Pac 12 conference is only a sneeze behind the SEC, guys — but that does not change which two are best.
• We love Oregon's commitment to new, different and shiny uniforms. We're on board with the trend (as long as Auburn doesn't touch its uniforms, that is), but the concoction that nuked Tennessee on Saturday was bad. It looked like a highlighter got a hold of a bad Lemon-Lime sushi slushy. E-gads.
• We'd love to be on the short list (or even the search committee) for the next Texas coach. Hey, Mack Brown, get Vince Young's number and you guys just head off to the Cheesecake Factory and relive the glory days. And Hotty Toddy to the Rebel folks who read the 5-at-10. Monster win at Austin for Hugh Freeze. In fact, coupled with Mississippi State's continued fall, it was a mighty fine weekend for the Rebel Black Bears.
• Here's love to a few teams other than that have surprised to start the season: the vibe from Spy's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets; FSU has some weapons and a schedule to match; Kentucky, which did a favor for every one who was worried about an unbeaten Louisville getting a BCS spot over a once-beaten SEC or Pac-12 team.
• We'd love to have a couple of picks back from this weekend. Think we all suspected the Ducks' track meet. So it goes. Fab 4-plus one picks went 2-2-1 on the weekend, losing West Virginia's stumbling attempt to cover 38 against a hapless Georgia State team and Western Kentucky's implosion at South Alabama. It also included a double-decker lesson of the irony of timing in the betting world: Louisville was -13.5 on Wednesday when we made the picks and right at 15 at kickoff, a pretty large 1.5-points swing considering the Cardinals beat Kentucky 27-13; Arkansas State was minus-7 when we made the pick but kicked off at minus-6, another large point in a 41-34 win. We're now 11-3-1 on the year against the number. Better than average even if we were exceedingly average this week. (Also, Johnny Football's late TD made a slew of gambling folks either irate/giddy considering it flipped the game and its 8-point line. Entertainment for everyone.)
How crazy and balanced is the NFL?
Fantastic finishes and close calls. Sure there were some blowouts, but those are normally predicated on untimely turnovers or bad QB play. That said, there has been some elite QB play, which magnifies bad QB play. So it goes.
Here's five views from a Sunday of fun, and we'll have our weekends NFL winners and losers Tuesday after a huge, Huge, HUGE Monday night game for the Steelers and Bengals.
• Seattle is the best team in the league.
• With a few more seasons and a little more practice and film study, Peyton Manning may make for a fine NFL quarterback some day. Good luck with that kid, we're all rooting for you.
• The Falcons are going to have a hard time winning 10 games, especially if they can not stay healthy. That said, the modern day wide receiver Rushmore may be Johnson, Bryant, Jones and Green. Sorry Larry Fitzgerald.
• We'd trust a card-player with a nickname that has a city in it — Cincinnati Phil or D.C. Dave or Seattle Lou — before we'd trust Jake Locker to deliver a game-winning drive on a consistent basis.
• A Florida TV station apologized to its viewers for being forced to show the Jacksonville-Oakland game rather than the Manning Bowl. Want to know when it's time to try something new? When your local TV affiliate is apologizing for airing your games to the home folks is a pretty good starting point.
Floyd the barber
We all loved Floyd the barber's scenes in Andy Griffith, right? Dude was simple and confused and lovable and considerate.
The only thing he shares with Floyd Mayweather is seems is a first name. And that's alright, considering you want those traits in the guy that cuts your kid's hair and the exact opposite from the last relevant boxer still working.
Mayweather was money Saturday night. From having his gear delivered in bags with '45-0' stitched on the side — Mayweather's current record after thumping former undefeated challenger Canelo Alvarez — to the A-list celebs who wanted to get close to the champ, it was surreal night of boxing that made us really miss the spectacle that was the sweet science.
Yes, huge college football Saturdays or playoff baseball or the NFL postseason or the first weekend of March Madness each offers a tremendous about of buzz. But nothing we can remember generated the type of sizzle that a monster pay-per-view title fight once did. Sure, MMA offers some of that, but where are they now — something like Death Challenge 147?
We miss that. Saturday night — as Floyd Mayweather made a guaranteed $41 million — we were reminded why.
This and that
— This is not sports — but we have never promised to be limited to the grand illusions of the games we play. Major hats off the TFP folks who put together the Civil War special section in this weekend's paper. It was awesome.
— The PGA event finishes today after some weather delays. Monday golf for the pros is OK as long as you're not covering it. Monday golf for the 5-at-10 gets 100 percent approval from this angle.
— Jadeveon Clowney will need foot surgery. He's going to have it after the season and not miss any games. Just making an observation here, but why? Let's say this thing gets aggravated to the point he misses the combine recovering. And let's say his 40 time goes from a high 4.5 to a low 4.8, and his draft stock goes from No. 1 overall to No. 21 overall. Using last year's salary numbers, top-pick Eric Fisher got a four-year contract worth more than $22 million with a signing bonus (the only guaranteed part of NFL deals) of $14.5 million. Tyler Eifert, the No. 21 overall pick, got a four-year, $8.25 million deal with a $4.3 million signing bonus.
— Atlanta's magic number stayed at 4, and the Braves' lead for home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is two games. The Braves sat Lil' Danny Struggla for the weekend series against the Padres after he saw limited action against Miami in the prior series. Struggla is 2-for-24 in September and if you had to guess, does Struggla make the postseason roster?
— We're waiting for NASCAR to invite the 5-at-10 into the Chase. Hey, everyone else got in. It's like Upward NASCAR, everyone gets to play. It's not like we'd do any worse than Junior.
TONS of stuff to cover today. Help yourself to the potpourri of items in the above.
If you need talking points, here are but three:
1) Would you draft Johnny Football in Round 1? What about Round 2?
2) With all the hubbub of steroids, do we not make enough of a deal about pitchers that have to be out there that used steroids? In turn, don't the accomplishments of 'acknowledged' clean hitters deserve more acclaim? We ask that as a precursor to, is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer? Discuss.
3) Who you got Floyd Mayweather or Sugar Ray Leonard? Discuss. (And here's our Rushmore of Floyd: Floyd Mayweather, Floyd the barber, Sleepy Floyd, Floyd Landis. Are we missing anyone?)
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 ...