OK, we've put the holiday hurdles and happiness behind us. Yip-ee. Boo-hoo. Whatever.
Let's get back on schedule with a Friday mailbag and try to get back in the groove. Deal? Deal.
From the "Talks too much" studios, how foul a mood was Nick Saban around midnight:30 this morning? Get that man three OCPs, stat.
From Tom B.
What was that Mr. SEC-homer? Georgia got smoked. Alabama got smoked. Auburn's going to get smoked.
Quit sucking up to the SEC and realize that other conferences are just as good.
Tom B. —
Dude, take a step back from the keyboard and breathe. It's going to be OK.
We do a lot on the SEC because that's what people in SEC-country want to read and talk about it. So it goes. As for the 'sucking up' part, well, guess that's in the eye of the beholder.
And to be fair, what other conferences are 'just as good' as the SEC?
Still, the Alabama loss was shocking on a lot of levels. And before we get to a breakdown of the Bama meltdown, we must say that Twitter was made for moments like this. And the vitriol from UT fans during the Alabama loss was overwhelming — and quite funny.
It kind of leads us to a point we talked about on Press Row yesterday on 105.1 FM — do you cheer for rival teams in bowl games just because they are in your conference? Does it help the perception of the conference? Does that matter?
We took the stance that we don't, unless we have some green entertainment on the game. David Paschall, our co-host, says he always goes for the SEC. So it goes.
It was quite clear that several of you on the Twitter took some pleasure in that very uncharacteristic Bama performance. And the numbers told the staggering story of how rare that type of effort the 45-31 loss to Oklahoma was for Alabama in general and a Saban-coach Bama team in particular:
Last time Alabama gave up 45 points was the 1996 SEC title game.
Last time Alabama lost back-to-back games was the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
Alabama has allowed 38 or more points exactly 3 times in the last decade.
Alabama has now lost nine games in the last six seasons and twice in the last five weeks.
As for the Twitter hilarity, try some of these:
Stephen Hargis @StephenHargis
Definition of irony: a team with a bandwagon for a mascot beating bama
Brad Shepard @Brad_Shepard
Texas can do better than Saban
Kelley Smiddie @KelleySmiddie
Late in the Sugar Bowl some loud fans were chanting Over-rated! Over-rated! I don't think Oklahoma is overrated. What am I missing?
Everybody knows Alabama should be in the National Title game.
Wiley J. Stidham @wiley34
Well Bama, this is what happens when you bring in Lane Kiffin for coaching advice. LOL #KarmasAButch
Lonely Tailgater @LonelyTailgater
What is Oklahoma's most treasured on-campus feature? Harvey Updyke would like to know.
I think Connor Shaw has great NFL potential…maybe the most of any Spurrier-trained QB…your thoughts?
Florida quarterback Rex Grossman is sacked by Tennessee's John Henderson. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Considering that Rex Grossman is likely the highest pro hurdle of the Spurrier regime that Shaw has to clear, saying he has the most NFL potential of an Ole Ball Coach pupil is underselling Shaw. That of course is nothing new — Shaw has been undersold his entire career.
Look at his resume: South Carolina is 33-6 in the final three years of Shaw's career with three 11-win seasons. Know how many 11-win seasons South Carolina had before Shaw and Spurrier linked up? Bagel.
Plus, Shaw worked the last three years in the shadows of arguably the greatest collection of SEC QB talent in the league's rich history. A.J. McCarron won two national titles. Johnny Football won a Heisman. Aaron Murray set every meaningful SEC passing record.
And then there's Connor Shaw, who just meandered along and won football games because he's a football player make football plays. Football.
And we completely agree that Shaw has very good NFL potential, especially considering the following three things are going to work greatly in his favor:
1) He has experience and expertise running a complex offense. We do not think Spurrier uses the "Everybody get open on 2" offense.
2) The spread-type tendencies moving to the NFL in several locales, which means a) NFL teams will need QBs that can run, and Shaw can; b) NFL teams will need QBs who are comfortable in the spread, and Shaw is; and c) NFL teams will need reliable back-up QBs, and Shaw most definitely is that. (Side note: This also bodes well for the NFL future of one Jacob Huesman, but that's a different discussion for a later date.)
3) The success of Russell Wilson will only increase the chances that someone is going to spend a third-round pick on Shaw and be tickled pink with the result.
We are completely in your corner on this. In fact....
Man, thanks for the 5@10, it's a great way to waste an hour at work.
OK, you bowl picks stink. What happened? Also, since you obviously didn't make any 'entertainment' this bowl season, what players do you think made themselves some extra change with bowl performances that surprised you?
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Great question. And great name.
OK, the guys that made themselves the most coin:
1) Johnny Manziel. He eliminated any doubt about his status as a top-10 overall QB in this draft. Dude made plays, played with passion and showed leadership in the moment.
2) Blake Bortles. The UCF quarterback had sky-rocketed up draft boards in the latter half of the season, and in the Fiesta Bowl, Bortles showed why he has a girlfriend so striking that UCF coach George O'Leary said earlier this week "deserves 6 million Google" searches. Dude will get paid.
3) Teddy Bridgewater. The Louisville quarterback cemented his spot as the No. 1 overall quarterback in this draft with an efficient and precise showing against Miami. Bridgewater shredded a disinterested Hurricanes bunch to the tune of
4) Oklahoma. The Sooners and quarterback Trevor Knight just jumped 10 spots in the preseason polls with a win over Alabama. And yes, Knight, the OU freshman who went from possible starter to Sugar Bowl MVP with a 32-for-44 night for 348 yards and four TDs, will be on the short list of Heisman candidates to start 2014.
5) Shaw. For all the reasons above.
And three that likely cost themselves some money with questionable bowl showings:
1) Jordan Lynch. The Northern Illinois quarterback who was a Heisman darkhorse for much of the season was completely shutdown by the Utah State defense. Yes, Utah State. If dude could have been viewed as a "Swiss Army" knife guy by NFL scouts in November when he was running and passing for big numbers against weaker foes, he now is a free agent signee with serious questions about if he has a position at the next level.
2) Mike Evans. The Texas A&M wide out had two huge personal foul penalties and let his emotions get the best of him in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. First-round talent for sure, but is he mature enough for that lofty a pick?
3) AJ McCarron. Dude completed better than 60 percent of his passes and threw for 387 yards in Alabama's Sugar Bowl loss. Those numbers are good. But it was also the first time he has faced serious pass-rushing pressure and he had three turnovers. How did you perceive his performance?
From A reader
Hey, I have been reading your blog for awhile and I wanted to ask your opinion on something. If you don't use my name you can put this in the mailbag, but I need an answer from you pretty quick, OK?
OK, my brother's wife is a piece of work. She talks all the time. She bosses him about every little thing -- stuff that is ridiculous and mean. And it's becoming kind of a deal in our family. Everyone sees it and no one knows what to say about it.
We don't want to embarrass him but man it makes for some tense moments around the holidays -- I think my mother is going to choke her.
What should I do to try and help? Thanks, and you and Paschall are great on the radio.
A Reader —
Wow, not sure how to answer this, but we'll go here.
First, the conversation has to be with your brother first. If your mother confronts his wife in a public setting, that will be a lose-lose for everyone, especially your mother.
In fact we suggest you have the conversation with your brother. Ask if you can buy him a Co-Cola and ask if everything is OK. How's the wife? How are things? You know the drill.
If dude is happy being bossed, then you and the rest of the family need to get comfortable with it.
If dude is troubled by it, ask how you can help. If he's not and doesn't even notice it, well, then maybe she's just bossy and that's something you all are going to have to deal with, like if she had a third arm or snakes for hair. Is it hard not to notice, sure, but he's cool with it so you have to be too. Otherwise, what's the other option... that your family makes his wife feel uncomfortable? How is that cool? And eventually that means she'll stop coming to events, which means he'll stop coming to events, and everyone loses.
Other than that, Jack Daniels makes a nice Christmas companion at difficult family events. But not too much, because JD can seriously limit your governor, you know.
What has happened to your picks? Your scrapping by.
I want to know who you got in the NFL playoffs so I can go the other way. You had Bama last night for crying out loud.
Thanks and if I want to send a Twitter question to you and paschall on Press Row, what's the best way?
Just kidding about the picks... mostly.
We are 17-15 in bowl games against the number. We like Missouri (plus-2) tonight a lot over Oklahoma State and over the 62. We like THE Ohio State (minus-3) tonight, too, and the over 70 in that one as well.
We like Ball State (minus-7) and Vandy (minus-2.5) on Saturday.
And yes, we have not lived up to the 74 percent we hit on bowl games against the number last year or the season-long numbers of 68 percent in 2011 and 70 percent in '12. We are 69-55-2 on the season. OK, but certainly not up to our expectations.
As for this weekend in the NFL, we'll go with the Eagles minus-2.5, Chiefs plus-2, Bengals minus-6.5 and Green Bay plus-3.
As for the Twitter, well, you can follow us at @jgreesontfp and hit us that way or you can call the Hardee's hotline at 423-648-1051.
Thanks for reading and listening.
From a slew of you
Who you got in the title game?
We will break it down Monday, but we are locked and loaded for Auburn. Have been since before Thanksgiving.
And if you needed more destiny, the last time we had multiple inches of fun snow outside the 5-at-10 compound was when Auburn won the national title. What did we have on the ground this A.M.? Multiple inches of fun snow.
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 ...