We're going to keep our answers short (well, shortish) so buckle up and enjoy the holiday weekend.
We talked this week about being the halfway point of the year. Here are the official categories for out first-half awards:
Best athlete of first half: Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks corner who went from a good DB to a household name in the NFL playoffs.
Best team of the first half: San Antonio Spurs. No doubt.
Best moment of the first half: Here's a quick top three: 1) Kevin Durant's MVP speech; 2) Adam Silver and the NBA drafting Isaiah Austin; 3) Gregg Popovich's mid-game interview with Craig Sager Jr. Good times.
Best game of the first half: FSU over Auburn in the BCS title game.
Best coach of the first half: Gregg Popovich, and it's not close.
MVP of the first half: Shabazz Napier. Dude led UConn to the title and became besties with LeBron. That's a high-quality six months.
Favorite sports event of the first half: We could go with any of the above three that we mentioned and be happy. But we'll go with Durant thanking his teammates and breaking down when speaking about his mom in his MVP speech.
And now onto the mailbag:
Dude, love the radio show. I listen online -- you are pretty puny. (See what I did there?)
OK, I have been waiting to ask this question since reading last year's July 4th 5-at-10: What's your Rushmore of July 4th happenings?
Thanks for the kind words.
Great question, and since we do what we do how we do it, we'll go all-time and in sports
1) We celebrate 'Murcia. U-S-A! U-S-A! And we do not focus on the great things about our country enough.
2) Thomas Jefferson dying on July 4. Dude authored arguably the most important five words in our nation's history: "All men are created equal." Dude was money.
3) Al Davis was born on July 4, and as much as Pete Rozelle shaped the NFL, Al Davis is a big part of the modern-day monolith that is the biggest sports league in this nation.
4) Because this is a sports show, we'll say a push between the hot dog eat off and Lou Gehrig making his speech. Both lead to great highlights and both are less than good for your health.
From Dallas (via Press Row on 105.1 FM)
Over/under on starts for Justin Worley this year? I'm saying three.
Thanks for listening and known that callers like you and the give-and-take with the listeners make Press Row as much fun as it is. War Listeners.
We'll go over three. In a perfect world, Worley -- or Josh Dobbs, whomever gets the job from the start -- will start every game and not give Butch Jones and Co. a reason to look around.
But, with a young offensive line and one of the five toughest schedules in the country, the challenges seem steep.
We'll still go over the three, but if the number was set at six, that's a much tougher proposition.
What do you think about this UT recruiting class? And do you think Butch will be able to keep it together after they win four games this year?
We think this recruiting class for the Vols is better than last year's in regard to work done by Butch and the boys. It may not finish as highly regarded, but the body work is more impressive.
Last year was a record-setting year of in-state talent and a crazy convergence of legacies. (Legacies are usually asked to pledge unless they are a complete closet case, like Fred.)
This recruiting haul is a top-10 crop that features some of the best in Georgia and surrounding states. And the great moments in UT football in the past generation has included a slew of studs from Georgia.
As for keeping them together, well, four wins seems pretty low. That said, we can make a hard argument that the most important game on the Vols schedule is Utah State.
It's a must-win against an underrated bowl team that will have the best quarterback on the field.
Have we mentioned we're excited for football season to get here?
Last month, you said, "...we're not sold on whether Kaepernick will ever be a top-10 QB in this league." My response then to that is below. Can you answer this in the mailbag?
[Kaep is getting a deal much higher than what I think he's worth. But I do think he's a top 10 QB right now. Who are your top 10 and where does Kaep fall? Top 15 at least?
My top 10 (in no order) are Peyton, Eli, Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Kaep, Wilson, Big Ben, Luck, and Flacco. Next 5 are Newton, Stafford, Romo, Rivers, and Ryan.]
Thanks for all your input to the 5-at-10 at timesfreepress.com.
We have a clear top five that we believe is decidedly ahead of the pack.
Rodgers, Manning, Brady, Brees and Luck are the top five.
The next five rotate on what you value. Are Eli and Big Ben the next best because they have two titles? Is Flacco better than Rivers or Ryan because he has a Super Bowl ring with a talented team?
Our next five in no order are Ryan, Eli, Roethlisberger, Rivers and Romo.
From there, the host of young guns -- Cam, Wilson, Kaep and even Matt Stafford -- are right there.
We're tough on Colin Kaepernick, especially now that he is the second-highest paid QB in the league, but dude has a lofty ceiling.
From Blaine (not my real name but since you have tagged us on your radio show here you go)
Well, I hope you are happy, Mr. I Hate Soccer Fat-Headed Redneck. The USMNT lost and now you can go back to closing your mind and refusing to accept the simple fact that the soccer revolution is here.
You can either get used to it or be phased out because soccer has arrived. #IBelieveWeWillWin.
So what will you do when soccer is the sport choice, because it's coming?
Blaine (and Luke and Trevor and the rest of the gang) --
So soccer is here. It's clear. Get used to it?
Sure it is. Just like it was and just like it will be in four years.
And please hold on to the TV ratings -- every four years the Olympics kill the TV numbers, and we're not exactly knocking down the walls of a U.S. figure skating league.
Enjoy the game. Enjoy the fun.
But why does the "Soccer has arrived" argument have to be the central focus?
Was the moment not enough that you have to hope the wave will carry on? Why? Why do you care if we're not on "the boot the ball and pray for a goal in two hours" movement?
It was fun. It was patriotic. It was passionate.
That's enough. And if soccer has arrived, then why did the Double-A Lookouts crowd last night out draw the Chattanooga FC tonight?
Fireworks is why.
Is the fireworks revolution here too?
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 ...