From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...
Tennessee vs Georgia
Before we get into the five best mano-a-mano match-ups in Saturday's Tennessee-Georgia game, remember we added a quick contest. Read more at the bottom of today's 5-at-10.
Anyhoo, on to the five match-ups that the 5-at-10 believes will shape Saturday's game:
Da'Rick Rogers vs. the Georgia secondary: This was well-chronicled in today's TFP with stories from aces Patrick Brown (Vols' Da'Rick Rogers facing team he first picked) and David Paschall (UGA: Dogs target Vol from Calhoun). Let's just say that if Da'Rick is not a big part of the postgame discussion, then Georgia's chances skyrocket.
Freshmen vs. freshman: UT starting linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt have started four games each. Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell has started three. Each was in high school this time last year. Johnson and Maggitt have been as good as advertised; Crowell has been better. If UT can keep Crowell from 100 yards rushing, UT's chances skyrocket.
Brent Brewer meet Orson Charles: Brewer, the hard-hitting UT safety, will be part of a team effort trying to keep Charles, one of the nation's top tight ends, under wraps. Both of these guys are top-flight athletes, and here's saying that there will be at least one "Ohhh My"-type play from these two.
Mike Palardy vs. Mike Palardy: Georgia's kickers are among the nation's best and most experienced. UT kicker Palardy, who came to Knoxville as the top-ranked high school kicker in the free world, has been erractic. And that's probably an euphemism. Palardy likely will be called on to make a big kick. How confident are you Johnny Vols Fan if that kick is with 3 seconds left and UT down 1?
Dooley vs. Richt: Each of these guys needs this win. Yes, it's for differing reasons, but the need is still present and big. Which team will make the first big play, the first big mistake or the first big gamble? Which team will be better prepared (i.e control the first quarter, because that's where preparation is most evident)? This may be the most interesting of all of the match-ups, truthfully.
Coming Thursday, we'll break this game down even more. Yes, there's no way to do too much on this game.
SEC keeps pushing expansion edges
Missouri, c'mon down, your the next hot property on "The Slive is Right."
SEC commissioner Mike Slive seems to have landed the SEC's 14th member after Missouri board of smart guys decided to left the school explore other options outside of the Big 12. (And if you think "exploring other options," does NOT mean they're leaving, well, go try that line on your significant other and see how well that's received. "Uh, honey, I'm thinking of exploring other options, but there's a chance I'll be right back here by Thanksgiving. Love you, and tell Iowa State we said hello." Fat chance.)
So if (read: when) Missouri is the SEC's 14th, the question of division alignment becomes a concern. Our SEC ace David Paschall detailed this two weeks ago in your TFP (College football conference realignment could impact upcoming SEC schedules) with the idea that Auburn could move to the East. That would be the most geographically sound.
There also is talk of letting Missouri join the East, and drawing a diagonal line across the Southeast. That way, the tradition crossover rivalries would stay in tact - meaning UT and Alabama could stay on each other's schedules - and Missouri and Texas A&M could be crossover rivals.
Now if you are like the 5-at-10 and believe this is a first step on the way to 16-team power conferences, then how the SEC is shaped for the next few years is just a bridge to the future. Either way, welcome to the Missouri Tigers, because the world knows the SEC needs more Tigers. Hey, may be Memphis, Clemson, Suwanee, Grambling and Princeton will join the SEC next. War, Geaux, Fight Tigers.
Game 5 - Giddy up
We have to pick up the pace because we have to make sure we are in place for Thursday's Game 5 between Detroit and New York.
OK, we've gone on and one about how great SEC football is, and it is. We can talk on and on about how great March Madness is, and it is. So is the Masters and Wimbeldon and all those great sports events and locales.
Well, 96 percent of the time baseball is background noise. Something to have on to pass the time in the slow summer months. And that's OK. But in October baseball has deciding games in Yankee Stadium and Fenway and those big-time cathedrals when the whole place is into it and every pitch is magnified and meaningful. And that's special.
You know those win-or-put-the-gear-away games when CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander may make their way to the bullpen just in case. Or when a pinch runner (More than a little shout-out to Dave Roberts here, BIspy and Jefe) can change the course of a generation.
So, thank you Yankees for winning Game 4 on Tuesday, and thank you A.J. Burnett for delivering arguably the most impressive and improbable start in your Yankees career (OK, when did A.J. Burnett become the white guy tattoo leader? Other than NBA players and prisoners, is there a white guy with more tats that A.J.? Anyone?)
That's what we'll have Thursday when the Yankees welcome the Tigers for Game 5. They had me at "Hello, welcome to the decisive Game 5..."
This and that
- While the Yankees forced a Game 5, the Phillies went a long way toward bagging the Cardinals when Ben Francisco hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in a 3-2 Game 3 win Tuesday. Ouch. Now the Phils have the luxury of handing the ball to whomever they want in Game 4, knowing Roy Halladay awaits in Game 5. Double-Ouch. Plus, the Phillies' awesome edge in starting pitching will be even greater in a best-of-seven series. World Series Ouch. Stupid Phillies.
- NBA talks broke down Tuesday on a day that each side described as crucial. So it looks like the NBA is going to lose games - and fans - because of labor unrest. What's the old saying about those unfamiliar with history are doomed to repeat it. Don't say you weren't warned NBA. Heck, even JordanRules will have to agree with that (even if LeBron's a better athlete than MJ ever dreamed of being - not sayin' anything, just sayin').
- Hey, no NCAA violations were reported by THE Ohio State University in the last 24 hours. That's 1 day in a row Buckeyes. If you can make it until Thursday, it will be two days in a row. If we can get to the weekend, we'll have what some folks call "a streak." You know those signs at constructions sites that say, "It's been (x number) of days since out last accident," well, maybe OSU president Gordon Gee or AD Gene Smith can have one in the athletics office that reads, "It's been 1 day since our last reported NCAA violation." Good times.
- Not unlike playing in traffic, running with scissors and making toast while in the bathtub, everyone must realize that Hitler references, jokes, comparisons, anything are not acceptable. If you are being interviewed there are a handful of words you should never use. George Carlin covered seven of them. There are a number of stereotypical slurs - we'll call this the Mel Gibson group - and there's Hitler. Hank Williams Jr. could not abide by this rule and it arguably cost him the easiest job in the country. Think about it. He has already written the song, all he had to do was tweak the lyrics to match the teams playing on Monday Night Football and cash the checks. But nope, Chuck Testa.
- Speaking of easy jobs, the Chicago Cubs have asked permission to talk to Boston GM Theo Epstein. Being the GM or the manager of the Cubs would be awesome in its awesomeness. Think about. The fans expect to lose, and if you were able to strike gold or pull a rabbit out of a hat and win a World Series, you would replace Abe Froman as the Sausage King of Chicago.
We're back wanting your thoughts about UT-UGA on Saturday.
It's the UT-UGA Pick It Contest. Bring it and remember to include the score predictions (UT by 7 or UGA by 7 will suffice).
Oso has UGA by 6
BlueOval has UT by 3
We'll give away some sort of prize for the closest prediction (Price is Right rules apply, meaning closest without going over), and we'll see if some the in-town media types want to play, too. Wonder who Dr. B (he's a doctor, after all) and his Big Orange-colored glasses will pick.
OK, whatcha' got and we'll add some of the other predictions we've already received throughout the day.