5-at-10: Olympics, Majors and minors

5-at-10: Olympics, Majors and minors

August 13th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sportscolumns

Gang, hope you enjoyed the weekend. For the 5-at-10, it was about some much needed chores that needed much attention. (We're at the turn on our football preview sections - the high school one is in the books, and college is this week - and we have spent some long hours at our desk.)

That said, in between the garage and yard and the rest, we managed to keep an eye on the sports world.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

Extinguishing the torch

The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, waves the Olympic flag during the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The London Olympics are behind us. We laughed - thank you diver guy, thank you. We cried - if you did not get a little choked up watching some of the highlights, especially Blade Runner, well we got nothing for you. We even tried our hand at rhythmic gmynastics (love this photoshop job by the Web team. Well played TFP Web team. Well played indeed.)

As we wave so long to these Games, let's turn the mic to longtime friend of the show Jeff Spicoli. Jeff.

"What Jefferson was saying was, 'Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves -- pronto -- we'll just be bogus too!'

Well said, Jeff.

Here are the five rules we know this morning, and we hope they're not bogus.

1) The US won the medal count. But it was closer than most of us thought for most of these games. America landed 104 total medals, China had 87 and Russia had 82. And if it had been the old U.S.S.R., we would have gotten our red-white-and-blue fannies spanked. That said, it's hard to fear the Iron Curtain when they are dominating the rhythm gmynastics world like nobody's BID-ness. Seriously. (And that is the sports version of that old dude who would start putting colors on a canvas and talking in soft tones and the next thing you know you've wasted 40 minutes and dude has painted a forest in Montana. You can't turn away from either and you pray no one walks in while you're watching them.) The U.S. "won" these games because of the strength of our female athletes. Women won 29 of the 46 gold medals won by the U.S. And this in the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

2) LeBron is a bona fide alpha dog. You know it, we know it and most importantly he and the rest of the basketball world knows it.

3) These Games closed the book on the greatest swimming career we've ever seen. Thank you Michael Phelps. And the Games introduced us to the next one. Glad to meet you Missy Franklin.

4) The great stories that sports allows us to share are the face of these Olympics. Be them Oscar Pistorius or Guor Marial, we are always floored by the level of commitment and sacrifice and desire used and needed too reach this level of competition. And while Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter who ran on blades in the 400 meter relay, was a great storyline, no one inspires the Olympic spirit like Marial, the marathon runner who qualified for the games and ran under the IOC banner. Marial was born in war-savaged Sudan, was imprisoned as a child and watched 28 family members get murdered, including eight of his 10 siblings. He ran - literally - to freedom and moved to the U.S. He is not yet a U.S. citizen and after qualifying for these Games refused to run for Sudan and ran simply as a citizen of the world.

5) Usain Bolt is really fast. Like really, really fast.

Plus, with the pomp and circumstance of the opening and closing ceremonies in reserved and conservative London, there is no telling what will happen in Rio in 2016. Here's saying they may need to ID the ticket holders.

Major victory

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses for photographers with the championship trophy after he final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

We were less than kind to the PGA Championship and the Aussie Open tennis tournaments last week, but we really underranked Major Harris, former West Virginia quarterback, too. That said, what the PGA Championship lacked in drama Sunday, it made up for in star power

And with a brilliant Sunday stroll through the demanding Ocean Course at Kiawah, Rory McIlroy showed us golf's next face.

There are a river of guys who have been good pros who have never won a major. There's also a slew of chaps - Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang, Darren Clarke - who have one major title and for that deserve the extra applause they get at the first tee box on Thursday each week.

But multiple major champions are rare. Multiple major champions under the age of 24 are extremely rare. And multiple major champions with record-setting whippings of the rest of the game's best on the biggest stages is unheard of.

And yet, McIlroy has done it. Twice. As TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer wrote here, Rory is out-Tigering Tiger Woods. Woods, who has won three times and contended at each of the majors but has shot a cumulative 15-over par on the weekends of the four majors, has played well this year. And we stand by our view that Tiger will never be the wrecking machine that was Tiger Woods in the mid-2000s, you can make a fair argument that Rory has done a pretty good impression.

If you factor in that McIlroy dominated the 2011 Masters for 63 holes before hooking his tee shot on No. 10 into North Richmond county, McIlroy is on a career defining run.

Sure he'll have to win won at the wire at some point as opposed to destroying everyone and turning the back nine on Sunday into a smile-fest wave-a-thon. And yes, whether this is the start of golf's next major force or a guy that catches lightning in a bottle for 16 months - we're looking at you Paddy Harrington - is still to be decided.

That said, we're leaning to the former. McIlroy is that good. His swing is that perfect - dude was hitting driver-pitching wedge into a 488-yard par-4. His demeanor that composed.

Forget world rankings, here's the ultimate defining question about the best player in the game of golf: If you got a free spot in a golf pool for next year's Masters and the prize was $1 million bucks to pick the winner. And you got the first pick, who would you take? Right now it's Rory, and it could be for the foreseeable future.

In other golf news, congrats to FEChancellor for winning the final major contest with a near perfect entry of McIlroy and Keegan Bradley, who finished third. His total score of 4 was light years ahead of the field, including the 5-at-10 (who was quashed by Matt Kuchar missing the cut) and TFP golf ace David Uchiyama (who did not have a player see the weekend).

FE to the C, we know we have Braves, NASCAR in Atlanta and UTC football home opener tickets available. Which would you prefer?

Turn the page

In this July 13, 2012 file photo, Penn State University President Rodney Erickson speaks at a news conference after a meeting at the school's Worthington Scranton campus, in Dunmore, Pa.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Despite the rantings of a couple of rogue Penn State big wigs and the entire Paterno clan, the Penn State board of trustees conferred Sunday and voiced strong support of school president Rodney Erickson and the decision for the school to accept the unprecedented NCAA penalties in the fall out of the Jerry Sandusky nightmare.

"I absolutely support President Erickson and his decision to accept the (NCAA) Consent Decree as the only real option in the extraordinarily difficult circumstances and the choices we were presented," Board chairwoman Karen Peetz said in a statement. "It is my sense that every member of this Board also fully supports President Erickson, even though we may not agree with the process used by the NCAA or with the harshness of the sanctions imposed."

Yes, the penalties were harsh. Yes, it will hurt Penn State for years, maybe even a decade. But at some point the page must be turned and the process must shift to healing.

That time is now, and the PSU board rightly decided to start that process. Because the longer the fighting in court and appeals, the longer the shadows become and the longer the process will be.

And, whether intended or incidentally, this appears to be the first act in which the school nor its football program are acting like the victims. Remember, the victims here are the children who were brutalized. The rest of this is background noise.

And it's time for that to die down too.

This and that

- Went to Friday night's Best of Preps Jamboree - pressed the flesh like Pappy O'Daniel - and watched as Reese Phillips looked the part of the praise we offered last week. Signal Mountain looks like an offense that will be hard to handle, be it this week or the 4A semifinals.

- Hey, we can all agree that receivers are big-time prima donnas. Heck, they're almost as bad as Olympic sprinters. That said, there's nothing prima or funny about the next - and hopefully the last - chapter of Chad Johnson-Ochocinco-Johnson. Johnson was arrested on domestic battery for headbutting his wife.

- And Friday, the Honey Badger was dismissed from the LSU football team. Cornerback/punt returner and nickname Hall of Famer Tyrann Mathieu was booted from the Bayou Bengals for alleged drug trouble. Remember Mathieu missed a game last year after failing a drug test. And for those of us that follow the SEC, for All-Americans like Mathieu or Mike Dyer at Auburn earlier this year to get asked to leave they have exhausted every option.

- Hey, Ben Sheets was not going to win them all right?

- Someone needs to get Chris Johnson some reality pills, stat. OK, after saying his was as fast as Usain Bolt last week, Johnson, the hiccup quick Titans running back, also told reporters: "I put myself in the same category as LeBron. LeBron had so much success, and then not winning a championship and having a little bit of a down year, he came back and quieted the critics. This is my year to come back and quiet the critics."

Today's question

Who in the sports world would be the best presidential/vice presidential candidates?

There was a lot of debate about Republican nominee Mitt Romeny's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

And if you want to bellyache about it/praise it, there are several other venues on our site to do exactly that.

Here's the question for the rest of you: Who in the sports world would be the best presidential/vice presidential candidates?

Discuss.