Remember Friday's mailbag and to do randomly nice things for others.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's make the magic happen.
OK, we have our front-runner for the heavy favorite that showed up unmotivated and undisciplined. Congrats Florida, you just made USC and Lane Kiffin say, "Yeah, we didn't show up but we were in the Sun Bowl for crying out loud. They stunk up the Sugar Bowl for crying out loud."
We had convinced ourselves that Florida was going to be preseason top five next year, and that could still be the case, but coach Will "Boom" Muschamp and his totem pole look of indifference in the first half did not instill confidence. We backed the Gators by 14 and the over 47 to fall to 31-14 in bowl picks against the spread, and we know someone who backed our picks and turned the game off pretty early after Louisville built a 14-0 lead as the Gators made a series of dumb plays on third down.
Plus, to further confound the Gators' future, defensive studs Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd entered the NFL draft. And yes, if we had an all-name defensive line team, Sharrif Floyd is anchoring the middle along with Barkevious Mingo, Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn recruit Dee Liner (who does in fact play D-Line and does it very well).
On a side note, it's fair to see why several Johnny Vols Fans we know were so disappointment when Louisville coach Charlie Strong said thanks but no thanks to coaching the Vols. The Cardinals finished the season 11-2 - and with one more SEC win than UT - with the win over a Florida team that was more talented at every position but quarterback and one wide receiver.
Tonight, in a Fiesta Bowl that a lot of folks think will be played in the 40s, we'll take Kansas State and the 9.5 and go under the 74.
As for the contest, we have four games left - the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the bowl that Ole Miss is in and the national title game. Congrats to Deboman, Spy, Onetimer and OTWatcher for picking the Louisville upset. Here are the standings:
Tiger (3/4/3/16/10) 36
Deboman (1/8/-3/16/10) 32
Onetimer (1/0/-3/24/10) 32
*Mrs. 5-at-10 (5/0/9/8/10) 32
ThatIDoKnow (3/0/3/16/10) 32
TennFlyer (-3/4/3/16/10) 30
OTWatcher (1/4/-3/16/10) 28
Roadrunner (1/4/3/8/10) 26
JVFan (-1/-2/3/16/10) 24
Joe S. (3/0/3/8/10) 24
SportTalk's Quake (3/0/3/8/10) 24
McPell (1/-4/-3/16/10) 20
Player (3/-4/3/8/10) 20
5-at-10 (3/0/-3/8/10) 18
StuckinKent (3/0/-3/8/10) 18
Weena (-1/0/3/16/10) 18
DL560429 (-3/-4/-3/16/10) 16
Junkman (1/0/-3/8/10) 16
Sir Drinks Alot (1/0/-3/8/10) 16 - great board name by the way
Jordan Rules (-1/0/-3/8/10) 14
Addicted to Chalupa (1/4/-3/0/10) 12
*Dawg747 (-1/0/3/0/10) 12
WarEagle (-1/0/3/0/10) 12
Spy (1/-4/-3/8/10) 12
Bluto (-1/0/3/8/0) 10
Hookshot (-1/0/3/8/0) 10
Skunk (-1/0/3/12/0) 14
FE to the C (-1/-2/3/8/0) 8
Jay K (1/0/-3/0/10) 8
June Jones (-1/0/-9/8/10) 8
Orangeguy (3/4/-9/0/10) 8
RollTide (1/0/-3/0/10) 8
TommyT (3/0/-3/8/0) 8
BlueOval (-3/-4/3/0/10) 6
Hustler (1/0/-3/8/0) 6
Sportsfan (1/4/-3/-8/10) 4
Harold (-1/0/3/0/0) 2
Jim T. (-1/0/3/0/0) 2
StrongWilly (1/-4/-3/8/0) 2
Green Acres (1/0/-3/-8/10) 0
Dools (-1/0/-3/0/0) -4
Believer (-3/0/-9/0/0) -12
Ray Lewis, best ever?
Ray Lewis announced that this season will be his last.
His decision was forced by the torn triceps muscle he suffered back in October and means that with every playoff game, the Ravens great and future Hall of Famer is staring the end in the eye.
Thinking about Lewis' legacy is multi-layered. He is among the most accomplished defensive players of all-time with 12 Pro Bowl selections - only Bruce Mathews (14), Jerry Rice (13), Reggie White (13) and Tony Gonzalez (13) have more - was a Super Bowl MVP and a two-time NFL defensive player of the year. He is among the most passionate and inspirational players in the league and maybe ever, playing the game with a verve and vigor that has sadly become the exception rather than the expectation. He is a T-Rex of loyalty in modern sports, spending his entire 17-year career with one franchise, something that few of the all-time greats in this era of free agency ever accomplish.
He also was indicted on two murder chargers from a January 2000 stabbing incident in which he plead to lesser charges after lying about being on the scene and ultimately testifying against two others who were later acquitted. He was disciplined by the league - the $250,000 fine at the time was record-setting - for that mistake and was put under a bright spotlight by the league. He never gave the NFL another reason to look at him off the field.
He also rightly gets a lot of praise from a lot of other players - Ravens and non-Ravens - for teaching them the ways of professionalism and maturity that are far-too-often ignored when it comes to the supremely gifted athletes.
Shocker for Sprewell - not so much
OK, Latrell Sprewell was arrested for disorderly conduct on New Year's Eve. Stunner, right?
Not so much for Sprewell, a supremely talented basketball player that will be remembered for a) choking his coach; b) his seven-figure yacht he dubbed "Milwaukee's Best" and c) blowing close to $100 million. While he certainly earned those distinctions, it completely masks what was a very good NBA career for Sprewell, who averaged more than 18 points per game in his 13-year career. Did you know that he was a four-time All-Star and was on the 1994 All-NBA first team with Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. (That's some pretty nice Hall of Fame company, by the way.)
Sprewell was arrested at 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon for playing his stereo too loud, which begs the question how loud would you have to play a stereo to go to jail for it and how dumb do you have to be not to turn the stereo down when the cops asked you to?
But this is hardly a shocker, right? If you were to have a draft of former pro athletes you thought would be arrested, Sprewell would be a lottery pick, right?
In fact, if we were going to set a Mel Kiper Jr.-style draft board - and we love the draft, you know this - with the No. 1 overall pick ranked as the most likely to get arrested next and so on, here's our top five: Lawrence Taylor, Mike Tyson, Allen Iverson, Terrell Owens and Pete Rose.
This and that
- Sounds like your UTC Mocs played respectably well in a loss at Georgia Tech as our UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/03/tech-tops-utc-mocs-show-poise-in-loss-to-acc/. UTC (5-9) was hammered on the glass, which is somewhat expected against a bigger foe, in the 74-58 loss. UTC has represented itself well in road losses against big-boy foes Kansas, LSU and Georgia Tech this year. While that surely offers positives, does it not make the struggles against even-level and at times lesser competition even more confounding? We do know this - Farad Cobb can play.
- Shoutout to the Southern Scuffle, which was won by Penn State on Wednesday night http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jan/03/psu-takes-scuffle-UTC-hosted-event/. After speaking to our wrestling guru Ward Gossett in between sessions Wednesday, it dawned on us that the Scuffle is the most prestigious sporting event we have left in the Scenic City in terms of national competition at the highest levels. Well, the Scuffle and the Globetrotters, who come to town later this month.
- Speaking of the Globetrotters, are they not the sporting equivalent of "walking to school uphill both ways in 5 feet of snow" now? Do we not all fondly remember the Harlem Globetrotters and the wonderful show they put on, with the bucket of confetti/water routine, Meadowlark Lemon and Curley Neal, and all the antics? Now, we couldn't name a single Trotter other than former AUB quarterback Barrett. Do they still play the Washington Generals, and if so does any team a coaching change more than the Generals? (Don't answer that StuckinKent or Run JMC - well you can answer that, but be nice.)
If you have to build an all-time team, and it comes to taking a middle linebacker and you have the first pick, who you got?
We take Ray Lewis. Period.
Part II - Since Lewis is still an active part of the NFL for at least the next four days, which active players in the three major sports are all-timers? If you had an NBA starting five (by position of course), an MLB starting nine (and a closer) and an offense and defense on an all-time NFL team, how many starters are currently active and playing?
We think Lewis is one of those guys. And Tony Gonzalez and possibly Champ Bailey and Randy Moss. In basketball, LeBron at small forward and Tim Duncan at power forward. In baseball, Jeter at short and Mariano Rivera as your closer.
There are a slew of folks right on the cusp: We can see a future in which Calvin Johnson is in the discussion opposite Jerry Rice and even Adrian Peterson in the mix at running back. Plus, Tom Brady is one more ring away from being hard to keep off the field at quarterback, and what J.J. Watt did as an hybrid lineman was historic. Plus Albert Pujols at his current pace will be the all-time first baseman. As for hoops, well, it's going to take something special to crack Magic, MJ, LeBron, Duncan and Russell or Jabbar.