5-at-10: Friday mailbag

5-at-10: Friday mailbag

September 13th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Gang, another full and fantastic week.

From the "Talks too much" studios, the only thing that makes the dream impossible to achieve is the fear of failure. (Deep huh?)

From Lion Man

Serious question. How hard is it for you to not open an account on a sportsbook online and play these picks? 2nd Serious question. How hard is it for you to not say "why risk my money on the actual games" and sign on with a site like vegasinsider and sell your picks for money? I mean at some point this percentage becomes hard to not get big attention. No?

Lion -

We have thought recently about risking more than entertainment on our college football picks. There was a time in our life when we made a wager or 20. Now, making the picks is enough, more or less.

That said, who knows what the future holds. We have been incredibly hot - even surpassing our lofty expectations. At 9-1-1 - we pushed the Arkansas State game last night because when we made the pick it was minus-7 and they won 41-34; if you made the call to buy the half or got it at the 6 that the line closed at, well, good for you - we know that crazy pace can not last.

We'll see. If we finish this year at or near the 70-percent we have hit the last couple of years picking five games a week, maybe we explore the options. We're not sure how many folks are using the picks - but if we wake up with a horse head in our bed or go missing for a few days, well, you know someone is irritated about the increased entertainment budget.

Thanks for the question and here's hoping your entertainment expands this weekend.

From Stewwie

Why is the NFL as popular as it is? We all like football, but 25 million viewers is crazy. And 20 million tuned into the pre-shows. That's even crazier. Have the rules changes over the last 10 years to benefit offenses been the major reason for this? Or have other things (such as the popularity of fantasy football or a lack of an interest in baseball) been as much of a reason for the strong draw to watch the NFL?

This got me thinking about the sports I like to watch on TV. The NFL is only 3rd. Out of these 10 sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, Tennis, Soccer, NASCAR, PGA, college football, college b-ball), what do you like to watch on TV the most? Here's my list:

1) College football, 2) NBA, 3) NFL, 4) Tennis, 5) College b-ball, and I don't watch any of the other five. It would be interesting to see what everyone's lists are. I think most of us would have the same #1, but after that, it could be anything.

Stewwie -

You guys kicked this around a little bit this week, but we saved our view for the mailbag because your question is interesting.

Football tile

Football tile

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

The NFL is the monolith of sports because of three things.

1) It's the most wagered on league in all of sports. And it has always embraced that fact. Why do they have injury reports and ticker updates and the rest? To make sure people have as much intel as they think they need to risk a little entertainment. The NFL figured out long before the rest of sports that if you give people an avenue to have a vested interest, you got them.

2) The fantasy sports explosion has taken the casual betting 12 steps farther. We saw a survey of more than 100,000 people recently that across the country, roughly 8 percent of those polled played golf in the last year; almost 12 percent played fantasy sports - and most of those played fantasy football. So roughly the same number of people that played golf in 2012 played fantasy football. Crazy, no? So, now even the non-gamblers have a vested interest. Fantasy football explains a bunch of the interest and viewership for the pregame shows, which offer information on matchups and highlights from the earlier games.

3) The NFL has been out front on the viewing experience and looked for ways to make it more enjoyable. Be it camera angles, the yellow line, the info capsule in the top right of the screen, the NFL has embraced the TV experience. This has helped the college game in particular and sports in general. HD has helped a bunch too.

As for sports on TV, that's an interesting top five that we'd encourage everyone to try to list.

We'd go 1) college football; 2) NFL football; 3) baseball (but this is as much out of habit and length of season and lack of competition in the summer); 4) golf; 5) NBA. March Madness is a different beast - and it's popularity is directly based on brackets and the realization of No. 1 above. We watch a ton of the NCAA tournament, but the amount of regular season college hoops has dropped significantly in recent years.

From A reader

I have enjoyed the 5@10 for a while now. Thanks for the daily distraction.

I have asked mailbag questions a few times but don't want you to use my name because my boss reads your column as well.

OK, this may seem silly, but did you see that GQ says the mustache is coming back in style? What is your Rushmore of 'staches and do you see your self ever growing one?

Thanks and thanks for the FOIB column.

A reader -

First, there is ZERO way we will ever have a mustache. There's simply no way no matter how popular or how much we could ever desire to be mustachioed. (Side note: Mustachioed is an excellent word.) We simply couldn't grow one. We shave like once every six days - whether we need to or not. Thank you, thank you.

So it goes.

As for the Rushmore of 'staches, well, Magnum P.I. is there. So is Burt Reynolds back in the day. Add Rollie Fingers and that leaves just one spot on the Womb Broom Rushmore.


From Ben

Tennessee is off to a 2-0 start this season, but the competition will get tougher this week when the Vols take on No. 3 Oregon.

Tennessee is off to a 2-0 start this...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Did you say in the paper the other day that Oregon scores 3 points a minute? So you think the Vols will lose by 120? Seriously, the little details were missing. Thought you were saying that for every minute in the game they score 3 points - which didn't add up. I quickly remembered that you went to Auburn and moved on with my day.

Ben -

I did say the Ducks averaged better than three points per minute - so far this season.

They have scored 125 points and had the ball a grand total of 39 minutes in two games.

As for tomorrow, if you can find someone who will give you the Vols plus-120, let me know because I'd like a little of that action please.

That said, the Ducks have more weapons at their disposal than 1985 Oliver North during a blue-light special sale.

Egads. We have said this on the radio and we believe. There are degrees of victory for Tennessee on Saturday. Winning would set the world on fire and would quicken Butch Jones' rebuilding process by at least two years.

Competing and playing hard and tough and smart and close is a victory in a lot of ways too.

And remember Auburn is the Harvard of mid-central-eastern Alabama.

Wer Egale.

From sportsfan

Jay - my response to the text message from Little Ms Sportsfan regarding her being a recruiting hostess at any BCS school would be to immediately withdraw her from school. As for OSU, we are all kidding ourselves if we say it doesn't happen at most BCS schools. Maybe not to the level of OSU, but it happens. For the mailbag...with a couple more SI stories to go, is it enough for the NCAA to implement the death penalty again, or do they waffle even more than the Johnny Autograph debacle?

Sportsfan -

Excellent question.

For the longest time we thought the death penalty was dead.

These Oklahoma State allegations, though, got us thinking about the possibility of another nuclear situation.

Of course, if the NCAA was convinced that Penn State covered up the Sandusky stuff, and did not give the death penalty for that, it's hard to think there will be something worse than that, you know? Well, until Brick kills a guy. That escalated in a hurry.

We were talking with Paschall about this on Press Row (1-3 on 105.1FM) and while the death penalty may be dead, it's very likely that the NCAA would give a death penalty before it would issue a TV ban against a major program.

With the coin that TV networks are shelling now, there's no way the NCAA could allow a team to pull an Auburn in '93, be the talk of college football and not be on TV at all. You think CBS wants to shell eight-to-nine figures a year to have the best SEC game each week and not have an unbeaten Auburn against say a one-loss Georgia in November?


But, with the mistakes and the miscalculations, the NCAA has just about neutered itself. And it's one more gaff from giving the BCS schools and power programs an excuse for taking their ball - and TV deals - and doing something different.

And your response about how to handle a prospective recruiting hostess is 100 percent accurate.