5-at-10: SEC questions, NFL answers, richest folks and TV's best

5-at-10: SEC questions, NFL answers, richest folks and TV's best

September 17th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

From the "Talks too much" studios, we have questions. You want answers. We want the truth. YOU can't handle the truth.

SEC asked and answered

1) Alabama (2-0, 1-0 SEC)

Are we ready to say AJ McCarron is the best quarterback in Alabama history? He's 27-2 as a starter. He's eyeing his third consecutive national title as a starting QB - and since he was a redshirt freshman in 2009 - his fourth BCS ring overall. He'll likely rewrite the Alabama passing records this year. Forget just Alabama - which has a few familiar names like Starr and Stabler and Namath and Barker in its illustrious history - you can make a hard argument that McCarron is the best college quarterback ever.

Saturday: vs. Colorado State, 7 (ESPN2)

2) LSU (3-0, 0-0)

Will LSU be tested this week? LSU has won each of its three games by double digits and has a margin of victory of right at four TDs. Sure, the trio of TCU, UAB and Kent State is long on abbreviations and short on talent, but LSU is crazy talented in every phase.

Saturday: vs. Auburn, 7:45 (ESPN)

3) Georgia (1-1, 1-0)

Will Georgia be caught looking ahead to next week's monster showdown with LSU? Possibly, but if the etiquette folks and English teachers out there will excuse it, we'll answer the question with a question: If Georgia is looking ahead to LSU, would it really matter against North Texas, which is flush with a boss nickname (Mean Green is cool) but overmatched?

Saturday: vs. North Texas, 12:21 (WDSI)

4) Texas A&M (2-1, 0-1)

If you were an NFL GM would you draft Johnny Football in the first round? Most likely not, but his receiver Mike Evans sure looks the part of a first-round guy. That said, despite all the potential distractions and the Johnny Cam and all the attention, Johnny Manziel showed up and showed out when they turned the lights on Saturday against Alabama. (Side note: If the over-under between the Aggies and SMU Saturday is less than 80, take the over

Saturday: vs. SMU, 7 (ESPNU)

5) Florida (1-1, 0-0)

Will the first team to 24 win Saturday's UT-Florida game? It sure looks that way. Here's a bonus question: How can the Florida Gators - yes, the state school of arguably the best and fastest high school football in the country - not have a wide receiver that scares foes? This one is hard to answer.

Saturday: vs. Tennessee, 3:30 (CBS)

6) Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0)

Is this too low for the fast-rising Rebels, who arguably have the best resume this side of Alabama through three games considering they have road wins over Vandy and Texas. And do not sleep on Jeff Scott, the 5-foot-8 speedster that rushed for more than 160 against Mack Brown's struggling Longhorns and delivered a Mack-breaking 73-yard punt return for a score in Ole Miss' second-half onslaught.

Saturday: Open

7) South Carolina (2-1, 1-1)

Which is the real Gamecocks: the team that built a 21-0 first-quarter lead over Vandy or the team that was outscored 25-14 over the final three quarters? The truth is somewhere in the middle, considering South Carolina is getting very little from the country's best player - hobbled defensive end Jadeveon Clowney - and maximizing its offensive strengths of two effective quarterbacks and running back Mike Davis.

Saturday: Open

8) Auburn (3-0, 1-0)

Is Nick Marshall a savior or living on borrowed time? The jury is still out, but Marshall, who has missed more wide open Tigers than a drunk Otis Campbell on a hunting safari, continues to improve. He also showed some big-time poise in leading the Tigers down the field for a game-winning touchdown in last week's rally against Mississippi State. (Side question: Is it a new league suggestion that every team's starting QB has a last name that starts with 'M' this season?)

Saturday: at LSU, 7:45 (ESPN)

9) Arkansas (3-0, 0-0)

Do you know who is the only freshman running back in SEC history to rush for 100-plus yards in his first three college games? Nope, it's not Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson or even former Razorbacks star Darren McFadden. It's Arkansas freshman Alex Collins, who takes his historic streak and 418 rushing yards this year to Rutgers, which has the nation's leading rusher in Paul James, who has 493 yards.

Saturday: at Rutgers, 3:30 (ESPN)

10) Missouri (2-0, 0-0)

Who had Missouri as the only unbeaten SEC East team three Saturdays into the SEC? Well, no one. That perfect start is unlikely to change this week against a Hoosier team that is more Hickory Huskers than mighty South Bend Central.

Saturday: at Indiana, 8 (Big Ten Network)

11) Tennessee (2-1, 0-0)

Was last Saturday's historic beatdown because of Oregon's awesome talent or Tennessee's awesome void of talent at several spots? Yes. Yes it was. Here's hoping that Jason Witten sees Dallas receivers coach Derek Dooley in the hall of the Cowboys training facility and says, "Thanks a lot Derek, you goofball."

Saturday: at Florida, 3:30 (CBS)

12) Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-2)

Can James Franklin circle the wagons again this year? After a slow start in 2012, Vandy won nine games, including its final seven. The Commodores face a similar set of circumstances this fall, and the order may be even taller considering Georgia and Florida are still ahead and Vandy swapped Auburn for Texas A&M out of the West.

Saturday: vs. UMass, noon (ESPNews)

13) Mississippi State (1-2, 0-1)

Wow, it seems like an awfully long time ago when the Bulldogs won nine games and trounced Michigan in a New Year's Day Bowl, huh? The Bulldogs let a much-needed win at Auburn on Saturday slip through their paws. In truth, with Ole Miss rolling and the West appearing as tough as ever, Dan Mullen's stock went from "Can MSU keep him?" to "Is he on the hot seat?" pretty doggone quickly.

Saturday: vs. Troy, 7:30 (FSN)

14) Kentucky (1-2, 0-0)

Did Kentucky wreck Louisville's national-title hopes with a too-close-for-comfort 27-13 loss Saturday? Most likely not. But don't think it won't be a serious discussion point when the BCS music stops and everyone is trying to find a postseason chair.

Saturday: Open

NFL Power Poll

Two weeks in, we know more than we did, but we do not know enough. Four weeks - a quarter of the season - is when shapes form and opinions can solidify. Right now, it's theory and guesstimations.

So, let's guesstimate.

Here's the top five and the bottom five after two weeks in the (cue Jaws) NATIONAL Football League.

Top Five (with two are clearly head and shoulders above the rest)

1) Seattle - This bunch is extremely good across the board and was our Super Bowl pick to start the season because we like Russell Wilson better than we like Colin Kaepernick. So it goes. Also, know this (and this is neither theory or conjecture) the rest of the NFC is facing a weekly race for home-field advantage in the playoffs, because if the NFC postseason goes through Seattle, Seattle goes through the NFC postseason.

2) Denver - Peyton Manning was ready for the season. Nine TD passes and no picks with 769 passing yards in two games... not too shabby.

3) New England - Spy and the 5-at-10 are higher on the Pats than most, but this is a team finding ways to win with below-average offensive skill people other than a Hall of Fame QB right now. When the pieces return, the Patriots will not only be better, but the kids trying to make plays right now will be more experienced. That said, Tom Brady was acting more like Bobby Brady screaming at his teammates last week. C'mon man, be better than that.

4) San Francisco - Yes, they are 1-1 and got drubbed by Seattle. But they will not be the only team that strolls in Coffee Town and gets kicked in the beans. Yep, no filters on that joke. Let it brew... this bit is going to pot.

5) Kansas City - Thursday will be super interesting for a lot of reasons as Andy Reid and the Chiefs visit Philadelphia. Still, with some really talented parts, Reid pulling the strings and Alex Smith looking competent - and a schedule that offers more cupcakes than a first-graders birthday gala - the Chiefs will be a regular visitor among the top teams in the league this year.

Bottom five

28) Carolina - Not all 0-2s are created equally. The difference between bagel-and-2 and 2-and-bagel for the Panthers is seven total points. But this is the norm for these Panthers, who have lost 10 times when it lead in the fourth quarter since the start of the 2011 season. OUCH-standing.

29) Pittsburgh - Yes, here is the outlier. The team team that is way more comfortable in the top five than the bottom five. Well, say hello to the parity-craving NFL, with its offset schedules and salary caps and the rest. When playmakers leave and their replacements get banged up, you get a Steelers team that has scored one meaningful TD in two games. Other than Ben Roethlisberger, who is a Pittsburgh offensive player that would worry an opponent?

30) Washington - Again, not all 0-2s are created equally. The Redskins are minus-24 in total point differential, which is not good. They are even worse in the first half through two weeks, trailing by an average of 27-3.5 at the half.

31) Cleveland - How valuable is the NFL. Cleveland stinks on toast, and they still cost Whoshisboots Haslam (not the governor who looks a lot like Dana Carvey, the other one) a billion bucks.

32) Jacksonville - Yes, the local CBS affiliate apologized to the Jacksonville area watchers for showing the Jags-Raiders on Sunday. We'll ask this: Would you have accepted their apology?

33) Jacksonville Tebow supporters - The Jaguars are the worst team in the league and are quarterbacked by a Blaine. Still about a dozen folks turned out for the "Sign Tebow" party this week. While their logic is pretty sound - "Why not" read one sign; "What could it hurt" read another - it's still an underwhelming showing for a hometown hero for the local team that currently has a Blaine as its starting QB.


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates continues at the top of the Forbes list of richest Americans.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates continues at the top...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Richest in the world

Forbes released its 400 richest people in the world Monday, and the numbers are staggering.

Bill Gates is the world's wealthiest person with a fortune measured at $72 billion - yes Billion with a 'B' folks.

There are 32 sports owners on the Forbes 400, led by Paul Allen, the owner of the Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers and the co-founder of Microsoft with Gates and is the 26th richest American with $15.8 billion.

The numbers are staggering, and can be detailed more in depth here.

Stuff like the Walmart Waltons have spots 6 through 9 on the list. Good night John Boy.

And thos: Warren Buffett, who is second behind Gates at more than $58 billion, made more than $12 billion last year. Considering there are roughly 2,000 work hours in the year, Buffett made roughly $6 million an hour. So, as mind boggling as that is, Buffett made roughly $100,000 per second of the work day in 2012. So if Buffett was in his office and saw a $50,000 check on the floor, it was not worth his time to pick it up. E-gads.

Also of note, magazine stories have been bad news in September for Oklahoma State. After the SI stories of corruption and NCAA violations of last week, Forbes tells us that T. Boone Pickens is no longer a billionaire after losing more money than the rest of us will ever see in wind energy ventures.

Conversely, Nike founder and Oregon benefactor Phil Knight is more more than $16 billion. It's good to be a Duck right now, no?


This and that

- Apparently SNL is still on the air. Who knew? We can confirm this because they have added six new cast members, including Beck Bennett, who is the guy on the 'It's not complicated' AT&T commercials with the table full of kindergarten kids asking them questions. It's the largest cast overhaul in number since 1995 when Will Ferrell, Darrell McDonald and several others were added. This show has jumped the shark - a while back in fact - but no one this side of Jason Voorhees in show business has comeback from the dead more than SNL and Lorne Michaels.

- The Atlanta Braves will play a day-night doubleheader today against the Nationals after Monday's game was postponed after the shooting at the Navy. More on this in a moment. A sweep would mean the Braves clinch the NL East.

- Exceptionally fast start for one Mr. Keon Williams at UTC. Williams has earned back-to-back SoCon offensive player of the week honors.

- Speaking at Marquette University on Monday, NCAA president Mark Emmert admitted the structure of college sports could be very different very soon. Paying players, however, is not an option according to Emmert. "One thing that sets the fundamental tone is there's very few members and, virtually no university president, that thinks it's a good idea to convert student-athletes into paid employees. Literally into professionals," Emmert said. "Then you have something very different from collegiate athletics. One of the guiding principles (of the NCAA) has been that this is about students who play sports." He also opened up the idea that the draft - we love the draft; you know this - for the NBA and the NFL may have to look at MLB's multiple option model for prospective entries. "It's a dynamic tension that we really need to work on because it's at heart of part of what (we're) talking about here," he said. "Why would we want to force someone to go to school when they really don't want to be there? But if you're going to come to us, you're going to be a student."


Today's question(s)

We are now caught up on Breaking Bad, and if you have not watched it, well that's on you.

We frequently ask about TV shows around these parts - and the SNL item above opens it self up for a slew of opinion - but what is your Rushmore of favorite/best TV shows ever? You know the ones that as you were watching, you could not wait until the next week's episode. There was a time when SNL was eagerly anticipated. Not so

Here's our Rushmore of the best TV shows: Breaking Bad, The Wire, Sopranos and maybe the Simpsons. (We're still debating that last one. And we just noticed that none of them were shows on ABC, CBS or NBC. Amazing.)


As a tribute to Col. Nathan R. Jessup in the intro, what's the Rushmore of Jack Nicholson performances? Dude has a nice top-end list of Easy Rider, Shining, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chinatown, Good as it Gets, The Departed, Few Good Men, Batman, et al.