Morning. Hope you stayed dried and said hello to Noah - he's doing the Lord's work after all.
From the "Talks too much" studios, it's game week for high school football players. We're ready. Game on.
We are open to any and all suggestions.
Could it be Peyton and the Broncos, who looked top-shelf in a 34-0 win over San Francisco? Maybe.
Could it be LeBron James, who is adding another quality piece with Shawn Marion agreeing to join Cleveland and got the billionaire endorsement from Warren Buffett? We could see that reasoning.
We'll go with your Atlanta Braves, who were staring at falling into an inescapable hole in the NL East. Consider the following heading into the weekend:
• The Braves had lost three of four at The Ted to the Dodgers with the Oakland A's bring the best record in baseball to town;
• The Nationals had stretched their lead to six and were about to host the struggling Pirates;
• The confidence meter on a scale of 1-to-10 was set at about 0.8.
And of course, what happens? The Braves sweep the A's to keep pace with the red-hot Nationals. Yes, they are six games out and mired in a battle royal in the NL Wildcard race, but this weekend sweep of Oakland was huge in the standings and in the locker room.
The good: Just about everything considering the Braves are now 3-0 against the A's and 9-4 against the Nationals, arguably the two best teams in baseball. Of special note were Mike Minor, who delivered Sunday with a second consecutive stout start, and Justin Upton, who gets more homecoming than Coach K's Duke Blue Devils. Upton is .320 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs in 219 ABs at the Ted and .246 with seven and 28 RBIs in 211 ABs everywhere else.
The bad: The fact that the Nationals are wicked hot. Winners of six straight, the Nats are not going anywhere.
The Uggla: Still nothing. Nothing but fat checks, that is.
On the flip side, who lost the weekend?
You may want to say the NFL, and you'd have a point, considering the tidal wave of yellow flags that have made otherwise unwatchable preseason games an experience worse than insurance seminars while having a root canal.
You may suggest the Atlanta Falcons in particular, since the team that already had questions about its offensive line lost left tackle Sam Baker for the season with a knee injury.
You may think about Josh Hamilton, who is sitting out games for the Angels to rest his mind. Wow. If he goes on the DL, what's the transaction going to say? "Angels move Josh Hamilton to the 15-day DL (mind)."
Good choices all, but we'll go with Notre Dame, which lost two starters and two back-ups this weekend to an academic investigation that seems like only the start of what could be a painful probe. (Side question: Is there any kind of non-painful probe?)
The AP poll hit the streets on Sunday.
As expected, the Florida State Seminoles and everyone's all-around good guy and crab-legs connoisseur Jameis Winston are No. 1.
Still, there is plenty of SEC flavor in the top 25, with No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Auburn, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 LSU, No. 18 Ole Miss, No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 24 Missouri.
The eight teams in the preseason poll matches the previous record for most by a conference, also set by the SEC.
The combination of talent and schedule makes FSU the heavy favorite as the top contender for the College Football Playoff. One service has the odds of FSU running the table at 40 percent. CUH-razy.
- There are a lot of ways to honor players retiring. This may be the most original - a corn maze saying thanks to Derek Jeter.
- OK, we all are aware the 5-at-10 is not the biggest soccer follower. And we downright detest nut bar fans who run on the field during sporting events. Well, occasionally, you can blend two things together and be stunned by the results. Enjoy.
- Jeff Gordon continues to sizzle through the summer. He outraced Kevin Harvick and the rest of the NASCAR heavy-foots for a win at Michigan. Gordon passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the points lead.
- Of note, the University of Georgia had a monster week in recruiting, getting two stud DT ducks in the in Trenton Thompson and Jonathan Ledbetter and added star receiver Jayson Stanley. The Bulldogs have the makings of a top-three national class.
We of course want to know who you think won or lost the weekend. We'll surely discuss this on Press Row today from 3-6 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM - with a link here at timesfreepress.com.
As we are prone to do, we check birthdays, and it's strange when there are certain days with a large number of talented folks celebrating. Today, among some of the uber-talented names that include Robert Redford, Edward Norton and Roberto Clemente, we have Meriwether Lewis, who would have been 240 years young today.
Lewis and his exploring comrade William Clark explored most of the Louisiana and mapped out the Northwestern parts of the U.S. of A. (No word if he was into grunge, Starbucks or the Seahawks, but we'll assume that to be true.)
What's our Rushmore of tandems? Guys or gals who are forever linked to the point that they seem out of place without the other.
We will give two tickets to the Madaris Best of Preps Kickoff Classic to see the McCalle-Cleveland game to the best answer.