Gang, remember the mailbag.
From the "Talks too much" studios, football practice may just be starting but the weather is in full October mode. War David Glenn.
Your UTC Mocs start football practice today. Good times.
Here is UTC football ace Stephen Hargis' view of the questions facing the Mocs this fall.
We completely agree with Hargis on No. 1 - how will the Mocs handle expectations and the pressure that comes with being the favorite - as the biggest question mark for this bunch. It's fair to wonder, too, if the Mocs are ready for this moment. After all they are the best team in a Southern Conference made noticeably weaker by the defections of App and Georgia Southern.
We are curious as well as to how this group will handle adversity when it comes, because we all know it will come. It's football, there's always adversity - be it on the field or off it.
As for on the field, as Hargis notes, when your biggest questions are kickers and secondary depth, well, you have a lot of talent across the lines of scrimmage. Would finding another weapon on the perimeter be welcomed? Sure, but the biggest questions about this UTC bunch is if they are ready for their title shot.
The Atlanta Braves lost 8-4 to the Dodgers late Tuesday night. Atlanta stayed 1/2 game back of Washington, which lost again at Miami, in the NL East.
The good: Atlanta score four early runs against Josh Beckett, a number that has to be considered a success against a starter with a sub-3.00 ERA and a staff that is as good as baseball. The offense generated 12 hits and drew seven walks - another subpar effort with runners in scoring position (2-for-13) hurt - in the loss.
The bad: Aaron Harang was at best OK - six innings, four earned - but the bullpen was torched, allowing three runs in the seventh and another in the eighth. Anthony Varvaro was victimized in the seventh, including allowing a long homer to Matt Kemp.
The Uggla: Danny Struggla got another start for the Giants, who lost to the Pirates 3-1 Tuesday. He went 0-for-3 with two Ks and is now 0-for-11 with six strike outs in his time out West. At least he did not make an error, so there's that. Side note: Uggla's replacement Tony La Stella was La Stellar again Tuesday. La Stella had three hits and a walk in five plate appearances and is hitting .296 with an OBP of .371.
NFL camps have opened, and the Atlanta Falcons are going to be on HBO's Hard Knocks. We are excited about this. (Side note: Ooltewah's Jacques Smith is in camp with the Falcons, so there's that too, and considering he was in a fight earlier this week, he likely will appear in week 1's episode next Tuesday.)
The debates around NFL camps about quarterbacks and Johnny Footballs and the video clips of Peyton Manning dancing (here it is and you're welcome) are super. And relatively meaningless in the grand scheme. But there were two story lines that caught our attention this morning.
First, Cleveland wide out Josh Gordon is appealing his year-long suspension for pot. (Side note No. 1: Yes feel free to debate a guy getting a full year for being a multiple pot offender while Ray Rice gets two games for domestic assault against his wife. Side note to the side note: ESPN suspended Steven A. Smith from work longer for his rant last week about the Rice incident than the NFL suspended Rice for the actual incident. Smith got a full week or five days; Rice got two games. Go figure)
As for Gordon, dude is appealing his drug suspension by saying he failed the test because of second-hand smoke. Wonder if the "Dog ate my playbook" routine is also in his arsenal.
Second, Patrick Peterson, the stud duck corner for the Arizona Cardinals got a five-year, $70-million contract. Wow. Somewhere Deion Sanders is shaking his head. And if you ever need any more proof that the (cue Jaws) NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE is a pass-first, pass-last operation, the fact that corner backs are now that much more valuable than running backs is startling.
- Top overall college football prospect Josh Sweat will list his top five in the near future. Tennessee and Georgia figure to be in the mix for the Virginia defensive end, who has been a monster during the summer camp season.
- Another excellent turn from TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer on the Dillon brothers' visit to Boyd Speedway on Tuesday night. Good times, and those dudes are part of a young wave of NASCAR guys that can really go.
- Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas says Brian Hoyer is a lot like Tom Brady. What? If you mean he's tall and right-handed and played in the Big Ten, well yes, Joe you're spot on.
- The NCAA settled its concussion lawsuit for $70 million. This must be approved by a judge. We believe the judge will think that the settlement is not high enough. Carry on.
During the Braves' loss at L.A. late Tuesday, the Dodgers honored Vin Scully for his 65th year as the Dodgers broadcaster. Wow, 65 years. Dude his career with the Dodgers is old enough to retire.
That said, what's our Rushmore of baseball announcers?