SEC items of interest
It's Wednesday. Let's look around the country's best college football conference.
First down: We had an excellent true or false on here Tuesday about whether "Butch Jones is unfairly criticized for using "coach-speak" too often." It's an interesting talking point, and one that has merits on each side. It also is one we did some thinking on because around these parts and on the radio, we have been pretty tough at times on Butch.
Possibly the most frustrating part of that dynamic is by all measures Butch has to have some charisma on some level, right? He recruits at an elite level. His players appear to enjoy playing for him.
He even has home-run emotional moments like kneeling on the Georgia turf after the Hail Mary and yesterday's awesome interaction between the Wolf brothers in which Eli got a scholarship from Jones and UT.
In some ways, and maybe this offers some clarity on the frequent jabs Jones takes for his quotes, it is unfair. All coaches have some form of coach-speak. But that's the hook with Jones. It's not even coach-speak — "Blocking and tackling," "You play like to practice," "Take them one game at a time," "Blah, blah, blah," — for Jones anymore.
Because the cliches are forgettable; the champions of life, five-star hearts, last year was not a disappointment, and the like are so over-the-top rosy that the overt and at times obtuse optimism diminishes the actual accomplishments and can become the central talking point. Thoughts?
Second down: Man, is there a job in football that you never want to know the player's name who does it, you just want it done like long-snapper? As TFP SEC ace David Paschall tells us, Georgia's Trent Frix is battling some hamstring issues. He is expected back, according to Paschall's report, and continues a long like of Frix flinging footballs to specialists in Athens.
Third down: Been kind of a news-filled couple of days in Auburn. Jarrett Stidham was named the starting quarterback in a competition that more likely was a competition in name more than in actuality. John Franklin III, the speed-merchant who became a pop culture sensation after his turn in the first run of "Last Chance U," announced that he is transferring to Florida Atlantic to play for Lane Kiffin/Joey Saltwater. The Pat Dye gets on the Finebaum Show and says this is the most talented Auburn team top to bottom that he's ever seen. Oh brother. You know how Auburn handles monster expectations. Hello, 8-5.
Fourth down: There are a lot of questions — including how much longer head coach Kevin Sumlin will be employed — being asked around Texas A&M this preseason. Here's a pretty good look at the details around a defense that allowed 441-plus yards per game and in a November collapse, a mind-blowing 6.06 per play. Also of note is that Aggies DC John Chavis makes $1,558,000 per year. Who knows? Maybe he gets paid by the yard.
We are overwhelmed by the Dodgers.
Yes, we're a Dodgers fan and have been since the infield of Cey, Russell, Lopes and Garvey. Good times. For a lot of those roughly 40 years of fandom, the Dodgers have been among baseball's better teams more times than not. Sure, they only have two titles (1981 and 1988), but there have been a lot of playoff appearances among the mix.
But the Dodgers have never been this.
They've never been this eye-popping. This staggeringly overwhelming. This amazing. The numbers are historic.
After last night's win, the Dodgers are 84-34. They are the eighth team to get to 50 games over .500 before win 85.
Since June 6, the Dodgers have not lost a single series. Not one. Since that time, every team in the majors has lost at least six series.
The Dodgers are 50-14 at home. Their run differential is plus-213. That's a run differential of 1.8 per game. For perspective, there have been only seven teams with a per-game run differential of more than 2.0, and none since the 1939 Yankees.
The Rockies and the Diamondbacks are tied for the third best record in the NL at 66-53, and those teams are 18.5 games back.
And know they've done this with Adrian Gonzalez out for most of the year and Clayton Kershaw out for the better part of the last month.
As news surfaced Tuesday that the first woman to file a Title IX suit against Baylor for allegedly failing to respond to her claim of being sexually assaulted by a football player had settled for an undisclosed sum of coin, we though this was interesting timing.
Eight U.S. Senators are asking for a uniform policy in college athletics to deal with sexual assault. Here's the story from CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd.
Indiana University became the first school in the Power Five school to ban recruits who were convicted or pled guilty to felony sexual assault. The SEC and Pac-12 have similar rules for transferring athletes.
OK, first off, considering the awful shape our country is in, we'd hope those eight senators can find, you know, actual governmental work to do beyond stumping on the "Sexual assault is bad, OK" platform. That said, they are right.
Issues that have life-altering ramifications beyond the walls of the program should be delay with and regulated by people who are not making their million-dollar paychecks by the alleged perpetrators.
We can understand coaches wanting to handle discipline on the DeShawn Hands and the Antonio Calloways of the sport on individual cases that involve substances or even stealing. (We do think the conferences should have more spine and come up with an across the board list of rules on simple and direct cases. DUI is this many games. Failing a drug test for an umpteenth time is that many games.)
But this is different. And bigger. And in truth, a set standard could really help both sides, considering the Dallas Cowboys just released a player who was accused of a crime by a woman before the investigation revealed it was a case of mistaken identity.
And take this beyond the transfers and recruits. This needs to be detailed, especially since the allegations are falling under a Federal law. (And senators, while we're here, let's overhaul and update Title IX. If you are actually going to get into this, then get in it. Title IX was groundbreaking legislation that nobly served generations of female athletes. It was a great idea and a great cause.
It's now dated.
Man, we need some bold, thoughtful, inspired leadership in a lot of places, you know?
This and that
— Kudos to the Bryan anglers who have advanced to the individual finals of the national tournament. That duo already clinched the team title last Saturday. Here's more and here's our chat with their coach on yesterday's Press Row.
— Speaking of crazy baseball numbers, Giancarlo Stanton has hit more homers since July 5 than the San Francisco Giants. So there's that. He has become the fourth player to hit at least 23 homers in 35 games. The others had some 'help' and are named Sosa, Bonds and McGwire.
— Speaking of homers, Khris Davis has 75 home runs in two seasons with the Athletics, the most in the majors since the beginning of last season.
— On the other end of the spectrum, first-half wunderkind Aaron Judge has now struck out in 32 consecutive games, matching the record for non-pitchers set by Adam Dunn in 2012.
— According to this well-done report from TFP UTC ace Mean Gene Henley, here are some freshmen who could help the Mocs sooner rather than later.
— PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas had dinner with Tiger Woods. Thomas even brought the trophy, which is the closest Tiger's been to a major in almost a decade. https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/look-justin-thomas-and-his-trophy-have-dinner-with-tiger-woods/
Madonna was born on this day in 1958. She married Sean Penn on this day in 1985.
Steve Carell was born on this day in 1962.
James Cameron is 63 today.
On this day in 2008, Usain Bolt went 9.69 at the Beijing Olympics to set a new 100 meter record.
The Mrs. 5-at-10 celebrates her birthday today, too.
There are some heavy hitters who died on this day.
Blues legend Robert Johnson, Babe Ruth, Margaret Mitchell, and The King, Elvis Presley all died on Aug. 16. Elvis left the building 40 years ago today.
We'll go with the Rushmore of people nickname the King of , because there are a lot of them.
Go. And remember the mailbag.