5-at-10: Weekend winners, losers, Trump and the NFL, Rushmore of actors forever known for one role

5-at-10: Weekend winners, losers, Trump and the NFL, Rushmore of actors forever known for one role

September 25th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns
Justin Thomas chips to the first green during the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Justin Thomas chips to the first green during...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Weekend winners

Justin Thomas. Dude is 24, and he just secured PGA player of the year by winning the Fed Ex Cup title. Oh, by the way, that Fed Ex title comes with $10 million. That's a pretty sweet weekend of golf. (Side note: With his money for second, Thomas made $10,945,000 this weekend. In their golf careers Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player earned a collective total of $9,430,370.)

Baylor golf. Here's TFP all-around ace David Paschall's story on the amazing turn of events. We knew Luke List was good for next year after finishing 50th in Fed Ex Cup points. PGA veteran Harris English was good. Stephen Jaeger was good by finishing in the top 25 on the Web.com money list during the regular season. Now fellow Red Raiders alum Keith Mitchell has joined them as a card-carrying PGA Tour member for the 2017-18 season by securing a spot in the Finals Top 25, a four-event cumulative postseason series. That's staggering, and somewhere on high King Oehmig is smiling. 

Alabama. That was arguably the single-most overpowering SEC on SEC performance I've ever seen. It was 59-bagel and it actually may have been worse than that. Know this: Vanderbilt ran 38 plays. Alabama had 38 first downs.

Gary Patterson. Dude moved pieces, built a big lead and then held on as TCU went to Stillwater and seriously dented Mason Rudolph's Heisman bandwagon and Oklahoma State's national title hopes. Patterson is a top-10 national coach who often gets overlooked.

Saquan Barkley. The Penn State star touched the ball 43 times — 28 runs, 12 receptions and three kick returns — and set a Nittany Lions record with 358 all-purpose yards. PSU needed all of them as it rallied for a 21-19 escape at Iowa that kept the Lions' title hopes alive.

Bonus pick: You could pick a lot of Georgia Bulldogs — the coaching was excellent (that flea flicker to start the game was so money), the defense was athletic and the skill guys were explosive — after that 31-3 pantsing of Mississippi State, but we'll go with freshman Jake Fromm. After that nearly flawless, 9-of-12, 200-plus-yard night, there's no doubt who the UGA starting QB is no matter who's hurt or who's healthy. Fromm hit all eight of his first-half throws for 160 yards while the game was in some doubt. Awesome.

Double bonus pick: Tom Arth. Yes, UTC was supposed to beat VMI, but the Mocs hammered VMI 63-7 and notched Arth's first Division I. That's always a milestone, right?

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) tries to avoid Buffalo Bills' Preston Brown (52) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.



Weekend losers

Butch Jones. That was bad, and the UT fan base is beside itself. (Side note: Social media is cavalcade of one-liners and screen shots and memes that range from agony to hilarious to downright anger when Butch is doing Butch things on Saturdays in the fall. And we feel obligated to share this: On The Dan LeBatard Show, they have "The looks like" game in which listeners share what people in sports and pop culture could look like in real life. On Friday they shared that Butch Jones looks like the gym teacher that puts all the jocks on one dodgeball team and all the band kids on the other and laughs as the carnage unfolds." That friends is gold.) As for the Vols, this statement is harsh but direct and true. In year five with these Vols, Jones and Co. were four-touchdown favorites and needed a fourth-down stop in a 17-13 win over a UMass team that had previously lost to Hawaii, Coastal Carolina, Old Dominion and Temple. Not sure if those numbers — or the ghastly number of folks masquerading as empty seats through most of the second half — were the most telling.

The 5-at-10 NFL picks and the 5-at-10's fantasy team. The NFL picks were dreadful, going 1-3 which drops us to 4-8, which is Ishtar on the scale of entertainment. Our picks were so bad, the only win we notched was Atlanta, and we all saw how that game turned out in what was the front-runner for the worst gambling beat of the season. Speaking of gambling, the favorites were hammered in Week 3, with underdogs going 12-3 against the number with eight outright wins. (College picks went 3-3 and are 14-7 on the season. So it goes, and after big-lipping all week that Alabama was going to truck Vandy, we should have pulled the trigger on that one. Alas.) 

Mark Stoops. Man, want to talk about flipping the mood of a fan base with one bad second half on a September Saturday night. Stoops went from having the most meaningful non-basketball UK sports win in arguably half a century — and a 4-0 start to boot — to his team not covering a wide out in a basic formation that became Florida's game-winning score in a stunning 28-27 comeback over Kentucky.   

FSU. Yes the season-ending injury to their quarterback was the catalyst, but after losing to N.C. State — and with tests against Clemson, Miami, Louisville and Florida — still ahead, the Seminoles have to get things right to think about bowl berths.

Cam Newton. We have avoided the NFL to this point — we will get there shortly — but we have to make mention Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, who is off to a bad start and had the worst Sunday of his professional career. Yes, top targets Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen are injured, but still. Newton was 17-of-26 for 167 yards with three picks against a Saints team that has been shredded to this point.

In this Sept. 22, 2017, photo President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Huntsville, Ala. Trump says he wants to lure Democratic lawmakers to sign on to a Republican-crafted tax overhaul plan. But negotiators must grapple with the reality that any handouts to Democrats quickly could turn into turn-offs for the GOP. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.



How was your Sunday?

The NFL lead newscasts everywhere.

And it was not for what was arguably the most exciting and impressive on-field action in recent memory, either.

Donald Trump on Friday put the sports world on blast with a speech in Alabama on Friday talking about how great it would be if the owners and teams fired the "sons of bitches" who protested during the anthem.

We need to take a side spin right here for a moment before we get to the debate of this. Before we even get started talking about the rationale and the reasons, the ramifications and the results, the leader of our country and the free world should not talk that way period.

It's embarrassing and small-minded to be honest. And to insult those players' mothers? It's bush league and something in that office with that platform and position of power should always be better than that. Always.

The other thing before we get back to the protests, the president's protest of the protests and the protestors' protest of the president's protest, shouldn't he have more important things to be doing for George Washington's sake?

Darren Rovell tweeted that President Trump tweeted 12 times about the NFL and the anthem. He tweeted twice about North Korea, the country whose Foreign Minister told the UN general assembly that "our rocket's visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable."

As for Sunday, well the games were excellent. Four amazing finishes  in the early time slot that included the craziness between Detroit and Atlanta, a 61-yard-field, the Patriots' amazing comeback with Tom Terrific doing his thing and the Bears gutting the Steelers in overtime.

It was thrilling. And it was a side note after the pregame theatrics that were so crazy that it actually made Rex Ryan sound sharp and Chuck Barkley sound like the voice of reason.

Here's my take: The players have every right to protest. You, me, your aunt Gertrude, your vet's cousin who served in Iraq and everyone in between has a right to cheer or jeer that decision. 

Even the president.

But at what point are we going to expect more from the leader of the free world than stump speech zingers looking for applause and propaganda posed as political grandstanding.

We actually would have liked to have heard a thoughtful and measured — and even a conservative — view on this topic. It signifies so much about the divide in country, and touches so many of the third-rail, hot-button issues: race, gender, religion, patriotism, you name it.

But instead of taking a position of leadership and embracing the rights of the players — Trump delivered a bumper sticker rather than a believable sentiment. It was soundbite more than substance.

Beyond, whether you think the players should stand or kneel, let's review this single purpose of the great office of the President of these United States:

Should we seek leadership from the Oval Office, and one of the fundamental definitions of leaderships hinges on unity.

Unity of of direction. Unity of purpose. Unity of people.

Are we going to find that? Not likely, and that's OK. There are 340 million of us here in America, and other than firing Butch Jones, it's going to be hard to get 99-plus percent of them to agree on anything.

But at what point do we look to the leadership of this country to try to unite the states of our society and its citizens rather than calling profane names and galvanizing each side.

And that friends, has nothing to do with the national anthem or the NFL. 
  
This and that


— Amid all the football and politics and golf and everything else — man this was a head-spinning weekend, no? — there were a couple of monster NBA stories. The Knicks dealt Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder apparently are all-in for one more run with Anthony, Paul George and MVP Russell Westbrook. (Side note: All three could become free agents or opt out after 2018.) Question: Who has the best nucleus — Houston, OKC, Cleveland, Boston — to challenge the Warriors next spring? 

— Speaking of the Warriors, when the president wasn't Tweeting about the NFL and its protesting players, he took a break to un-invite the Warriors from visiting the White House since the team was in discussions whether they would accept the invite or not.

— Speaking of being uninvited, the Bulls and Dwyane Wade agreed to a buyout, leaving questions whether Wade, the best player in Heat history, would return to Miami or reunite with BFF LeBron in Cleveland.

— Thought this was interesting. Walt Disney is in bitter negotiations with the fourth-largest cable distributor — Altice USA — and is threatening to pull its programs on ABC and ESPN if a deal is not reached by the end of the month. The vast majority of Altice's customers — the more recognizable name is Optimum, live in New Jersey, Connecticut, parts of Pennsylvania and NYC.  (Side point for conspiracy theorists: That makes the unusual decision to have College GameDay — arguably ESPN's most beloved outlet that is not live action programming — in Times Square a little more understandable, no? What better way to try to sway public opinion than having Corso dress as Lady Liberty and stirring up the crowd, right?)   

— Got a great joy covering the kids at the Drive, Chip and Putt event Sunday at The Honors. Here's the story from it. 

Today's question

Weekend winners? Please.

Weekend losers? Please.

As for today, it's Sept. 25. A Monday. You and Tommy LaSorda. We hate Tommy LaSorda.

On this day in 1789, the U.S. Congress passes 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Among them is the Bill of Rights, which includes that pesky Freedom of Speech thing.

William Faulkner was born on this day in 1897.

Phil Rizzuto would have been 100 today. (Side note: He has a great turn in Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.")

Barbara Walters is 88.

As for a Rushmore, Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) is 66 today. Does he make the Rushmore of actors forever known for one role?

Go and feel free to comment on the matters of the day.

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