5-at-10: Sports Illustrated missed Sportsperson chance, free bowl picks contest, UT hoops misses - a lot

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady shouts before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

SI honor

So, like a lot of things involving Sports Illustrated, the SI Sportsman of the Year feels somewhat hollow.

Hey, SI is not alone. Everyone in the print world knows the feeling. Hey, iPad anyone?

But the Sportsman, er, sorry Sportsperson of the Year is still a cool title and one the SI franchise should always promote. (Side note: For those of us a certain age, the SI swimsuit issue was a rite of passage. Now, looking back, wow folks got really bent out of shape for photos of supermodels that, by comparison, are tamer than some of the pop-up ads that appear on Yahoo.)

This year's choice is hard to argue. Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl, a Bill Russell/John Wooden-level of ring bling that will almost assuredly never be duplicated.

Plus, even at this level at the age of 44, Brady will never beat Father Time - none of us will - but more than any athlete of my lifetime, Brady is making the Old Man use all his timeouts late in the fourth quarter.

Brady is a fine choice. Heck, he almost assuredly in every other year would be the correct choice. But SI missed on this one.

The Sportsperson of the Year - not to go all Time mid-2000s on you - is the fan.

Never has the fan been more appreciated and recognized, by everyone.

Including fans.

The COVID-19-altered year was trying to make the best of an untenable situation in so many walks of life.

A season of crowd-less sports and empty stadiums - or worse, venues filled with cardboard cutouts - made everyone involved, from Jerry Jones to LeBron James to Johnny Sports Fan sitting anywhere from the mezzanine to the nose-bleeds, an important part of the equation.

Yes, we need the stars. And the settings. And the stakes.

But without the atmosphere, it will never be special.

So congrats Brady, you were great. Historic even.

But in 2021, the fans put the people back in sports.

Let's bowl

It's time. Let's do this.

It's time for the annual "Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success, Bowler Optional" contest.

Deadlines are before the first bowl game. These lines are final and the ones we will use. Yes, when half of Auburn's team elects to sit out the bowl game, that will change the number in Vegas. But, sadly, this ain't Vegas.

Scoring is easy. Get the designated point value for a correct pick against the number. No lost points for a miss.

1-point games

Bahamas Bowl: MTSU vs. Toledo (-9.5)

Tailgreeter Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina (-9.5)

Boca Raton Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. App State (-2.5)

New Mexico Bowl: UTEP vs. Fresno State (-12.5)

Independence Bowl: BYU vs. UAB (-6.5)

Lending Tree Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty (-7.5)

L.A. Bowl: Utah State vs. Oregon Sate (-7.5)

2-point games

New Orleans Bowl: Marshall vs. Louisiana (-5.5)

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Old Dominion vs. Tulsa (-9.5)

Idaho Potato Bowl: Kent State vs. Wyoming (-3.5)

Frisco Bowl: San Diego State vs. UTSA (-2.5)

Armed Forces Bowl: Missouri vs. Army (-3.5)

Frisco Classic: North Texas vs. Miami of Ohio (-3.5)

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. Memphis (-5.5)

Camellia Bowl: Ball State vs. Georgia State (-4.5)

Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Nevada (-2.5)

3-point games

Military Bowl: East Carolina vs. Boston College (-3.5)

First Responders Bowl: Air Force vs. Louisville (-1.5)

Holiday Bowl: UCLA vs. NC State (-1.5)

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: West Virginia vs. Minnesota (-4.5)

Fenway Bowl: SMU vs. Virginia (-1.5)

Pinstripe Bowl: Maryland vs. Virginia Tech (-1.5)

Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State vs. Wisconsin (-6.5)

Arizona Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Boise State (-9.5)

4-point games

Gasparilla Bowl: UCF vs. Florida (-7.5)

Birmingham Bowl: Houston vs. Auburn (-2.5)

Liberty Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State (-8.5)

Cheez-It Bowl: Iowa State vs. Clemson (-1.5)

Duke's Mayo Bowl: South Carolina vs. North Carolina (-6.5)

Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Oklahoma (-4.5)

Music City Bowl: Purdue vs. Tennessee (-3.5)

Peach Bowl: Michigan Stae vs. Pitt (-3.5)

Gator Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M (-5.5)

Sun Bowl: Washington State vs. Miami (-1.5)

5-point games

Outback Bowl: Arkansas vs. Penn State (-3.5)

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky (-2.5)

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame (-2.5)

Rose Bowl: Utah vs. THE Ohio State (-6.5)

Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Baylor (-1.5)

Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. LSU (-2.5)

7-point games

Cotton Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Alabama (-14.5)

Orange Bowl: Michigan vs. Georgia (-7.5)

For 10 points, who wins the national title?


Vols go cold

Well, that was less than pretty.

In one of the ugliest basketball games on record, UT missed more shots than a QAnon convention.

Seriously, UT played basketball and scored fewer points against Texas Tech than Josh Heupel's football team would have.

Not good. Actually, It was not even bad. It was way worse than that.

Here's more from Paschall, and I will offer a side gambling tip: When teams that rarely go to Madison Square Garden go to Madison Square Garden with the darkness and the strange site lines, betting the under would seem like a prudent play, no?

The Vols and Red Raiders scored 109 points. Total. And needed overtime to fall roughly 30 points under the total.

It's hard to know what to make of the UT hoopsters, and all teams depending on that many new faces will have bad nights.

But I'm not sure anyone could have foreseen a night that bad.

This and that

- When the bowl bids are sealed, it becomes Weeds' time. TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer writing on college hoops makes me happy.

- Man we need more Dwayne Johnsons, you know. The Rock gave his People's Choice Award to a Make-a-Wish patient. Good on you, Rock.

- Man this MasterClass gift craze is pretty nuts, right? Here's one with drum lessons from Ringo Starr. Or hoops tips with Steph Curry. Wow.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday will offer this: Which SEC basketball team is the best? (And this won't be the last time we ask this.)

Also, which expert in which subject would you want to learn from if you had your pick of anyone in a MasterClass?

Which bowl game - not involving your team or the playoff - catches your eye the most?

As for today, Dec. 8, let's review.

Eighty years ago, FDR delivered the "Day of Infamy" speech. It's right there with the best speeches ever delivered.

"The Deer Hunter" premiered on this day in 1978. That one's a laugh riot.

John Lennon was killed on this day in 1980. Sam Kinison would have been 68 today.

Kim Basinger is 68 today. What's Kim Basinger's Rushmore?