5-at-10: NFL power poll, to hedge or not to hedge, rap lyrics cost QB a UF offer

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Eagles defeated the Colts 17-16. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

NFL power poll

So the league is amazing. We all concur on this, right?

And in the end, the core genius of the (cue Ron Jaworski) NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE is based in math. 

Sure the results and the records are number-based. 

But the math that matters is your 11 against mine. And the special dudes in helmets and shoulder pads who extend beyond the numbers prove to be invaluable on sliding scales. 

There is the difference-maker, who beats his man consistently enough to warrant special attention. 

There is the game-changer who demands double teams and complete game plans to address them. 

Then there is the transcendental player who makes an entire unit special because his presence is clear and at times, he is unstoppable. 

More times than not, elite QBs litter these quarterbacks at various points. Those dudes are clear to see and the difference they make is just as transparent.

But the guys around the league at other positions are the ones that become the cogs as teams go from building to budding to Bowl-bound.

Micah Parsons is assuredly one of the transcendental dudes the game has. And what he has become for a Dallas defense that may be the best in recent years is eye-popping.

Like Allison Stokke would say in college, let’s focus on the poll.

1 Philadelphia (9-1). The collection of difference-makers the Eagles have assembled on each side of the ball is problematic for everyone. Be it Fletcher Cox, AJ Brown, arguably the best O-line in the league, 1-thru-53, the Eagles have the best roster in the league. And it’s not close.

2 Kansas City (8-2). Patrick Mahomes. That’s it. That’s the analysis.

3 Dallas (7-3). We have always embraced the Big Tuna’s “You are what your record says you are.” But when a 7-3 drop-kicks, suplexes and chokes out an 8-2 like the Cowboys did to the Vikings — we see you Micah, and we are impressed — then this is a corollary to the Tuna’s teaching.

4 Minnesota (8-2). Justin Jefferson is one of those dudes finding his place on the scale of superstardom. And man, while we all know that if a team could pick a superstar at any position, it starts with QB. Maybe a pass-rusher is next, but when a talent like Jefferson can make Kirk Cousins a part of the MVP conversation, well, that’s doing work.

5 Buffalo (7-3). Want to know the fine line to playoffs and postseason draft planning? Try this out for size: The Bills are 7-3 and have outscored opponents by 107 points through 10 games. Miami is also 7-3 and holds first in the AFC East by tie-breakers and has outscored its foes by 11 points. Total.


28 Jacksonville (3-7). Playing off the Dolphins corollary above, the Jags have the inverse record of Miami and also has outscored foes by 11 points this season.

29 Denver (3-7). Because numbers are nuts, check this out. Denver is DFL in points per game at 14.7 per. Denver is third in the league in points allowed per game at 17.1. That would make for a difficult balance in the locker room, no? Especially since Denver dealt the future for Russell Wilson.

30 Carolina (3-8). We have frequently discussed our miss on Josh Allen in the draft discussion a few years ago. But man, I thought Baker Mayfield was going to be exceedingly better than this too.

31 Pittsburgh (3-7). So, it’s cool that despite the free-fall for the Steelers that no one is saying anything about Mike Tomlin’s seat warming. Side note: The Steelers’ stinkitude makes Ben Roethlisberger’s career look better, right?

32 Houston (1-8-1). Yeah, no.   

College conundrum

So, the gambling conversation covers a lot of football these days.

And heading into the final weekend of the college football regular season, what about this proposition:

I know a friend who has the over on Auburn’s season win total of 6. Said friend has over Georgia’s win total of 11, and over Clemson’s win total of 10.5.

Heading into the final weekend — season win totals are based on regular season only, no conference title games or bowl games — the real conversation of hedging must be had.

OK, Auburn is a three-TD underdog against Alabama. The hedge there does not seem logical.

Georgia is also a huge favorite over Georgia Tech, and since the number with heavy juice is already a push, the hedge again does not make as much sense.

Which brings us to Clemson, which is sitting on 10 wins. A W Saturday against surgeon South Carolina cashes a big ticket for my buddy. And South Carolina is at plus-500 at FanDuel to win outright.

You have to hedge right?

Lip (out of) sync

So Marcus Stokes is a four-star prep quarterback who had committed to Florida.

Stokes was filmed using a racial slur and Florida pulled its scholarship offer.

Yes, Stokes used that racial slur. 

While we frequently have acknowledged that white folks should never use that word, I think some of the details matter here.

Stokes was in the back of a car with buddies and they were singing along with a rap song.

We have seen that coaches and educational leaders have had their careers ended by using the N-word in a context of telling folks not to say the N-word while saying the N-word.

But should music lyrics offer some leeway?

This and that

— Wow, put this in the Chaminade over Virginia category as Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in World Cup kickball 2-1. Some are calling it the biggest World Cup upset ever.

— Brown’s Olivia Pichardo is the first female on a Division I baseball roster. Pretty cool if you ask me.

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall on Auburn’s new energy with Cadillac Williams driving the bus. 

— Here’s Paschall on Joe Milton taking over for Hendon Hooker for the Vols.

Today’s questions

True or false, it’s Tuesday. Hi, Ern. Tell Karen we said good morning.

True or false, Micah Parsons is the best defensive player in the league.

True or false, you never hedge on your bets. 

True or false, you will watch any of the non-U.S. World Cup action.

True or false, if you have the choice, you’d pick a Hall of Fame receiver over a Hall of Fame pass rusher.

True or false, Marcus Stokes should have had his scholarship pulled.

Answer some T or Fs, leave some T or Fs.

As for today, Nov. 22, let’s review.

JFK was killed on this day in 1963.

“Toy Story” was released on this day in 1995.

Billie Jean King is 79 today. If we had a Rushmore of female sports stars who have accomplished the most for women’s athletics, King is a no-doubter.

Who else joins her?