Joe Burrow. Wow, when he has time, the Joey B and the Bengals’ elite receiving corps are hard to handle. Yes, it was the Falcons. Yes, it was even the Falcons’ back-up corners for more of the game. But three WRs with five or more catches and 90-or-more yards apiece is doing work. And in an NFL this scatterbrained, having a bona fide, no-doubt strength like the Bengals’ passing game could be enough.
Bryce Harper. It’s kind of easy to forget the specialness of this generational talent because he’s inching close toward being old enough to be from the previous generation. Plus, the injuries have removed him from the spotlight a time or three over the years. But a locked-in Harper is still as good as any hitter on the planet, and dude is locked in right now. In helping the Phillies back to the World Series for the first time since 2009 — and the first trip ever for Harper — the 30-year-old slugger is crushing it right now. He has a hit in 10 straight playoff games and is 18-for-43 (.419) with a 1.351 OPS and five homers and 11 RBIs in 11 playoff games this year.
UTC. The Mocs football team hammered Mercer 41-21 and clearly is the class of the SoCon and one of the four or five short-list frontrunners for a deep FCS playoff run. And then the UTC futbol team won its first SoCon regular-season title over the weekend. High times in Mocsville.
Deion Sanders. Yes, it has been the fall for Prime Time. Now he’ll get the closest thing to the primetime slot in his sport as ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Jackson State to see Sanders and his unbeaten bunch next weekend. Sanders is building an HBCU power and a résumé that is going to be coveted when the coaching carousel starts picking up speed.
Seattle Seahawks. Wow, OK, through seven NFL weeks — minus tonight’s Monday Night Football of course — the NFC West-leading Seahawks have to be the surprise of the league. Right? Geno Smith — and his league-leading 73.4 completion % — is a front-runner for comeback player of the year and could find himself on the shortlist of MVP candidates. Now add in that haul of Denver draft picks — including next year’s first-rounder, which promises to be pretty lofty since the Broncos are 2-5 — in the Russell Wilson trade and wow, things went from rebuild to restructured pretty quickly in Seattle.
Alejandro and Miss Audrey. The happy couple got hitched Saturday and it was lovely.
Brian Kelly. Wow, LSU is ahead of the game and better than almost anyone could have projected. They are a slow start in the opener — and a painful missed PAT — from being a a one-loss team ranked in the top 10.
Jimbo Fisher. Whoa, we frequently discuss the free-fall Auburn is suffering because of tepid interest and lackluster coaching, but A&M is a dumpster fire right now. (Side note: Bearddawg called it after reviewing the Fab 4 picks this week in which we backed Fisher’s Aggies. Sadly.) While apathy is the most destructive emotion within a fan base, the angry in College Station has to be real — especially after he tinkled up Saban’s leg in the offseason. It also offers up some real questions about these six- and seven-figure NIL deals. One, is this a cautionary tale about making 18 year olds in A&M’s "best-ever recruiting class" millionaires and then watching their work ethic implode? Two, what happens when fat cat boosters — like the oil folks in Aggieland — give a million or three to land the latest five-star DE, and then the product is not what the price tag would indicate? Three, how long before performance clauses or something of that ilk are woven into these NIL deals for recruits, which would then also make you wonder how long before hot-shot high school prospects will need representation and/or the players need some sort of collective bargaining power? Thanks a lot Jimbo.
Nick Saban. Look, I’m as big a Nick Saban fan as an Auburn graduate can be. He’s the GOAT — all-time and possibly across all of college sports — and even last week I was writing to defend that status and moniker. But his quotes and handling of the Jermaine Burton situation have been embarrassingly bad. Yes, 80,000 folks storming a field after a game can make for uneasy situations. But there’s video of this incident, friends, and Burton did not look "scared" as Saban said. He looked mad and he swung and hit an opposing female fan. Trying to justify as anything other than a terrible lapse in judgment is hollow rationalization and truly beneath someone of Saban’s stature.
MLB playoffs. OK, Astros-Phillies is not the worst possible matchup of the possibilities for a national primetime audience. But other than the Phillies’ rain-soaked drama Sunday, these playoffs have been completely devoid of much drama, you know? Even with the extra round of the playoffs series, there has been one winner-advances-loser-packs-the-bats game in six postseason match-ups.
Charlotte football. Yes, we got a lot of college football line items on the list this week, and that’s OK. But good friend of the show Will Healy was sacked over the weekend after the 49ers were popped 34-15 by FIU — a team that lost to Western Kentucky 73-0 earlier this year. Healy led the 49ers to their first bowl game in program history in 2019 but has won only nine games since.
The Lakers. Man has there ever been a collection of that many shiny pieces that collectively offer that bad of a product? Discuss. And no, this will not be the last time we discuss the disastrous Lake Show.
Not hardly for a couple of all-time super, duper stars.
It was more like a Sunday, “I got time for a nap” afternoon for Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Both are legends. Both are first-ballot inductees to Canton. Both have multiple MVPs and at least one Super Bowl ring.
And both were waxed by inferior teams quarterbacked by young players I’m not sure many people could recognize on a subway. Or in a Subway. Hmmmmmm, soup of the day. That sounds good. I think I’ll have that.
Brady and the Bucs were humbled by Carolina and PJ Walker. Yes, I said PJ Walker, and no, he’s not related to the actor who played start prep QB Lance Harbor in “Varsity Blues.” “I don't want your life.”
Rodgers and the Packers were humbled by Washington and Taylor Heinicke. Barnicke? He still owes me money.
The trouble looming for each is immediate and long term. The Packers are now a betting favorite not to make the playoffs and have the longest odds (33-to-1) of making the Super Bowl at any point since 2018.
And both Brady and Rodgers are now overwhelming favorites to retire before week 1 of the 2023 season.
Man, when the end comes, he do come quick, no?
This and that
— Gang, the TFP web folks are on the comments thing. That’s good news. Got something you want to share with the group, here’s a Google Doc that we can access and check back to. If you are using a mobile phone, make sure to download the Google Doc app to edit the document. Deal? Deal.
— What a tragic story from across the state as a 55-year-old skydiver died in a pregame ceremony before a high school football contest last Friday. Wow.
— Speaking of high school football, want to know something KER-razy? This week is the final Friday night of the regular season in Tennessee. Seriously.
— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall’s SEC football wrap column from the weekend that was.
— Kudos to Rory for defending the CJ Cup and reclaiming the world’s top spot in the golf rankings. It’s his ninth time being the world No. 1. As for the Baylor boys, Keith Mitchell and Harris English finished T40th at 2 under and each collected $38,430. Well done all around.
— Anyone else see the tribute to 50 years of the Dolphins’ unbeaten season last night? It was pretty cool.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
As for today, let’s review.
Jackie Robinson died 50 years ago today.
Yes, he’s an all-time American hero. And we discussed Bill Russell’s 6 being retired across the NBA. OK.
I think Jackie’s 42 should be retired across every sport in North America. How about that?
Kevin Kline is 75 today.
Kevin Kline’s Rushmore. Go and enjoy the day.