5-at-10: Fab 4 picks return, Braves broadcast was beautiful fun, Shohei shuts it down

Atlanta Braves' Marcell Ozuna slap hands with third base coach Ron Washington, right, after hitting a home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

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Fab 4 picks

There have been more than a few constants in our time together here at the 5-at-10.

We have always been open to any and all contributions and comments from any and all points of view. We may not agree, but we encourage the debate and welcome the discourse.

We will have a Masters contest, a March Madness contest, and a few others.

We love the draft, but you know this.

We have some regulars who have been with us for a long, long time. J-Mac, Spy and until recently Chas were commonplace since the genesis of this thing in October 2010.

We also have authored college football picks, arrogantly dabbed the Fab 4 picks, even though a couple years ago they were hardly Fab, and most weeks there are more than 4.

So it goes.

Now, however, the worm turns a bit more, since, you know I have a betting email that is swelling in popularity and, since its inception last October, is real close to plus-60 units across all sports. Our daily best bet — which cashed twice last night (Go Braves) is a tidy 143-96.

Is that any good, Vader?

So here we go, starting another Fab 4 venture — it's Zero week, people — this time with stakes higher than ever. Cue some "Die Hard" lines.

Yippie-ki-yay mother bleepers.

Central Michigan plus-14.5 over Michigan State.

Here's what we know:

— We know regular JTC hates Jim MCElwain, who loves sharks and, while he was overmatched in Gainesville, can coach up lower classification programs.

— We know CMU returns 10 defensive starters and an athletic QB in Bert Emanuel, who had almost 500 rushing yards and seven TDs in his final three games in 2022.

— We know MSU's best QB is now Auburn's best QB courtesy of the transfer portal.

— We know MSU lost its top two WRs, its most experienced OLs, three of its four top tacklers.

— And we know, I am dang tempted to take CMU on the moneyline.

Still, give me more than two TDs and make sure Mel Tucker polishes that resume; it's going to be a long year in East Lansing.

Navy plus-20.5 over Notre Dame. Yes, new Irish QB Sam Hartman is a bona fide college football superstar. The Wake Forest transfer was in the same freshman class as Tim Duncan and has like 12 billion passing yards in his 43-year NCAA career. Those numbers may have been inflated.

These numbers/facts are not.

Navy has an offense that chews clock so three touchdowns feels like five. Navy has almost 80% of its offensive snaps from its OL back and close to 85% of its rushing yards returning.

This game is in Dublin, which means everyone has traveled and we all know how well Navy does overseas.

It's science, people.

New Mexico State minus-6.5 over UMass. This is a bet on Jerry Kill, the NMSU head coach who has redirected stinky programs for years. Did you know that Kill led NMSU to a bowl game last year? It was just the second bowl game in the program's 62 years. (Cue Doug on "There are too many bowl games" in 3, 2, 1...)

UMass has not named a QB1. UMass allowed more than 200 rushing yards per last year. UMass is on the road against a Kill-coached crew that welcomes back its QB1 and WR1. Yep.

USC-San Jose State over 66. OK, USC has an NFL-level offense with the likely first pick in next springs NFL draft at QB1. I love the draft; you know this.

Add in USC boy-genius head coach Lincoln Riley and his desire to be a boy-genius offensive whiz kid, and USC and Caleb Williams are going to put 40 first-half points on the board.

Which is why we're on the over, because SJSU has a QB1 in Chevan Cordeiro who could be the Mountain West player of the year. And this is his biggest platform of the season.

Chevan Cordeiro is entering his sixth season of college action, including four years of action as the QB at Hawaii. He has more than 9,400 passing yards and 68 passing TDs as well as more than 1,300 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs.

Saturday will be his 49th college start.

Thanks and thank you to all the regulars who are still a part of the craziness.

Fab 4 indeed.

Last week: 0-0

This season: 0-0

Last season: 55-57-2, including bowl games

Our all-time number is north of 55% — Vader and JTC can attest — but the numbers are hard to corral.

Braves broadcast bingo

The Atlanta Braves are always the soundtrack of the summer for those of us who grow up in the South.

Since the early days of the Superstation, Braves games have been the backdrop in oscillating-fan-filled living rooms from Macon to Mobile and from Knoxville to Jacksonville.

And this year's collection of Braves has been forever entertaining.

The offense is the best in the majors. They have the most electric player on two feet — well, at least one of the top three (more on that in a moment) — and a lineup deeper than where Rose foolishly threw that necklace thing many years after she killed Jack.

It's been a good summer, and one for which we should be grateful, because football is upon us and the heavy-lifting we require of the Braves through June and July has been done with grit, gifts and gravy.

War Braves.

But last night was especially perfect.

The normal broadcast crew was replaced by Chipper, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and regular analyst and for Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur.

Simply put, it was true golf, Jerry. Gold. Better than the soup at Mindy's in fact.

Plus, they welcomed in Brian McCann, who may have been a crusty old-schooler during his playing days but was downright hilarious with his boys last night.

They called Greg Maddux, to which Chipper made reference that apparently Maddux, the best pitcher of his generation, only had like two pairs of underwear.

The called recent Hall of Fame inductee Fred McGriff and showed a clip of McGriff calmly catching an infield pop as Chipper and Maddux collided.

They had Brian Snitker on for an entire half inning and Snitker sounded downright charismatic.

Heck, they showed a stat of Francueor's success against the Mets starting pitcher to which Chipper said, "Did he pitch at Brookwood?" referring to Francueor's Parkview High rivals.

It was grand TV, and it was not just because of the resumes of those behind the mics. It was because of the chemistry between them.

It also should have made all of us wonder:

Considering that five Hall of Famers spent most of the 1990s together in the ATL — and Andruw Jones will be there soon — the Braves supremely underachieved with only one World Series title, right?

Shohei shut down

Shohei Ohtani is right there with Ronald Acuña Jr. as the most eye-catching baseball player drawing breath.

Shohei, however, has a ligament injury in his elbow, so he will be shut down as a pitcher for the rest of the season.

He finishes with 10 wins and currently has 44 homers. Yes, read that again.

But the big questions now swirl about the future.

Will he need surgery, which could make the free-agent-to-be just a DH next year?

What would that do to a contract that folks believe will start at half-a-billion bucks?

Will the Angels, who are 10 games out of the final AL wildcard spot with 35 games left, be able to recover or be able to resign the game's most mythical unicorn?

I don't know the answer to those, but I do know this:

I am sad this morning because sports are always better when all-timers like Shohei Ohtani are healthy.

This and that

Tua and Ryan Clark; it's go time.

— Would you agree to tie for a gold medal at the World Championships? Would it have been different if this had been Olympic gold?

— Wow, the GOP is in deep poop. That debate was filled with a collection of wannabes, and the clear winner was Donald Trump, who did not even have to show up to be the clear winner. Also of note: Trump will be indicted today in Atlanta, because that's the depths of the poop the GOP faces. Someone pour me a shot.

— So a Virginia teen was told to remove the American flag from the back of his truck or not come back to school. So he has elected to be home schooled. Wish I was kidding.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with some UT football details. He also has some Alabama intel into today's TFP fishwrapper.

Today's questions

Anything goes Thursday — the ol' AGT as the kids call it — has multiple options.

Did you watch the debate? Who won?

Did you watch the Braves? How fun?

Do you like the Fab 4? Which one?

East Lake picks? Rory's run?

Also, remember the mailbag. C'mon, son.

As for today, Aug. 24, let's review.

Wow, the Gutenberg Bible was completed on this day in 1456. That may be one of the sneaky biggest days in all of history, you know?

Cal Ripken Jr. is 63 today. Yes, that made me feel old, too.

The accepted debut of the first potato chip was served on this day in 1853.

Rushmore of potato chips. Go and remember the mailbag.