5-at-10: Top “Top Gun” quotes on conference hoops, Lamar Jackson’s future, JJ Reddick’s big shot

FILE - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Baltimore.
FILE - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Baltimore.

Hard to remember a day with this much to get to, but here goes.

Let's start with the economy. Stupid Biden.

Kidding. Kidding. Mostly.

In truth, this morning, with a cavalcade of intriguing NFL topics, a cornucopia of college hoops and Nick Saban, whining like a 6-year-old girl having her pigtails pulled on the playground, I will follow Chas' lead and give up political discussion for the rest of Lent.

Both here and personally.

Feel free to follow along in the experiment, and let's see if it helps our peace of mind and general well-being.

No reason to be rude of course, and this is not to say political discourse is not only needed, it's important. Especially from the well-read regulars of the 5-at-10, because you my friends are like a Top Gun class -- the best of the best.

Uh-oh. In addition to a two-week-dated Lent addition, I smell a theme show.

How many "Top Gun" quotes -- original and sequel -- can I fit into today's chat? I'm not sure but I'm gonna give it all I got with a firm realization that the plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies' room. (Yes, Vader, that's 1.)

Hoops hysteria

This week is golden, Goose. Basketball everywhere. Working from home. My online betting accounts hemorrhaging moola. Tournament college basketball, I don't want anyone to know I have fallen for you again.

But in truth, my memories of this week growing up were golden.

The SEC tournament was always fun. The ACC -- especially at the Omni -- was even better.

What changed? How did I lose that loving feeling?

Is it because we got spoiled with the glory of the NCAA tournament. Will the conference tournaments be even less meaningful/fun/important/you name it when the brackets bust on through to 96?

If you think this is a major conference thing, well it's bigger that that. That's a big picture problem. And if you think that way, you're everyone's problem, and I don't think that because it's dangerous.

What happens is the tournament expands and mid-major conferences get its regular-season and tournament champs in the dance? Then you have less motivation in Asheville and elsewhere and worse still, conferences will be motivated -- by emotion and money -- in a SoCon situation in which regular-season champ Furman should lose to UTC.

Or worse over, UTC would be an automatic qualifier since Furman already had locked up a bid, so the SoCon championship game would be as meaningful as an over-testosteroned beach volleyball game between four dudes, with and without shirts.

Granted, I'm more excited for this week than years past, but is that the gambling or the game?

And saying that, we must admit to a bagel-and-3 showing Tuesday. It was so bad, the Mrs. asked me what I was drinking. "Hemlock, is it?" "Ice water."


QB carousel continues

So, Lamar Jackson has been franchised tagged, but given the tag that allows other teams to make him an offer.

If another franchise offers Jackson a deal, Baltimore has the right to match said deal or, if they refuse, they would get two first-round picks as compensation.

In the big-picture world that is the NFL -- where, remember boys, there's no points for second place -- would you want your team to make Jackson an offer know that a) it would command at least a fifth of your cap space for the next half-decade, b) he has played a smidge more than half the Ravens' games over the last two years c) he has never completed better than 2/3s of his passes in any season, d) it would be far below the trade-market price that DeShaun Watson or Russell Wilson commanded, and Jackson is better than both those dudes?

Granted, Jackson's game has some questions, but let's be real, we're never going to have to worry about him making a living as a singer, you know?

There are very few sure things, including the fact that there are two Os in Goose. And while I hope the Falcons stay away -- ESPN NFL insider Dianna Russini posted on Twitter her sources say the Falcons are not interested -- it's impossible to ignore the buzz Jackson would bring with him to any new locale, you know?

Because the one thing even the biggest Jackson critic must admit is if a team has a need for speed, he's your ultimate QB1.

JJ's dyno-mite

So JJ Reddick -- one of the best college basketball scorers of my lifetime -- decided he was good and gosh dawg ready to fire on ESPN on Tuesday.

On "First Take" Reddick verbally counter-punched Kendrick Perkins' claims that NBA MVP voters were backing Nikola Jokic because Jokic is white.

Good for you JJ, who clearly flies by the seat of his pants and is totally unpredictable.

I missed Perkins' earlier claims about the racism of the MVP voters, and he adamently denied the assertion by yelling, "I just presented the facts." Fine. The facts being that anyone averaging a triple-double should be a clear MVP front-runner whether they are purple or polka-dotted.

But Perkins' crash-and-burn view is truly an interesting topic to me.

Think of it this way: Two decades ago on that same network Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign for his comments and criticism of Donovan McNabb as a Black quarterback. That was Limbaugh, who we all knew would not be happy unless he was going Mach 2 with his hair on fire.

But if there's racism in sports commentary and debate, especially now that Limbaugh's silliness has been quashed by the simple fact that at least half of the NFL's top 10 QBs are Black, other than NFL hiring practices, the slants are almost always against white athletes, right?

In basketball, it's overtly clear, because we all have said or thought, "Man, he's really good for a white guy." And athletically, we have similarly pondered, "Wow, he's really fast for a white dude."

Granted our country's troubled racial history makes talk like this awkward, but it does not make it less true, you know?

It was just refreshing to hear Reddick's blowback on the topic and challenging the narrative that Perkins was pushing.


This and that

-- As for the Saban reference above, he gave an interview with SI and called for better player safety by allowing defenses to substitute after first downs. Yeah, I know the finger Goose. No one is better at their job -- maybe ever -- than Saban is at coaching college football. And part of that is his ability to speak to so many audiences with purpose and precision. Because Saban's "convenient" concern for player safety in terms to plays and pace only pop up when someone like Malzahn or now Heupel look to be carving out an edge to battle his extreme talent advantage, you know?

-- As a side question, did anyone ever ask Ol' Saint Nick if he was worried about Derrick Henry's safety -- or the safety of those trying to tackle Derrick Henry -- back in 2015 when he 90 carries against Auburn and Florida in an eight-day stretch? It's time to let go.

-- Paschall has a good read catching up with Lamont Paris, the South Carolina coach entering his first SEC tournament today. Paris clearly is a lot like Goose; everyone liked him.

-- At the other end of the spectrum of everyone liking someone: Tucker Carlson was on tape talking about how much he hated Donald Trump. Here's the details. I don't watch Carlson but this hardly jives with the narrative he -- and the rest of the Trumpian lackeys -- pitched for so long. I can imagine ol' Mother Tucker said "You told me not to think" multiple times in production meetings right?

-- Wow so Daniel Jones got four years, $160 million. Who knew? And the Giants franchised tagged Saquan Barkley, too? Pressures on Brian Daboll and that staff now, because it's not the plane, it's the pilot in the eyes of the front office.

-- College of Charleston punched its NCAA pass by winning the CAA conference tournament. Charleston was going to be an interesting test case for the committee, because if it had not got the auto bid, CoC would have been 30-4 and on the bubble. But now they're in and they can be my wingman anytime

Today's questions

Whew, not sure I can top (Gun) that theme show anytime soon. (See what I did there, Spy? I know, I crack you you up.)

As for which way Wednesday, let's start this way:

Which way are you going in regard to Lamar Jackson if you were a GM with a moderate to monstrous need for a new QB1? Make him an offer or pass?

Which caused major conference tournaments to become so forgettable?

Which par-3 is better, 17 at Sawgrass or 12 at Augusta? Which is more famous?

Which QB was a bigger waste of $150-plus million, Derek Carr or Daniel Jones?

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

The New York Stock Exchange was founded on this day in 1817. How was that, Spy?

"Fargo" was released on this day in 1996.

Rushmore of movies with a city in the title. Go.