A date to remember
Is today the best sports day of the year?
If today is, then is Friday 1A?
Yes, the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament is glorious. And this year figures to be no exception.
How nuts is this tournament, which has a bona fide villain for the first time in quite a while. And if you think Alabama is not going to wear heavy the crown of 1 seed with all the baggage from three current or former players being directly or indirectly involved in the killing of a 25-year-old woman, ponder this for a second:
If Alabama gets to the Final Four and faces either UK or Duke in Houston, the Tide's last two months and the shadows around the program would make either the Wildcats or the Blue Devils the lovable national favorite against the big-bad, win-at-all-costs, all-that-is-wrong-with-college-sports Tide. Did anyone even think any team making UK and Duke look like the sentimental favorite was even possible?
But back to the question at hand.
Is this the best sports day of the year? Would it be better with free corn dogs? Is anything not better with free corn dogs?
I love New Year's Day, and old-school New Year's Day that had about two times as many bowl games as the current Jan. 1 schedule was every bit as good as today. But not now.
I love Sunday at Augusta, but we are held hostage to the days preceding it otherwise it could be a runaway or it could be one of those years when Trevor Immelman wins, which is the Masters equivalent of attending your office's mandatory health insurance re-enrollment seminar.
I think Labor Day, and the start of college football has become as good a four-plus day stretch as this weekend, but a large part of that is because of the build-up and the vast doldrums of the late summer sports calendar.
Super Bowl Sunday is not even the best day on the NFL calendar -- heck, I enjoy Draft Day more than Super Bowl Sunday most years -- or the best day of the league's postseason.
The NBA? Please.
So, maybe today is the best day of the sports year. What say you?
Hey, we're not anything if we're not being reader friendly, right? So, here's today's slate with TV times and channels, courtesy of The Athletic:
No. 9 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Maryland | 12:15 p.m. | CBS
No. 13 Furman vs. No. 4 Virginia | 12:40 p.m. | truTV
No. 10 Utah St. vs. No. 7 Missouri |1:40 p.m. | TNT
No. 16 Howard vs. No. 1 Kansas | 2 p.m. | TBS
No. 16 Texas A&M CC vs. No. 1 Alabama | 2:45 p.m. | CBS
No. 12 College of Charleston vs. No. 5 San Diego St. | 3:10 p.m. | truTV
No. 15 Princeton vs. No. 2 Arizona | 4:10 p.m. | TNT
No. 9 Illinois vs. No. 8 Arkansas | 4:30 p.m. | TBS
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 8 Iowa | 6:50 p.m. | TNT
No. 12 Oral Roberts vs. No. 5 Duke | 7:10 p.m. | CBS
No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Texas | 7:25 p.m. | TBS
No. 10 Boise St. vs. No. 7 Northwestern | 7:35 p.m. | truTV
No. 16 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 1 Houston | 9:20 p.m. | TNT
No. 13 Louisiana vs. No. 4 Tennessee | 9:40 p.m. | CBS
No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 7 Texas A&M | 9:55 p.m. | TBS
No. 15 UNC Asheville vs. No. 2 UCLA | 10:05 p.m. | truTV
There are some salty double digit seeds listed above. Louisiana can play. Oral Roberts could be Duke's toughest game until the Elite Eight. Charleston is a 12 seed but is only getting 4.5 points according to VegasInsider.
Speaking of VegasInsider, we did a podcast with Brian Edwards breaking down a lot of tournament topics. You can find here. Please give it a listen if you have a few minutes to kill.
As a reminder, you have until noon to enter the 5-at-10's "First 1 Out, Last One In" tournament challenge.
Rules are simple:
-- Picks must be in before noon today. This is non-negotiable.
-- It, like all 5-at-10 contests and games, is free.
-- Select the No. 1 seed you think will get bounced first and the last double-digit seed to still be in the draw. Yes, time matters more than round, so if both Purdue and Houston get bounced in round 2, whichever game ends first is the 1 seed that is the correct choice.
-- A correct 1 seed pick is worth a point; the correct double-digit seed is worth 1.1 points, so a perfect score is 2.1. Yay Auburn math. If we have a tie, we'll figure that out later.
One more thing: My picks today and tomorrow will be in two-for-the-same-low-price-of-free Plays of the Day emails. The first one will be a smidgen before noon and will cover every game before 5. The regular 5 p.m. newsletter will cover the rest. Because, whether you fade or follow my picks will be up to you, and I will still offer my "1 For The Money" best bet, but I must pick every game today and tomorrow, right?
Have to, don't you think?
I mean it's the best day(s) of the sports year people.
Finally -- again
So, Aaron Rodgers is doing everything in his power to complete the Brett Favre 2.0 repeat.
All he's missing now is a photo of his junk and a role in a Ben Stiller rom-com.
While one is a redneck from Mississippi and the other is a man-bun-wearing, spend-time-in-the-calming-darkness California "dude," think of the overlaps between the careers of the two Packers greats who R-U-N-N-O-F-T from Cheeseland to the Big Apple. (Side question: Anyone put a slice of cheese on apple pie? I've seen it done. Doesn't make sense to my brain. Stupid Auburn home ec.)
So, Favre was an aging future Hall of Famer when the Packers spent a 2005 first-round pick on its next QB. Favre, who had become kind of a drama king in the off seasons preceding his ultimate departure for the Jets, started more than 250 games, won a Super Bowl and three MVPs before leaving Green Bay at the tender age of 39.
And Rodgers is an aging future Hall of Famer when the Packers spent a 2020 first-round pick on its next QB. Rodgers, who has become kind of a drama king in the off seasons preceding his ultimate departure for the Jets, started more than 230 games, won a Super Bowl and three MVPs before leaving Green Bay at the tender age of 39.
Hmmmmmm. Someone hide the camera.
So we'll ask again: Does this trade make the Jets an AFC contender or will history repeat itself again -- Favre went 9-7 in his first year in NYC and missed the playoffs -- when the former Packers-current-Jets QB takes over?
This and that
-- Speaking of QBs, how blessed have the Packers been over the run of back-to-back Hall of Famers? Consider this: Since 1993, the Packers have had two regular starting QBs and started seven players at QB1, with the other five coming during times Rodgers was injured. In that same time frame, the Bears have had 37 different QB1s, including some names of some dudes I could not recognize if they were sitting in my kitchen. Moses Moreno, anyone? Henry Burris? Wow.
-- Stop me if you've heard this one before but the Plays split Wednesday, with the Sun Devils of Arizona State easily delivering as the best bet and Florida floundering. So it goes.
-- Speaking of Alabama, the New York Times is reporting that a fourth Tide player was at the scene when Jamae Harris was shot and killed on Jan. 15. Here's more. Alabama has issued a statement refuting the story.
-- Also, Bama star freshman Brandon Miller has received death threats and arrived to the NCAA tournament site. He appeared before the media Wednesday escorted by an armed security guard.
-- Edwin Diaz, the Mets closer, looked to seriously injure his leg celebrating a WBC win last night. Not a pretty site, to be honest.
-- I love the draft. You know this. But Wednesday was a rotten day for former Georgia star Jalen Carter, who was an absolute dude in the middle of the nation's best defense over the last couple of seasons.
Wow, it's all here. It's all happening.
On an anything-goes-Thursday and with the news that the Cowboys are planning to cut Zeke Elliott, will he be a Hall of Famer?
Dude has more than 8,200 rushing yards and 68 rushing scores in seven seasons? Discuss.
Jerry Jeff Walker is 81 today. Dude can play. Erik Estrada -- Ponch from "CHiPs" -- is 74 today. Dude could ride.
Do John and Ponch make the Rushmore of TV cop tandems? Discuss, and remember the contest and the mailbag.