5-at-10: College football coach chat, divisional discussion, ambushes, country’s next big star

Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze is introduced during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arkansas Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze is introduced during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arkansas Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

OK, let's get to our business.

First, the Rushmores.

Rushmore of movies with 'school' in the title — "Old School," "Summer School," "School of Rock" and of course Thornton Melon's tour de force that was "Back to School."

Rushmore of movie robots — R2D2, Terminator, Wall-E, and Roy Batty

Rushmore of Bucks (real people division) Buck O'Neil, Buck Buchanan, Buck Owens, and Joe Buck; (everything else) Uncle Buck (Buck Melanoma, Moley Russell's wart), buck stops here, Buck Rodgers and Bucks great Giannis Antetokounmpo (which edges holy buck-ets and Buc-ees).

Rushmore of talk show hosts — Carson, Letterman, Oprah and those three were pretty much no-doubters. Final spot goes to Larry Sanders because I am sticking to TV, and I consider Howard Stern to be radio even if they showed the simulcast on TV. Does that make sense?

Next, congrats to all the Spring Flingers from the area who chased state titles. The TFP crew led by Stephen Hargis did an excellent job covering their exploits. Of the notable storylines, the Baylor School softball team won its eighth straight state title. Wow.

And of course, you know the rules. Here's Paschall on UT selling out its season ticket allotment for football.

From Max

I know you're a War Eagle grad. You like Hugh Freeze as your coach?

If you could have any coach in the country, who would you hire?

Thanks and I look forward to the 5@10 each morning.


Thanks for reading and for the kind words. Means more than you know.

Big picture, I'm fine with Hugh Freeze. And that has a lot to do with a theory I have that applies to almost all walks of life.

Your presence, approval, expectation level and appreciation in your current role are greatly shaped by your predecessor.

To that end, whoever replaces Nick Saban — unless Alabama ponies up the truck and can get Kirby back — is going to have a rocky run, even with that stable of dudes the Dark Lord has stashed in T-Town.

So Hugh Freeze's biggest attribute for most of us AU folks right now is not the haul of talent he lured from the transfer portal. The best thing Hugh Freeze has going for him at the moment is that he is not Bryan Harsin, and I actually thought the Harsin hire would be much better than it turned out. (Sadly he 'recruited' five-star personal assistants — allegedly — with much more success than five-star football players.)

As for anyone, well, it's hard not to pick Saban, but his age is an issue.

I think Dabo is great, but has been fortunate with the ACC's downturn and landing two of the best college QBs of the last 2000s in Watson and Lawrence.

I think the answer is Kirby Smart, who has become the best recruiter not named Saban doing it, and in the SEC that's infinitely more important than being a Lincoln Riley or even Gus Malzahn back in his heyday. (That said, Kirby is, like Saban, a truly great defensive coach, and when he speaks to a dude in the secondary, well, said dude needs to pay attention.)

In fact, I wonder how great Spurrier would be in today's arm race that demands elite levels of recruiting, you know?


From Bicycle Bob

Yes, get rid of the MLB divisions. With the balanced schedule, they cause inequities in the playoff race, as far as I can tell. For example: last year, if I recall correctly, the NL East had three teams into the playoffs, and that caused a team with a better record to have a lower seeding (it may have been the Braves). If they eliminated divisions, I think they could just take the best six teams based on winning percentage. Wouldn't that still keep as many teams in contention, as they all vie with one another based on winning percentage?


The balanced schedule makes the issue make even more sense, and it's not like it's a new idea in baseball because that's the way it used to be.

The balanced schedule was intended to address the issue of fairness in terms of your example to the NL East last year, which had three playoff teams despite playing more games against division foes.

Eliminating divisions could continue to expand that fairness prism across each league and the entire season.

Plus, as for an unintended benefit, there would be more national interest across the game from regional fans. For example, if you are a Braves fan or a Red Sox fan, you would pay more attention to how the Giants or the Marines may be doing depending on the league-wide standings, you know?

Hope you and the family are good Bob.

From JoeDon

JG: Speaking of Bonny & Clyde... here's an off-beat mailbag question:

What's the worst (or best) ambush scene in a movie?

Sonny gets it in The Godfather? Bonny & Clyde?


Great to hear from you my man, and as soon as I read the question, Sonny getting a million bullets in the causeway in "The Godfather" was the first thing that popped into my mind.

"Look what they did to my boy." And that entire scene with Don Corleone and the mortician in the basement standing over Sonny's body was aces. Heck, that whole movie is aces.

The killing of Bonnie and Clyde was good.

William Wallace and his crew standing on that ledge as they are building their army in "Braveheart" was awesome too.

And there are a bunch in military movies, be it "Platoon" or "We Were Soldiers" and a slew of others.

But we'd be remiss if we did tip the lightsaber to Admiral Ackbar and his classic, "It's a trap" line in "Return of the Jedi."

From Michael

Jay, I bet you'd be a fun guy to drink a beer with. One thing I have been missing lately in your columns is your music suggestions.

I appreciate your wide range of topics and enjoy your suggestions.


Thanks for the kind words. And there was a time in the past that you likely would have caught me at an area watering hole or three. And there's a better than average chance I would have bought you a CoCola or three.

Was known to pick up a tab every now and then.

As for music right now, well, the non-Reader's Digest version of this answer is we got a new ride last month.

We always said we were planning on driving the wheels off my 2003 Tahoe with 275,000-plus miles. And it finally happened. So the truck I bought still has XM radio, so I am getting reacquainted with some old country and finding some of the next generation of country.

I normally prefer the former, like this classic of "Misery and Gin" from Merle I heard driving into the office on Thursday. Man, I know XM has channels devoted to Springsteen and the Grateful Dead and a slew of others. I would 100% put a Merle channel into the rotation. That dude could go.

As for new stuff, most of it is dreck. That said, I like what Zach Bryan is laying down right now, and "Oklahoma Smokeshow" will be a No. 1 song sooner rather than later.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend friends, and thanks to everyone who served or had family members serve. Freedom is never free.

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