5-at-10: Super sports wishes, free Super Bowl prop contest, Auburn’s big SEC moment, a real Lemmon

People stand by signage for the Super Bowl as the Bellagio fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip ahead of the Super Bowl 58 NFL football game Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People stand by signage for the Super Bowl as the Bellagio fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip ahead of the Super Bowl 58 NFL football game Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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Super dreams

What are your Super sports dreams?

Would it be winning a Super Bowl? Winning a World Series? Heck, even the Daytona 500.

Mine was always pitching Game 7 for the Dodgers to win it all. And hitting the game-winner on the first Monday in April to cut down the nets, a possibly get Jim Nantz necktie.

The Masters is a good answer, too.

But now the Super Bowl is such the pinnacle in American sports, it feels like the default answer.

Let's explore a few more Super Bowl questions:

True or false on a Thursday: With the hype and the circumstance — looking at you, Taylor Swift; talking about you, Patty Mahomes, and the growing discourse that a win Sunday puts him as back-up GOAT to Brady — this will be the most watched Super Bowl of all-time.

Which way Wednesday a day late: Which championship for your favorite athlete or team, if you were given one wish, would choose? One more major for Tiger? A Falcons Super Bowl? Heck, an Auburn hoops natty.

Anywell, the big-picture dreams of a sports spectacle this, well, Super always makes me curious.


Super props

Of course we are going to have our Super Bowl props contests.

It's what we do. We like to give away stuff. You guys and gals like to win stuff.

And it's an easy betting entry for any and all. And like the beer at the Delta Rush parties, it don't cost nuthin', which is nice.

The lines for these 10 props may change in terms of what you see on line, but these numbers are final for our purposes since we want as many people to enter all week as possible.

Send your entry to my email — jgreeson@timesfreepress.com — and of course your friends and family are invited.

Here are the 10, and some will look familiar and some will be strangely unique:

1. Coin toss — heads or tails.

2. Length of the anthem by Reba McEntyre over/under 87 seconds.

3. San Francisco minus-2.

4. Total, over/under 47.5.

5. Jersey number of the first player to score a TD, over/under 22.5.

6. Who will be the MVP?

7. Color of the Gatorade bath for the winning coach?

8. Usher's first halftime song?

9. Longest made FG over/under 50.5 yards.

10. Who has more total yards, George Kittle or Travis Kelce.

We always are intrigued by the prop bets and our annual Super Bowl contest above. And the multi-sport prop bets are not out yet.

So there's that.

SEC-ond to none?

OK, maybe SEC-ond to one, because the Big 12 is really good.

Man, this would be a great season to have, I don't know, something like an SEC-Big 12 Challenge or something you know?

Anywell, so Auburn clubbed Alabama last night, and that, coupled with Tennessee's win Wednesday — more on that from SEC ace Paschall here — and South Carolina's win Tuesday, those four teams are log-jammed atop the SEC with two conference losses. Kentucky and Florida are next and are two games back in the loss column.

Watching all of the Auburn-Alabama game last night, I was impressed with a lot of things. (If you watched more of UT-LSU and would like to offer your insight, well, fire away.)

From Auburn's Nevell Arena, though, here were just a few takeaways:

— Yes, I went to Auburn, but Auburn has a real Final Four-ceiling because of their depth and their never-stop defense.

— Auburn's depth is real — 10 guys averaging at least 14 minutes per game — and it looks like the mid-1990s UK teams that allowed Rick Pitino to play electrically fast and football-level aggressive because he knew he knew his 6-10 was better than everyone else, and tired legs or foul troubles maximized those depth advantages. And, yes, Chas, those 1990s UK teams had way more future pros on them, but the theories are still the same.

— Like Tennessee, Auburn has a slew of ways to be effective. The press and pace, the aforementioned depth, banging with big bodies — interior dudes Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams combined for 50 of AU's 99 points last night — and quality ball handling (AU is 10th nationally and second in the SEC behind UK in assists-to-turnovers at 1.73 per game).

— Auburn's home-crowd is dynamic and a real edge. That gym was a-ROCK-ing last night. High school environment, right Nate Oats?

— ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes loves him some SEC, even saying that Auburn-Alabama is the best basketball rivalry in the country. Easy, big fella. Still, Dykes was a super good sport when Chuck Barkley joined them for an extended segment in the second half and called Jimmy "Jamie" throughout. Good times.

— Biggest eye-popping SEC hoops stat I've seen in a long time posted during last night's game: Since Nate Oats was hired by Alabama, the league has handed out seven championship trophies — four regular-season titles, three tournament crowns (dang COVID) — and the winning coaches of all seven of those chips were on the sidelines at Nevell Arena last night. Oats has four; Bruce Pearl has three.

Are there concerns? Of course. There are always concerns when a champion is decided in a one-and-done neutral site tournament. Because one cold night against one hot 10 seed can send you home before the second weekend.

And yes, as DD will likely offer, Auburn has all of two Quad 1 wins and a very tough stretch ahead.

Still, that was fun, and we are really talking about AU hoops with these kinds of goals.

Yes, Auburn. Pearl's a miracle worker.


This and that

— Rest easy Larry Taylor. And God bless you for your service and bravery.

— Meet the next crew of Mocs and these capsules are from TFP UTC beat ace Gene Henley, who used to be Mean, but has mellowed with age like a fine wine.

— In news that shocks exactly no one, Nick Saban is joining ESPN as a college football analyst. And if I had to bet, he will be excellent at it as long as he's willing to occasionally be critical of his now-former colleagues.

— Yes, I am late to this party, but just saw last week's headline that John Woods, the former part-owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a long-running Ponzi scheme, got seven years and 11 months in prison. At first my thought was, "Wow that's a hefty sentence," but then the massive damage done — 431-plus people lost in excess of $50 million over a 13-year period — gives you the chills. Woods likely will serve his time in a minimum security prison in Montgomery, Alabama.

— Speaking of prisons in Alabama, yes, I have a related story, and no, Spy, it was not about me doing time for any number of the miscreant deeds I committed southwest of LaGrange and northeast of Montgomery. So one of our fraternity's charitable give back efforts was spending a Saturday with our intramural softball team playing the prisoners at a state pen in South Alabama. We would play four games against four different teams of inmates with varying degrees of skill sets. The first foe was bad. The next was a little better, but we were pretty good. The third foe was a toss-up and we'd win some and lose some. The last game was against the softball Mean Machine, and they would always clean our clock. The other distinct memory about those Saturdays — other than realizing, man, prison sucks — was the field was nestled in one corner of the yard and the walls served as the fence. Hence, the right-field wall was across the length of the prison and John Daly could hit driver and a 3-wood and still be short of the wall. The left-field wall, concrete and 30-feet high with razor wire and a guard shack that was the foul pole complete with a rifle-toting Alabama guard at the ready, was 250-feet from home plate. It was called the Grey Monster, believe it or not. First pitch I saw in the first game, I hit one 320 to left and easily cleared the Grey Monster and beyond the grounds, and before I could put my bat down, two dozen voices from the stands said, "Boss, I'll go get that ball if you want." I will never forget it.

Today's questions

Wow, beefy This and That, no?

Great dialog yesterday, friends.

Several sports questions above, so fire away.

And if you needed just a little more, here's hoping you will participate in an informal gambling survey:

How much will you wager on Sunday's Super Bowl?

— Zero bets, other than the always-fun, always-free 5-at-10 contests.

— More than bagel but less than $25.

— From $25 to $100.

— From $100-$200.

— More than $200 because I'm a baller, shot-caller with 20-inch blades on the Impala.

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

The first ever NFL draft happened on this day in 1936. Jay Berwanger was picked No. 1 overall. Spy, Berwanger was a nice kid and a good interview after that honor, right?

Jack Lemmon, who really had one of the underrated careers of the last century, would have been 99 today.

Think about this Lemmon was smash hits with the likes of James Cagney, Henry Fonda and his daughter Jane, Marilyn Monroe, to Robert Downey Jr. Alec Baldwin, Pacino, Costner and so many more. (Side note: Jack Lemmon, who was in "JFK" with Kevin Bacon is a linchpin name to remember if you ever play "Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.")

What's Jack Lemmon's Rushmore?

Go and remember the mailbag.