5-at-10: Friday mailbag on most painful sports deaths, college football greed, are Pop-Tarts underrated

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks at the NCAA college football Pac-12 media day Friday, July 21, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Lucas Peltier)
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks at the NCAA college football Pac-12 media day Friday, July 21, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Lucas Peltier)

Let's get to our business.

Rushmore of "Seattle" — Seattle Slew, Space Needle, grunge and Starbucks.

Rushmore of best WRs of the Super Bowl era — Ride, Moss, T.O., Larry Fitzgerald narrowly over Calvin Johnson.

Rushmore of Valentines — Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy from "Trading Places" and yes, Karate man bleeds on the inside), Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, 1980s classic "My Bloody Valentine" and the Valentine's Day Massacre when Capone settled all his Chicago family business.

Rushmore of NFL QBs — Brady, Montana, Mahomes and Peyton. And I know these are all in my lifetime, but the position is so drastically different today.

To the bag.

From Z

The Kansas City shooting was awful of course, but how much worse would it have been if Andy Reid was shot? Or Mahomes?

It made me wonder what sports death affected you the most, Jay?


Such a great question and know this: Championship parades open to the public are as dead as Blockbuster.


In a crowd that big when gunfire breaks out, well, we're kind of fortunate only one person was killed, as sad and tragic as that sounds.

For me, the answer is easy.

Len Bias, who I contend would have given the Celtics at least three more titles and cut MJ's title count by at least two.

Bias would have been an ancillary part to an already great Boston team early — and he was my favorite college basketball player of all time — and transitioned to being MJ's chief rival from 1986 to 1996, and he would have won as much as he lost, even against those great Bulls clubs.

I know for some it could be Roberto Clemente.

I can remember when Thurman Munson's death was announced on what used to be called Monday Night Baseball on ABC.

Payne Stewart's plane crash hit me hard, too, but none are as close to the death of Lenny Bias.

From Pat

The Pac-12 is firing its commissioner.

Kinda hard to fire somebody who worked their way out of a job — and not in a good way. I got a friend who was so successful she literally worked herself out of her position (she was CEO of a development authority and they wound up developing every last piece of land they could) and had to take another job.

But the commissioner of the Pac-2?

Yeah, not so much.


Perfectly worded. And yes, even rhetorical questions can make the bag.

But with the Pac-2 looking to get back to something close to at least the Pac-10(plus) and the talks of a $1.3 billion TV deal for the college football playoff package per year, let's look at the greed meter for a 12-team field.

Let's consider that the looming 5+7 proposal gets passed so the five highest ranked conference champions get in and the next seven highest ranked at-large teams get a bid (this would serve a lot of the smaller leagues, including the Pac-2 and all the Group of 5 because there could be multiple small programs invited until the Pac-2 can add at least eight more schools):

The SEC will expect what, at least four of the 12 team invite list after adding preseason-top-5 Texas and perennially strong Oklahoma.

The Big Ten will likely expect close to four, too.

If that happens, the ACC, Big 12, Pac-2 and all the group of 5 will only get the highest ranked conference champs in.


Sure those numbers could differ, but with so many teams now and the unbalanced and unpredictable schedules, a 10-2 Ole Miss will be ranked ahead of a 11-1 UNC or an 11-1 Texas Tech considering the competition.

And let's not get started on what that could mean for a rare 6-6 Georgia Tech potentially over a 10-2 FSU so the ACC would not get a single invite?

Let the positioning and the politicking begin.

From Mike B

On the heels of getting waxed by the Vols at home, what has happened to the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball team this year? They have been an NCAA fixture under Muss, but the drop off has been significant this year.

Mike B,

Great question, and the two biggest surprises in college basketball this year could be in the SEC.

South Carolina was expected to be stinky and they are just outside the top 10.

Arkansas was expected to be top-10 and they are stinky.

In fact, Arkansas and Michigan are the two biggest hoops disappointments this season for me, and as a sports bettor, I will fade each for the rest of the season because I think those kids have quit on their coaches.

Which is sad.

From Spy

An eh night in sports — unless you live in Syracuse — last night.

Got some political thoughts, but those'll hold.

I guess just RIP to the guy who came up with Pop-Tarts.

And just how underrated are Pop-Tarts?


I think Pop-Tarts were a treasure, and Pop-Tarts have a bona fide Ben Wallace vibe to them in that Ben Wallace was perpetually underrated because he defended and rebounded like a madman for a relatively low salary.

But then Wallace was called underrated for so long that his narrative changed and he started to get paid like an A-player.

Ben Wallace as your C makes you a contender; Ben Wallace as your A makes you a lottery pick.

Pop-Tarts also made the same mistake in a lot of ways that the Oreo made when it went from underappreciated great to overextended and overexposed poser.

The blueberry or strawberry Pop-Tarts are gold. But have you pursued the aisles at the Food City or the Piggly Wiggly lately and gandered at the number of Pop-Tart flavors?

Yikes. Cookies and creme Pop-Tarts? S'mores Pop-Tarts? Confetti Cupcake, Apple Jacks and something called Snickerdoodle Pop-Tarts?

RIP Mr. Pop-Tarts and thanks for the creation that served as a big part of my breakfast decisions in elementary school.

But the Pop-Tart is the Ben Wallace of breakfast pastries.

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