5-at-10: Weekend winners (so long, Arthur Smith) and losers (the Lookouts?) and title game preview

Arthur Smith speaks during a press conference after an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Arthur Smith speaks during a press conference after an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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Weekend winners

Falcons fans. Not only is the Arthur Smith Experience just a footnote in the franchise's almost 60 years of forgettable footnotes, they did it quickly, and there are even reports the Falcons are kicking the tires on Bill Belichick. To be an offensive "guru" and have first-round skill pieces each of the last three years and still only figure a way to get Kyle Pitts two catches and have Desmond Ridder looked that this in Week 17 is fireable.

Dodgers fans. Egad, L.A. has now landed four of the top 40 free agents on the market with the one-year, $23-plus-million addition of Teoscar Hernandez, who is averaging 32 homers and 94 RBIs per season in his eight-year career.

Local college hoops fans. UT pistol-whipped Ole Miss. UTC looked stout against Furman. Chas' UK crew grabbed a big win in Gainesville. Heck, even Georgia won a college basketball game Saturday. And my alma mater, well, they went to Bud Walton Arena and made history in the worst possible way for Arkansas.

NFL story line fans. Yikes, it's like Tolstoy wrote the NFL playoff plan with those plot twists, especially in the NFC where Dallas and Mike McCarthey host his former team, the Green Bay Packers in the everyone hates Aaron Rodgers game. Then there is Matt Stafford facing the Lions for his first ever postseason game in Detroit. (Yes, Stafford's with the Rams and yes, he spent 12 years in the Motor City.) Then there is the Eagles' hard-to-fathom free-fall toast of the league to road underdog at 9-8 Tampa. Good times.

Weekend losers

Traditional NFL playoff fans. Arguably the most intriguing game of the Super Wildcard Weekend will be Kansas City and Miami, and that game will be exclusively streamed on Peacock. Welcome to the next generation, friends.

The Lookouts. Yikes, David Floyd's Sunday A1 story about the price of the Lookouts Stadium increasing by 50% — at least — assuredly loaded the fountain pen of county Mayor Weston Wamp, who has been against this entire idea for a multitude of reasons — professional and personal, in my view — since the day he entered office. Still, the rise in cost and the maybe even more eye-popping was the low-ball guestimates of how much would be needed in terms of surrounding development for the project to be paid off in time were shocking.

The Golden Globes. Yikes, I normally pay more attention to award shows, but I did not even know the Globes were last night. And you know what, I did not miss a thing. And by this account, it was a disaster. Whatever.

Jay's Plays. Man, last week was bad — like minus-6-plus-units bad — and ended with a 1-3 weekend.

Title game ends an era

Washington and Michigan play tonight.

Not a Jim Harbaugh fan — other than Michigan devotees and people named Harbaugh, who is? — but I am pulling for the Wolverines.

A couple of my dearest friends are die-hard Michigan supporters, and hey, I got no connection Washington per se.

That said, my rooting interests and my financial interests are not always the same.

Point A: Michigan confused and confounded Alabama with a dizzying pass rush.

Counter points to point A: Washington's offensive line is a lot better than Alabama's, especially since the Huskies center does not try that new-fangled bounce snap at least once a drive. Also, Michael Penix Jr. is not going to miss anywhere close to the number of second-half throws Jalen Milroe missed amid Michigan blitzes. (Side question: Do you think Hugh Freeze still wakes up in a cold sweat after the Iron Bowl and screams, "GOTTA RUSH MILROE" these days? I say yes.)

Point B: Michigan figures to have more consistent success against the Washington defense than it did against Alabama.

Counterpoint: The Wolverines are going to need to, too, because Penix and that offense are going to score, so Michigan keeping pace is paramount.

I hope this is a good one, even with the admission that I am pulling for my Michigan buddies to have cause to take Tuesday off from work.

It also gives me pause that I am supremely confident that the college football world will change for the worse after this game.

Heck, even Kirk Herbstreit is talking about doing away with bowl games if players don't want to participate.

OK, that's fine, but for the drum-bangers of that cause, know that it's almost certain the Orange Bowl with the FSU quitters laying down for Georgia drew 10 times the audience that the FCS title game Sunday.

Heck, tie part of the NIL deals to bowl participation.

Heck, tie part of the coaching staff's compensation to bowl participation.

Heck, figure something out because the answer of doing away bowls — regardless of the number of folks who say they are meaningless or the number of players who opt-out to fuel the growing thought they seem meaningless — less is not more.

Cutting the bowls and further playoff expansion — yes I hate expansion, but I also realize we likely will have a 12-team bracket about as long as we had a four-team field — will only hasten the divide of the top-40-or-so college football programs in the country to a Power 2 set-up.

And that's the first step for Div. III for almost everyone else.

This and that

— So a lot of talking heads will make a big deal about the Saints' last-second TD in their blowout of the rival Falcons. It had extra "unsportsmanlike" feel because New Orleans scored from the victory formation after Tyrann Mathieu was tackled at the 1 on what would have been a pick-6 in the Saints' eventual 48-17 win. OK. Someone call Brian McCann. To me the two biggest takeaways are a) the Falcons fired Arthur Smith, hip-hip-hooray; and b) if the Saints truly ignored HC Dennis Allen's call for the victory kneel-down, then he's lost the locker room so badly, he may need to join Arthur Smith in the pink-slip powwow.

— Rest easy Bill Stacy, the former UTC and Baylor School leader. He was 85 and always gracious.

— Rest easy Lacey Underall, aka Cindy Morgan, the actress who played the siren in "Caddyshack." Morgan was 69.

Today's question

Weekend winners and losers, go.

As for multiple choice Monday, in honor Lacey Underall, who was the best female character in "Caddyshack" gang?

— Lacey, of course.

— Danny's girlfriend with the awful Irish accent.

— Judge Smails' wife — "Elihu, will you come loofer my stretch marks."

— Mrs. Havercamp — "That's a peach hun."

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

Gang, when we talk about the most dominant players of their generation, well, Babe Ruth hitting more homers than every other AL team in 1923 is a great starting point.

But how about this: On this day in 1993, Michael Jordan reached exactly 20,000 points in his 620th game. He was the second-fastest NBA player to ever do it. The fastest of course was Wilt Chamberlain, who set all kinds of scoring records (Spy, hmmmmm?).

Wilt got to 20,000 in 499 games, so MJ averaged 31-plus-points per game to be the second-quickest to get to the 20,000. Wilt did it averaging better than 40 per.


Elvis would have been 89 today.

Rushmore of people who use the nickname "The King."


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