5-at-10: Lots on the line for Lamar, Michigan should call Saban, Wright call on UTC extension?

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) rolls out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter of an NFL AFC division playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) rolls out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter of an NFL AFC division playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Great stakes

So Patty Mahomes is a Hall of Famer now, right?

Dude has been a starter for six years. He has been to six AFC title games. He has lifted Andy Reid from "Can't win the big one" coach in Philly to the lovable "Explain that again with those nuggies" status.

He is him.

Every bit as much as Tom Brady was him. Heck, maybe more so.

When did we ever look up and say, "Man, Brady is carrying that team" even at the height of his powers.

Mahomes is already that guy and doing it with at a level that Brady never did, as crazy as that sounds.

Picture this: Mahomes is on path to be Peyton Manning-esque in terms of on field greatness and Brady-like in terms of titles.

As the kids say, "OMG." (Side question: Should I have used and exclamation point there? Asking for a few thousand friends.)

(Side question on the side question: What slang abbreviation like OMG do you use the most? Maybe a WTF? Or even a LMFAO on the occasional text chain. Discuss.)

As for the Chiefs QB1, truly how great is he, even before this weekend?

Who has had a better run to start a career — two MVPs, two rings — and he's just 28?

And all of that matters this weekend because here is the more pressing question:

Will this game define Lamar Jackson's career, his trajectory and his legacy?

Jackson was mired in a contract dispute through the summer. He relented and signed on with the Ravens, agreeing to their terms on a non-fully guaranteed contract.

He answered the bell with what everyone believes will be his second MVP season. Bully for him.

But now, with the personal trophy case overflowing with hardware, Jackson needs to be that guy.

He has all of two playoff wins in his career, and that includes last week's win over the forever-young Houston Texans.

He has never made a Super Bowl.

He has always been a dual-threat guy in a league that proclaims and has proven that dual-threat QB1s can win a lot of games but seldom wins the Big Game.

So game on Lamar, and this is your time.

Heck, everyone has already discussed the layers and the levels of how Mahomes and Josh Allen are the Brady-Manning rivalry of this generation.

Are you ready for the call, Lamar?

Are you ready for the moment?

Because it comes Sunday, and careers and legacies are made in moments like this.

Harbaugh to LA

So Jim Harbaugh jumped to the NFL.

No one is shocked by this, right?

Dude returned to his alma mater. He lifted Michigan to its first undisputed natty since the Truman administration.

But he has always had the itch to get back to Sundays, and that was even before the sign-stealing, the NCAA inquiries and the NIL/portalling issues that drive old-school football coaches crazy.

It, in truth, is the perfect departure for Coach Khaki.

He won it all. He lifted Michigan to a place that THE Ohio State is scrambling to get better. He was, in truth, a builder of a program more than a rebuilder of a once-proud program like Michiagn.

Think about this: What was the most memorable Michigan football moment pre-Coach Khaki?

Sure, Charles Woodson stealing the Heisman from Peyton Manning is on the list during the 1997 season in which the Wolverines were co-National Champs.

But I'd offer that the App State upset over Michigan is the lasting image of that program for the last quarter-century.

And Coach Khaki erased that.

With sneaky signs, lunch checks and a wonderful catch phrase.

"Who's got it better than us?"


While we are here, and yes, I completely understand Harbaugh's decision and his arrival with the Chargers — and getting to coach Justin Herbert — should make the rest of the AFC be on notice, let's ponder this for a moment.

Michigan has extremely deep pockets, right?

If you are the Michigan AD, is your first call not to one Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. and say, here's a five-year, $100 million contract to come win a natty at a record third different program?


Wright call?

So Rusty Wright got an extension as the UTC football coach.

He's a good dude, and good for him.

But is it good for the program? Wright's Mocs got to the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2023, its first postseason trip since Russ Huesman was calling the shots and Wright as an assistant in 2016.

And for the most part, it's hard to argue that the Mocs program — which historically is not much to write (or Wright?) home about — is stable and on the proper trajectory.

But Wright is 31-25 in his five years at UTC. Even my Auburn math tells me that's just a smidgen better than 6-5 over his tenure.

Is that extension worthy?


This and that

— The Rock is him. Here's a great clip of Dwayne Johnson giving the ring off his finger to Molly Qerim on an ESPN show this week. Man, that dude is cool personified right? Who is cooler than The Rock? Discuss.

— So the competitors for the next round of The Match golfing event were announced. It's Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson vs. Rose Zhang and Max Homa. Yawn. Could they not get a McIlroy (and he picks a partner, preferably Tiger) vs. Phil Mickelson (and he picks a partner, potentially Greg Norman)? That would be great TV.

— Speaking of golf, it looks like Tyrrell Hatton is among the next wave to cash LIV checks for showing up to play golf. Again, hard to blame him.

— So David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen's kid have beef. Whose side should we be on here, because DLR was HIM back in the 1980s. Trust us old folks on this kids. And Eddie's tot's name is Wolfgang, which is strike one, but his momma is Valerie Bertinelli.

— UTC hoops continued to roll in the SoCon, whipping Wofford last night. Here's more from Gene Henley.

Today's questions

Wow, it's Thursday, that means anything goes, or the ol' AGT as the cool kids call it.

We'll start here: Did Rusty Wright deserve a contract extension?

And we'll continue here: Is Lamar Jackson a top-20 all-time QB, and if you say no, would a win Sunday change your opinion?

Also, will Jim Harbaugh get the Chargers to the Super Bowl?

As for today, Jan. 25, let's review.

The first Winter Olympics opened in France on this day 100 years ago.

If we all agree that the Miracle on Ice is the best moment from that event (and maybe in sports history), what other three round out the Rushmore of all-time Winter Olympics moments?

Go and remember the mailbag.

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