It's been a fast week.
Thanks for all the great feedback and for playing along.
Before we get moving, we need to address a couple of questions that were not mailbag versions. First, MT, hopefully Mean Gene Henley's UTC football primer answered some of items of interest. We did not get to the rugby punting decision, however.
JMC, as for the XX Mocs, they are going to be on ESPN2 here locally, but we're pretty sure the ESPN family of networks regionalizes those early round broadcats, so we're not sure what will be the lead games in the greater Dallas area.
From the "Talks too much" it's go time.
Is there anything in sports that delivers like the first weekend of the NCAA tournament?
Thanks for the 5-at-10 -- I read it every day.
In a word, no.
Nothing delivers like the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament.
As blahtastic as the regular season has become is as awesome as Thursday was — and almost always is. Great theater and drama and passion and pressure.
In fact, we discussed this a little bit on Press Row on Thursday, and there are not a set of consistently better back-to-back sports weekdays on the calendar, and this 48 hours is on the shortlist with Jan. 1 (bowl games), that weekend of the NFL divisional playoffs and the weekend of the Masters as the best anywhere.
And Thursday did not disappoint — unless you had Iowa State in the Final Four.
Here's the ultimate definition of the greatness of the first round: We expect it to be awesome and it almost always is better than we expect. Each year we think, "Wow, this is the best ever," and almost every year it out does itself.
Mailbag question - 2 parts: do you consider the UT men's bball season a success? And why? The same question goes for Auburn, who surprised a few in the SEC tournament.
If we are talking about final grades, we'll give Auburn a C+ and that's considering how well the Tigers and Bruce Pearl did on the final exam that was the SEC tournament. There's excitement around the program and a slew of talented recruits coming. (Side note: The SEC stepped up its hoops recruiting in this cycle. LSU, Kentucky and Texas A&M each have two incoming players ranked in the Rivals' top 30 nationally. Arkansas, Auburn and Florida each have multiple incoming top-100 players.)
As for Tennessee, the grade would be an incomplete. There were bright moments of overachieving and surprising moments of underperformance. Still the product on the floor was better than expected on a lot of levels and Donnie Tyndall proved he can coach.
The incomplete comes from the unknown future of Donnie Knoxville in the 865. If he stays, we'd give this year a B- — remember the Vols were picked 13th in the league in the preseason and finished with winning a record — but it's unknown what will happen with the NCAA cloud over head.
That said, if the Jim Boeheim ruling is any indication, Donnie Knoxville may get a box of chocolates and a ribbon from the NCAA and call it a day.
Jay, for the bag, at this point, who do you see making the Finals? Hawks, Warriors, neither, or both?
We'll go neither with different reasons for each and one big common thread.
The different reasons: The West is so loaded, we're not sure the Warriors are ready for the gauntlet that will be the spring and summer of the Western Conference playoffs. The Hawks, while balanced and unselfish, do not have the isolation scorer/creator good-to-great playoff teams need when a must-win game comes down to a must-score possession. Who on Atlanta's roster is going to have the ball on the wing with 10 seconds on shot clock down two on the road and create a scoring opportunity? Korver? Teague? Milsaps? No thanks.
As for the common theme, well, Stewwie, you know the game and what it takes to win.
When was the last time a team went from non-factor to NBA finalist in the course of 12 months. There is a growing process and a maturation that clubs have to experience before they are ready.
Teams have to feel the real pain of being denied a shot at a title while feeling like they should be in the Finals, you know?
You normally don't go from hoping to pull a first-round upset to playing for it all in one leap.
Yes, I've entered. Dook will be the first #1 out and Davidson the last double digit standing.
Agree that the NFL's salad days are over. As I opined yesterday, the league will be different down the road. Analogous to college basketball after one-and-done vs. before. Friday question: Who invented the expression "salad days" and what the heck does it mean?
Question two: Will you consider replacing your Co-Colas with the resurrected Double Cola?
We have always credited H.I. McDunnough as the father of the "Salad days" expression in the early part of "Raising Arizona" (a great Coen Brothers movie among many great Coen Brothers movies).
Doing a little research tells us that Bill Shakespeare was the first to use the phrase "salad days" and originally it was a reference to a time of youthful inexperience and indecision. Cleopatra said "her salad days, when she was green in judgement and cold in blood" Green and cold, like a salad. Man that Bill Shakespeare, if he had stuck with it that writing stuff may have worked out for him, you know?
The phrase "Salad days" later became the high times of something or someone and is more a heyday than anything else. And, while we believe the NFL's salad days are still in front of it, there is a fair discussion about whether the light at the end of the tunnel could be a train after all.
It may take a generation, but the news and worm is starting to turn.
And when we get to the point that people in the moment aren't cheering the big hits as much as worrying about the impact on the hitter and the hittee, well, then the toothpaste may be out of the tube.
If you think that can't happen, well, ask boxing.
Right now, being the Super Bowl winning quarterback may be the coolest thing going, but once upon a time, being the heavyweight champion of the world was the coolest title in sports.
Jay, I have not emailed before and I read the 5at10 most of the time.
But I listen to Press Row every day and you and David are great. You have a fun show and are very good with all the sports.
In fact, my buddies and me try to guess what your Rushmore will be. I now check the birthdays too and see if we can guess if you guys are going to choose one.
Did you know that Friday is Kathy Ireland's birthday? Have you done a Rushmore of SI swimsuit models on the show?
Keep up the good work, I will be listening.
Thanks for the kind words, and for reading and listening.
We try to have fun with the show, and callers and listeners like you make it fun.
Wow, trying to guess the Rushmores, huh? That seems like a tough challenge, especially since we normally don't do one and more times than not, they kind of morph into a topic at hand type of deal.
That said, we can't remember a SI swimsuit Rushmore, but Kathy Ireland would assuredly be there. As would Christie Brinkley and Elle McPherson. That final spot may by open for discussion. Thoughts?
With that, have a great weekend, gang.