Mississippi State players reach for the "Egg Bowl" trophy after defeating in-state rival Mississippi in an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

NFL picks

Before we get to the mailbag, we need to mention an "on this day" moment we just saw on ESPN. On this day, Dec. 6, 21 years ago, NFL officials ruled Vinny Testaverde scored on a five-yard quarterback sneak against the Seahawks. He was clearly short of the goal line, and the NFL later admitted the refs blew the call. It was considered the call that ushered in instant replay in the 1999 system.

That means several side questions: First, did you realize replay is two decades old? Second, how in the world are we still throwing snot rags on the field to signal replay requests? Third, how are we still in a place in a multi-billion-dollar-a-year operation that tennis has a much, Much, MUCH better replay system than the NFL?

Nuts, right?

As for the NFL picks, let's roll with these: New England minus three (buy the half), Seattle even over the L.A. Rams, Steelers minus two over Arizona, Saints minus 2.5 over San Francisco, Bucs-Colts over 46.5.

Last week: 3-2 (60 percent) against the spread.

This season: 46-27-2 (63 percent) against the spread.

From JoeDon

Did you see 77-year-old Joe Biden challenged an 83-year-old Iowa man to a push-up contest?

Reminds me Seinfeld's #1 Dad episode when Izzy Mendelbaum challenged all comers to a lifting contest.
Do you think you could take Sleepy Joe in a push-up contest?
It's Go-time!


JoeDon -

I read this entry and chuckled. Then I dropped and did 12 push-ups.

And I was pretty spent to be honest. I'm pretty sure that ol' Sleepy Joe can do more than that.

Thanks Joe Don. Someone get me a Peloton. (And yes, I need to drop some LBs, and I'm not talking linebackers either.)

From Pat

Missed the end of the Egg Bowl. Was invested in Saints-Falcons. We took Saints -7. Thank you Dan Quinn for going for a needless two-point conversion end not getting it. Hope you enjoy being a DC somewhere next year.  And who recovers three straight onside kicks? I was shown the end of the Egg Bowl today when I got into work, by my young Auburn grad/fan in my department. He was downright giddy.

Anyhoo, now that you're exploring the world of cooking, what's in the five spice rack, which one is a must in your dishes and what's your go-to flavor profile at the moment?

(By the way, Kay's photos from Guatemala are beyond words that describe superlatives.)


Pat -

I will pass the kind words about Kay's photos along. They are pretty awesome. (You can see those here. She has the skills friends.)

My spice rack is overflowing. My go-to add actually is crushed red pepper right now. It gives everything — especially vegetables — a nice crisp zing.

I have spent the football season working on my tailgate menu. I have gotten to a place that I'm very comfortable with crusted and grilled zucchini and squash, fried green tomatoes, a variety of wings, meatballs, and a slew of dips and meat and cheese combinations.

Come Sundays, I flip between either Italian or grilled meats with the sides.

But since my golf game has been shoved deep into the time recesses of fatherhood, cooking has become a true joy. 


From Chas (who gets multiple quick-hitters)

> Joey Gatewood's coming to Kentucky. How excited should we be?

> For the bag Friday: Who did the better coaching job, Stoops or Jeremy Pruitt? Who did a better job with their offense, Gran or LSU's Ensminger?


Chas -

Yes, be very excited about Gatewood, especially if the same offensive plan is implemented next year. (And for all the chatting we did about UK's O-Line, they could return four of five starters from that group and nine starters on that side of the ball.)

I think Gatewood has a chance to be a good QB sooner rather than later.

As for the coaching questions, that's a good one.

We all agree that Coach O is a no-brainer pick for SEC coach of the year right? I think Dan Mullen and the job he did in Gainesville is in the discussion.

I think what Mark Stoops did this year may have been a better coaching job than he did last year, and that's saying something. Jeremy Pruitt did an excellent job keeping that bunch together after the terrible start, but you can't debate that it was a a historically bad start.

Loved the job UK OC Eddie Gran did in terms of flexibility and adjustments and committing to doing one thing exceptionally well. I'd lean toward Gran over Ensminger because a lot of folks believe Joe Brady reworking the passing offense deserves a lot of the credit for the LSU offensive explosion. (And how's this for irony: Gran and Ensminger were both key parts of Tommy Tuberville's staff at Auburn for years and years.)


From Jules

Wow, what a weekend. So many thoughts, how were there that many points scored, Jay? Auburn's defense is awesome and their offense really hasn't been. LSU only scored in the 20s! (Side note: Can UGA keep them in the 20s bc I'm not sure they can score 14?) (Other side note: Especially without Pickens, who holy smokes, what the heck? If you were the coach, would he play at all this week?)

Also, I know the punter as wide receiver wasn't illegal, but was it kinda punk-ish? Like will Gus lose some respect from fellow coaches bc it just wasn't cool? 

Tom Rinaldi got to me this weekend with such a sweet back story about Auburn's announcers' friends that are their kids' guardians. I'm sure you've known that story, but what a sweet testimony of how God takes care of things even in a tragedy. It was an encouragement to my faith.


Jules -

I know this was not a mailbag query per se, but looking back through the 5-at-10s this week, I realized I had not answered it. (Side note: Mondays are easily my busiest days. Not an excuse. Well, not entirely anyway.)

Points because of big plays, and they came because of big-time talents. Jaylen Waddle at Bama... wow the wheels. The AU defense — yes they gave up a lot more than a lot of us expected, but in four years, when all of those Bama receivers are lighting up the NFL and are on fantasy rosters across the country, we'll look back and say, "dang" that was a bunch of talent — scored twice because those dudes will be pros too.

As Paschall noted on Press Row, LSU scoring in the 20s — at home — against that Auburn defense was a touch misleading. LSU gained more than 500 yards, but Auburn did a magnificent job in the red zone.

(Side note: We can all kick around a bunch of the buzz words and phrases that the announcers do, and we can all heckle Gary Danielson for being a) kind of mean-spirited — at least to that photographer from Ringgold — b) being overly obvious — really Gary, teams want their opponents to be in third-and-long... and c) for a lot of mistakes for a while now that were covered by Verne's bigger miscues. But there are two things that swing games more frequently and consistently than really anything else, and they are pretty familiar and may sound cliché. But settling for or forcing your opponent to kick field goals is so big, and teams that can create defensive and/or special team scores are almost always successful.)

As for the George Pickens stuff, I'd follow team protocol. If the rules are there — and maybe there should be some rules there — then sit him. I think it's so important that there is clear expectations and clear and enforced penalties when those expectations are not followed.

Which leads us to a couple of things: First, I think the commissioner's office should be more involved in the rules and expectations of the programs across the SEC. Rules for failed drug tests, rules for transfers and scheduling and so many other things should be addressed by the league office. I'm all for that, and in truth, I'd bet the coaches would be too, because uniform policies make it clear and direct what will and should happen. It also levels the playing field.

That said, the SEC sitting Jauan Jennings for the first half of the bowl game is at best, a puzzling decision. And in a big-picture way in which so many folks already believe there is a conspiratorial hierarchy in the SEC based on money and potential revenue, it's a downright dangerous precedent.

What happens the next time an Alabama player does something along those lines? Or a UK hoops player in a moment that could change the look of a tournament game?

I'll tell you what happens. A whole lot of nothing. And while no one is saying what Jennings did was cool or right, was it worse than the way the fool Pickens was acting? (Yes, Pickens is sitting the first half, but are those really comparable when we do not know Jennings' intention?)

Or what about all the things that have happened in past games — like Kash Daniel trying to twist Kyle Trask's foot off in September — or in future games? If those are now not addressed by the league, well, the double standard calls are going to be loud.

And in some ways, valid.

As for Gus, based off the details that have come out about the play, I think it was layered and planned out. They did something similar in the first half, and while the extra man on the field penalty proved to be the game-sealer, the main goal was to keep the ball away from Waddle.

And yes, the story about the new voice of the AU Tigers who replaced Rod Bramblett after the traffic accident killed Rod and his wife and took in the Bramblett kids is heart-wrenching. And inspiring.


To the Rushmores...  

Rushmore of movies with a number in the title: Holy buckets this one was way tougher than I expected. Comedy: Sixteen Candles (and how did the dude who played Jake in that movie not have a better career? Seriously?), Nine to Five, Three Amigos, 27 Dresses. Others: Se7en, Sixth Sense, Magnificent Seven, Apollo 13.

Rushmore of Jeff Bridges movies: Big Lebowski, True Grit, Fabulous Baker Boys, Iron Man.

Rushmore of Julianne Moore movies: Boogie Nights, Crazy Stupid Love, Nine Months, Fugitive.

Rushmore of 'day' phrases: Super Bowl Sunday, A Month of Sundays, Taco Tuesday and of course Thirsty Thursday. Hiccup. Those are the proper ones, the one with just 'day' would be "Dog days of... (fill in the blank)," "Hard Day's Night," "Judgement Day" and "Day that will live in infamy" (which is actually tomorrow).

Have a great weekend, friends.

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