Team Greeson off-the-field-version. Staring at long odds this week — our WR1 DeVonta Adams was out and our QB1 Aaron Rodgers was content to hand it off to Aaron Jones — against the team with Christian McCaffery and Patrick Mahomes. Well, Mahomes was not his normal pinball-machine self and to fill in for Adams we plucked one Will Fuller off the waiver wire. Yes, the same Will Fuller who posted 14 catches for 217 yards and three scores on the hapless Falcons. We also posted our first double winning week with our picks. We went 4-3 in college — hitting on Maryland -12 and the over 54.5. (Terps won 48-7.) Oregon call under 47.5. (Ducks won 17-7.) And Tulsa-SMU over 62. (Mustangs won 43-37.) We missed on Auburn. Stupid Auburn. We missed on UCLA, which got housed 48-31 by Oregon State, and we 'barely' missed on Miami-Virginia Tech under 48 in the Hokies' 42-35 win. The NFL picks went 3-2 with wins on Rams-Seahawks over 48.5, Patriots minus-15 over Washington and Minnesota minus-5 over the Giants. We missed Chicago minus-5.5 over Oakland and the Titans minus-2.5 over Buffalo.
Speaking of the NFL, there were a lot of candidates for winning the weekend, but here's betting the flight back to Oakland for Jon Gruden and Raiders management after strong-arming Khalil Mack and the Bears was especially sweet. Did you know who became the 2019 first-round pick the Bears sent as part of the trade package to Oakland for Mack? It was the pick used on Josh Jacobs, who only had 26 carries for 123 yards and two scores in Sunday's win.
Dan Mullen. There were problems with the Gators before Mullen got to Gainesville, but the former Mississippi State head coach has flipped the script and filled The Swamp with energy. As FSU and Miami languish to find footing under questionable head coaches, Mullen looks to be on the fast-track to having Florida back in the annual national championship discussion. That said, Mullen needs to apologize after he watches the film to Marlon Davidson, who Mullen called 'dirty' after a play in which the Florida offensive tackle tackled Davidson and rolled him into the legs of quarterback Kyle Trask. You going to toss it out there coach, then when you see the truth you need to reel it back in too.
Brian Snitker. Hey, Thursday was a nightmare. Friday and Sunday, as the Braves grabbed both games as their manager hit every proper button was the exact opposite. If Game 1 was 'Oh Snit' then games 2 and 3 were 'Snit Yeah.' Game 4 is today at 2:3. (And because of that we will not have Press Row today.)
Gerrit Cole. Sweet memories of Bob Gibson, Cole was simply lights out in Game 2 Saturday. How great was the big, hard-throwing righty who is about to hit the open market and demand a contract that is closer to the GNP of several European countries? He fanned 15 in 7.1 innings and had 33 swings and misses. Yes, 33.
High school football fans in the Chattanooga area. Wow, a week after being denied the much-anticipated Red Bank-SPitt game, there was a plethora of great match-ups this weekend, highlighted by the epic Baylor-McCallie game in which the Blue Tornado pulled out a thrilling 35-28 win. And that may not have been the most-thrilling game of the night, considering Bradley Central needed a last-second field goal to beat Cleveland 37-35.
Teams Greeson, reality football version. Auburn pooped its pants and left its championship dreams festering in The Swamp. (As we said earlier, Dan Mullen and his athletic dudes had a lot to do with that.) The Falcons were the Falcons, which brings us to
Dan Quinn. It needs to be go time for the Falcons head coach. The Brotherhood is estranged. The play-calling has been dreadful. (Asked this on Twitter during Sunday's latest embarrassment, but how can Teddy Bridgewater get 11 completions to Michael Thomas when everyone in the building knows the Saints are throwing it to him and Julio Jones gets seven total targets? Seven? In a game you are throwing on almost every play in the second half.) And about that defense that ol' Danny Q. has taken a direct role in coordinating, well, I think DeShaun Watson just found Will Fuller for another TD. Tis time to DQ, DQ.
One more, that was such a painful Auburn loss. Painful. And so typical for so many of us who have followed Auburn for so long. Four turnovers on the road and going 1-for-12 million on third down makes it tough. But I believe this: Auburn's got something like eight or nine NFL dudes on that defense and we're going to look back at a 9-3 (at best) season with that much talent and feel like it was a complete waste.
Carlos Martinez. Not only is the Cards closer getting hit harder than an 11 in blackjack, now he's got his panties in a bunch because Ronald Acuña watched a homer he hit 4 miles in Game 1. Hey, Martinez, don't opposing players admiring homers off your flat stuff, then don't give up homers. And if you are going to hit someone, do it like a man on the first pitch, not on 3-2. Will be interesting to see after all the hubbub in the dugout and with his teammates after Acuña did not run out that ball off the wall that became a single, if any of the Braves pitchers have his back today. Here's thinking Cards first baseman Paul Goldschmidt — a class dude and a stud hitter — may need one in the ribs. If they throw at your best player, well, don't take it out on a back-up middle infielder pinch-hitting in the fifth.
Just about everything involved in the play in which Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph got knocked out by Earl Thomas, who will likely get fined for going high at the quarterback's chin. Rudolph was out cold, and it was a scary several moments. To make matters worse, the cart brought on the field was inoperable and had to be pushed off the field as Rudolph was helped off the field. The NFL makes a gazillion dollars a year and they can't make sure the John Deere is running right?
A long week for UT
OK, Georgia was a 25.5-point favorite and won by 29. (And yes, that last score was much-appreciated by several folks we know.)
TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer applauded the Vols for being better.
And the 43-14 loss — which was actually a 14-10 UT lead early in the second quarter — certainly was better than the 34-3 spanking the Vols endured at Florida two weeks prior.
But how much better? And it certainly was not what we would call good. And yes, UT has to start consistently beating the teams in the East between it and Georgia before any of us can expect to beat Kirby Smart's juggernaut.
But was there real items of hope, like the fast start. Yes and no.
Because one of the UT scores was a deep shot that freshman QB Brian Maurer delivered to Marquez Callaway that covered 73 yards.
Hey, we know Jim Chaney has forgotten more football than most will ever know, but more deep throws to Callaway or Jujuan Jennings — two big, fast, physical receivers who will be doing their thing on Sundays sooner rather than later — is something that has been clamored for since the start of the season.
And yes, Maurer represented a new sense of optimism.
We normally say about coaches and quarterbacks that nine times out of 10, you best be sure you have a replacement that will be better. That one time out of 10 though is like Jay Gruden getting fired or Jarrett Guarantano's situation in Knoxville. When it's simply not working to that kind of extreme, you have to make a change and hope for the best. Because in that case, different maybe not be good, but it's certainly better.
And that's the quandary UT finds itself this morning.
After a painful week that included learning way more about Jeremy Banks than many needed or wanted and seeing that Jeremy Pruitt's internal systems and processes need to be at best refined and more likely overhauled, Saturday delivered the outcome we all expected. (And yes, I thought Georgia kind of sleep-walked through the first 20-plus minutes too, which helped UT.)
It was better, as Weeds suggested, but how much?
Because it certainly would not be described as a good week by any measure, right?
This and that
— Former Baylor School star Luke List finished tied for 13th — he shared it with Cameron Smith and Ryan Moore, who beat Luke in that memorable U.S. Amateur final at Oakmont back in 2004 (Holy bleep, that was 15 flipping' years ago gang) — at the Shriners PGA Tour event. Kevin Na won at 23 under; List finished 17 under and made a little more than $137,000. Keith Mitchell missed the cut.
— Jay Gruden has been fired by the Washington Redskins. Yeah, that makes sense, right? Was his wife ever a cheerleader in Knoxville? Hey, 'Skins, I swear if you pass the hat across the South, you can raise $15 million to pay Nick Saban whatever the heck he wants. I'm good for $50.
— Speaking of Saban, did any of you see his interview on College GameDay on Saturday morning? He was excellent, as always, and not unlike Urban Meyer, will be aces if he ever wants to do the analysis thing full-time, but the part that made me realize Saban is living his best life right now was when they asked him about using the swimming pool in the background. He said that for the first how many ever years he lived there he never put a toe in the water. Now, with a granddaughter, he says they use it all the time. Man, hard to have anything but respect for that dude right now — even from bitter-beer-faced Auburn graduates.
— I know we said the Raiders had an enjoyable flight back, but somewhere between Jay Gruden getting fired and winning the lottery comes the hardly shocking news that Richie Incognito had some stupid personal foul penalties in Sunday's win over the Bears. Say it ain't so.
— The next NFL team to start tanking? Could be the Bengals, and according to this story, they have several dudes that could be dealt for first-round picks. And yes, the idea of AJ Green being sent to the Patriots or the Saints should scare the pants off the rest of the league.
— Congrats to Rusty Wright and the UTC Mocs for staying perfect in the SoCon with a win at Mercer Saturday.
— This was pretty cool. LPGA player Stephanie Meadow hit this 25-footer on the final hole of the season to move into the top-100 on the money list and will keep her LPGA Tour card.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
On this day in 1971, The French Connection debuted. Man, that Gene Hackman has a top-notch catalog of feature films.
In 1982, Cats opened on this day.
Vladamir Putin is 67 today. Wonder if Trump will send him a birthday card. Maybe just a quick text or Twitter shout-out. (Side note: Used to have a boss who never failed to laugh when someone said Vladamir Putin's last name. Yes, he also thought the planet 'Uranus' was hysterical.)
On this day in 1916, John Heisman and Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0.
Rushmore of college football records that will never be broken. Go.