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Alabama backup quarterback Jalen Hurts speaks to fans after leading the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory against Georgia in the SEC championship game Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Weekend winners

Atlanta Braves. The Braves took two of three from Washington and punched their postseason ticket. Atlanta's magic number is down to 4 with 11 games left. Yes, that news was dampened a bit by the fastball to the face that ended Charlie Culberson's season, but still, kudos to AA, Snitker and the rest of the Braves chiefs.  

Georgia fans. In a weekend filled with blow-outs and mid-level-ranked teams playing to the level of their opponents in a lot of cases, Bulldogs Nation showed up in style and strength in pink for Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson, who lost his wife to cancer earlier this summer.

UT. Yes, it was UTC. Yes, the Vols were a 28-point favorite. But is there a more true and more basic cliche in all of sports than "a win is a win is a win" and did it apply to any college football team Saturday more than Jeremy Pruitt's bunch? Doing it emphatically was expected, and if we are going to lament so much unexpected from Knoxville, we should celebrate the expected, no?

Jalen Hurts. Wowser, hard to think a player could be off to a better start than the former Alabama star who is killing it — Key-ILLLLLL-ing it — for Oklahoma. After destroying UCLA, the Sooners are 3-0. Hurts has a QBR (the ESPN stat with a maximum of 100) of 96.8, which leads the names. He has completed 80.3 percent of his throws for 880 yards and nine TDs with no picks. He has rushed for 373 yards (9.8 per carry) and four TDs.

Herm Edwards. Wow, was I wrong about that hire. Dude has done work in the desert with Arizona State. In fact, the Pac-12 race may be the most diverse and hardest to peg in all of college football.


Weekend losers

The ACC. Boston College got hosed by a terrible Big 12 Kansas team. (How bad, well, Kansas had lost its last 48 road games against Power 5 teams. Chew on that.) Pitt should have won but was poorly coached. Georgia Tech was topped by The Citadel. NC State lost to a TERRIBLE West Virginia team. Maryland lost to Temple. (Wait, our editors are saying that Maryland is actually in the Big Ten. Hmmmmm, debatable but OK.) Hey, at least Miami beat Bethune-Cookman 63-0 and had its version of Rudy score a TD.

Gregg Popovich. Hey, jackwagon, shut it with the complaints about the Americans who complained about how the American basketball team finishes. Seriously? You are going to be upset at fans that are upset that you got upset? Nevermind the fact that Popovich is a flesh pickle by all measures — and who has gotten more mileage out of being this big of a jerk since Archie Bunker? —  to be mad at your fans for not wanting better is asinine if you expect fans to celebrate your victories, no?

Fab 4 picks. AGAIN. We went 3-5 in college picks. Sigh. You fully have our permission to fade all of our picks, since at this point we are 12-15 against the number. Heck, we need the under to hit tonight to salvage a .500 record in the NFL after going 1-2-1 Sunday. (Yes, those of us who had the Saints-Rams over tore up those tickets when Drew Brees left with a hand injury.)

The Miami Dolphins. Hard to believe that the Dolphins were a) one of the class franchises in all the NFL for the first 25 years of the Super Bowl era, and b) that their -92 point differential is only tied for the third-worst after two games in NFL history. Get ready for some staggering betting numbers, because this week Miami goes to Dallas and the early line this morning is Dallas minus-21.

The Saints-Rams game. OK, yes, losing Drew Brees for an uncertain amount of time with an injury to his throwing thumb that will be re-evaluated today. But that there was another referee-bust that went against the Saints — AGAIN — will be among the chief talking points this morning across the NFL.


Parity in college football?

I heard some talking head — mascot head? — who shall remain nameless on College GameDay has rallied about college football parity.

I'm trying to think of a sport that currently has less parity than college football. Help, please.

College hoops has the most parity. In fact, it's so parity-filled that the regular season is rendered more preseason than meaningful for most programs.

If you say the NFL because of the Patriots, well, I respectfully disagree. Emphatically, in fact.

If you say the NBA, well, maybe a couple of years ago when it was the Warriors vs. LeBron and the Cavs. But not now.

MLB? No, because there are at least four-to-five teams who have a pretty good shot and that's out of 30.

College football? There are five-to-eight out of almost 130 that have a chance to win it all, and that may be high.

It feels like we are headed to another Alabama-Clemson fight for it all. It feels like the big five of Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, THE Ohio State and Georgia are going to box out for one of the four spots in the field.
According to the computer breakdowns there are seven teams — again out of roughly 130 — that have a one-in-three shot at making the playoff: Clemson (78 percent), Alabama (75), THE OSU (43), Notre Dame and Georgia (39), Oklahoma (36) and LSU (33).

That means that a) Georgia-Notre Dame this weekend is EEEEEE-normous, b) the rest of the sport is going through the motions.

Sure, upsets happen, and more times than not college football craziness has pulled the bacon from the fire for the bowls, the BCS and now the playoff through the years.

But that divide is only growing.

Which leads to these questions:

— Is it a problem, because TV numbers are up (but attendance numbers are flat, if not falling by percentages)?

— Is there anything that can be done about it, since the ways professional sports are regulated to help promote parity would cap recruiting numbers and spending and a whole lot of things that a) the NCAA has no stomach or backbone to do, and b) that the Power 5 conferences would NEVER sign off on?

Just curious about your thoughts on it, because watching college football this weekend, there is a clear divide after about the top five or seven schools and everyone else playing on Saturdays.


This and that

— How about you, Harris English? The former Baylor School star posted four rounds in the 60s and finished tied for third at The Greenbrier. For English, who has been up and down over the last few years and has conditional PGA Tour status, it was a huge showing for the check — more than $366K — and for the positioning for the rest of the early 2019 season. Joaquin Niemann won at 21-under, seven clear of English.

— I have poked fun at Crazy Bernie Sanders in recent weeks. Well, the nation's most recognized socialist has finally given us the unequivocal statement that proves he's unfit to lead the nation. Yes, Sanders says LeBron is the GOAT over MJ.

— Speaking of injuries, we will know more about Drew Brees today. Big Ben Roethlisberger may need Tommy John surgery. Nick Foles has been shelved. Carson Wentz was battered Sunday night. Andrew Luck stepped away.  Who's next?

— Couple of great NFL stats from ESPN Stats and Info: Eli Manning's career record as a starter is now 116-116, and it's the first time he has had a non-winning record as a started since he was 21-21 in Week 4 of 2007. Also, Denver became the first team to try and convert a 2-point play in the fourth quarter down 1 and go on to lose since the 2-point conversion was introduced in the NFL in 1994. (Side note: Did you realize the NFL 2-point conversion is 25 years old?)

— Are we headed to a place that Patty Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are going to be weekend winners each NFL weekend? Sure looks like it after Mahomes threw four TDs — in the second quarter — and Jackson threw for 272 yards and two scores and ran for 120 yards.

— Zack Grienke got a W against Kansas City on Saturday, making him the second active player with wins against every major league franchise. (Max Scherzer is the other.)

— Wow, I did not ever think I would be watching an NFL in which Adam Vinatieri would be a liability. Vinatieri declined to speak to the media after missing multiple PATs in a Colts' 19-17 win that should not have been as close as it was. (And it also allowed us to see a poorly worked final four minutes from the Titans and see Marcus Mariota fail to deliver a game-winning drive to a FG.) Vinatieri said he would speak with the media today, so maybe he's going to walk into the sunset. He's 1-for-3 on field-goal tries and 2-for-5 on PATs.

— Tim Tebow went on a rant over the weekend about the California state law of allowing players to cash in on their NIL (Names, Images, Likenesses) starting in 2023. Here's more. Timmy, love the passion. But a) you are turning your individual experiences and then putting that into a blanket opinion for everyone. Maybe we all do that, but because you did not want the money (or need the money) while you were at U of F, well, that does not apply to everyone, my man. Also, you can still love your school and have those same dreams and be incredulous at the cha-ching happening all around you, no? (That said, Tebow's position is only going to further the divide between the haves and the have-nots in college football, because who is going to get sponsorship coin — the QBs/stars at Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia and THE Ohio State or the best player at Vandy, Georgia Tech, Iowa State and Utah?

— Thought this was interesting over the weekend. NASCAR, which is not exactly as flush as Bill Gates or as popular as the NFL, has turned down ads for its race-day program featuring "assault-style rifles/sniper rifles." You know what, I am 100 percent on board with this. Kudos NASCAR. A bigwig for a gun company was less-than-pleased with the decision: "This is a colossal mistake. Do they not understand their own base?" David Dolbee, the GM of a large firearm distributor that submitted an ad with an AK-47, told the Washington Free Beacon. "They are a sporting organization trying to take sides on a political issue. That never goes well for any company." Huh? Not really, and that's the rallying cry for those who disagree with that company. NASCAR has done this — by force or volunteer — for years. It's why it's no longer the Winston Cup and that the Silver Bullet and the Budweiser 9 are for the history books.


Today's questions

We have a few beyond the weekend winners and losers.

Shouldn't we have a written test for all presidential candidates to pass before we, you know, give them the keys to the most powerful office on the planet?

Bigger outcome for our "area" NFL teams: Falcons' late win, Eagles' late loss?

We need to have a conversation later this week about a) the success of the dual-threat QBs; b) the success of the dual-threat QBs in their fourth year or younger; c) the success of the black quarterback in today's NFL. (Take that, Rush Limbaugh.) Seriously, if you wanted to start a franchise with a QB 30 or younger, how many spots would be filled before you drafted a white guy? Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Dak, Deshaun Watson, what Lamar is doing, or Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz or Jared Goff?

As for today, it's Sept. 16, and it's the Mrs. 5-at-10's momma birthday. Happy birthday Nana. Man, the older we get, the more people important to you who are older than you should be celebrated.

Also, on this day in 1997, Apple named Steve Jobs interim CEO. That worked out pretty well for them, don't cha think?

James Cash Penney was born on this day in 1875. Cash Penney? Really?

Elgin Baylor is 85 today. He should have had a boss nickname, you know.

On this day 35 years ago, a little show called "Miami Vice" debuts. Wow, also on this day in 1993, "Frasier" debuts. Good day for NBC through the years.

Let's lean on "Miami Vice" here and pick a Rushmore of TV shows with a city in the name. Go.

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