More bowls please
On most holidays, we move quickly. This is not most holidays.
This is New Year's Day.
This day should have more than four college football options. Period. This is not open for debate.
Our college picks have rebounded from an 0-4 start against the number to a mighty respectable 14-9 after a 3-1 showing Tuesday. Hit Navy, Arizona State and Chas' 'Cats; missed wildly on Utah.
We have five picks on the four games today:
Auburn minus-7 (buy it for safety reasons but I think this is a three-TD tail-whipping); Georgia minus-5; Oregon plus-3 and Alabama minus-7 (buy it) and over the 58.
That said, of all these games with a slew of teams that at one point or the other had designs on being in the playoff, I think the biggest spotlight falls on Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs.
We all remember last year's sleep-walking effort in the Sugar Bowl and Texas screaming "We're back." (Who knew 8-5 was back?)
The SEC championship was as pushed around as Georgia has been since Year 1 A.R. (After Richt) and who knows what the reaction would be if the 'Dogs listlessly go through the motions in another Sugar Bowl trip.
Ringing in the new
Hey, we're the 5-at-10, so let's drop five predictions in 10 words or less for 2020.
You betcha, the ever-popular 5-in-10 from the 5-at-10. New Year's Day style.
1. Tiger wins a major to make the chase official.
2. Tua comes back and the Tide rolls everyone.
3. Rodgers over Mahomes in a State Farm Super Bowl.
4. LeBron survives battle for L.A., wins it all.
5. Urban Meyer returns to the sideline — at USC.
Crooked capper to commemorative circumstance
The folks at ESPN have been celebrating a bunch of the 'Best of' things in the 150 years of college football.
Most of it has been pretty cool. (Here's the CFB150 home page for a look back on some of them.)
I noticed this morning that they named their all-time All-American picks — first and second teams — and, well, there are some glaring holes and mistakes.
ESPN states that the team was picked by what it called a 'blue-ribbon panel.' It also was blue-ribbon wrong on a couple of key places.
Granted, the fact that no one is going to agree with every pick and perspective to dominance through the decades is important.
But let's review some quibbles, starting with the most egregious:
Someone somewhere needs to explain how Barry Sanders is not mentioned. Hey, running back was going to be tough, and I respect the decision to stay with two on each team. (Hard not to loathe all-star teams that do not resemble something along the lines of a team. Having five RBs and two lineman is not how it works; having six pitchers and no second basemen or shortstops is not how it works.)
But Sanders' amazing one season was so transcendental, it will likely never be matched. He ran for 2,628 and 37 TDs in 11 games, friends. He added five more TDs and 222 rushing yards in the bowl game.
Final tally: 2,850 rushing yards, 106 receiving yards, 17 passing yards, 515 return yards — that's 3,488 total yards, friends — and 44 total TDs. In a season of 12 games.
Yes the matter of who do you pull — Jim Brown and Herschel were first-teamers and Bo Jackson and Archie Griffin were on the second team — is sticky. But Sanders has to be there.
Next, the only conceivable way that Jerry Rice makes this team is because his NFL greatness was taken into account, which seems illogical.
And I think you can say the same thing about Peyton Manning.
Hey, we all love Peyton, and he was great at UT, but I'm pretty sure that if we had an all-time SEC team Manning would have a hard time being the quarterback, all things considered.
Tebow's college career >>>> Manning's college career, and that's just the starting point. Heck, in terms of college careers, isn't Manning's more Aaron Murray than all-timer? Yes we romanticize about all-things Peyton, but the second-best QB ever? If we put Manning up against Tebow, Wuerffel and Spurrier, is he even a second-team all-time U of Florida QB?
And considering the canonized exploits of his old man, Peyton may be the second best college QB named Manning.
And don't even get us started on all-time QBs like Tommie Frazier.
And while Derrick Thomas is on the second team, it's hard to fathom how anyone would not vote DT on the first team. Yes, sacks are a relatively new stat, but Dear Buckets of QB ice baths.
While Sanders' one-year exploits may have been denied by career accomplishments at running back, Thomas still holds the unofficial records for most sacks in a career (52) and in a season (27).
This and that
— Bowling side note, part I: Man, kudos to everything about that Navy win. The trick play on fourth-and-2 from midfield with less 30 seconds left that set up the game-winning field goal. The final tip of the visor to Navy record-setting quarterback Malcolm Perry, who became the first quarterback to top the 2,000-yard rushing mark in a season. Anyone else think that Malcolm Perry will end up being an eight-year contributor to the New England Patriots? I know I do.
— Bowling side note, part II: If I was a UK fan, I would love how physical that team is. Yes, the avalanche of yellow flags from myriad personal fouls was a wee bit much, but the Wildcats maul people at the line of scrimmage. And that, friends, is about culture as much as it is your cast.
— Bowling side note, part III: Welp, let's go ahead and put Herm Edwards in that Rick Barnes category of coaches who I thought were rotten hires and who were tired retreads rather than tried and true rebuilders. Edwards and the Sun Devils were out-talented by more than a little against FSU and found a way. Herm's boys finished 8-5 with one of the best young QBs in the game, freshman Jayden Daniels.
Which Way Wednesday starts this way:
Which prediction above do you think is the most accurate? Which is the least?
Which prediction for 2020 — other than all of us getting tired of vision puns by tomorrow afternoon — do you have?
Which pick on the ESPN 150-year All-American team do you have the biggest complaint about?
As for today, Jan. 1, well, let me be the next to say Happy New Year.
Ol' Honest Abe Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on this day in 1863 to free the slaves.
Ellis Island opened on this day in 1892 as the primary gateway immigration station into the U.S.
Betsy Ross (1752) and Paul Revere (1735) were born on this day. U.S.A! U.S.A!
Because it is today, Rushmore of the best bowl games ever.
Go and remember the mailbag.