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FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2018, file photo, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) scrambles for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

So long Tua

By now every knows that Tua Tagovailoa has declared for the draft. If you need more details, here's the skinny from TFP college football wizard David Paschall.

In retrospect, Tua had to go, right? Had to.

Could anyone afford the risk of another injury dropping his stock even further? I say no, regardless how much insurance any player gets.

The ripples of this are intriguing, because, well, it affects college football programs, NFL teams and — wait for it — the NFL draft. And I love the draft. You know this.

Tua is a first-rounder. Period. Even with the uncertainty that comes with a hip injury.

Joe Burrows will almost assuredly go No. 1 overall to Cincinnati. I think Tua goes 5 to Miami. By all measures Justin Herbert will be the next QB off the board — and some NFL folks have told ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay they like Herbert more than Tua, so there's that.

I believe Jacob Eason will be a back-half-of-the-first-round pick because of a truckload of potential.

I also believe that Tua heading to the league means Jake Fromm will head back to Georgia.

If Fromm has the year in 2020 we all expected in 2019, he could move into the No. 2 spot in the 2021 QB rankings behind Trevor Lawrence.



Bowl update

Wow, a great number of entries in the Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (Bowler Optional) this year. And a great race.

In fact, I'm going to need a tie-breaking score from GoodLunch and Hudson C, each of whom totaled an amazing 85 points to establish a strong lead. If you think I have your score wrong, please let me know ASAP.

If you are reading this — and we hope you are regularly — we need your best guess on the total points scored in next Monday's title game. And yes, "The Price is Right" rules will be used, so if you guessed 70 and your competitor guessed 10 and the final is 39-30, the 10 wins because 70 is too many.

Folks with 70 or more points and their championship pick in parentheses:

GoodLunch — 85 (LSU)

Hudson C — 85 (LSU)

Jason G — 79 (Clemson)

Back-Up QB — 76 (LSU)

Big-Brained Hal — 73 (LSU)

Lil 5-at-10 — 73 (LSU) Yes, the lad has been quite boisterous about having the highest score in the house. Must have gotten that braggadocios nature from his momma. So it goes.  

Dawg747 — 73 (LSU)

Bo C — 73 (Clemson)

Gatorman — 72 (LSU)

Ellis M — 71 (LSU)

George A — 71 (LSU)

Andrew O — 70 (LSU)

Uch — 70 (THE OSU)

CommodoreScot18 — 70 (LSU)


Jumping through hoops

I do not believe this Auburn basketball team is a top-five team in the country.

Being unbeaten makes them worthy of that ranking — as Paschall details here.

But as far as talent compared to some of the elite programs in the country — which have more losses in large part because of a schedule with the degree of difficulty of a Louganis dive — I'm not sure Bruce Pearl's Tigers match up.

That said, this team will be a tough out over the long haul of a tournament for a couple of reasons.

First, they guard people. Hard. And that never slumps, especially in huge dome stadiums in late March.

Second, they are 10 deep, and while they may not have the waves of NBA talent that Pitino did at the height of his powers in Lexington, Pearl's depth offers real advantages. Foul trouble is not an issue, nor is tiring.

Finally, Pearl, not unlike Coach Cal in Lexington, does a whole lot of things that catch attention from a lot of angles. Sometimes, that extra attention covers the fact that both Cal and Pearl are vastly underrated as in-game play callers and diagrammers.

Top 5 may be high, but dang, Pearl is laying a pretty impressive foundation on the Plains.


This and that

— Liked TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer's view this morning on how bowl games still matter if you make the most of them like the Vols and 'Cats did.

— Here is today's A2 offering on our angst overshadowing any sense of humor we had as a society.

— In less-than-big-QB-declaring news, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger — he of the "We're baaaaaacccckkkkkk" after the 'Horns beat Georgia last January in the Sugar Bowl — is actually coming back to Texas. Cue Mr. Kotter's theme song, "Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back."

— Kudos to the XFL for trying to explore ways to address issues with the game of football in general. Here are some different rules the XFL plans on using: Kickoff and punt rules designed to encourage returns; three-tiered scoring system for extra points that does not include kicking PATs; Nine officials on the field; and clock rules designed to keep game times under 2 hours and 45 minutes.


Today's question

True or false, Tuesday is going to start here:

True or false, a healthy Tua would be picked before Joe Burrow.

True or false, Jake Fromm will be in Athens next fall.

True or false, Georgia fans want Jake Fromm in Athens next fall.

True or false, Auburn is an elite 8 team.

As for today, Jan. 7, let's review.

Happy birthday Nic Cage. "The Newlywed Game" premiered on this day in 1967. Big week for game shows.

Lamar Jackson is 23 today.

Rushmore of Lamar. Go.