From several of you,
Should the Titans be forced to forfeit?
The league is going to try to play a Tuesday night game for Bills-Titans after the continued Corona challenges for the Titans.
But there are several tangential conversations to that:
First, don't you know that the league is licking its lips at the thoughts of working in a Tuesday night game because another broadcast portal is potentially worth roughly $1 billion annually for the league.
Second, another rescheduled Corona game — Broncos-Pats were moved to Monday night — give us our third Monday Night Football doubleheader, another added chance for more revenue moving forward.
As for the Titans, if they can't reschedule it, then the Titans should forfeit. They violated the protocols as a team and as a collection of individuals. Now if the league decides to take a similar approach as the one baseball did — playoffs are decided by winning percentage because there's a real chance not everyone will play the same number of games — then that's one thing.
But the Bills players did nothing wrong, and they are facing the real possibility of not getting a game check, and that's patently unfair.
And go a step further, if the league can prove that Titans leadership directed them to go practice 'voluntarily' at MBA, it should be a forfeit, the franchise pays the Bills' players salaries for the week, and they lose a draft pick.
And if that seems harsh, well, it is harsh. But the league has to put teeth into whatever it decides.
Yes, we are far from being done dealing with Corona — as a populace, as sports fans and as individuals — but if the league is going to be tough on anything, it has to be on this.
Because if they have to shut it down, then a few more situations like the Titans practicing on their own could cost the league, its players and its partners tens of billions if not hundreds of billions.
Which takes us to our NFL picks:
Seattle-Minnesota over 55. This is another game that is soaring right now. The total started at 49.5 and it is rising. (Remember all lines are from Vegas Insider Friday morning.) Both defenses are hole-filled; both offenses are star studded with skilled guys.
Cincinnati-Baltimore over 51. I am a Joe Burrow believer. I also believe the Bengals can not keep the Ravens under 35. The two TD line is filled with backdoor possibilities, but if I think the Ravens are going to get five TDs, we can believe Burrow gets us three, right?
Steelers minus-7 over Eagles. Yes, we buy the hook here but all the factors point to the more traditional Keystone State power. A defensive front that thrives on pressure against an offensive line ravaged by injuries. Edge Steelers. A rested off week. Edge Steelers. Healthy wide receivers. Edge Steelers. This will be a three-score game.
Chiefs minus-12 over Oakland. Yes, I loathe laying double digits points in an NFL game. But there right now the Chiefs are in a ride or die mode, going 11-1-1 against the number in their last 13 games, and Andy Reid has had his way with the Raiders — he's 10-4 against the spread — since he took the Chiefs job seven years ago.
New England minus-5 over Denver. Yes please. Yes always. Get on this one right now. Like now, and then come back to the 5-at-10.
Buffalo minus-1 over Tennessee. This line started at Titans minus-6.5, and it's hard to recall a line move that much. The Titans WR group will be filled with a couple of NFL players, Spy, Chas and Ron. The Titans have to be distracted with all of this mess. And the Bills are good friends. Truly. (Side note: Not sure if I have missed as much on a high first round QB as much as I missed on Josh Allen. Dude is playing the game.)
Last week: 3-1 against the spread (75 percent)
This year: 10-9 against the spread (52.6 percent)
(Side note: Remember your Intimidator Pool picks if you are still survivin' gang. I will try to post the picks around lunch.)
Question - does the combo of Anderson, Fried, and Soroka (fingers crossed) reach the ceiling that is Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz high? With this bullpen and great defense, I think this team has a great chance to win a World Series. Maybe not this year, but very soon.
I think there could be a World Series in the future for this core group.
Alex Anthopoulos has assembled a great group of position players and signed them to long-term, team-friendly contracts. He has built an unbelievable foundation, and no one can cast a sliver of shade on this core.
But what is he willing to spend — or better yet, what is Braves ownership willing to spend — in the offseason because I can make an argument that if they are truly committed to winning it all, they will resign Marcel Ozuna, who has been TREEEEEEEE-mendous and be in the market for a frontline starter.
If they only get Ozuna or the starting pitcher, well, they are going to be very competitive.
If they do neither, and try to rely on AA's ability to find one-year bargains that become MVP candidates and hope that Newcomb or Folty delivers on previous results or their once-lofty potential, then it's clear they are content to get to the playoffs and not win the playoffs.
And while we're here, as good as Soroka was last year, Fried was this year and Anders has been over the last month, let's not go over the edge with that comparison.
These Braves have three young pitchers you feel really good about right now and feel very, Very, VERY good about moving forward, but those three dudes you mentioned are individually Hall of Famers and collectively arguably the best rotation ever.
Does any team in college football miss a player from last year more than Navy misses Malcolm Perry? Magic 8 ball says (bleep) no.
Great question, PD. Simply great. And I think you nailed it. Flush in fact, like Bryson DeChambeau-Flex hitting 400 yard drives at Augusta next month.
OK, this is bigger than a side note, and it's pertinent because the ESPN commercials with photos and "Georgia on My Mind" playing in the background has me truly excited for the Masters, especially now that Auburn's football season is over.
So let's discuss the continued golf-changing approach of distance at all costs for DeChambeau. Because, according to this story, the beefy Bryson is adding length to his already lengthy tee shots by adding length to his driver's shaft. And buffed Bryson sounds like it's significant length, saying that going to 48-inch driver — closer to what the long-drive contestants use — have produced results that are "staggering, way more than what I'm doing right now."
Now consider that he is averaging a Tour-record 322.1 yards off the tee, so consider what now becomes in play for boffo Bryson:
> No. 1, a tough uphill carry, could be driver lob wedge for BD;
> All the Par 5s — 2, 8, 13 and 15 are reachable, and most of those with low irons if not wedges if he turns it over and hits it 400 yards down the hill at the second;
> That length will be a huge edge at the sneaky great, 495-yard fifth;
> How far will he go down the straight away No. 7 — a tremendous golf hole, because the glory known as Pampas is the one hole at Augusta someone we all know and love made a birdie 3 the last time he got to play it — that measures 450;
> Think of the edge of hitting 9 iron up the hill at 10 or to the right of the green and the always-penal 11th;
> And completely forget Sandy Lyle's bunker on 18, because at 350-plus carry, DeChambeau's tee ball will just now be coming down as it passes the sand off to the left side of the fairway.
And if this guy comes out there and overpowers it, well, the Masters is the one place that can flex even more than DeChambeau. So maybe the coolness of a Masters in November will counter that a smidge, but this Masters or next with an avalanche of air mails and a barrage of big bombers, Jack Nicklaus and the Green Jacketed guardians of the game may get their wish to change the equipment, at least when the game's best visit their little track off Washington Avenue.
As for PD's question, Malcolm Perry is a clear one. That dude made Navy's offense a fearful speed boat; right now they are the S.S. Minnow, after the three-hour tour.
Here is a quick top five that fit that category:
1 — Perry, without pause;
2 — Derrick Brown, the AU DT tackle would not have stood for that disaster in Athens last week. Period;
3 — Jake Fromm, yes, Stetson Bennett is doing fine, but that was doing fine against a collection of Auburn kitties who were super content to get pushed around. How much better would Jules and Alejandro feel about Saturday vs. an improving UT bunch and the following week against Bama if Jake Fromm State Farm was in the huddle?
4 — If Lynn Bowden had decided to return to Lexington, I believe the Cats likely would be 2-0 rather than 0-2;
5 — Joe Burrow. Duh? And he likely should be No. 2. Of course that LSU team picture of guys form 2019 they would love to have back is a large group.
Speaking of that, let's do the Rushmores from the week.
Rushmore of likable Hollywood stars — Hanks, Damon, Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey (Jackman was a great suggestion too in fact there were several that I think were right on the edge. I think Vince Vaughn seems like a really good dude too. So does Bradley Cooper. The Rock was a good suggestion, and Jennifer Lawrence.)
Rushmore of reality TV people — Simon Cowell, one of the Kardashians, likely Kim, Donald Trump, Gordon Ramsey. (Side note: This Rushmore is a whole different kettle of fish if you talk about contestants, with say a Kelly Clarkson-Underwood-Jennifer Hudson from AI as well as Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who turned a Season 2 turn on Survivor into The View and a slew of TV appearances too. And what about Game Shows? My head hurts. And doing a little research shows a slew of big-time stars who got a start off various reality shows, including actor Jon Hamm, who was on some dating show and Alanis Morissette, who lost on Star Search all the way back in 1990. Never mind the 90s pop list of A-listers who had a Star Search moment — Britney, JT and Beyonce, among them.)
Rushmore of curses — Curse of the Bambino, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Carlin's seven dirty words, Curse of the Kennedy Family.
Rushmore of football broadcast teams — The MNF crew of Cosell, Meredith and Gifford; Keith Jackson and any of his famous partners from Era to Broyles to Griese; Pat Summerall and John Madden; Al Michaels and John Madden. Yes Madden was that good.
Are you still on the Gus Bus?
Of course I'm on the Gus Bus. I am on the bus for whomever is calling the shots for the Auburn football program.
No way we can switch now. Or ever. Heck, I'm starting to regret that I've directed my kids to rooting for the Auburn Migraines.
Question for the group: What college sports fans have had it the hardest, and you can't say you and your fellow fans of school X. (And Steve can't say his anyway because he's a Bama backer, and times are high for the Sabanities.)
How disgusting is it to have to watch the Astros in the playoffs and possibly World Series this season? And could any team benefit more without crowds now than the Astros?
They should be getting booed constantly as a statement. To them and MLB .
Such a great question, which leads me to this question:
Shouldn't the leagues that are piping in noise, pipe in boos? And for the Astros pipe in overwhelmingly loud boos. Also, while we are piping in noise, should the teams that have traditionally bad attendance like the Rays have lower volume piped in?
It is disgusting and in a year in which we all lost, it feels like the Astros have benefitted all things considered from the Corona, because the Astros cheating would have been a year-long story but it faded.
(Side note: We are talking about the Titans having to forfeit because of violating Corona protocols, and the Astros' systematic cheating that stole a world championship has been washed away.)
And we all know that the MLB powers that be want Yankees-Dodgers, but other than the Rays, is there a match-up MLB doesn't want more than Astros-Dodgers in Trash Can 2.0.
Have a great weekend friends, and who wants to see some hate mail?
5-at-10: Fab 4 picks, SEC thoughts and betting tips, VP debate winners and losers, Rushmore of likable Hollywood stars