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FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2021, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver during the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Clemson in New Orleans. With Jacksonville set to pick Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick and Zach Wilson appearing to be the favorite to go second to the New York Jets, the San Francisco 49ers will have their choice of Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Alabama's Mac Jones to be the eventual successor to Jimmy Garoppolo. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Draft time

Merry Draft eve everyone. What did your team put on its wish list?

If it's a QB, well, your favorite team better already be among the top three or so picks.

Which begs the question, if you are, say, the Broncos at 9, do you go QB if Trey Lance or Justin Fields is on the board?

We'll have our mock draft tomorrow, which is worth about as much as any other mock draft, but man it sure is fun.

As for today, let's review some draft 'What ifs' shall we? I think we shall.

What if the Falcons deal Julio? I think Kyle Pitts is the play either way because there is not a bona fide 100-percent feel good D-Line in this draft. But the truth is, if you are dealing Julio, then the rebuild is 100% on.

What if Justin Fields falls from the top-10 and starts really dropping? First, the phone calls from teams — like even Atlanta — that do not have QB questions right now but do not have a winning formula right now either will pour in. Think it's impossible? Chris Simms, who is a very good NFL analyst, has Fields going to Tampa at 32.

What if we decide to make a small wager or 33 on Thursday night's festivities?

Well, now you're talking. Let's explore some of the props, shall we? I think we shall.

You can bet QBs going 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the draft and get right at straight up odds. You can also bet that QBs will go with each of the first five picks at plus-900 (bet $100 and win $900). I don't think either of those happen.

You can bet which player will be the first picked at each position and which team will draft which player. (Side note: Trevor Lawrence is off the board in both categories.)

(Side note, part II: The Falcons are short odds — plus-350 — to draft Justin Fields. Only the Broncos and the 49ers have shorter odds. Right after the Falcons? Yeah, the Patriots.)

(Side note, part III: I hope Fields has a great career, but are we confident in any of the four names being bandied about after Lawrence. I know folks are ga-ga over Zac Wilson, but he could just as easily be Sam Darnold, no?)

Giddy-up because I am giddy.    

 

Right in the feels

I love sports. Always have, since as long as I can remember.

My first memory really is being around 4 or 5 and throwing a softball that felt as big as my head — shut it Spy — with my dad as he was getting ready for a slow-pitch softball game at King Springs Park. (Side note: Man, I spent a lot of time and money running around and playing slow-pitch softball back in the day. Great times. Do they still have slow-pitch men's leagues?)

He played for the Jaycees and we hated the Moose Lodge, but it was sports and it was great.

And in truth, the longer he's been gone the more my memories of my time with him tilt toward ballparks. And that makes my heart smile.

It also reminds me almost on a daily basis of the emotional connection I have with the games we play. And it's the emotions — often good and occasionally bad — that make it so special.

The winning is made better by the setbacks along the way. The greatness of our stars is made more magnanimous when coupled with grace.

And in the last 24 or so hours I've seen two stories that made it downright dusty for me. Dang allergies.

First was how the UNC basketball program gave a 5-year-old Tar Heel lover with Down's Syndrome a five-star thrill of a lifetime. War Tar Heels.

Second was the video of Michael Visacki getting the final spot in the Valspar, this week's PGA event.

Wow. Shut up. I'm not crying, you're crying.

As for Visacki, who turned pro in 2014 and will make his PGA Tour debut Thursday, imagine the number of sleepless nights wondering whether he needs to punt his dream and get a real job like the rest of us. Wow.

I always want the Baylor boys to win — Luke List and Keith Mitchell are in the field this weekend — but I'd also be A-OK come Sunday evening with Luke and Keith tying for second, one shot behind Visacki, too.    

 

Outside the games

OK, we have two political stories to cover — one scary, the other makes me downright giddy about the possibilities.

First, the not-so-funny and downright sad story from Idaho. (And no Intern Scott, we're not short on potatoes. Side note: Remember that time when Dany Quayle misspelled potatoes? That was awesome.)

The lines were drawn long before my first breath.

There always has been disagreement in the country, as we have discussed before. The galvanized sides in our polarized America, though, have completely failed to find any possible way to disagree.

Case in point: Idaho education bill 377, which would prevent Idaho teachers and administrators from discussing any sort of belief system that claims racism or sexism are responsible for past actions in history.

Oh buckets.

So we're going to teach the Civil War and not discuss slavery?

Again, oh buckets.

Were there multiple layers of conflict that caused the war between the states? Of course, and the North's want for the South's booming agriculture-based economy — which was centered on slavery — and the fight over the rights of the individual states were key factors that led to the darkest time in our history.

Do I worry that we are way over the top in terms of racism accusations? Of course. How can we not be when Justin Bieber's dreadlocks and a Jeopardy! three-time winner noting he has won three times are both called out for racism by the social media morality mob. (Seriously, I wish I was making either of those up, and I'm not sure how it all went down, but apparently the upside-down OK hand gesture is a trigger for the "See YOU ARE racist" crowd, who really need to find a better way to occupy their time if you ask me. And, as for Bieber, whatever. That's just stupid.)    

But the answer is not pretending our history didn't exist or refusing to teach it to future generations. Egad.

As for the funny — and considering where we are, we need all the funny we can get these days — well, Cousin Eddie is seriously considering running for Governor of California.

Oh, please let this happen. Please. Can we image, just for a second, the unhinged Randy Quaid and Caitlyn Jenner on a debate stage for just a second. The ratings would blow the Oscars out of the water, although considering that it was a historically bad Oscars, a Masked Singer rerun may give the Academy Awards a run for its money.

Nothing but the best, Clark. And Caitlyn.

 

This and that

— Holy buckets of bingo. Cartons of cash. Pales of payola. Sacks of stacks. DraftKings — like a lot of the online betting folks — is pouring money into content producers in an effort to lure potential bettors to their site. And Dan Le Betard and his crazy crew of misfit loons just cashed in. Big time. How about "at least" $50 million over three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Oh my. Congrats. They are insanely talented and downright hilarious, and was the last ESPN national show that I enjoyed to be honest.

— Braves played, Braves won. And just when I dared to wonder whether Shohei Ohtani was close to Ronald Acuña the Braves lovable young slugger hit a baseball that still has not landed. Oh my, like Marla Hooch, what a hitter.

— In addition to the draft — I love the draft, you know this — I also love game shows. You should know that too. And Wheel of Fortune had a historic winner Tuesday. The lady cruised through the prelims and won the bonus round and took home a home. Seriously, she won a house. Side question: If you won a house valued at $375,000 you have to sell it right? I mean I'm not picking up and moving anytime soon and who needs a second house? Now if it's on Lake Martin, well, then we can talk.)  

— Side note: I missed the Wheel winner live because we were at the ballpark watching the 10U Mocs sweep a doubleheader, with a little blonde-haired right-hander who is kind-hearted like her momma got the win in Game 1 and the save in Game 2, including a nine-pitch, fan-the-side second inning of the 10-5 Game 1 win. All told, she threw 3.1 innings with 8 Ks, two walks and no hits or runs allowed.  

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's prose on UT outside linebacker Bryson Eason finding his stride for the new-look Vols.

— Speaking of college football, here's TFP UTC ace Mean Gene Henley on former McCallie state champion QB Robert Riddle transferring back home to play for the Mocs.

— So Hunter Biden is going to teach a class on fake news. The jokes write themselves here, no? Wonder if it will be in the college of Russian studies or maybe it will be a computer elective.

— Saw this video replay of a Good Morning America interview with one of the jurors in the Derek Chauvin case. I offer it without comment.

— Remember the Derby contest. Pick the winner and the loser and you could win lunch on me. We got about 25 entries so far. Deadline is Saturday at lunch. Put your picks in the comments or email me at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

— Speaking of golf, one of the star-studded groups Thursday and Friday is Patrick Reed, Philly Mickelson and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. I'll admit, once you learn how to pronounce Kiradech's name, it's almost as fun to say as Giannis Antetokounmpo. Which leads us —

 

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which sports name is the most fun to say, because Keer-A-day Ahfee-barn-rot is right there for me?

Which is your boldest draft precaution? (And your answer can't be, "I will not watch as much of the draft as Jay does." That's neither bold nor a prediction. That's a lead-pipe lock.)

Which is your favorite sappy sports moment? Share. We won't judge. (Except you Alejandro, you cry baby.)

As for today, well, happy birthday Jessica Alba. Not the best actress, but a savvy business lady who has made close to half a billion bucks. Seriously.

Harper Lee would have been 95 today. Thank you, Harper, for your contribution to the world.

On this day 60 years ago Warren Spahn pithed a no-hitter at the age of 41.
Rushmore of Warrens. Go and remember the Derby contest and the mailbag.

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