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Alabama linebacker Christian Harris (8) leads the inside linebackers in individual drills during the NCAA college football team's practice Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Two weeks away

OK, we're two weeks from the first Thursday night action of the college football season.

It's here. It's happening.

We must address college football in some way or shape each day moving forward, don't ya think?

Today, coinciding with the rules around these parts, let's start with the class of the sport.

You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Alabama getting big contributions in camp from transfers. Of course they are.

We will ask a question each day about college football. Hey, it's what we do.

And since Paschall referenced a couple of newcomers that are going to help the top-ranked Tide — and yeah, that Henry To'o To'o run to being a Butkus Award finalist for the Tide is going to sting around these parts — we'll start there this morning.

If you had to bet a meaningful amount of money on who was going to win the college football title, would you take Alabama +250 or the field at even money?

 

Having it both ways

So the super team of super talent — and super egos — that was the NBA champion 2018 Warriors was undone by coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Meyers?

Really?

That's what Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, the clashing personalities that divided the locker room and eventually the core of the NBA champs, want you to believe.

Back in 2018 as teammates with the Warriors, Green and Durant got into a heated argument on the court for everyone to see, and the ripples reached the locker room.

Green was suspended for a game, and on a recent podcast, the never-shy-about-speaking, often-shy-about-shooting Green asked Durant if that argument was a big reason why he left.

Durant told Green: "It wasn't the argument. It was the way that everybody — Steve Kerr — acted like it didn't happen. Bob Myers tried to just discipline you [Green] and think that would put the mask over everything."

So Durant was upset that he was not disciplined, too? Hmmmmm.

Green was suspended for a game and claimed he told management to stay out of the argument, which seems nonsensical to me.

"'Y'all are about to f -- this up,'" Green is quoted on the podcast as to what he told Warriors management. "I said, 'The only person that can make this right is me and K [Durant]. And there is nothing that y'all can do, and y'all are going to f -- this up.' And in my opinion, they f -- ed it up."

Responded Durant: "I think so, too."

So, in a league run by players, a heated argument between strong-willed and at times emotionally fragile superstars is the fault of the two dudes wearing suits?

Yeah, that makes perfect sense.


Shohei for sure

I know the Angels will not make the playoffs.

They are 10 games back of the Astros in the West, and at 61-61, they are sixth in the wildcard race.

That does not change the amazing numbers Shohei Ohtani is compiling.

Last night, he again was that amazing 12-year-old that played at everyone's park. You know the one, who almost assuredly was the coach's kid, and when you played his team, you prayed he was not going to pitch.

Wednesday night, Ohtani homered — his MLB-leading 40th — and pitched eight innings of eight-strikeout, six-hit, one-run baseball. He needed 90 pitches — yes, just 90 — to get through eight innings.

His stats are stuff we haven't seen in a long time.

His 40 homers is behind only Babe Ruth's most productive power seasons in which he started at least one game as a pitcher.

Ruth's time with the Yankees skews several of the records Ohtani is chasing.

For example, Ruth went 1-0 with one start in both 1920 and in 1930 and hit 54 and 49 homers, respectively, in each of those years.  

But think about this for a second: splitting hairs when comparing any player — especially a current one — to Babe Ruth is mind-blowing.

Ohtani is a runaway favorite for the AL MVP and a better Cy Young candidate than most realize.

His numbers at the plate — he's hitting .269, with the MLB-leading home run total as well as 87 RBIs and a 1.011 OPS — are as good as anyone's, and then you look at his pitching ledger. He has won seven straight decisions and four consecutive starts.

He's 8-1 on the year with a 2.79 ERA — a number that would be second in the AL if he had enough innings to qualify. His ERA is also better than you realize if you remember that he allowed seven earned runs against the Yankees without getting through the first inning.

Take out that start and his ERA is 2.17, which would be third in the big leagues and tops in the AL.


 

This and that

— Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, through an interpreter last night, he showed true grace and tried to downplay the Jack Morris hubbub from earlier in the week. Morris was suspended Wednesday by the Tigers for using a faux Asian accent in a reference to how the Tigers should pitch Ohtani. Wednesday, when asked, Ohtani said to The Athletic: "I did see the footage and I heard it. Personally, I'm not offended and I didn't take anything personally. He is a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world. It's kind of a tough spot."

— So Larry David and Alan Dershowitz got into a heated argument at a grocery store in Martha's Vineyard. I'm a white guy — shocker, right? — and that feels like the whitest sentence I've ever written. I have to wonder that if Larry and Alan were going to fight for real, would they have personal assistants come throw hands against each other?  Serious question though: Larry David was mad at Alan Dershowitz for defending Trump and his cohorts, which is stupid, right? Even if you hate Trump as much as Chas does, our justice system is based on attorneys defending clients passionately. Heck, Larry David made a Johnny Cochran-like character a part of "Seinfeld" and Cochran got a murderer off. Lighten up, Francis.     

— In the most predictable NIL deal possible, Alabama DB Kool-Aid McKinstry has inked a partnership with Kool-Aid. Sweet.

— More college football. Here's the CBSsports.com preseason All-America team. I want LSU to try to figure out ways to get Derek Stingley the ball because that's who I want to win the Heisman.

— Two pitchers — including AL Cy Young candidate Lance Lynn — were tossed Wednesday for violations of the sticky stuff rules.

— Braves played. Braves won. Giddy-up. And yes, those of us riding the Braves on the minus-1.5 line right now are making bank. And yes, the minus-1.5 was in serious jeopardy with the Braves bullpen last night.

 

Today's questions

Got a mailbag question? Fire away.

Interested in your college football answer to the question above, of course.

Also, who was the 12-year-old that did the Shohei stuff at your youth league baseball park?

Who you got, Larry David or Alan Dershowitz, in the whitest fight since Woody Allen boxed a kangaroo?

As for today, Aug. 19, let's review.

Matthew Perry is 52 today. Bill Clinton is 75.

On this day in 1950, ABC started this crazy idea of having Saturday morning cartoons. Now, it's as old-fashioned as bloomers. (Alejandro, ask your momma.)

Rushmore of classic Saturday morning cartoons. Go, and remember the mailbag.

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