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Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian wraps up his press conference during the NCAA college football Big 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Weekend winners

Kay Ivey. The Alabama governor and Auburn grad did not mince words over the weekend. "It's time to blame the unvaccinated," she said. She's right, too. We're spinning to a place where school is again in doubt, as are college football crowds and the rest of things that should be on the path to normalcy rather than in the category of uncertainty. And the people who I have seen post things on social media like, "I am seeing people I know who are vaccinated getting infected and that makes me laugh," well, you are awful in your awfulness. In fact, if you take pleasure in people getting this, then you have far bigger issues than not being vaccinated. Same goes for Republicans, who were celebrating/politicizing the failure of our nation to get to 70% vaccinations as a political victory two weeks ago, but who are now calling on folks to get the shot. That's putting your politics over the people and it's inexcusable.

Keith Mitchell. Yes, Cameron Champ made a gut-churning, put-hair-on-your-chest-par on the 72nd hole to win, but Mitchell is our guy and when you start the third round with seven straight birdies and shoot 67 on Sunday to get into the top five — and a $270,600 check — that counts as winning in my book. And more importantly for Mitchell, the lofty finish pushed him from 114th to 93rd in FedEx points, which is way more comfortably inside the top 125, who get invited to the season-ending playoffs and also retain their PGA Tour card.

TFP readers and high school football fans. The official kickoff of football season around these parts is not magazines or make-shift TV interviews. It's TFP sports editor Stephen Hargis touring the prep facilities on the first day of practice in Tennessee. You can follow along on the website.

Padres. San Diego has a rock-solid ball club, but adding the MLB hits leader from the Pirates for peanuts was a steal and adds another tough out to a lineup filled with them.  

 

Weekend winners

Elizabeth Warren. Known socialist spinster, Warren tried her hand as a blend between Bernie Sanders and Bernie Mac as she complained about Jeff Bezos. Looking for cheap likes — and pulling a move that actually seems a lot like a former politician who liked to make a ruckus on social media — on Twitter, Warren wrote this over the weekend: "The richest guy on Earth can launch himself into space while over half the country lives paycheck to paycheck, nearly 43 million are saddled with student debt, and child care costs force millions out of work. He can afford to pitch in so everyone else gets a chance." OK, we've covered the shaky reports about the Bezos and the Buffetts of the world finding income tax loopholes and skirting the system. Hmmmmm, I wonder who can change that tax code? Uh, U.S. senators like Warren likely have a pretty good chance, no? And to offer Bezos' incredible success and his God-given right — and constitutionally granted freedom — to do what he pleases with his money as a sympathetic way into a conversation about more government funding for the masses, student loan forgiveness or a quicker slide to socialism is disgraceful. There are a lot of us in the ever-shrinking middle class who do not live paycheck to paycheck, have paid off our family's student loans our dang selves (thank you very much) and made difficult life choices to care for our children, Ms. Warren/Uncle Miltie.

US Basketball. When a half-hangover, jet-lagged Jrue Holiday looks like the only player that cares then you have really one of two issues looming over a basketball team that is far more talented than everyone else in the field. Either there is a complete lack of leadership from the coach (Check) or there is a complete lack of leadership from the players (Check.) Side question: If/when the US fails to win gold, what does this do on the Kevin Durant narrative? Dude has the skill set to be a better offensive option than Giannis and be the most unguardable player since Kareem hung up his goggles. But if he's this disinterested, he goes from being a real candidate for one of the game's all-time best players to a taller, modern-version of George Gervin.  

Green Bay management. OK, you're a team with a robust fan base that is national. Last year, even with limited home field, you were a bad coaching decision — you have to go for it late on fourth down — from having the ball in the hands of the MVP with a shot at making the Super Bowl. Flash forward six months, and your star quarterback is talking about retiring to host "Jeopardy!", you have alienated the best wide receiver in the game, and a season of great hope appears to be unraveling before we've even watched the first episode of "Hard Knocks."

Yankees bullpen. With Sunday's meltdown — a five-run Boston eighth led to the BoSox landing a 5-4 win — New York has surrendered three leads of four-runs-or-more in the eighth inning or later this year. That's hard to imagine.

Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm. The two golfing superstars were sent home from the Olympics after testing positive for the COVID-19. It's Rahm's second time testing positive. Patrick Reed will fill in for DeChambeau; Spain decided not to send a replacement for Rahm.

Bonus pick: News that the Hawks may be forced to deal Cam Reddish for a draft pick and because of salary restrictions. Uh oh, that would mean the deal was just Trae for Luka, and history will not judge that kindly.

 

Games begin

No, not the Olympics. Considering that NBC tried to pull a fast one and put the Sunday morning US hoops game online only with its streaming service Peacock Plus, no thanks. (Side note: Peacock Plus is the dumbest of the streaming names by a lot. Side note on the side note: It was an economic decision, of course, to try to entice folks to get Peacock Plus, but considering how bad the US played, who knew it was going to be a programming decision as well?)

No, the positioning of players in the shifting of the college football landscape.

We discussed some of this Friday, but I got so many questions over the weekend, I felt obliged to include it on this here album. The next verse goes like this here.

The Big 12 realizes its football survival is attached to keeping Texas and Oklahoma. That's as clear as the physics degree on Spy's wall. And while I completely understand the SEC's benefit of adding the Horns and the Sooners, the only benefit I see for those schools is if they believe the Big 12 has already hit the iceberg.

It also makes a ton of sense for West Virginia to explore moving to the ACC and Kansas to reach out to the Big Ten.

The next round of questions and stories will be posed to the Pac-12, which opens its media event Tuesday.

Whether they knew of this on the front end or can make the most of the opportunity will be paramount for the far west collection.

Targets have to include BYU and Boise State, right? Why not make a pitch to the entire state of Oklahoma for the Sooners and the Cowboys?

Because as the college alignment assuredly changes in the months and years to come, it is equal parts "Glengarry Glen Ross" and physical science: Always be closing and you are eight growing or you're dying.  

 

This and that

— Speaking of Elizabeth Warren's paycheck-to-paycheck comment, this headline caught my eye that 60 percent of "Henrys — High Earners, Not Rich Yet — feel like they live paycheck-to-paycheck. "Henrys" are millennials making more than $100,000 a year. This video story from ABC screams that we have a lot of young people who have marketable skills but are terrible at managing money. And the consternation about the folks in their 20s and 30s making more money than I do who are complaining about the lifestyle they have and the lifestyle they want is REE-diculous. This story is amazingly self-obtuse. And more than a few folks in the Henry category who blamed student loan debt seem to forget this part of the equation. OK, if a small business owner took out a loan to start a widget company, let's say $80K, shouldn't we expect him to pay that back as his annual business grows to north of $150K (or more)? That's the lost narrative on the student loan conversation. These people are taking business loans for skills in the marketplace. (And if they're not viewed that way, well, redraft — not reimburse, mind you — that.)

— Dan Wetzel is about as good as anyone putting fingers to keys in the sports opinion realm these days. Here's an excellent column on the Japanese pitch about mild weather — and the lie it was — to secure these Olympics.

— You know the rules. And since it's the weekend following SEC media days, of course Paschall was going to unload the college football notebook. Here's his TFP home page. Check out what you missed.

— Braves split a monster series with the Phillies. Hey, they fought and faced an ace-worthy performance from Phils starter Aaron Nola on Sunday as Philly eked out the split. It's impossible to overstate the importance of the looming five-game series with the division-leading Mets as the trading deadline looms Saturday.

— Dang Luka. Have a day. His 48 points led Slovenia over Argentina in an Olympic pool play game. Yes, 48.

— So this story celebrates the transgender females in the Olympics. OK. You folks know my view on this. Side question: If we are going to pretend there is not an advantage in the transition of going from male to female in terms of competition, regardless of science and drug requirements, why are there no stories of the trans-men athletes making Olympics history? Are there no trans-men interested in sports?

 

Today's questions

How was your weekend, folks?

OK, as the Braves sit in third in the NL East, this question will loom large over the week: What should the Braves do?

> Deal for a bat;

> Deal for bullpen help:

> Sell, this year has unraveled;

Thoughts.

As for today, July 26, let's review.

Wow, lots of celeb birthdays today. Jason Statham (53), Sandra Bullock (56), Kate Beckinsale (47), Kevin Spacey (61) and, of course, Mick Jagger (77).

Rushmore of lead singers for musical groups, because Jagger has to be there, right?

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