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FILE - Alabama quarterback Mac Jones passes against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game in New Orleans, in this Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, file photo. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was among 98 juniors granted eligibility by the NFL into the draft, while national championship-winning QBs Mac Jones from Alabama and Trevor Lawrence from Clemson were among another 30 players eligible after completing their degrees and deciding not to play more in college. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

NFL power poll

Well, the pieces are moving and now the wheels are spinning at insane rates. (Side note: Spaceballs does not get enough credit in my mind. And the 'We're going to have to go right to Ludicrous Speed' was a staple go-to quote in our youth, as well as the retort, "What's the matter Colonel Sanders, chicken?")

With that, and recognizing my often-needless and forever-tireless desire for top 5s, let's do this thing.

Let's explore the five biggest details/questions as we are a month from the NFL draft. I love the draft. You know this.  

Like Batman said to Robin, get to the pole and let's make the magic happen. (Side question: TV Batman, uh those outfits, guys? What's the goal there?)

1. Does the draft start at 3 now? OK, the 49ers moved three first-round picks including 12 overall this year to get to the 3 hole. Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer said the Jags are headed in the Trevor Lawrence direction. Yes, everyone expects that, but considering Meyer's loose association with the truth, who knows. The Jets hold the 2 and everyone has penciled Zach Wilson there — whether he's headed to NYC or the pick is headed elsewhere. That leaves the 49ers at 3, and with Mac Jones and Justin Fields on the board, well, you don't move that much draft capital to move up and take a tackle.

2. What will the Falcons do? I love Kyle Pitts, and think he's the rookie of the year if he goes to the ATL in that offense. But is that a luxury for a team that defensively is desperate? Or do they take the QB the 49ers don't and build for the future? Or do they take what will be a decade-long foundational left tackle? There is not a top-four-worthy edge rusher, so they likely will draft Vic Beasley 2.0.  

3. What will happen with Deshaun Watson? I think the Dolphins have the draft capital to deal for the Texans QB, but with close to 20 women making allegations of sexual assault, the question could be more if than where Watson plays next season. That story is one of the more surreal ones I can remember in quite a while because you either have someone crafting a Winston Wolf-level-of-fixer smear campaign or we have a serial sexual predator and I'm not sure there's a third option here.

4. There are no fewer than three All-Pro caliber wide outs in this draft in Ja'Marr Chase, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Add in Kyle Pitts, a bona fide All Pro-life tight end, and the electric speeds Rondale Moore and Kadarius Toney and there are a plethora of playmakers in this draft. (Side note: Three Amigos also is under appreciated. "Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?")  

5. How many Saban warriors will hear their names called? LSU had a record-tying 14 players drafted last year. Alabama could cruise by that for a couple of reasons. First, they have a tsunami of skilled dudes. Second, in the age of the pandemic, rolling the dice with an Alabama player seems less risky than just about anything else out there. This three-round CBS mock draft is quite telling about the immense talent Nick Saban has acquired and developed in this class. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/news/three-round-2021-nfl-mock-draft-49ers-take-surprising-qb-at-no-3-dolphins-eagles-add-offensive-playmakers/ It has five former Tide players (Mack Jones at 3, Jaylen Waddle at 6, Patrick Surtain at 10, Devonta Smith at 13 and Christian Barmore at 31) in round one and a slew of others on day two.

 

Basketball bid-ness

Yeah it's starting to seem forever smart for Shaka Smart to high-tail it to Marquette.

Half the Final Four is set, and both teams are from the Lone Star State and neither is Smart's former bunch at Texas, which actually got bumped by Abilene Christian, so where would Texas rank in the state poll?

Baylor and Houston punched its tickets to the Final Four on Monday night, showing that experience is underrated and serving a reminder that defense is a difference-maker, whether you're on the playgrounds or in the Elite Eight.

(Side note: Houston getting back to the Final Four for the first time since Olajuwan is a fun story for me. I loved, Loved, LOVED those Phi Slamma Jamma teams, even if Jim Nantz was the play-by-play guy for the Cougars then. Man, I was heart-broken when NC State beat them in the Lorenzo Charles game. Crushed. That Houston-Louisville semifinal game was the best college basketball game until Christian Laettner did that thing. Sorry Chas.)

Houston and Baylor do not share similar make-ups — the Cougars are long and athletic and make up for a lack of offensive skill with a relentless pursuit of offensive rebounds; Baylor has a great backcourt that shares and a coach that embraces motion and working the ball inside out.

But both guard the shorts off their opponents. Wow, it'd be easier to get a ham sandwich by a hangry fat man than to get an open look against the Cougars.

As for tonight, well, I'm rooting for the 1s because I enjoy watching Michigan, and while I picked them to be the first 1 out in our contest, I also proclaimed them to be the best team in the country in late January. Hedge your best much, big guy?

As for picks — yeah, haven't been real consistent on these this hoops season, I know — I'll ride the over 135.5 in Michigan-UCLA.

 

More hoops

Kind of a lot happened on the hardwood last night, and it exceeded beyond the Bears and the Cougars getting to the Final Four.

In women's hoops, UConn made its 13th straight Final Four. Egad that's impressive. Whenever that streak ends, I doubt it will ever be matched.

After UConn bounced Baylor — and yes, Baylor getting a 2 seed in the UConn regional is curious-at-best seeding — I'm not sure why Kim Mulkey, the Baylor women's coach felt the need to offer this unsolicited last night: "You know I want to say this to all of you. I don't think my words matter, but after the games today tomorrow — there's four teams left I think on the men's side and the women's side — They need to dump the COVID testing."

Huh? That's nonsensical.

And asking for a large part of the casual fan base tuning in for the tournament, Dear Lord of Whistles and theatrics, how bad has college basketball officiating become?

The second half of Arkansas-Baylor was almost unwatchable.

Thoughts?

 

This and that

— Speaking of college hoops, big get for Kentucky as Coach Cal landed Davidson gunner Kellan Grady. While Chas and I may or may not get into a political discussion today, we all know he's grinning ear to ear with news that UK added a transfer who averaged 17-or-more a game for four years with the Wildcats.

— Hopefully that news will make TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer smile this morning. Weeds wrote poignantly about his dog dying, and the forever-Big Blue UK fan has clearly fought the blues since Milkbone died. Man, dogs rule.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on spring football across the SEC and the expectations and time-table for some of the mid-year enrolled at some of the bigger programs across the league.

— Gene of Many Hats Henley, the TFP UTC beat ace, capped a wild day for the Mocs, as they opted out of the spring season after all-but waving the white flag Saturday by sending 21 new starters to face Mercer. Thoughts?  

— You guys know I keep an eye on trending stuff on the Twitter. It's great when you see a random "Kyle Chandler" or "Coach Taylor" trending. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose. And yes, if you have not binged "Friday Night Lights" well, do it. And you're welcome. (Yeah the odd Landry-related storyline in Season 2 was strange.)  

— In this MaxPreps poll, Baylor School is ranked 20th nationally in baseball. Yeah, that's pretty sharp.

 

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. You bet it is. Visor tip for Ernie.

True or false, Spaceballs was underrated.

True or false, the Falcons will find a way to botch this draft.

True or false, ear hair is more annoying than nose hair.

True or false, officiating in college basketball is the worst. The worst.

True or false, Coach Eric Taylor makes the TV coach Rushmore. Discuss.

As for today, well, happy birthday Eric Clapton. He's 76. Dude can do it.

Speaking of Spaceballs, if you started with Blazing Saddles far left and History of the World, Part I next to it, what rounds out the Mel Brooks Rushmore?
 

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