Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor (3) celebrates with third base coach Dino Ebel as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning to win a National League Wild Card playoff baseball game 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger also scored. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Big Blue finish

What a game.

Seriously, God bless the ''er'' months.

The Dodgers eliminated the Cardinals on a walk-off, two-run homer to get a potentially all-time-great NLDS series with the Giants. The NL West rivals each won better than 65% of their games this season and finished at least 50 games over .500.

In fact, considering the record-setting TV numbers the Red Sox and Yankees drew on Tuesday, this was the best round of wildcard games in MLB playoff history. (Side note: Boston's win over New York averaged 7.69 million viewers, which is the second-largest TV audience for any wildcard game and the most-watched MLB game on ESPN since 1998.)

And, very possibly, the last round of wildcard games, at least in this format.

Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expires later this winter, and chief among the owners' wants is an expanded postseason field.

It could be like the COVID-concocted version of the 2020 playoffs, with eight playoff teams in each league playing first-round series rather than the drama and finality of the win-or-pack-your-bags wildcard games.

It could be just adding one team per league, but postseason expansion is coming — in numbers of teams and numbers of games.

There's simply too much money on the line — for owners and players — with more playoff baseball.

So thanks, wildcard, for the guaranteed greatness of elimination baseball.


New clothes

So the Vols are going with black unis this weekend against South Carolina. OK, I suppose.

And I was guilty of falling for this line of thinking at one time, too, but the notion that recruits want pizzazz in their uniforms is wicked off base.

No, bookstores and merchandisers want variety in a team's uniforms because more options equates to more sales.

But the ''kids want different'' does not hold water since a) TCU and Oregon are hardly the year-in, year-out 5-star rivals bigwigs and b) Georgia and Alabama are the real recruiting champs, and their uniforms are as predictable as their Saturday blowouts.

I'm fine with UT's decision, but I do like the fact that Auburn's uniforms are a) one of the nation's best and b) not likely to be changed any time soon.

Side question: UT's traditional uniforms, friend or foe? Try to leave partiality — either for UT or against — out of it. Personally, I like UT's uniform.  


Flop 4 picks

Well, a one-week winning streak faded as quickly as Missouri's chances after UT rolled to a 28-3 first-quarter lead.

Not-so-good times.

But, we had this same theory as a high school basketball player: Shooters gotta shoot; pickers gotta pick.

(Side note: Of course, if you can't shoot, well, the basketball equivalent I suppose could be screeners gotta screen, which also works as pickers gotta pick. And roll.)

While I can't vouch much for my first month of picking, know this: The big kid could shoot it, friends. For real.

Georgia Tech-Duke under 61. I know, I know, betting on the ACC is a gambling form of Russian roulette or interstate chicken with an 18-wheeler — you don't know what you're going to get and it's rarely good. But this number is simply too high.

Arkansas-Ole Miss under 67. Yes, we're riding an early undertow, if you will. What do we know? Well, let's rephrase: What do we think we know? Both of these teams got punched in the face by the two best teams in the country last week. WE know that Arkansas is going to run the ball. A lot. Arkansas' 3-3-5 defense is made for schemes like what the Rebels use. AM I worried a bit that Lane Kiffin may want to hang half a hundred on someone after the popcorn stuff? Yeah, but what I think I know outweighs that. Georgia minus-15 and under 47 against Auburn. Yep, pickers gotta pick. And I'm bagel-and-3 picking games involving my alma mater. But in the things I think I know — and this one I believe I know I know, you know? — the Houdini stuff Bo Nix pulled off at LSU will be 12-yard losses against a Georgia team that tackles a smidge better than anyone this side of the Chargers.

Charlotte minus-3 at Florida International. I think I know that I like Will Healy. No, I know I know I like Will Healy. And knowing how much he covets exposure for his program, these Friday showcases are crucial for him and the Miners.

Vandy-Florida over 59.5. Heck, after last week's frustration in Lexington, the Gators may get this one on their own.

Alabama first half minus-10 over A&M. Should have never left old faithful, you know?

Last week: 2-4 against the spread (33.3 percent)

This season: 16-20 against the spread (44.4 percent)

Auburn picks: 0-3 against the spread (Yep, that's a 0.0)


This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's picks for the college football weekend ahead.

— Dave Chappelle is catching a lot of heat for his recent stand-up routine on Netflix. Here's more

— Sometimes it's hard to realize how people thought, "Yeah, this is a good idea." This story about a Maine high school canceling its football season and firing its coach after a preseason hazing incident involving a sex toy certainly qualifies. (And yes, I was not expecting to write the phrase "preseason hazing incident involving a sex toy" this morning.)

— Both ALDS are in action tonight with the Red Sox at the Rays and the White Sox at the Astros. Like the Rays and the Pale Hose tonight.

— Still looking for nominations on the best college football rivalry in round three of the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge.


Today's questions

Which SEC team — other than the team you root for of course — has the best football uniforms?

(For my dollar, it's Georgia.)

As for today, Oct. 7, let's review.

Simon Cowell is 62 today, and I'm not sure anyone has made more money by being rude.

But does he make the Rushmore of Simon? Go, and remember the mailbag.