You know how we roll. We do this every Monday through Friday, on holidays, vacations, when we're under the weather, snow days, you name it. Been that way since the last week of October 2010. (Yes, for some of the newcomers that means the 5-at-10 has been around longer than most 5th graders. As we start our 568th consecutive week — and at 2,836 consecutive 5-at-10s, well, we zoomed past Cal Ripken Jr. a long time ago — we are going to try to expand, and we thank you for making this what it has become.)
We normally cut this song and dance short on holidays and vacations and leave a mini-version. Hey, it's tradition.
But not on Labor Day. Simply too much happening and, yes, this will be exceedingly college football heavy.
Patrick Cantlay. Yes, he's had a great year, but how about this weekend? Dude was amazingly solid and built on the season-long lead he crafted. And how big was that win? Cantlay had made $14.7 million in golf earnings in his career. Sunday, he made $15 million.
College football fans. Gang, that was fun. And we were starving for it. The TV numbers are reportedly through the roof, led by a monster number for the Clemson-Georgia game. Which leads us to ...
Georgia's defense. Yes, there were a slot of players who shined — nice work, Bryce Young — and a lot of first-year coaches who handled the moment against overmatched foes — we saw that, Bryan Harsin — but the biggest eye-popping star was not a college football individual, but the collection of talent and tenacity that was the Junkyard Dawg D. Clemson ran for 72 inches. Seriously.
FSU and Notre Dame. Yes, the Irish won, but that was the best effort from an FSU team since Jimbo was on the sidelines. Now was it the emotion of all the Bowden tributes? Who knows. But that was not the same FSU from a year ago. And we listed both teams because a) Notre Dame won the game, and b) Notre Dame did it amid a slew of distractions. Also, Notre Dame has safety Kyle Hamilton, who is the best safety in college football. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Hamilton is agile enough to have sideline-to-sideline coverage skills on tape after Week 1. If you know of the play of which I write, then you're nodding your head. If not, watch this and enjoy the skill set.
Will Healy. Friend of the show and local boy made good, Healy and his Charlotte bunch stole the show with an upset over Duke over the weekend, giving Charlotte its first win over a Power 5 team ever. Good times.
Geoff Collins. Georgia Tech was one of two teams to pay an opponent more than $1 million to come to town and pull off the upset.
Which leads us to the ACC losing the weekend as a whole. Tech lost to Northern Illinois. Duke lost to Charlotte. Clemson lost to Georgia. FSU fought, but still lost. Miami got pistol-whipped by college football's biggest bully. UNC was top 10 and lost, albeit to a conference foe. Louisville has a chance to save some face tonight against Ole Miss, but it still was a disaster. And while we're here, it was not much better for the AAC, which watched Tulsa lose to UC Davis, USF get whipped by NC State, Temple get pummeled by Rutgers and had to listen as three of the most-prominent members are playing footsie with the Big 12.
Vandy. We knew it was going to be bad, but a 20-point loss to ETSU is worse than bad. Way worse.
State of Washington college football. The Huskies lost to Montana. Washington State lost to Utah State.
College football. The divide between the elite and everyone else is only growing. It also is inaccurately being used as fuel for the push for expansion. (Side note: I say inaccurately because expanding the playoff field is like Tiger-proofing the PGA courses in the 2000s when Woods was hitting it longer than everyone else. Expanding the playoff will allow more teams to dance, but not any more teams to contend, because expansion is going to put even more emphasis on depth, and who has more depth than Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and THE Ohio State? Expansion is being driven by the powers that be that want more mouths on the money spigot. Period.) Still, the growing divide in dominance is going to hurt the sport for the casual fan, and when Alabama is a three-TD pick and almost a five-TD winner over another top-15 program, well, no es bueno for the landscape for the game.
Fall fun for all
OK, we've got a couple of season-long adventures we are going to try, and if these take off, who knows what the future holds?
So feel free to play along. And feel free to get someone else to play along. There is strength in numbers, and for these added adventures around these parts to take off with the folks above me on the org chart, we need the strength in those numbers.
Does that make sense?
OK, first is the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge. We are going to ask a college or NFL question that you can nominate answers to for one week, then vote on your nominations the following week.
Here's the online link, and yes, there are a couple of questions, but there also is a chance to win a $5 free bet from Action247. Please answer them and play along.
This week's question asks, "Who is the best college football player to come from the Chattanooga area?" There are a couple of no brainers — one went from Howard to UT, another went from Baylor to Bama to the cover of SI in the 1970s/80s — but we are looking for several, and come Friday's mailbag, if you want to share your reasons for your nomination, we'll share some with the group.
Deal? Deal. And again, we'd love to have as many people as possible playing along. Thanks.
The other is we are going to again have an NFL eliminator pool. (Side question: This used to be called a suicide pool, but we concurred last year that the word suicide may be deemed insensitive. No, that's not a question. This is the question: What are the foul line-half court-foul line-baseline sprints after basketball practice called these days, since they were known as suicides in my day? Credit for that question to Alejandro.)
The eliminator pool is easy, especially in the beginning. Pick an NFL winner — straight up, no spread — and advance to the next week. One loss and you're out. But once you have used a team, they are dead to you for the entire season. If memory serves we had something like 60 players last year and half — myself included — lost on Week 1 with the Colts.
Less than good times.
Gang, please play along with the Bracket and the Eliminator.
Happy football everyone.
This and that
— The Fab 4 picks are 3-2 heading into tonight's Ole Miss-Louisville game. I'm on Ole, and tempted by the over, even as it inches closer to 80. But Lane Kiffin getting the COVID certainly takes some fun — and some certainty — from the proposition.
— Speaking of betting, friends, I can't stress this enough: The live in-game betting prospects of college football must be embraced. Here are some of the in-game winners we picked from the back porch with great family enjoying great times and great Co-Colas: Holy Cross in-game vs. UConn because you could see how bad UConn really was; Missouri got down to just minus-3 in-game on some sites; and it was apparent very early on that Alabama was every bit as dominant as most expected. The live betting option is going to be a game-changer in college football more than any other sport because emotion is such a part of the equation, especially in hostile environments. Case in point: It was apparent very quickly that UCLA was comparable athletically to LSU — something that I did not expect — and certainly not backing down. And yes, I wish I had hopped on UCLA to win the Pac-12 at +1100 before the season.
— Also, while we're on the gambling thing, if you are playing online in Tennessee, always check the specials and offers from the various sites. For example, one site had the over/under on Clemson-Georgia down to 0. You could only bet $25, but still, it's a free $25, although the total of 13 was way closer to 0 than most would have expected. Also, another site has Tampa Bay +73 this Thursday night against Dallas. Hey, Vader, can I count Tampa +73 in my weekly picks?
— Speaking of Notre Dame, the hubbub about Brian Kelly's postgame quote is beyond stupid. Kelly, with the ESPN sideline lady, poorly referenced John McKay's classic quip about his winless Bucs teams in the 1970s. When asked about his team's execution, McKay famously deadpanned, "I'm all for it." Kelly tried a similar line after a rocky OT, and of course social media went aghast. So it goes, I guess, but I'm ready for the pearl-clutching morality mob's time to be done. And what is truly amazing is that Kelly has real skeletons in his closet that went by without a peep, because those issues are complex and real and messy. But the etiquette police can feign outrage at a postgame, on-field one-liner. Perfect.
— By all accounts, it was a fun NASCAR race. Cue J-Mac in 5, 4, 3, 2.
— Braves played. Braves split at Colorado. Tonight brings a needed off day, and all things considered, a 4-6 mark in 10 straight road games against the two best teams in baseball and the biggest home-field advantage in the sport is not terrible. If anyone had asked back in mid-June, would you take a two-game lead with 15 of your final 25 at home? Yes, please.
— Wait, the Braves have an off day on Labor Day? Is that right?
— You know the rules, and since he wrote like 14 stories over the weekend, here's the link to Paschall's college football river of information.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Share, and open up. (And seriously, participate in the bracket challenge. Thanks.)
As for multiple choice Monday, we'll go here:
Which fan base of a preseason top-15 team is the most concerned right now?
As for today, Sept. 6, let's review. Happy Labor Day, everyone.
It's national coffee ice cream day. Coffee ice cream, friend or foe?
To continue the emotional tributes to Bobby Bowden after last night, who is on the Rushmore of ''Bobby'' — not Bob or Robert, ''Bobby'' — friends?
And thanks as always for the support.