Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) drives in a run with a base hit in the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Braves question

OK, we're going to move quickly today.

Really quickly.

The Braves played. The Braves lost. It happens.

The lead in the East remained at 4.5 because the Phillies lost, too. The magic number is 15 with less than three weeks left.

That's the good news.

As for the biggest dilemma facing this club, it has nothing to do with the playoffs or the push. (I think they get there, and then they are going to get bounced by the Giants or the Dodgers.)

The conversation centers on Freddie Freeman. Yes, he's the reigning NL MVP. Yes, he's the guts of this franchise. Yes, he's downright lovable.

But he's 32, and any deal longer than five years must be viewed and examined without emotion.

Think of all the long-term contracts given to guys in their 30s. Because as good as Freeman has been, he has not been as good as Albert Pujols, who fell off the planet when he left St. Louis and signed — at 32, mind you — with the Angels.

I want Freddie to be a lifetime Brave, but the club has to view the risk, too.


Upset alert

Of course the Mocs are thinking big this weekend.

As Weeds eloquently stated today, why not, right?

Is it a long shot? Of course. And in some ways, Saturday's date with Kentucky is a worse matchup for the Mocs than a higher-profile FBS school.

First, Kentucky is built around its offensive line, and offensive lines rarely slump. It also counteracts UTC's strength across the defensive front.

If UTC faced an Auburn or even a Penn State — teams that may be higher ranked but not necessarily better — I'd like the Mocs' chances a whole lot more, to be honest.

These Wildcats, though, are salty.

Side note: Interesting odds for this one, as Vegas does not expect the Mocs offense to do much. The line is UK minus-30.5 with an over/under of 42.5. Which means the experts think the final will be UK 36.5, UTC 6.  


Say what

OK, just yesterday we were kicking around that Brooks Koepka is kind of questionable for the Ryder Cup.

A balky wrist makes his availability for next week's international golfing grudge match uncertain.

Brooks' confidence, though, is completely fine, and stronger than ever.

Brooks on catching Tiger Woods' 15 major championships: "In my mind, I'm going to catch him on majors. I believe that. I don't see any reason that can stop me. I'm 31. I have another 14 years left. If I win one a year, I got Jack [Nicklaus]. People misconstrue that as being cocky. No, that's just my belief. If I don't have that belief, I shouldn't be out there. If you don't think you can win, why the hell are you teeing it up? Yeah, I'm just going for second place this week. There's a lot of that on tour. Even elite players are very happy with that. Second? Sports are made to have a winner and a loser. You're one or the other."


And you know what? Good for you, Brooks.

(No chance he gets to Jack, though. None. Tiger, maybe? But Jack — no one gets there.)

This and that

— OK, the first round is in the books for the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge. Keep plugging along, folks. And let's finish strong.

— So Gavin Newsom dodged the recall vote. Whatever. I'd rather live in the Arctic than California. Seriously.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the Vols passing game.

— Rest easy, Norm Macdonald. You brought a lot of smiles to the world.


Today's question

Which way Wednesday starts this way.

Which is more unbreakable, Jack's 18 major titles or Jack's 19 runner-up finishes at major championships?

Which side do you like, Mocs plus-30 or UK minus-30?

Which way should Atlanta go if Freeman demands a seven-plus-year deal — sign or walk away?

As for today, Sept. 15, let's review.

On this day in 1916, the first use of tanks in warfare is recorded at the Battle of the Somme.

Rushmore of ''tanks,'' and be creative.