Happy Friday, everyone. Above you'll find a foggy fall morning photo from the Mrs. 5-at-10. She's got mad skills.
Let's handle our business.
Rushmore of military-themed video games: Call of Duty, Halo, Star Wars Battlefront and old-school Contra for the old-school Nintendo (side question: Is it OK to use old-school twice in the same sentence? I say yes.)
Rushmore of female ESPN broadcasters: Linda Cohn, Doris Burke, Hannah Storm, Robin Roberts.
Rushmore of TV superheroes: Batman (Adam West), Superman (Chris Reeve), Wanda from "WandaVision" and Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.
Rushmore of TV families you don't want to cross: The Sopranos, the Lannisters — ask that "Shame, Shame, Shame" nun — the Ewings and the Johnsons from "Godfather of Harlem," narrowly edging the Whites and the Duttons (but there's time for a Dutton rally). Side note: Had a great suggestion for the Cartwrights, which is interesting, because while they certainly are not as evil as the aforementioned quartet, lots of places to hide lots of bodies across that Bonanza landscape.
Here's Paschall on the Bulldogs expecting UT's best offensive shot.
The response has been excellent for the fan-favorite Atlanta Braves nomination, especially on social media. But you need to go here to nominate your favorite, if you have not already, to make sure he's included.
One more thing: While she was not asked about this week, here is a great story on Julia "Hurricane' Hawkins" who set the record for her age group in the 100-meter run. She's 105.
To the bag.
I have two questions Jay: Why no more NFL picks? And you can likely guess which side I played (Thursday) when I ask, "Do we know If Lamar Jackson is a top-tier QB?"
The answer here — at least to me — is like the Mrs. photo above. Foggy.
I truly do not know. Now the ESPN talking heads are lining up to tell us how great a playmaker Lamar is, and he's assuredly that. Heck, there are a lot of folks at the Mothership who think Lamar is the MVP of the first half of the season. I don't see that, but hey whatever, that's why they are called opinions.
Before we go much further, I feel like we need a caveat: The progress made in the views and misconceptions of Black quarterbacks even over the last decade or so have been undeniable and undeniably encouraging. Maybe as much as any of the hidden stereotypes in sports conversation — from "gym rat" to "deep threat" to "coach on the field" to any number of others — that implied one race or the other with the connection of gritty vs. athletic, the 'Black QB' has been redirected.
It had to be, because a) it's the most important position in all of sports, so every team needs a good QB, whether he's polka-dotted or pewter, and b) the demands of the position are physically more daunting than ever before.
(Side question: Is there a worse one out there than 'possession receiver' always being the white dude? Because I will readily contend that Jerry Rice was the greatest possession receiver of all time — and Larry Fitzgerald is an easy No. 2 considering Fitz had more career tackles than drops as a WR — and neither of those dudes is white.)
Lamar makes amazing plays, but he also has some head-scratching performances. Like last night. (Side question: While we're here, anyone got any idea what's wrong with Patty Mahomes? Asking for a few million fantasy owners.)
Lamar is dynamic but dynamic is not elite, which is the dividing line between good/great and top tier.
And while we're here, an MVP does not make you top tier either. Was Matt Ryan ever top top tier? Rich Gannon? Cam Newton?
In fact, paying Lamar Jackson elite NFL money — which is what he'll command — has got to be a daily conversation in the Ravens front office. And they have to center on these conversations:
— Can his style translate to older than 28?
— Can he stay healthy?
— And ultimately, the question that has to be asked and answered affirmatively, is Lamar Jackson good enough to win a Super Bowl with a nine-figure contract that will cost you at least three starters in an adjusted salary cap system?
Now, in the practical matter, how many teams would trade their guy for Jackson? Would the Titans, for example, deal Tannehill for Lamar?
To those I don't know the answer, so the only thing I am certain of is that I am completely uncertain if Lamar Jackson is one of those top-five dudes.
Jay what is your take on Kyle Larson and Morgan Wallen? Is there something going on in Country Music?
I know that Kyle Larson went through a lot of sensitivity stuff, including NASCARS and quite a bit he did on his own. I understand that Morgan Wallen has done some of the same. He just does not have a Bubba Wallace that can back him.
A little tidbit about Larson, he drove a throwback car of Ricky Craven's at the 2019 Southern 500 at Darlington. Ricky brought his son and thought it was going to be a big deal but he said Kyle was all about himself and didn't give them the time of day. I think at one time he may have been a snob and a pain to people but I think this whole thing has made him a pretty decent person.
Great tidbit about Larson, and by all accounts, the experience truly changed him, and beyond just the image cleansing and PR calisthenics.
Back story: Larson and Wallen were rising stars in two very Southern-based industries of NASCAR and country music. Each was caught dropping the N-word on tape. Each was shunned for the Queen mother of all no-nos in today's culture.
Larson returned in a ride that often went unsponsored and delivered a Dale Sr.-type of dominance on NASCAR this season with 10 wins and a runaway points title. Wallen was kicked off country radio for the first half of the year right as his album Dangerous was about to drop.
Wallen has since returned to country radio — even the Cumulus and US 101 folks locally — and his album has been a smashing success.
He's still feeling the effects in a lot of ways. The DJs seldom discuss him — I listen to a lot of country radio friends — and then there is his radioactivity at award shows.
Take Wednesday's CMAs for example. Wallen was nominated in only one major category, and that was for album of the year. He lost to Chris Stapelton, who is great and won multiple times Wednesday night.
But my question sitting there watching was, shouldn't he either not be nominated to avoid the controversy, but if you are going to include him in the process, then do it fairly.
And this is not about the questionable commissions in other categories. Because in terms of album of the year, Wallen's album debuted at No. 1 and stayed there for 10 straight weeks on the Billboards charts. Not the country chart mind you, the entire Billboard chart.
The last album to have that kind of success out of the gate was by Whitney Houston three decades ago.
Maybe the past sins of very-Southern-centric genres like country music and NASCAR have an impact in that, and that makes a difference.
But man, is there a bigger, non-illegal mistake for a person's career than using that word?
Given Georgia's dominance on the defensive side of the ball, I'm heavily intrigued by this weekend's matchup against the Vols (and have been blown away by the success of this year's UT squad, given my doubts about the Heupel hire when it happened). Crazy, but I think the Vols score 24 on UGA (and still lose by 20).
I never thought I'd say this, but is UT's offense the best Georgia will see this year prior to the SEC Championship game?
I am super intrigued by UT and UGA.
Intrigued by the chance for Josh Heupel to fire all his bullets in a game few expect his team to win. I think back to some of the UCF games and how they were fearless in moments like this.
I'm intrigued about Hendon Hooker's chance to get into the 'which QB could be a first-rounder' conversation against the best college defense I've seen in decades.
I'm intrigued to see if the Bulldogs embrace the opportunity before them, against an offense that everyone is saying is the best they will see.
In some ways, that UT's overachieving offense is the best UGA will see in the regular season is a testament to what Heupel has shaped in a short time in K-town and an indictment on the rest of the league in truth.
I do not think UT gets to 20. I think Georgia is going to be frothing at the mouth and view this as their first 'perceived' challenge since going to Auburn and manhandling the Tigers. (Deep breaths Chas, yes, UK scored on the final play to get to 13 and entered Athens top 10, but that one was at home and the buzz outside of the Big Blue fan base felt limited.)
Going on the road actually helps Georgia's level of intensity in my opinion. And if there's one thing Nick Saban could teach his former assistants about, it's getting great teams ready to play and finding the slightest 'They don't respect you' cards to play.
I think Georgia is locked and loaded for Saturday.
Any thoughts on Scott Boras' comment about the Braves winning because other teams "tanked"?
Does he have any clients currently in front of the Braves? Would AA go all Bruno Tattaglia on him, with a knife in the hand? I would.
But more importantly, Paul, how does this affect Alabama's recruiting?
Scott Boras has arguably the most fitting last name in all of sports if you pronounce i slowly and add a well-placed 'e' and an extra 's' in the appropriate places.
But, Scott Boras is also very good at his job, and he is creating conversation and controversy as some of his big-name free agent clients are staring into an offseason abyss with the unknown of a potential labor stoppage looming.
Boras knows this terrain well, and he's mining it efficiently.
Big picture, with labor strife on the horizon, the owners present the narrative of players being overpaid and the declining TV numbers. Those are true, but the owners are as much to blame as the players for both of those, no mater the spin.
Boras and his cronies will present the 'tanking' narrative at every turn because it shows the owners as only caring about money. And while we all care about money, fans and followers want the players and owners to care about winning as much as we do.
So it's tactical, and Boras has even walked back those comments.
But in this case, is he wrong?
Yes, we all love AA and think he deserves all the credit in the world for remaking this Braves bunch.
They got Joc Pederson from a fire sale in Chicago for a strand of pearls.
They got Eddie Rosario for the artist formerly known as Pablo Sandoval.
They got Adam Duvall for a prospect named Alex Jackson.
They got Jorge Soler for pitched Kasey Kalich.
And they got all of them from teams that are reloading/rebuilding/refilling their 'tanks' if you will.
Who do you think you are fooling Jay? Seriously.
I think you are full of (bleep).
OK. I'm sure you're not the only one.
I do know this: The only way to do this for this long is try to be as honest as possible because as we close in on 3,000 5-at-10s in the next few months, it would be impossible to keep juggling that many versions of this many stories.
And, there are a few regulars around these parts who have known me a long time. With a safety net/collection of fact-checkers like them, who can afford to swerve off the path?
Anywell, have a nice day and try not to kiss your momma with that filthy mouth of yours. Deal? Deal.
Enjoy the weekend friends. The (not-so) Lil' 5-at-10 and I are headed to the Loveliest Village first thing in the morning for the Tigers vs. the Leaches.