Remember we're taking all of your questions for Friday's mailbag, and we're also looking for your suggestions on possible punishments (non-violent, of course) for Al from Dadeville, the guy that poisoned the 130-year-old oak trees on Toomer's Corner in Auburn. Read about the idea here.
Here we go...
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl reacts to a call in a game against Vanderbilt in Nashville.The Vols face major NCAA violations in basketball and football. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NCAA fallout in Knoxville
The news was hardly surprising, in fact here are the highlights that were somewhat expected:
— The NCAA thinks Lane Kiffin is a modern-day pirate and not in a cool, eye-patch-wearing, bird-on-your-shoulder way. When the NCAA sets its sights, well, hope Kiffin is setting some of his check aside each week for a rainy day.
— The NCAA hates, Hates, HATES being lied to. And that as much as anything else was Bruce Pearl's biggest mistake in this process. (Side note: The people who say Pearl misled the NCAA are from the same line of folks that said Gen. Custer and Co. lost to the Indians on a squeaker at the buzzer. Pearl lied — plain and simple. He lied multiple times. He allegedly tried to get a former recruit to lie. Please, misled is, well, misleading.)
Now what we don't know is the NCAA's plans for punishment, and in turn UT's plans for Pearl's future.
What was not as commonly known was the point that Weeds highlighted. Pearl went public with that teary-eyed mea culpa and four days later was breaking rules again. That's hard to comprehend. And even harder to justify.
College hoops update, Volume 5, Chapter 4
— The 5-at-10 generally reserves this spot for NCAA bracket news and notes, but let's start at McKenzie Arena. What in the name of Mack McCarthy happened last night when the Mocs lost by something like 1,235 points to Wofford. Wow, the Terriers are the defending SoCon champs and all, but are they really 39 points better than UTC? At McKenzie? Remember a couple of days ago when the 5-at-10 told Johnny Moc Fan to go get his SoCon tournament tickets? Well, yeah, sorry about that. Who else thought the score was a misprint? Really, 39 points. Wait, was it one of those MTV basketball things with a 25-point ball in play or something? Wow. Let's just move on.
— Wisconsin escaped Michigan on a banked in 3 at the buzzer. Tough loss for the Wolverines, who more than likely fell off the bubble with that loss.
— Kentucky stumbled at Arkansas in overtime, but that's the kind of loss — freshmen making freshmen mistakes in a tough environment — that will benefit the youthful Cats next month.
— Georgetown lost to Cincinnati last night. The Hoyas' tournament status is more than secure regardless of that loss; their tournament hopes for success, however, took a beating. Hoyas point guard Chris Wright broke his left hand. The senior's non-shooting hand will be re-evaluated today, but if Wright is out for March, the Hoyas will be out sooner rather than later.
— Duke dropped the hammer on No. 24-ranked Temple on Wednesday. The defending champion Blue Devils are again making a move for No. 1 overall seed, especially since the other contenders have tougher runs toward conference titles.
Tiger Woods reacts after making a birdie putt on the 11th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 19, 2010, at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Tiger, sorry, Eldrick Woods falls to Thomas Bjorn
The 5-at-10 is committed to calling the golfer formerly known as Tiger Woods by his given name of Eldrick until he returns to being Tiger on the course.
The 5-at-10 is almost certain that Woods is not losing sleep over this fact.
That said, Woods lost in the first round of the WGC Match Play Championship to Thomas Bjorn, a player of such stature that he had to win last month in Qatar just to qualify for this event.
In years past, Woods crushes players such as Bjorn in situations such as these. But those years are past, and whether those days will return seems less certain this morning than any since Woods' private life became a public phenomenon.
"I blew it," Woods said Wednesday — referring to his loss to Bjorn but quite possibly capsulizing the previous 18 months of his life.
The 5-at-10 was firm in the belief that once all the rumors were aired and the secrets known, that Woods would come back better than ever. Golf is a mental game, and with all of those secrets no longer occupying space and cluttering his mind, it made sense that Woods was going to become a golfing Terminator.
Now, it appears that the 5-at-10 underestimated the loss of that feeling of invincibility — Woods always believing, even knowing that he was going to get away with the private lies, and dominate all comers while doing it.
Now, the most famous line from "Terminator" becomes the biggest question for Woods. "I'll be back." Will he? It's not as certain as it once was.
NFL Combine welcomes Cam the Icon
The 5-at-10 is stoked for the NFL combine. You know this.
The 5-at-10 also believes that former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is going to put on a show physically. You know this, as well.
Those concerns about how well Newton will perform in the interviews and mental tests such as the Wonderlic received another boost with Cam's most recent quote to SI's Peter King: "I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”
How about we dial that back a little, huh big fella? Icon. Icon? Seriously Cam? ICON?
Let's work on the next steps. Let's get to camp and become a starter — heck, maybe even a successful starter — before we start discussing icon status.
Our guy Quake on SportsTalk — one of the original friends of the show — has been rightly defending Newton's lofty draft status (somebody in the first 10 picks will take the guy if for no other reason than all those physical gifts). That said, being a top-five pick and being an icon are hardly linked. Sure it worked for Peyton, but ask Tim Couch or Akili Smith or Joey Harrington about it.
Plus things like this "Icon" comment has to make NFL GMs a little twitchy.
This and that from the Caddyshack
Let's have Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield's character in "Caddyshack") finish today's family-oriented, web-bash blogramble:
— Alexis Thompson, a 16-year-old girl, won a minitour event Monday in Florida. She won $1,100 after shooting a 68 and winning on the second playoff hole at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs. One more thing: Thompson, who became the youngest U.S. Women's Open qualifier as a 12-year-old in 2007, was the only girl in the field, beating 76 guys. She played tees that measured roughly 95 percent the distance of her male competitors. If the 5-at-10 was in that event, let's just say that on about No. 14, in the words of Al, "My arm, it's broken."
— Carmelo Anthony had 27 points and 10 rebounds in his Knicks debut. As for all the Nuggets fans who were left with their jaws drooping after losing their franchise's best player since, well, ever, Al says, "The last time I saw a mouth like that it had a hook in it."
— The Nets gave up their best player (Devin Harris), their best prospect (Derrick Favors) and their No. 1 pick in this year's draft for Deron Williams. Williams is a legit top-four point guard who could be a free agent after the 2011-12 season, so this move is either going to reshape the Nets or break them for more than a decade. The Nets have a long and sad history, so convincing Williams to stay is huge. The uncertainty is intriguing. Al says, "Oh, this is the worst-looking [Nets] hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh? Looks good on you, though."
— Jay Bilas had a great line this morning on ESPN, calling all these superstars forcing trades and aligning themselves to play with other stars the "AAU-ing of the NBA." For those that don't know, the AAU summer basketball circuit is filled with teams that try to load up rosters regardless of where the players live. For those of us who remember days of each town having an all-star team or playing with your friends growing up, well, Al says, "Oh, this your wife, huh? A lovely lady. Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity."
Until tomorrow, when the mailbag returns with some of the awesome options for punishing world-renowned tree assassin, Al from Dadeville.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...