Will Ferrell was honored with the Mark Twain Prize, an award given to funny people by funny people, only everyone wears a tuxedo and tries to be polite as they are heckling you. In short, it's a big deal. So, we're going to have a themed show today because Ferrell is funny — "Anchorman" and "Old School" and an excellent cameo in "Wedding Crashers" and a dominant run on SNL and, well, you get the idea — and Mark Twain is cool.
From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
"Winners get to do what they want"
Ricky Bobby's one-liner is the fundamental truth in sports — winning cures all evils. Problems in the locker room, problems with perception, problems with the roster, it doesn't matter when you win, because winners get to do what they want. So here's the NFL power poll, and right now, the Packers could go all Brick Tamland and kill a guy and everything would be hunky dory.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talks with side judge Don Carlsen before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
1) Green Bay
3) San Fran
4) New England
5) New Orleans
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri sits on the bench in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)
29) St. Louis
"Strategery" — Ferrell on SNL as George W. Bush when asked to sum up his campaign in one word
LSU coach Les Miles talks to his player before they took the field for an NCAA college football game against Northwestern State in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
This may be the best way yet to approach the crazy-like-a-fox logic of LSU coach Les Miles as we approach The Showdown on Saturday between Miles' Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
While the two teams are built on power football and overpowering defenses, the two head coaches — the boyishly charming wordsmith/word butcher and the outwardly cold, worried-about-the-process Nick Saban — could not appear to be more opposite.
Want another stat that makes this LSU-Alabama showdown even more confusing: The team that has led at halftime has lost six of the last eight matchups. Chew on that like Les Miles chews on grass.
See if you can pick out which coach said the following things:
— We get up early as coaches and go in early and work until late. At some point in time, it is time to play. Playing denotes something that you need to do, and at some point, it needs to be fun.
— It's fun to play in games like this... but it's important to stay focused on the things you need to do to play well.
— They can run it down hill and they have 7 or 8 different guys that play well up front on defense.
— The want to have our school as an alumnus be successful and do right things. That's my greatest concern.
— We are going to recognize that we may need to score some points in this game, but that's what we try to do in every game, and we are going to work in the same way that we have, aggressively as needed certainly.
— The formula for success is every guy can make a difference for the entire team in whatever his role is. And to do it right, to get it right, is a critical factor in being successful.
— I certainly understand the interest surrounding what seems to be news.
— In some way the guy that finishes in a position left of the championship in the SEC, if he can demonstrate statistically by what kind of team he has, I am for the SEC.
"HEY MOM! CAN WE GET SOME MEATLOAF? What is she doing back there? I never know what she’s doing. — Chazz in "Wedding Crashers"
It's hard to know what the Vols can do to get out of their current slide, but playing MTSU is a good start.
The Vols have been brutal offensively in their four-game losing streak,averaging 7 points per game. Injuries to UT's top receiver and starting quarterback is part of it. Playing four of the nation's top seven defenses in a 22-day stretch is not a recipe for offensive greatness either. (Granted Jomo is going to mention that UT coach Derek Dooley is in over his head, and in truth, as of this moment, Jomo has more evidence on his side than those who think Dooley is the man to return UT to prominence.)
So what are Dooley and OC Jim Chaney and the crew doing back there to get the offense back on track? Hard to know. We do know that the Vols will again hand the ball to freshman Justin Worley. We know this because our UT ace Patrick Brown told us here (Vols freshman Justin Worley to start again against MTSU).
Worley's presence on the field for the first offensive series Saturday night is relatively a foot note. It's certainly as much about what Matt Simms has been unable to do as what Worley was able to accomplish last week against South Carolina. Plus, after pulling his redshirt, there's no sense not putting the youngster on the field. (If you are going to stink, you may as well stink with youth.)
In truth, Worley or Simms or anyone this side of the 5-at-10 could take snaps and the Vols should roll against the overmatched Blue Raiders. Should.
But the offense needs to be addressed because there are three more conference games left, and the Vols need to win three of their last four to be bowl eligible. And with a team this young, being bowl eligible — and getting those extra practice days — is of great importance.
But it will not happen if the Vols average a touchdown a game.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa speaks during a victory celebration in honor of the Cardinals' 11th World Series in franchise history, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
"I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.” — Ron Burgandy
In an effort to describe a crazy baseball day, we were either going to go with the above quote or this exchange between Burgandy and Brian Fontana:
Brian Fantana: Sex Panther by Odeon. This stuff is illegal in 9 countries. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.
Ron Burgundy: It's quite pungent. [cringes] It's a formidable scent; it stings the nostrils in a good way.
Brian Fantana: [daubing the cologne on his neck] Yup.
Ron Burgundy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.
Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. They say 60% of the time, it works every time.
Ron Burgundy: That doesn't make any sense.
Heck, let's use both.
The first one about Ron trying to impress Veronica Corningstone and the origins of "San Diego" being lost in translation made the 5-at-10 think what would baseball scholars say 50 years from now about Derek Lowe's tenure in Atlanta? Lowe was paid roughly $55 million (including the reported $10 million the Braves will pay him in 2012 to NOT be a part of their team) and that sum translates to roughly $95,000 an inning and about $1.3 million per win in his time in the ATL. Will that be considered a bargain 50 years from now the way salaries are escalating. (Heck CC Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees that gives him a $25 million option at the back end of his career. At that price tag, if CC wins 19 games in his final year — which would be a pretty good season — that would figure out to $1.3 million per win.)
We also wonder what someone like Bob Gibson or Jim Palmer or any other pitcher who dominated 40-plus year ago would say about Derek Lowe's salary and production. That said, here's saying the Braves made the right move dealing Lowe and cash to the Cleveland Indians for a minor-league left-hander that had a 3-plus ERA in Class A ball last year. The move makes sense (even if it doesn't make cents — see what we did there?) if for no other reason than it gets Lowe out of the rotation and opens up a full-time spot for one of the Braves' young guns. And if you think Lowe in the bullpen for long relief would have been a good idea, well, what does that do for morale that your highest paid pitcher is sitting in the outfield stands cutting jokes and taking the ball when either team is up or down 4-plus runs?
But that was far from the only baseball news Monday. It was a formidable scent of baseball news.
— Tony LaRussa stepped down. He made the announcement Monday. Quick question, how big of a difference in his legacy did two inspired performances in Games 6 and 7 make? Think about it, if the Rangers hold on in Game 6, LaRussa's legacy is forever scarred by the "Phone-Gate" call to the bullpen that was miscommunicated and how it cost the Cards a World Series. Now, it's a funny footnote. We said it earlier — "Winners get to do what they want."
— The Braves also picked up the option on Eric Hinske, who was a serviceable reserve for Atlanta and is the answer to this trivia question: Which major league player looks most like the lead guy on the "King of Queens" sitcom?
"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing." — Mark Twain
Before we get to today's question, the answer to the which coach said what above goes Miles, Saban, Saban, Miles, Miles, Saban, Miles, Miles.
There are a lot of things we could cover in the final item, but in honor of Will Ferrell and Twain himself, we'll close with this:
Who's on the SNL Mount Rushmore? You only get four. Who are they? Does Ferrell make it?
We'll share ours around 2 p.m.
Discuss and enjoy and keep laughing — it keeps you young.
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 ...