Remember Friday is our mailbag and we have a couple of openings.
From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday (7) and Jon Jay (19) celebrate after the final out in the ninth inning of Game 1 of baseball's World Series against the Texas Rangers Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 3-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Wow, that was great Game 1. St. Louis wins a nip-and-tuck 3-2 decision that featured two great bullpens and a great managerial move by Cards skipper Tony LaRussa, who pinch hit for ace Chris Carpenter with Allen Craig, who deliver a single that plated the winning run.
It was baseball with a lot of drama — even if no one watched it. Couple the marathon games with the somewhat-lesser-known players in this year’s World Series, and there is a ratings debacle at foot.
Know this: In 1973, 35 million people watched the World Series. Last year, 14 million watched. Yep, 60 percent fewer folks in a country that has more than doubled in population. Granted, there are about as many TV channels as people in this great nation, but still.
And last night’s game took 3:06 to play — and that was a pitcher's duel. Sometimes, it is like banging your head against the wall or explaining it to a toddler. Yes, baseball people, we want baseball to succeed and be interesting. We need it more than you know in June and July while we wait for football to start. But please start these games before 8:30 p.m. Eastern on school nights. Postseason baseball has added intrigue because every pitch matters, but does that mean every pitch has to take 34 seconds. Get in the box; get the sign; deliver the pitch and let’s get this show on the road.
Side note: Here are the entries in the Not-so-World Serious Contest. Good luck to all. (If we missed one, feel free to e-mail us.)
5-at-10: Cards in 7 (Albert Pujols)
Mrs. 5-at-10: Rangers in 6 (Ian Kinsler)
Oso: Rangers in 6 (Nelson Cruz)
Spy: Rangers in 6. (Michael Young)
Addictedto Chalupa: Rangers in 5 (Nelson Cruz)
OTWatcher: Rangers in 6 (Adrian Beltre)
SportTalk’s Dr. B (He’s a doctor after all): Rangers in 6 (Josh Hamilton)
SportTalk’s Quake: Rangers in 6 (Nelson Cruz)
SportTalk’s Cowboy Joe (He’s a cowboy after all): Cards in 6 (Lance Berkman)
McPell: Cards in 5 (Pujols)
Weena: Cards in 4 (Chris Carpenter)
JordanRules: Rangers in 4 (CJ Wilson)
ThatIdoKnow: Cards in 5 (Matt Holliday)
scole023: Rangers in 5 (Josh Hamilton)
WarEagle: Rangers in 6 (Josh Hamilton)
Inuyasha23: Rangers in 5 (none given)
BetterthanYou: Rangers in 6 (Mike Napoli)
Big Shot: Rangers in 5 (Neftali Feliz)
Friendoftheshow: Rangers in 6 (Napoli)
In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Arkansas' receiver Greg Childs (85) runs down field after a reception as Auburn cornerback Chris Davis (11) pursues during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)
Fab 4 (plus-1) picks
Last week we were South Carolina’s self-inflicted safety from a 4-1 week. That’s why they call it gambling.
So we went 3-2 and are 22-10-1 against the spread this year. Which means if you are reading this in Vegas or some where in the French Riviera and legally bet $100 on each game, you would be $1,100 to the good (and that's with the juice). Now if you don’t live in either of those exotic locales, then the picks are for entertainment purposes only. (Wink, wink.)
OK, we’ve had some success riding the overpowering trains LSU and Alabama and going against the the overwhelming stench that is Memphis. Well, this week, the 5-at-10 is scared of all three. Call it bettor’s remorse — and this week there’s the very real chance all three remain consistent, especially Alabama — but there are a handful of games that seem more appealing.
Here we go:
Arkansas minus-17 at Mississippi: Facing the SEC’s best passing attack, Ole Miss will be without injured pass rusher Wayne Dorsey and cornerback Marcus Temple. Ouch. If it wasn’t for bad luck, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt would have no luck at all.
Kansas State minus-12 at Kansas: The Wildcats were the first team in the modern era to win four straight games as an underdog. Now, as a sign of respect, they’re not even giving up two touchdowns to a Kansas team that is 120th in total defense and 120th in scoring defense. (By the way, there are only 120 teams in the FBS, so the Jayhawks are dead last.)
Nebraska minus-23 1/2 at Minnesota: Another bad defense — the Gophers are 109th in scoring defense — and this Minnesota team gave up 58 to a Michigan offense with a running quarterback. Sounds somewhat familiar to Nebraska's offensive plan, no?
Illinois minus-5 1/2 at Purdue: Coming off a painful loss to Ohio State last week, the Illini are motivated. Plus, the thing Purdue likes to do the most — run the ball — is the thing that Illinois does the best — stopping the run.
Wisconsin minus-7 at Michigan State: Buckle up Michigan State because Big Whisky can play. And yes, this is a big-time foray into Big Ten country this week. Does that make us a legend or a leader? We’ll know Sunday morning.
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (7) in the second half against Kentucky in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. LSU defeated Kentucky 35-7 in an NCAA college football game. Mathieu was called for interference on the play. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
College football update
Quick trip around the SEC — Loved our UT ace Patrick Brown’s look at the Vols struggle starting the second half. This can be attributed to a wide number of factors — adjustments, talent gaps, getting out-schemed, etc. — but interesting nonetheless. (Here's the link) — Tyrann Mathieu — AKA the “Honey Badger” because he takes what he wants — has been suspended for Saturday’s game against Auburn. Reports have alleged that Mathieu and two other Tigers including leading rusher Spencer Ware have violated team rules and the matter will be handled internally. Know this: Mathieu’s new nickname on the Twitter-sphere has been “Herbal Badger” because he tokes what he wants. (Don’t forget to tip your wait staff.)
— Here's saying that unless it comes out that Herbal Badger and Spencer Ware were involved in the Kennedy assassination, LSU's best offensive and defensive players will be in uniform when the Tigers head to Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5.
— On Wednesday's teleconference it became even more clear that Alabama coach Nick Saban has had his fill with questions about rivalries, expansion and Heisman talk. "Probably been asked more questions this week about things I don’t ever think about than I can ever remember," Saban said in a less-than-pleased tone. So coach, what are your thoughts on the Holy Roman Empire, even though it was not holy, Roman or an empire? Discuss.
— As our SEC ace David Paschall reports here (SEC suspends a pair of Bulldogs), Georgia and Vandy received suspensions Wednesday from the SEC office. UGA defenders Kwame Geathers (fighting) and Shawn Williams (cheap shot) were suspended for the first half of the Florida game in 10 days. Vandy center Logan Stewart (illegal/dirty clipping on Geathers) will miss the first half of Saturday's game against Army. In our humble (HA!) opinion, Williams' dirty play deserved the punishment he got. Stewart should have gotten a full game suspension for running behind Geathers and delivering a dirty play — arguably the league's most dirty (in that the only thing you are trying to do there is hurt your opponent) play since Auburn's Chaz Ramsey put on a chop-blocking expo at LSU a few years ago. Geathers started fighting in response to the dirty play, and while fighting is never tolerated, it was somewhat understandable in that scenario.
In this Dec. 12, 2010 file photo, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens (81) looks on from the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed Tuesday, June 28, 2011, that the 37-year-old star receiver tore his anterior cruciate ligament, had surgery in early April and "will be playing at the start of the NFL season." (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)
This and that
— How about those 1986 New York Mets, huh? Lenny Dykstra pleaded no contest Wednesday to three counts of grand theft auto and faces up to four years in prison — and that's not counting his other legal troubles, which include charges of federal bankruptcy fraud and indecent exposure. Dwight Gooden told ESPN this week he missed the World Series victory parade because he was doing drugs. We all know Darryl Strawberry had a loose association with the law. Keith Hernandez wrote about his troubles with the nose candy/booger sugar. Add in the fiery recent pasts of Wally Backman, Roger McDowell, et al., well, here's saying that Davey Johnson may have done the best managing job in history 25 years ago. Just keeping those guys out of jail and showing up at the park on a daily basis was an achievement, nevermind winning the whole thing.
— NBA talks continue to drag with no real news on the horizon. This is the rare case where no news is bad news.
— NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus said this week that Terrell Owens has recovered from surgery to repair his torn ACL and rehabed his knee to the point that Owens is ready to return. Could be interesting to see if any teams are interested in the aging, talented, head-case wide receiver.
AP File Photo
The University of Florida, led by quarterback Tim Tebow, was chosen this morning as the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC title this season.
As many SEC fans know, Tim Tebow was a pretty good college football player. Tebow's NFL career has been limited to this point and many in Denver believe the first-round draft pick hasn't been given a shot to live up to his 2010 draft day.
Well, this Sunday, Tebow's going to have the stage he's been waiting for and hopes to use it to prove that he can be an asset in the NFL as a quarterback. Tebow kind of has this thing about enjoying opportunities to prove his critics wrong. Should be fun to watch.
Simple question: What do you expect from Tebow on Sunday when his Denver Broncos take on the Miami Dolphins (number of touchdowns, passing/rushing yards, win or loss?)
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 ...