Gang, it's here. It's all happening.
From the talks too much studios, here we go.
We are in college footbal game week. You're stoked. We're stoked. Heck, the Mrs. 5-at-10 cleared Thursday's slate for grilling and Vandy-South Carolina. It's go time gang. Giddy-up.
We have made top five lists for the last couple of weeks. They have covered a range of topics. In honor of Macaulay Culkin turning 32 on Sunday, here are the top five child stars we're going to know a lot more about by Thanksgiving. (These are the top five freshmen in college football in our view.)
1) Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State — Not many teams in the preseason top 15 give the keys to a quarterback who was at the prom three months ago. Welcome to the Big 12 Young Mr. Lunt, the challenge is great.
2) Keith Marshall/Todd Gurley, Georgia — Each freshman has enjoyed some bright moments in preseason practice and when talent meets opportunity, there could be big things
3) T.J. Yeldon, Alabama — This kid would be first, but there is some talent ahead of him. Know this, though: If Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler do not seize the carries afforded them, Yeldon and Dee Hart will make them after thoughts.
4) Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri — Amazingly talented, DGB may have too much opportunity. He's going to get veteran treatment from every defense he faces.
5) Greg Robinson, Auburn — The redshirt freshman left tackle is big and quick and one of the few certainties on the Tigers front.
Wow, over the weekend, Boston sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford (who is out for the year with an injury), Nick Punto, Paul Revere's house, Pesky's Pole, Matt Damon and a lifetime supply of clam chowder (how's it pronounced Spy?) to L.A. for James Looney, a couple of minor leaguers a bag of balls and a star on the walk of fame to be named later.
With the move, the Dodgers energized a city and informed baseball that the new ownership group that paid roughly $2 billion for the club earlier this year sees the Dodgers as the Yankees of the West.
With the move, the Boston raised the white flag on this season — which was unofficially done weeks ago — and tried to relieve a ton of financial responsibilities in the future. The Dodgers took on almost $250 million in payroll through 2017.
There is a ton of discussion about which team won this deal — the Dodgers look like they have added stars, the Red Sox have added flexibility. In fact, there are some folks that view this as the baseball version of the Herschel Walker trade that made the Cowboys a dynasty in the early 1990s by dealing him.
Boston also indirectly supported manager Booby Valentine by acknowledging the dysfunction of the locker room and making the extremely rare move of clearing the deck rather than clearing the bridge.
What does in means? It means the Sox are rebuilding. It means there will be tons of topics for Boston columnists and radio talks show folks. It means the Dodgers lineup features Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez and could be a factor this year and certainly next.
Now they will have to pay for it down the road, but the Dodgers are a player again, and that's enough to make every Dodgers fan every where smile.
Heck, Vin Scully's excited for crying out loud.
NFL getting close, too
There's a lot of NFL storylines. Your fantasy drafts. The Falcons being a legit NFC title contender. The Titans are going to be better than we thought. Peyton Manning looking like, well, Peyton Manning. (Side note: Manning went 10-for-12 with two TDs and took some legit hits. He looked really good, and if you had your fantasy draft this weekend and got Peyton in the eighth round,here's saying you feel pretty good about it. Not as good as Johnny Broncos Fan feels every time we see Tim Tebow overthrows a Jets teammate in the preseason, but still.)
The story that stunned the 5-at-10 this weekend dealt with a flamboyant wide receiver. And no, this has nothing to do with Terrell Owens. (OK, who had Aug. 26 when T.O. was going to be released by the Seahawks? If the over/under had been Labor Day, then the under hits and surprises no one.)
No this has to do with Dez Bryant, the oft-troubled, uber-talented and under-performing Dallas receiver.
Bryant, who was last in the headlines for a domestic violence charge levied by his mother (yes, he allegedly assaulted his momma), has been given a strict set of rules by the Cowboys. Here are the highlights:
— no alcohol;
— no strip clubs;
— only nightclubs that are approved by the Cowboys;
— a midnight curfew;
— a rotating three-man team of security folks who will be with him at all times and take him to all team functions.
Wow, Bryant is officially the world's highest paid kindergartener.
There's something to be said about protecting your investment, so we get the Cowboys motivation. There's something to be said about being protected from yourself at times. But at what point does the 23-year-old Bryant look up and realize he has a 24-hour babysitter.
This is a guy that if he could get his head straight could be the second-best receiver in the league. He could be in line for tens of millions of dollars in the immediate future. He could be a Hall of Famer.
And he has someone wiping his nose for him.
This and that
— Gang we're going to do the "Can you beat Jay" pick contest again this year. Here's the link http://contests.timesfreepress.com/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=67288. Sign up and enjoy. It's here. It's all happening.
— The Braves salvaged two wins in San Francisco thanks in large part to Jason Heyward, who has become the team's best player, and Tim Hudson, who won his seventh consecutive decision. Heyward has homered in three consecutive games and looks great. Want some more good news Braves fans? The Braves have 32 games left, and only six — three against the Nationals and three against the Pirates — are against teams that are in contention and playing for anything more than pride and the future.
— Now that's NASCAR. At Bristol, when the bumpin' and rubbin' and cussin' and spittin' hits sixth gear on the 1/2-mile oval, tempers flared after Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart got sideways — on and off the track. Kenseth and Stewart collided and after his car was removed, Stewart chunked his helmet into the hood of Kenseth's car driving down pit road. Yep, it's getting late in the year and temperatures are rising. Giddy-up. (Oh yeah, Denny Hamlin won the race and the resurrection of Jeff Gordon continued with a third-place finish for the driver formerly known as the Rainbow Warrior.)
— Hats off to the Goodlettsville lads for making the finals of the Little League World Series. Saturday's U.S. title game — the Goodlettsville's kid hitting three HRs and driving in nine, California rallying in the final inning from 15-5 down to force extra innings and Goodlettsville scored nine in the top of the seventh for an eventual 24-16 win — was amazing.
— OK, who had Aug. 26 when T.O. was going to be released by the Seahawks? If the over/under had been Labor Day, then the under hits and surprises no one.
— One more NFL tidbit: The league is pepper with not enough Mr. Rights at QB but a slew of Mr. Right Nows. There will be five rookie starters this year — Luck in Indy, RG III in D.C., Ryan Tannehill in Miami, Brandon Weeden in Cleveland and Russell Wilson in Seattle. That's 15 percent of the league, and if you're looking for fantasy edges, the better defenses in the leagues with those guys — the 49ers, the Steelers, the Jets, etc. — will get at least two games against mistake-prone rookie QBs. In fact, the Texans may be the best fantasy defense on the board considering they are going to see Luck twice, first-year Tennessee starter Jake Locker twice and second-year Jacksonville starter Blaine Gabbert twice.
We're tipping our cap to the young stars of today and yesteryear.
We already mentioned Mr. Culkin celebrating his 32nd birthday on Sunday, which seems unreal.
We also need to mention Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old girl who won on the LPGA Tour this weekend. Jason Sobel tweeted that Ko was not born when Tiger Woods won his first major. Heck, 30-year-old Serena Williams had been a pro tennis player for two years when Ko was born.
With that, who's on your Mount Rushmore of child stars? We'll take Culkin, Shirley Temple, Ron Howard, Drew Barrymore. Thoughts?
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 ...