Remember about Friday's mailbag. We have loads to cover.
From the talks too much studios, here we go.
Who else believes this week is moving in Suuuupppppeeeerr Sloooooooowwwwwww motion? It's like being a 9-year-old at Christmas for crying out loud. C'mon games, get here already.
This is the final day of the offseason/preseason, so before we move forward we have to look back. Here are the five biggest offseason decisions that will shape this college football season (which is taking its sweet stinkin' time getting here):
1) Matt Barkley returns to the USC. This is the No. 1 team in the AP poll is the No. 1 team in the AP poll. It's also a huge financial risk, since Barkley would have been no worse than the No. 8 pick, which is where Ryan Tannehill was picked.
2) Tyrann Mathieu is dismissed from LSU. This is not about Mathieu the cornerback — we believe that Mathieu is no better than the fourth-best defender on that stacked LSU defense. This is about Mathieu the kick-returner and Mathieu the playmaker and Mathieu the Honey Badger. Oh sweet Honey Badger, why did you toke what you wanted? Side note: After watching the Honey Badger film that launched a million Youtube hits, could you think of worse pet? Here's our top three worst pets list — alligator, rattlesnake, honey badger.
3) Danny O'Brien picking Wisconsin. The regular Badgers landed another free agent transfer quarterback. Here's an idea Wisconsin coaches: Go recruit and sign a QB that could be the future of the program. Novel, we know, but give it a roll.
4) Da'Rick Rogers takes his talents to Cookeville. The Vols best player admitted that he was unprepared for a couple of tests in Knoxville and was forced to move on. How it affects the fragile emotional state of your Tennessee Vols will depend greatly on how they play in 50 hours in the Georgia Dome.
5) Barrett Jones comes back. We think Barrett Jones is a stud. The Alabama junior was an All-American left tackle last year and won the Outland Trophy. Not only did he skip the NFL draft — where he would have been no worse than a second-round pick — Jones has moved to center to allow super-freaky-deaky talented Cyrus Kounds;fasdjfhalsdkfhasdgfalksdhf to start at left tackle. Wow.
Braves new ace
Hey, who's that 12-year-old with the silly flat-billed cap the Braves have found? Kris Medlen, welcome to the rotation. Please leave your bullpen pass at the front gate — you won't need it for a while.
The Braves rotation has gone through more changes than the Derek Dooley-Da'Rick relationship. The Braves have dealt with injuries to Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hansen and Brandon Beachy. They've dealt with stinky from Jurrjens and Mike Minor. They have closed their eyes and prayed — unless its Friday night of course — in the first inning when Tim Hudson pitches. They won the lottery with scrap-pile salvation Ben Sheets.
And then there's Kris Medlen, who has five of six starts since being promoted from the bullpen in late July. In fact, if Medlen is not the NL pitcher of the month for August, then we need a recount. In five August starts capped by Tuesday's dazzling eight innings in the Braves' 2-0 over San Diego, Medlen is 4-0 and has allowed two earned runs and issued four walks in 35.2 innings. That's an out short of a 0.50 ERA for a month in the big leagues.
Hey, kid, if you get folks out at that rate you can wear your hat any way you choose. Heck, you could even put a propeller on top of the dang thing and no one would care.
Side note: Some times number ring so true. Dan Uggla hit a 400-plus-foot homer last night. In his other three at-bats he struck out.
NFL questions abound
The super spotlight on college football has obscured the looming NFL season. Well, at least it has around these parts — if you spend a good chunk of time on ESPN, you'll see more on the Tebow-Sanchez dynamic than you'll ever need to know, (For two guys that have split reps in three preseason games and have led as many TD drives as you have, they get a ton of face time.)
We are a week from the start of the NFL season, so with those seven days, we're going to countdown our NFL Formidable 5 (which will return as a regular Tuesday feature this season). As you may have guessed, these are the five best teams in the league. Giddy-up.
1) Green Bay. The addition of B.J. Coleman has pushed the Pack over the top. (Seriously, a team this talented that also has the best QB in the league is scary good.)
2) New England. Brady. Bellichick. Two of the game's top five tight ends. Brady's old lady. A defense that has been adding pieces like Rainman working a jigsaw. Bellichick's hoodie. Brady's hair. There's a lot to like about the Patriots. How did Bellichick's hoodie get on this list?
3) Baltimore. There may not be a more talented team across the board. They have sound pieces everywhere, but is quarterback Joe Flacco ready to win it all?
4) San Francisco. Repeat the above sentence and sub-out Alex Smith for Joe Flacco. Heck, these teams are even coach by Harbaughs.
5) Houston. If the Texans stay healthy — a big if for this bunch — there is some serious talent. The defense is deep and balanced, even without Mario Williams. The offense has the best running-back receiver combo in football with Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. Plus, they play in the worst division in football, so a playoff spot is all-but-secured.
This and that
— Want to know how invested our culture is in politics? On Yahoo.com this morning — less than 12 hours after several GOP bigwigs took turns hammering the president at the Republican National Connvention — the top five trending topics were Howard Stern, Christina Aguilera, Terrell Owens (shout-out Chattanooga), Katy Perry hair color and Galaxy S III. Gang, no matter you politics, if you don't pay attention and vote, then you have no real reason to complain about it after the fact.
— Who would get a more fair trail: Harvey Updyke (aka tree poisoner) in Auburn or the three guys who were arrested for jumping Wisconsin All-American running back Montee Ball in Madison? Can you get the death penalty for eco-terrorism or beating someone up?
— Matt Kenseth has joined Gibbs racing. Tony Stewart has not thrown a helmet at him recently.
— The closer we get to the start of the NFL season, the more concerned you need to be about replacement officials. Trust us on this.
College football is close. It's here; it's all happening.
Who is the one player your team can't afford to lose? Why?
Yes, Johnny Vols Fan, your answer is Tyler Bray, Tyler Bray and Tyler Bray.
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 ...