Remember Friday's mailbag — we still have a couple of openings — and thanks for a great Tuesday. It was a lot of fun.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's get rolling.
Barack Obama won four more years Tuesday. The other races were (fill in the blank with, close, contested, clearly one-sided, or whatever adjective you like).
Here's what you need to know: Obama went over the 302.5 electoral vote and is teetering right at the 50.5 percent over/under on the popular vote.
As for the questions about which sports figures would make the best candidate, we overwhelmingly endorse Peyton Manning, who received no fewer than two dozen emails from you guys. (And in truth, some of you folks were a little too keen on the idea to be truthful about it.) We decided to pair Peyton with sportsfan's idea of Chuck Norris, and the Manning-Norris ticket would be tough to topple
That said, we can see some support for our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's idea about Saban and Calipari teaming up for a 2016 run. (And as Weeds pointed out, there would be a lot of clinched-teeth support across the SEC just to get those guys away from their regular gigs.)
As for the under-the-radar politic issue from Tuesday's polls, the NCAA is about to have a real issue on its hands. (Yes, they always have a real issue on their hands, but listen along.)
The states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana. Dozens of college athletes every year are suspended because of using banned substances. Well, how is the NCAA — a governing body of college sports — going to be able to ban a substance that is legal in that state? And don't make the PED/steroid argument. Those are competitive edges.
This is a free choice made legally in those states.
And if the NCAA follows the state law, the recruiting edge for the schools in those states just became real. (Although no player anywhere is going to admit it to his parents.)
Heck, we can see the crooked smile of eye-patched Washington State pirate coach Mike Leach... "Arrgghhh, shiver them embers boys, and take stock and quarter bags."
We're halfway into the NFL season, and at the midpoint, let's assess:
MVP: Matt Ryan, Atlanta. This means little if Ryan, coach Mike Smith and the 8-0 Falcons do not find a way to win a playoff game. Still, the Falcons QB is performing at an elite level and Smith is on the short list of the best NFL coaches. Did you know that duo is 30-4 at the Georgia Dome in the regular season and that of the 14 teams to start 8-0, nine reached the Super Bowl?
Comeback player of the year: Peyton Manning, Denver. This one was determined long ago, but Manning is performing at level worthy of this award — and consideration for the one above it. That said, Adrian Peterson deserves a mention here too.
Coach of the year: Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis: Likely the most-underrated story in sports right now — and that's saying something in the 24/7 sports news world — the Colts are an inspiration. Really. More than two dozen players have shaved their heads to support Pagano, who has stepped down from his job leading the Colts to treat his Leukemia. Arians has stepped in, and if the season ended today, the Colts would make the playoffs. Yes, the Colts that were the worst team in football last year are in the playoff hunt.
Rookie of the year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis. Sure, RGIII has had more highlights and Doug Martin may be a fantasy superstar, but Luck is true and pure and will be the face of the league sooner rather than later. (And we can remember someone asking us to re-draft the quarterbacks in the NFL, and we took some heat for taking Luck No. 2 overall behind Aaron Rodgers. Any questions now? To be fair, we may have overvalued Cam Newton in that process, but not Luck. We love the draft.)
Playoff projections: We got the Falcons, the 49ers, the Giants and the Packers winning their divisions and the Bears and the Seahawks as the wildcard teams in the NFC. In the AFC we'll take, in order of seeding, Houston, New England, Denver and Pittsburgh winning their divisions with Baltimore and Indy as the wildcards. Playing out the rounds goes like this: Giants over Seahawks, Packers over Bears, Denver over Indy (think this game would get hyped much) and Pittsburgh over Baltimore. Then, Falcons over Packers, 49ers over Giants, New England over Denver (think this one would get hyped much), Steelers over Texans. After a crazy conference finals round, we'll take New England over 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Around college football
— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part I: How much is Tommy Tuberville laughing right now. Tuberville is on the short list for the Arkansas job and his former locale at Auburn is in turmoil.
— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part II: Replace Tommy Tuberville's name with Tony Franklin, who was hired as the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2007 and fired midway through the 2008 season. Franklin is part of the La. Tech staff that has become arguably the hottest group on the coaching rumor mill.
— Pondering coaching possiblities, Part III: We talked some Wednesday about how Johnny Vols Fans say Sal Sunersi's name — we think it's like James T. Kirk says "Khhannnnnn" — but UT nation is not alone. After the dumpster fire that is Sunseri's — SUNNSERRIIIII! — defense and the "don't hire John Grisham's typist and expect "The Firm" one-liners about defensive assistants working on Nick Saban's defense, here's saying that current Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has a similar view of Sunseri. SUNSERI!
— OK, if you had an SEC coach a draft — we love the draft, you know this — of "coach that will need hip surgery before next year" there's no way Derek Dooley or Mark Richt are the lottery picks. Well, we know Dooley's ailment — and we have sorely undervalued the images of Dooley roaming the sideline with a Stool Czar (and if you were the Stool Czar do you now request a staff of two more and call your group the Three Stoolies or maybe the Stool Pigeons?) — and now Richt has announced his in line for hip surgery. Somewhere Steve Spurrier better be putting down padding around the South Carolina football offices.
This and that
— College hoops starts this weekend with a bunch of sacrifices and thumpings. We're underprepared. We'll correct this.
— Wow, not only did the Tennessee Titans get humiliated by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the city of Nashville was pounded in the pregame and postgame festivities. According to NBC, the overflow number of Bears fans made the trip to Nashville for Sunday's game drank several bars dry. Pick it up, Nashville. Da Bears.
— Wow, New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl won the right to host the bowl pitting the SEC and Big 12 champs. That's stunning. In other news, Alabama's football team is good and LeBron James can play basketball. More at 11.
Because of the election, we skipped a day on chas9's excellent question about changing the Tennessee Titans' nickname?
What are your suggestions?
We went with Tennessee Turnstiles. And know this: In the NFL, you are either operating in the window to a win championship or rebuilding to get back to the window.
There are a handful of teams that are dog-paddling in the sink-or-sink-quicker waters of struggling to mediocre. The Titans are chiefly among them. Name what this Titans team is built on or the player they are built around?
So, whatcha' got, and put these NFL franchises in order of which will win a Super Bowl first: Tennessee, Arizona, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston and Seattle. And how is the Houston expansion team that far ahead of the Tennessee team that left Houston to come to Tennessee?
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 ...