Remember Friday's mailbag and let's get moving.
From the "Talks too much" studios, giddy-up.
Fab 4 (plus 1) picks
We had the chance to catch up with an old friend Wednesday night, a guy that has made more big money bets than just about anyone we know. Background story on the betting fiber in his family, when we were at Auburn together, he tried to call his grandparents every Monday. One Monday in the fall he reaches his granddaddy about 8 p.m. and the following exchange occurs:
Weena: "Hey Pops, it's good to hear from you. How'd you do this weekend?"
Pops: "Good. Did good. Stupid Auburn... Stupid Auburn stopped it from being great."
Weena: "Yeah, know the feeling. Is Nana around?
Pops: "Huh. Nana? Son, you know the Eagles are playing and how she likes playing the Eagles... She's down at the Hall watching the game... Stupid Auburn."
Of course my buddy was on his way back from Vegas, and said he has enjoyed success by betting on Alabama in the first half of games because of the Tide's strength and propensity to start quickly.
The betting moral to this story: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So we look to continue this torrid ride — we're 35-15-2 (70 percent) this year against the spread — with the knowledge that past performance does not mean future gain. And remember gang, these are for entertainment purposes only (wink, wink, "Get the papers, get the papers"):
Arkansas State minus-6.5 against Louisiana-Monroe: In honor of Pops, this could be the "Stupid Auburn" game since La-Monroe prevented us from going 5-0 last week. In truth, the Warhawks were Bama-like with a quick 14-0 start but quarterback Kolton Browning was injured and La-Monore faded like a cheap pair of acid-washed jeans. So it goes. Well, Browning is out and the offense had a short week to prepare for tonight's game.
Oregon minus-27.5 at California: Hey, a double "If it ain't broke, don't fix it game." Let's weigh the pros and cons for the Ducks here:
Oregon needs style points: Pro
Oregon's offense scores touchdowns like Spy drinks beer — fast and consistently: Pro
Cal's two best offensive players will be in street clothes: Pro
Cal coach Jeff Tedford is all but out the door: Pro
Louisville minus-2.5 at Syracuse: Is there a more underrated college player than Cards QB Teddy Bridgewater right now? Bridgewater is completing 70 percent of his throws and has an 18-4 TD-to-Int ratio for the 9-0 Cards.
Georgia minus-14.5 at Auburn: Buy the half to be safe in case the Tigers score a garbage-time TD. Of course, that garbage-time TD likely will cut the game to 44-21. Stupid Auburn.
Tennessee-Missouri over the 60: Did you know that the Vols are perfect? That's right, they have gone over the total in each of their nine games this season. In fact, it hasn't been that close, including last week's 55-48 win over Troy that cleared the total of 70 with Troy's first touchdown of the second half midway through the third quarter.
Sal's on the move
At lunch we discussed UT defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri's — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — likely move from the sideline to the coach's booth Saturday. Here were the range of responses:
"Couldn't be any worse."
"Could we move him to Missouri's coaching box?"
"Can we pump muzak into his headset?"
"Can we tell him kickoff is at 7?"
We admire the way Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — is deflecting the blame from his players. That's well-played indeed.
And we think a potential move and some adjustments could provide some dividends for the maligned UT defense. The Vols are so bad on that side of the ball right now — and it's not like Leonard Little, Deon Grant and Eric Westmoreland are going to walk into the locker room to dress out for Saturday's game — that trying anything is better than doing nothing.
That said, if it means Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — has to coach standing on his head with his shirt off, then so be it. (Although we recommend this as the last resort. Think of the children for crying out loud.)
Let's pretend we were a fly on the wall for the discussion between Derek Dooley and Sunseri — SAAALLLLLLLL!!! — when Dooley informed him of the change:
Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!!
Pretend Sunseri: Yeah, coach. What's up?
Pretend Dooley: Been thinking of making some changes...
Pretend Sunseri: You going to let Cordarrelle play safety like I wanted? Oh thanks coach...
Pretend Dooley: Lord no. Pull yourself together man. No, we're going to...
Pretend Sunseri: Get Brian Randolph back this week? Oh that's music to my ears...
Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!! Stop it. We're going to make some sideline changes this week.
Pretend Sunseri: OK. Colors? Patterns? What? I think I nice polka-dotted blend with some brighter colors...
Pretend Dooley: SAAALLLLLLLL!!! For crying out loud, get a grip.
Pretend Sunseri: 246 toothpicks, 246 toothpicks... What's that coach?
Pretend Dooley: We're going to move you to the coach's box and make some changes in the way we call the defense. You'll be up there. We'll make sure we've got some snacks and pops and you can even listen to Bob Kesling do the play-by-play. He's no John Ward, but Bob does good things. You'll like it. Plus, we can get some magazines or even some history books up there...
Pretend Sunseri: You want me in the booth? Then, I won't be able to talk directly to the players.
Pretend Dooley: Bingo, SAAALLLLLLLL!!!, Bingo.
We normally cover high school football on our weekly video with preps ace Stephen Hargis, and leave this F-O-I-B space for college sports and such, and by such we mean just about everything else. Ma, MEATLOAF!
We'd be remiss, however, if we did not wish Logan Jackson well. Jackson is an overpowering senior running back at East Hamilton, and after dominating the regular season with a direct and respectful style that earned glory on the field and respect off it, he'll miss the rest of the playoffs after hurting his knee last week.
There are countless stories of joy and disappointment every Friday night, and those tears generated by the heartfelt waves of each are magnified when the finality of the postseason comes calling. Playoff high school football is the grim reaper and the great reward. It's the end of the road or the end of the rainbow and its pot of gold.
But know this Logan, you were a joy to watch. And as tough as Friday night will be, do not dwell on the end and remember the journey. And that's true for all the high school athletes.
We have chill bumps typing this, and know that each of you can relate because whether you played one down, one quarter, one inning or one note, there has been something in your life that you worked for, strived for and sacrificed for.
One of the strongest emotions we can remember was leaving McEachern High School after our last high school basketball game, driving and crying (great name for a band by the way), crying and driving.
And while the pain of that moment has faded the strength of the emotion has remained, and it serves as a reminder of how much high school sports — and our teammates and the highs and lows and our effort and work and sacrifice — meant to us.
The emotion of that night has been the reminder of a lifetime.
This and that
— The Lakers are 1-4, and there seems to be some disconnect and discord. Lighten up, Francis. There are more new pieces than a rebuilt Impala, and that takes time, especially when you're making changes at point guard. Plus, remember all the hand-wringing about the Heatles' tepid start the last couple of years? That worked out, right?
— College hoops starts Friday, and if you want some intel on the SoCon, our hoops ace David Uchiyama does a bang-up job. On the interwebs, friend of the show StuckinKent recommends checking out http://mocsmania.blogspot.com/2012/11/scanning-socon-week-one.html. We did and we concur.
— It's hard for the 5-at-10 to properly rate the job that Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin has done with the Vols basektball program. We'll start with this: We're genuinely interested in this Vols team and believe they have a chance to make some noise. Not sure we ever felt that way with Bruce Pearl roaming the sideline.
— The Colorado Rockies hired Walt Weiss to be their manager. Walt played a slew of years in the big leagues and even spent six years in the Rockies' front office. He has a ton of street cred and his resume is stout. That said, after leaving the Rockies in 2008 to spend more time with his family, Weiss coached his son's Regis Jesuit School team last year. So technically, Weiss is going from high school to the pros.
OK, Bobby Petrino's daddy said his boy Bobby was interested in the Kentucky job.
Petrino has a great football resume, as a person, not so much. So whether this works to generate interest from Kentucky, then great for Petrino. And if this works, we need to get our parents to start floating rumors that the 5-at-10 is interested in the Czar of Football job, and we'd settle for a 10-year, $5 million deal. What's next, is Bobby going to pass a note in study hall to UK AD Mitch Barnhart that reads, "Do you like me Yes _ No?"
Petrino floating "I'm interested rumors" is a wise play. His appeal is to a fan base that wants to win and wants an improved product, especially offensively, in the here and now. Plus, it keeps his name out there, which is the best play possible.
Here's the question: Would you want Petrino coaching your college football team? Would you even let him be the offensive coordinator, knowing the potential disaster that could be looming on the horizon?
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 ...