We are half way through tab mania. The 72-page high school preview prints today. It will hit the streets on Friday.
Now, we start on college tab, the 40-page preview section focusing on the Vols, Bulldogs, Tide, Mocs and the SEC. Our wedding anniversary was last week. The Mrs. 5-at-10's birthday is Friday. Lil' 5-at-10 started kindergarten today. We're dealing with a lot of stuff.
Let's buckle up.
From the "Talks too much" studios and in the words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher.'
One of the TFP sports editor's firm sports theories is that nothing is due but postage and library books. If you think you're going to win because it's your turn or your time or you're owed some type of success, well, that does not happen in sports. You always get what you get. You almost always get what you earn. You most likely will get what your deserve. Occasionally you get the short end of the straw.
That said, karma can be a vixen.
Enter Jason Dufner, the stoic former Auburn golfer who is so deadpan on the course he makes mannequins look energetic. He collapsed on the final four holes at the PGA Championship two years ago, surrendering a five shot lead and losing in a playoff.
It was the type of loss that could haunt a golfer forever. Or deliver the types of lessons and skills needed to deliver in the pressure-packed setting of a Sunday in a major championship.
Sunday, amid the towering trees and rich history at Oak Hill, Dufner stood tall and erased those memories and vanquished those demons.
He won the PGA Championship, claiming his first major with a 68 on Sunday that was filled with steady and highlighted with spectacular.
He passed and held off Jim Furyk. He was never threatened by a star-studded leaderboard. He earned it, becoming an overnight major champion that was two years in the making. Congrats.
And he left there with a bag full of acorns, hoping to grow some Oak Hill oaks on his property in Alabama as a reminder. Good stuff. Watch out for Harvey Updyke, Jason.
Congrats to Dcrotty, who won our final golf contest of the year by avoiding the Woods/Mickelson trap and picking Dufner (1st), Scott (5th) and McIlroy (8th). Dcrotty, shoot us an email and we'll talk prizes.
Injuries are the key thing to guard against as NFL teams start to check their rosters. Not unlike Thursdays at golf tournaments, the NFL preseason does not mean winning playoff games, but it could mean losing them depending on which players get hurt.
Of the talk of the weekend, here are three NFL storylines we're following (you can learn about the Jets QB shuffle elsewhere, we're not that enamored with Rob Ryan's bunch):
• With each passing day, we believe Jake Locker is going to be Ryan Fitzpatrick's back-up. In the grand scheme of things, does anything hurt more in sports than missing on a first-round QB pick?
• The Falcons' O-Line will be a hot-button issue for the next few weeks — and maybe for the entire season. Less than good times.
• While Vince Young's presence in Green Bay has us worried about the current and future of local-guy-turned-Packers reserve B.J. Coleman, the pressure and focus on Graham Harrell is even greater. None of those three were particularly effective Friday night, but Harrell had two turnovers that led to scores. B.J. was 2-for-7 in limited snaps. He likely will get more reps this week against St. Louis on Saturday.
College football news to know
There were a slew of college football scrimmages and such around the south this weekend. Some involved teams of great interest around these parts. Here's what we gleaned:
• As TFP aces Mark Wiedmer and Johnny Frierson noted, the UTC offense had its moments Saturday at Finley. That's exceedingly encouraging considering the level of skill the defense possesses.
• Mixed reviews in Knoxville, but the strength of a Tennessee offensive line that had a 14-play drive without throwing the ball is eye-popping — for both sides. But, not unlike the obvious strength at UTC, the Vols' O-line is so stout that it will make the defensive front seven better every day.
• Per David Paschall, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper is a bad man. That is all.
• Again per Paschall, Georgia's Todd Gurley is also a bad man.
• Justin Garrett, Auburn's hybrid safety/linebacker who was supposed to have a breakout season as the Star Safety in the Tigers 4-2-5 injured his foot.The severity of said injury is yet to be determined. Also, freshman receiver Tony Stevens, who had turned heads in camp, hurt his hamstring. Not good. (At least Dufner won the PGA, Auburn fans.)
This and that
— The Braves lost Saturday after winning 14 in a row. They won again on Sunday. They lead the NL East by 14.5 games. Wow.
— Also of note, the Dodgers swept the Rays and are 17 games over .500 and lead the West by 7.5 games. What a crazy ride for a team that was going to fire their manager in May.
— Kurt Busch won the non-NASCAR NASCAR race Sunday. Hey, if they turn right, then we turn it off. Sorry.
Our oldest started kindergarten today.
We're pretty bummed about it to tell you the truth. We think he'll love school and be great there, but it seems he's just growing up so dang fast.
Plus, to tell you the truth, we're a little melancholy about it because while he doesn't know it — none of us did at that time — his whole life of responsibility starts today. There are things he has to do now. Sure, with those responsibilities come life's great joys. We're excited for him and his journey. He has amazing gifts that offer him amazing opportunities.
Still, with each new beginning it's human nature to look back at the completed journey.
Maybe we're being overdramatic. Maybe we're being sappy. Maybe we're delirious from the 100-hour work we just finished and the 85-hour work week we're approaching.
Still, we're super proud of that little dude.
So in honor of his first day at real school — pre-K was great and all, but this is all-day, go-to school — let's list the Lee Greeson Rushmore of best debuts:
J.P. Arencibia — the Blue Jays catcher who had hits in his first four big league swings, including a homer on his first swing in the majors.
Orson Wells — Citizen Kane is a pretty high standard as a director
Guns-n-Roses — Appetite for Destruction
Wilt Chamberlain — 43 points and 28 rebounds in your first NBA game is pretty awesome.
Who's on your debut Rushmore?
Discuss and enjoy the day; and hug your kids.
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 ...