It's here. No, not Miley Cyrus's next video testament that she is no longer involved with Disney. (Sweet buckets of shock and Oh My!, Cyrus went all strip-club-tastic at the MTV video music awards. Seriously. You may want to look it up on the interweb, but do not try it at work or you risk your boss or who'sherboots in accounting thinking you are checking out porn. Seriously.)
It's here. Football season is here.
We know it's here because the TFP college football preview section hit the streets over the weekend.
We know it's here because we spent Friday night dodging lightning bolts and waiting out rain delays at a good high school football game.
We know it's here because NFL teams are starting to cut players and make decisions after the third week of preseason games.
From the "Talks too much" studios, let's get the picture and toe meets leather.
The SEC is filled with high-quality quarterbacks. That's a good thing. Well, unless you're one of the teams without a high-quality quarterback. Then, the riches of others magnify your shortcomings. So it goes.
Reports have UT naming Justin Worley as its starting QB sometime today when Butch Jones meets with media. This was expected, and the fact that it took this long screams that Worley's grip on the position is tentative at best. That means, which name is put No. 2 on the depth chart is every bit as important. The options — Nathan Peterman, Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson — are young and have promise.
What do we think? Glad you asked. We believe Riley Ferguson has showed the most progression and could very well be the guy — not just the No. 2, but the starter — sooner rather than later. We also think there's a very real chance that Butch and Co. could list all three of those guys as No. 2. If that's a case, it would be a move done more to prevent one of the freshmen from transferring as much as anything else.
As for the next level, former McCallie and UTC star B.J. Coleman is now part of a two-man race to be Aaron Rodgers back-up. The Green Bay Packers released Graham Harrell over the weekend, meaning Coleman is competing with former first-round pick Vince Young for the No. 2 spot. Young has assumed the lead with two strong preseason performances, but told reporters Sunday that it's still open.
“I really feel like the job is still up in the air right now,” Young said. “I feel like me and B.J. are still competing. Overall, it’s not about us, really, it’s about the team and pushing each other so we can bring the talent out of both of us as well as Aaron. Just pushing each other. That’s what it’s all about.”
If Young does secure the back-up job, B.J. still has the option of being on the Packers practice squad.
See what we did there? Nice, huh? Everyone always asks, "Is Tiger back?" Well, the pertinent question now is "How's the back, Tiger?"
(Side note: It was more than a little bit curious that he grabbed his back and fell to a knee a full count after the worst shot he's hit in a decade. His pulled 3-wood on the par-5 13th missed the green left by a good 50 yards and went into the water. Was the back pain the cause of the awful shot or was the awful shot that cringe-worthy? Chicken-egg, egg-chicken? Discuss.)
(Side note II: Golfers are notoriously offended by the slightest noises. It's part of the game and the game's storied past. That's all well and good. But Woods poured in a 4-foot par putt with a Staten Island Ferry blaring its fog horn in the background Sunday. What? A nuclear noise-maker doesn't faze Tiger standing over a putt, but a camera click from 25 yards draws screams and glares and disgust? OK.)
Tiger's back — and the missed fairway metal — allowed Adam Scott's Sunday charge to be good enough to win the Barclays and take the first step in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs or points race or whatever it is. Tiger was in the group that finished a shot back. Scott won $1.44 million for his efforts this weekend.
Sunday was an entertaining round of golf if for no other reason than the struggles. Justin Rose three-jacked the 18th to fall one shot back. Kevin Chappell imploded. So did Mat Kuchar. Gary Woodland missed a slew of birdie putts inside 10 feet. It was a great golf course and a big-time field that at times looked more Brainerd Invitational than Barclays. Good times.
As for being back — Woods was the only player in the field to shoot in the 60s in each round — we have said all along that we are not going to ever believe Woods is back, simply because no modern golfer has reached a dominance that Tiger did in his heyday. Seriously.
And with each passing major-less season and as the injuries start to mount, Woods' 14 major championships keep getting further and further from Jack's 18.
This has been arguably the best baseball season in recent memory in a lot of ways.
The Braves and the Dodgers have been world-class hot. There are intriguing races in at least half o baseball's divisions. Miggy Cabrera won the first triple crown in a generation last year and he's having a better season this year. Clayton Kershaw is an Orel Hershiser-1988-type of groove. Small-market, limited-budget clubs like the A's and the Pirates are right in the middle of playoff races.
Now this — Cleveland Indians sluggers Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana delivered on promises to hit home runs for a sick kid on Saturday. Yes. Both of them in the same game.
Background: Eight-year-old Niko Lanzarotta has cerebral palsy. He's a big Indians fan and Santana is his favorite player. Niko was on the field for batting practice before Saturday's game and asked Kipniss and Santana to hit home runs for him.
How could you say no to that? So they agreed. And they delivered.
Here's what Niko's dad told the AP: "It was an awesome experience," Mike Lanzarotta said. "It was the best day of his life. To meet Carlos, to be that close, and for him to hit a home run. ... To see your kid that happy is a great thing."
That's great stuff. Simply great.
Now if Niko could make A-Rod go away, he'd have our support to be baseball's commissioner.
This and that
— We will start our regular game week features on Press Row today. We'll talk with Downtown Patrick Brown in the Tennessee Vols segment in the first hour. We'll talk with Paschall and his recap of Nick Saban's season opening press conference in the Alabama segment in Hour 2. This will be our Mondays for the season. Tuesdays will include a UGA segment. Wednesdays will have an SEC segment. We're looking at a potential UTC segment on Thursdays — and we'll make some picks. Give us a call at 648-1051 between 1-3 p.m. today if you want to chat.
— Former Titans linebacker and team leader Keith Bulluck was arrested early Sunday morning after getting into an altercation with a cab driver and allegedly taking $100 from the fellow. Head-scratching, no? A few hours earlier, we listened to Bulluck on the announcing team that was doing the Titans-Falcons game.
— Speaking of the Falcons... Hey, they have a lot of talent, and, yes, the preseason means squadoosh in the grand scheme of things. But the Falcons' struggles to stop teams and to finish drives and to keep heat off Matt Ryan are troubling trends to say the least.
— Your Atlanta Braves salvaged the final game of a four-game set against St. Louis behind Mike Minor, who has played the part of staff ace for most of the season. Minor defused "ace" talk, but he does have 19 quality starts and if the playoffs started tomorrow, who else would the Braves hand the ball to for Game 1? Side questions: Who are the best Aces of the world? There was Ace Frehley, Ace in "Stand By Me" played by Keifer Sutherland. Jennie Finch's kid is named Ace. Stroker Ace?
— You see the headline "Parent tossed before game" and you think what has happened on Signal Mountain, right? Nope. Mark Parent, a White Sox coach, was tossed for bending an ump's ear during the lineup-card exchange Sunday. Who says listen no one listens to a Parent anymore?
We're open for anything on a crazy and exciting time in sports.
Feel free to share your sports view from the weekend. Feel free to look forward, too. We're going to try to engage the college football talk this week, both here and on Press Row on ESPN 105.1 FM from 1-3 p.m.
Today, let's go here: Who is going to be this year's Johnny Football? Who is going to be the star of the season that no one is really talking about right now?
Here's one to start — Stefon Diggs, the electric Maryland wide receiver.
Discuss. It's here; it's all happening.
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 ...