There's a ton to discuss.
The lengths of what we know, what we believe and what we wonder about are vast and divergent. Let's explore each in matters that pertain to weekend sports.
From the "Talks too much" studios, real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.
Alabama is good at tackle football. Oregon is fast and scores quicker than the Fonz at midnight on Friday. Jadeveon Clowney's darkhorse Heisman campaign is deader than Seabiscuit. THE Ohio State escaped Evanston — and that defensive touchdown that allowed the Buckeyes to cover against Northwestern cost Vegas about $100 million according to reports.
Speaking of Vegas, we know the Fab-4-plus-1 picks took a beating last week, going 0-4 on Saturday and finishing the weekend 1-4. Thanks UCLA. And it wasn't even close on most of them, with favorites, Arizona State, NC State and Penn State losing outright. That's it, we're taking a State break. No, the picks will be back on Thursday, we just won't pick any State teams. Stupid State. Stupid Clemson. Side note: We also fell into at least two traps that cost us some entertainment this weekend. If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times, if a line looks too good to be true, it normally is. We also put too much emphasis on last week, meaning we let one good Saturday affect our judgement. Also, the smartest play on the board was going against Alabama minus-56, and we ignored it like the poll voters are ignoring the Auburn Tigers. For the year, the Fab 4-plus-1 picks are 19-10-1. Time to start a new roll.
Tennessee fought tooth-and-nail and took every swing in its bag and gave everyone in Neyland Stadium and watching on CBS — Hi, Verne — a great ride. We believe it was a powerful statement on the following grounds: There were a ton of recruits there, and now Butch can pitch, "If we had one or two more play-makers like you son, we beat the No. 6 team in the country." He can't make that pitch if it's 45-6. His team was motivated and inspired and prepared. It's been a while since a UT team has filled each of those descriptions. We do not believe in moral victories, but we are inclined to notice and praise inspired efforts, and UT deserves that. On the flip side of that coin, the only positive about Saturday for Georgia fans was the end result. The injury run was downright voo-doo-ish (and we say if Keith Marshall doesn't get hurt in such a serious manner, Georgia builds on the 17-3 first-half lead and runs away with it).
Also around the SEC, it was a good day for the Tigers. Auburn beat Ole Miss, Missouri thumped Vandy and moved into the Top 25 and LSU killed Mississippi State to the point that there was entertainment for everyone late Saturday night. That's what some folks in the entertainment brokering industry call a salvage game. God bless Les Miles and the bevy of talent he has.
Whether THE Ohio State will see another test close to Saturday for the rest of the season. When unbeaten THE Ohio State and unbeaten Louisville face off in the postseason, can we get a Duncan Hines Cake (walk schedule) Bowl put together by then?
Whether Tennessee gets to a bowl? Yes, the feelings of warm and fuzzy are deserved and prevalent this morning for Johnny Vols Fans, but Missouri is a lot better than we expected and the same can be said for Auburn. It will be a fight for UT to get to six wins, but if we can take anything away from Saturday, it's these Vols will fight.
Can UTC build on the momentum of thumping a hapless Western Carolina team? It's time to string a few together Mocs, especially with the schedule back-loaded with App, Wofford and Samford.
Speaking of Missouri, the Tigers come to Athens on Saturday to face the walking wounded known as the Georgia Bulldogs.
Peyton Manning is surreal. Dude is playing at another level currently, and we're pretty sure it's a level we have not experienced.
The New Orleans Saints are for real, shedding the "Dome Sweet Dome" security blanket and winning at Soldier Field in the Chicago elements.
There is no team in football that gets more from its home crowd than the Seattle Seahawks, who have a near-loss at woeful Carolina and head-scratching, pull-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory loss at Indy.
Jacksonville, which is a record-setting 28-point underdog at Denver, this week, is awful. The Jags are so bad their second-best player is Cecil Shorts and the mid-1970s Tampa Bay Bucs are making fun of them.
Tonight is a must-win for the Atlanta Falcons against the New York Jets. This actually could be in the I know catetory. In fact, a Falcons loss tonight could cap a downright-crud-tastic sports weekend for the Peach State. Georgia escapes Knoxville and has three key offensive players hurt; Tech gets thumped by Miami; Georgia Southern losses to Samford; the Braves are all-but cooked; and now the Falcons. Ouch-standing.
The Titans win Sunday if Jake Locker's healthy. We also believe that can be viewed as a Jake Locker compliment, which would likely be our first. Good times.
If the hullabaloo about the Broncos is not a touch overblown? Yes, Peyton is playing on another level that's bordering on another planet. (Seriously, when he throws an incompletion, we're surprised.) Gang, they just allowed almost half a hundred to Dallas, and let's remember that Manning's record in less-than-40 degree weather is less than inspiring. And last time we checked, it can get cold in Denver in the winter.
Who is the biggest disappointment so far? Falcons are in that discussion with the Jags — no one expected much, but this is dreadful. The Steelers are the front-runners, right, edging the winless Giants.
The Braves are in trouble. Big, thick and deep trouble. After last night's 13-6 Dodgers win, L.A. leads 2-1. Game 4 is tonight with the Dodgers sending Ricky Nolasco against Freddy Garcia. And after a long and largely successful season, the Braves put their hopes in Freddy Garcia?
This begs the questions, how did we get here and does anyone this side of Sanford and Son/Chico and the Man doubleheader on NickatNite have more Freddy/Freddie/Fredi(s) prominently involved. (Side note: It's not unlike a softball team with Ashley/Ashleigh/Ashli for crying out loud.)
The Pirates are the funnest team in professional sports right now. Watching them play, especially at home is good times personified. Pittsburgh has a 2-1 lead over the Cards in the other NL Divisional Series. And for those of you — Stuck and Spy — praising the play of Andrew McCutchen, well, dude is hitting .538 with an on-base percentage of .684 in the poseason. Game 4 is today.
There is no way a nine-inning baseball game should take 4 hours like the Braves-Dodgers did last night. Egad.
With all four series in action today — and the Braves starting at 9:37 p.m. — if there will be more than 15 hours of baseball today. We say yes.
Can Tampa even take a game?
This and that
— We know that Tiger Woods, when he's swinging like he did this weekend, is still the best show in golf.
— We believe it's been a tough 2013 for Dario Franchitti, who split with Ashley Judd earlier this year and fractured his spine in an IndyCar wreck this weekend. A broken back and a broken heart, and we can all agree that Miss Judd is top shelf, correct?
— We believe that the FSU-Clemson winner in two weeks will have the most direct path to the national title.
— We wonder what the longterm future is for a more-and-more troubled NASCAR. The sport's teams are married to big-money sponsors that are harder and harder to come by. Plus the ratings are falling and the names are more and more forgettable. Quick, can you name the points leaders?
There's a million chances to interject, and we'll make this one easy.
You pick the topic, and toss out what you know, believe or wonder. Heck, you can even do all three if you'd like.
We've started the ball rolling, can you keep it spinning?
Here's another one:
We know that Les Miles' non-finger-touching clap is the most sure sign that his Tigers are playing well.
We believe that every single Auburn play is called "Run it. RUN it. RUN IT." Because that's all Tigers coach Gus Malzahn screams between offensive snaps.
We wonder how many places Vandy coach James has sent resumes?
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 ...