Mailbag, people. Mailbag.
From the "Talks too much" studios, can we get an amen?
Mocs are the hunted
UTC coach Russ Huesman joined us on Press Row on Wednesday, about three hours after his team was picked as the Southern Conference favorite.
We asked Coach Huesman if he'd rather be the hunter or the hunted, since he now has officially filled each role entering his sixth season as the Mocs boss.
He said neither. And both. And that he'd like to sneak up on people if he could but believes his bunch will be ready for everyone's best shot.
UTC has a litany of talent — Huesman did quip in jest that the Mocs must not be very good on defensive since All-American Davis Tull was the only UTC all-SoCon first-team pick — and should be the favorite in a league that no longer includes perennial heavyweights Georgia Southern and App State.
We believe UTC will win the SoCon, and has a chance to win 10 games but we have been overly optimistic before when it comes to UTC. So it goes.
This much is certain: Anything less than a playoff trip is a huge disappointment. Agreed?
Sumer recruiting results
The random and ridiculous stuff coming from the college football wires around the country as we creep closer to the start of practice is silly. And at times interesting.
Sure the meaningless back-and-forth such as Bob Stoops taking shots at the SEC and Jimbo Fisher saying the A2013 CC was the most dominant conference in the history of college football is ludicrous.
Still, we enjoyed this recruiting tidbit from ESPN.com, which surveyed 300 of the top recruits in the 2015 class.
Best food on your visit? Tennessee followed by Alabama and Texas.
Best facilities? Alabama was a clear choice getting 24 percent of the vote followed by Tennessee, Ohio State and Texas.
Best game-day atmosphere? No clear choice, but Auburn, Clemson and Florida were the top three.
Best uniforms? No surprise here as Oregon got more than 70 percent of the vote. The Ducks were so dominant that the only other schools to get multiple votes were UCLA, FSU and Penn State.
NASCAR heads to Indy this weekend. It should be one of the sport's highlighted events.
But it's hard to highlight anything in NASCAR these days that is not turing sour.
According to Forbes.com and its valuations of NASCAR's top nine teams, only Hendrick Motorsports ($348 million) has maintained its relative value since 2010 ($350 million).
According to the same article and evaluation, the average NASCAR team's profits have dropped 31.1% since 2010. The average team value of $139.7 million is down 16.4% since the '10 season.
This comes at a time when several major sponsors — including the National Guard which is a big booster of Dale Jr. — have had open conversations about scaling back.
This comes at a time when not only are tickets available at some of the sport's most popular venues — yes, you can still get Bristol nigh race tickets — you can get entire sections at some of the less popular races.
This comes at a time when TV ratings are dwindling — and rightly or wrongly, TV ratings are arguably the most important metric for measuring sports value right now.
This is not good news, even if it is coming at time when the races seem more fun and the promise of a more competitive postseason could add a ton of buzz.
Think of it this way: Hendricks Motorsports is less valuable today than it was four years ago, and Hendricks is the New York Yankees/Dallas Cowboys of NASCAR.
This and that
— NFL camps are opening. That's fun. Apparently the NFL fanatics never take an offseason, though, as a Browns fan recently peed on Art Model's grave and filmed it. You stay classy Cleveland.
— Danny Struggla went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his Triple-A debut at Frenso. This is noteworthy because a) David Paschall predicted a 1-for-4 night for Struggla on Wednesday's Press Row (maybe he is Rain Man after all — 246 toothpicks) and b) the Twitter feed @FresnoGrizzlies then decided to chide Braves fans with the following social media salvo: "Too bad angry @Braves fans, this time around Dan Uggla knocks a RBI single to put the #GsUp 5-0. #UggLife." Well OK. Here's a piece of advice @FresnoGrizzlies, if you are going to get into a social media back-and-forth, do you really want to put your chips on Danny Struggla? You realize that his single Wednesday — against Triple-A pitching mind you — was his first base hit since June 27 and his second base hit since May 23? Ouch-standing. #Ugg-ly
— P.S. The Braves beat the Marlins 6-1 on Wednesday as Erwin Santana looked sharp.
We have a mailbag spot open so fire away.
Today is a great day for birthdays. Barry Bonds (50), Lynda Carter (63), Jennifer Lopez (45), Michael "Kramer" Richards (65), Gallagher (68) and Ted Striker/Robert Hays (67) from Airplane each celebrate a birthday on July 24.
This begs three major questions:
• Who in a million years would have thought Kosmo Kramer was older than Wonder Woman? Not us. Quick Rushmore of 1970s TV bombshells that a lot of us a certain age had monster crushes on: Daisy Duke, Farrah on Charlie's Angels, Loni Anderson on WKRP and Wonder Woman. Hello Cleveland.
•Second, Barry Bonds... does he belong in the Hall of Fame? We say yes.
• Finally, in honor of Kramer, who is on the Rushmore of sidekick characters on TV comedies. Barney Fife is far left in our book, along with Edith Bunker to start. A lot of the ensemble comedies such as Seinfeld and M*ASH and Cheers do not have a clear wingman, you know? Who else is on there?
Go — and remember the mailbag.
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 ...