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Oct. 11—It's fall break in Hamilton County, so you know what that means. The 5-at-10 clan made a break for the beach.
Cape San Blas and some time to kick back. (Side note: Did you know the kids say "vibe" now for what used to be chill? Just passing it along.)
It meant a lot of time packing and driving with football on in the background and doing our best to keep our head on the sports swivel as we pick up steam into a fast-paced October.
Georgia. Kirby's bunch is legit. LEE-git. Side question: Why are Georgia fans so on edge on social media? Seriously. The angst was real on Twitter Saturday, in a game Georgia won by 24 points. Against a ranked rival. On the road. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't even that close. Enjoy the excellence of this football team, especially that defense Johnny Bulldog fans, and relax. Or vibe, as the kids say.
Jim Harbaugh. Nebraska was a trendy upset pick. Michigan handled its business on the road, and moreover, the fire in Harbaugh's belly was clearly back in the 32-29 win. The Wolverines are unblemished and khaki is in again this fall in Ann Arbor.
Baseball. These playoffs have been fun. Sure, they are going against college and NFL football, and the names are new for a lot of us, but the action has been enjoyable.
Tennessee offense and Josh Heupel. I am overjoyed for my UT-loving friends like Intern Scott, Quake, Hargis, B-Shep, my cousin Drew, Weston and so many others. As one tester told me Saturday afternoon: "It's so nice to watch and not be afraid of what's going to happen next." Especially where we live, college football Saturdays are better when UT is relevant.
Caleb Williams. The Oklahoma freshman saved the Sooners' college football playoff hopes by relieving the struggling Spencer Rattler and lifting OU to a miraculous Red River Rally. Interesting side story to this: Williams is a freshman, and OU coach Lincoln Riley has a rule that freshmen are not allowed to speak to the media. That's far from uncommon, in fact it's pretty normal depending on the coach. But, in today's NIL world, not allowing freshmen that exposure hits them in the wallet and certainly could be used against any program in recruiting. Because Williams endeared himself to an entire fanbase Saturday, and not being able to talk about it could cost him some cash.
UTC. An overtime loss at VMI is a monster kick to the crotch of the hopes for a program that had conference title aspirations and tangible playoff beliefs. And with unbeaten ETSU coming to town Saturday and dates with Furman and Wofford still ahead, it seems pretty simple to me: UTC needs to win out to feel good about its chances to get into the playoffs.
Nick Saban. Yeah, I know, even Tiger Woods hits one out of bounds every now and then. And in no way am I calling him a "L-word," but you better believe after the summer exchanges of barbs with Jimbo, Nick has been cussing himself all weekend. And of course, Nick's postgame comments were spot on for his team — and that fan base — which has been spoiled by the greatest decade the sport has ever seen. But still, you know the memories of the summer when Jimbo took his turn and told reporters he was coming to beat Nick, and Saban responded with "In what, golf?" have been bouncing around in Saban's head since leaving Kyle Field Saturday night.
Jon Gruden. Hmmmm, Coach Chucky's unearthed email insulting DeMaurice Smith was one of 65,000 documents the Wall Street Journal examined in its investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team. (Side note: 65,000 documents? Oh my.) That Gruden tried to pass off his statement that "Dumborris Smith has lips the size of Michelin tires" is a reference to having "rubber lips" and that's a phrase to describe someone who is untruthful rings, frankly, untruthful.
Me in an NFL pick 'em pool. Not only I have been terrible in the picks — I know, who would have guessed it, right Spy? — but this week in my hubbub to get ready to travel, I forgot to even enter. So there's that. Maybe the crew will let me view the $50 entry fee as a donation and I can write it off.
Sunday bloody Sunday
Side question: Best U2 song, go? Because that one's up there. Side question on the side question: U2 overrated, underrated, properly rated?
Anywell, the absence of the NFL in the winners and losers was by design. Simply put, there was so much going on across the NFL landscape on Sunday, the Shield's plethora of storylines — Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of piñatas? — deserve special mention.
Cue the Clint Eastwood whistle and theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."
Good — The Bills. Wow, Sunday night, Josh Allen and Co. grabbed firm control of an AFC that has two front-runners and a lot of flawed others.
Bad — Kickers. Did you know that there were 12 missed field goals and 12 missed extra points Sunday? And that was just in the second half of the Packers-Bengals game. Kidding, mostly.
Ugly — Injuries. My, oh my, the NFL is going to be determined by second- and third-stringers in meaningful spots for contending teams.
Good — Young coaches who embrace the strategery that we all learned playing Madden. Young coaches knowing that possessions are more valuable in today's NFL than field position give their teams a clear advantage. And friends, the Browns pulling Austin Ekeler into the end zone late was arguably the best-coached defensive play in recent memory.
Bad — The Jags. Man, right when you think it can't look any worse for Coach Urban Liar, you remember how poor this football really is on Sundays. Yes, the Titans are likely a playoff team, but now know this: Jacksonville got routed by three scores to a Tennessee team that had 17 players on IR, and that does not include stars Julio Jones and Bud Dupree, who did not dress but are not on IR.
Ugly — The carnage that almost everyone's fantasy football team is dealing with. Think about if you were fortunate to draft this team: Christian McCaffrey, Julio Jones, JK Dobbins, Gronk, Jarvis Landry and Russell Wilson. You'd be stoked right? They are all injured and it's uncertain when they will return.
Good — Man, Tom Brady. Just wow. There are no words. How about this sentence: Brady, for the first time in his career, had a 400-plus-yards passing game with five TDs; it was his 351st career start.
Bad — The beating Browns backers took on Sunday. Yes, it was the right call to try to win the game, but Cleveland was a 2.5-point underdog and led by two with less than two minutes left and the Chargers running out the clock to try a game-winning chip-shot field goal. Cleveland pulling Ekeler into the end zone allowed the Chargers to cover in a wild game that featured six TDs in the final 12 minutes.
Ugly — What Lions fans go through. Winless and watching Matt Stafford move into the MVP conversation as the Rams start 4-1, Lions fans watched as Minnesota's Greg Joseph — on the worst single day for kickers since the PAT was moved back — drilled a 54-yard field goal to beat Detroit.
This and that
— Our picks went a very pedestrian 2-3. Dang you, Matt.
— Saw this Tweet from Brian Costello, who covers the Jets for the New York Post: "England gave us The Beatles and The Stones. (Sunday) we pay them back with the Jets and the Falcons." Yeah, bad trades are part of sports, huh?
— Here's Saturday's A2 column. We'll be doing the 5-at-10 because that's what we do. But we will not be doing anything for A2 this week.
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall putting a bow on a crazy SEC week.
— Speaking of the woeful Jags, this stat will blow your mind: Trevor Lawrence in five NFL games has five losses. Trevor Lawrence in four high school seasons as a starter and parts of three seasons at Clemson as the starter was 86-4.
— Keep an eye out for when the voting opens for the third of 5-at-10 Bracket Challenges. Good stuff, gang.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Multiple choice Monday goes here:
If you had to put a meaningful amount of coin on which team would represent the National League in the World Series, who you got?
As for today, Oct. 11, let's review.
Wow, a monster day in the pop culture realm of my time — "Saturday Night Live" debuted on this day in 1975.
Steve Young is 60 today. Dude looks 30.
Rushmore of best QBs on the same roster. Go, and enjoy the day. I know I will.