Weekend winners

Sports books on Sunday. The public loves the big-name teams and flocks to the betting favorites. That held true on Sunday, much to the benefit of the house. The two biggest games in Vegas’ eyes Sunday were the Raiders-Jets and the Chiefs-Broncos. Right at 90 percent of the money was on the Raiders laying more than a TD over the Jets in Las Vegas’ 31-28 Hail Mary win, with 88 percent on the over 51 in the Chiefs game and 79 percent of the money on the Chiefs minus-13 in K.C.’s 22-16 win.

Aaron Rodgers. That is a bad dude, friends. Stop me if you’ve heard this, but Rodgers plays the position better than anyone I have ever seen. Yes, Mahomes had Jordan-like gifts, but Rodgers’ combination of anticipation, accuracy and all-around acumen is so staggering, he’s reached the level of Tiger Woods-expectations. By that I mean when Rodgers throws a pass, and it falls incomplete, I am surprised, not unlike how when Tiger stood over a putt inside 10 feet from 2001-2005, you knew — just knew — it was going to find the back of the cup.

Coastal Carolina. Enjoy it gang, and there are so many great storylines from inside that program, the segment on College GameDay was truly excellent. Do I think they are a playoff team? Not really, but hey, in this day and age — and especially in the COVID season, if not this year then when?

Sean Payton and Dan Mullen. Want to know what real offensive geniuses do, they take whatever situation and whichever pieces and they craft a plan and they coach ’em up and they find ways to get it done. Kudos fellas.

TV stations in and around the Georgia run-off market. Sweet buckets of commercial overload, right? You have to believe the overflowing river of campaign funds and commercials has made the last few months as profitable as any in recent memory for those TV affiliates, right? I was watching the Packers-Eagles game and I swear there was four consecutive commercials for each of the Senate candidates right in a row.  

Bonus pick: Harris English, the former Baylor School star, continued his methodical excellence on the PGA Tour. He shot a 63 Sunday to finish tied for fifth and pocket $266,400. That’s a good weekend. Keith Mitchell had some difficulties over the weekend but made the cut and made more than $15,000.

Bonus pick, part II: Thanks to all of you guys for the overflowing messages and kind words after the news of last week. Your time and willingness to play along with the silliness means more than you’ll ever know.


Weekend losers

Jeremy Pruitt. More on the state of the Vols program in a moment — and the AU program too — but Pruitt gets double treatment on this losers and winners Monday because, in my eyes, there is simply no explanation for how the quarterback situation has been handled. And to pull Harrison Bailey on Saturday? I’m at a loss.

The Cover 0 jailbreak blitz up four that allows a blown coverage on the Hail Mary. Ask the Jets how that works out in the end. (Although the Tank for Trevor race between the Jets and the Jags is not every bit as interesting as the Steelers-Chiefs battle for the AFC 1 seed.)

Kentucky basketball. Yes, the football team fired its top two offensive assistants, but the really painful offense right now belongs to the Big Blue basketballs. UK got thumped by Georgia Tech. Yes, Georgia Tech. UK is 1-3 — its worse start in 20 years — and while the Wildcats always need more time — and name tags — because of the new faces in the one-and-done generation. But wow, Georgia Tech?

Rookie QBs vs Bill Belichick. We should have all seen that one coming — and seen it to the tune of really helping pay for Christmas with legalized sports wagering here in Tennessee.

Whomever was driving the truck who hit the Mrs. 5-at-10’s car on Friday. It was a hit-and-run situation and the Mrs. was pretty shook. But where is the ‘stupidest criminals’ file, because in the process of hitting my wife’s car and speeding away, the hit-and-runner’s back bumper fell off. And with it was his tag plate.


Here we are

Auburn popped its pants, going scoreless in the fourth quarter in a listless loss to Texas A&M.

Tennessee scored a cosmetic TD — well, cosmetic to the fans, not to the sports entertainment hunters — but by every measure was completely outclassed by a Florida team that played at what, JTC, a B-to-B-minus level.

So the questions linger and remain unchanged, only the venom and the vitriol altering with each passing and wasted season in which the progress is measured in fractions rather than fulfillment.

We know the hurdles. It’s harder to redirect a program in the SEC than ever, especially when your every-year and most-hated rivals are Alabama and Georgia and they are cracking out NFL dudes by bringing in high school All-Americans across the board.

And, to make matters worse, the head coaches of these borderline irrelevant programs in an all-but irrelevant season for every college football program save the elite few sounded somewhere between tone deaf and absolutely stupid afterward.

We’ll start with Gus Malzahn, who at one time was deemed an offensive visionary but has had that vision clouded so badly that he can’t see that his offense does not work without a quarterback that is willing to run:

“It’ll be a transition,” Malzahn told reporters after the game. “(The goal will) be the next-best, the 6-4. That’s what it’ll be, 6-4, and if you had a normal non-conference schedule, it’d be a solid year.”


More on this in a moment.

Now, let’s review what Jeremy Pruitt said after the most recent loss to Florida.

“I think this game was very similar to a lot of our games this year. If you look at the way we play, about 90 percent of the plays are probably winning football,” Pruitt said. “Maybe top tier in this league. But unfortunately, you’ve got to count all plays. There have been three or four plays on both sides of the ball in every game, particularly this one, where we made mistakes.”

I’ll say it again, WHAT?!?!?! (Say what again mother bleeper.)

Then Pruitt doubled-down and said there’s not that much difference between his locker room and the Gators locker room in talent, which is a very back-handed way to say, “I got outcoached by a country mile You guys get that pun? I said country, aight?”

OK, let’s review some hard facts and some harder realizations.

Fact: Gus Malzahn is 27-31 at Auburn when playing an FBS team with a winning record. The average margin of defeat in losses is 12.4 points.

Fact: Malzahn’s four-win solid comment should not surprise any of us since he has four or more losses in every year at Auburn but the first season when Auburn went to the BCS title game.

Fact: Jeremy Pruitt, who said when he was hired that UT coaches are judged by the first three games against Florida, Georgia and Alabama, is now bagel-and-9 against Florida, Georgia and Alabama and Saturday’s 12-point loss to the Gators is the closest final score of those nine and the aggregate score is 378-132.

Fact: Pruitt signed an extension before the season — as did Fulmer — and Malzahn’s buyout is the GDP of a third-world nation, and athletic departments everywhere are looking at serious budget shortfalls, so I do not expect either to be fired before 2021.

But, I also believe this to be fact too: There is nothing worse than fan apathy, and speaking as one of those fans, Auburn doing Auburn things Saturday did not surprise me. What surprised me was how a) I expected it and b) I shrugged it off.


This and that

— Speaking of Kentucky, the Wildcats parted ways with OC Eddie Gran and QB coach Darin Hinshaw. 

— South Carolina is reportedly set to hire Shane Beamer. Thoughts?

— In the final week of the fantasy football season, the defending champs look to be primed for another run. If things hold — we have the Steelers’ D and an 18-point lead over our opponent, who has Amari Cooper left — I think we secure the 2 seed and the first round bye. And that’s with making several trades — some great, some bone-headed — along the way. One of those trades was designed exactly for this moment, as we dealt RB depth for Christian McCaffrey, the Babe Ruth of modern day fantasy football. If C-Mac comes back healthy, well, he’ll fit in quite nicely with the rest of the fellas.

— Speaking of sports wagering, THE Ohio State opened as a 30-point favorite over Michigan. Wow, we are through the looking glass in terms of the divide between the talent-elite programs and the programs elite in name.

— Could have been among the losers I suppose, but it’s hardly surprising that former NFL linebacker and frequent NFL doghouse resident Vontaze Burfict was arrested over the weekend. Shocking right?

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall’s excellent SEC wrap column and I wholeheartedly endorse the thoughts that Mac Smith is far from the only Heisman candidate on a loaded Alabama offense.

— Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley died over the weekend.


Today’s questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

Shoutout to those of the greatest generation on this, the original day that will live in infamy.

OK, speaking of that, which of these ‘war’ movies is the worst?

> Pearl Harbor

> War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise

> Casualties of War with Penn and Michael J Fox

> Windtalkers

> Other (fill in the blank).

Other things that have happened on Dec. 7 include, Larry Bird’s birthday is today. He’s 64.

Johnny Bench is 73.

Rushmore of all-time catchers. Go.

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