Hey look, college basketball has started. Great. As expected we'll go wall-to-wall college hoops today. It's that big.
From the "Talks too much" studios, the ball is tipped.
We are participating in three bracket related challenges.
First we will play in the TFP office pool, and since it's for entertainment purposes only, we hope to have as much entertainment as last year when Louisville won it all and made our bracket the office standard. Good times.
Second, we will host and play in the fourth annual "Method to the Madness: Last-in, First-out Challenge." The rules are easy, pick the first No. 1 seed to get bounced and the last double-digit seed to be left in the dance. Since there are more double-digit seeds in the draw, in the case of a split tie (one has the double-digit and one has the No. 1 seed correct), we'll give extra credence to the double-digit seed. If we still have a tie after that, we'll let the Electric Elite Eight Shootout challenge serve as a second tie-breaker. (The Electric Elite Eight Shootout is when you pick two players alive in the second weekend and the pair that scores the most total points wins. We'll get to that next week.)
We'll be the first to enter with Wichita State and Stephen F. Austin (who is way more enjoyable than Stephen A. Smith).
Third, we're going to enter a bracket in the ESPN 105.1 pool at espn,com. Here are the details: Contestants must have an account on www.ESPN.com to enter. If they don't have one, they must create one. Click on "Tournament Challenge" under the "Fantasy & Games" tab. Search for the group name "ESPN 105.1 The Zone." Use the password "chattanooga." One bracket per player and prizes are still to be determined.
As for the ESPN sheet, it would be entered in the Warren Buffett billion-dollar bonanza. What would you do with a billion bucks? Also, how cool would it be to be in Warren Buffett's shoes and know that if you gave away a billion, you'd still have like $55 billion? Wow.
Speaking of picks and picking, if you want real hodgepodge chicanery from the selection committee, look at how Vegas ranks the favorites to win the tournament:
1) Florida (9-2) — No. 1 overall seed
2) Michigan State (5-1) — No. 4 seed
3) Arizona (7-1) — No. 1 seed
4) Louisville (7-1) — No. 4 seed
5) Kansas (10-1) — No. 2 seed in Florida's bracket
6) Duke (15-1) — No. 3 seed
7) Wichita State (15-1) — No. 1 seed
8) Syracuse (15-1) — No. 3 seed in Florida's bracket
9) Virginia (18-1) — No. 1 seed
10) Wisconsin (20-1) — No. 2 seed
11) Michigan (25-1) — No. 2 seed
12) Villanova (25-1) — No. 2 seed
13) Creighton (25-1) — No. 3 seed
14) Iowa State (35-1) — No. 3 seed
15) UCLA (35-1) — No. 4 seed
16) Kentucky (40-1) — No. 8 seed (and an obvious outlier because of the public support)
College football news
Let's take a quick five spot spin around the college football realm:
• Maybe Georgia players felt threaten by Clemson suspending four players for the 2014 season opener and wanted to match them twit for tat. Four Georgia players including starting safety Tray Matthews were arrested late Monday for theft by deception. Not good times.
• Alabama continued spring drills Monday and they were featured on ESPN. Did you see the interview? Here's the takeaway: 1) Expect Jacob Coker to have a say in the QB decision; 2) David Pollack interrupted Nick Saban's answer and the level of awkwardness was palatable. Good times.
• UTC took to the field for a season of much anticipation. Here's TFP all-around ace Stephen Hargis' report.
• Tennessee needs fat bodies across the defensive front. Here is UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown's report. Side note: UT's glaring lack of experience across each line is a troubling issue.
Former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater worked out for pro scouts on Monday. Blake Bortles will participate in his pro fay sometime this afternoon.
Bridgewater did not impress. Bortles could grab a firm hold of the top spot.
And in the end, we'd rather have Aaron Murray in round 4 than Bridgewater, Bortles or Johnny Football with a top four pick.
We get it — the craziness that can be quarterback cravings in the quarterback starved NFL.
But know this: The only thing that is worse than not having a QB is spending a top 10 pick on a QB reach and missing. It wrecks your franchise for at least three years, causes an overhaul of front office personnel and puts even more pressure on the next GM to reach in the draft for a QB.
Here are the reaches in the top 10-12 picks in Round 1 in recent years and which star player the team passed on:
2011 — Jake Locker (No. 8), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10), Christian Ponder (No. 12); Pro Bowlers J.J. Watt (11), Robert Quinn (14), Mike Pouncey (15) were still on the board, as were quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick were available in round 2.
2012 — Ryan Tannehill (No. 8); Luke Kuechly (No. 9).
2013 — E.J. Manuel (No. 16); Eric Reid (No. 18), Kyle Long (No. 20).
This and that
— Congrats to the XX Mocs on getting an 11 seed — they could have been a step higher in our mind. Still, Lexington is a way better trip than College Station. Also, congrats to the Lady Vols for a No. 1 seed.
— We have high hopes for the XY Mocs tonight. Good times.
— Our man Weeds has a great take on the officiating in college hoops here.
— Indiana declined a bid to the CBI tournament, dismissing the incite because school officials said it was beneath the program. Hoosiers AD Fred Glass said, "We're Indiana. We don't play in the CBI." Wonder if Freddie contacted the seniors and the rest of the players on the IU roster. Maybe they wanted one more chance to play the game.
— The Philadelphia 76ers are epically bad. Losers of 21 in a row, Philly is one of the worst teams in recent memory. The 76ers also are being lauded in some circles.
OK gang, it's your turn.
Who's your first No. 1 seed out and last double-digit seed still playing? Who's your sleeper? Who's your Final Four?
Also, if you're not much of a bracket hound, here's what do you think was the best first-round upset in the NCAA tournament?
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 ...