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5-at-10: College ranking reaction, big changes for CBS sports, goodbye Olivia Newton-John

Poll Dancing

So the College football coaches poll was released. There were some predictable parts — Alabama, THE Ohio State and Georgia going 1-2-3 for example — and some surprises.

Let’s play a quick game of overrated, underrated, properly rated, shall we? I think we shall.

Underrated: Your Tennessee Vols, who clocked in at 28 — third-highest total among the dreaded “Others receiving votes” category which is akin to your brother-in-law telling you your blind date is a heckuva good cook — in the poll. I think UT could scare Georgia. Truly you do.

Overrated: Notre Dame. Seriously, the Irish at 5, after losing their leader on the coaching staff (head coach Brian Kelly), the offense (quarterback Jack Coan) and defense (safety Kyle Hamilton)? OK, this could be a “yeah, but the schedule” ranking, which is understandable most years. But ND opens with a salty THE Ohio State in Columbus, plays a frisky UNC team in Chapel Hill, goes to Provo (Spain? Utah.) to see BYU and faces ACC favorite Clemson and Pac-12 co-favorite USC late in the year . This Irish team could be as good as last year — doubtful considering the missing pieces — and still be lucky to go 8-4.

Properly rated: Alabama. I have said it on every show I’ve done this preseason, this is going to be the double-middle-finger revenge tour for Nick Saban. I think Alabama will win every game heading into the SEC championship by two TDs or more. And I’m an Auburn graduate.

Underrated: How Miss. If I had a vote — and remember this is the coaches’ poll, and technically, I’m now coaching middle school football, so where’s my ballot? — I’d have the Fightin’ Kiffins second in the West. Yes Matt Corral won some games by himself last year and he’s gone, but the transfer portal and the QB carousel will always be kind to Lane Kiffin because of his ability to get the most out of any quarterback. A non-conference sweep, crossover games at Vandy and against UK and an off-week before Alabama is favorable. Playing in the West is a chore, but I think Ole Miss is good.

Overrated: Texas A&M. I said this on the enjoyable podcast I did for with Brian Edwards but it will be a lot of fun watching Jimbo Fisher dance in the spotlight this season. And if/when there are frays in the fabric in College Station, it will be fun to see how much of the best recruiting class money could buy decides to tough it out or peddle to the portal.

Properly rated: Utah. Some could say 8 is too high for the Utes, but Utah is coached by the best coach not named Nick or Kirby in college football and their tenacious and physical style will travel in a Pac-12 that is down.

Bonus pick: Fresno State unranked and between San Diego State and Mississippi State in the others getting votes group shot is laughable. The Bulldogs could split in pre-Columbus Day trips to USC and Boise State and still finish 11-1 and be a contender for the Group of Five spot in the recognizable bowls. Either way, 10 wins is a baseline and anyone care to wager the better FSU finishes ranked in the top 20?

Big money, big TV switches

So, two sports-on-TV happenings over the last 48 or so hours have me thinking. Yes, Spy, it’s a dangerous thing.

First, there is the CBS overhaul on its golf telecasts. The above-average Sit Nick Faldo retired — yes, above average, because while Johnny Miller made his name with blunt assessments and Faldo’s predecessor Ken Venturi was a player’s analyst with a syrupy smooth delivery, Faldo’s best asset was his accent — and CBS has tabbed the very forgettable Trevor Immelmann as Jim Nantz’s wingman.

That’s nothing new. But if Phil Mickelson had said no to LIV’s $200 million — a big ask by any measure — and considering that a) Mickelson was showing supreme promise as a TV personality, and b) Fox just paid $350 million for Tom Brady’s name in the broadcast booth, how much could Mickelson have commanded with an open CBS seat right in front of him?

It could have been $200 million, at least right?

Second, the single greatest value in sports history was not the $100,000 the Yankees gave the Red Sox for Babe Ruth that allowed the Yankees to become the Yankees.

It has been for a quarter century, the deal CBS had to broadcast the best SEC football game every week. The deal grew to as much as $55 million for the best game from the game’s best conference each week.

This is how good that deal was: The SEC got $300 million for the same offer from ESPN. And to fill that void, CBS looks like it will pay even more than $300 million and as much as $350 million for the second-best Big Ten game each week in that 3:30 time slot.

It also means that the Big Ten will not have a game airing on ESPN in the new college football landscape, which is the business of negotiation.

It’s also a dangerous business for those not working with ESPN. Just ask NASCAR or the NHL about the SportsCenter coverage those leagues got when they took their broadcast rights elsewhere.

Let’s get emotional, emotional

Let us pause for a second and remember the gloriousness of Olivia Newton-John.

For a lot of us, “Let’s Get Physical” let a memory. In fact, if you are of a certain age, there are three pretty certain indicators of your young transition from boy to teenager.

You cheered for either the Lakers or the Celtics. Sure, you may have been a hoops junkie and had a side hustle with Dr. J or your local hometown team, but you had a side in that fight.

Your life changed for the better when cable and an actual remote control meant your father could stop telling you to get up and flip the knob to “see what’s on 5 or 12.”

You fell into a celebrity crush range of Farrah’s poster, Bo Derek in “10” or ONJ from the “Grease” to the “Physical” MTV video window.

There’s also a very good chance that you spent parts of Friday or Saturday night trying to find the least scrambled picture of one of the pay channels in a desperate attempt to see some skin.

Where did you go? Ah yes, Ms. Newton-John, who was married to Matt Lattanzi for a spell, and of course Matt Lattanzi was the male lead in the impossible-to-make-these-days film “My Tutor.” Look it up.

And ONJ, who was 73 when she died, naturally will be remembered on film for “Grease” with John Travolta. Man, Travolta’s career has been mighty impressive in length and power no?

This and that

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall on the Vols.

— OK, enough is enough. The preseason college football votes should be transparent. At the SEC media event some huckster voted Vandy to win the league. Put your name on it. Some coaches voted Texas as the preseason No. 1 team. Again, put your name on it. Period. It would end the tomfoolery. And yes, if Mike and Carol Foolery ever had a son and did not name him Tom, well, that would be a true opportunity missed.

— So Kevin Durant told Nets management, “It’s me or the coach/GM” and management picked management. So Durant demanded a trade. There is a mention that he could be headed to the ATL. Egad.

— Braves get back in action tonight against an equally struggling Red Sox bunch. Uh, Braves, it’s time to put the foot on the gas, boys.

— Strange times when Donald Trump is playing the victim card. This is political dynamite, and not in a good way for those of us who don’t want Trump back in the White House, to be honest.

Today’s question

True or false, it’s Tuesday. Let’s ask Ern.

True or false, Kevin Durant is the most petulant all-time superstar in the last half century.

True or false, Notre Dame deserves to be top-five in the preseason poll.

True or false, Alabama loses a regular-season game.

True or false, you liked the movie “Grease” even if you didn’t like admitting you liked the movie “Grease.”

You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs. Leave some T or Fs.

As for today, Aug. 9 — aka the last day of summer for Hamilton County school kids — let’s review.

On this day in 1974, Richard Nixon resigned.

The Sistine Chapel opened on this day in 1483.

Jerry Garcia died on this day in 1995. How many folks these days believe he was famous for making a cherry-flavored ice cream?

Rushmore of celebs with a food named for them. Go.


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