Jay Greeson: 5-at-10: Friday mailbag with Braves-Dodgers pick, UT's big springboard, UK's title chance, jealousy

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Oct. 15—Let's handle our business.

First the Rushmores.

Rushmore of Sid: Sid Caesar, old-school entertainer and salad visionary (no, not really); Sid Luckman, NFL Hall of Famer who played his last game in 1950 and still is the best QB the Bears have ever had; Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols (or the pro wrestler of the same name); Sidd Finch, although that great joke by SI spawned countless trashy and poorly judged cheap imitations.

Rushmore of Atlanta Braves home runs (in no particular order): David Justice providing the only run Glavine would need in Game 6 of the Braves' only world title; Aaron and 715; Rick Camp extending the never-ending July 4th game with the Mets; and Freddie KGB — "Pay that man his money" — from earlier this week.

Rushmore of most famous trades in sports history: Babe Ruth for cash; Gretzky to the Kings that in some ways energized hockey below the Great Lakes in the U.S.; Herschel for five players and six picks that made the Cowboys the team of the 1990s; and I'll go Kareem to the Lakers from the Bucks. (Side note: We'd be remiss not to mention two of the craziest trades in the history of history: First, in 1973 Yankees pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson traded families. Seriously. The other is the time the Rams were traded for the Colts. Yes, all of them.)

Rushmore of best QBs on the same roster: Favre and Rodgers come to mind quickly. So do Montana and Young. In history, the Rams had Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin — Hall of Famers both — on the same team from 1950-52. Alabama 2018. Gang, that's two first-rounders and three NFL starters — Hurts, Jones and Tua — on the same roster. It counts. (Side note: This is a Rushmore of the polar extremes in the NFL. Consider this: The Packers have had 43 years with Hall of Fame QBs taking snaps with Starr, Favre and Rodgers. There are five teams — Jags, Texans, Panthers, Bengals and Ravens — who have never had a single season with a current or projected Hall of Fame QB. Atlanta also has a goose egg in that category, but I think Matt Ryan is headed there, so I crossed them off.)

Remember the college football rivalry question, as we wind down the third version of the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge. And thanks for playing along.

You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Ole Miss' dynamic QB.

Here's an update on the Eliminator Pool. Do you guys think it's fair to post who has won with what, or does that offer a competitive advantage in some way? Thoughts. We only lost Andy M from last week, so make sure your picks are in, and yes, Matt, you were on the Bucs last night.

Here's the remaining field, J-Mac, Sleepy Floyd, Fat Vader, Mike B, HGLIII, Ted P, Matt H, Paul J, Brian E, Jason T.

To the bag.

From a slew of you

Braves-Dodgers, who you got?

Gang —

What a game last night. Dodgers-Giants played an epic, old-school playoff baseball game in which every pitch and every decision felt magnified.

It was a downright tragedy that it ended on a call so botched and bad. And that comes from a Dodgers fan.

OK, before we get to the NLCS, Rob Manfred and Co. have two jobs this offseason and they are paramount in importance.

Job 1, of course, is finding a labor agreement so that whatever post-pandemic momentum baseball can ride is not derailed by a labor shortage. Can you think of a worse time for a work stoppage than right now when we are all finding other things to do with our time and where to do them? Me neither. Job 2, and it's clearly not as important as Job 1, hence the Job 2 tag, fix the umpire/replay situation.

Like yesterday. Either embrace technology and get this thing going or ditch the whole thing, but this halfway in, halfway out is nuts.

As Andy told Red, get busy living or get busy dying. But dang it Rob, get busy.

As for the NLCS, huge edge for the Braves that the Dodgers had to throw everyone this side of Orel Hershiser to get through last night.

Still, the COVID-19 casualty of Soler hurts, even if it means more ABs for Joc "the pearl-wearing prince" Pederson.

Dodgers in 6 because the Braves bullpen can't match the depths of nastiness the Dodgers roll out there with every single reliever.

From Luke

Jay, I normally just read your 5-at-10 without replying. Mostly I like your stuff and you were good on the radio.

But why are you not talking more about UT man? Seriously, we're back and we're going to show everyone by stomping Lane's sorry (bleep) Saturday.

Luke —

So you think we should do more UT? OK.

In truth, the news of the day kind of leads us where we're headed each morning, and maybe we could have been more Vols heavy this week. Stupid Gruden. Stupid journalism. Stupid NFL.

Seriously, though, this is the biggest game for the Vols in my opinion since Butch's best team went to College Station and turned it over a billion times and lost in OT.

Sure there have been bigger setbacks, but this has the chance to be a real springboard.

A springboard to being ranked. A springboard to being in the conversation and not being a requirement for the SEC Network talking heads. A springboard for recruits, especially on an offensive side that is churning up points with subpar talent.

But with hope comes disappointment, and yes, both of those are good things. Because they are not direct opposites. They are both in the circle of good things in college football.

The opposite end of the spectrum is apathy, and that's Josh Heupel's biggest trick. He's pulled Johnny Vols Fans from the Big Orange morass and made them feel their Big Orange Oats again.

I am excited for the 50+ to 50+ shootout Saturday could very well turn into.

But in truth, I have little idea how this one will play out considering the unknowns. For each side.

But I know I will be watching.

From Chas

Doesn't take much to get Pearl to take off his shirt, does it? Does he think we want to see that?

If #1 Gawga wins out, and if Kentucky goes 11-1 (losing only to UGA) will the Cats be in the Final Four?

What are the odds we'll see Ole Miss vs. UK in the SEC championship game?

Chas —

No, it assuredly does not take much at all for Bruce to remove his top.

But I'm pretty sure he knows you and I are not overly interested in seeing his chest, but I think he's extremely eager to show recruits that he's open to just about anything.

Interesting question about UK, and one that is possible but has some loopholes.

What happens with Cincy, for example? What happens with Alabama the rest of the way, because even with one fewer loss, would the committee pick an 11-1 or an 11-2 Alabama team coming off a close in the SEC title game? What happens to OU and potential one-loss title team in the Pac-12 and whomever the Big Ten champ is?

So if we're parting through four invites with your caveat, we know Georgia is the 1 seed.

I think an 11-2 Alabama gets in over UK. Unbeaten Cincy gets in over UK, Unbeaten or one-loss Power Five conference champs get in before UK since they would have titles and UK would not even have a division crown.

As for Ole Miss and UK meeting in the title game, well, it starts with a baseline of UK winning Saturday and Alabama losing at some point in an SEC game.

Considering that UK is plus-100 on the money line Saturday and Alabama is likely going to be at least a minus-600 money line pick for the rest of its SEC schedule — Miss State on Saturday followed by home games with UT, LSU, and Arkansas and a trip to Auburn — the odds are long. In fact, they are at least 76-to-1 of UK winning Saturday and Alabama losing one more SEC game at the above odds.

And that does not factor in the odds of Kentucky winning out and Ole Miss winning out. (Side note: If an SEC title game is on the line for Lane Kiffin and the Rebs, how insane would the Egg Bowl be?)

From DougDyer11

You never got back to us on who would be the "Greatest Living Baseball Player" after Mays.

DD —

You are correct. I didn't. And that's on me.

The clear answer is Bonds. Barry Bonds. And if we're talking body of work, he's superior to Mays regardless of who is drawing breath.

Your top five OFs in terms of WAR — wins above replacement — are Ruth, 1 overall, Bonds, 4th, Mays, 5th, Cobb 6th and Aaron 7th. Ruth's numbers are a bit skewed (he's more than 18 wins above No. 2 Walter Johnson and No. 3 Cy Young) because of his pitching success early in his career and the era he dominated with a bat.

In terms of dominating an era, Bonds' numbers are staggering. While the top 20 is dominated by players throughout portions of the early 20th century (Ruth, Johnson, Young, Cobb No. 9 Tris Speaker and No. 10 Honus Wagner) and the mid-to-latter parts of the 1900s (Mays at 5, Aaron at 7, Musial at 11, Williams at 15 and Ott and Mantle at 20 and 21), there are three in the top 18 from this generation.

And none of them are in the Hall because of PEDs.

Bonds is at 4, Roger Clemens is at 8 and Alex Rodriguez is 16th in WAR.

(Side note: Saw an interesting article — forgot where or I would post it — that made me really re-evaluate my Pete Rose stance. I have forever said he committed the cardinal sin in sports, and if fans ever believe the fix is in then a sport teeters on being viewed as pro wrestling. Hence, I have always maintained that Rose should have a lifetime ban, and as soon as his lifetime is over be inducted. But can baseball fairly take all these millions — and longterm billions — from all these gambling operations and still hold that over Rose? It's a more relevant question than ever.)

As for the greatest living player who is a Hall of Famer when Mays gives up the title, well, my immediate answer would be Ken Griffey Jr., primarily because there needs to be some grace to the choice because of the grace in the title, in my opinion. (And yes, Griffey Jr. is way down on the WAR list, but there's more to it than that.)

But the multiple choice options for the best living player (non-PED division), would be:

— Griffey Jr.

— Michael Jack Schmidt

— Greg Maddux

— Rickey Henderson

(And while we're here, if Pujols plays a year or two more and gets to 700 homers, it likely will be him, no?)

From A Reader

God — podunk "journalists" like you look so jealous when you pile on the stars like Adam Schefter.

Look at his career and look at yours. Doubt he's ever been fired — like you.

Jealous much?

A Reader —

For those that know me, jealousy is likely the last word anyone would use.

And that's because I've been blessed in more ways than I could list here, and we all know how wordy I can get — especially on Friday.

Professionally, I've been blessed beyond any realm of expectation, and when I started this at a newspaper back in small Newnan, Georgia, I never knew I'd get to a Podunk as big as Chattanooga.

How small was Newnan then? We did not have AP photos so we shot pictures of everything we covered, which made for more than a few driving-into-work moments where I'd see some kids playing 3-on-3 in the park and go take their picture and get their names just in case.

How varied were the assignments? Ask, and I bet I've covered it. Or tried. In fact I remember covering the 6-year-old Coach-Pitch World Series outside of Newnan at the megaplex that was Sharpsburg. Best player at the tournament? A 6-year-old shortstop everyone called Pork Chop who was barely 3 feet tall but a good 80-plus pounds and hit dingers. (Side note: And please know that this was a quarter-century ago, so the Pork Chop moniker was not going to shape his feelings and be the topic of multiple conversations with his therapist for years to come.)

And yes, I've been fired. But it comes with the territory of truthfulness these days, I suppose.

I guess if you are going to put a price on your ethics, that's a really good place to start.

But beyond that, there are choices we all make — and believe it or not many moons ago I was in talks with joining the Mothership proper — but the deciding factor for me and the then-future Mrs. 5-at-10 hinged on family, as in not wanting to leave all of our families in the South and not wanting to raise our future family in Bristol.

Who knows what would have happened, and it could have been great. But what I got is great, and really try to live by not letting comparison being a thief for joy, you know? Also, I wonder how many youth leagues Schefter gets to coach while manning a year-round gig like being an NFL insider? He likely gets to do baseball, but football or hoops seems like a stretch considering that schedule and travel, no?

But I have no regrets, then or now, and I promise you I think I'd suffer from leprosy before jealousy. (Although neither sound peachy keen, to be honest.)

Thanks for the email.

Enjoy the weekend friends.