SDS Mailbag: Best 2023 QB prospect, Alabama’s case for No. 1 ranking and greatest Mike Leach rant of all-time
We’ve officially hit the start of one of the most-unusual portions of the sports calendar. Bowl games galore are on TV at all times of day, it seems.
Meanwhile, college hoops games are also being scheduled for odd hours over the next couple of weeks, and we even have a couple of additional tournaments and showcases.
There are NFL games on Saturdays now that college football isn’t monopolizing that day. We’ll have NBA games on Christmas, too.
I hope y’all have a safe and happy holiday season. I’m thankful to all of you for reading my column every week, and I hope you enjoy this edition as well!
Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
This seems like it’s going to be a great year for QBs in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Who would you take first?
I’m assuming you just mean at the quarterback position. If I were a team with a QB in place and snagged the No. 1 pick like, say, the Chicago Bears or Philadelphia Eagles (who hold the New Orleans Saints’ pick) or Arizona Cardinals, then I’m absolutely drafting Will Anderson Jr. No. 1 overall and not looking back.
As far as quarterbacks go, though, I absolutely love Bryce Young as a prospect. No, he’s not the biggest guy. Neither were Drew Brees or Russell Wilson or Fran Tarkenton or Michael Vick or Len Dawson. Those guys all had plenty of success.
What Bryce Young has is poise and the clutch gene. You can hand him the ball in any situation with 5 minutes left and he’ll give your team a chance to win.
Now, when Young is taken No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans, don’t criticize me if he struggles in Year 1. The Texans are picking first for a reason. They don’t have a great offensive line. They don’t have many top pass-catching threats. Their defense is suspect, to say the least.
Put Young on Seattle, though? Now we’re cooking. The Seahawks have a shot at the No. 2 pick thanks to the Russell Wilson trade that netted them Denver’s first-round selection. If Young ended up there with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf to throw to? I’d pick that team to make the playoffs in 2023.
Which non-NY6 bowl game involving an SEC school would you pay to attend and stay a few nights to hang around the city?
Here are our options for non-New Year’s 6 bowl games involving SEC schools this bowl cycle:
- Las Vegas – Florida vs. Oregon State (Las Vegas Bowl)
- Tampa – Mizzou vs. Wake Forest (Gasparilla Bowl)
- Memphis – Arkansas vs. Kansas (Liberty Bowl)
- Houston – Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (Texas Bowl)
- Jacksonville – South Carolina vs. Notre Dame (Gator Bowl)
- Nashville – Kentucky vs. Iowa (Music City Bowl)
- Tampa – Mississippi State vs. Illinois (ReliaQuest Bowl)
- Orlando – LSU vs. Purdue (Citrus Bowl)
Out of those choices, there are a couple that stand out. The first is happening this Saturday. I believe I’ve made my affinity for Las Vegas known in this column before.
The only issue there is your use of staying in the city “a few” days. I’d say “a couple” of days in Vegas are plenty. After that, I’m pretty run down.
The other option that stands out is Tampa. I could see 2 bowl games, including 1 featuring my Missouri Tigers. I’d also get to see what figures to be an incredible tribute to Mike Leach in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
I’ve never been to Tampa, either, so that makes it all the more appealing. We’ll answer another Leach question in just a second. But first …
Alabama has taken down 2 No. 1 teams already this year. Shouldn’t the Tide be the new No. 1?
Well, they certainly have a case for that spot. But I’m fine with the Tide at No. 4. After all, their 1 loss came to current No. 3 UConn. It’d be tough to rank Alabama ahead of the Huskies.
Now the question becomes – do the Tide have a legitimate case for No. 2? After this weekend, they might!
Purdue is 10-0 with wins over then-No. 6 Gonzaga and then-No. 8 Duke. Well, Alabama plays Gonzaga in Birmingham this weekend. Beat the Bulldogs handily in that game and I’d entertain an argument for putting the Tide over the Boilermakers.
Virginia plays Houston this weekend. If the Cavaliers don’t look great in that game and Alabama wins, maybe the Tide will indeed be the No. 2 team by next week! But, for now, I’m fine with them at No. 4.
One thing is for sure – this is a team no top-ranked squad wants to face right now!
Mike Leach was never shy about sharing his opinion on any number of topics. What was your favorite non-football rant from the late, great Pirate?
There are so many to choose from. You truly can’t go wrong!
I’ll always have the Halloween candy rankings up high on my list, as Leach and I agreed on some of the best candies. Boxed Sprees and Haribo gummies for the win!
“There’s still candy innovation.”
After Mississippi State crushed Vandy last year, here’s Mike Leach explaining his love for Halloween candy. pic.twitter.com/i6ISt4VaJC
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) December 12, 2022
I don’t agree with Leach on his marriage advice. My wife and I had about a 150-person wedding and I wouldn’t change a thing about that day. It was perfect, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of my father-in-law.
No football coach has stronger opinions on weddings than Mike Leach
After we talked about the win, I got some advice straight from the source..
Coach Leach, big elopement guy ?
— Alyssa Lang (@AlyssaLang) October 2, 2022
But the Pac-12 mascot fight breakdown was Leach’s magnum opus. The way he gets so hung up on what powers the Sun Devil might have? Perfect. Did the Ute trade for a rifle? These are the questions that need to be asked!
?FAN QUESTION OF THE WEEK ALERT?
PAC-12 play begins this week for @WSUCougarFB – So for the Question of the Week.. I asked @Coach_Leach if all the mascots in the conference met up in a battle royale, which would come out on top? @SWXRightNow pic.twitter.com/vrAF5XhSYF
— Rob Jesselson (@RobJesselson) September 16, 2019
Then, at the end of all of that, to still find a way to argue that his Cougars might win the fight is simply brilliant. He will be missed dearly.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.