SDS Mailbag: Potential bad losses, ‘We want Clemson’ signs, playing overseas and more
They did it! The St. Louis Blues finally won the Stanley Cup!
Growing up about an hour north of St. Louis, I haven’t always been the biggest Blues fan, but I started getting into them when I was in college at Mizzou (have I ever mentioned that I went to Mizzou?) and have followed them ever since. Playoff hockey is incredible to watch, and the Blues’ entire run has just been wild.
They were in last place in January. That’s unbelievable. They fired their coach. Craig Berube is still technically the team’s “interim” coach, though that should probably change soon, what with him being a Stanley Cup champion and all.
That’s the sort of story you don’t get in college football. These days, you have to be nearly perfect to even have a chance at a title. If a team started 1-3, there’s no way they’re playing in the College Football Playoff.
Anyway, sports are crazy, and I’m happy for the Blues and the city of St. Louis. It was a fun postseason, and, perhaps most important, they kept Boston from winning titles in three sports in the span of 12 months.
Here are your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
Who gets the first bad loss of the season in the first 2 weeks? I’ll take Kentucky losing to Toledo or BYU beating Tennessee.
BYU-Tennessee will definitely be an interesting game, but I think the Vols pull that one off since it’s in Knoxville. Plus, I think Week 2 will be too late for the first bad loss.
I agree with your first pick. I wouldn’t be shocked if Toledo came into Lexington and shocked the Wildcats in Week 1. The Rockets finished 7-6 last season and return both of their starting quarterbacks (Eli Peters and Mitchell Guadagni) and their running back (Bryant Koback). Interestingly, Koback was a Kentucky signee in the 2017 class, but didn’t appear in any games that fall. Then, he transferred to Toledo and ran for 917 yards last season.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are preparing for life without superstar RB Benny Snell on offense and elite edge rusher Josh Allen (and other key players) on defense. It’s the perfect recipe for an upset. I’m not saying it will happen (not yet, anyway), but the Wildcats better be prepared to fight in Week 1. After struggling against Central Michigan in Week 1 last year, they’ll need to come out stronger this season or else they could start 0-1.
How many games into the 2019 season do we see our first “We want Clemson” sign?
It’ll be pretty early, and I could see it happening in Week 1. Imagine if Auburn is beating Oregon pretty handily in Arlington on Aug. 31. Auburn is one of Alabama’s biggest rivals, so imagine if Tiger fans instead held up signs saying, “We want Clemson!”
That would really ruffle the feathers of Tide fans, and would add even more fuel to the Iron Bowl fire.
Another option is Week 2, when LSU travels to take on Texas. Are the Longhorns back? I have my doubts, so if LSU wins that game, we might see some “We want Clemson!” signs there. Again, the play would be to try to irritate Alabama fans, but I’m not sure it would work.
Alabama has defeated LSU 8 consecutive times, shutting out the Tigers in 3 of those games. Still, I wouldn’t put it past LSU fans to start the Bama baiting.
With R.J. Hampton choosing to play in New Zealand next season rather than college basketball, a lot of basketball pundits seem to think playing professionally overseas or in the G-League will become a trendy college alternative. However, Darius Garland basically took a “gap year” after getting hurt at Vanderbilt this past season and is still likely to be a top 10 pick. Will Garland’s injury make gap years a more common trend?
A very similar situation played out in college football this year, with Ohio State DL Nick Bosa getting hurt early in the year and then sitting out to focus on the NFL Draft, where he was the No. 2 overall pick. It didn’t hurt his stock, much like Garland’s stock didn’t seem to be hurt by being injured at Vanderbilt. Kyrie Irving faced a similar situation at Duke a few years back and was still the No. 1 overall pick, too.
Now, we have Hampton, a 5-star guard, heading to New Zealand. We’ll see how that works out for him, but to answer your question, I don’t see the G-League, foreign leagues or gap years ever eclipsing college basketball entirely.
College basketball is always going to be huge and it’s always going to be relevant. Even if the top 50 players in each recruiting class head overseas or to the G-League, fans will root for whoever puts on the jerseys. Do you think Kentucky fans would care that they only managed to land 3-star recruits every year if they were still able to win titles and hang banners in Rupp Arena? No.
I don’t see “gap years” catching on though, except in injury circumstances. Look no further than former 5-star forward Darius Bazley. He sat out this past year after originally signing with Syracuse. He planned to play in the G-League, but instead took a $1 million “internship” with New Balance, whatever that means. Now, he’ll probably be a mid-to-late second-round pick in next week’s NBA Draft.
Had he gone to Syracuse, and, hypothetically, put up like 20 points and eight rebounds per game, he’d probably be a Round 1 talent. He could have gone head-to-head with Zion Williamson and Duke twice this past year and really stood out on a national stage. Instead, NBA teams don’t know what to do with him, so he’ll be lucky to be drafted at all.
I’ll never judge a kid for making the decision that’s best for him and his family, but this move definitely hurt Bazley’s draft stock. The only thing that can radically alter college basketball at this point, in my opinion, would be for the NBA to allow players to enter directly out of high school again. Get rid of the one-and-done rule and we’ll see some changes to the college game.
How much money would it take to buy your dog? You could never see or hear from her again, but she’s guaranteed to live a long and happy life. You can also get a new dog.
Alright, I guess we’re going to end this week’s Mailbag on a really dark note. When my wife (then-fiance) wanted to get a dog, she really wanted a corgi. It had been her lifelong dream.
I, on the other hand, wanted a border collie or bigger. We compromised, and ended up with a corgi. Her name is Moneypenny, and I’m absolutely going to take this opportunity to post a picture of her not following the rules:
Penny will be seated whenever and wherever she wants.
Anyway, a lot of people would say they’d never give away their pet, but that’s nonsense. Everyone has a price. Would mine be extraordinarily high? Absolutely, it would. Is there still a number where I’d have to say goodbye? Sure.
It would have to be an amount that would guarantee that I’d be financially set for the rest of my life. I’ll go with $10 million, so that my wife and I could live a comfortable life and pay for college for the couple of children we want to have at some point. So, yeah, $10 million should accomplish that. That’s a completely unreasonable asking price, which is sort of the point. Hopefully no one tries to buy my dog from me.
OK, well, I didn’t enjoy that question. I can’t wait until next week when you ask me if I’d rather burn to death or drown or something like that. Time to go hug Penny.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.