By Brett Hudson
This week’s Mailbag is going to follow a pretty straightforward trajectory. Two serious sports questions, one sports question that I found fun and then usual nonsense. I think y’all will enjoy it.
Let’s get started with TJ Hand (@wh0dathunkit) — Is Teaira McCowan the No. 1 pick in the draft?
This is going to come down to the age-old question that has plagued professional franchises for years. What to do with a premium draft pick: best available or biggest need?
The Las Vegas Aces — the owner of the first pick — had to lean on A’ja Wilson more or less exclusively for their rebounding. She averaged 8 per game as a rookie and no other Ace had as many as 5.5. The Aces could also use more defense (fourth-worst field goal percentage allowed last year) and we all know McCowan can provide that.
But when I look around the WNBA mock draft world, I see people drooling over Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, her run of triple doubles and her ability to do so many things. Of course if she chooses to return to Oregon for her senior season, all of this is different and the decision gets a lot easier.
But even if Ionescu isn’t on the board, there is the volume scorer at Louisville, Asia Durr, that is also highly rated. The good news for McCowan is this projects to be a good draft for post players and she is undoubtedly the best of them, so if a big goes first it will be her. Now beauty is in the eye of the Las Vegas Aces.
Daniel Montgomery (@dalemo830), as always, is bringing heat. More of a dynasty — Bama or the Patriots?
The tale of the tape: Patriots have 6 titles in 18 years, Alabama has 5 in 10. Yes, at the moment the Patriots are running 3 out of 5 and are the reigning champs, combined with Alabama potentially having a reckoning named Clemson, but give Alabama credit for also going 3 out of 4 in 2009, 2011 and ’12.
I’m picking Alabama, and here’s why. It’s worth noting that Alabama has not had the dry spell that the Patriots had — Alabama has never gone more than two years in this run without winning it, and in that two-year span one of them was the Kick 6 team that I still believe would have won it all if not for that game. The Patriots, however, went from 2005 to 2013 with no Super Bowl wins and only two appearances. (I realize that sounds ridiculous to knock a team for that, but this is a conversation based on dynasties, after all.)
But the real reason I’m taking Alabama is because I think it’s harder to do this in college football than it is in the NFL. The Patriots have benefitted from having Bill Belichick and Tom Brady heavily involved in every bit of their success. In the NFL you can keep players for 10+ years and win several titles with them; in college you lose 20 percent of your roster every year, plus there’s more coaching changes in the college game than there are in the NFL. So not only has Nick Saban managed that turnover and stayed on top, he’s done it in a sport that’s radically changing. For a solid decade or two now, football innovation has occurred at the college level, and Saban has solved it as he went.
That’s more impressive than the Patriots winning a much more static league with the same group of key people, to me. Now watch Clemson go win two of the next three national titles and make all of that invalid.
This is interesting, from Rob Montgomery (@10RobertWilliam) — Based on my recent memory, it feels like State plays Ole Miss in men’s basketball far more often on Saturdays than on weekdays. I’m sure there are outliers, but both of this year’s matchups were on Saturdays. Is this something the SEC seeks to do to draw bigger crowds? Or is it pure coincidence?
So I went into the schedules expecting this theory to hold up, that the SEC grants weekend slots to games it anticipates could draw big crowds. And yet, I was wrong. It seems the recent run of Ole Miss-Mississippi State Saturday games (four in a row now) is a coincidence.
I looked at the Alabama-Auburn games, and there is no weekend bias with those — both of last year’s games were midweek games. I did the same for Tennessee-Vanderbilt and found the same thing.
While it would make sense to manufacture some weekend games here and there for capacity crowds, I can also see how setting such parameters might make it more difficult to have the relatively random scheduling model that’s currently used in the divisionless SEC men’s basketball.
As we move into nonsense, there are three straight questions that get into food, and I’m writing this while my wife goes to Chick Fil A for breakfast, so I’m clearly in the mood. @Wesley_Johnson — What’s on your Mount Rushmore of Left Field Lounge foods?
(My favorite part of this question is I’m going to get some fantastic suggestions out there, and here’s the rule — only suggest a food you’re willing to let me come to your lounge and try for myself. If you’re not going to let me have some then don’t even tell me it exists.)
In no particular order. 1) A well-cooked sausage dog. Or really any kind of hot dog that is not actually a hot dog: braut, sausage dog, chicken sausage dog, whatever. 2) A good smoked meats BBQ sandwich. Brisket, pulled pork, chicken, whatever. You do you, friend. 3) Can’t go wrong with a good bacon cheeseburger. 4) I’m a sucker for a good queso. It may not be traditional baseball food, but if you’ve got a crock pot situation in your lounge and you’ve got a good queso going, guarantee I’m going to partake.
@flintstone_94 — What is truly the best thing since sliced bread? I need to know.
On-demand entertainment. Remember when we were slaves to the content of the TV guide? Or for audio content, slaves to how our schedule combined with that of the radio host’s? I don’t want to live in those days, friends.
I love listening to podcasts, where I can get my college football, college basketball, golf, baseball or whatever fix exactly when I want it, not when I get lucky in my daily commute. I love getting to watch my favorite shows when I have the time, not when the TV folks say I have to watch them. And don’t get my started on Netflix.
A multi-parter from @ReeceMonroe1226. 1) What would be your baseball/wrestling walkout song? 2) Best sauce to put on wings? 3) I have a history exam Thursday at 8 a.m. and the men plays LSU at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Advice?
1) I’m not a wrestling guy anymore, so I’m going to take this as a baseball player. And here’s my problem — I would definitely be that guy that changes his walkup song every couple of weeks or so. There isn’t a superstitious bone in my body, so I would have no problem changing my walkup song in a hit streak and no slump would make me change one that I’m vibing with. I would probably cycle through a good bit of J. Cole and G-Eazy and go from there.
2) A well-done BBQ is hard to beat, for me. My wife recently made a maple buffalo wing that was quite good, but a good honey BBQ is always going to sing to my soul.
3) Well I hope you went, because it was a fun environment. (The overtime doesn’t help, though. I feel like the University should give a free coffee to every student that stayed to the end of that game and made it a 9 a.m. or earlier class.
@CalebGarnerMSU If one GIF could sum up your life, what would it be?
“Nothing to see here. Please disperse.” (exploding building in the background)
Is any explanation really needed?