5-at-10: Realignment truths and hypocrisy, UGA underrated in Coaches’ Poll, is Belichick still the best

FILE - Georgia fans cheer during the second half of the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game between Georgia and TCU, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. Georgia's won two straight national championships, but hasn't been preseason No. 1 since 2008. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

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Realignment truths

So the conference realignment stuff is ridiculous.

As a commentator noted Monday, all numbers should be stricken from any conference designation since the Big Ten is headed to 20, the Big 12 — which once was the core of the Big 8 — is bouncing between numbers like a Bingo machine on Monday nights in the women's auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus.

And the Pac-(pick a number) is simply staring at Pac-ing its things and walking into the Pac-ific.

Well, directional nomenclature is going to be just as nonsensical if Cal and/or Stanford head to the ACC. Yes, two teams within a par-5 from the Pacific Ocean potentially becoming part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and maybe that is the most crazy part of this perpetually crazy process.

So, while the old Tobacco Road rivalry that will be N.C. State-Cal speaks to the lunacy, let's pause and recognize the other perpetual truth in this whole process.

The hypocrisy of every mouthpiece — from conference commissioners to ADs to the new NCAA chief to even Congress — who sits silently by during this school-by-school and league-by-league money grab but are more than happy to preach from the pulpit and spout about NIL rules and transfer portal limitations in an effort to protect the 'student-athlete' and the amateurism of grand ol' sports at State U.

Shut up.

Because if think the NIL — or even the portal — was a threat to model of college sports but shrug your shoulders to this race toward a caste system, well, I'm what are you trying to protect about the college sports model we knew and loved?

The tradition? Yep, nothing screams tradition like that early November match-up of UCLA and Rutgers, going toe-to-toe.

The pageantry? Arguably the most prestigious and pageant-rich college sports venue hosted the "Granddaddy of the All" and with the Pac-12 dead and a real chance that USC could win the Big Ten, yeah the Rose Bowl's will hollow and, like everything else in the expand/contract/keep the coin college football future, will be more process than pageantry.

The student-athlete? PUH-lease. All of this realignment will ask all realms of scholarship athletes from baseball to wrestling and all letters in between to make extended business trips. But you certainly will cash those Enterprise checks for the March Madness commercials when you remind the viewing audience that 99% of scholarship athletes go pro in something other than sports.

And you know what you're right, because when Cal and Stanford look at possibly sharing a charterer flight for a week-long barnstorming basketball tour through the Carolinas for a nine-day road trip, tell me again about the student-part of that process.

And the first person who says this expansion and realignment is in response to NIL and rising salaries, well, that's just bull.

This fiscal free-for-all started in modern-day earnest when Roy Kramer reshaped the SEC with Arkansas and South Carolina to have an SEC football championship game.

Realignment is measured in decades; NIL is measured in months.

These machinations and maneuvers are way more about covering the ADs' and the executive malfeasance than the audacity of the players wanting their part of the billions generated annually.

Because when Auburn is paying three head football coaches seven-figures at the same time, yeah that extra $50,000 from Milo's to the starting left tackle is to blame.

College sports, where tradition matters until it doesn't. And then, when someone other than leadership asks for a cut or a choice in their collegiate path, we bemoan the loss of the grand ol' games and nostalgia.

The romantic notion of "student-athletes" is as quaint as a crank Ford Model T and as dated as a Kardashian,

Let's at least be honest with ourselves as we find the next chapter, which could very well have ACC champ Stanford playing Big 12 runner-up Arizona in the Final Four with the winner meeting SEC upstart Oklahoma or Big 10 surprise USC as soon as 2025.

A poll to savor

So, before the college sports world requires a handout to figure who is playing whom in a league game, let's embrace and enjoy this college football season and its normalcy of Missouri in the SEC, Maryland in the Big Ten and Syracuse in the ACC.

Cue that heavy fella in "Fiddler on the Roof" — "Tradition!"

And we even have something that used to feel like news. A college football preseason poll.

Yippee. Hooray. Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses. (Side note: I'm sure PETA has an issue with that Toby Keith and Willie Nelson track, but PETA was just the forerunner to today's modern times when someone has a problem with almost anything. So PETA may be the O.G. instigator. Thought?)

Here's the coaches poll, and hey, UGA fans, anyone still feeling like no one believes in your Dawgs this year? (Side question: Georgia got 61 of the 66 first-place votes cast; the question is True or false, Kirby voted the Dawgs 1.)

Here's my quick take on the poll:

— Overrated: Alabama at 3. Yes, I know that's somewhere between the pulling on Superman's cape and spitting into the wind, but Alabama has way more questions than answers. And losing the 1 and 3 picks in the draft hurts even a base as talented as Bama.

— Underrated: South Carolina. The Gamecocks are unranked (26th) in votes, but finished the year with a flourish. And Spencer Rattler could be as good as any QB not named Jayden Daniels in the SEC.

— Overrated: Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. What else is new?

— Underrated: Georgia. Yep, underrated at 1. I said it. And I mean it. How anyone — other than Kirby for motivational purposes — voted for any other program at this juncture is silly.

Best in the business?

So I got thinking — yes, Spy, a dangerous proposition for sure — about the NFL season.

We are hearing chatter. QB1s and injuries and frustration in the locker room.

We are hearing positive buzz. Impressive rookies and motivated veterans and bliss in the locker room.

But then I started thinking about the value of the head coach in the franchises we consistently discuss because those teams are consistently competitive.

And for so long the "Best in the business" conversation in terms of NFL head coaches was a "WIAB" discussion. As in "Who Is After Belichick."

Does that still apply in the modern NFL, a modern NFL when Bill could rely on having TB12 pulling the offensive strings?

Is Andy Reid better than Bill? Is Sean Payton? Is Mike Tomlin?

Yes, the resumes od those three added together fall short in the hardware department compared to Belichick's bling.

But if you were the GM of the newly founded expansion team that had no budget, would Belichick be your first call?


This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on a couple of UT recruiting lures for one of the Vols' most integral players for the upcoming season.

— Side note: In the above Paschall story about the UT offensive line, the name of Cooper Mays appears. Seriously? Cooper Mays was snapping the ball to one of the Clausen's his freshman year if memory serves, and I think it could have been Casey.

— Braves played. Braves lost. So did my picks. Egad, we're limping into football season.

— So Richard Sherman is reportedly joining Skip Bayless on the Fox version of Stephen A. Smith's screaming debate panel show. Yippee. Two predictions: One, I will never watch an episode, and two, when he gets his TV legs underneath him Sherman — who graduated from future ACC-power Stanford in three years with a PR degree — will house Bayless.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning, Ernie.

True or false, Alabama is overrated in the coaches' poll.

True or false, Kirby Smart voted his team No. 1.

True or false, if you were a coach in any sport and had a vote, you would vote your team No. 1 if they deserved consideration.

True or false, the Braves score more than a good-looking high school senior QB.

True or false, realignment is the biggest threat to college sports as we know it.

True or false, Bill Belichick is the best coach in today's NFL.

You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, ask some T or Fs.

As for today, Aug. 8, let's review.

On this day in 1974, Richard Nixon announced he'd resign as President.

Roger Federer is 42 today. True or false, Federer is still the GOAT.

Dustin Hoffman is 86 today. I kinda think Hoffman is underrated.

Hoffman's Rushmore, go.