5-at-10: Fab 4 picks, a great moment for women’s sports, Ryder picks discussion

FILE - Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) warms up before the team's Rose Bowl NCAA college football game against Penn State Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Pasadena, Calif. Utah opens their season at home against Florida on Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

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Fab 4

So much to get to today. But it's Thursday and it's week one of college football.

Bartender, pour me a shot.

Where do we begin in the Fab 4 plays, which are rarely 4 and sadly too often not Fab?

We'll start here with a game tonight and offer the rest of our picks (lines from FanDuel at 8 a.m. Thursday):

— Utah minus-4.5 over Florida. This intel from my man and betting expert Brian Edwards. "Utah has won 14 home games in a row, winning 12 of its last 13 at home by margins of at least 11 points. The Utes are on an 8-2 ATS run in their last 10 home contests." Now add in to that a) Brian is a Florida grad and homer and b) Florida is replacing a top-five QB and has questions from the top down. Heck, I know a slew of Florida folks.

— Central Michigan plus-14.5 over Michigan State. I picked this game last week, but I'll stand by it. For all the reasons I wrote last Thursday.

— TCU-Colorado over 63. TCU's offense will cook; Colorado's defense has had less than four months to get it together. Yep.

— USC-Nevada over 66. So, we have made some hay in years past on teams or trends that ride the tide. I will be on a Lincoln Riley-led offense with Caleb Williams pulling the trigger (and a USC defense that is sketchy at best) until proven otherwise.

— MTSU plus-40 against Alabama. No one thinks this will be the monster upset of week 1. Not even this Auburn grad. But here's what we know: a) Alabama does not know who it's QB1 is; b) Nick Saban never trounces money-game opponents. You do the math, and this screams like a ho-hum 35-7 opener.

— Kentucky minus-26.5 over Ball State. No team in the country replaced an NFL drafted QB with a better QB than UK, which added NC State transfer Devin Leary. Add in the fact that UK has crushed non-SEC foes in recent years — 11-0 overall and 9-2 against this number — this feels like your traditional week one blowout.

— Auburn-UMass over 52. UMass has played and they have a QB who can go. Auburn has not played and they have a coach who wants to convince the masses he can go.

Last week: 1-2 (33.3%)

This season: 1-2 (33.3%)

Is this Heaven; no it's Nebraska

Again, we have so much going on. Not only did it feel like a fall morning, we are met with the crossing of the streams of the dawn of the -er months.

And yes, I am excited. Let's do this, and we will start in one of the strangest of places you may expect.

Dateline, LINCOLN, Neb., and let's check in on some Huskers volleyball.

"What, the heck you say, Greeson!? I came here for funny and controversy and you being the dopey goof that got fired from ESPN."

OK, if that's the case, stick around. I am all of those. I also am a #girldad of a female athlete who pays attention to sports programs doing things right.

So, stick around for the funny. Or the attempts at funny.

But let's tip our collective visor to Nebraska's athletic leadership for setting up a volleyball matchup in the football stadium. And, while the chances of epic failure had to be considered, the ripples of epic success will assuredly be emulated.

This should be the discussion of women's sports moving forward.

But how many of you knew about this before I shared it?

And I will ask this too: How many of you know who Lia Thomas is?

That's the divide. That's where the outrage should collide.

The concerns of the few should always be considered by the many. But the wants of the few — the infinitesimal few — should never be more pertinent than the wants and rights of the masses, no?

So, if you clicked the link above, Nebraska had 92-plus-thousand folks to a volleyball match in schools football stadium.

How awesome is that?

Yes, it was an outlier. Yes, it had the outdoor hockey novelty feel to it.

But who cares? This was great and it made me wonder which SEC ADs are scrambling on conference calls this morning about how they can replicate this.

Because, first, know this: Oklahoma softball is the bee's knees; Now Nebraska volleyball has done something that is getting the entire country talking.

And if you think this is not important or not something that can create major change or something that will not be copied, well let me ask you this:

Remember when Nick Saban started at Alabama and he made sure that the spring game for a struggling program was a sellout? Yeah that kind of worked out for him and kind of changed the face of the sport, no?

Think about LSU gymnastics with Livvy Dunne in Tiger Stadium. Think about Dawn Staley's top-ranked women's basketball team in Williams-Brice playing Clemson. Or UT. Or UConn, giddy-up.

Thanks you Nebraska for reminding us what is great about women's sports and raising the profile of women's sports.

Fore sure?

Maybe I am a tuckus, and I greatly appreciate the candor, but when did we ever think Brain Harmon was going to be a captain's pick for Team USA for Ryder Cup or even Presidents Cup competition?

For Pete's sake if you had to bet your house right now on an 18-hole match-play square off between Brian Harmon and Dustin Johnson, who you taking?

If you are betting on Wyndham Clark vs. Patrick Reed, who you got?

Granted, Harmon and Clark are automatic qualifiers — in large part because of success at this year's majors — but the question still remains.

Because while the ultimate pairings will be Team USA vs. Team Europe, let's break this down to the talking point.

If you are an NFL owner who has a deal with Nike, and say, Patrick Mahomes and his Adidas contract wants to play for your team, are you going to say no?

And yes, you read that sentence — feel free to read it again — and thought I over-simplified matters.

Maybe so.

But the layers of drama and deserved discussion of the back-stories of the LIV and PIF and all the dirty Saudi money Brooks and the rest of the big names took is not at issue in this moment in this conversation.

Yes, it is a conversation that needs to be had — not as much as cheap-whine-like-Boones-Farm Brandel Chamblee wants to have it mind you — as the realms of professional golf discuss mergers.

But this morning, as we try to dissect the Ryder Cup picks and possibilities, the ripple questions must matter.

Zach Johnson took Brooks Koepka. I think that was the right move.

But if we think that was the right move, who would you rather have on your team playing for money, pride and everything else?

— Dustin Johnson or Sam Burns?

— Patrick Reed or Justin Thomas?

— Bryson DeChambeau or Rickie Fowler?

And this is not even getting into the flawed points system that forced Johnson to pick Colin Morikawa over Clark or some of the automatic qualifiers.

This is about choices.

Because adding Koepka — which was the right move — makes all of us wonder why other players were not in the discussion.


This and that

— Braves played. Braves won. Yay.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the latest with UT football.

— Loved the Aaron Rodgers exchange with the Giants DE in the last Hard Knocks. That said, hey Aaron, if you going to talk it, you best be ready to walk. And that's not in terms of play, that's in terms of actual in-game play. Someone's going to light him up this year, right?

Today's questions

Gang, we have a slew of great mailbag questions.

Welcome to football season.

But if you have one send it along; it's an anything goes Thursday after all.

As for this day, Richard Gere is 74 today.

Rushmore of biggest A-list Hollywood leading dudes in the 1980s, because Gere has to be there.


And remember the mailbag.