"Kate the Great" Upton makes her 3rd Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover in her young career and it's good to see she regained her fastball. Her velocity was sagging there for a couple of years but she clearly worked on her best assets and brought the heat while not stalking Justin Verlander. With Upton making her 3rd cover it got me thinking about all the greats who have graced the cover.
Here are my power rankings for the 10 best SI Swimsuit covers.
10. Kathy Ireland 1992
While it's not a great cover shot Lucy from Necessary Roughness is the only one of these models I've actually met in person and I can say without a doubt she is a goddess. I still get flustered when I think about those eyes.
9. Marissa Miller 2008
Miller is the Sandy Koufax of SI cover girls. She was a shooting star who was here for a hot minute then vanished from the spotlight.
8. Brooklyn Decker 2010
I present without comment...
7. Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, Chrissy Teigen 2014
What can I say other than I have a thing for threesomes. While Teigen has no business being on the cover with her butterface Agdal and Aldridge saved this cover and made it memorable.
6. Cheryl Tiegs 1975
No bottom. No bottom. My god the 70's were so much better.
5. Elle MacPherson 1987
It's a bit nippy in here. Elle MacPherson was the total package back in the day. She's still bringing the heat in her 50's. She injured a lot of adolescent wrists in the 80's and 90's.
4. Kate Upton 2012
Upton made her debut in 2012 and quickly shot to stardom via the internet. She's parlayed her huge assets to being Mrs.Verlander and a horrible acting career.
3. Bar Rafaeli 2009
I could belly up to the Bar any day of the week.
2. Heidi Klum 1998
Heidi brought her A game in "F me/bedroom eyes" category for this cover. I'm still all hot and bothered looking at it nearly 20 years later.
1. Dream Team Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson, Rachel Hunter 1994
As I said before three is always better than one and this is a Hall of Fame cover by three of the greats.
No lie I miss me some Mike Mayock. Mayock was the lead analyst on NBC's Notre Dame Football coverage for a few years and brought an understated expertise of the game that didn't exist since Cris Collingsworth left for bigger broadcasting pastures in the mid 90's. Mayock was replaced with another Boston College alum in Doug Flutie who doesn't hold a candle to what Mayock brings to the broadcasting booth.
Anyways Mayock knows how to scout and judge college football players for their overall talent and abilities coming into the NFL draft. Mayock's eyes and knowledge are probably ten fold to what I possess.
Let's take a look at Mayock's top 5 players by position going into the NFL scouting combine and I will give you my thoughts/arguments/agreements with Mayock's list.
1. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
3. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
4. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
5. Davis Webb, California
This is a very weak year for QBs in the draft. None of those 5 names Mayock mentions pop out to me as can't miss. Kizer has the size, arm, and athleticism that makes scouts wet. But he went 4-8 last season with a talented ND roster surrounding him and when he had chances to win the game in the 4th quarter he fell short numerous times. Watson isn't the prototypical NFL QB size wise but he has the moxie, leadership and winning attitude that none of the other QBs have. Trubisky is a complete wild card to me. I've seen Trubisky play a few times and honestly I don't see why scouts are so high on him. Mahomes tore up the BIG 12 conference but his lack of height is concerning while playing in a spread offense. Webb has NFL size at 6'4 and an arm to match. He was under the radar in Berkeley and had a great senior season coming back from an injury during his junior season. But none of these guys scream out first round pick. If anything I'm trading down to get a guy like Mahomes or Webb in the 2nd or 3rd round instead of taking a gamble with Kizer, Watson or Trubisky who most draft pundits have as first round locks.
1. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
2. Leonard Fournette, LSU
3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
I love Dalvin Cook. The guy does it all. He can cut on a dime and take it to the house. He can run between the tackles with power. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He's a matchup nightmare. Cook is a can't miss type of player IMO. I once thought the same with Fournette but his junior tape wasn't great. Bama bottled him up again. He took plays off, sat out the bowl game and did his best not to get injured so he could collect a big paycheck come April. I don't blame him but I'm not sure I want that type of player on my team who thinks me first. McCaffrey is a great college player. He should have won the Heisman over Derrick Henry. Put him in the right offense and he could be great but I'm concerned about his injuries and he too sat out the bowl game in order to collect a big check. Kamara and Mixon are both headcases. Kamara couldn't cut it in Tuscaloosa and Mixon knocks out girls in fast food joints.
1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
2. Mike Williams, Clemson
3. John Ross, Washington
4. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
5. Zay Jones, East Carolina
I'm surprised Mike Williams isn't #1 on Mayock's list. Nothing against Corey Davis but Williams was a game changer for Clemson and made Deshaun Watson look a lot better than he actually is. I would probably put John Ross as my #2. Ross is very intriguing and he reminds me a lot of Antonio Brown. Kupp has come out of nowhere and is drawing comparisons to Jordy Nelson because he's a scraper, high motor, first one in last one out aka the white guy. Zay Jones is another sleeper like Kupp. No he's not white but the guy caught a million balls for East Carolina and at the very least will be a good #2 receiver in the NFL.
1. O.J. Howard, Alabama
2. David Njoku, Miami
3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss
4. Jake Butt, Michigan
5. Gerald Everett, South Alabama
Howard has the size, speed, talent and hands to be an excellent NFL tight end. It's really just up to him because God blessed him with elite skills. I would have Engram #2 over Njoku right now but I can see why Mayock is high on Njoku. Njoku has developed into a matchup nightmare for linebackers and I think Howard, Njoku and Engram could all be 1st round draft picks. Butt suffered a knee injury in the Orange Bowl but his hands and blocking are top notch. I know absolutely nothing about Everett or South Alabama so I'm not going to bull shit you. You can't go wrong with any of those first three names on Mayock's tight end list.
1. Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
2. Garett Bolles, Utah
3. Antonio Garcia, Troy
4. Roderick Johnson, Florida State
T-5. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
T-5. Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M
Mayock throws out his first hot take with no mention of Bama's Cam Robinson in his top 6. Must be something to do with those pesky gun and drug issues he had in Tuscaloosa that were conveniently swept under the rug. Big fan of Ramczyk and Johnson. Both can play left or right tackle in the NFL. The other guys on Mayock's list I'm not familiar with so I'll take his word for it that they will be earning millions in the NFL while going bankrupt in retirement.
1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
2. Cam Robinson, Alabama
3. Dan Feeney, Indiana
4. Ethan Pocic, LSU
5. Dion Dawkins, Temple
My thoughts: Well I be damn. Mayock has Robinson at guard. Hmm. Watch him drop to the 2nd round and the Cowboys pick him up and he becomes yet another elite offensive linemen for the Cowboys only to never win a playoff game. Feeney would be my #2 behind Robinson. Lamp has drawn comparisons to All-Pro Zach Martin which is why Mayock is so high on him coming out of Western Kentucky. In terms of talent the interior OL might be the strongest position as Pocic and Dawkins also have bright futures at the next level.
1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
2. Caleb Brantley, Florida
3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State
4. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte
5. Chris Wormley, Michigan
Allen is a boom or bust prospect. Allen led Bama in sacks the last two seasons but he's also been surrounded by great players and rarely was double teamed. Brantley is a little undersized but he can play with the best of them and is a high motor player. McDowell could be #1 on Mayock's list but he has a tendency to be lazy and take plays off. That shit won't fly in the NFL. Not sure why Ogunjobi is in Mayock's top 5. He's undersized and tends to get pushed around. I would put a guy like UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes over him who isn't even listed. Wormley is just another Michigan guy who shouldn't be listed.
1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2. Tim Williams, Alabama
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
4. Solomon Thomas, Stanford
5. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
Not a fan of Michigan football by any means but I don't know why scouts are sleeping on Taco Charlton. He was the best player by far on Michigan's defense but yet everyone talks about future bust Jabrill Peppers instead. Anyways Taco should be on Mayock's list. Garrett is the clear cut #1 overall pick at this point. Garrett is a can't miss type of player unfortunately he will be going to Cleveland where clearly a lot of players wind up misses. Williams is overrated and not better than Barnett, Thomas or Taco. Williams is another guy with gun issues that got conveniently swept under the rug by Nick Saban. Thomas is the whole package and will be a star in the NFL. McKinley was great on a bad UCLA team and at worst should be a 2nd round pick. Barnett is a guy scouts are high on but I never saw him dominate the college game.
1. Reuben Foster, Alabama
2. Haason Reddick, Temple
3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
4. Jarrad Davis, Florida
5. Alex Anzalone, Florida
Cunningham would be my #1. That dude is all over the field and despite playing on a mediocre Vandy team he was the main reason they had a huge win at UGA. Foster isn't a MIKE linebacker like Cunningham so he's going to be OLB but he seems a little small for the position. Speed wise Foster is elite and I think he will be one of the better Bama NFL linebackers. Temple's Reddick had an outstanding 22.5 tackles for loss. No issues with Davis being up there but I would have JJ Watt's brother T.J. over Anzalone in the top 5.
1. Sidney Jones, Washington
2. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
4. Teez Tabor, Florida
5. Tre'Davious White, LSU
No objections here. Jones and Lattimore are basically the same player. Lockdown corners who you could flip spots and it wouldn't really matter. Beginning of the season I thought Humphrey was the best of the bunch but he slipped slightly. All 5 of these guys should at the least be serviceable.
1. Malik Hooker, Ohio State
2. Jamal Adams, LSU
3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
4. Budda Baker, Washington
5. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Same with the top two cornerbacks the top two safeties in Hooker and Adams have set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. Peppers might not go first round because he doesn't really have a position he plays that he excels at but his ability to return kicks should help his draft grade. I like Baker more than Peppers because he can play centerfield and not let anything get on top of him because of his speed. I'm not familiar with Melifonwu.
Buy the classic "I Ain't Afraid of No Goat" t-shirt here!
1) Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville - Despite the close loss on the road in Death Valley "Action Jackson" still remains in the lead because he was the better quarterback over Deshaun Watson. Running for 162 yards and 2 scores while throwing for nearly 300 against a very good Clemson defense Jackson came just short of the win when his receiver was pushed out a yard short of a first down in the waning moments down near the Clemson goal line. Jackson appears to be the most electric college quarterback since Michael Vick and will get the chance to pad his stats this week vs Duke.
2) J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State - Barrett broke Bobby Hoying's Ohio State record for career touchdown passes (59) in a rout of Rutgers. Barrett threw for 4 TDs and averaged over 9 yards a carry while leading a balanced Buckeyes offense. He takes on Indiana this week so he will get another chance to make his season stats look better on paper for the voters.
3) Greg Ward, QB, Houston - Ward threw for a career high 389 yards vs UCONN while also completing over 84% of his passes. Accounting for nearly 450 yards and 5 touchdowns with no turnovers bumps Ward up 2 spots and into the top 3 for the undefeated Cougars.
4) Jake Browning, QB, Washington - I'll be the first to say I underestimated Browning and Washington going into their Friday night battle vs Stanford last week. Browning was basically perfect as he threw for 3 TDs while completing over 70% of his passes and zero turnovers in a decisive rout of Stanford 44-6. For the undefeated Huskies Browning has accounted for 18 total TDs while only turning it over twice all season. With his performance he is now the leader over Christian McCaffrey in the PAC 12 conference.
5) Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - Welcome back to the top 5 Deshaun. Watson led the Tigers to a huge ACC home win vs Louisville in prime time. Despite the 3 interceptions, Watson threw for 5 TDs and a season high 305 yards. With Clemson still undefeated and leading the ACC Watson will still need to get some help from other teams because guys like Jackson, Barrett, Ward and Browning are all having better seasons for title contenders.
6) Christian McCaffrey, All Purpose, Stanford - Tough game for McCaffrey as Washington loaded 8, sometimes 9 guys in the box and punished Stanford throughout. For the second week in a row McCaffrey was held to no touchdowns running or receiving. He falls out of the top 5 for the first time all season and could be looking at a tough battle to even get invited back to NYC at this point.
7) Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State - Pumphrey did all that he could rushing for over 150 yards and a score but the Aztecs lost to South Alabama. He's not out of the race by any means but from here on out he's going to need to put up crazy stats to keep him in the conversation because he plays on the west coast for an unranked non power 5 team.
8) Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - Trubisky earned his way onto the top 10 Heisman Watch list by leading North Carolina to a huge win over FSU. With the win UNC is now in the lead for the Coastal division. Trubisky threw for over 400 yards for the third consecutive week. For the season he has zero turnovers while accounting for 17 total touchdowns.
9) Derek Barnett, DL, Tennessee - Barnett just put himself into the conversation for best defensive end in the nation along with Texas A&M's Myles Garrett. Barnett was basically unstoppable vs Georgia with two sacks and a forced fumble. The win keeps the Vols undefeated going into College Station this week to take on Garrett and the undefeated Aggies.
10) Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan - Peppers led a spirited Wolverines defense to a near shutout of #8 Wisconsin in a huge home win. As I have mentioned before as long as Michigan stays undefeated Peppers will get Heisman talk.
Dropped out: Myles Garrett, DL, Texas A&M; Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Matt Fairchild grew up a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons. In other words he has a sports team problem on top of his drinking problem. Displaying a loyal, never-ending-love for his teams despite their consistent struggles to return to their "glory days" only shows the insane ramblings that permeate his controversial sport writings. Fairchild started SportsCrack.com in 2005 where you can find great t-shirts and sports merchandise. See more of his work at UHND. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sportscrack
Oh man if this little tease of ESPN's 30 for 30: Catholics vs Convicts doesn't get the hair standing up on the back of your neck then you are not a die hard college football fan. And you should probably leave because you won't get it.
"Catholics vs Convicts" were some of the all-time great battles between two programs who genuinely hated each other: Notre Dame and Miami. It's been almost 30 years since these two programs faced off in two epic clashes in South Bend in 1988 and 1990 (Notre Dame wins) and will be revived this year at Notre Dame Stadium.
Unfortunately only one program is living up to their this season as Notre Dame has struggled to a 2-3 record after starting the season 10th ranked preseason. Meanwhile Miami, under first-year coach Mark Richt, is off to a 4-0 start and a #10 ranking.
But throw out the records because we all know this will be a spirited, hard fought gridiron battle on October 29th. Two of the nation's best college QBs and future 1st round picks Deshone Kizer and Brad Kaaya will face off in what should be a high scoring battle which could very well end with whomever has the last possession.
Of course we have the new "Catholics vs Convicts" t-shirts for sale! Get your official Catholics vs Convicts shirt here!
Watch this Georgia Fan go from nervous to ecstatic only to fall into football comatose while breaking his TV
Just a full range of emotions that only college football can pull out of one's soul. To see this die-hard Georgia fan break his flat screen out of excitement because Jacob Eason "Christ" threw the best pass of his life for what was a then winning touchdown only to go silent after the Dawgs couldn't prevent Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs Hail Mary pass from landing into a creamsicle jersey at the end. Heartbreak city. Population: Dawgs fans.
Don't cry Dawgs fans. At least the Atlanta Falcons beat Cam Newton and the Panthers. So you got that going for you.
HT: For The Win
TCU revealed their "special" black helmets they will wear this week vs Oklahoma. While I'm not a huge fan I'm sure the Horned Frogs recruits and players will love them. More importantly they would love a win with them wearing the black lids.
What can't Philadelphia Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz do? Wentz not only has the Eagles 3-0 while playing almost flawlessly he went back to his home state North Dakota and got himself his first buck. Whether it's on the gridiron or in the open North Dakota fields Wentz doesn't miss an open target.