YOU GOTTA BE NUTS: I thought I had heard it all, seen it all but the story that former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich is attempting a comeback at the ripe old age of 48 floored me.
It was a little less than a year ago that the former Southern Cal QB was arrested with drugs while naked in someone’s back yard in possession of a brown bag holding weed and methamphetamine.
He escaped jail time on the charges provided he stays out of legal trouble for 36 months. Lots of luck.
Marinovich has been in and out of trouble for years.
He has tried rehab to no avail.
“Now my recovery is my life,’’ he said in an ESPN story.
You think? He is trying out for the SoCal Coyotes of the World Developmental Football League. He was an assistant coach for the team last year.
This league has 16 teams on the East Coast, four on the West Coast and four in that football hotbed, South Africa.
BEST SPORTS CITIES: I used to love reading The Sporting News annual list of Best Sports Cities from one to 271.
They stopped doing it after 2011. Why, I have no idea. You could see cities go up and down in the rankings, providing water cooler chatting.
In 2011, Nashville ranked No. 16. It was one place behind San Francisco and one spot ahead of San Diego. The Music City ranked four places ahead of AFC rival Indianapolis.
After the exciting 2016-17 season, Nashville would be in the top 10, perhaps higher.
You had the Titans jump from three regular season wins to nine wins, close to making the playoffs.
The Predators became a story of their own, never having been able to advance past the second round of the playoffs and making the Stanley Cup Final. They were two wins away from winning the Cup, and what listing could ignore the Predators fan base? They were certified crazy. It was estimated 60,000 fans were outside the Bridgestone Arena for Game 6, an overflow sellout inside. It was a fire marshal’s nightmare.
Vanderbilt’s football team found a pulse, beating South Carolina and Tennessee at the end of its season.
Those are strong credentials. Bring back the rankings, Sporting News.
NAME DROPPING: Tennessee has hired strength coach Rock Gullickson.
Now if there was ever a case where the name fit the job, the Rock is it.
As the SEC Football Preseason crowd moves into Birmingham this week, we shall see how the Fifth Estate sorts it out.
One preseason wag has Kentucky ranked higher than Coach Butch Jones’ team on the Hill.
His reasoning? The ‘Cats faces Ole Miss and Mississippi State from the SEC West while the Vols get Alabama and LSU as its West opponents. Can’t argue that.
The Vols also have an improved Florida in the East. That could be three losses right there, especially with an inexperienced quarterback on offense.
Jones has his work cut out for him this season. He has landed some high-profile recruits and is always optimistic. However, he has come up short too many times previously in making sound snap game decisions.
MARKEY’S BACK: Just when I feared there was something amiss with 104.5FM morning drive’s Markey Howard absence, he returned to the airwaves this week.
It was only vacation time for Markey who calls everyone by hockey names. David Boclair is Bokey, etc. We know Markey is on the Preds’ broadcast crew, but really Markey, not everyone can break your hockey insider code and have no idea who you are talking to half the time.
Meanwhile, another 104.5 The Zone morning drive member Frank Wychek is still absent from the airwaves. Wychek has always taken long vacations and I know Markey and wish Frankey the best.
Thank goodness for Kevin Ingram, the voice of reason. He used to do impersonations off-air when he was with me and others on another station as a board-op.
We tried our hardest to get him to do them on-air, but he didn’t have the self-confidence he has since developed. He is by far the best one in town and they need to use him more.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com website sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.