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The Drive with Josh Graham - Josh's NFL Playoff Picks - 09/4/19

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2019 6:50 pm

The Drive with Josh Graham - Josh's NFL Playoff Picks - 09/4/19

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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September 4, 2019 6:50 pm

Host Josh Graham with Desmond Johnson and Aaron Gabriel. Josh gives his NFL Playoff picks. UNC vs Miami preview and Top Ten Macks. Tune into The Drive with Josh Graham Mon-Fri 3-6pm on Sports Hub Triad!


Since the NFL season kicks off tomorrow, I just want to get my picks out here.

Get them out of the way. These are the picks that you can write down, take to the bank, and if they go wrong, you can hold me accountable in December when the season's getting set to close. It is my division winners, wildcard teams, and my Super Bowl winner. And I'm gonna start with the team I have winning it all. The New England Patriots are the best bet.

They're the defending champs. It's not sexy to say, but I'm going New England to win it again because they're still in the AFC East. It's the surest bet for a division winner, and that division's still bad enough that whoever wins it, or really just New England when they win it, they're gonna have a first round bye, which means you get a home playoff game, and the Patriots are tremendous. That first home playoff game, which means you're essentially having the Patriots all the way through to the AFC championship game at least, and there's no other team who has that kind of percentage, at least the high percentage, of going to the championship game. So New England, they're my pick to win the Super Bowl, I believe.

And Tom Brady, I'm not the guy who's gonna bet against him at any point because he's made everybody look stupid the last decade who's ever doubted him. So at this point, I'm still going New England to win the Super Bowl. They're my number one seed in the AFC.

Two seed, I got the Kansas City Chiefs getting a bye week. One of the tougher divisions in the NFL, I think Denver might be sneaky good. Joe Flacco I think has another good season left in him. That's a guy who's gonna be playing with a chip on his shoulder in almost every single way.

Everyone doubted him in Baltimore. I think with a good defense, they drafted a couple offensive linemen there. Denver's gonna be a lot better, good running backs.

Phillip Lindsay in the backfield, Royce Freeman back there. I like Denver not to make the playoffs, but to get pretty close, I think the San Diego Chargers, make it the Los Angeles Chargers, still making that mistake a year after the fact, my God. LA, they're gonna be the team in the AFC West that goes back to the postseason. In terms of other division winners in the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers come out of the AFC North. I'm still not a believer in the Cleveland Browns. I need to see it before it happens.

You hired Freddie kitchens who was already there. I'm not a big fan of that. I'm not a big fan of all the noise right now. That's a team that won seven football games. I need to see a little bit more Pittsburgh.

There's more reliability. There's more understanding with what went wrong last year. Now that we're seeing the headache Antonio Brown has been for the Oakland Raiders this offseason.

And also Mike Tomlin was justified in not paying Le'Veon Bell because we saw how good James Connor was. And it looked like Pittsburgh was going to make the playoffs until James Connor got hurt towards the end of last season. I like Pittsburgh to win the AFC North. And I think the Texans, after New England, probably the best bet, safest bet to win a division. Now that Andrew Lux hurt with the Colts and the Texans added some pieces over the weekend to make them stronger. They lose a running back in Lamar Miller, but you traded for Duke Johnson. You just signed Carlos Hyde.

You got great weapons for Deshaun Watson and a way to protect them with Laramie Tunsell acquired from the Dolphins. Here's the other wildcard team along with the L.A. Chargers. I have a surprise team going into the playoffs from the AFC. It's the New York Jets. I think the New York Jets are the Cleveland Browns just quieter with a better coach and four games against the Miami Dolphins in the Buffalo Bills. It's year two for Sam Darnold.

I expect a leap from year one to year two. We see that a lot with young quarterbacks, a very good offseason. Cleveland got all the attention with Odell Beckham Jr. for bringing in Olivier Vernon, bringing in all star talented players, Pro Bowl caliber players, but the Jets did a lot of the same. They bring in Le'Veon Bell and they bring in an offensive minded head coach to replace a defensive minded coach, which is also a good sign. I think the Jets are going to have a year that we saw like with the Chicago Bears a year ago. Mitch Trubisky struggles in year one. They replace a defensive minded John Fox with an offensive minded Matt Nagy and they go to the playoffs winning 12 games last year. I don't think the Jets will win 12.

I think they'll get into the postseason. Good offseason signing CJ Mosley on defense and Le'Veon Bell in the backfield. Quieter, but a better coach, offensive minded coach, a guy halfway through the year we were talking about in the coach of the year discussion. And the reason he was out in Miami wasn't because the Dolphins were bad. It was because of a discourse between the owner and Adam Gase.

There was some disconnect there. So that's my AFC playoff picture in the NFC. I think the Philadelphia Eagles have the best roster in the NFL. It's all about if Carson Wentz is healthy and Carson Wentz. It's easy to point at the fact that two of those three years in the NFL, he hasn't played 16 games, but he's played at least 11 in those three and he got the big deal.

So that's not going to be a topic point. He should have won the MVP award a few years ago. I really like this Eagles team. I think they have the best offensive defensive line combo in the league.

Good weapons out wide. Aguilar and Alshon Jeffery to throw the ball to. They bring in Jordan Howard, who I liked a lot in Chicago. I think they win the NFC East. I think they're the best record in the NFC this year.

The Green Bay Packers win the NFC North. You can't really bank on turnovers year to year. The Bears defense is going to be great again, but they're just not going to have the same turnover margin before, which means they're probably going to play in closer games, which means they're going to have to lean on Mitchell Trubisky.

I don't quite trust that. Every year you have five or six teams that made the playoffs the year before and don't. The following season, I think the Bears are one of those. Green Bay Packers win that division because it's rare to have consecutive seasons where you don't make the playoffs with the Green Bay Packers. The New Orleans Saints win the South.

This was the toughest call for me. I think there's three playoff teams in the NFC South. Saints, Panthers and Falcons all make it. And I wouldn't be surprised if any of the three teams win it. Drew Brees, I was concerned with what he did in December, throwing the ball.

But there's just so many weapons there. Great coaches. I don't really see a weakness with New Orleans at the moment. They lose Mark Ingram. I like the replacement with Latavius Murray.

I like Alvin Kamara trending upwards. Saints, I have them winning the division right now. They're the three seed in the NFC, the fourth seeded Seattle Seahawks winning the NFC West. The LA Rams don't make the postseason. This might surprise some people, but the Super Bowl hangovers are a real thing. When you lose, just ask the Panthers.

They went 15-1, didn't make the playoffs the following year. The Super Bowl hangover matters and I think it's going to affect the Rams. Todd Gurley, I don't think he's going to be 80% the running back. He was the last two years.

Reading about this arthritis in his knee. They lose the Domic and Sue to Tampa Bay. That's a pretty significant pass rusher. Lose a couple other pieces in that front seven. I think the Rams take a step back. The Seahawks win that division. So you got the Eagles, the Packers, the Saints, the Seahawks, the Panthers, the Falcons and the NFC. And in the AFC, it's the Patriots, the Chiefs, the Steelers, the Texans, the Jets and the Chargers. Those are my postseason predictions. I think the AFC will be stronger than the NFC this year. And I have the Patriots winning the Super Bowl again. The teams that don't make the playoffs who made it last year. The Ravens, the Rams, the Cowboys and the Chicago Bears. Michael and Winston Salem has an objection to this.

Michael, what do you got? Yes, you mentioned the Steelers going. Why do you not think the Ravens will do as good or if not better than last year? How are you making the Steelers improving over the Ravens? I just think they're a franchise that's been more consistent the last decade or so. They're a team that I don't know the last time they didn't make the postseason in back to back years. They got close last year. I think they they're going to be better this year now that the nonsense is out of the building. But if you're asking why Baltimore might take a step back, you got tape on Lamar Jackson now. Let's start there. We saw how poorly he played in the postseason game.

You know, everybody is studying that piece of film. What happened in that Chargers game? Also, I don't really like the way they're building this team. OK, I wanted to see in the draft them continue to build a team that's based on running the football. And they have some guys who would be considered no name running backs on the roster. But they drafted Hollywood Brown out of Oklahoma, Antonio Brown's younger brother.

John Brown's no longer there anymore. I like the tight end at a South Carolina Hayden Hurst, but he still hasn't developed yet. And losing C.J. Mosley, I think, is going to be a big deal. Terrell Suggs, he was older. It might be a situation that's similar to what the Panthers did with Thomas Davis and moving some of the veteran players out past where you think they can help you. But I think Mosley hurts.

I think Terrell Suggs, you lose a lot in the way of that personality, that identity in the locker room. And quite frankly, there's going to be good teams that miss the playoffs. I don't think the Ravens are going to have a bad year. I just think Pittsburgh, in a division where you have three teams that probably will finish at.500 or better, I just trust them a little bit more than Baltimore.

And believe me, I've heard from Ravens fans in my family being from Baltimore. Jim Zocchi is with the Carolina Panthers radio network, has been there since the very beginning. Cam Newton had a press conference earlier today.

Any concerns we have at this point with Cam Newton's shoulder? Did he have anything interesting to say earlier? We'll find out with Jim Zocchi next. Dude, you've got to hear this. Go ahead.

I think I want to hear this. You're on the drive with Josh Graham, the Sports Hub at AM 600, AM 920. A short while ago, Cam Newton was speaking at Bank of America Stadium. Customary game week on Wednesdays, Cam steps to the podium. Not quite as dapper as he is after games, of course. Today, wearing Auburn Tigers gear after the Tigers behind Bo Nix had a touchdown pass. Rome with less than 10 seconds remaining to beat Oregon inside Jerry World over the weekend. In addition to that, Cam Newton is putting out video blogs, including one that has him breaking a couple Guinness World Records. He is the Guinness World Record holder for most one-handed football catches in a minute, farthest blindfolded catch of a football while in motion, and also the longest football pass caught between the legs.

Cam Newton doing so on his video blog you can find on YouTube. We're now being joined by Jim Zocchi of the Carolina Panthers Radio Network, and we're just so excited that NFL football is back for real Sunday, 1 o'clock. The Panthers welcoming in the NFC champs, the LA Rams. It's good to have you with us on in the Triad. How are you, Jim? Josh, doing well.

Hope you are. So when I list off those things, most one-handed football catches in a minute, farthest blindfolded catch of a football while in motion, longest football pass caught between the legs, which sounds the most impressive to Jim Zocchi? Gosh, a three-way tie?

I don't know. They all sound like about the same thing, but I'm glad he didn't hurt himself, you know, between the sprained foot and the shoulder. So the fact that he came out unscathed is probably the best news of all. Anything stand out to you from what Cam had to say just a few hours ago? No, I mean, he was, you know, he's really gotten to the point where like in the last year or two, he's basically focused on the task at hand, which is winning this week. It kind of closed today with saying, I don't know why they were on the topic of Super Bowl. I'm not even thinking about Super Bowl.

I'm thinking about 1-0. And in that meeting, the focus is this Sunday, the Rams try to win this game. And he's kind of taken that task, of course, past year or two with those kind of things. And, you know, he always felt that he makes that the verbal point is that, you know, the only thing that matters is winning this week.

And it doesn't matter about stats or MVPs or Super Bowls. So we'll see. And we'll begin to find out those Sunday shows, so it should be fun. So we know he's going to play. What concerns do you have about what he will be capable of doing on Sunday? Well, he's not on the injury report at all, so he's not limited. So he should be able to do everything that Cam Newton is able to do.

And if he can catch 61 hand passes and blindfold catches and all that, I would say he's ready to roll. So he did talk about his vegan diet. He's been doing that for, I think, he said about a year and how he's not going to go back on that. So he's in great health. And he says that nutrition is a big part of his health.

So I think in a lot of ways, even though he's like 30 years old, probably feels like he's in some of the best shape that he's been in a long time. What do you make of the big NFL headline today? Zeke Elliott getting the most guaranteed money for a running back in NFL history. He's getting $50 million guaranteed, which is $5 million more than what Todd Gurley got last year. Both running backs getting those deals with two years remaining on their contracts. It has me thinking, of course, Christian McCaffrey is going into his third season, which means next year we might start looking at, OK, you got two years left until things completely expire here. Do you think that these contracts that the top running backs are getting could set a precedent for Christian McCaffrey and other running backs with two years remaining on their deal? You know, each one is unique, but, you know, Christian McCaffrey is of that that highest of echelons. That includes Zeke Elliott and Saquon Barkley and Albert Tamara and just that very small handful of players. Maybe Todd Gurley, but he's healthy up there.

But it's like it's a very small group. And Melvin Gordon's not part of that group, by the way. So, you know, he certainly would have the stature and the precedent to ask for more money. I'm not talking about holding out or holding the team hostage or not showing up, but he is certainly in line to do that. I can understand from the running backs perspective, because the way a lot of teams are doing it now is they cite you to that first contract.

Usually up for five years. And as a running back, you know, you don't get that second big contract until you're at the point where you've been playing a lot of football and they don't want to pay it to you. So, you know, again, I think he's a great team guy. We'll see what happens. But, yeah, the Panthers, like so many other players, are going to have to really be positioned to see how they're going to handle that. What you're alluding to is the average lifespan of an NFL running back, which right now is just a little over two and a half years. And which means, like you mentioned, you use up the running back on their first contract.

But with the way contracts are slotted for rookies, the rookie pay scale is the bigger issue you think running backs have if they want things to get better moving forward is talking to the players union and changing things in the collective bargaining agreement, if not what? Yeah, I mean, you know, there's a framework. And when you sign a contract, you sign a contract. You know, you always have the right to hold out, but you didn't have to sign the contract.

So you did. And so that's the way it works. And I get it from the league standpoint, too. I mean, you want some amount of stability where players are staying in teams. And the last thing you want to do is be these teams that just have players circulating through all the time and only want to go to certain markets and then other markets don't get these players. So I like the fact that, you know, it's kind of a weak concept that these players will stay in place and you can build around it and not worry about players coming in and out every single year. You want some freedom of movement, but not to the point where it's just not a good team game. It's just about individual contracts and, you know, that kind of thing.

So I think it's a little bit of a conundrum as far as that goes. So, yeah, running back in particular, that lifespan, as you said, it's not like a top 10 pick quarterback or wide receiver. Those guys tend to hang on for 10, 12 years in a lot of cases. It's Jim Zocchi with us from the Carolina Panthers radio network. He's on Twitter at Jim Zocchi. And you've been there since the very beginning, the Panthers inaugural season in 1995. And you will be joined in the booth on Sunday by Jake Delome, who will be alongside you and Mick and your great team over there. And I started thinking about Jake Delome, the career he had and just how beloved of a person he is, how beloved of a Carolina panther he is. I mean, I couldn't name two or three Panthers who are more beloved than Jake Delome is after you've seen the reaction in Charlotte and obviously being a part of the Panthers radio network. I'm sure you've heard a lot of feedback. Where does Jake fall on the list of most beloved Panthers you've gotten a chance to cover? Oh, yeah, definitely, you know, just off the top of my head, probably a top five. You know, Sam Mills will always be that guy.

That's what keep pounding is all about. So I think the legacy of Sam Mills will be hard to top for anybody. But, yeah, in terms of what Jake meant and just leading a team to a Super Bowl that had never been to one before and just really got the most out of his abilities. And this was a drafted player who played arena football and NFL Europe and was sitting on the bench of the New Orleans Saints when the Panthers took a chance on him. And then he comes in week one at halftime and leads them to a victory against Jacksonville in that 2003 season.

So obviously it wasn't all great. There were some bad games, including playoff games, further down the road in other seasons for Jake. But he is right up there with the all-time great. Another one would be Jordan Gross, who will do six games.

Jake will do ten and Jordan will do six. So those are two right there that are not only Ring of Honor guys and they'll get that award later this year in the stadium, but two of the most beloved guys to your question. I saw I was in the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday and it was cool to watch North Carolina and South Carolina play there. I saw Mick Bixen up there. And Mick told me that's the first time he's seen the Tar Heels place in 15 years, essentially, since North Carolina. He got finished up there and he said his first game in Bank of America Stadium was Jake Delone throwing a touchdown pass to Steve Smith against the Saints in 2005.

That was also the first Panthers game I've ever been to, too. But he's got a great personality and we always hear stories from former players about that personality. You're on planes with the team. You get to travel with the team.

Does anything stand out that speaks to that Cajun personality that you have with number 17? I mean, he's just he is a guy that is just energetic and he just he's a leader in the quarterback position. You need that, first of all, and that's that intangible that comes with that position more than any other position. Why the leadership and all that matters so much for being a quarterback. But beyond being likable, I mean, he's direct for those who remember watching him play. I mean, he would chew out his offensive lineman or receiver if they didn't make a block or they didn't run the crowd right away. He did not hold back. I mean, he led.

You know, he made his own mistakes, throwing the ball, that kind of thing. But he would own it when he did that. But he would be hard on himself and he'd be hard around his teammates all in trying to get the most out of them. I would interview Jake every single week for a number of years. It was just a weekly thing that which I now do with Marty Hurney. And I did with Sam Mills back in the day and Steve Burlight, different players and foot office people through the year and for many years, probably at least five.

You know, Jake Delome and I would chat after practice every single Wednesday for a pregame feature that would run. And he would always make sure he did it. He would never bluff it. He would never snuff it off. He never had to go to a meeting or he would make time to do that. If he did, he made sure he got doubled back and got back to me.

So just conscientious, just first-class citizen all the way around. Well, I look forward to hearing the broadcast. Actually, I might not be able to hear week one because we'll be out there at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. But certainly moving forward from that, I'm glad Jake Delome is a part of the radio network in addition to Jordan Groves being back too. Good to have you back on the show.

It just must mean football is here and it's specifically game week. Good luck in preparation. We'll see you at the bank.

Sounds good. Thanks, Josh. You got it. That's Jim Zocchi on Twitter at Jim Zocchi from the Carolina Panthers Radio Network. So we'll be at Panthers Rams Sunday, one o'clock kick with the defending champs in town. But Saturday might be the game I'm looking forward to most. It's a sellout for North Carolina getting set for the Miami Hurricanes.

And I just want to know what it looks like. I want to know. Sell out.

Where where that lies from tickets sold versus actual attendance. Eight o'clock. Are we going to have the conversation on Monday?

Yeah, it was just too late. And maybe maybe the weather wasn't as good as it should be. You know, is is are there going to be excuses or is this going to be a crowd that just blows you away? Is that what we're going to see in Keenan Stadium Saturday?

That's the big overarching question I have going into the weekend. More than whatever is going to happen with the Panthers in the Rams. But this Tar Heel football game. I think they have a better chance to beat in Miami than I gave them facing South Carolina last week. Double digit underdog in that neutral site game.

The Tar Heels are at home. I like Miami to win the game because I think Miami just has better athletes. And they need a win coming off that loss against Florida.

They had more time to prepare. But here are the two variables I think that will decide North Carolina, Miami. D.J.

Dallas. One of the best running backs you're going to find in the ACC. They have Homer in that backfield, too.

So it's dangerous what they have. But specifically with Dallas, if they hold him under 100 yards, I think North Carolina probably wins the game. UNC will have a great chance if they can have Jaron Williams in a position where he has to win the game. Then the turnovers aspect of this. They're going to bring that 305 new turnover chain to Chapel Hill. And they're also going to bring those touchdown rings that say hurricanes across the front. If that turnover chain comes out more than one time, if North Carolina loses the turnover battle, no shot. They need these two things to break their way. They need to stop the run and specifically D.J.

Dallas, who had 94 against Florida. And they cannot, cannot lose the turnover battle against Miami. So the crowd, it fascinates me, but that crowd's not going to be there long if Miami starts wiping the floor with North Carolina.

They need to control those two elements. Yes, sir? Keenan is going to be packed Saturday night. All right, if you say so. We said it about North Carolina, South Carolina. There's 52,000 there and that's what was announced and that wasn't quite what showed up. Yeah, but no one had seen this Carolina team play yet. Carolina fans, especially with football, now they've had a whole week watching Mac Brown dancing. They're coming off a win.

They're feeling good. It's the home opener. I've already had three friends that are Carolina fans that told me they're going to be there Saturday night. So, I mean, I would expect a sellout at Keenan on Saturday night. Well, it already is a sellout. Oh, well, I would expect them actually, it'll appear to be a sellout on television when you look at it and go, oh, wow, the stands are really full.

We'll see. And Mac Brown has made it known more than one time, I want fans in their seat, but in seat 30 minutes before the game. That's what he wants.

No, that's going to be a little bit more work. He wants them there. It's not like you don't have time. It's not a noon kick, 8 o'clock. Prime time. But in seat at 730. That's what he wants because his words, he wants the crowd to let Miami know that they're there.

And he wants their players, North Carolina's players, to feel that energy before the game. I think this was my breaking point. This was my ACC Network breaking point was this game. OK, I have to get it around 730. I have to figure out when the ACC basketball schedule comes out and North Carolina Duke is inevitably going to be on the network.

I would rather be in a position where I've already already have AC network when I see it so I can go, ha ha. I already bought it instead of seeing it and feel like I'm being forced to get it because of basketball being shoved onto the network. But we've talked about I like Miami. I love the turnover chain.

So, I mean, for me, what is not to like with this game? Mac Brown's back. Carolina's 1-0. They're hosting Miami.

Miami's got the turnover chain. I'll be there. Yeah, I mean, Josh will be out there in the crowd doing something.

I'm going to find Ramses. I'm not going to be in the crowd. Your head is going to pop up on my screen randomly at least once before the game is over.

If you go back and look at the Mac Brown interview. I got a bunch of texts of me just my head being on Mac's shoulder when he's crying to Allison Williams. I didn't know I was there. It was just me. You never know because there's a bunch of people.

You don't know how camera shots are done. It's just me and Brant Wilkerson-New standing there getting a picture. Looking suspicious probably. Nah, we're not looking suspicious.

Just working. On the field and a scrum, things are happening, man. When the game ends, it's an all-out scrum. And it was that way for Wake Forest when they won on Friday and then for North Carolina. How many times has this happened where someone's pointed out that, hey, I just saw you on ESPN or something. I know it happened during one of the Duke games.

You were in the tunnel. I remember that. I think it was ACC Tournament. This is probably going to be a weekly thing now. Yeah, the star role is man. Right. Yeah, on the Panthers. All or nothing.

All or nothing. You were in there. And now we have Panthers press conferences and locker room stuff.

One thing I like about Mac, to take the attention off me because I'm uncomfortable with that. One thing, notice that this show is not called The Josh Graham Show. That was the first thing. With Josh Graham.

Yeah. Notice that they came, I actually never admitted this, somebody came up to me and the first thing they said, we want to call this show The Josh Graham Show. Not about it. Did not want this to be The Josh Graham Show.

That's not what we wanted. So it was my compromise, the drive with Josh Graham. Right.

So it's the drive and then I'm just here. Right. It's not The Josh Graham Show.

It's the drive with Josh Graham. He's here. Right. I'm here. That's what we're doing. Referring to myself a third person. It's not helping.

The purpose of what we're doing here is counterproductive to what I'm trying to accomplish. I want to make this point about Mac. Brent Wilkerson knew was talking to him earlier today from Heels Maven. And he said that Mac Brown constantly talks about the fact that he still talks to Larry Fedora and spends time updating him on his players and such.

And they have good conversation and a good relationship. And he said that they haven't spoken since Saturday. The quote from him today. And this is pretty neat from Mac saying, I was thinking about Larry, though, this morning. I need to follow up and tell him a lot of his guys, his guys played great, which is a really neat thing to hear from a coach taking over for somebody else.

You don't really see that happening that often. Over the middle, intercepted again. The other way at the 30, the 40, Wolf to midfield. Miles Wolf with the pick, the heels on the doorstep of an enormous victory. That's the voice of Jones Angel on the Tar Heels Sports Network. Miles Wolf with the two picks to cement Mac Brown's returning win against South Carolina and Charlotte last weekend.

We will be out at Miami, North Carolina this Saturday and Mac Brown's home debut returning to the Tar Heels. It was a neat moment when Wolf got that second pick. I was standing right next to Bubba Cunningham, the director of athletics at North Carolina, and he was next to Trey Boston. And when he picked off that pass, Bubba tried to be stoic because he knew there was still time on the clock. And Trey Boston said, to heck with that.

That guy picked off the pass. And man, I think I think we got this win now. Eric Church was down there, too. And there's just a vibe around this North Carolina football program that is hard to really put a finger on if you're trying to compare to other points we've seen since Mac departed the program a few decades ago. We're now being joined by the voice of the Tar Heels. You just heard Jones Angel kind enough to be with us here. What's the best example you can provide us, Jones, that best speaks to just how much interest has climbed for North Carolina football since Mac's arrival? Oh, gosh, I don't know, Josh.

That's a tough question. Appreciate you having me on. Of course. The tickets are sold out this Saturday. I think that that speaks for itself. Season tickets are sold out in total for the Tar Heels this year. And so there's just some pure numbers in that regard that tell you that interest is up. I think, as you referenced, there's just a feel around Carolina right now that that's a lot of excitement and just a lot of energy and really looking forward to the future. I think most people understand that this is not going to be a straight line up for the Tar Heels under Mac Brown.

There's going to be some bumps in the road and there's going to be some twists and turns. This is not a one-week rebuilding process for Mac Brown in Carolina. But, man, that win on Saturday really just propelled the momentum even further ahead. When I was talking to people leading up to that game, Josh, I would say there's so much energy and, gosh, wouldn't it be great to get a win because that would just keep that momentum moving forward. And I think that's what the Tar Heels really did. They just pushed that momentum to another mile per hour or two with that victory.

So certainly a lot of excitement and everybody's really fired up about what should be a great atmosphere in Keenan Stadium on Saturday night. A few weeks ago we were discussing here Sam Howell starting as a true freshman, something that hasn't done to open a year for North Carolina ever. And even before he was given the reins, there was a hype that surrounded him that I don't think there's much precedent for for North Carolina football.

You had great prospects on the way out. Mitchell Trubisky being a top five pick. Marquise Williams certainly a great player, Bryn Renner, in the last decade or so. You might have to go back to maybe Mike Paulus to think about somebody coming in that Tar Heels fans were excited about just because his last name. And the fact that there was a Blue Devil point guard named Greg Paulus playing eight miles away while Mike was in school. Who's the last quarterback you can think of to enter Chapel Hill with hype that's similar to what we're seeing with the true freshman Sam Howell?

Is there a comparison? Well the most hyped quarterback I can remember in Carolina history was Ronald Curry. I mean Ronald was the number one player in the nation as a football player and the number one point guard in the nation as a basketball player. And so he was an incredible athlete and an incredible player whose career unfortunately was derailed with injuries and just never quite got going the way he wanted to. So he certainly moved on to a pro career and is coaching at the highest level now. And so he's really done a great job and is a big time Tar Heels.

As far as Sam Howell is concerned, to me what has been so impressive about Sam Howell is how he has managed all the noise around him. Whether that is the quarterback competition, whether that is the excitement and the hype, I'll use your words there, around him just because he was a well-known player in this state. And was a big deal for the Tar Heels because he was a symbolic player on the recruiting trail as well having committed to Florida State and being with the Seminoles. And then when Mac Brown arrived, switching that commitment to Carolina.

And so there was a lot of symbolic stuff outside of just a good player from North Carolina coming to play for UNC. And leading up to that first game, I kept saying, all the context clues tell you that Sam Howell is going to be good. He has the talent. He's put in the work.

He really has the cool, calm demeanor. But you didn't really know. You didn't know how he would perform. And he was not perfect, certainly on Saturday.

There's plenty of things that he can do better. But I think you saw some of that hard work, some of that cool demeanor, some of that physical talent came out, particularly later in the game. And as he continues to get more reps and see more live action and just get some more stuff in his bank of memories and bank of experience, gosh, it's exciting to think about the type of player he can become. The voice of the Tar Heels, Jones Angel with us on Sports Hub. Tryon, believe it or not, as much as attention Sam Howell got, he wasn't the Tar Heel quarterback that I was most impressed by. It was former quarterback Chaz Surratt playing on defense who had a team high 12 tackles.

I don't even know the last time I saw anything like this. But how does this happen where Chaz Surratt can not only flip sides of the ball, not only start at the position, but against an SEC opponent in his debut at that spot, team leading 12 tackles? Yeah, I think it's a combination of a couple of things. One is Chaz being, I think you got to go all the way back to him making the decision to make this move. Because as we have seen in college football now, if you're a young quarterback and you're not starting, you traditionally go somewhere else.

And that's not a, I'm not trying to single out an individual. That's just the trend in college football now is that if you're a young quarterback that doesn't win the job, you're going to go somewhere else to try and play. And Chaz, being a North Carolina guy, said, in fact I talked to him about this yesterday, he said he didn't feel like he wanted to leave this university. He grew up a Victoria fan, he grew up in the state of North Carolina, and of course he had grown close to multiple teammates having been here now for several seasons. And so I think, number one, it was a pretty mature move for Chaz Sarat to recognize what the situation was, to recognize that he wanted to be at Carolina, and to recognize that he could help the team in another way.

So that's the first step. The second step is then that he has the physical tools to be successful at that position. He said he gained about 15 or 20 positive pounds between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, and yet he is still very, very quick.

I mean, his 40-time, I don't know it exactly, Josh, I'm going to guess it's around 4.5, 4.6 in that area. So he can really run, and he's a big guy. And then the final part of it is, sometimes when you have that physical part, it can make up for some of the other stuff, and that's where Chaz Sarat is right now. Because even he said the biggest thing that he saw as far as a negative was just missed assignments, and that's totally to be expected. Because you're playing that position for the first time, you're going to be out of position sometimes.

You're going to read your key incorrectly. That has to be expected. But he had the physical ability to make up for that sometimes, and now you expect those missed assignments to have fewer of those this week compared to last week. And week three, even fewer than week two. And so you just keep going down until eventually that you have a pretty seasoned guy who's also athletic and skilled.

And so I think the ceiling is very high for Chaz Sarat at that position, and it's mostly because of all the hard work that he put in. I'm already seeing videos from the ACC Network, the all-access cameras appear to be in Chapel Hill, getting set to follow North Carolina basketball this season. I was told that there might be an ACC basketball schedule out in the next week or so. Have you already seen more of these all-access cameras around Chapel Hill? Have they been capturing footage of Jones Angel working hard? Well, I'm just excited that we will get a schedule soon since the season started.

Carolina has a game in two months, so it's going to be exciting to see what the rest of their schedule looks like. I do know that there have been cameras around with Carolina basketball, but I will also say, Josh, I think what a change it has been for Carolina football with the access to the program. Larry Fedora elected to run his program in a different way and really wanted to keep things close to the vest and keep things tight. It's interesting in that when you're winning, everybody's okay with that, but then when you start not having the success that you want, it's smaller things like that that start to wear around the edges. I don't think it was a concerted effort by Mack Brown. I think it's just who Mack Brown is and the way that he runs his program. Carolina football, there's as much access to Coach Brown, to the players in the locker room, whatever you want. There's as much access to Carolina football right now as there's ever been, or certainly in the last several years. I think the Tar Heels need that. They need people to get to know their program. They need people to get to know their players and their coaches, not just because it's a new group. It would just benefit their team and their program. Not only are Carolina fans going to have unprecedented access to the basketball program through that ACC Network show coming up, I think they're getting more access to the football team and football program than ever before.

Really quickly, I got about 30 seconds. Could Jones' angel dance the way Mack Brown does? I could probably dance the way Mack Brown does. Now, I don't know if I want to dance the way Mack Brown did and then kind of forgot about it, but it was the only thing the players were worried about when he walked into the locker room.

As you can imagine, that was a jubilant group and a jubilant room after that win over South Carolina, and that dance was certainly a big part of it. You're the best, Jones. We'll see you Saturday. Thanks so much, Josh.

Talk to you soon. You got it. That's Jones Angel on Twitter at Jones Angel, the voice of the Tar Heels. We haven't spent much time talking about Mack Brown's dancing, but what would be your quick assessment of the way Mack Brown danced in the video? Looking at it, it just seems there's a mismatch of a bunch of different dances he's seen the last 10 years, maybe.

Maybe while he was out of coaching and he's just trying to integrate it all in at once. There was a little bit of Dougie with the hand behind the head, and then he does my heart stopping. There was a dab in there. I didn't see a dab.

Yeah, I saw it. There was a brief dab in there. The best part is it at the end when he just closes his eyes and puts both his hands up in the air.

That's my favorite part. As if to say, dear Jesus, I'm sorry for what's happening here. I don't know what to tell you.

I'm sorry. It just took over. It's what happens when the groove takes over. I want to see it again. I'm looking at it right now. It's turned into like the- It's been a loop on my computer. It's this year's turnover chain.

I want to see Mack Brown dancing every Saturday. Well, the turnover chain is going to be in Chapel Hill on Saturday. How did we get through- I meant to ask you this. How did we get through the entire show yesterday with only one mention of this belt that magically showed up on the UNC sideline? What falls back? What happened? Okay, so the belt's there, and I remember talking to Miles Woolfolk about the belt at the end of the game.

We're just standing there in a tunnel. Okay, where'd this come from? Well, we thought we wanted to have a belt. Okay, for what?

Just turnovers. All right. Cool. That's the degree of it. The belt was what you were missing out on? We had a coach coaching a game from a hospital bed. No, we talked about that.

I know. We didn't mention the belt until 5.30 yesterday. You're asking why the belt didn't make an appearance? It's because a damn coach was in a hospital bed coaching with a visor on. He had a visor on his head. He was comfortable. He had on cargo shorts, so he had to be comfortable.

He had a visor on his head. He's an offensive-minded coach. He scored just as many points as he would have scored if he didn't show up at all. That's valid.

Hilarious still. So that's why we didn't get to the turnover belt till then. Up next, what Jared Goff and Zeke Elliott's contracts mean for Dak Prescott. This is The Drive. The White Claw is going to be flowing at Keenan Stadium on Saturday. Pulled out for Miami, North Carolina. Mac Brown's home debut after the Tar Heels overcame nearly a two-touchdown deficit to beat South Carolina and Charlotte last weekend. And we pay homage to things around here the best way I think you possibly can. And that is by dedicating a segment to it. And the way we do that is by doing a top 10 list in honor of somebody.

This week, it's Mac Brown and North Carolina. Aaron has done an excellent job of trying to figure out my thinking ways for what's going to make the list. Some of you in the audience have done a good job of this as well on Twitter.

Desmond hates this segment, hates the wordplay, and is no good at this game. I actually have nine for today. Whoa! Yeah, y'all go stop doubting me. Do you have them slotted 10 through 1 where you think things are going to fall?

No, I know what should be 1, but I can almost guarantee it won't be. And I got a couple in here that they should be here. I'm highly anticipating this list. All right.

Let's add a game within a game. How many do you think you're going to get? Out of the 10, from what I wrote down, there should be at least four. Okay. At least.

We'll see if he gets the four. Now, I know you. Do you? No, it's because every time we do this list, the ones you leave off, there are some on the ones you leave off that probably should have been in the top 10, so I'm assuming some of these are going to be there. What do you mean, should have been in the top 10? It's my list. Yeah, but you leave out ones that are so obvious they should be there, and then they're not there, and then Twitter gets on you, and they're like, why didn't you put that in your top 10?

You got it on your last bit out. Somebody came up to me in a tailgate at Wake Forest last week and said, how the hell did you leave Tim Duncan off your top 10 Deacons? Oh, that's what I'm saying.

As if I actually think Tyler C. from The Bachelor is a better Deacon than Tim Duncan. That's kind of what the list is about. That's not exactly what we're doing here. I mean, when you put one on a top 10 list, and you don't put the other one on a top 10 list. Yeah. We had Darren Sharper in a top 10 list, and OJ Simpson in a top 10 list.

I was not here that day. Let's get to the top 10, Max. Oh, yeah.

That was a remix, y'all, there. Top 10, Max. Number 10. My number 10, Max.

Khalil Mack. I did not have him on my list. What? Yeah, I know. Number 9. Sorry.

My number 9, Max. Biz Mack Biambo. See what you did there.

What do you mean? You saw what I did there. Pretty good. Biz Mack Biambo belongs on any list of top 10 Max. You can't have this list without Biz Mack Biambo being there, without Biz. Really?

Number 8. Actually, where does Biz Mack rank among hornets, new age hornets, who just annoy the hell out of you? That's a guy that, man, he looks like he should be good, and he just isn't.

Like me at the Y. You do have the frame. Aaron, I don't think you look that good. No, he has the frame that you would think, oh, man, he can probably ball. He probably is a pretty good basketball player. You can't play basketball, can you?

Nope. Aaron looks like the guy who's wearing old school Converse's long white socks that go up halfway between his ankle and his knee. Some Kareem Abdul-Jabbar goggles. Yeah, shorts that are a little shorter than they need to be. Some hip-huggers. And is probably wearing a T-shirt of some sorts.

He's not wearing a jersey. Do you rock a headband? Yes. Yeah.

That's a win. Nailed it. Nailed it. Number eight, my number eight, Mack. Mack-tion. Yeah. All right. All for that.

She got broke there for a second. Mack-tion? Yeah. Every Wednesday night, man. Mack-tion on ESPN. It's one of the most fun conferences to watch football in. That made the top ten. If you don't get excited for Mack-tion, that's on you. Ohio University football.

That's what I want. They get after it in Athens. Shout out to Big Mama's Burritos in Athens. That's where it's at. Mack-tion. Hashtag Mack-tion in the top ten list. Number six.

Or make it number seven on my top ten, Max. Chris Mack. Like Chris Mack. How are you doing so far? None of those have been on my list. So not well.

Not a one. Chris Mack, as we discussed with him before, started tie-dye nation at Wake Forest. So this one goes out to the guy who said that, was mad that Tim Duncan didn't make my top ten deacons.

Chris Mack made the list here. Did we ever prove that he actually did that? Because he said that on the show. Oh, it's true. Is it true? Okay. Because you know how people walk around making up things. I'm Jack from Wake Forest.

It's true. He started tie-dye nation as an assistant for Skip Prosser. Number six. My number six Mac. My MacBook Pro. Great Scott. Great Scott.

What is this? MacBook Pros are where it's at. I can't afford one.

I'm poor. I've had this one for a long time. I think it's going to go pretty soon. I'm enjoying every last moment I have on the MacBook Pro. The last three or four jobs I've had, they've offered me my own desktop to work on, and I've always just said, no, I'll just work on my MacBook.

I have a computer right in front of me here in the law offices of Timothy D. Wellborn. Never used it. Never used it.

Not even four o'clock. Don't care. Why?

Because I got it on my MacBook Pro. I'm the only person that's building that uses that terminal on Saturday mornings. That's it. Yep.

I'm the only person that's building that thing. Thanks, MacBook Pro. Number five.

My number five Mac, James Michael McAdoo. I want to find a story. I don't know where it's at, but I want to find the story that had him projected as the number six pick in the NBA draft one year, and then he doesn't get drafted altogether. That might have been the same draft class as C.J.

Leslie. It was his freshman year. Everybody was really excited about C.J.

Leslie, too, being a first rounder, and then he stays another year, and neither player gets drafted. It was 2012. I can tell you exactly what it was, because it was the Harrison Barnes-Kendall Marshall team. McAdoo was a freshman on it coming off the bench. Just crushing Duke and Cameron. That was a wonderful... That was a payback game. James Michael McAdoo.

What a name. Number four. My number four Mac, McDonald's.

I got one. Only in the South can you call it a McDonald's. Y'all going to McDonald's?

Yeah, where are we headed? McDonald's? Come on, McDonald's.

Get some sweet tea. Yeah. You going to the McDonald's in Hanson?

Is that where you're headed? Might hit the one in Burlington. I remember as a kid being thoroughly confused the first time I heard somebody call it Mickey D's.

Just had no idea whatever hit it. Did you call it McDonald's? Yeah, McDonald's. McDonald's. It makes sense, you got a Big Mac at McDonald's. Exactly what you ordered. What is your go-to McDonald's order?

To drive by it. I'll only get the fries. Wow.

That's it. Honestly, I haven't eaten a McDonald's in months. Ever since they changed the burgers, you know how they change them, they're supposed to be fresher now. They don't taste right to me. I like the old way. The hockey pucks. I want those.

You're very brave. Number three. My number three Mac, Bernie Mac.

Shorts on backwards, shorts on backwards. I had that on mine, and I thought that was going to be number one, as it should have been. No, it should have been. It's not your list. It's my list. It's Bernie Mac. I get it's Bernie Mac. It's good.

But there's still two left on this list. What was that? That was my Bernie Mac. Wow. I can't finish the line. No, now you need to. Now you need to give us some- It's good to you.

That's terrible. I can't finish the line. I got to be able to- I got to curse. You got to curse when you do Bernie Mac. You got to be Bernie Mac. You can't- Number two. My number two Mac.

Mac it on your girl. Now you see why Bernie Mac was number three? What part of the day- When did that one pop up? Was it late?

Was it early? That was the first one I thought of. Okay. Let's see if this list was crafted around that one. The list was made for number two on this list. Number one. My number one Mac. Easy Mac. I got mac and cheese. I qualify, so you got three on the list? Yep. Not four.

I got four. Wow, Aaron. Someone says that Mac Miller is left off the list.

Actually, no he isn't because did you know that before he was Mac Miller, his rap name was Easy Mac. There you go. Number one.

Look at you. Top 10. David says that Vontae Mac needs to make the list.

Come on. Vontae Mac. Return of the Mac. Yeah, that was a little too on the nose. Mac Brown.

Holy mackerel. Vontae Mac is Chadwick Boseman's character from draft day. Another- It's just a bad movie. Yeah, I haven't even seen it. I think I need to just to say I've seen it.

I don't like fiction movies in which the Browns are very good at doing things on the draft. So, did you say Big Mac? Was that in your list? McDonald's. McDonald's. I have Ronald McDonald, so I counted that, but I have Big Mac also. You said McDonald's. Ronald McDonald's. I mean, it's the same thing.

Yeah. Ronald McDonald, McDonald's. But I have Big Mac also on my list.

No, you're not getting twice for one answer. Just for things. I'm trying to get to four here. But Charlie Sheen, he's a Mac. He is a Mac.

That can't work. One of the best radio segments in the history of radio, I believe, is back when Rosillo and SVP were together at ESPN. They did this thing where they figured out who on that show was the biggest Mac. And in order to do so, they just asked each other on the show's question and you got to answer the question honestly, and then that person gets to ask the next question.

And then at the end, you figure out who the best Mac is, but really you just figure out who's the worst. And that's kind of why you're all there. Just an idea to throw out there. You said you sent it because you might want to do that down the road here?

Would that be, would there be demand for such a segment on Twitter at sportsontryit? It probably goes without saying that I'm the biggest Mac in the room. I don't think so. I'm a charmer. I'm a woo woo woo guy.

I'm the only one married here. Which means you might not win the Mac game. I think that means I won early and just went home.

I don't know what that means. I got questions with your Mac list here. How can you have all those and not have the Mac Daddy and the Daddy Mac from Criss Cross on this list? Mac Daddy I had written down didn't include them. Craig Mac didn't have it included. Mac Truck didn't have it included. John Mackey not included. John McEnroe not included. I had Mac 10 also.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-10 00:52:13 / 2023-02-10 01:15:35 / 23

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