Lauren Brownlow

Brownlow mailbag tackles football, Thrones and pancakes

Posted August 24

Bradley Chubb (9) celebrates following NCAA football action at Kenan Stadium between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the North Carolina State Wolfpack on November 25, 2016 in Chapel Hill, NC. (Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

It's time to say goodbye to the Twitter Mailbag... at least until next April. So, really it's just "see you later."

I've had a lot of people ask me why I'm indefinitely suspending the Mailbag. Well, for one thing, the GIF previews that I do throughout football season take a lot of time. I'm working on them constantly during the week. And those aren't the only pieces of #content I'm producing, either. Besides, I need something that's a uniquely off-season endeavor, right? And the Twitter Mailbag qualifies.

I will miss it, certainly, but things like my weekly Sad Panthers Fan column, an explainer on each week's AP vote that I cast and my GIFtastic previews, among other things, will have to do.

So, let's all shed a single tear as we get right into the final week of questions!

My dude Michael Felder of Bleacher Report is always putting meaty football questions on a tee for me to answer. Of course, what he doesn't know is that even if I were trying to take a bat and hit, say, an actual baseball off a tee, it's not 100 percent that I'd make solid contact. The golf ball on a tee, though? Oh, heavens, yes. So, let's pretend it's a golf ball on a tee.

Two of the pass-rushers Felder is referring to, of course, are Boston College's Harold Landry and NC State's Bradley Chubb, both AP Preseason All-Americans at the defensive end spot (I voted for both). Clemson's Dexter Lawrence also made it at defensive tackle, meaning three of the four defensive linemen and six of the 12 overall defensive players on the All-America team were from the ACC. Prett-ay, prett-ay good.

But Felder is right. There are more! The ones he named—FSU's Josh Sweat and Brian Burns, plus Clemson's Clelin Ferrell and Miami's Joe Jackson—are, unsurprisingly, on the top-tier ACC rosters. The best leagues in the country, though, have depth throughout. Wake's Duke Ejiofor is probably the best player whose name casual football fans don't know.

Virginia Tech's Vinny Mihota had a beastly season in 2016 even with two bad shoulders, both of which he had repaired in the offseason. Maybe there was a buy-one, get-one sale? I kid. Georgia Tech's KeShun Freeman is undersized and doesn't have the sack numbers but is a really good player nonetheless and could be primed for a big season.

Locally, Duke's Drew Jordan is an intriguing young prospect at defensive end (and he's going to get a lot of playing time). UNC sophomore Malik Carney led the team in sacks.

Other leagues have excellent pass-rushers as well, of course, but the ACC probably has the best collection of guys from top to bottom.

Great question, Chris. My answer is hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng and also:

excited baby

charlie sheen aroused

wiig in turtleneck

nervous hockey kid

maybe jeopardy girl

For context, this question comes likely from the fact that ESPN's Trey Wingo joined Joe Ovies and me in our latest episode of Drive Thru Hot Takes and was a fantastic addition to the car.

I'm going to assume this needs to be sports related. So, I'm going to go with Josh Norman and Steve Smith. Both are former Carolina Panthers, and neither would care that I constantly bash Dave Gettleman and Mike Shula. And I love both of them—Smitty more than Norman, but still. That's my dream duo. Although I'd probably be too tongue-tied around Smitty to get out a coherent sentence.

Locally, I'd like to have NC State AD Debbie Yow and UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell. Debbie's sister and former NC State basketball coach, the late Kay Yow, and Hatchell were very close. I don't know a ton about Hatchell's relationship with Debbie, but I'm sure they at least have common ground through Kay. Both Hatchell and Debbie Yow are also AMAZING quotes. I would also not be embarrassed to have either of them in the car with me while I spewed my Panthers' hot takes. And we could get them to engage in some NC State-UNC rivalry talk. Neither of them shy away from it.

Women's basketball was one of the first sports I covered. I have a special place in my heart for both Hatchell, who was always really good to me, and Kay Yow, who I covered through her illness and while she fought so hard to overcome it. I was and still am in awe of her strength. And Hatchell's, too, when she had her own bout with leukemia. Also, I'm 100% sure that both Debbie and Sylvia would order something full of grease at Cook Out because they are true Southerners.

I had to answer one Game of Thrones question, right? For the sake of avoiding spoilers for those of you still catching up, do your best to skip past this question OR just know that I won't specify whether either or both are alive or dead.

*POTENTIAL SPOILER*

*POTENTIAL SPOILER*

This showdown between brothers feels inevitable, especially for those who have read the books. The Hound is now officially on the side of good, and the Mountain on the side of evil—and the Mountain is the one responsible for burning his brother's face. The Hound is a great fighter, but he's obviously not unconquered; my girl Brienne of Tarth took care of that. The Mountain has some limitations, as many of you jumped in my inbox to remind me last week when I broke down the athletes on Thrones, but he's still VERY strong.

But above all, I am concerned about the Mountain being an actual zombie.

With the way the show has been going this season, and presumably next (whenever we actually get said showdown), my guess is that it will look really bad for the Hound before some sort of deus ex machina thing happens and he ends up winning. I don't mind that my favorite characters aren't dying, but I do mind that there are seemingly no stakes anymore. Sigh.

*SPOILERS OVER*

I love this question so much. I am obsessed with breakfast. I eat the same thing for breakfast most mornings, but if I don't eat breakfast, I am a complete mess. And every now and then, I will treat myself to a really good breakfast or brunch. I love breakfast food more than I can possibly say. I am also #TeamPancakes in the eternal pancake vs. waffle debate, although I enjoy waffles as well.

Growing up, we'd go to the Tex and Shirley's at Friendly Center in Greensboro, and I'd get those silver dollar pancakes and eat the hell out of them. But I don't know if that's a kid thing. I'm going to have to go with one giant pancake. You still feel like a glutton for eating it, but you can still sort of justify it to yourself that it was only ONE pancake, really. And there's a real sense of accomplishment to be had when you've polished off one of those pancakes that takes up an entire plate.

Also, if you eat just one big pancake, you don't have to worry about the butter soaking through and corrupting all the pancakes underneath the top one.

My little one is still a tad young to be watching movies (13 months), but we have self-servingly had a few kids' movies on in the background as we watch him play and roam around the house. And my husband and I have sort of been on this kids'-movie-watching spree anyway as of the last few years, even before we had a kid, whether it's new movies or older ones.

I watched Free Willy the other day for the first time in a long time with him, and he was not at all interested in the whale or anything except throwing his huge toys defiantly to the ground. This movie came out in 1993. I was probably nine or ten when I saw it. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I really don't like it now. It's weird. Lori Petty plays a whale trainer, and after knowing the boy in the movie for, like, a day, she's suddenly hugging him and kissing him and telling him her life story. Michael Madsen plays a sensitive foster dad like less than a year after he cut someone's ear off in Reservoir Dogs.

I know it's a kid's movie, but all the tropes and cliches were TOO exaggerated for me. THE EVIL CORPORATE DUDES WANT TO DO RIDICULOUSLY EVIL THINGS FOR MONEY! WILLY AND THE FORGOTTEN FOSTER KID ARE BOTH OUTCASTS WHO NEED TO BE FREE AND CAN'T LIVE BY SOCIETY'S RULES! PUTTING WHALES IN TANKS TO DO TRICKS FOR HUMANS IS BAD, EVEN THOUGH WE CLEARLY HAVE THIS ANIMAL THAT WE HAVE IN SOME SORT OF CONFINEMENT TO FILM THIS MOVIE!

Whatever. I did cry three times during the movie even as an adult, so maybe I'm the sucker.

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